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PURE Award winners 2016: Cheyenne Choy

Biological Sciences and Sociology major looks at our everyday life to find out if neighbourhood disorder has an impact on outlook on life for older adults

Cheyenne Choy's research focuses on the impact of neighbourhood disorder on older adults. Photo by Nikki Reimer, University of Calgary

By Jennifer Robitaille

The University of Calgary’s Eyes High strategic statement reads “students will thrive in programs made rich by research and hands-on experiences.” The integration of teaching and research is a priority in this vision and the Program for Undergraduate Research Experience — also known as PURE — is an important initiative that reflects this commitment.

Each year undergraduates can apply for the prestigious PURE Awards, which provide financial research support to some of the university’s most promising students over the spring and summer months.

The program is designed to give undergraduate students the opportunity to learn how to develop research projects, undertake independent research and contribute to knowledge in their respective fields.

In this Q&A series, we hear from the 2016 PURE Award winners from the Faculty of Arts.

Name: Cheyenne Choy

Degree sought: Biological Science and Sociology

Q: What is your research topic?

The research I’m conducting is looking at how neighborhood disorder is associated with optimism and pessimism in older adults and if race or gender mediates this association.

What attracted you to this particular research project?

It is interesting to look at the conditions that we’re exposed to everyday and try to figure out their affect it has on us either now or in the future. This kind of research sheds light on the things we go through every day in our society and helps us gain a further understanding about them.

Why is this research important?

This research is important because it looks at people particularly vulnerable in our society and looks at the effects their living conditions have on them. This is of particular importance for older adults as limited mobility and retirement results in them spending much more time in their neighborhoods.

What do you hope to achieve with this research?

I hope to contribute to existing research on the topic of aging adults and I hope to grow as a person in regards to my writing skills. This research is also a great opportunity for me to experience what it’s like to conduct research for an extended period of time.

What do you like most about your field of study?

It’s a fascinating field. It helps us better understand the society in which we live. I also enjoy the content itself and reading about the different theories about what makes up our society.

What advice would you give to other students considering applying for PURE awards next year?

My advice would be go for it. This award is a great opportunity to see what it will be like upon graduating or if you are planning to continue your education. It sets you apart and gives you a truly unique experience.