What interests me most about my field is that aging is universal; literally everyone is doing it, and that makes it so exciting. I can apply aging to any career or research focus. I often challenge my students to come up with a career path that doesn't involve aging somehow, and they have yet to stump me.
Gerontology is an interdisciplinary field, and it’s so energizing to address some of the challenges of aging from different perspectives. Our courses draw students from a range of disciplines, so perspectives range widely. This makes class discussions really engaging and interesting. It also means that they learn as much from each other as from me, and I learn from the students as well.
My most recent area of research has been on loneliness and social isolation among older adults. Loneliness among older adults is a major public health challenge because it has mental and physical health implications, as well as societal costs.
When it comes to teaching, I hope my students realize how much the content of all of our gerontology courses really translates to the real world. Our classes provide understanding and tools to help empower people to age well and to live a positive, healthy life.
Learn more about Kerstin Gerst Emerson.
- Ph.D., Gerontology, University of Massachusetts
- M.S., Gerontology, University of Massachusetts
- M.G.S., Gerontology, Miami University
- B.A., Economics and Psychology, University of Michigan