Miami students conducting age-friendly city research study

First Year Research Experience (FYRE) students are partnering with the Scripps Gerontology Center to complete a needs assessment for Oxford’s Age-Friendly City Project

OXFORD – January 3, 2018

Dr. Kate de MedeirosFor nearly ten years Miami’s First Year Experience Program has provided students with authentic, hands-on research experiences in small teams led by research-active faculty during a two-semester course sequence. Under the leadership of Dr. Kate de Medeiros, associate professor of gerontology and faculty leader for one of the three FYRE sections, and through the support of Scripps Gerontology Center, the current program hopes to provide information that will enhance the quality of life for all in the Oxford community.

The student team in de Medeiros’s section is a group of nine high-achieving students from diverse majors, from accounting to psychology. In the fall semester, they learned the basics of qualitative research, gaining skills by doing naturalistic observations throughout Oxford, formulating research questions and creating an interview guide, and training on how to conduct interviews and focus groups. In the second semester, they will hit the ground running with interviews and focus groups, and will simultaneously be analyzing data, and creating a final report. This work will culminate in presentations to the Oxford’s Age-Friendly City group as well as Miami’s the undergraduate research forum in April.

de Medeiros shared, “The students are excited because this is not just an exercise – it's doing something tangible that contributes to the community. They are gaining a new perspective on Oxford as well as their own world that I don’t think they expected as they try to understand the community from the point of view of someone who is not them.”

It will also give the community a chance to see Miami students from a point of view they may not have normally seen. “Talking to a first responder about what issues they see puts the student in the perspective of not a receiver of services, or engaging on a social level – such as the uptown pig roast – but as somebody they can have a meaningful dialogue with. It’s opening up opportunities across generations and beyond the campus.”

The team is looking for a diverse group of participants to participate in interviews or focus groups -- people over 65, students, visitors, adults with a parent or child with a disability, business owners, livable city members, and families. If you are interested, please contact Kate de Medeiros, demedekb@MiamiOH.edu.