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Sophomore Inku Subedi (Kathmandu, Nepal) is learning about the significant differences in how cultures treat aging.

“In Eastern culture, as people get older, they have much more decision-making power and they are looked on with much more respect,” she says. “Here I definitely see a difference in the relationship between parents and children.”

Subedi, a double major in psychology and anthropology & sociology, is learning more about American attitudes toward aging while working with Jamila Bookwala, assistant professor of psychology. She is completing the project through the EXCEL Scholars program, in which students collaborate closely with faculty while earning a stipend.

Bookwala has published several journal articles and book chapters on her research, including articles this year in Journal of Interpersonal Violence and Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, and a chapter in Men as Caregivers: Theory, Research, and Service Implications. She has actively involved Lafayette students in her research, including senior Melissa Mitchell, who presented her findings on the psychology of aging at the Gerontological Society of America’s Annual Symposium in Boston last month.

“We have been looking at articles in scholarly journals to see if there has been work done on how stereotyping occurs according to gender as people age,” says Subedi, explaining that much has been written on attitudes toward aging in general, but not much research has been done by gender.

Subedi and Bookwala are preparing a questionnaire about aging, which they plan to distribute during the spring semester to more than 100 Lafayette students.

“It’s been a great experience for me,” says Subedi, who first explored the topic last year in a project for a sociology class on how men and women are portrayed differently in advertisements.

Bookwala says that Subedi has already become skilled at researching journals and has learned a great deal about the process of designing a study.

“Inku is a committed, task-oriented student,” Bookwala says. “She has brought enthusiasm to the project and is a pleasure to work with.”

Subedi says that Bookwala’s ability to communicate has made the work enjoyable. “We operate very much on the same wavelength,” she says. “There is a good communication level.”

Subedi chose Lafayette from a number of American colleges that had accepted her because another student from Nepal gave it a glowing recommendation.

“I’m really happy about the choice I made,” she says.

Subedi is vice president of the Asian Cultural Association and an international peer adviser.

Categorized in: Academic News