Introducing… a student researcher

Introducing… a student researcher

Kate Kim is completing a summer research program at the Geriatric Education and Research in Aging Sciences (GERAS) Centre as a full-time student researcher. She is one of fourteen top-performing students across Ontario selected through the Hamilton Health Sciences High School Health Research Bursary Awards competition. She is leading a behavior-based evaluation of GERAS to Go, a program that teaches older adults about healthy aging.

Kate Kim - at desk

Favourite Colour: light pink / Book: Momo by Michael Ende/Vacation Spot: Korea, my home country/ Music: ballads and pop / Animal: birds/ Food: peaches/ Holiday: Family Day

Who is your mentor at HHS? Tell us about him/her.
My mentor at the GERAS Centre is Dr. Alexandra Papaioannou. She is a geriatric medicine specialist at Hamilton Health Sciences and a professor of medicine at McMaster University. She specializes in osteoporosis and fractures, falls in the elderly, and quality of life in the older population. She has been generously supporting me with resources and advice as I work on my research project and has helped me become a more mature and knowledgeable student researcher.

“Seeing the challenges they experience has made me passionate about contributing to the health care field and finding answers for people suffering from different illnesses.”

What are your favourite ways to spend your free time?
I love to spend my spare time drawing, painting, playing music and volunteering. Arts and music help me to relieve my stress and become more productive. I also enjoy conducting independent research and attending conferences that allow me to expand my interests and meet other science enthusiasts.

Tell us about your most gratifying experience at HHS.
My entire experience at Hamilton Health Sciences has been extremely gratifying. I received a remarkable opportunity to spearhead a research project and will publish the findings. Through designing and leading the project, I’ve been able to expand my knowledge on research and Geriatrics.

kate kim
Why are you interested in working in healthcare?
As an ambitious and curious science lover, biomedical science and healthcare have been an integral part of my life. Several close family members of mine have had a significant health issues and this has been hard for me and my family. I’ve also met many people who are struggling with illness through the volunteering I do. Seeing the challenges they experience has made me passionate about contributing to the health care field and finding answers for people suffering from different illnesses.

What advice would you give to your younger student peers about the value of gaining real work research experience early on?
I’ve been lucky to have opportunities to gain work experiences in my area of as a young student. Often, people argue that having research opportunities or real work experiences may not be worthwhile for high school students because they are too young; however, I strongly believe that there is no such thing as too early. Everything, including science, is valuable at all ages for people who are passionate about it. I would tell my younger peers not to let other people decide when and how you can pursue your passion. If you have a goal, start now and express your interest within your community and beyond. There are numerous, valuable real work experiences that will lead you to step closer to becoming a great professional.

What are your career goals and aspirations?
I want to pursue research because I appreciate the hope it provides for future generations. Since I’m only 17, I’m still deciding exactly what I want to do, but in the short-term. I hope to expand my research experience and take on different kinds of projects. Long-term, I see myself practicing medicine, potentially as a surgeon, and conducting research that helps to expand what we’re capable of in health care. I want to excel in whatever I pursue and think that including both research and clinical practice in my career path will allow me to support people who are struggling in multiple ways.