Gina Lee

Gina Lee follows family footsteps with human development and family studies doctoral degree

Gina always knew she wanted to become a professor. Her father, who is a professor in gerontology and family studies, influenced her to follow the same path.

“I think he enjoys having someone to talk with about his field of research,” she said. “He keeps saying that we should publish together in the near future.”

Gina completed her bachelor’s degree at Iowa State University, and is now working on her master’s and doctoral degree in gerontology.

“I’m interested in researching healthy aging,” she said. “I also want to see how mental health during aging is connected to social support.”

One day, she can see herself working either in the United States or in South Korea for a research institution. Leaving her family and South Korea for school in Iowa was an adjustment for Gina, but she knew she wanted to come back for graduate school because of the people and professors she met during her first four years in Ames.

“The people in my department were really nice,” she said. “The community here is very supportive and passionate about helping students.”

Of all the people who have helped Gina along the way, she said most influential professor has been Peter Martin. From getting to know him through an independent study during undergrad to collaborating with him as her major professor, Gina is grateful she has found a support network away from home.

For undergraduate students who know they want to pursue a master’s or doctoral degree, Gina says the most useful experience she had was reaching out and getting to know people in her department.

“I definitely recommend doing an independent study with a professor in your area of interest,” she said. “Exploring what the research is and interacting with professors is helpful.”