Yan Su

Su goes after her dreams at Iowa State

Yan Su obtained her bachelor’s degree in nursing while living in China. After a few years, she decided she wanted to go back to school specifically to explore gerontology.

“I audited a course in which older and younger adults study together,” she said. “I realized older adults are passionate, wise, and caring. And that’s the moment I realized I should focus my studies on the whole population and learn from them to help people.”

When it came time to pick a program, Su looked into Iowa State. She liked the large college town atmosphere, especially with the opportunities the diversity provided.

“Current gerontology students have diverse backgrounds including social work, nursing, psychology, HDFS, and political science,” she said. “Listening to them share their experience is really beneficial.”

In addition to learning from various intellectuals, Su conducted her own research, finding she enjoys that aspect as well. Between her studies and academics, she feels more confident in her abilities, and closer to her career than ever before.

“The master’s program equips me with profound knowledge in a broad basis—especially various aging and human development theories,” she said. “By combining my research experience and aging theories with my nursing background, I feel I am much closer to my dream.”

Su plans to combine her knowledge from Iowa State with a nursing Ph.D. to become a nursing professor in the field of gerontology. Due to the fact China doesn’t offer many gerontology programs, she isn’t sure if she’ll return. Regardless, she thinks her culture played a role in choosing her career.

“I think culture influenced me,” she said. “In China, it’s a highly respected profession. Plus it’s very stable, and I can still do the research I like. It is hard to say if I’ll go back, it might not be easy to find a job. I’ll get my Ph.D. and see what happens from there.”

Yan Su will use her degrees to become a gerontological nursing professor. When she isn’t studying, she enjoys getting involved with her church community.