Arts & Sciences Grad Student Spotlight



Josephine Misaro


Program: Master’s Program in Gerontology

Previous Education: Master’s degree in Sociology

Professional Interest: I am a university lecturer in my home country, Kenya. I will continue teaching in a research institution and engaging in research activities aimed at improving quality of life for elders in my society.
How did you become interested in your field of study?
I am a sociologist, and gerontology is a field that focuses on sociology of aging. I have passion for elders/older adults. However, Gerontology program is not taught in Kenya. I want to give back to my society and to elders in particular by impacting to my students through the classroom knowledge I acquire in my current program, towards improvement of quality of life for elders in my society.

What made you decide to attend Georgia State University?
I researched several universities’ websites and picked on Georgia State because the core values here are excellent coupled with the good climate of Atlanta.

How has being an international student impacted your educational journey?
The exposure thus far is priceless. I have learned so much in so little time. Apart from the classroom, Georgia State has many activities for students to indulge in and enjoy cultural diversities. I have participated in several programs outside the classroom including voluntary services.

What class have you enjoyed most? Why?
I look forward to each and every class because instructors are patient with students and teaching here is about sharing and exchanging ideas. At the gerontology institute, there is no wrong or right answer. Instructors encourage participation of all students and pay particular attention to contributions from different cultural backgrounds. I enjoy listening to other students discuss their cultural beliefs.

What is your favorite place to study on campus?
The library is great, but I prefer the private labs in Gerontology Institute. It is quiet with no distractions. The Director is very supportive and allows students to use available rooms for private study. Again, the institute Director is always available for consultation. Students have unparalleled support from staff.

What is your advice to other international students considering Georgia State?
Grab the opportunity without thinking twice. There are no regrets in choosing Georgia State. This is home away from home.




Kallol Kumar Bhattacharyya

Program: Master’s Program in Gerontology 

Previous Education: Medical Graduate (Family Physician) from Kolkata, India




 How did you become interested in Gerontology?

In my professional practice, the majority of my patients were older adults suffering from chronic diseases, and a large number had dementia. They were mostly neglected and helpless. As a clinician, I was serving the poor in India with dedication, but coming towards the midpoint of my career, I realized that as just a clinician I can’t make major changes in society. I want to have the education needed to reach beyond medical model treatments and give older adults a complete management that maximizes their life while living with dementia. This is why I took the chance to come to the United States and in many ways, have just begun to learn the subject gerontology.

What do you hope to do with your degree?

I’m particularly focused on person-centered care and taking a leadership role in the management of dementia, for both the care receiver and the care partner. I’m also interested in some alternative therapeutic interventions on Alzheimer’s and related dementias with cross-cultural experiences.

What made you decide to attend Georgia State University?

I selected Georgia State because I’ve been influenced by the way this state is undergoing a revolutionary progress in the management of aging and dementia. In selecting Georgia State University, I’ve been influenced by the way their research programs are addressed. Also, the availability of public transport, the comfortable weather, and pre-admission encouragement from Georgia State people influenced me a lot in my decision making.

How has being an international student impacted your educational journey?

Being a doctor, I always wanted to create a new pathway to help older adults and people living with dementia. Therefore, I decided to pursue a master’s degree in gerontology at Georgia State University. This step was a huge gamble for me, as I’m a family man and I did not have that much in savings to support us during this educational program. But, I have a strong desire to experience graduate school in the United States, and a motivation towards professional responsibility for older adults, so I took that risk.

What challenges have you faced adapting to a new culture and environment?

I’m a medical doctor practicing for nearly two decades in India, so this was initially a big problem to adjust to the transition from a physician’s life to a student’s life. Georgia State’s multicultural environment helped me a lot in this transition. But still today, the U.S. medical system is a complex structure for me.

What does your family like about Atlanta?

My son is very much enjoying his elementary school here, and we are enjoying MARTA and the comfortable weather of Atlanta. There are plenty of places for a short weekend tour also.

What class have you enjoyed most? Why?

The class I’ve enjoyed most so far was the seminar in gerontology. On one hand, I got an overview of the subject through this class, and on the other hand, the way our instructor Professor Burgess (Director, Gerontology Institute) guided us in the class was totally a new experience for me. It was an involving class in both ways, as I’ve shared many thoughts from Indian culture and tradition (and realized Indian traditional culture is still under-represented to the Western world in many issues).

What is your advice to other international students considering Georgia State?

In my opinion, there are many more options to start, adjust, and lead a comfortable life in Atlanta (the students coming with family also), and the Georgia State multicultural environment (including staff, students and professors) make it easier to feel that we’re not very far from our home.


– Rebekah Shaw, Office of Graduate Services, College of Arts & Sciences