Profile: Jessica Finlay

jessica_finlay_2016_30_smJessica is an interdisciplinary doctoral fellow in Geography and Gerontology at the University of Minnesota.

Jessica received her B.A. (Honours) and B.Ed. in the Concurrent Education program at Queen’s University (Canada). Her undergraduate awards included the Principal’s Scholarship, Medal in Geography, and Canadian Association of Geographers Prize. Jessica received her M.A as a graduate fellow at the University of Minnesota, and was awarded the Peter Gould Master’s Paper Award in recognition of her work in health geography and aging.

Jessica’s primary objective is to advance strategies for healthy and inclusive lifelong communities. Her Ph.D. explores how socio-spatial context affects health and wellbeing in later life. She bridges theories and methods of Geography and Gerontology through a mixed methods approach. The NSF-funded research investigates overlapping personal, household, and neighbourhood-level variables affecting quality of life for older residents ‘aging in place’. She compares multi-scalar factors across three case studies of the Minneapolis metropolitan area with distinct built environments (ranging from a high-density downtown to car-oriented outer suburb) and resident demographics. Jessica is particularly interested in the experiences and needs of low-income, minority, and disabled older adults. Her research provides insight into community planning and urban infrastructure that better accommodates the needs of diverse aging populations. Jessica spent time as a visiting doctoral scholar at Dartmouth College, and has received recognition including the Alfred Bader Award, Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowship, President’s Student Leadership and Service Award, and TA of the Year. She has published in journals such as Health & Place and The Professional Geographer. Jessica’s research and teaching interests include geographies of aging, health inequalities, health-place dynamics, mixed methods, and qualitative approaches to health research.