AgeLab Welcomes Students Céline Aldenhoven and Evelyn Schneider from German Universities
by Adam Felts
The AgeLab welcomes two visiting student researchers from German universities, Céline Aldenhoven and Evelyn Schneider, who are involved in Lab projects related to the smart home and driver distraction.
Céline Aldenhoven, a Master’s student at the Technical University of Munich who is part of an elite study course shepherded by a consortium of German universities, brings a software engineering background to the AgeLab’s research on how the smart home can be used to help older adults remain healthy and independent. At the Lab, she is working on developing a smart home system that enables safe aging in place. Her ideas are founded on prior research performed by the AgeLab’s Connected Home Logistics Consortium and the CareHive consortium.
One of the most important older people in her life, she says, is her 87-year-old grandfather. A secret to living peacefully with aging, she learned from him, is to learn to remove oneself from the spotlight, and to take pleasure in observing and listening to other people’s stories and busy lives.
Outside of work, Ms. Aldenhoven is an aficionado of Renaissance art—as well as a skeptic of modernism. She also creates her own paintings.
Ms. Aldenhoven was drawn to MIT by its commitment to applied research, and the ample resources that the institution brings to bear to effect real-world change through innovation.
After finishing her Master’s degree, Ms. Aldenhoven hopes to pursue doctoral work in applied social research.
Evelyn Schneider is an undergraduate psychology major at Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg. For her work at the AgeLab, she is analyzing data from a survey that examined people’s self-reported driving behavior and their use of advanced vehicle technologies.
Her study will examine how ownership and interest in technologically advanced vehicles, comfort with using technology, age, and risk perception contribute to distracted and risky driving behavior, including using one’s phone while driving.
Ms. Schneider is interested in studying the experiences of older people because they are an understudied population, especially in psychology. Because they can be harder to recruit for studies, they and their experiences can easily be overlooked.
In a class on gerontology, she learned that it is common for people to have transformative experiences in later life, in contrast to views that conceptualize old age as a static life stage. “So much more is going on in later life with people’s personalities than younger people might expect,” she says.