Meet the


Get to know the team a bit more!

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Dr Ágnes (Ági) Szabó, Principal Investigator

I moved to Aotearoa New Zealand from my home country, Hungary, to pursue a PhD in Cross-cultural Psychology. My doctoral work investigated how people develop a new sense of identity as migrants. Shortly after finishing my PhD, I joined the Health and Ageing Research Team at Massey University, where I worked on research exploring how life course experiences of inequalities, housing and social support influence health outcomes in older age. After working several years in both ageing and migration research, I was able to bring together my two passions in the Growing Old in an Adopted Land project, when I was awarded a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship by The Royal Society–Te Apārangi. I am passionate about working with communities and I want to do research that benefits people and society. My hope is that the findings of this project will not only influence our current policies but will also shape the future of coming generations to ensure we can all live a good life.

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Vanessa Sieng, Research Assistant

I am currently a student and research assistant at Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. I am of Cambodian/Khmer descent but was born and raised in Wellington. I came to university interested in learning about people, behaviours, and culture, and decided to pursue a Bachelor of Science majoring in Psychology. After completing my undergraduate degree in 2018, I completed by BSc Honours (First Class) majoring in Psychology. I then went on to complete my Masters (Merit) in Psychology at the beginning of 2021. I am also currently enrolled as a fourth-year student in the Clinical Psychology programme with plans to enter the Clinic in 2022. I am a research assistant involved with the project overseen by Agnes Szabo that examines older migrants’ experiences of ageing using a life-course approach, drawing upon data from narrative interviews and surveying methods. My personal and academic interests include migrant mental health, trauma, intergenerational relationships, romantic relationships, and resilience. 

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Vy Trần, Summer Scholar

Kia ora, my name is Vy. I'm from Vietnam. I came to Wellington for my undergraduate study in Psychology. I recently graduated and am currently pursuing a master's degree in Health Psychology at Victoria University of Wellington. I'm strongly interested in developing a contextualized understanding of health-related experiences.

SockHwee Tan, Master's Student

Originally from Singapore, I came to Wellington for my undergrad studies, and after a career in Marketing working in three different countries, I returned to Victoria to pursue a master’s in health psychology.  I am interested in what it means to grow old, what constitutes ageing and how it is experienced in the context of one’s culture and migration background.  My area of research explores the life course trajectories of older immigrant adults in New Zealand and how key events and choices in one’s life impact how one ages.  I consider it a privilege to hear the stories of older persons, their hopes, dreams, and disappointments as they reflect upon life.  Through my work, I hope to provide insights that contributes to the protection of early migrant life to minimize negative outcomes in later life.

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Tram Nguyen, PhD Candidate

Kia ora, I’m Tram. I have been in Wellington for 3 years. I did my Bachelor of Psychology in Vietnam, then I moved to Wellington for my Masters in Cross-cultural Psychology at Victoria University of Wellington. I’m currently a PhD candidate in Health and Wellbeing at VUW. My PhD is looking at ageing immigrants’ experiences of grieving and their cultural rituals in New Zealand.