Changing Course

Krishna Kaneria’s time at Tufts and subsequent work experiences have reaffirmed her passion for working with youth with disabilities
Krishna Kaneria


For as long as Krishna Kaneria can remember she has wanted to work with children. She told her parents and elementary school teachers that she was going to become a “kid doctor” one day. A 2022 graduate of the Tufts Eliot-Pearson Child Study and Human Development Master’s program, Kaneria has moved away from her original goal of studying medicine, though her passion for children's well-being has not wavered. 

“Kids are so fascinating to me,” Kaneria says. “People sometimes brush them off as being simple or unaware, but children are actually very perceptive of their surroundings. They have such an interesting, fresh perspective. How they come into the world with preexisting temperaments and develop their personalities and values - it’s all so interesting.”

Kaneria earned a BA in psychology from the University of Rochester and worked as a teacher’s aide at a preschool for children with autism prior to beginning her master’s degree at Tufts. She supported a head teacher and managed individual education plans for students. “The kids were so fun,” she says. “I miss them everyday.”

As an MA student in the Child Study and Human Development program with a focus in clinical psychology, Kaneria studied how different disorders present in children and how they can be treated in different settings. 

She also worked in a research lab studying community engagement in adolescents, examining what social issues today’s youth are most passionate about. Working with her advisor, Associate Professor Sara Johnson, she completed a thesis on how a sense of belonging to one’s community can act as a buffer against the ill effects of racism and discrimination for Black, Latino, and LGBTQIA+ youth, particularly in terms of self-esteem and mental health.

Kaneria valued the support and guidance she received from Professor Johnson. “She was a guiding light during my time at Tufts,” Kaneri says. “In fact, all the professors I had were incredibly supportive and wanted to see us learn and grow. They were always willing to sit down and talk through ideas, and just be there in any way they could.”

A career crisis towards the end of her time at Tufts compelled Kaneria to change course and work with older adults. “I’d spent my entire career planning to work with children, so it occurred to me that I hadn’t given myself enough room to explore,” she says. “After speaking with a few professors and peers in my program, I decided to try something completely new after graduation.”

Kaneria is now working at the Boston Center for Memory, which serves individuals living with Altzheimer’s, memory loss, and mild cognitive impairment. The Center is both a clinic, providing care to patients and their families, and a clinical trial site, testing out new treatments to help slow the progression of these disorders. Kaneria works directly with patients and their families, sharing information about treatments, assisting with scheduling, and offering support.

“It can be very hard to see patients and their loved ones going through such a tough time,” she says. “Many of our patients have comorbid diagnoses of depression and anxiety because they don’t know what’s next and that’s scary for everybody. A lot of our caregivers are overwhelmed.”

Kaneria has found that the empathy and patience she cultivated working with children has helped her to thrive in this role. “I’m doing such meaningful, important work,” she says. “I’ve learned ways to make patients feel supported and how research studies work. At the same time, it’s made me realize that I do, in fact, want to work with children. I’m so grateful for the experience I’ve gained at the Boston Center for Memory, but working with children is where my heart is.”

Kaneria is currently applying to PsyD programs in psychology with the goal of becoming a licensed clinical psychologist and working with children with disabilities. She hopes to open her own clinical practice one day and find ways to work with youth involved in the juvenile justice system.

A self-described “book nerd,” Kaneria also hopes to write fantasy novels. “There’s so much I want to do and explore,” she says. “Tufts gave me a great platform to pursue my goals.”