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Celebrating psychology

Department hosts annual research day to recognize student work


By Kelly Foss

The Department of Psychology celebrated their best and brightest on April 6, as the unit held their eighth annual research day.

The event showcased research conducted by master’s and honours students, with seven second-year master’s students holding talks in the morning followed by an afternoon poster session representing the work of 48 honours students.

Varied topics

The presentations covered a wide range of sub-fields within the discipline of psychology and encompassed areas such as behavioural neuroscience, cognitive and behavioural ecology, development, health and wellness, and social psychology.

“They have the maturity and professionalism of PhD students.” — Dr. Christina Thorpe

“It’s an absolutely wonderful event,” said Dr. Christina Thorpe, chair of the undergraduate studies committee for the psychology department, and one of the day’s organizers.

“It makes me so proud every time I listen to our graduate students talk. People also kept saying to me over and over in the poster session that they couldn’t believe how professional our honours students were. They have the maturity and professionalism of PhD students.”

Awards and honours

The day concluded with an awards ceremony, where six awards were handed out.

Ashley Balsom took home the Psychology Society Scholarship.

Psychology award winners
From left are winners of the research awards, including Weyam Fahmy, Ashley Balsom, Megan van Wijk, Jade Quirion and Dr. Sue Walling. (Missing from photo: Laura Fallon)
Photo: Kelly Foss

“What’s nice about this award is that it was established by the students themselves,” said Dr. Ian Neath, head of the department.

“This scholarship is given to an undergraduate psychology student beyond second year based on academic merit, as well as involvement with the psychology department and the community. This student is a very well-rounded student, having excelled academically and involved in so many activities you wonder how she managed to do it all.”

Largest class

Weyam Fahmy received the Bill McKim Best Thesis Award for her presentation, To Veil or Not to Veil? The Effect of Face Covering and Muslim Veils on the Perceived Credibility of a Witness.

Upon presenting the award, Dr. Sue Walling said there were 60 students in the honours class over the course of the year — the largest yet.

“It was a difficult job for the committee to find the thesis that we called the best from this group of tremendously strong presentations and papers, but we did find one that stood out for its originality, design and writing,” she added.

“It was very progressive and challenged stereotypes, asked questions and found a way to start determining real answers to questions typically charged by opinion and based on little scientific fact.”

“What’s nice about this award is that it was established by the students themselves.” — Dr. Ian Neath

Jade Quirion accepted the Robert Adamec Award for Best Neuroscience Poster on the topic of Characterization of the Onset and Severity of Synaptic Plasticity Deficits in the Q175FDN Knock-In Mouse Model of Huntington’s Disease.

Laura Fallon, An Examination of the Use of Inter-rater Reliability in Forensic Psychology Journals, and Megan Van Wijk, Examining the Relationship Between Binge Eating Disorder and Insomnia Symptoms, received the Best Talk and Best Poster awards respectively.

Excellence in teaching

For the second time since the award was first given out, Dr. Sue Walling received the Rennie Gaulton Award for Excellence in Teaching.

“This year there were quite a lot of nominations, but although many were impressive, one in particular stood out based on the comments that the students wrote to justify their nomination,” said Dr. Neath.

“There were many comments like this, but this one is representative of all of them: “Dr. Walling is the reason I chose to major in psychology. Her kind words, welcoming attitude and heartwarming disposition shows she really cares for the students both inside and outside the classroom.”

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