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‘Truly passionate’

Fall graduate inspired to focus research on community health

special feature: Class of 2023

The Gazette’s latest special feature celebrates Memorial’s newest alumni.

By Kelly Foss

Jennifer Bent’s thesis is much more than a book on a shelf.

While at Memorial University, the master of science in medicine fall graduate had the opportunity to travel to Labrador and meet some of the patients impacted by her research project: Courage, Compassion and Connection: Exploring Cancer Pre-diagnosis for Nunatsiavut Inuit.

“It really inspired me to do the best that I could on my project, when you see how much it means to people and how many can be affected by the outcomes of research,” she said. “My supervisor, Dr. Jennifer Shea, has done a lot of excellent work, collaborating with Indigenous groups in Newfoundland and Labrador. I am thankful for my experiences with her.”

Applying skills

The lifelong resident of Conception Bay South, previously completed a B.Sc. (Hons.) in psychology with Dr. Joshua Rash.

Jennifer with her parents Darrin and Bonnie Bent.
Photo: Submitted

“I had such a fantastic experience with him, which motivated me to do more research in health and wellness. I was happy to be admitted to the master’s program, focusing on community health,” said Ms. Bent. “I wanted to be able to apply the skills I had acquired throughout my honours degree to a higher level and complete research on a topic I was truly passionate about.”

In recent years, her experiences with the health-care system, and that of family members, led Ms. Bent to another path.

In August, she began medical school in Halifax, so she will watch her convocation ceremony on Oct. 19 via the live stream on Memorial’s main page.

“I’ve played soccer my whole life, including four years of university soccer at Memorial,” she said. “Then I had an injury that prevented me from being able to run for about a year, but another doctor performed a surgery that was successful. This made me realize the incredible impacts doctors can have on people’s lives. I wanted to have the same positive impact on someone else.”

Managing responsibilities

While at Memorial, Ms. Bent was recognized for her exceptional effort on several levels.

Jennifer Bent (first at left, back row) with youth and the Sea-Hawks women’s soccer team.
Photo: Submitted

She received the Dr. Jorge Segovia Scholarship in Health Services Research, which recognizes excellence and impact of health research; the Department of Psychology and Behavioural Neuroscience Community Involvement Scholarship, based on her extensive volunteer background; and the U-Sports Academic All-Canadian award, honouring exceptional student-athletes who achieve an academic standing of 80 per cent or better while playing on a varsity team.

“The Academic All-Canadian award was nice because it was a sign that I had learned to better manage my responsibilities,” she said. “I can attribute a lot of my success to the incredible people I met throughout my time at Memorial, especially those within the Department of Psychology and the Faculty of Medicine. They further influenced me to further my education and to pursue a career where I could make a difference.”

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Class of 2023

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