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Psychology Department holds third research day
Kelly Foss
Dr. Virginia Grant and Dr. Ian Neath

The Department of Psychology recently gathered for an impressive display of the variety of research currently being conducted by students and faculty. The third annual Psychology Research Day showcased student talks and poster projects from masters and honour’s students in the department.

The research covered a wide range of subfields within the discipline of psychology encompassing areas such as behavioural neuroscience, clinical, cognitive, cognitive and behavioural ecology, developmental and social psychology. Eight graduate students gave talks about their work, while 33 honours students presented posters on their research. Many of these projects will be presented at conferences around the country or submitted for publication in referred journals.

At the event’s closing awards ceremony, Dr. Charles Malsbury presented the Psychology Society’s $600 scholarship to Alison Petten. The award is given based on academic merit, as well as involvement with the Psychology department and the community.

“The winner of this year’s award is a master mult-tasker,” said Dr. Malsbury. “She has been able to complete a honours degree in psychology while doing an amazing amount of service to the community. She has many different volunteer activities – fundraising for and volunteering with Easter Seals, Iris Kirby House, the Psychology department’s Kids Club and the Psychology Society. She has also helped raise money to assist honour’s students to travel to an upcoming conference and has worked as an addictions counselor at the Smoker’s Helpline.”

Dr. Ian Neath, the head of the department, also presented the Rennie Gaulton Award for Distinguished Teaching to Dr. Virginia Grant.

“In 2009, the Psychology department lost one of its most dedicated teachers, Rennie Gaulton,” he said. “During the 30 years Rennie taught psychology, he inspired many students to learn about the field, many of whom went on to pursue a degree in psychology. In fact, some of our current faculty started off by taking Introductory Psychology with Rennie.”

To honour his commitment to teaching psychology, the department created the award, which is presented to a faculty member who demonstrates the same dedication to undergraduate teaching. Nominations are solicited from undergraduates from all psychology undergraduate courses and the department’s awards committee, which includes undergraduate representation, makes a recommendation.

Of all the nominations received, Dr. Neath said that Dr. Grant’s nomination stood out.

“I don’t know if I can truly express how wonderful I think (Dr. Grant) is and how instrumental (she) is to the success of students,” he read from one of the nominations. “Many times I have thought about how all Memorial University Psychology students would benefit if they took a class from (Dr. Grant). (Her) commitment to students is unquestionable. (She) epitomizes dedication to undergraduate students.”

Recognition was also given to graduate student Kerri Bojman for best student spoken presentation, while honour’s student Nicole Shea was awarded the best poster.

Of the 33 students completing their honour’s projects in Psychology this year, Dr. Aimee Surprenant singled out Maria Powell for the honour’s thesis award. Factors considered for the award, which was endowed by Dr. William McKim in 2009, included experimental design, analysis, theoretical impact and writing style and clarity.

Apr 4th, 2012

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