Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

Seven StFX students present at national psychology conference, receive visit from StFX President

June 22nd, 2017
Members of the StFX group at the Canadian Psychological Association Annual Convention 2017 in Toronto

When the Canadian Psychological Association Annual Convention 2017 was held earlier this month in Toronto, seven StFX students were on hand to present their research at the national event.

The StFX contingent was likely the largest group of undergraduate students at the conference, says StFX psychology professor Dr. Karen Blair, also presenting there.

“The majority of students who present their research at the conference are graduate students,” she says.

In fall 2016, Dr. Blair had emailed psychology honours students asking if any were interested in submitting abstracts for the CPA convention. Six students replied, as well as an English student doing her thesis on representations of individuals with autism in crime fiction. Dr. Blair worked with the seven students to get their abstracts prepared and submitted.

All seven StFX students had their submissions accepted for presentation. And the group had been successful in their application, receiving a total of $6,300 in funding from the Jules Legér Fund to cover conference expenses.

While attending the conference, the students had a surprise visitor—none other than StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald.

Dr. Blair had noticed on twitter that Dr. MacDonald was in Toronto for a StFX alumni event. She tweeted an invitation to him to stop into the CPA if he had any time. He did.  

“Unfortunately, none of the students were scheduled to be presenting during that time block, but lucky for us, the poster room was also open at that time. I quickly arranged a “rogue poster session” and asked all of the students to bring their posters with them. All but one student was able to make it,” Dr. Blair says.

“He gave a little impromptu speech on what a unique experience it was for him to attend this rogue poster session, and also what a unique experience it was for so many undergraduate students to attend a national conference and present their research,” Dr. Blair says.

“I was personally really impressed with the individual attention that he gave to each student,” she says. “Many of the students expressed that this was a highlight of the conference for them. It certainly was a highlight for me.

“This was truly a unique StFX experience.”

In addition to the seven students included on the Jules Legér application, the group attending the conference also included four students from Acadia University, a researcher from Acadia, and a PhD candidate from Queen’s University who is also a writing center instructor at StFX, and an adjunct professor in the Department of Psychology at Acadia. An 8th StFX student joined the group as well and volunteered at the conference in exchange for complementary registration.

Student presentations included:

StFX Psychology Department students

Avery Cater
Supervisor: Erin Austen
Presentation Title:  Evaluating the Use of a Health Crew (H-Crew) to Promote Mindfulness Meditation Sessions

Briony Merritt
Supervisor: Margo Watt
Presentation Title: Use of Clinical Overrides in the Assessment of Risk of Justice-Involved Youth

Emma van Reekum  
Supervisor: Margo Watt
Presentation Title 1: An Evaluation of Interpersonal Process Group Therapy for Canadian Veterans and RCMP Officers with PTSD

Lana Phemister
Supervisor: Karen Blair
Symposium Title: The Intersections of Identity, Class, Behaviour, Access and Perception in LGBTQ Health
Presentation Title: Is Coming Out Universally Good? SES as A Potential Moderator Between Outness and Health in a Sexual Minority Sample

Breanna O’Handley
Supervisor: Karen Blair
Symposium Title: Gay BFFs, Prime Ministers at Pride, and the Mass Murder of LGBTQ Citizens: The changing face of sexual prejudice and its consequences
Presentation Title: ‘I Feel It In My Bones:’ Is Sexual Prejudice Best Explained Through Physiological or Psychological Responses?

Laura Sevigny
Supervisor: Margo Watt
Presentation Title: Learn to Run for Anxiety: A randomized controlled trial of a short-term, accessible physical exercise intervention for anxiety sensitivity

Margaret Zjadewicz
Supervisor: Margo Watt
Attended conference as a volunteer.

StFX English Department

Katerina Hirschfeld 
Supervisor: Cory Rushton
Presentation Title: Displacing Characters with Autism through the use of Metaphorical Rhetoric. 


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