In a first ever initiative, three $5,000 Undergrad Student Research Awards were given out to fourth-year psychology students at Grande Prairie Regional College.
Andrew Dunlop, Manager of Scholarship, Innovation and Research, says that because of the funding source the research had to pertain to community based mental health.
“We had to set that as the first criteria, so they had to have interest in that area, they had to have some background in mental health and they also had to have proposals that were in that area, that was the number one, and then the rest of the criteria were your basic award stuff,” said Dunlop. “So, it was their grade record, the courses they’ve taken, their outside of school work like their volunteer work and we asked them for reference letters.”
Dunlop said they received many really good applicants.
The awards were given to the students who produced exceptional research proposals addressing social issues in the community.
These three proposals were selected for their outstanding potential to have a positive, significant impact on the community.
Brittany Cowen will examine the link between domestic violence and substance use among clients at Odyssey House, Kara Witow will study childhood ADHD as a barrier to participating in organized sports and research team. Anwar Tuhl and Demica Pusch will focus on the effectiveness of support systems for adolescent mental health.
Dunlops says the students have already started and that they are being conducted as proper research projects.
“They’ve gone through ethics review, they’ve talked with their community partners, they’ve created their research plan and consultation with community partners and with some faculty mentors here on campus, and they’ve got underway.”
The students are hoping to develop informed solutions to complex problems by researching the underlying causes of social issues, while gaining invaluable learning experience themselves.