STUDY: Our Journey as Co-Presidents (aka Co-Queens) of the UWPSA

The effervescent 2016-2017 UWPSA “Co-queens,” Jessica and Kayla

“How we met….

It all began where many Psychology friendships begin: the Psych Lab (4L29). The UWPSA presidential elections were coming up for the year 2016-2017 and both Jess and Kayla decided to run for presidents. Originally Jess and Kayla were not running together (insert shocking music here). When Jess found out that Kayla was running for president, she went to the lab where Kayla was sitting. She entered the lab, looked at Kayla then walked out, then went back in, sat down next to Kayla and said “Look, I don’t want to run against you.” Kayla looked at Jess and said “Look honey, I don’t want to run against you either,” and they instantly started talking business. This is basically how they met. Not long after, they did a classy castle staircase photo shoot and renamed themselves the new (and Kayla would argue improved), Ellen and Portia.


We felt that the UWPSA was lacking much needed togetherness and unity. One of our biggest goals this year was to bring people together in any way we possibly could. Our dream was to start a community of Psychology students that would be there to support one another through all of the ups and downs of university life. Kindness was the theme throughout the school year for us. We managed to get together an amazing group of individuals from our cohort to run the UWPSA. Without these individuals, the dream of an inclusive community would not have come true.

We held a number of events including a Mental Health Movie Night that was inspired by the lovely Carolynn Smallwood, who was a staple throughout the entire year. She gave us guidance and provided us with support for all of our events and fundraisers. We still remember the massive crowd we brought with our pizza meal deal bake sale 😀 … that being said we also remember getting shut down for our second one and the crowd being ever so disappointed (LOL). From Clinical Psychology grad talks to Great Minds Trivia Night, our diverse events allowed us to bond and be our weird selves while eating pizza. One of the most memorable fundraisers we held was for Art Beat Studio, a mental health organization that provided a safe space for those with mental illnesses to create and sell their art. We all dressed in our finest 80s-90s attire and raised a total of $500 with the help of all of our amazing members, Fame nightclub, and some of the University Faculty. It was a great way to end off our year and gave us a chance to contribute to the mental health community while, once again, being our weird selves and eating pizza.

We think the key to our success in building an inclusive environment was not only opening the lounge up to everyone at any time, but also opening ourselves up by being friendly and warm to others. Opening the lounge and being approachable helped the UWPSA gain a lot of support and new members. We had an amazing year as co-queens and we learned so much about teamwork and leadership, but this year was not a product of our presidency. This year was a product of all the amazing Psychology students who came together to make it possible. At the end of the semester we made all of our members a collage of pictures that we had taken throughout the year. This beautifully summed up the amazing memories we shared, and that night we realized the truly fulfilling impact our year as presidents had on who we were as a group and also how much we would miss seeing our Psychology family all the time.

We would like to end off by thanking all of the members of the UWPSA, our affiliates, and our supporters. You are the true representation of what community means and a true representation of the values of the University of Winnipeg: Discover, Achieve and most importantly, Belong.”


Co-Queens Kayla and Jess <3

Another Successful Undergraduate Psychology Conference

The 2016-2017 Honours Thesis Class, with Dr. Clark, Chair and Professor of Psychology (Image credit: K. Pappas)

The Department of Psychology hosted the 36th annual Prairie Undergraduate Research Conference on 21 April 2017. There were a total of 37 spoken and 4 poster presentations. More than the usual number were by UWinnipeg students given the delayed school year at U of Manitoba. The UWinnipeg students will be graduating with a BA Honours in Psychology or a BSc Honours in Biopsychology.

As usual, students did an excellent job summarizing their independent research projects. Students presented on a wide variety of topics. Here are a few representative titles:

Time Perception: Predictable versus Unpredictable Threat

How Bilinguals Process Spoken Words

Motivation and the Effects of Self‑Compassion on Risk‑Taking

Vision and Action During a Reaching and Grasping Task

Visual Attention and Memory in Struggling Readers: Are Anomalies Revealed in EEG N2PC and SPCN?

Startling Difference Between Humans and Rats

To see more about the presentations, including abstracts, follow the 2017 Conference link on the homepage of this website.

Following lunch, Dr. Mike Dixon from the University of Waterloo (the other UW) made an excellent presentation on how slot machines are designed to keep people gambling. In addition to all the bells and whistles, they include misleading information, such as disguising “Losses as Wins.” For example, players will be led to believe they “won” 25 cents, although they actually lost 50 cents because their original bet was 75 cents.

A reception in the University Club followed the talk and gave an opportunity for students and faculty to relax, interact with one another, discuss presentations by students and the guest speaker, and talk about student plans for the future (e.g., graduate school, professional programs, work). A fitting end to an excellent day and another demanding but rewarding academic year. ~Dr. Jim Clark, Chair and Professor, Psychology