STUDY 3: Aimee Schwager–“You Can Do It, Too!”

Aimee Schwager (with her school staple of a cup of Starbucks)

My academic journey started in 2010, as I walked through the front UW doors as a new student. I was feeling excited, grateful, but also overwhelmed, unsure of what I wanted to do, and lonely. In all honesty, my first year of university was difficult. My grades were not the best and I felt lost in my academic journey. During this time, I was also taking care of my mom who was sick with breast cancer and working two jobs.

My love for Psychology began when I took the Psychology courses “Drugs and Behavior” and “Mind, Brain, and Body.” My love further strengthened after taking courses in clinical psychology, developmental psychology, “Abnormal Behavior in Children and Adolescents,” and by working in a day care and other child care settings. It makes me really happy to work with children and help them grow. Another key moment that sparked my passion occurred in 2010 when my mom was having her last chemotherapy treatment. One of the nurses asked if I wanted to tour the children’s cancer care ward. While touring the ward, in that moment–I can’t explain it: I just knew that my passion in life is to help make a positive difference in people’s lives and work with children. Moreover, all my life, I was always and still am the go-to person for people when they needed advice, or someone to listen and be there for them. It brings me great joy to be that person to someone.

Later on in my Psychology undergraduate degree there was a bump in the road. I was in a car accident and suffered a concussion. I had to take time off of school for a few months, and this included having to miss PSYC-4100. Now, for those of you who have taken this specific course, you know it can be difficult sometimes. Indeed, it was a struggle and the journey to heal was not easy, but I made it over this bump, continued to push through the adversity by practicing constantly, studying, and being tutored. This hard work resulted in awesome final marks and a learning experience.

All in all, it took years of hard work, sacrifices, tears, overwhelming moments, joy, and laughter to build my GPA back up. I’m proud to say all of the hard work has paid off because I was made Student of Distinction 2016 and will be graduating in June 2017 with my Honours in Psychology degree! But ultimately, I am happy with where I am today!

Because of my Honours Psychology degree, research and teacher’s assistant experiences, good conversations with psychology professors, great friends, family, work and volunteering, I am a better, more knowledgeable, and skilled person today. I’ve definitely grown as a person from first year university, when I felt lost and was struggling with my grades to now: the strong, hard-working, caring, fun (and the Starbucks-addicted) person who I am today.

My last year at University has been very memorable: from spending good times with the Psych fam[ily], becoming a Health and Wellness Peer Educator, being a PSA executive team member, having the opportunity to meet awesome people in various areas in and outside of school, studying (and napping) dates, Starbucks trips (there were MANY of these), working on my thesis, and taking more courses.

My advice for current and future students is to never give up, stay focused on what makes you happy, and enjoy every moment. The journey wasn’t easy for me at times, but it was definitely worth it. You can still have the potential to succeed and do well, despite not getting the best grades or other obstacles that may be thrown your way. It is important to be kind to yourself especially in difficult times. It is also essential to take self-care breaks throughout your day. This combination will set you up for success and help you reach your goals.


March 29 Psychology Department Colloquium

[de]generate (ash alberg)

On March 29, from 12:30-1:20 in 4L28, please join Dr. Melanie Martin (Physics), Dr. Dom Di Curzio (Psychology), and artist ash alberg, for a fascinating interdisciplinary Colloquium which will discuss the intersection of cognitive neuroscience and art: Uncovering the Mysteries of Alzheimer’s Disease Deep inside the Living Brain.

“Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) provides a non-invasive means of looking deep inside a living being. We will discuss how MRI works and why it is used in hospitals. Dr. Martin’s research focuses on developing high-resolution (100 um)^3 MRI for mouse models of human diseases to understand the changes associated with disease. She will present recent advances in diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease made by UWinnipeg Psychology graduate, Heather Whittaker, and explain how physics fits into the research. ash alberg will then explain the art she made based on Dr. Martin’s research as part of the *Neurocraft program. Dr. Di Curzio, whose research was included as part of two projects in Neurocraft, will join Dr. Martin and ash to answer questions.”

* Neurocraft: a recent art exhibition held at the Health Sciences Centre that featured the collaboration of cognitive neuroscientists with craft artists. Sadly, the exhibition had to be taken down before the end date of the exhibition (March 31) due to theft and vandalism. For more information on this exhibition and its early closure, please read here and here.

March 24 Psychology Department Colloquium

On March 24th, from 12:30-1:20 in 4L28, please join Lukas Neville & Brianna Caza from the Asper School of Business for a talk on the topic of Growth through Reflection: Benefit Finding Enhances Negotiation Resilience.

“Negotiators are rarely at the table only once, and their experiences and feelings about previous negotiations often spill over into their subsequent ones.  We draw from the literature on coping to identify ways in which the post-negotiation reflection process can be used to promote negotiation resilience.  By resilience, we mean the ability to rebound, adapt, and emerge strengthened from adversity.  In the negotiation context, we think of resilient responses as being characterized by positive affect, self-efficacy, lowered anxiety, and an incremental mindset.

In a study of adults (n=297, recruited through Mechanical Turk), we tested the effects of benefit-focused reappraisal on negotiator resilience.  We asked participants to recall either an adverse or a favourable negotiation, then to write about the benefits of the experience (a benefit-finding manipulation, or to write about the process and outcome of the negotiation in general (control). We found that this benefit-finding exercise was effective in leading participants to think about the gains and growth from their experience.  Participants who wrote about the benefits of their negotiation also experienced significantly more positive affect, greater self-efficacy, less cognitive anxiety about future negotiations, and endorsed more incremental (rather than fixed) negotiation beliefs.

Our results indicate that a benefit-finding exercise was effective in enhancing resilience. While this is a promising result, more research is needed to understand the mechanisms at play. Does it, for instance, promote flexibility by providing a foundation of positive affect from which negotiators “broaden and build”?  Greater clarity about the mechanisms at play may help to clarify why benefit-finding is effective for both positive and challenging negotiations.  We will discuss our own in-progress follow-up studies in this area, and paths for future exploration.”

Everyone is welcome to attend this free event.