Psychology Student Researchers Receive National Recognition


CBU psychology graduates, Jillian Polegato, Meghan Taylor and Tonya Sifnakis, have been recognized for their research and high academic standing.  Polegato and Taylor were each awarded the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Graduate Scholarship, presented by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, in the amount $17,500. Sifnakis received the Canadian Psychological Association Certificate of Academic Excellence.

“My research at CBU involved identifying possible reasons why parents are more involved in their daughter’s education rather than their son’s,” says Polegato. “The scholarship is recognition of my hard work and validation of what I believe is a very important issue in research.”

Polegato, a Dominion, N.S. native, has been accepted to Mount Saint Vincent University’s Masters of Arts in Education program in Educational Foundations.  “I plan to eventually pursue my education at the PhD level and am aiming for a career in education research, focusing on ways to improve the education system. The support and guidance I received from faculty during my undergraduate degree at CBU will help me thrive as I embark on a new journey,” she says.

Tonya Sifnakis from Howie Centre, N.S. was recognized for her thesis work on predictors of risk taking in adolescents and young adults. “Receiving this award was a nice surprise,” says Sifnakis.  “Being recognized for my hard work has given me confidence in my abilities. At the beginning of the academic year I was very overwhelmed at the thought of taking on such a large research project, but Dr. Katherine Covell, Dr. Peter MacIntyre, and my fellow thesis students were very helpful and supportive in the process.”

Megan Taylor, who grew up in East Bay, N.S. worked on various research projects while studying at CBU. Most recently, she completed her honours thesis with Dr. Sue Korol on perceptions of emotional abuse in intimate partner relationships. She is off to the University of Calgary in September to begin her Masters of Science in School and Applied Child Psychology.

Taylor notes “If it weren’t for the faculty members at CBU I’m sure I wouldn’t have achieved as much as I have; they are amazing.”

Covell represents North American on NGO Advisory Council to the UN on violence against children.

As a developmental psychologist and child rights advocate, over the past few years, Katherine Covell has been involved with the UN Secretary General’s Global Study on Violence Against Children. Heading a team of experts, she wrote the North American report. Reports were provided by each region of the world and drawn together in a final global study that shows violence against children is pervasive around the world. Children experience violence in their homes, their schools, and their communities. The effects are devastating to the healthy development of the child and to healthy societies. Children who experience high levels of violence tend themselves to become violent.

After the publication of the Global Study, an international advisory council was established to pursue the recommendations made in the study to reduce violence against children. Covell represents North America on this council. In October, the 18 member council met in New York where they lobbied at the United Nations for the appointment of a Special Representative to the Secretary General whose mandate would be to work with the advisory council to end all forms of violence against children. In November, a vote at the UN supported the appointment of a Special Representative with 146 countries (including Canada) voting in favor, and only one (the US) voting against.

For more information on the Global Study on Violence Against Children see

For more information on the Advisory Council see

Peter MacIntyre Gives Keynote Speech

The lecture was part of the Willingness to Communicate in a Learned Language Conference, which took place between 28 and 30 March, 2007. Educational studies and experiences relating to the development of some of the psychosocial factors that have an influence on the willingness to communicate and how to take them into account to be able to improve language learning success were debated.
Peter MacIntyre has studied the motivations that lead many people to learn and use a second language. The economic benefits that derive from this are, to the mind of this Canadian Professor of Psychology, simply the most prosaic part of the issue. Some very good motives to study another language are, for instance, learning to be tolerant with other cultures, or to regain one’s own lost identity.