Cape Breton University student Kevin MacDonald was recently awarded the Gerald Gordon Memorial Prize by the Association of Psychologists of Nova Scotia (APNS) for his outstanding undergraduate achievement in psychology. MacDonald was honoured last month during the APNS Annual General Meeting held at Dalhousie University.
The award, a cash prize of $250 and a one-year student membership to APNS, is given to one undergraduate student in the province who exemplifies an excellent academic record and demonstrated commitment to both their community and the profession of psychology.
“It is gratifying to be recognized for what was a lot of hard work over this past year and the work leading up to my thesis in previous years”, says MacDonald. Flattered and honoured to be chosen, MacDonald says he is also grateful to the members of the faculty at CBU that he thinks must have filed a strong nomination to compete with the many other very successful and deserving students here at CBU and other universities across Nova Scotia.“It really is an honour, and knowing that the faculty here and professional psychologists that decided the award chose me feels great.”
MacDonald recently completed his thesis work on sleep and memory consolidation. The experiment had participants read short stories while in a lab with an air-freshener. Selected participants were then exposed to the same scent while they slept to stimulate the memory of the short stories. All participants were then surprised with a quiz on the stories they had read. Without studying or extra work, the participants who had been exposed to the scent scored higher on the quiz than participants who were not exposed.
“The quality of Kevin’s research is a testament to his ability to synthesize the subject matter, perform critical thinking, and make use of his verbal and written communication skills, and all the while have the energy and motivation to complete his course requirements, chair the psychology society, participate in funding drives for community services, and work as a teaching assistant and a research assistant,” says Dr. Geoff Carre, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, CBU, who supervised MacDonald’s thesis.
The Gerald Gordon book award was established in 1987 to recognize the contribution that Dr. Gordon had made to APNS and to the development of the Psychology Act, which resulted in the creation of the Nova Scotia Board of Examiners in Psychology. The terms of reference for the award were designed to reflect his belief in the importance of rewarding excellence at the undergraduate level as one means of encouraging promising students to consider a career in psychology.