Pursuing Passions at CBU – Meet Maddie Storm

From the young age of 12, CBU student, Maddie Storm, knew she wanted to pursue psychology. Unfortunately, not long after this passion was sparked, a major roadblock shook up her life. “I was passionate about psychology even at that young age; all of my peers knew it,” Maddie begins. “While I vividly remember being a passionate kid, I was also a severely anxious one, and by the time I was 18 I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).”

Following her diagnosis, Maddie was still determined to pursue her dreams. In the Fall of 2021, she enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts program at CBU but quickly became bedridden for three months due to her illness. Maddie says she felt hopeless throughout that period of her life until a surprising opportunity came knocking. “Scott Moir, my first-year history teacher, emailed me a job position and I never hit reply so fast,” says Maddie. “It was the boost I needed, and this is when the university experience and pursuing a higher education started to give me a much-needed, beautiful taste of research life.”

Throughout the Summer of 2022, Maddie worked as a Research Assistant for Dr. Lachlan Mackinnon, Associate Professor in Humanities, where she worked on a project that focused on the importance of industrial sites and their long-lasting impacts on the Sydney community. For her work, she received the Undergraduate Student Scholar Award (USSA). 

Maddie currently occupies multiple student positions at CBU while still keeping up with her studies. She is a Research Assistant for two Psychology professors, Dr. Pablo Santos-Iglesias and Dr. Rebecca Blackie, focusing on Sexual Satisfaction measures and the effects of social anxiety on self-esteem. She has received a Scotia Scholars award for her work on Sexual Satisfaction and is presenting her findings at the IASR conference in Berlin, Germany. 

She is also the Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods Representative of the CBU Psychology Society. “My role is to make sure CBU students can fulfill all Research Method Certificate criteria. To do this I collaborate closely with the board and its committee members,” she says. “As part of the Psychology Certificate program, students learn how to put together their research portfolio, which will serve as an overview of their knowledge and capabilities.”

Throughout her journey thus far, Maddie has learned some incredibly important lessons that have helped her through day-to-day life. “During my time at CBU, I learned that my anxiety does not determine my identity, and that goes for everyone; an individual’s identity cannot be determined by a mental illness,” she shares. “You transcend the limitations imposed by a mere mental condition. You are an individual and you are significant.”

Recently, Maddie was accepted into the Community Student Research Connection Program, where she is in the process of researching Gaelic culture and language for the Mabou Gaelic and Historical Society. “Research has been by far the most essential and fulfilling aspect of my education,” Maddie begins. “Committing to the field of Psychological Health Research has given me an inquisitive attitude and a better understanding of the possible outcomes that stem from medical study.”

Maddie plans to continue studying beyond the completion of her Bachelor of Arts, with the goal of obtaining her PhD in Clinical Psychology. “I opted to pursue the profession of a Clinical Psychologist because of my desire to help people and enhance their quality of life,” she says. “I believe that choosing this career path will give me the opportunity to assist in enhancing the quality of life for members in my home community of Cape Breton, while also being able to learn about their other medical needs.”

Maddie’s goals for the future are certainly admirable and her journey thus far has been one of courage, bravery and a shining example of overcoming adversity. She continues to help to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health each and everyday while applying her research knowledge and ambitions toward the betterment of others.