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Research excellence

2014 Trudeau Foundation scholarship

2014 Trudeau Foundation scholarship recipient

Among the 14 recipients of the 2014 Trudeau scholarship, Mélanie Doucet, PhD Social Work, has been awarded the most prestigious scholarship in social sciences and humanities in Canada. The scholarship supports outstanding doctoral students who are committed to solving issues of critical importance to Canada and the world.

Her research, Transitioning Out of the Child Welfare System: Defining the Role of the State As Guardian and Understanding the Experiences of Youth Aging Out of Care, will focus on the experience of youth in the foster care and group home systems, both during and after their transition to independent living. Central to her study is determining whether the rights of children and youth in the foster care system are respected and valued, how support and services can be improved, and how former youth in care view and voice their experiences of being in care and exiting the child protection system.

Stemming from her unique childhood experience in the foster care system, Melanie’s main research interests are rooted in child and youth issues as they pertain to welfare, education, health, poverty, delinquency, prevention, intervention, and public policy. Melanie is currently completing a joint PhD in social work at McGill University and Université de Montréal with the goal of becoming a university professor, a research consultant, an author, a motivational speaker, and a mentor to and advocate for disadvantaged children and youth, especially those involved in the child welfare system.

Congratulations Mélanie, we wish you all the best in your future endeavors. More information on each Trudeau scholar is available on the Foundation’s website.

The Council of Graduate Schools / ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Awards

CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award Winner 2013

Valorie Salimpoor, Ph.D., Psychology/Behavioral Neuroscience Training Program, McGill, is the 2013 recipient of the CGS/ProQuest Distinguished disseration award, presented at a ceremony during the CGS 53rd Annual Meeting. Bestowed annually since 1982, the awards recognize recent doctoral recipients who have already made unusually significant and original contributions to their fields. ProQuest, an international leader in dissertation archiving, discovery and access, sponsors the awards and an independent committee from the Council of Graduate Schools selects the winners.

Learn more about Dr. Salimpoor's research

My dissertation wasn't just a project that I needed to complete, but research that I wanted to do because it helped me understand one of the most important aspects of my life: music. How does music have such a strong impact on us?  I know many others have thought about this at some point in their lives, and it was a wonderful feeling to know that I would be exploring a question that has been pondered on by generations of people across the world.  With the benefit of recent advances in brain imaging technology, we can begin to answer this question by peaking at people's brains when they're listening to music.

Winning this award is important to me because it suggests that my work with Dr. Robert Zatorre at McGill made a significant contribution towards better understanding something that billions of people hold near and dear to their hearts and a step towards answering a question that has puzzled mankind for thousands of years.  This is the kind of feeling that researchers strive for!

Now as a postdoc in Randy McIntosh's lab at the Rotman Research Institute, I am continuing investigations of the reward systems in the brain to better understand how we experience pleasure and what motivates our thoughts and behaviours.  The privilege of training at McGill meant access to cutting-edge brain imaging facilities at the Montreal Neurological Institute, with world-renowned experts to learn from.  Montreal is a hub for research in both music and neuroscience, and McGill provides the perfect opportunity to merge these two disciplines to better understand how aesthetic stimuli can have such a profound impact on the human brain. 

I like listening to music from my past, whether it is associated with a specific memory or a general period of my life.  Every time I listen to music from my past I am given a vehicle to re-experience the range of emotions associated with that time.  It makes me feel alive, and grateful that I can keep track of all the specific moments in my life through music, like an emotional diary!  For me, this music ranges from classic rock, to oldies, to 80's and 90's