Michelle Smith, Integrated Studies in Education, and Melanie Wisener, Educational and Counselling Psychology are two of the 2021 recipients of Canada’s most prestigious graduate awards, 2021 Vanier Scholars, exemplifying academic excellence across the full range of disciplines.
Michelle Smith, Integrated Studies in Education
Michelle Smith is an award-winning Métis filmmaker, media artist, and educator born and raised in St. James, Manitoba. She obtained her BA Honours from McGill and MA in Media Studies from Concordia University where she received the Sony Graduate Award. She has directed and produced numerous documentary films and interactive media on issues of Indigenous identity and resurgence, education, and intercultural experience. She coordinated and taught in the Journeys First Peoples Transition program at Dawson College in Tiohtiá:ke (Montreal) for four years. She is a founding member of the Dawson First Peoples Initiative, Indigenous Education Council, and Intercollegiate Decolonizing Network and teaches Cinema-Communications at Dawson College. She is the Principle Investigator for the First Peoples Post-Secondary Storytelling Exchange (fppse.net) supported by SSHRC’s (CCSIF). She is pursuing a PhD in Education at McGill, with a focus on Indigenous educational sovereignty.
Melanie Wisener, Educational and Counselling Psychology
Using alcohol and/or marijuana in an attempt to alleviate negative emotions has been consistently associated with alcohol and/or marijuana-related problems in undergraduate students. Theory suggests individuals use substances in an attempt to alleviate negative emotions when they lack alternate means of coping. Thus, investigating alternate coping strategies, such as mindfulness and self-compassion, may afford a unique opportunity to address coping-motivated alcohol and marijuana use and the associated problems on Canadian university campuses.
My proposed three-part Doctoral dissertation aims to develop, evaluate, and disseminate a brief mindfulness and self-compassion program aimed at reducing coping-motivated use and the associated problems in undergraduates. Teaching mindfulness and self-compassion as alternate coping strategies to alcohol and/or marijuana use may help reduce coping-motivated use and the associated problems on Canadian university campuses. This would directly benefit the students using alcohol and/or marijuana, their fellow students, and their university.
For the full list of recipients click HERE.