|Degrees:||B.A. Psychology Honours (2018)|
Traleena earned a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Psychology in 2018, and, following graduation, she began to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the University of Ottawa.
“Choosing Carleton for my B.A. Honours in Psychology was one of the best decisions that I have made. The learning experiences, extracurricular opportunities, and supportive staff that I encountered made my degree rewarding and fulfilling. If you are considering joining Psychology at Carleton (which you should!) but are not sure, I recommend reaching out to the department to consider speaking with a professor to learn more about the program. Before I applied to Carleton, I was lucky enough to speak with Professor Matthew Sorley, who sold me on the program and increased my confidence that Carleton was the right school for me. I would also encourage you to get involved as soon as you can! My extracurricular experiences helped me discover what I enjoyed and wanted to pursue. Carleton’s Department of Psychology is also unique because you can add a concentration. I concentrated in Forensic Psychology and found that the concentration process allowed me to develop an expertise in an area and have a marketable addition to my degree. Lastly, if you are interested in graduate school in psychology, I would recommend becoming involved in research as soon as possible. Consider reaching out to labs and supervisors with research interests that are similar to yours so you can build connections and research skills.”
What skills did you learn in your degree here at Carleton that helped you in your current position?
My experiences at Carleton developed within me an academic skillset, passion for helping others, and confidence that have benefitted me in my Ph.D. program. The professors in Carleton’s Department of Psychology truly believed in their students’ ability to succeed and encouraged them to develop the resilience and determination necessary to propel their learning journey. I benefitted from personalized instruction from professors like Dr. Kevin Nunes, who first introduced me to the field of forensic psychology research in his Forensic Psychology Honours Seminar. With kindness and expertise, he equipped me with a research foundation that continues to serve me well in my program. My research supervisor, Dr. Evelyn Maeder, enhanced my research journey by providing opportunities for collaboration and mentorship in my thesis work. Dr. Maeder’s support and personal connection to each of her students made me feel like I was part of a family of researchers. These experiences gave me the curiosity and critical thinking skills necessary in my current role as a researcher.
Working at Carleton’s Centre for Student Academic Support (CSAS) fundamentally changed my life direction. At CSAS, I was empowered as a student leader and was immersed in an environment of continuous professional development. Lakin Dagg, my supervisor, was a life-changing mentor and role model. Every day, I learned from her compassionate, skilled approach to supporting students and wanted to be in a field where, like her, I could support and empower others. Many of the skills I learned from Lakin were taught in my first year of training in the Clinical Psychology program, and I felt lucky to have already learned these principles from someone so influential in my life.
Lastly, Carleton’s focus on extracurricular involvement and support of their students developed my confidence and empowered me to pursue opportunities I would not have considered otherwise. I was not only fortunate enough to serve as a Workshop Team Leader and Workshop Peer Helper with CSAS (formerly known as Learning Support Services) but also served as a Psychology Workshop Facilitator with the Enriched Support Program, a Psychology Mentor with the Department of Psychology, and the President of the Psychology Society of Carleton University. These experiences strengthened my leadership skills and gave me the background to serve in my current positions at the University of Ottawa as a Clinical Psychology Program Representative with the Graduate Association of Students in Psychology, a Clinical Psychology mentor, and a volunteer with the 1 in 5 Initiative. In addition, the department and university’s belief in me was central to my development as a student. It was incredibly meaningful to receive the Florence Dunlop Scholarship, the Dr. Lois Rosine and Dr. Don Bent Award in Psychology, and the Chancellor’s Medal during my time at Carleton.
What did you do after your degree in psychology?
After my B.A. Honours in Psychology from Carleton, I began my Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology at the University of Ottawa. I currently work under the leadership of my supervisor, Dr. Luc Pelletier, in the Human Motivation Research Laboratory. My current research is on applications of Self-Determination Theory, motivation, and self-compassion in romantic relationships. I have received two Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council scholarships for my research and look forward to continuing to investigate my area of research with curiosity and innovation.
Do you have a favourite memory, or favourite instructor that had an impact on you here at Carleton?
I really enjoyed taking the Positive Psychology course with Dr. Katie Gunnell. If I had not taken this class, I doubt I would have applied to the Clinical Psychology program. Dr. Gunnell’s teaching style was engaging, reflective, and challenging of past conceptualizations of psychology. Learning about self-compassion, Self-Determination Theory, and other aspects of positive psychology was pivotal in changing how I thought Clinical Psychology could be applied. This class introduced me to a strengths-based approach that could be adopted in therapeutic interventions and motivated me to apply to the Clinical Psychology program and conduct research on Self-Determination Theory and self-compassion. Dr. Gunnell also provided invaluable support in formulating my grant applications and provided the class with opportunities to practice several positive psychology interventions, several of which I hope to incorporate in my clinical practice.