Jessica Gardner and Megan Gauthier Receive Hilary M. Weston Scholarship
The Hilary M. Weston Scholarship is awarded each year to up to two students enrolled in a full-time graduate-level social work program at a publicly funded Ontario university.
Jessica Gardner (University of Ottawa)
Jessica Gardner stands out for her ambition, dedication, and involvement in the community and her University. She has demonstrated a commitment to closing gaps and breaking down barriers for people experiencing mental health challenges.
She graduated summa cum laude from her Bachelor of Philosophy and Communications program at the University of Ottawa, and received the university President's scholarship, a prestigious award given to one student per faculty annually.
As a graduate student in the MSW program, she has been an active member of the campus community. She initiated a community development project with her classmates to address anxiety among students, and created a video for professors to share that helped raise awareness of existing university resources for students. As part of uOGradMinds, she helped advocate for students, and helped develop a platform to facilitate better access to mental health services.
With the support of the Hilary M. Weston scholarship, Jessica will continue her studies while remaining active in her community. She intends to complete a research project which addresses the effectiveness of mental health awareness initiatives developed by the School of Social Work Mental Health committee offered at the postsecondary level. Once she receives her MSW, she looks forward to a career working with youth struggling with mental health challenges.
Megan Gauthier (Wilfrid Laurier University)
Megan is a passionate and dedicated advocate who has long been interested and involved in advancing mental health causes. Her extensive experience has influenced her research and career interests, as well as her desire to specialize in trauma and its impacts on psychopathology.
Megan has been involved in the mental health and addictions fields as part of Camp Quality Canada, the Canadian Mental Health Association, Wyndham House, the University of Guelph, and in her current roles of crisis responder with Kids Help Phone and behavioural counsellor at Stonehenge Therapeutic Community.
During her undergraduate fourth year at the University of Guelph, she helped create a platform to fight the silence surrounding suicide ideation, and cultivate a campus culture of support and accessibility. Her hard work contributed to the University of Guelph's successful first Suicide Awareness and Prevention Banquet.
She is a co-author on three peer-reviewed posters, one oral presentation, and a paper in review that incorporates elements of her undergraduate honours thesis, an investigation into how parental characteristics influence behavior during their child's acute pain.
With the support of the Hilary M. Weston scholarship, Megan will continue her Masters of Social Work education, and specialization in the effects of trauma. Once she receives her MSW, she intends to pursue a career as a social worker and trauma counsellor.