Follow your heart and pursue your dreams: Chancellor’s medalist

Chancellor’s Medal winner Kimberley-Anne Cullen earned her Bachelor of Arts degree with honours in psychology in a roundabout way.

Encouraged by her parents, she started off at another university, with her nose in biopharmaceutical and genomics books, before she realized she was in the wrong program.

“Shortly after entering my first degree, I knew I had chosen the wrong path. But because I’m a finisher, I stuck through it,” explains the 27-year-old, who graduates from Carleton this month.

With her science degree in hand, Cullen knew she needed not only a new program, but a complete change of scenery. When she stepped into her first psychology class at Carleton in September 2006, she knew she’d made the right decision.

“Psychology has always been a passion of mine. Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to know how everything around me works and the workings of the human psyche are just the ultimate when it comes to exploration and discovery,” says Cullen.

“My time at Carleton was probably the best you could ask for from a university. Carleton really made me feel welcome, important . . . like I mattered. You really feel a strong sense of unity among students, faculty and staff.”

Cullen is currently pursuing her master’s degree in clinical psychology at York University and plans to earn a PhD and eventually become a clinical psychologist specializing in women’s issues, particularly as they are affected by cancer.

“Being a feminist is a really important part of who I am and I certainly will be incorporating feminist theories into my research and ultimately my clinical practice,” says Cullen.

Cullen admits receiving the Chancellor’s Medal is “an amazing honour, a validation of the hard work, perseverance and sacrifices I have put into my academic career.”

“Most importantly, this medal is a personal symbol of how important it is to follow your heart and pursue your own dreams.”

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Susan Hickman

By Susan Hickman

For nearly four decades, journalist Susan Hickman has written about every imaginable subject for sundry newspapers and magazines in Canada and abroad, as well as for CBC TV and CBC Radio. She has also managed various publications, including academic newspapers and technology magazines, and was recently commissioned to write a guide for foreign missions serving in Canada. Currently, she is working on a couple of personal memoirs.

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