Neuroscience grad wins Governor General’s Medal

Jean Liu (Governor General's Medal)
Jean Liu

Governor General’s Medal winner Jean Liu never imagined her studies would end on such a high note.

The 21-year-old, who is graduating with a bachelor of science honours degree in neuroscience, will work in Jack Kelly’s auditory neuroscience laboratory on campus this summer. In September, she will begin her master’s in pharmacology and neuroscience at Dalhousie University in Halifax.

“While knowledge is its own reward,” says Liu, “I feel humbled that the enormous amount of work I put into my studies has been recognized.”

Carleton’s neuroscience program was a perfect fit for her goals, she says.

“I was fortunate to be taught by absolutely brilliant scientists who are genuinely passionate about the topics they study. Sharing their enthusiasm for discovery and their sense of humour made the four years of my degree speed by.”

She chose the field of neuroscience during her last year of high school after she read a magazine.

“Up until my last year of high school, I had wanted to become either an archaeologist or a film music composer. Then I read an article in National Geographic that discussed the brain and its infinite wonders. I was blown away that an organ encased inside the skull could rule over nearly every aspect of one’s existence,” she says.

“ I was also struck by how devastating diseases of the nervous system can be and how little is known about some of them. The field of neuroscience is full of interesting questions waiting to be answered and new phenomena yet to be discovered.”

Liu’s research project on the development of preventive analgesic drugs for sufferers of chronic pain will be funded by a Killam Predoctoral Scholarship and a grant from the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation. She hopes to eventually earn a doctorate degree in neuroscience and work in applied research.

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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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