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Grads in Profile: Jessica Baraskewich

SACP student-athlete receives Eyes High Doctoral Recruitment Scholarship
April 26,2017

Jessica Baraskewich leads the pack for the Dinos at the 2017 Canada West track and field championships. Photo courtesy of Jessica Baraskewich

Jessica Baraskewich's research examines the relationship between ADHD and disordered eating. Photo courtesy of Jessica Baraskewich

Jessica Baraskewich was recently awarded the Eyes High Doctoral Recruitment Scholarship, under the supervision of Carly McMorris, an assistant Professor in the Werklund School of Education’s School & Applied Child Psychology Program (SACP) and full member of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute (ACRHI). The Eyes High Doctoral Recruitment Scholarship recognizes outstanding PhD applicants that embody the university’s Eyes High Strategy.

“Jessica is an exemplary, well-rounded MSc student who is actively involved in innovative research and engaged in a diverse range of clinical experiences. In addition to being an exceptional student, she is also continually involved in her community. Given Jessica’s strong academic profile, research in mental health, and unique clinical and professional skills, she was a strong candidate for the Recruitment Scholarship,” says McMorris.

Baraskewich’s MSc thesis, which she completed under the supervision of the Werklund School’s Emma Climie, examines the relationship between symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and disordered eating. Previous research has found a link between these disorders, but they have not been examined at the symptom level or in a community sample. Elucidating the relationship between these disordered eating and ADHD will help inform treatment and prevention efforts. 

“Dr. Climie provides great mentorship and research opportunities that have refined my research skills and developed my confidence in creating a research project,” says Baraskewich.

Under the supervision of McMorris, Baraskewich’s doctoral research will aim to understand eating disorder symptoms in individuals with other mental health challenges and/or neurodevelopmental issues.

Baraskewich’s accolades go beyond academic achievement; she trains and competes as a part of the University of Calgary Dinos Cross Country and Track and Field teams.  She was on the 2015 bronze medal CIS Cross Country team and placed 9th in the 600m at the 2017 Canada West track and field championships. 

“Being a student-athlete comes with unique challenges but also has a lot of positives – it provides you with a supportive network of friends, allows you to travel the country, and really forces time management skills.  You’d be surprised at how much work you can get done on a 12-hour bus ride with no wifi!”

On top of academics and training full-time, Baraskewich is also a behaviour coach for a social skills training program for adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), a Dino Youth coach, and a peer mentor for students in her program.

“I firmly believe the best psychologists are active, well-rounded members of their community. As such, I make a concerted effort to give back to the running community on top of helping run an intervention for youth with ASD. I also really enjoy providing mentorship and I believe it’s an integral part of being in an academic community.”

Baraskewich’s success in her MSc degree has led her to continue her graduate studies in the PhD program in SACP. Being awarded the Eyes High Scholarship will allow Baraskewich to achieve continued success and expand her clinical skills and research endeavors.

“Being part of the Werklund School academic community will allow me to develop my clinical skills and achieve my goal of becoming a psychologist. Werklund houses highly esteemed scholars and is connected to a broad network of service providers for practicum experiences. I am grateful to have found the SACP program and am looking forward to continuing to grow professionally and personally.”