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Concordia psychology PhD Kathleen Kennedy-Turner receives the Prix Relève Étoile for September

The Fonds de Recherche du Québec recognizes outstanding graduate research every month
October 15, 2020
By Alexander Hackett

Young smiling woman with long dark hair and glasses. Kathleen Kennedy-Turner

Kathleen Kennedy-Turner (PhD 20), a graduate in psychology at Concordia, has been awarded the Prix Relève étoile Paul-Gérin-Lajoie for September by the Fonds de recherche du Québec - Société et Culture.

The FRQSC awards the prize once a month to promote exceptional research by graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

They recognized Kennedy-Turner for her article "Prevention of Criminal Offending: The Intervening and Protective Effects of Education for Aggressive Youth," which was published in The British Journal of Criminology.

"This award is important to me because it is not usual for a psychology student to publish outside of the psychology domain," she says.

"It's published in a criminology journal, and for this article in particular to be recognized makes me proud of my work and accomplishments. The award will help me expand my network and give me the opportunity to talk about my work with the public."

From natural sciences to psych

Her research focuses on the role that education plays in the trajectory from childhood to criminal behaviour in adulthood.

"In my work, I examine factors like aggression and neighbourhood disadvantage in childhood, and how they can predict both educational attainment and criminal charges directly and indirectly through the effects they have on education," she explains.

Formerly a student in the natural sciences, Kennedy-Turner decided to switch to psychology and subsequently worked as a childcare worker in youth protection centres. That’s where she gained the field experience that still inspires her research today.

The winning article is the first of two studies that make up her dissertation.

So, what's next for the researcher?

"I am progressing with research related to my doctoral thesis. But in my forthcoming research I will also be examining the role that the stress response system plays in the development of adverse life outcomes," she continues.

"My second study is under review now. And although many things are uncertain because of the pandemic, for the next two years I will be completing a postdoc fellowship at the Institut national de la recherche scientifique’s Centre Urbanisation Culture Société. I will also keep my part-time work as an educator at Batshaw Youth and Family Centres."

Asked if the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted her research at all, Kennedy-Turner says, "Thankfully, for now it has not. I secured a postdoc and funding for a position in Montreal, so I don’t need to move. It could, however, hinder data collection, but we are actively trying to find ways around this. Beyond the postdoc I will try to secure work as a researcher to continue writing and publishing."

Read the cited article: "Prevention of Criminal Offending: The Intervening and Protective Effects of Education for Aggressive Youth.”

Find out more about Concordia’s Department of Psychology.


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