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Driven to rehabilitate brain trauma

'From personal experience, I know how hard it is to contend with that kind of injury'
May 15, 2023

A colour portrait of Victoria D'Amours, wearing a sweater, glasses and a necklace Victoria D'Amours studies Behavioural Neuroscience with a minor in Multidisciplinary Studies in Science

Victoria D’Amours was a figure skater in an elite program until the age of 15, when a nasty fall left her with a concussion.

“Sadly, concussions were not taken seriously enough back then, which made the recovery much longer than it should have been,” she says.

The setback may have ended her competitive career, but it also inspired an ambition to help other athletes.

“From personal experience, I know how hard it is to contend with that kind of injury,” remarks D’Amours.

With an interest in both biology and psychology, the native of Lévis, Quebec, found a natural fit in the Behavioural Neuroscience program at Concordia. D’Amours lived in Hingston Hall on Loyola Campus for her first year. It was an ideal way to transition to life in Montreal, she says.

“I made many lasting friendships. It was eye-opening to meet people with different perspectives and from different cultures.”

The Dr. Lorrie K. Sippola Memorial Award — created in 2011 with a significant bequest from the late Lorrie K. Sippola, PhD 96 — also helped D’Amours make the most of her undergraduate experience. The honour, which she received in 2022, came with $4,000 in financial support.

Through the university’s Science College, D’Amours has done research at the Center for Studies in Behavioral Neurobiology’s Iordanova Lab, using behavioural models and neuroscience techniques to understand how the brain processes information.

D’Amours also spent a summer at the PERFORM Centre, where she assisted on a research project at the Sleep, Cognition and Neuroimaging Laboratory.

“Their MRI machine allowed me to analyze brain structure, which is fascinating as a neuroscience student,” she says.

Outside of the lab, D’Amours served as vice-president, External Affairs, at the Concordia Undergraduate Psychology Association, where she organized and managed relationships with a variety of organizations. She is particularly proud of a small bursary she helped establish for students who volunteer in labs.

“The association was a good way to get involved in the university and meet like-minded students,” says D’Amours. “It also improved my leadership and teamwork abilities.”

As she prepares to close one chapter and embark on another as a graduate student in a competitive field, D’Amours has one piece of advice for new students who want to maximize life at Concordia.

“Look beyond the classroom,” she says. “Get involved and get out of your comfort zone!”

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