Interview with UVic Psych.O.S. co-president Emily Enns

Guest post by Armin Bayati 

Today’s interview is with UVic Psych.O.S. co-president Emily Enns.

­Tell me a little bit about yourself.

Emily enjoying a cup of tea on the slopes of Mt. Baker the evening before the summit push.

I’m in my fifth and final year of a Honours BSc degree in Combined Biology and Psychology. I was drawn to UVic in the first place for this unique program, which combined my love for biology and science with a curiosity about Psychology, since I had little official experience with psychology in high school.

I was curious mostly because I saw my father go back to school in his mid-thirties to become a therapist; I remember pawing through his Biopsych textbook looking at all the pictures of the cross-sectioned brain.

Now in my last year, I am researching the brain with a Biology Honours project: I am examining regulation of a gene that is involved with how ‘undecided’ cells in adult neurogenesis later choose what kind of neuron they’re going to be.

Outside of the lab, you can find me at work at the Community Genetics Research Program, studying for a midterm, trail running, eating nachos, or practicing biking without touching my handlebars.

What was your inspiration in joining Psych.O.S.? What is it all about? How many years have you been part of it?

I originally heard about the Psychology Organization of Students (Psych.O.S.) through a class talk at the beginning of one of my first-year psychology classes. In the second semester of my second year, I started going to regular meetings where I was immediately welcomed by a group of friendly people. It felt really nice to be connected to a group on campus that had means to organize events and opportunities. I felt like I was finally making UVic my home.

The next year I joined as Editor-in-Chief where I compiled student writing and research into a newsletter/publication for each semester. Now, last year and this year, I’ve been acting as Co-President with Cynthia Chao and Karl Grewal, respectively.

At Psych.O.S., we aim to connect Psych students with each other, their faculty, and their greater community. We organize social events (e.g. a pool night at Peacock Billiards, Mt. Doug hike) and other events like a Volunteer Fair to connect students to their ideal volunteer position related to Psychology and mental health. Weekly meetings are a great place to get more involved and give input on what kind of events and opportunities you’d like to see in the department.

In your opinion, what have been your major accomplishments thus far in this Course Union?

Co-President Karl Grewal (centre) with members of Capital Physicians Group

One of my favourite things is how we’ve developed our connections to community organizations in the last couple years. We received rave reviews from both students and organizations at the Volunteer Fair this past January, where both groups were able to easily find the right fit for their interests and needs.

I’m also proud of the recruitment relationship we’ve developed with Capital Physicians Group, who came to us looking for students to volunteer at their field hospitals at mass-gathering events, in areas like harm-reduction and first aid.

This is an incredible and very rare hands-on opportunity for students to get experience alongside doctors, EMTs and harm-reduction workers. I feel honoured to be able to foster these kinds of connections, which add so much value and depth to the UVic undergrad experience.

Why do you think incoming undergraduates should choose Psychology as their major? 

Psychology is so captivating because it attempts to investigate how us humans work, behave, interact, think, feel, and love. I think that that is such a core and natural human curiosity.

What I also like about Psychology is that there are so many directions you can take it. Psychology encompasses a wide variety of sub-specialities, and you’re able to narrow in on what makes you the most curious.

There is also flexibility in your degree program itself. You can get a BSc or a BA in Psychology and choose one of multiple streams of focus, or you can get a minor, or take advantage of a combined program, like Biology & Psychology or Computer Science & Psychology.

For me, in the combined Biopsychology program, I could choose an Honours project in either the Biology or the Psychology department. The possibilities and combinations are limitless and you can customize your degree to fit your needs.

Why should other students join your Course Union? 

Some Psych.O.S. members on a spring hike up Mt. Doug

Psych.O.S. was really helpful for me in solidifying a network and community of people at UVic, and I have heard the same thing from many other Psych.O.S. execs and alumni.

It’s a great place to meet new people who might be in your classes, find cool new opportunities in Psychology, and generally make the most of your degree. It’s also a means to make your dreams come true on campus.

If you have the initiative, we can help you organize nearly any event or opportunity you like. For example, as a registered Course Union, we can book rooms for free in any building on campus, including the SUB. In the past we’ve even hosted study groups with snacks for Psychology finals! Joining Psych.O.S. can bring these resources to your fingertips.

What project/activity/initiative are you currently working on?

Like I mentioned earlier, we help Capital Physicians Group to recruit volunteers for their field hospitals at mass-gathering events. We have an upcoming info session to provide students with details about requirements, education, and events. Past volunteers and operations members will be on hand to discuss their experiences, scope, and the ways in which volunteering has benefitted them. This is a stellar opportunity for any student interested in a health sciences career. Join us in ECS 104 at 5:30pm on February 20 to learn more.

We are also planning a pub crawl social night and other activities such as a hike and a movie night in March. Our regular meetings are currently on Tuesdays at 11:30am in DSB 130. Everyone is welcome to attend, even if you aren’t declared in Psychology.

It’s a nice way to get a pulse on what’s happening in the Psychology department and be involved in the creation of upcoming events. You can also email us at psychos.uvic@gmail.com if you want more information or would like to join our weekly email list. We keep our Facebook page and website updated with incoming opportunities, events, and reminders.

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