Scholarships and awards

Kaitlyn McLachlan Receives PhD and Governor General's Gold Medal

June 14, 2012

Dr. Kaitlyn McLachlan's dissertation focused on the risks and needs of adolescents with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) involved in the justice system. Youth with FASD are overrepresented in public health and justice settings, and her study, partially funded by the Canadian Foundation for Fetal Alcohol Research, identified the factors that place some of these youth at higher risk for delinquent behavior. It also targeted protective factors that may help FASD youth avoid problematic behavior.

She has an outstanding publication record that includes four refereed articles, one edited book, nine other articles and chapters, and a technical report, with five more manuscripts in preparation. Additionally, she has given 19 peer reviewed presentations and eight invited presentations.

During her graduate studies, Dr. McLachlan was the recipient of numerous scholarships, distinctions and awards at institutional, provincial and national levels, including the prestigious SSHRC Doctoral Canada Graduate Scholarship and a Michael Smith Foundation award for health research.

Furthermore, Dr. McLachlan demonstrates a keen sense of awareness and concern for social issues. She has served on the board of the International Association of Forensic Mental Health as a student representative and traveled to Haiti shortly after the earthquake of 2010 to assist with relief and emergency mental health efforts.

She was also active at SFU, mentoring incoming psychology grad students and serving on the clinical students' advisory committee. She also tried to maintain a healthy work/life balance, completing several marathons and Ironman Canada in 2010 — and giving birth to a baby girl seven weeks before her PhD defence.

She's grateful to her supervisor and mentor, Dr. Ronald Roesch, and adds, "I'm grateful to the phenomenal world-class faculty in the psychology department, particularly in the forensic program. Dr. Kevin Douglas, Dr. Jodi Viljoen, Dr. Rene Weideman and Dr. Alex Chapman all played critical roles in my graduate and clinical training."

Dr. McLachlan is presently doing a joint postdoctoral research fellowship with the University of Alberta and UBC, and plans to continue academic training and research while also practicing clinically. There is no doubt that Dr. McLachlan's research and continued contributions will have important policy implications for criminal justice policy in the future.

On behalf of SFU, we congratulate Dr. McLachlan on her outstanding achievements which are being recognized by her being awarded the Governor General's Gold Medal as SFU's most outstanding graduate student graduating in the Fine Arts/Humanities/Social Sciences.

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