Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Rachelle Pullmer receives Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship

September 01, 2015
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Congratulations to Rachelle Pullmer, a PhD student in SFU's Department of Psychology who received a prestigious three-year Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship for 2014/15.

Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is the most prevalent eating disorder among adults, but less than half of those who suffer from BED receive treatment. Rachelle Pullmer is committed to changing that. “Binge eating disorder constitutes an important public health concern, and it is imperative that treatments are effective and accessible,” Rachelle said. She will begin her PhD this fall, and will conduct an Internet-based intervention that will examine the efficacy of if-then plans and mental practice as a treatment option for those affected by the disorder. Rachelle adds, “This study will provide critical information on tools that could be integrated into existing evidence-based interventions in a cost-effective manner. I believe this research will ultimately lead to a reduced burden on our health care system by rendering future treatment programs more efficient, thereby enabling wider dissemination, and improving health outcomes for individuals with binge eating disorder”.

While completing her Master’s degree, Rachelle accumulated valuable experience collaborating with an interdisciplinary team as Research Coordinator at the Eating Disorders Program at BC Children’s Hospital, where she led research projects aimed at improving treatment outcomes for individuals with eating disorders. For her Master’s thesis, Rachelle conducted a longitudinal investigation on the role that physical activity and healthy eating habits play in predicting body satisfaction during pregnancy. “I strive to generate research that will inform the development of evidence-based practices and interventions to positively influence the lives of others,” Rachelle said. 

Rachelle has also demonstrated a remarkable talent for academic writing — her most recent publication was accepted without revisions and the editor commented on the outstanding clarity of the manuscript. Rachelle's accomplishments to date have been recognized through other awards such as the Banting Scholarship for her Master’s degree, the Certificate of Academic Excellence from the Canadian Psychological Association as well as an SFU Provost Prize of Distinction, which is only awarded to SFU’s top graduate students.

Although Rachelle has already found great academic success, it is her commitment to leadership that truly sets her apart. She actively seeks out roles where she can assist others, and both undergraduate and graduate students have benefitted from Rachelle's mentorship. She has brought awareness to mental health issues through talks at local high schools, and was involved in the Save a Child’s Heart Foundation, a non-profit organization that works to improve children’s access to cardiac care. Rachelle also worked as a counselor at a non-profit summer camp (Camp Miriam) for four consecutive years, and ultimately attained the position of Assistant Director and Business Manager. “My extensive leadership role enabled me to actualize the organizations’ values of social justice and social responsibility, instill these values in staff members and campers, and help promote a healthy and balanced lifestyle,” Rachelle said. At the present time, Rachelle is an active volunteer member of the camp committee. Rachelle adds, “I am committed to helping people make long-lasting changes in their lives through research, mentorship and service activities”.

Rachelle Pullmer is a PhD student in the Department of Psychology at Simon Fraser University. She is one of six students at SFU in 2014–15 to receive a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, which are granted to graduate students studying in Canada based on their academic excellence, research potential, and leadership contributions.

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