"Because of her compassion and inclusivity, her lab is one of the most supportive and open-minded groups I have ever encountered."

Melissa Jonnson, graduate student

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2018 Award for Excellence in Supervision: Jodi Viljoen

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October 15, 2018

Dr. Jodi Viljoen came to SFU in 2007 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology becoming an Associate Professor in 2011.  This year she receives the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Award for Excellence in Graduate Supervision because of her ability to foster a positive learning environment for her students, and embrace her student’s individuality and background.

Current graduate student, Melissa Jonnson recalls, “As an incoming student, she provided a welcoming atmosphere by involving me in ongoing research projects and connecting me with other students in the lab and department. Because of her compassion and inclusivity, her lab is one of the most supportive and open-minded groups I have ever encountered, and I feel very lucky to be a part of it.”

The positive environment established by Viljoen has paid off. During her 10 years as a graduate supervisor, her graduate students have presented 153 conference presentations (90% of them as first authors), authored 69 peer-reviewed publications, chapters, professional guides and technical reports. Additionally, all 11 of her graduate students have received tri-council funding.

Viljoen also has an incredible ability to embrace her graduate students’ individuality and match it to opportunities related to their studies. Graduate student Nicole Muir recalls, “For me, this means that she supports Indigenous research (I am Métis and conduct research on Indigenous youth in the justice system).” For example, Muir was able to present alongside Viljoen about the Indigenous cultural component of an intervention plan to all the youth probation officers in the province.

In addition, Viljoen has proven time and again her ability to support her students in a variety of ways. “Dr. Viljoen is extremely knowledgeable and is always able to provide resources and feedback whether it be regarding career goals, applying for grant applications, presenting research at conferences, or how to manage the stress of school,” says graduate student, Dana Cochrane.

Thanks to her dedicated support and the ability to provide valuable opportunities for her students, she is receiving the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Award for Excellence in Graduate Supervision.