Tiara is the full package. She is a highly intelligent, motivated, and talented student—and a warm, helpful person.

Lara Aknin

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Tiara Cash receives Dean’s Convocation Medal

As one of SFU's most outstanding graduate students from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Tiara Cash is recognized with the Dean of Graduate Studies Convocation Medal. On behalf of SFU, we congratulate Ms. Cash on her outstanding achievements.

June 01, 2023

Tiara Cash’s master’s research explored the relationship between life transitions (e.g., starting university, becoming a parent, etc.) and everyday acts of kindness (prosocial behavior) as a strategy for boosting well-being in first-year university students. She sent online surveys to 200 new SFU students each week for six weeks to assess their mental health and psychological well-being as well as their weekly prosocial actions. Cash discovered that students who engaged in more prosocial behavior, also experienced higher well-being on seven constructs.

In addition to her rigorous and informative research, Cash went above and beyond as she built connections with communities that could benefit from her expertise. Cash included her research methods and anonymized data to the Open Science Framework, allowing others to replicate and learn from her research; she reached out to local organizations to learn from and support difficult life transitions beyond the university; and, mentored and trained junior lab mates in Lara Aknin’s Helping and Happiness Lab.  

According to her supervisor, Lara Aknin, Cash is the perfect candidate for this award. Says Aknin, “In sum, Tiara is the full package. She is a highly intelligent, motivated, and talented student—and a warm, helpful person. She embodies all the characteristics of this award and I could not think of a more deserving candidate.”

Says Cash, “Honestly, I am both thrilled and humbled by winning this award. I had no idea the implications of how high of an honor this was until after, and I am truly thankful for the opportunity. I wouldn’t be here without the support of my current supervisor, Dr. Lara Aknin. She encompasses all of the things you would want in a supervisor – supportive, kind, understanding, and keeps me focused on what is important! She has been the greatest asset and mentor during my time here at SFU and I’m excited to continue the work with her during this PhD journey.”  

Cash recently received a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship to pursue doctoral level studies, where she will be continuing this work in social psychology. She is also a member of the 2023-2024 SFU Diversity Council and works hard to support equity seeking groups on campus. With this work and the doctorate she will earn, she hopes to work in academia to support equity-seeking communities as they navigate and transition through higher education.