By Ellen Tsaprailis
David Smith, winner of the Carleton University Chancellor’s Medal at Fall Convocation recognizing his outstanding academic achievement, wasn’t expecting any kind of honour, let alone something so prestigious.
“The medal itself will serve as a physical reminder of the many challenges and positive experiences that shaped me over the course of my undergraduate program,” said Smith, who is graduating with a BA in Religion. This is the second undergraduate degree he has finished at Carleton—the first was in Psychology.
Describing his undergraduate experience as an academic odyssey, Smith says he could never have predicted the trajectory his studies have taken since the first year of his first degree. “I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to explore ideas from a broad range of disciplines spanning science, the humanities and social science.
“I was lucky to have engaging, supportive and knowledgeable professors who challenged my assumptions and taught me to think critically. I learned what it means to critique, question and create research.”
Smith is grateful for his approachable professors and the academic resources available to him. He found Peer Assisted Study Sessions run by the Centre for Student Academic Support incredibly useful for some of his more difficult electives.
“A significant amount of effort and grit went into the degree, but I could not have done this without a strong support network.”
Currently employed at the Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre, Smith works as a data manager in clinical trials. “The research is fascinating, and it is inspiring to be surrounded by people so dedicated to improving the lives of others.”
Health-care research is a likely future path for Smith, who is considering pursuing research in pyscho-social oncology based on his experience at the cancer centre. He also says he is interested in exploring the nexus between religion and psychology/neuroscience, with an emphasis on how certain types of religious phenomena affect well-being.
“Who knows where exactly the future will take me? All I can say is that I am excited.”
Carleton’s Chancellor’s Medal is awarded annually in the name of the Chancellor of the University to a graduating undergraduate student of outstanding academic achievement.