Unconstrained path leads to study of the brain

Social Sciences

- Anne MacLaurin

Eilertsen. Photo: UVic Photo Services

Psychology grad Hannah Eilertsen awarded 2020 UVic Jubilee Medal in Social Sciences

During her five years at UVic, Hannah Eilertsen strove to be the best student possible. Her focus, smarts and determination paid off this month when she was awarded the Jubilee Medal for holding the highest academic standing in the Faculty of Social Sciences. She graduates with a BSc in psychology.

I am extremely honoured and so grateful for the opportunities I had as a student, especially the scholarships that allowed me to focus on my studies.
Hannah Eilertsen, UVic BSc class of 2020

Shifting studies: theatre to science 

It was a bit of a surprise to Eilertsen that she settled on the social sciences after changing her major in second year, from fine arts and business to biology and psychology.

Eilertsen quickly discovered UVic offered a variety of programs in many different disciplines beyond the sciences. In high school her interest changed from science to theatre, so at UVic she started in fine arts, studying theatre and business.

“I was surprised how many programs there are at UVic,” says Eilertsen. “I think it is important to explore as many interests as possible in your first couple of years.”

Eilertsen is candid when she speaks of the challenges she encountered throughout her education, mostly managing anxiety around her studies.

“There was a point early on in my degree when I was not sure how to continue with school and overcome these obstacles,” says Eilertsen. “The Center for Accessible Learning at UVic is an amazing resource that I began to access in my second year,” adds Eilertsen.

Eilertsen is also grateful for the support she received during her degree from the UVic Excellence Scholarship, the Crestview-Chelsea Theatre Award, the Dr. Nora Haimberger Scholarship, the Anthony Gerard 'Bud' Peetz Scholarship and a President's Scholarship.

Tackling real-world issues with psychology

After taking her first psychology class in second year, Eilertsen discovered her fascination with the study of the brain. She continued to take courses in cognitive psychology, cognitive neuroscience, biopsychology and neuropsychology throughout the rest of her degree.

The discipline of psychology is so diverse with opportunities to explore important real-world issues such as addiction, suicide and aging just to name a few!
Hannah Eilertsen, UVic BSc class of 2020

“Specifically, I am extremely fascinated by the brain, the nature of mental processes and the relationships between brain and behaviour/ psychological functioning,” she adds.

In particular, Eilertsen says she became extremely interested in the impacts of brain injury and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

“I have been volunteering with the Victoria Brain Injury Society,” says Eilertsen. “I find it extremely enjoyable and rewarding.”

Post-grad plans

Eilertsen plans to take this year to reflect on her experiences and apply for further schooling. In particular she is considering graduate programs in clinical neuropsychology.

At the end of the day, I just want to help people.
Hannah Eilertsen, UVic BSc class of 2020

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In this story

Keywords: convocation, award, psychology, philanthropy, student life

People: Hannah Eilertsen

Publication: The Ring


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