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Katey Park, Ph.D. graduate in Psychology awarded both the TMU Gold Medal Award and the Board of Governors Leadership Award

October 25, 2023

Katey Park, Ph.D. graduate in Psychology was awarded both the TMU Gold Medal Award and the Board of Governors Leadership Award at fall convocation. The Gold Medal is the university’s highest academic honour and is awarded to one student from each faculty in recognition of their academic excellence and outstanding community involvement. The Board of Governors Leadership Award and Medal is one of the most prestigious university-wide awards offered to graduating students.

A recent, Katey’s dedication to enhancing the wellbeing of graduate students through multiple channels has resulted in concrete initiatives to enhance student support within and beyond the department as recognized by the Jennifer Mactavish Graduate Student Leadership Award. Katey’s outstanding scholarship, evidenced by an impressive CV, has been recognized by prestigious funding bodies, including a SSHRC doctoral award.

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TMU President Mohamed Lachemi and Katey Park

What does winning these awards mean to you?

I was honoured to receive both the TMU Gold Medal and the Board of Governors Leadership Award, primarily for my work in graduate students’ mental health.

I pursued these initiatives, workshops, and research projects because I really enjoyed talking about and navigating work-life balance with my peers. I always felt as though the supports for “students’ well-being” was primarily geared towards undergraduates, and didn’t capture the unique academic experiences of graduate students. Many of us have been in school for over a decade, have responsibilities that come with our (typically) older age such as child-rearing or caring for aging parents, and much of our academic learning environment is outside of a classroom.

Winning these awards is encouragement that I am working in the right space and I’m right where I need to be. I’m excited that my efforts in graduate student well-being are recognized, supported and encouraged. I hope to remain in this space for the duration of my career and continue to find novel ways to support graduate students through their educational journeys.


What is the biggest lesson you learned during your time at TMU?

I unknowingly held a stereotype that “leaders” were loud, extroverted, dominant, and wildly self-confident. All traits that didn’t describe me. Over the course of my graduate education, the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that great leaders can take many different forms- competent leaders can be kind, introverted, humble, and still make great strides in action.

Katey Park with her awards

What is your favourite memory of your time at TMU?

I was awarded the Michael Smith Foreign Exchange Study Supplement which allowed me to work under the supervision of Dr. Scott Griffiths at the University of Melbourne. Dr. Griffiths is a superstar in the field of body image and I am still in awe that I had the opportunity to learn from him. Exploring beautiful Australia is a memory that I will hold for the rest of my life!


What is your proudest accomplishment?

I had my first baby during the first year of my Master's and my second baby during the first year of my PhD. My proudest accomplishment is that I've been able to balance my career ambitions, while simultaneously being the present parent I strive to be.

What is next for you?

I have been recently offered a postdoctoral fellowship position at the Bariatric Surgery Program within the University Health Network. I'm elated to be working with bariatric surgery patients and continuing my research expertise in eating behaviour, body image, and mental health support.