CAGS is pleased to announce that Dr. Sherry H. Stewart, Full Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry, and Psychology and Neuroscience at Dalhousie University, has been selected as the winner of the 2020 CAGS Award for Outstanding Graduate Mentorship.
Dr. Stewart is one of Canada’s most outstanding graduate mentors. A faculty member at Dalhousie University since 1993, Dr. Stewart holds a Canada Research Chair in Addiction and Mental Health and currently serves as Director of the Mood, Anxiety, and Addiction Comorbidity (MAAC) Lab. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and received the 2017 Dalhousie Award for Excellence in Graduate Supervision.
Dr. Stewart is involved in all aspects of graduate education at Dalhousie University. Over her long and distinguished career, Dr. Stewart has supervised eighteen doctoral students and one master’s student to completion of their degrees, and has overseen thirteen postdoctoral fellowships. She currently supervises eleven graduate students and three postdoctoral fellows. Dr. Stewart has developed core courses for clinical psychology doctoral students, created a multi-disciplinary graduate course in addictions, directed the PhD in Clinical Psychology program, and most recently co-developed and coordinates the MSc and PhD programs in Psychiatry Research. She also regularly teaches graduate courses.
Among the most productive psychologists in the world, Dr. Stewart has a strong reputation for scholarly excellence. She has published 377 scientific articles including 152 articles co-authored with her graduate students and postdoctoral trainees as first authors. Not surprisingly, Dr. Stewart is a highly sought-after supervisor by students and post-docs from around the world. She is well-positioned to support her mentees through her extensive grants and global network of collaborators, and her students are regularly provided with opportunities to present at conferences, to prepare joint publications, and to develop their own mentorship skills by co-supervising undergraduate students. “She is a true role model,” writes a former PhD student, “to whom many have their careers to thank.”
Although Dr. Stewart’s scholarly achievements make her an attractive supervisor, as far as her students are concerned, it is her personal generosity and authenticity as a mentor that are key to their success. In the words of one of her current PhD students, “Dr. Stewart is an extremely supportive supervisor who takes the time to validate her students and congratulate them on their successes. She understands that encouragement motivates students to work hard.” Other graduate students reflect on Dr. Stewart’s inclusive and respectful lab environment, in which young researchers are encouraged to work communally. “Dr. Stewart embodies the science-practitioner model,” reports a former PhD student, “and she encourages her students to pursue interests related to both. Her lab is productive, supportive, and collaborative.”
As reflected in the letters of support written by her past and present graduate students, Dr. Stewart is well known for taking the time to build strong, long-lasting relationships with each of her mentees. She adapts her approach to supervision over the course of their training, starting with more structure in the beginning and moving towards increased independence as the student progresses. “Something that became strikingly clear to me early on,” recalls one of Dr. Stewart’s former PhD students, “was that she was entirely dedicated to her students being successful based on their own goals, not her goals for them. She created a learning experience that balanced a student’s need for both autonomy and guidance.”
Dr. Stewart’s investments of time and energy into her students continue well beyond graduation, and often involve research collaborations and mentorship as they pursue their own careers, not only in academia and clinical practice, but also in fields as varied as health management and game development. These ongoing relationships are a true testament to Dr. Stewart’s commitment to and connection with her students, who write of the depth and breadth of her impact on their professional careers and their personal growth and development as human beings. A remarkable leader both inside and outside of the lab, Dr. Stewart has been specifically recognized by her female students as a role model for how one can successfully integrate work and family life. “As a young woman,” writes a current PhD student, “watching Dr. Stewart balance an incredibly successful career while raising a family has been extremely inspiring to me.”
CAGS instituted the Award for Outstanding Graduate Mentorship in 2018 to highlight and celebrate faculty members who exemplify the highest standards in teaching, training, and mentoring. CAGS is delighted to showcase the hard work and dedication of Dr. Sherry Stewart, and we hope that her strong commitment to graduate students will inspire others to reach similar heights.
Lab website: http://maaclab.psychology.dal.ca/
“I see in Dr Stewart an inspirational role model. With her broad experience, strong determination, and complete dedication, she sets an extraordinary example not just for her students but for any researcher.”