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Melissa Hunte Receives Connaught International Doctoral Scholarship

May 16, 2018.

Natania Marcus, 2018

Congratulations to Melissa Hunte, who has received the Connaught International Doctoral Scholarship, a University of Toronto award based on academic excellence and research potential. The scholarship is awarded to international applicants with an exemplary academic record who are entering a full-time doctoral program.

Hunte will be entering the Developmental Psychology & Education (DPE) PhD program with the Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development (APHD) in September. Here, she will continue her studies examining the effects of theory of mind and social-emotional learning interventions on at-risk students.

“Executive functions continue to pique my interest, especially their effect on children's academic performance and behaviours during middle childhood," says Hunte. "It is a complex concept with far reaching impact.”

This research interest is shaped by her professional experience working with students with behavioural problems in her homeland of the twin island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, where she hopes her research will make an impact one day.

When asked about her future, Hunte says, “My professional goal is to use psychology and education to help transform lives by developing programs, adding to research scholarship, and eventually establishing an evidence-based practice.”

The department of APHD nominated Hunte based on her outstanding application that demonstrated an impressive academic record and strong dedication to research. DPE Program Chair Eunice Eunhee Jang will be Hunte’s supervisor at APHD and thinks Hunte will be a perfect fit in her lab, which focuses on language testing and program evaluation.

“Ms. Hunte’s research focuses on the theoretical underpinnings of students’ theory of mind and social emotional regulation and their impact on diverse students’ learning and well-being. She intends to examine these issues through innovative assessment interventions. This is a highly significant issue considering socio-cultural and economic diversity students bring to today’s classrooms,” Jang says.

Hunte says she is “filled with sober excitement” at the thought of starting studies in APHD at OISE. She adds, “I know there will be many aspects of this journey that will be very challenging.  It will involve hard work and paradigm shifts that will stretch me and cause me to grow…and that excites me.”

The University of Toronto has awarded 191 Connaught Scholars from 2010 to 18.  Five OISE students have previously received the Connaught – three in APHD, one in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning and one in the Department of Leadership, Higher & Adult Education.  In the 2018-19 Connaught competition, 98 nominations from U of T’s graduate units were received and 28 scholarships were awarded to Connaught Scholars.