Kiana Habibagahi

November 1, 2021
Kiana Habibagahi
Program: Master of Education in Developmental Psychology and Education (DPE)
Expected year of graduation: 2023

What led you to apply to APHD at OISE?
I started off my UofT undergrad as a small neuroscience and cognitive science student. I stumbled across Dr. Ferrari’s lab through a course announcement, and thought it would be a great place to learn more about the mind; as a bonus, I'd also be able to work for my cogsci TA, Juensung Kim. I fell in love with wisdom research and the wonderful people in the lab. Fast-forward 4-5 years, I became more involved in the lab, and wanted to take on as many responsibilities as I humanly could. Dr. Ferrari was also immensely supportive, and he gave me the freedom to explore my interests in wisdom and its relation to suicidal ideation. The lab augmented my understanding of mental health– something I had become incredibly passionate about after my role as a UofT Mental Health Commissioner. I wanted to continue to grow in this supportive and stimulating environment. So, I applied to APHD to pursue my passions. 

What was your past work experience like?
Mostly in research! I was lucky enough to work in Dr. Paul Hamel's fantastic lab at the Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology department. To my parents' slight chagrin (they're biologists), I later left the wet-lab world to pursue my interests in psychology and mental health. I became a UofT Mental Health Commissioner, and I worked with Dr. Adler Nevo in the Child & Adolescent Anxiety Clinic at the Michael Garron Hospital. After graduating, I had the privilege to work in Dr. Ferrari’s lab. I learnt about a variety of topics, from the association between age and tolerance for social diversity, to how negative post-traumatic cognitions and coping styles predict PTSD. I am now a teaching assistant for the same course that first introduced me to Dr. Ferrari's lab. It's been a full-circle experience! 

Are there any past accomplishments that you would like to highlight?
This is a tough question. I've been lucky enough to co-author on 3 different papers (one being a chapter that will feature in the Oxford Handbook of Wisdom!). 

What is one thing you like most about your experience so far at OISE?
It feels amazing being in a room (Zoom room, rather) with so many like-minded, insightful people. Everyone is incredibly supportive, respectful, and eager to learn more. It's also such a humbling experience to be able to learn from so many talented and kind instructors.

What is your favourite thing about Toronto?
Kensington Market! It’s the colourful heart of Toronto, always bustling and brimming with culture.

What does your “weekend” typically look like?
Reading lots of interesting articles, and then unwinding and relaxing with my partner.

What are some of your hobbies & interests?
Cooking Persian recipes, reading science fiction (recently finished Klara and The Sun) and writing poetry. I'm going to try and play the guitar again soon! 

What is your favorite type of cuisine?
Persian! I've grown up in 3 different countries and several multicultural settings. But I always come back to my Persian roots. I think the food is the main way I connect with my culture.

Where do you see yourself after you achieve your degree from APHD?
I always like to have a solid plan in mind. But if I've learnt one thing from this pandemic, it's that plans can get thrown up in the air, so I need to be alright with a bit of uncertainty. For now, I'll say that I'm either applying for my PhD or working for a non-profit mental health organization for youth, (or both!) 

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