March 28, 2024 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Congratulations to the members of the Breaking the Cycle team who have been named this year’s winner of the Agnes Penner Prize. The winners were introduced as part of the Psychology for the Common Good event, held on March 28, 2024.

The event was a way to showcase, for both students and the community, how research skills and knowledge in psychology are effective tools to help combat the major societal challenges that our community is facing. The two student teams that were nominated for the Agnes Penner Prize, the other being Brain Food, designed projects to address major issues being faced by people in our community.

“These projects by King's students will directly improve the lives of Londoners as one in six households in our community face food insecurity and the city of London recently declared intimate-partner violence an epidemic,” says Dr. Marcie Penner, Associate Professor of Psychology.

Breaking the Cycle is an educational program for youth that teaches healthy relationship behaviours and raises awareness about intimate partner violence. The team, composed of Lucy Fisher, Sofi Kotilehti, and Jessica Mitchell, chose the project because they were passionate about making a difference in the community. They believe that everyone has a right to feel safe and supported and they saw the need to educate youth on the importance of preventing intimate partner violence.

The team was incredibly honoured and excited to be nominated for the award. “It is such a validation of all the hard work and dedication we have put into our project over the past year,” says Fisher.

Fisher says King’s provided the team with an incredible opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills to make an impact on the community.

“Dr. Marcie Penner has also provided invaluable support throughout our project, from offering guidance and resources to encouraging us every step of the way, and her support has played a crucial role in the success of our project. We are grateful to have the opportunity to highlight an incredibly important topic that resonates with us, and share our efforts aimed at breaking the cycle of intimate partner violence in youth,” says Fisher.

The other team nominated, Brain Food, is an educational resource and service toolbox designed to help address the mental health concerns of people experiencing food insecurity in the London community. The team was composed of Jeremias Campos, Jack de Jeu, and Emelia White.

The Brain Food team said they were very excited to share the project, a collaboration with the Glen Cairn Community Resource Centre, which addresses mental health issues amongst those experiencing food insecurity. The team was honoured by the nomination because it highlights the importance of the topic and recognizes the potential impact the project will have on the Glen Cairn community.

“King’s has provided us with the knowledge and skill set that we have used to develop Brain Food. The encouragement and support we received from the faculty helped us along this journey. We would like to thank Dr. Marcie Penner for her guidance throughout this year and for going above and beyond in assisting us.”

Both teams were made up of students enrolled in the course “Psychology for the Common Good.” Under the guidance of Dr. Penner, the students crafted research-based solutions for the pressing challenges our local community faces.

During the Psychology for the Common Good event, the student teams presented their innovative solutions to a panel of community members:

  • Mojdeh Cox, who attended King’s from 2005-2006 and again in 2011, a community builder and CEO & Principal Consultant at Cox & Co.
  • Lori Runciman, Director of Grants, London Community Foundation
  • Brandon Vecchiola ’21, Manager of Business Development, CMHA Thames Valley

Following the presentations, there was an engaging Q&A session where attendees could delve deeper into the projects and learn about the different methodologies employed.

The Agnes Penner Prize is awarded to the project with the greatest potential to benefit society. Many past projects have been implemented in the community and have won external awards, including the Canadian Mental Health Association Champion of Mental Health Award.