Improving mental health care the goal of Spirit of Brock recipient

Madeleine Maheu promised her grandmother she would go to Brock — and her word is bond.

The 22-year-old St. Catharines native pursued Neuropsychology at the University, graduating on Friday, June 17 with her Bachelor of Science during Spring Convocation.

While her grandmother’s request played a role in her post-secondary decisions, Maheu also wanted to be close to family and attend a university that prioritizes public service and mental health.

Brock was a perfect fit.

The University’s four consecutive years ranked No. 1 among all comprehensive universities in Canada for mental health supports in the annual Maclean’s University Rankings played a role in her decision to attend.

Madeleine Maheu graduated with her Bachelor of Science during Brock’s Friday, June 17 Convocation ceremony.

Maheu’s dedication to academic achievement, combined with her extracurricular activities and commitment to service, earned her the Board of Trustees Spirit of Brock medal, presented at Friday’s Faculty of Mathematics and Science Convocation ceremony.

Though she wasn’t able to attend Friday’s ceremony, Aishabibi Kassymbek, who graduated with her PhD in Chemistry, also received the Spirit of Brock honour.

Maheu credits the Med Plus program for providing her with many of the skills and experiences necessary to take on a community service role. She volunteers with Positive Living Niagara delivering harm reduction supplies and tending to members of the community facing challenging life circumstances.

“I hope to work as a mental health professional,” she said. “While some universities are wary of supporting topics such as harm reduction, Brock has shown support, which aligns with who I want to be as a clinician.

“I know I chose the right school for my desired career.”

One of Maheu’s goals is to improve patient interactions.

“I had a poor experience with a mental health facility,” she said, adding she wants to change the system from within and become a health professional that patients will welcome, not fear.

Maheu plans on taking a year off post-graduation to work and travel. She would love to visit Thailand and Amsterdam along the way.

“I take self-defence classes in Brazilian ju-jitsu and kickboxing,” she said. “A lot of people want to see Thailand for the beaches, but top of my list would be a Mauy Thai boxing match.”

Faculty of Mathematics and Science Dean Ejaz Ahmed said Maheu is “committed to making the lives of those around her fulfilling.”

“Her academic success combined with compassionate public service make her an excellent Brock graduate deserving of the Spirit of Brock honour,” he said.

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