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Wilfrid Laurier University Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing
October 28, 2016
Canadian Excellence

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Laurier Inspires

Laurier graduate student wins prestigious Hilary M. Weston scholarship

Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing

May 12/10| For Immediate Release


Susan Cadell, Acting Dean
Faculty of Social Work
519-884-0710 ext. 5252 or


Kevin Crowley, Director
Communications and Public Affairs
519-884-0710 ext. 3070 or

WATERLOO – Laurier graduate student Michelle Skop-Dror has won a Hilary M. Weston scholarship, valued at $7,500. This is the second time since the award’s inception three years ago that a Laurier student has been recognized.

“This is a wonderful reflection of the dedication, commitment and academic excellence of the students and faculty of our program,” said Susan Cadell, acting dean of the Faculty of Social Work. “The Faculty of Social Work is extremely proud to be working with Michelle; she is passionate about her research and her commitment has been recognized through this award.”

Skop-Dror, in her first year of her PhD, was recognized for her work on depression and anxiety in women who suffer from fibromyalgia, a chronic condition that affects the muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints.

“My interest in this topic began when I worked as a mental health coordinator in Toronto,” said Skop-Dror. “I worked with many women who suffered from this illness in addition to depression and anxiety, and I was struck by the amount of stigma they experienced within the health care system.”

Skop-Dror plans to explore what types of supports and resources women with fibromyalgia feel they need to improve their sense of well-being and quality of life.

“Her innovative research will play a significant role in helping the health and social work communities better understand how to work with these women in a capacity that goes beyond focusing solely on their physical symptoms,” said Cadell. “The result will ensure a better understanding of the experience of these women and enable better care to be provided.”

The Ontario government created the scholarship in honour of Hilary M. Weston, the province's 26th Lieutenant Governor, to recognize students who have demonstrated academic excellence in the field of mental health. Laurier doctoral student Bharati Sethi won the award in 2008 while completing her master’s degree.


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