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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
July 22, 2017
Canadian Excellence

Headlines (Campus Updates)

Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

Laurier PhD graduate earns prestigious Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship

Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing

Oct 24/12

Laurier PhD graduate Sonja Brubacher is among a group of select postdoctoral researchers from across Canada and around the world to have been awarded the prestigious Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship, worth up to $70,000.

The award will allow Brubacher, who completed her master’s and PhD degrees at Laurier in the Department of Psychology, to continue her studies on children and memory at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant. Her research aims to understand how children remember and what cognitive and motivational differences among children affect how they report their experiences. Her work has practical applications in situations where children may be called as a witness in a criminal case.

“The Banting Fellowship is a fantastic opportunity to expand upon my doctoral research,” says Brubacher. “I’m learning new methodologies, getting exposure to new interview techniques, and expanding my network – all of which will positively impact my work.”

The Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships Program awards 70 fellowships a year, each valued at $70,000 annually for up to two years. Successful applicants are selected on the basis of research excellence, demonstrated leadership in their field of expertise, and parallels between their research and institutional strategic priorities.

Alexandra Gottardo, an associate professor of Psychology at Laurier, is not surprised that Brubacher has earned this award. She says Brubacher has shown great initiative throughout her master’s and PhD studies, and is doing important work.

“This fellowship will give Sonja more international exposure and allow her to solve these interesting problems,” said Gottardo. “I think it also shows that students at Laurier are able to compete with the best in the world.”

Brubacher earned several awards while at Laurier, including an MA Medal of Academic Excellence in 2007, and a PhD Medal of Academic Excellence and Governor General’s Academic Medal in 2011.  

The Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships Program was launched in 2010 and is named after Sir Frederick Banting, who together with his assistant Dr. Charles Best is credited with discovering insulin. For more information about the program, visit


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