Ponoka resident Desjarlais receives outstanding student research award

She is in the process of completing her PhD at the University of North Dakota.

Cerynn Desjarlais just received the 2017 Alan Allery Award, which honours American Indian/First Nations graduate student health researchers. Photo submitted


A Ponoka resident studying in the United States just received a special award.

Cerynn Desjarlais was recently honoured with a 2017 Alan Allery Award. The award honours outstanding Native American/First Nations graduate student health researchers. Selection criteria for the awards include quality, impact, and significance of the research conducted by the nominee.

Desjarlais is a fourth-year doctoral student in the counselling psychology PhD program at the University of North Dakota. Desjarlais is dedicated to research pursuits that help to explain social injustices. Her master’s individual study explored the academic experiences of Native Americans in higher education. She also worked on a National Science Foundation Grant Team exploring Latino and white persistence in engineering.

Currently, she is working with a small group of students on a version of the Work Hope Scale and is in the data production phase of her doctoral dissertation, placing her among the first to research the implications of spiritual micro aggressions within Indigenous populations in North America, including how individuals cope with these subtle forms of discrimination. Desjarlais plans to continue researching, teaching, and practicing throughout her career to make a meaningful and significant impact on the lives of others.

The award is named in honour of the late Alan J. Allery, PhD, a fallen member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. Actively involved on the UND campus, he was an adjunct clinical assistant professor at the Center for Rural Health, director of the National Resource Center on Native American Aging, and director of Student Health Services. His experience included 30 years of work with American Indian people.

The award is presented annually as part of the American Indian Health Research Conference in Grand Forks. The conference is sponsored by the UND Center for Rural Health, North Dakota IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence, the Seven Generations Center of Excellence in Native Behavioral Health, and the UND Chapter of the Society of Indian Psychologists.

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