Graduate Student Spotlight Award winner – summer/fall 2013

Congratulations to Kathryn Birnie, BA.

By Shana L. Schuman, MS

Kathryn (Katie) Birnie is a fourth-year PhD student at Dalhousie University (Halifax, Canada) under the mentorship of Christine Chambers, PhD. Katie has an exceptionally strong track record in research, clinical, leadership and community endeavors within the field of pediatric psychology. She has been involved in various research projects primarily examining topics within the area of pediatric pain including: catastrophizing and parenting during parent-child interactions about pain, pain experiences of hospitalized children, ethical issues in pediatric research, and use of the cold pressor task in pediatric populations. Katie has presented her research at international, national, and local conferences, and has collaborated on 12 peer-reviewed publications, four non-peer-reviewed publications and three book chapters. She is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the prestigious Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship. For her dissertation project, Katie is examining pain catastrophizing, parenting and parental responsiveness during parent-child interactions about pain and conflict. She has secured over $16,000 in funding for this project, including the Marion and Donald Routh Student Research Grant from the Society of Pediatric Psychology. Katie is also a trainee member of Pain in Child Health (PICH): a strategic training initiative funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Clinically, Katie has provided intervention for children and families presenting with a wide range of issues including feeding disorders, acute and chronic illness, complex pain, autism and learning disabilities. Katie has also served in several different leadership positions for the Canadian Psychological Association, the Canadian Pain Society and Dalhousie University. Finally, Katie has been engaged in a number of community-based knowledge translation activities, including delivering talks at community day camps for youth. Personally, Katie is described by her mentor as a lifelong learner who will continue to make important contributions to professional affairs in the psychology community.

Katie is currently expecting a baby and is planning to apply for internship in October 2014. After graduation, Katie plans to continue in research and working clinically with children and families, focusing on coping with chronic illness and pain.