By Janessa Porter
Janessa Porter is The Campfire Project’s first Research Assistant. A Master’s student in Carleton University’s Personality and Social Psychology program, Janessa will be with the project until the beginning of December.
“Why” is the most used word in my vocabulary. From the time I learned to speak, I have been fascinated with how the world works and always search for answers. When I was young, my main questions were about the people I saw around my small community. I sat and observed the people coming into my parents business, and then asked my parents follow-up questions afterwards.
This perpetual curiosity led me to Psychology, where I continued to question human thought and behaviour. I attended Wilfrid Laurier University for my undergraduate degree in Psychology with a Science Research Specialization. The community at Laurier has a strong background in volunteerism, and I became immersed in helping with mental health and science initiatives. This engagement sparked the idea of my thesis, which examined whether there are motivational attributes that distinguish the involved from the uninvolved during university years.
After my undergraduate degree, I worked for a short period of time only to realize that I wanted to continue with conducting my own research. I am currently a Master of Arts student in Personality and Social Psychology at Carleton University. I am examining whether disengaging from old goals and reinstating new goals can lead to personal growth after adversity. I am also investigating how environmental cues influence meaning in life.
I love research but I also believe that the knowledge gained should be shared with the people who need it. Most research sits on a shelf, but knowledge is inherently interactive and should be used to create change. I joined the Campfire Project because it wants to put research into action. My role as Research Assistant will be to to help conducting literature reviews and secure ethics approval for the project’s research objectives. I will help refine the research methods, as help spread the word about the project through social media. I have been warmly welcomed to the team, and I am curiously awaiting to read everyone’s stories!