Maya Atlas and Kiana Chubey
“Something I’ve always wanted to be is an advice columnist, and I feel like if I wasn’t in psychology that’s something I would love to do.”
Maya Atlas might perhaps one day become an advice columnist. Once she graduates with her Ph.D. in psychology, she’ll have the credentials to become one. As an avid writer, she will also have the skills to make that column fascinating. As she says, “advice columns can sometimes be literature in themselves”. Until then, however, she is contenting herself with doling out the advice directly, as a mentor in the CPA’s Student Mentorship Program.
Maya is in the second year of her Ph.D. at Toronto Metropolitan University, studying post-traumatic growth in MDMA-assisted therapy for couples with PTSD. Her mentee is Kiana Chubey, who is in her fifth year at the University of Manitoba doing her honours thesis. Kiana is hoping to go into clinical psychology with an eye toward working with children, and is leaning on Maya when it comes to navigating the system and applying to graduate programs.
Kiana is a painter, but finds that her undergraduate studies can suck up a lot of time and keep her very busy! As Maya tries to carve out time to write during her Ph.D., Kiana finds she must make an effort to create time to work on art during her undergrad; This is one of the few similarities the two have.
TAKE FIVE WITH MAYA AND KIANA
What is the psychological concept (bystander apathy, confirmation bias, that sort of thing) that blew you away when you first heard it?
Kiana: “Learning about false memories is really fascinating. How we can actually implant false memories. We talked a lot in class about eyewitness testimony for example, how it isn’t really that accurate or the best way to solve a crime.”
Maya: “In my undergraduate years I took a class called the neuroscience of consciousness. Learning about different states, near-death experiences, and that kind of thing. It sparked something in me and in some way became tied to my current research interest, which is psychedelic-assisted therapy.”
You can listen to only one musical artist/group for the rest of your life. Who is it?
Kiana: “I really like Tom Petty. I like older music and he has a lot of good songs and I feel like his music is a little more special since he recently passed.”
Maya: “I’m totally cheating on this answer, I would pick a really great playlist. I think listening to one person forever would be horrible!”
Maya: “Wild, by Cheryl Strayed. It’s a memoir of her journey through grief and a lot of hardship in her life. She sets off on a hike by herself and finds her way and comes to acceptance with what’s happened so she can move forward.”
Kiana: “I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson. It’s a story about separated twins, and it’s also about grieving. It has a lot to do with the importance of family.”
Kiana: “’You may say I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one. I hope some day you’ll join us, and the world will live as one.’ I think it’s a really nice quote about world peace.”
Maya: “Mine is from the movie Call Me By Your Name, and it’s “to feel nothing so as not to feel anything – what a waste”. I think it just speaks to experiencing everything in life and not shutting down.
If you could spend a day in someone else’s shoes who would it be and why
Kiana: “I’d like to be an astronaut in space – it would be so cool to experience zero gravity, and to see Earth from space!”
Maya: “What about spending five minutes in different people throughout the day to get a variety of experiences? I think it would be interesting to get all these different perspectives. I would also go to outer space like Kiana. And underwater, as a deep-sea diver.”
Maya started out in journalism at Carleton University, switched to psychology, then went traveling for five years after completing her undergraduate degree. She did a ski season in Whistler, where she met some friends and accompanied them to Australia for a year. Then she came back to Canada to live in Banff for a year and a half. After that she moved to Vancouver where she did some creative writing courses. It was there that she realized she wanted to go to grad school for clinical psychology, and her travels took her to Toronto.
Kiana went into psychology straight out of high school in Winnipeg, staying close to home. She was passionate about art in high school but was advised to find a more lucrative career path, so she chose one where she would be able to help people, children in particular. She hopes to get into a graduate program at the University of Manitoba, so she doesn’t have to move.
Although their paths have been very different, their goals are similar and their connection is strong. Kiana has learned a lot from Maya and appreciates the advice, kindness, and mentorship she provides. Maya appreciates Kiana’s thirst for knowledge and her engagement in the mentorship process. So much so that she nominated Kiana for the CPA Student Section Mentee of the Year award. Says Maya,
“Kiana was very prepared for all our meetings, always had questions to ask, always guided where we were going. She’s really motivated, interested, and curious. We come from very different psychology backgrounds, but she was always really interested in learning, wanted to hear more, and she’s just a really curious, motivated student.”
That curious, motivated student is going places in psychology for sure – maybe not as many places as Maya has gone in her journeys around the globe, but she is certainly on an upward trajectory in the discipline. Perhaps one day the peripatetic writer and the homebody artist will collaborate as psychologists and colleagues – or Kiana will illustrate the book Maya writes. Or both! Either way, the future is very bright for these two intelligent, motivated young women.