School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

Jackie Huberman

PhD candidate in Psychology

Jackie Huberman

Vanier Scholar Jackie Huberman Studies the Sexual Response Process in Women

By Karl Hardy, October 2016

Queen’s Jackie Huberman is one of seven 2016 recipients of the prestigious Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship. Jackie’s research has focused on characterizing gender differences and similarities in patterns of sexual response.

“The Vanier award will allow me to focus more on my research in the coming years, maximizing its impact and my success. I am so humbled to have received this prestigious award, which will carry me forward in my career,” she said.

For her Master's thesis, Jackie used a new measurement tool, which allowed improved comparisons across men and women, in order to examine a difference that had been previously observed in the specificity of sexual responses. The results of her thesis highlighted the cues that are most relevant for men’s and women’s sexual responses and clarified the relationship between different aspects of sexual arousal.

Building on these findings, her doctoral research will focus on improving our understanding of the sexual response process in women. “I will use innovative methodologies to empirically examine a model of women’s sexual response, including neural correlates and predictors of sexual arousal and desire,” Jackie explains. “Through this line of work, I hope to help shift society’s conceptualization of female sexual response to more accurately reflect women’s unique experiences.”

Jackie began her undergraduate degree at Queen's University in 2007, and pursued a psychology major. She feels fortunate that she was able to work in several different research labs, studying topics ranging from neuroplasticity to probablistic learning to developmental disabilities during the course of her undergraduate career, recalling that she “loved the research process from the start, finding it incredible to work through a project from the stages of reviewing literature, generating research questions, carrying out a study, and organizing and interpreting data.”

During her undergraduate career, Jackie developed an interest in the study of human sexuality, and was surprised at how many gaps existed in our knowledge of sexual response, despite sexuality being central to who we are as humans. She volunteered to work at the Sexual Health Resource Center at Queen's in her fourth year, and graduated with her BSc in Psychology at Queen's University in 2011. She decided to work for a year before beginning graduate school, and was offered a Research Coordinator position in Dr. Irving Binik's Laboratory for the Biopsychosocial Study of Sexuality at McGill University before returning to Queen’s for her MSc in Clinical Psychology working under the supervision of Dr. Meredith Chivers. From there, she continued onto her PhD which she began in 2014.

Jackie quickly became involved in student government, taking on different positions over the years within the Association of Graduate Students in Psychology, including Co-President most recently. She also recently co-founded the Clinical Psychology Outreach Program, where they developed a mental wellness week called Got Your Back! with funding from Jack.org. This initiative promotes community support surrounding mental health, including providing students with strategies for checking in with their peers about their mental well-being.

“Graduate school has been hectic and difficult at times, but I feel so lucky to be doing what I love,” Jackie says. “I remind myself, on the particularly trying days, of how great a gig I have as a graduate student - I get to spend my days asking interesting questions, helping people through clinical work, and sometimes teaching. It's a great balance for me, and I try to maintain good work/life balance as well.”

“I am so grateful to my supervisor, Dr. Meredith Chivers. Beyond her endless knowledge base, Dr. Chivers is dedicated, patient, and supportive. She sets high standards, which motivate me to work hard and to think critically” said Jackie. “I also could not do what I do without the support and feedback of my labmates and peers in the Sexuality and Gender Lab.”

On top of the support I have within my lab and the Department of Psychology, I would not be where I am today without my incredible friends and family, who are always cheering me on! ”

“In the future, I see myself continuing to pursue research in sexuality, aimed at improving our understanding of women's and men's sexual responses and sexual difficulties. I also enjoy teaching and clinical work, so we will have to wait and see what type of specific role I end up in. I am grateful that my training at Queen's and in the Sexuality and Gender Lab have prepared me well to work in various roles and settings.”

Outside of the academic sphere, Jackie enjoys playing soccer, going to yoga, cycling around town, and visiting with friends and family.

Tags: