‘Don’t Be Afraid To Go Out on a Limb’

It took one undergrad course to get this psychology professor hooked on the field. But if it hadn't, would she be pursuing her passion for photography?


Jennifer Steeves is a Professor of Psychology at York University. Her research examines how the brain adapts to changes in sensory input with vision loss or direct brain damage. We asked her everything from the perseverance required of budding researchers to her grandparents in hopes of giving you a better understanding of what goes on outside the lab for one of the best minds in Canadian research.

What do you like most about being a researcher?

I love that I’m able to explore research questions that I’m curious about and interested in exploring. I don’t have anyone telling me what I should do, and instead, I can drive the agenda. I enjoy working with my students and seeing research projects across the various stages of progress.

What advice would you give young researchers?

Have perseverance and you will get there! Try to think outside the box whenever possible. Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb.

What inspired you to become a researcher?

I took an undergraduate course in sensation and perception and I became hooked! I knew immediately that this was the area of science that I was interested in. I was lucky to obtain RA positions in the area as well, which further honed my interests.

What do you like to do for fun? 

I am an avid bootcamp-er. I love nature, spending time outdoors, and cooking (mostly the eating part). I also enjoy wine and gardening.

What’s your favourite cuisine?

I love all kinds of foods and cuisines. My husband and I spend a lot of time cooking new dishes from scratch. I love cheese. It’s easier to list what I don’t like — shredded coconut and walnuts.

If you could do any profession other than your own what would it be?

Photography. I love nature and landscapes and capturing them on camera.

If you could meet any historical figure, who would it be and why?

My grandparents passed away before I was born. I would love to learn more about what their lives were like and who they were.

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Research2Reality is a groundbreaking initiative that shines a spotlight on world-class scientists engaged in innovative and leading edge research in Canada. Our video series is continually updated to celebrate the success of researchers who are establishing the new frontiers of science and to share the impact of their discoveries with the public.