KPU Professor Exemplary Service Medal

Evan Lopes acknowledged for contributions to forensics.

Hira Matharoo / The Runner

Hira Matharoo / The Runner

By Joseph Keller

A professor at KPU has been awarded one of Canada’s top honours for professional service. Psychology professor Dr. Evan Lopes was awarded the Governor General’s Exemplary Service Medal. This award honours Lopes’s years of work in the corrections field as a forensic psychologist. He accepted the award at a ceremony in Abbotsford on Nov. 24.

“I am very happy and very honoured. Few people within this field end up receiving this award so I’m very glad I was recognized for it,” says Lopes.

The Governor General’s Exemplary Service Medal is awarded to a professional who has worked in corrections for at least 10 years, spent 20 years in distinguished federal public service and has proven exemplary in their field. As a clinical psychologist specializing in forensic psychology, Lopes fits the requirements.

“I work with people who are in trouble with the law. When people are actively aggressive or threatening self-harm, it is not unusual for a psychologist to be the front-line person,” said Lopes in a statement to press.

Lopes has spent decades working in forensic psychology in different roles and different organizations. His longevity, experience and prominence in the field made him a candidate for this award.

“All the organizations that I have ever worked for have always been very good at what they do and we were always willing to jump into the line of duty when something had to be done,” says Lopes on part of the reason for his success.

Lopes’s career began in the military, where he served for several years before doing stints working with the RCMP and B.C.’s Ministry of Children and Family Development. During this time he completed his doctorate in clinical psychology. He was later recruited to work for Corrections Canada for whom he worked for many years.

In addition to teaching at KPU, Lopes is currently working in private practice clinical psychology. He also works with the province on treatment programs for people on parole and probation.

Lopes started teaching over a decade ago as a supplement to his work in forensic psychology. He says teaching was always something that he wanted to do. After working for a number of other universities, he came to the KPU criminology department and later move to the psychology department.

“The one thing that I actually love to do the most and what keeps me young is teaching. I absolutely love teaching,” says Lopes. “That’s the one thing that has kept me going and has kept me fresh. It’s a breath of fresh air.”

“[I like] the fact that [it’s] always different,” says Lopes. “As soon as you think you have seen or heard everything, something different comes along. And every case you do, every assessment you do, every client you speak to is very, very different.”

Lopes recommends a career in forensic psychology to those with a good sense of humour, and most importantly a thick skin, because the job involves working with a great deal of drama.

“You will pretty much be exposed to the worst humanity has to throw at you,” says Lopes.

Despite the challenges, Lopes sees it as a highly rewarding career. For those who think they are suited for the task, Lopes gives the practical advice of considering a degree in clinical psychology due to its versatility—allowing graduates to take on many different roles within the field.


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