In honour of the Champlain Saint-Lambert’s 50th anniversary, the college has followed up with 50 of its alumni to see where their paths have led after their time in Cegep. These 50 former students have gone on to accomplish amazing things and their paths show just how much is possible for a Champlain grad.
Dave Ellemberg is one of Canada’s leading researchers in neuropsychology.
Dave Ellemberg (Social Sciences, 1992) is a clinical neuropsychologist, neuroscientist, professor at Université de Montreal and the founder and director of the CENTAM clinic in Montreal.
Ellemberg has written over 80 scientific publications and three books on concussions, but he wasn’t always a star student.
In fact, Ellemberg said he went from barely passing his classes in high school to making the honour roll in Cegep seemingly overnight.
“I spent most of high school thinking I was not smart. I did not have any learning strategies. I did not really see the purpose of school and learning,” he said. “I feel that Cegep changed the course of my life.”
On Orientation day at Champlain, Ellemberg said that one of the speakers said something that struck a chord: “She said, ‘remember that is your choice to be here, so make sure that you make the most out of it and that you are not here to waste your time.’ It really resonated for me.”
Ellemberg said he decided to put in the effort not just in his classes, but in developing good study habits.
“For me, Cegep was discovering my intellectual aptitudes and discovering that I have a passion for learning.”
Champlain was also the place where he was first introduced to psychology.
“I had no interest in psychology. It was not seen positively where I came from. I ended up taking intro to psychology because no other course would fit in my schedule. It was serendipity, I fell in love with it,” he recalled.
Ellemberg completed a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from McGill University and a Master’s in science from McMaster University. He completed a second Master’s as well as his doctorate at l’Université de Montréal.
When he finished his studies, Ellemberg started doing learning disability assessments, not realizing there would be a huge demand for his service.
“I did not think I would make a big thing out of it. I thought I would be doing one assessment every two or three weeks,” he said. “But I was getting five or six calls a day.”
That is when he founded CENTAM, the Clinique d’’Evaluation Neuropsychologique et des Troubles d’Apprentissage de Montreal.
This was back in 2000 when “nobody really spoke about learning disabilities.” Twenty years later, Ellemberg said that these issues have become much more ingrained in the public consciousness.
After completing a postdoc at Sainte-Justine Hospital in Montreal and another at McGill University’s Faculty of Medicine, Ellemberg took a job teaching at Université de Montréal.
He set up a lab and over the years secured millions in funding from the Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec, the Canadian Health Research Institute, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
His research is mainly interested in understanding the resilience of the developing brain, with a particular focus on concussion.
Dr. Ellemberg has received several awards for his research, including the certificate of excellence from the Canadian Psychology Society, the E. A. Baker Award from the Canadian Council of Medical Research, the Leaders Award from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation and the Brain Star Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
Ellemberg’s advice for current students and recent grads: “The first day of your classes, do not procrastinate. Make a study plan for the entire semester. Take control over your studies and take control over your study plan. Go talk to the teachers who inspire you. Spend some time with them if you can.”