Trainees

Post-Doctoral Fellows

Jessica Katz 

Supervisor: Christine Kurtz-Landy
Department: Psychology
Email:
katzjess@yorku.ca 

Jessica Katz

My current research is focused on how mothers are prepared for changes in their planned or expected labour processes during their birth experiences. Specifically, I am exploring how nurses help mothers to prepare for unexpected and emergent cesarean sections when the nurse anticipates that this may be the outcome. I am looking to give language to this aspect of the labour and delivery nurse's practice, which has been shown to be important to the emotional response of the mother.

Stephanie Craig 

Supervisor: Debra Pepler
Department: Psychology
Email: sgcraig@yorku.ca 

Stephanie CraigMy current research is focused on understanding the development and treatment of children and youth with severe behaviour problems (e.g., conduct disorder). One line of my research examines affect regulation strategies as a potential mechanism underlying adolescents’ severe behaviour problems, including the development of callous-unemotional traits. My other line of research focuses on affect regulation and the parent-child relationship as mechanisms of change across an evidence-based intervention for parents of adolescents. By understanding the underlying mechanisms of severe behaviour disorders, we are able to better target our interventions and create more effective treatment for children and youth.

Tazvin Ijaz

Supervisor: Debra Pepler
Department: Psychology
Email: tazvin@yorku.ca 

Tazvin Ijaz Currently, I am working on research projects at  Pine River Institute, a residential treatment center for youth struggling with addictions and mental health problems. At the moment, my research interests focus on exploring the impact of the Outdoor Learning Experience (OLE), Cognitive Behavior Therapy, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy on the mental health of the youth at PRI. I am exploring the progression in the emotional maturity of youth and their readiness to change while they pass through different stages of the PRI residential treatment program. This research will help to highlight the processes that may be contributing to youths’ successful transition from one stage to another. At the same time, this research may reveal processes that obstruct youths’ progress through the treatment plan. I am also interested in analyzing the narratives of youth enrolled in the PRI treatment program to unravel how their narratives change as a result of intervention. This exploration may help us understand the information processing of youth as they view their problems, their relationships and themselves. This research will help fill gaps in understanding the mechanisms of change through the treatment program and guide improvements in the programming to sustain the positive effects of youths’ experiences at PRI. 

Meghan Harlow

Supervisor: Jessica Fraser-Thomas
Department:
School of Kinesiology & Health Sciences
Email: mharlow2@yorku.ca  

Meghan HarlowMy research is focused on early childhood sport participation. Broadly, my doctoral work explored early childhood (<6 years) organized sport take-up, experiences, and development through sport, while my postdoctoral work is focused on exploring the role of the ‘coach’ in preschooler sport programming. Specifically, this work entails 1) exploring key stakeholders’ perceptions of effective coaching within preschooler sport, 2) designing and developing evidence-informed training tools to facilitate effective coaching in preschooler sport, and 3) implementing and evaluating coach education/training tools. This research is timely and necessary given growth in preschooler sport programming in Canada, and will advance understanding of how to effectively deliver preschooler sport programs during a critical phase of children’s development. 

Veronica Allan

Supervisor: Jessica Fraser-Thomas
Department:
School of Kinesiology & Health Sciences
Email: vallan@yorku.ca 

Veronica Allan I am a SSHRC-funded postdoctoral fellow in the School of Kinesiology and Health Science at York University in Toronto, Ontario. I also work in a part-time consulting capacity as a Research and Innovation Specialist with the Sport Information Resource Centre and as a Long-Term Development Advisor with the Sport for Life Society. My education and training to date—which includes a PhD in Sport Psychology from Queen’s University (class of 2018) and a Munk Fellowship in Global Journalism at the University of Toronto (class of 2019)—has equipped me with a unique skillset grounded in innovative research design and knowledge translation, as well as a specialized focus on research communications. My research interests encompass athlete development and coaching in youth and disability sport contexts.

Vanessa Seymour

Supervisor: Melody Wiseheart
Department: Psychology
Email:
vanessa_foot@hotmail.com 

Vanessa Seymour

My current research is focused on the implementation of the spacing effect in the classroom. I am a classroom teacher, currently working in York Region with a wonderful class of Grade 7 students. In my research, I collaborate with psychologists, educators and students to look at best practices for spacing that will work for everyone. My hope is that we canfind enough evidence to inform classroom practice so that students like mine can work as effectively and efficiently as possible. 

Cheryl Chow

Supervisor: Rebecca Pillai Riddell
Department: Psychology
Email: chtchow@yorku.ca

Cheryl ChowMy research work primarily focuses on elucidating the etiology, consequences and development of pediatric anxiety and pain within the medical context. My postdoctoral projects include: i) developing and testing novel approaches using neurophysiological methodologies to predict and assess infant pain; ii) examining the effectiveness of a tablet-based application in reducing anxiety and pain in children undergoing
elective surgery.

Doctoral Students

Rivka Green

Supervisor: Christine Till
Department: Psychology
Email: rrgreen@yorku.ca 

Rivka is a third year doctoral student, studying clinical-developmental neuropsychology in Dr. Christine Till's lab at York University. Her general research interest is on exposures to environmental neurotoxins in early-life and childhood neurodevelopmental outcomes. Her clinical intervention interests are on prevention and management of neurodevelopmental disorders in children, including the optimization of parenting strategies. Rivka is also focusing on knowledge dissemination in the field of prenatal health, and is striving to ensure that her research reaches the desired audiences - especially pregnant and prospective mothers!

Tracy Fabri

Supervisor: Christine Till
Department: Psychology
Email: tfabri@my.yorku.ca 

Tracy FabriI work within an established interdisciplinary team of world-renowned researchers (Canadian Pediatric Demyelinating Disease Network) under the immediate supervision of Dr. Christine Till. Our research answers questions regarding the impact of insult to the developing brain in high-risk medical populations. My Masters thesis examined the interrelationship between memory, identification of emotional expression, and volume of limbic structures (i.e., the amygdala, hippocampus, and thalamus) in patients with pediatric-onset multiple sclerosis. I look forward to continuing to understand cognition in children and youth with demyelinating diseases. Our research findings have the potential to inform targeted interventions and recommendations. 

Bianca Bondi

Supervisor: Debra Pepler
Department: Psychology
Email: bbondi@yorku.ca 

Bianca BondiMy graduate research is embedded at Mothercraft’s Breaking the Cycle, a relational early intervention program for substance-exposed children. For my master’s research, I established theoretically grounded cross-domain cumulative risk and protection measures for use with sibling groups exposed prenatally to substances. I also explored each child’s longitudinal neurodevelopmental profile. The emerging patterns highlighted the importance of a mixed-method, cumulative, and cross-domain consideration of risk and protection, as well as the impact of early intervention on neurodevelopment. I will continue investigating the impact of cumulative risk and protection, and early intervention, on neurodevelopment in substance-exposed infants and young children for my dissertation. Specifically, I will establish a developmental-relational assessment method to identify neurodevelopmental profiles within early relational contexts of cumulative risk and protection.

Benjamin Diplock

Supervisor: Debra Pepler
Department: Psychology
Email: bdiplock@yorku.ca 

Benjamin DiplockMy current research is focused on therapeutic processes and efficacy in treatment for children with learning disabilities and mental health difficulties. Specifically, I am embedded in a child community mental health institute and am supporting a mixed-methods program evaluation of a social skills program for children with learning disabilities and social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. This program evaluation will consider the therapeutic processes, program efficacy and further support the development and modification of the programmatic theory of change. Improving our understanding of therapeutic processes and efficacy can lead to more effective delivery of mental health services and provision of treatment for

Kathryn Pierce

Supervisor: Debra Pepler
Department: Psychology
Email: kpierce4@yorku.ca 

Kathryn Pierce

My research is focused on school-based day treatment for young children with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. Using a qualitative approach, I am working on developing a program model encompassing the strategies used by day treatment staff on a moment-to-moment basis to promote the development of school readiness skills. This work will pave the way for further research on this intervention and help with sharing knowledge about day treatment amongst children's mental health agencies. 

Bryn Ludlow

Supervisor: Sarah Flicker
Department: Environmental & Urban Change

Email: bludlow@yorku.ca

Bryn LudlowI am a Canadian artist and doctoral candidate in the Communication and Culture program at York University, in the York and Ryerson Joint Program in Communication and Culture. My dissertation research study addresses "Multidisciplinary perspectives on digital stories created by former youth in foster care in Canada". With Skype, I used video elicitation and semi-structured interviewing with 35 individuals working in the arts, health care, and social services, across 10 countries to find out "What makes a great story?" Broadly, my research and teaching interests are in applications of digital, arts-based methods such as: digital storytelling, body mapping, and human-centered design to address health inequities among diverse and marginalized populations.

Charlotte Lombardo

Supervisor: Sarah Flicker
Department: Environmental & Urban Change
Email: charl@yorku.ca

Charlotte LombardoMy work is rooted in community engaged scholarship, drawing from the traditions of community development and community-based participatory research. My main areas of focus are youth and community arts, with a particular emphasis on the role of creative placemaking for the engagement and empowerment of young people navigating oppressions and inequities. I am currently collaborating with the community agency Sketch Working Arts, on a project artfully exploring place, community, culture and public space. 

Jameela Krishnan

Supervisor: Sarah Flicker
Department: Environmental & Urban Change
Email: jkrishnan278@gmail.com

My research project is focused on exploring and documenting experiences of racism in Toronto schools through the narratives of racialized youth using the medium film. I will be supporting the youth using Participatory Visual Methodology to engage in dialogue about the issue of racism in schools and provide space for them to narrate and create a film that depicts their experiences and thoughts on the social issue. I will be examining the topic through the lens of Critical Race Theory to understand how race and its intersectionalities with other forms of subordination is at the center of understanding the oppression of racialized youth.

Durdana Khan

Supervisor: Hala Tamim
Department:
School of Kinesiology & Health Sciences
Email: drkhan@yorku.ca 

Durdana Khan My current research is focused on social determinants particularly job related factors and their long-term effects on Canadian adults. Specifically, I will explore working schedules and how they are associated with specific health outcomes in middle aged and older adults. Given the global ageing phenomenon and growing shift work trends, studying this relationship has become increasingly relevant and crucial. Having better awareness about the effects of occupational factors like working schedules, as the population continues to age, may contribute to better health outcomes for middle-aged and older adults.

Durmalouk (Durra) Kesibi

Supervisor: Hala Tamim
Department:
School of Kinesiology & Health Sciences
Email: durrak@my.yorku.ca 

Durmalouk (Durra) Kesibi I work on collecting data for a study looking at Parents' integration into a new host country after escaping war. Specifically, the project looks at the socio-psychological challenges of Syrian refugee parents who settled into either Canada or Lebanon after escaping the war in Syrian. The aim is to gain more understanding of refugees' challenges and to suggest the development of appropriate services to ease their integration.

Rivka Levin

Supervisor: Jenine Rawana
Department: Psychology
Email: rivka@yorku.ca 

Rivka LevinMy current research focuses on emotion regulation among emerging adults. Specifically, I will be testing brief emotion regulation interventions based on the process model of emotion regulation to gain a deeper understanding of both the model and of efficacy of brief interventions on improving well-being among emerging adults. In addition, I will examine the role of emotion regulation flexibility on outcomes.

Samantha Chan

Supervisor: Jenine Rawana
Department: Psychology
Email: sachan@yorku.ca 

Samantha ChanMy research focuses on emotion regulation, relationships, and well-being among adolescents and emerging adults. Specifically, I will examine the interpersonal nature of emotion regulation and the impact of young people’s emotion regulation on their well-being and relationships. I am also interested in understanding the associations between romantic relationships and resilience among youth at risk.

Kayla McDonald

Supervisor: Jennifer Connolly
Department: Psychology
Email: kylamcd@yorku.ca 

Kyla McDonaldMy current research aims to build a specialized model of care for youth survivors of human trafficking in the child welfare system using a participatory action framework. Specifically, based on evidence gathered through interviews with experts in the field and systematic literature review, recommendations will be provided to collaborating agencies: York Region Children’s Aid Society, York Regional Police, and Simcoe Muskoka Family Connexions. The final stage of the pilot project will involve the development, implementation, and evaluation of a model of care through agency-university collaboration. This research will contribute to the development of a model of care for survivors of sex trafficking in the child welfare system.

Melody Asghari

Supervisor: Jennifer Connolly
Department: Psychology
Email: masghari@yorku.ca 

Melody AsghariMy current research is focused on prevention and intervention for youth involved in sex trafficking. Specifically, I will be working alongside York Region Children's Aid Society to help develop a risk assessment tool used for identifying risk factors associated with sex trafficking involvement. Early identification will help prevent the exploitation of at-risk youth while also supporting healthy development through early intervention. Identifying the associated risk factors through a risk assessment tool will aid in reducing the number of youths involved in sex trafficking within Ontario.

Alexandra Mosher

Supervisor: Jessica Fraser-Thomas
Department:
School of Kinesiology & Health Sciences
Email: moshera@yorku.ca 

Alexandra MosherMy current research is focused on youth athlete development. Specifically, I am aiming to help define and measure early specialization in youth sport. This will then help us to understand which participation variables are most important to collect from youth athletes. Based on these results I plan to develop a new scale for measuring youth sport participation. This will be an important first step to understanding the benefits or drawbacks associated with varying degrees of sport participation.

Mandy Byrnes

Supervisor: Jessica Fraser-Thomas
Department:
School of Kinesiology & Health Sciences
Email: mbyrnes@georgebrown.ca  

Mandy ByrnesMy initial research interests include coach development in amateur sport, specifically the coach characteristics that contribute to player commitment, retention, and long-term player engagement, and how we can enhance and develop these characteristics in leadership positions.  Sport offers a unique opportunity for children and youth to build resiliency, coping strategies, and interpersonal skills that contribute to overall social and emotional well-being.  As an educator and coach I am keenly interested in furthering educational opportunities and training for coaches with the end goal of encouraging participation in youth sport.

Nathania Ofori

Supervisor: Jessica Fraser-Thomas
Department:
School of Kinesiology & Health Sciences
Email: oforinathania@gmail.com 

Nathania OforiMy current research is focused on exploring the perceptions, experiences, and outcomes of an Active Start Special Olympics program for children with intellectual disabilities. In particular, this project will investigate childrens' physical activity/physical literacy (cognitive, physical, and affective development) at home (indoors or outdoors) in lieu of the cancelled Active Start programming during the pandemic, and whether the activities learned within Active Start could be translated to the home environment. Research findings will provide valuable insights on physical literacy among young children with an intellectual disability and serve as a first step towards assessing the effectiveness of the Special Olympics Active Start program.

Andrea Maughan

Supervisor: Jonathan Weiss
Department: Psychology
Email: amaughan@yorku.ca  

Andrea MaughanMy research is focused on contributing to a better understanding of the experiences and wellbeing of parents of children with autism. My master’s thesis examined how parenting, parent mental health, and the parent-child relationship are impacted when parents of children with autism are involved in therapy with their children. For my dissertation, I am exploring how parent mental health and wellbeing change over time, and following participation in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, a mindfulness- and acceptance-based intervention. I am also interested in these parents’ qualitative experiences and preferences with respect to the interventions in which they participate, with the goal of promoting appropriate support for parents of children with autism.

Annie Mills

Supervisor: Jonathan Weiss
Department: Psychology
Email: millsas@yorku.ca 

Annie MillsMy research focuses on the well-being and mental health of individuals with developmental disabilities. My master's thesis investigated associations between child autism characteristics, parent factors, and emotion regulation in youth with autism. My doctoral research will use photo-elicitation methods and qualitative interviewing to investigate what thriving means for those with developmental disabilities. Collaborating with those with developmental disabilities and their families in creating a conceptualization of thriving is an important step in learning how best to support the well-being of this group.

Carly Albaum

Supervisor: Jonathan Weiss
Department: Psychology
Email: csalbaum@yorku.ca

Carly Albaum
My current research focuses on process factors in cognitive behaviour therapy for children with autism. I am specifically interested in the role of the therapeutic alliance, how child characteristics and therapist skills bolster or rupture this relationship, and how this contributes to treatment change.


Victoria Chan

Supervisor: Jonathan Weiss
Department: Psychology
Email: victing@yorku.ca  

Victoria ChanMy current research is focused on parent therapeutic factors in mental health treatment for children with autism. Specifically, I will develop a conceptual framework of parent therapeutic factors (e.g., parent participation and parent-child alliance) in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) for children with autism. This conceptual framework will form the basis of an observational measure I will develop to quantify parent therapeutic factors demonstrated in therapy sessions. Improving our understanding of parent participation and parent-child alliance in therapy can lead to more effective mental health treatment for children with autism.

Elizabeth Wanstall

Supervisor: Maggie Toplak
Department: Psychology
Email: ewanst@my.yorku.ca 

Elizabeth WanstallMy broad research interests include better understanding the neuropsychological and cognitive development of children with neurodevelopmental or early-onset medical conditions and how this intersects with mental health. Currently my research focuses on the assessment of executive functions in children with ADHD. More specifically, I have helped develop a performance-based measure of executive function that manipulates the element of structure. This work aims to better capture the developing abilities of children with ADHD in order to better characterize their needs and provide them with adequate support.

Joshua Doidge

Supervisor: Maggie Toplak
Department: Psychology
Email: jdoidge@yorku.ca 

Joshua Doidge

Joshua Doidge received his M.A., and is currently completing his Ph.D., at York University in the Clinical-Developmental Psychology Program. Josh did his M.A. on examining gender differences on delay of gratification tasks in ADHD and Typically Developing samples. Josh is completing his doctoral research in understanding how technology is used during adolescence and how it relates to decision-making.

Rachael Lyon

Supervisor: Maggie Toplak
Department: Psychology
Email: lyonr@yorku.ca 

Rachael LyonMy research interests center around brain-behaviour relationships and treatment innovation in children and youth with neurodevelopmental and acquired brain disorders. My master’s research investigated the extent to which executive function task performance and parent-ratings of ADHD symptomatology capture age related variance in a longitudinal sample of children and youth. This work has important methodological implications for the measurement of developmental change and may, in part, explain why rating scales and performance-based measures are weakly/modestly correlated in child and youth samples. My dissertation will likely build on this work in a clinical sample.

Annalise Clarkson

Supervisor: Nazilla Khanlou
Department: Critical Disability Studies
Email: ac1313@yorku.ca  

Annalise ClarksonMy current research aims to prevent sexual violence against disabled youth through education about sex, sexuality, and healthy sexual relationships. Specifically, I am interested in exploring participatory research methods for the purpose of sex education programming developed by and for disabled youth. Knowledge is a powerful tool for protection that is denied to disabled populations and exploited by perpetrators of sexual violence. Developing innovative sex education programming would equip disabled youth with the tools to recognize, avoid, and expose dangerous relationships and to participate in healthy sexual relationships into adulthood.

Josephine Mary Violet Francis Xavier

Supervisor: Nazilla Khanlou
Department: Nursing
Email: jose.xavier27@yahoo.com 

Josephine Mary Violet Francis XavierMy primary interest lies in women’s health, breastfeeding promotion, and lactation support. As an immigrant mother and an IEN, my scientific inquiry will focus on fathering/parenting issues among Indian immigrant families (young adults) during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period during the COVID-19 crisis. Besides, I will explore the intergenerational and cross-cultural differences among fathers in the immigrant land of Canada. The outcomes will focus on providing possible solutions, strategies, and community-based approaches to enhance and strengthen the father’s mental health and wellbeing outside the stereotypic culture. Another area of interest is to study gender diversity, gender-inclusive language and its challenges among immigrant and non-immigrant maternal and child health nurses.

Katerina Disimino

Supervisor: Rebecca Bassett-Gunter
Department: School of Kinesiology & Health Sciences
Email: kdisim@yorku.ca 

Katerina Disimino

The goal of my research is to promote physical activity for children with disabilities. My specific focus involves analyzing the effects of an online messaging intervention on physical activity support behaviours among parents of children with intellectual disabilities. This research will uncover theory-based evidence to inform health promotion message development targeting parents. By translating findings from this project into practice, my research contributions aim to generate community-level impact through enhancing children with disabilities’ physical activity engagement, supporting their positive development, and encouraging lifelong health habits.

Victoria Larocca

Supervisor: Rebecca Bassett-Gunter
Department: School of Kinesiology & Health Sciences
Email: victorialarocca93@gmail.com 

Victoria LaroccaMy current research is focused on developing physical activity information and messages for parents of children with disabilities. Specifically, I am involved in understanding best practices regarding the development and dissemination of physical activity information and messages. My research has been used to inform a larger meeting with stakeholders in physical activity, health promotion and disability where a set of best practice recommendations were created. These recommendations are in the process of being used to develop information and messages that organizations can disseminate to parents to  promote physical activity for children with disabilities. Improving our understanding of what types of information and messages parents of children with disabilities prefer can lead to more effective development and dissemination.

Oana Bucsea

Supervisor: Rebecca Pillai-Riddell
Department: Psychology
Email:
obucsea@yorku.ca 

Oana BucseaPast research has demonstrated an inconsistent association between cortical and behavioural indicators of pain-related distress in infancy. Specifically, some studies have shown that babies can show pain-related cortical activity in the absence of behavioural expressions. My current research is focused on gaining a deeper understanding of the relationships between cortical and behavioural indicators of pain-related
distress in hospitalized newborns. Ultimately, this program of
research will inform the development of evidence-based pain
assessment tools, thus mitigating the serious health conse
quences of unmanaged pain in infancy.

Shaylea Badovinac

Supervisor: Rebecca Pillai-Riddell
Department: Psychology
Email: sdbadov@yorku.ca 

Shaylea Badovinac

My graduate program of research has focused on understanding how children’s ability to regulate their emotions, a key indicator of socioemotional development, develops in the context of interactions with primary caregivers. My Master’s thesis explored associations between parents’ mental health and parent-preschooler attachment relationships and highlighted parents’ emotional well-being as one of many factors that are important for supporting adaptive child socioemotional development. My dissertation continues this line of research by investigating how factors such as parents’ mental health,physiological stress response, and behaviour interact and contribute to parents’ response to their child’s distress within a pain context.

Miranda DiLorenzo

Supervisor: Rebecca Pillai Riddell
Department: Psychology
Email: mgdilo@yorku.ca 

Miranda DiLorenzo

Miranda’s dissertation research is focused on understanding how the substrates of emotion regulation – a process essential for maintaining psychology well-being – develop early in life through interactions with one’s caregiver. Her research work aims to provide a better understanding of the development of caregiver-infant co-regulation and to determine the relationships between co-regulation and child developmental
outcomes.

Hannah Gennis

Supervisor: Rebecca Pillai-Riddell
Department: Psychology
Email:
hgennis@yorku.ca 

Hannah GennisAfter spending her Master’s degree studying the role of parent behaviours during vaccination (defended in 2016), Hannah’s dissertation aims to better understand how children’s own emotion regulation behaviours influence their pain-related distress post-vaccination. She is currently in the process of completing a systematic review looking at the relationship between children’s emotion regulation behaviour and distress across several developmental contexts to inform her work in the vaccination setting. She has also been involved in several research projects in the OUCH Lab that focus on parent sensitivity, insensitivity, and psychological factors and their impact on children’s pain response. She is also part of our lab’s Cochrane Review on the efficacy of non-pharmacological interventions for young child procedural pain.

Kayla Hamel

Supervisor: Yvonne Bohr
Department: Psychology
Email: hamelk@yorku.ca

Kayla Hamel 

My research interests are focused on culture, resilience, and strengths-building. I completed my dissertation research in Leon, Nicaragua where I collaborated with a non-profit organization to collect data from children and youth who are living on the street or at risk of living on the street, along with their family members, community members, and program staff. The objective of this research was to develop a context-specific model of resilience pertaining to this group of marginalized young people, one that can inform intervention and policy efforts aimed at supporting this population. My secondary research interests include psychological benefits of exercise and self-compassion. I am currently completing my clinical residency at CAMH with Child, Youth and Family Services.

Marette Abdelmaseh

Supervisor: Yvonne Bohr
Department: Psychology
Email: mjabd@yorku.ca

Marette Abdelmaseh My current research focuses on the impact of early relationships on children’s development. Specifically, I am interested in understanding how the quality of maternal-infant interactions is related to children’s socioemotional well being later in life. My masters thesis examined the predictive validity of a novel measure of disrupted maternal behaviour (the AMBIANCE-Brief) in comparison to other measures of maternal-infant interaction quality. For my doctoral research, I hope to investigate the underpinnings of maternal sensitivity by examining how experiences of trauma may impact a mother's ability to attend and respond to her child's needs. I am also actively involved in a LaMarsh project called “Making I-SPARX Fly in Nunavut”, which seeks to enhance resilience and wellness among Inuit youth by adapting an existing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy based e-intervention (SPARX) created in New Zealand to be Inuit specific.

Mariami Bimm

Supervisor: Yvonne Bohr
Department: Psychology
Email:
mkhou023@gmail.com

My current research aims to contribute to the knowledge we currently have about the effects of ubiquitous technology in the lives of young children, and its impact on parent-child relationships. Specifically, I am studying how caregivers’ excessive mobile device use affects both caregivers and infants, as manifested by their behaviours. I plan to examine the patterns of behavioural stress experienced by infants when caregivers become engaged with a mobile phone in their child’s presence, and the level of behavioural synchrony between infants and caregivers in the same context, with a focus on caregiver sensitivity. The findings of this study will enhance our understanding of current issues relating to wellness in an era of ever-present technology, and will provide data to inform social policies for mobile technology use by caregivers in the presence of their infants.

Yookyung (Carol) Lee

Supervisor: Yvonne Bohr
Department: Psychology
Email: yklee@yorku.ca

Yookyung (Carol) Lee

My current research is focused on the role of culture in caregiver sensitivity expression in caregiver-infant relationships. More specifically, I will compare the scores of widely-used caregiver sensitivity assessment tools in North American child development research across South Korean, Korean American, and European American mother-infant dyads in order to determine whether these sensitivity measures assess sensitivity similarly in different cultural groups. Caregiver sensitivity is recognized for its important role in promoting healthy child development and has long attracted the attention of developmental researchers and has been extensively studied in various contexts. However, consensus on the characteristics and behaviours that define caregiver sensitivity is still sorely lacking. Our current understanding of caregiver sensitivity is heavily biased by the dominance of Western culture, which may not be optimal to analyses in other cultures. Consistent and culturally appropriate conceptualization and assessment of sensitivity is needed to better understand the impact of caregiver sensitivity in child development. 

Master's Student

Meaghan Hall

Supervisor: Christine Till
Department: Psychology
Email: mkhall@yorku.ca 

Meaghan Hall 

My research will center on children’s environmental health, with a particular focus on the health risks associated with prenatal and postnatal exposure to environmental neurotoxins. More specifically, I plan to investigate a potential association between fluoride exposure and thyroid function in pregnant mothers. Future research will examine whether disruption to thyroid hormones during pregnancy may influence offspring neurodevelopmental outcome. Determining the effects of fluoride on the maternal thyroid will aid in guiding health policy to promote optimal health and safety of pregnant mothers and their infants.

Melissa Major

Supervisor: Debra Pepler
Department: Psychology
Email: mmajor19@yorku.ca 

Melissa MajorMy current research is focused on the wellness of Indigenous children, youth, and families, centering around experiences of love and warmth in close relationships amidst colonial harms which have caused obstacles to healthy development. Specifically, by listening to Indigenous girls receiving support from a family care centre, I will develop a conceptual model guided by their voices regarding their relationship experiences, with a focus on moments of love and warmth. This conceptual model will inform further investigation into and what gives Indigenous youth hope. Improving our understanding of what Indigenous youth need to feel supported and surrounded with love and hope for the future can lead to more culturally informed and effective mental health treatment for Indigenous children, youth and families.

Maria Boulos

Supervisor: Hala Tamim
Department:
School of Kinesiology & Health Sciences
Email: mariaa97@my.yorku.ca 

Maria Boulos My current research focuses on studying family functioning, changes in parental roles and mental health in Syrian Refugee families recently resettled in the Toronto GTA. Studying potential factors that contribute to maladaptive family functioning conditions, dynamics of healthy/unhealthy parental role changes and mental health prevalence allows me to promote effective measures to adapt family-based programs and support in our communities.   

Fenote Selam Girma

Supervisor: Jennine Rawana
Department: Psychology
Email: fgirma@yorku.ca 

Fenote Selam GirmaMy current research is focused on interpersonal emotion regulation (IER) in emerging adults (ages 18-29). Specifically, I will examine how context is an important factor in determining whether IER strategies have adaptive or maladaptive outcomes. To that end I will validate a new measure, the Difficulties in Interpersonal Emotion Regulation (DIRE) scale (Dixon-Gordon, 2018), that incorporates context in its measure of IER strategy use. I will also use the DIRE to develop an emotion regulation (ER) variability score, an indicator of the number of ER strategies a person can access. I will use this score to determine if ER variability is a factor in meeting the contextual needs of a regulatory situation. Accounting for context in measures of IER strategy use can improve our understanding of the complex nature of emotion regulation.

Kate Lee

Supervisor: Jennine Rawana
Department: Psychology
Email: katelee@yorku.ca  

Kate LeeMy research area of interest involves how individual differences in emotion regulation can affect mental health in adolescents and emerging adults, and how parent-child dynamics can influence these differences. I am also interested in identifying risk and protective factors for youth mental health, as well as strategies to develop effective evidence based treatment that can be used in community-based settings.

Paolina Onorato

Supervisor: Jennine Rawana
Department: Psychology
Email: onoratop@yorku.ca 

Paolina OnoratoMy current research interests involve investigating resilience factors related to depression and anxiety disorders. Specifically, I am interested in explaining the roles that emotion regulation, various relationships, and self-esteem, play in relation to these mental health difficulties in adolescents and emerging adults. Additionally, I hope to apply this research to create or inform evidence-based programs in order to promote resilience and overall positive mental health.

Katherine Benvenuto

Supervisor: Jennifer Connolly
Department: Psychology
Email: kb15@my.yorku.ca 

Katherine Benvenuto My research interests include romantic relationships, attachment, sexual and mental health, emotion regulation, early adversity, risk and resilience factors among at-risk youth, and the prevention and intervention of sex trafficking. Currently, my research focuses on the romantic relationships of female youth involved in child protective services. 


Daniel Church

Supervisor: Jessica Fraser-Thomas
Department: Psychology
Email: dchurch@yorku.ca 

Daniel ChurchMy current research is focused on exploring the explicit/implicit development of leadership amongst adolescent and emerging adult athletes in sport, as well as the mediating role of gender. Specifically, I am examining how female athlete leaders perceive their development of leadership skills and leadership roles in contrast with their coach’s implicit or explicit coaching method of life skills in the sport of ice hockey through the lens of Positive Youth Development in Sport. Much of the literature has focused on leadership in sport through a coach’s lens and while there is more research on athlete leaders in recent years, most is examined through the experiences of male athletes. Improving the understanding of how female athlete leaders perceive their development of leadership skills will help coaches to develop more explicit practices to deliver life skills and promote positive outcomes through sport.

Flora Roudbarani

Supervisor: Jonathan Weiss
Department: Psychology
Email: froudbar@yorku.ca 

Flora RoudbaraniMy current research interest includes investigating treatment interventions to improve the mental health and wellbeing of children and youth with neurodevelopmental disabilities. I am particularly interested in studying emotion regulation, mindfulness, and the role of therapeutic alliance in treatment success.

 

Nisha Vashi

Supervisor: Jonathan Weiss
Department: Psychology
Email: nbvashi@yorku.ca 

Nisha VashiMy current research is aimed at investigating the role of families and caregivers in fostering the mental health and well-being of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities. I am interested in exploring factors such as parent-child dynamics, parent mental health, socioeconomic factors (e.g. family income, ethnicity, family structure), and parent and child self-efficacy in bolstering or hindering the outcomes of these children. I will also explore how social influences such as access to resources and support networks can be optimized to support families of children with ASD and other developmental disabilities. Understanding the interactions between family, personal, and social factors aids in improving the long-term mental health outcomes of children with developmental disabilities.

Teresa Sellitto

Supervisor: Jonathan Weiss
Department: Psychology
Email: tsellitt@yorku.ca 

Teresa SellittoMy current research interests include investigating mental health treatments for children with developmental disabilities and understanding the factors that promote resilience and well-being in families. I am particularly interested in studying the roles of emotion regulation, the parent-child relationship, and the therapeutic alliance in treatment success and family well-being.

Julia Ferreira Gomes

Supervisor: Lyndsay Hayhurst
Department: School of Kinesiology and Health Science
Email: jfgomes@yorku.ca 

Julia Ferreira GomesMy current research is focused on gender-based violence prevention in and through sport for development. Specifically, I will develop a methodological framework to identify relevant gender-based violence prevention studies and develop a scoping review addressing the current definitional ambiguities of gender-based violence prevention in and through sport for development. I aim to determine what theoretical frameworks tend to underpin gender-based violence prevention and what central elements are involved, in and through sport for development. 

Kaitlyn Butterfield

Supervisor: Maggie Toplak
Department: Psychology
Email:
kmarieb@yorku.ca 

Kaitlyn ButterfieldMy broad research interests include neurodevelopmental disorders in children and youth. My most recent Masters degree explored the inclusive nature of mindfulness-based interventions in the context of students executive functioning. My current research is focused on the longitudinal evaluation of a  performance-based measure of executive function. This work will contribute to the development of an unstructured performance task, allowing us to better understand and support those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Ilana Shiff

Supervisor: Rebecca Pillai Riddell
Department: Psychology
Email: ishiff@yorku.ca 

Ilana ShiffMy master's thesis is focused on identifying the parent beha- iours and cognitions that drive patterns of pain-related regulation in the preschool period.  Recent research by our group extended the literature on early childhood pain-related distress by elucidating distinct patterns of regulation following vaccination in preschool-aged children (Waxman et al., 2017). This study highlighted an important subgroup of chil-                                          dren who display highly distressed patterns of regulation in
the acute pain context. My findings will inform interventions
aimed at providing developmentally appropriate guidance for
families struggling with needle fear and distress.

Taranpreet Vrik

Supervisor: Thanujeni Pathman
Department: Psychology
Email: taranv@my.yorku.ca

My current research is focused on factors related to memory development in children, and its impacts into adulthood. Specifically, I will work towards understanding how factors related to one’s early experiences and development in childhood, aid in the storage of memory on a short-term versus long-term basis (e.g., determining which biological and cognitive factors influence memory retention and ability to conceptualize experiences, as well as determining how valence of experiences, such as positive versus negative stimuli, can affect development and memory retention). Through observational measures, I will develop to quantify whether factors such as valence, and cognitive and biological abilities, impact the processing and preserving of one’s experience in a mental capacity. I will work towards determining the prerequisites necessary, for children to not only form salient memories, but also retain those memories over time.

Tida Kian

Supervisor: Thanujeni Pathman
Department: Psychology
Email:
narges24@my.yorku.ca

Tida Kian My current research is focused to investigate the relation between both semantic and episodic memory in children and across different age groups. I will examine how episodic memory for a specific event at a particular location, may be influenced by spatial semantic knowledge about the location. Specifically, I want to understand the contribution of children’s semantic knowledge on their memory for actions and locations at different ages and across different age groups. The results of this study will benefit society by increasing knowledge of how children and adults think and remember.

Jenna Barnhardt

Supervisor: Yvonne Bohr
Department: Psychology
Email: jrmb@yorku.ca

Jenna Barnhardt My current research interests are focused mainly on neuropsychological characteristics of Indigenous peoples and the treatment that is needed in various Indigenous communities. My interests include neurophysiological and cognitive aspects of Indigenous family/generational trauma, postpartum in Indigenous mothers and fathers, suicide in Indigenous youth, and relationships between Indigenous children and animals. My research interests look to better the mental health treatment currently offered to Indigenous people of Canada with a complex Neuroscientific approach including understanding of Indigenous minds/brains, and cognitive development.

Megis Nadjiwon Oskalns

Supervisor: Yvonne Bohr
Department: Psychology
Email: megisn@yorku.ca 

Megis Nadjiwon OskalnsMy current research involves resilience, technology and mental health for Indigenous communities. More specially, I am currently involved with the ISPARX project that teaches CBT skills to Inuit Youth via a videogame-based intervention method. Forthcoming research is geared towards the impact of social media on Indigenous communities during COVID-19. Other areas of interest include the families and intergenerational trauma. I hope to add Indigenous perspective to mental health research and treatment programs.