Who Are We?
Dr. Manuel Riemer, Director
Dr. Riemer, is an assistant professor of community and environmental psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University. He received his Master’s and Ph.D. in Psychology from Vanderbilt University. He is the director of the Centre for Community, Research, Learning and Action and the Community, Environmental and Justice Research Group. His current research focuses on using community psychology principles, theories, and tools to address issues related to global climate change mitigation and adaptation. Dr. Riemer is the principal investigator of the international study Youth Leading Environmental Change, which tests an innovative youth engagement program in six countries. He works with local environmental organizations on issues related to collaboration, training development, and evaluation. Examples of current collaborations are a partnership with the David Suzuki Foundation to evaluate the long-term effectiveness of the leadership training program Camp Suzuki and a collaboration with My Sustainable Canada to study the knowledge of sales representatives about the environmental aspects of their products. Dr. Riemer is also the co-editor of the book “International Community Psychology: History and Theories” and the action editor of the special issue of the American Journal of Community Psychology on Community Psychology and Global Climate Change. He is also the editor of the column “Environment & Justice” in The Community Psychologist.
Community and environmental psychology, sustainability, global climate change mitigation and adaptation, youth engagement in the environment, pro-environmental behaviour change, changing complex social systems, collaboration, program evaluation, mixed methods.
Alexa Stovold, Co-Director
Alexa Stovold is currently a fifth year student in the Honours BA Psychology: Research Specialist program at Wilfrid Laurier University. Throughout the last two years of her undergraduate career, Alexa has taken a strong interest in Community Psychology with an emphasis on social and environmental justice issues. In regards to her research experience, Alexa and fellow classmates had the unique opportunity to develop a qualitative study assessing societal attitudes toward poverty, in partnership with Opportunities Waterloo Region. From our study they discovered very interesting results and the study is pending publishing. In addition, she is also in the process of completing my undergraduate thesis which aims to evaluate the narrative approach in facilitating students’ learning about environmental issues. Furthermore, she has also had the opportunity to work as a research assistant for a number of interesting research projects over the past two years. More recently, Alexa was hired as the Development Support Coordinator to help foster community partnerships and to develop and implement new initiatives at Centre for Community Research, Learning and Action. Furthermore, she is also Co-Director of the Community, Environment, Justice Research Group (CEJRG). As she progresses forward, she hopes to publish my undergraduate thesis and present my findings at the Canadian Psychological Association Conference in Quebec City next year. In addition, she also hopes to complete my Masters of Social Work so that she is able to address some of the social justice issues that are occurring within our immediate community.
Nahian Alam, Undergraduate Student
Nahian graduated from A.B Lucas Secondary School in London, Ontario on June of 2011. After getting his diploma, he applied to the faculty of Arts in Waterloo University and decided to major in psychology while minoring in philosophy. He is currently in the honours psychology program in Waterloo and hopes to graduate in 2015- 2016.
Nahian's research interests are mainly in the field of cognitive neuroscience. He hopes to pursue a Ph.D in this field and design research experiments to better understand the biological/psychological events that take place during dreams. He would also like to research memory and intelligence.
His current research interests lie with the social psychology portion of the environmental justice project. This is not necessarily the field he would like to pursue, but it provides a different perspective to the world of psychology. The key to understanding a person’s biology is to understand who they are as a whole which he thinks social psychology tries to appreciate.
After he receives his BA in psychology, he hopes to continue on to graduate school in Waterloo and receive his Ph.D in the field of cognitive neuroscience. He is still unsure what he would like to do in this field but would prefer a research position or perhaps work as a clinical neuropsychologist. His current goal is just to work hard and achieve the marks necessary for him to reach the next phase of his plan.
Livia Dittmer, PhD Student
Livia Dittmer is a second year doctoral student in the Community Psychology program, working with Dr. Manuel Riemer. Her main research interests include critical education, community service-learning, environmental education, critical consciousness raising, praxis, sociopolitical engagement of youth, the connections between physical and mental health, and consultative epistemology. Livia served as the student co-director of the Community, Environment, and Justice Research Group (CEJRG) from 2009 to 2010 and is currently an active member. She is also a collaborator and researcher on the Youth Leading Environmental Change research project through CEJRG and primary investigator on the Minds in Motion Initiative through Waterloo Regional Homes for Mental Health, Inc.
Allison Eady, PhD Student
Allison Eady is currently a first year Ph.D. student in the Community Psychology program at Laurier working with Dr. Manuel Riemer. She completed her undergraduate degree in psychology at McMaster University. Before coming to Laurier, she worked at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto General Hospital, and Women’s College Hospital as a research assistant on projects looking at various element of social equity and health, including LGBTQ mental health and adoption and women’s mental health across the lifespan, while volunteering and organizing around issues of social and environmental justice. She is currently a co-facilitator for the undergraduate psychology course PS 332: Environment, Psychology, and Action, which is a part of the Youth Leading Environmental Change (YLEC) international research study. Her broader research interests include: food security, environmental justice and health, and community engagement in environmental and social justice action. More specifically, She is interested in learning about the relationship between food security and mental health, connectedness to nature and wellbeing, and building healthy, sustainable communities.
Alex Latta, Associate Professor
Dr. Latta holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from York University. He is Associate Professor in the Department of Global Studies and in the Balsillie School of International Affairs.
In his research, Dr. Latta examines debates and conflicts over environmental issues as key sites where the shape of contemporary citizenship is constructed, challenged and reshaped by a diverse array of actors. With a focus on the Latin American region, and a particular specialization in energy and water politics in Chile, he works with the theoretical and methodological tools of political ecology to chart the way that political agency within socio-ecological assemblages takes shape in relation to competing visions of nature, society, the nation, and the globe.
Dr. Latta is an Associate Fellow of the Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean, at York University, and he coordinates a working group on Water and Megaprojects with WATERLAT, an international network on water issues in Latin America. His research has appeared in journals such as Citizenship Studies, Environmental Politics, Latin American Perspectives and the European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies. He is co-editor with Hannah Wittman of the recent volume, Environment and Citizenship in Latin America.
Felix Munger, PhD Student
Felix Munger holds a Master in Environmental Studies from York University Canada and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Community Psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada. His research focuses on organizational collaboration among environmental organizations, community-engaged scholarship, and socially and environmentally sustainable communities. Felix is also a facilitator and consultant with significant experience in diversity, health equity, leadership, evaluation, policy and collaboration. Felix currently serves as one of the co-chair of the Solar City Co-Operative.
Radha Sayal, Undergraduate Student
Radha Sayal is currently completing her BA in Psychology with a concentration in research as well as a Business and Philosophy minor at Wilfrid Laurier University. She is currently working as a research assistant for the Community, Environment, and Justice Research Group (CERJG) and the Poverty Reduction Research Group (PPRG). Radha is also the Research Coordinator for the Laurier Student Public Interest Research Group (LSPIRG). Her research interests include environmental justice, community engagement, poverty, social change, and social justice and diversity.
Sara Wicks, Masters Student
Since 2006, Sara Wicks has been actively involved in the youth-led climate change organization, Reduce the Juice, and current serves as Director. Sara has a B.A in International Development from the University of Guelph and is a first year Master of Arts student in the Community Psychology program at Wilfrid Laurier University. Her research interests include community-based change for sustainability, environmental education and youth engagement in environmental initiatives. Sara sits on the Steering Committee for IMPACT: Youth Program for Sustainability Leadership, the Advisory Board for the Centre for Community Research, Learning and Action (CCRLA) at Wilfrid Laurier as well as the Community, Environment and Justice Research Group (CEJRG). Lastly, Sara is also a youth advisor and workshop facilitator for the multi-national study Youth Leading Environmental Change.