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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Science
July 24, 2014
 
 
Canadian Excellence

Developmental Psychology Grad Students



 

Developmental Psychology graduate students at Laurier work with one advisor during their Master's program. During the Doctoral program students work with at least two faculty members beyond their primary advisor, increasing the breadth of research training. Students are engaged in a multitude of interesting projects as you’ll read below.

 

 

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Kayleigh Abbott

M.A candidate abbo9240 [at] mylaurier.ca

 

I am a first year Master’s student in the developmental program at Laurier working under the supervision of Dr. Michael Pratt. I completed my undergraduate degree, Honors Specialization in Psychology (B.Sc.), at Western University. Broadly, my research interests lie within the realm of moral development. More specifically, my primary research focuses on moral identity stability in emerging adulthood. My secondary research focuses on the relationship between a strong moral identity and subsequent pro-social behaviour.

 

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Susan Alisat 

Ph.D. candidate

 

I've returned to start my Ph.D. after a lengthy break that I spent working as a research coordinator and beginning my family. I have been working at WLU since completing my M.A. there, and feel that it was the best place to continue my studies. The staff are so incredibly supportive, and offer many opportunities to participate in all aspects of their research programs. My research interests are in the area of personal involvement both in the community and the environmental movement, particularly as related to development, generativity and the life story.

 

 

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Courtney Arseneau

M.A. candidate, carseneau [at] wlu.ca

 

I moved to the ‘big city’ of Waterloo, Ontario after graduating from Mount Allison University (Sackville, New Brunswick) with a Bachelor of Science. I am currently in my final year of the M.A. Developmental Psychology program at WLU working with Dr. Kim Roberts, Dr. Eileen Wood, and Dr. Terry Mitchell. Broadly speaking, my research considers memory and eyewitness testimony in vulnerable populations (e.g., children, adults facing ethnic discrimination). My current research examines appropriate forensic interviewing and courtroom proceedings in Aboriginal communities. Wilfrid Laurier University has given me the opportunity to sophisticate my capacity to conduct research by providing exceptional support and the resources to advance my understanding of forensics and cognition across the lifespan.
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Elise Bisson

Ph.D. candidate 
biss7140 [at] mylaurier.ca

 

I am a 4th year Ph.D. student in the developmental program at Laurier working in the lab of Dr. Joan Norris and Dr. Michael Pratt. I completed my undergraduate degree at McMaster University and my Master’s degree at Laurier. My two primary areas of interest are intergenerational family relationships, and the development of environmental engagement. My secondary research examines the gambling behaviours and attitudes of Canadian seniors, in collaboration with Dr. Joseph Tindale at the University of Guelph. I expect to graduate from the Ph.D. program by the end of 2013.
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Victoria Casey

M.A candidate, case3880 [at] mylaurier.ca

 

I am a first year Masters student in the Developmental Psychology program at Laurier. I completed my undergraduate degree in psychology at Carleton University under the supervision of Dr. Anne Bowker. Broadly, my research interests lie within the realm of positive youth development. More specifically, my primary research focuses on the relationship between moral identity and positive moral emotions (i.e. pride). I am currently working in the Moral Identity Lab under the supervision of Dr. Tobias Krettenauer working towards completing my Master’s thesis.

 

 

 

Melissa Dol

M.A candidate, dolx3180 [at] mylaurier.ca

 

I am a first year M.A. student in the Developmental Psychology program at Laurier and I am working in Dr. Gottardo’s Language and Literacy Research Lab. I completed my undergraduate degree at Brock University. Broadly, my research interests lie within the realm of educational techniques and technologies. More specifically, my thesis research focuses on a literacy intervention program for at-risk students in the late elementary grades. The program is particularly targeting the development of vocabulary and reading comprehension. I received the SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS- Master’s Level Scholarship and I plan to complete my Master’s in the Spring of 2014.

 

 

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Donna Drohan-Jennings

Ph.D. candidate
jenn2950 [at] mylaurier.ca

 

I am currently a second year Ph.D. student, and decided to pursue my Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology at WLU after finding it to be a positive and supportive environment while completing both my B.A. and M.A. here. I am interested in children's memory development in general, and more specifically in children's memories for repeated events. Under the supervision of Dr. Kim Roberts, I am currently examining cross-cultural differences in the way children represent similar events and researching interview techniques that facilitate children's ability to recall specific instances of repeated events. Additionally, I am working with Dr. Joanne Lee on a comprehensive research project investigating the relationships among preschoolers' working memory and emergent arithmetic and literacy skills. I am the recipient of a SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS - Doctoral Level.

 

 

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Rebecca Earhart

M.A. candidate

 

I am in the first year of my PhD in the Developmental Psychology program at Laurier. I completed my undergraduate degree at Western University in the Honors Psychology program. My undergraduate thesis looked at children’s memory for the frequency of details in a series of repeated events, and I was excited to come to Laurier to continue studying children’s memory with Dr. Kim Roberts. I love the small community feel at Laurier and the collaborative environment between graduate students. My Masters thesis examined young children’s source monitoring abilities, and specifically whether asking about sources serially versus in parallel influences their ability to tag information with the source where they learned it. My other research interests include children’s spatial and temporal memory, source monitoring training techniques, and children’s “don’t know” responses during forensic interviews. I am currently collaborating with Dr. David La Rooy at the University of Abertay in Scotland.

 



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Aline Ferreira

Ph.D. candidate

 

I am a first year Ph.D. student in the Developmental Psychology program at Laurier. I am working in the lab of Dr. Alexandra Gottardo. Broadly, my research interests lie within the realm of language development. More specifically, my primary research focuses on bilingualism, and the selection process that facilitates lexical access and a cognitive control procedure that prevents wrong lexical items from being spoken. In collaboration with the Language and Literature Department, my research has been supervised by Dr. John Schwieter.

 

 

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Miriam Fine

M.A. candidate

 

I am a third year M.A. student. I completed my undergraduate degree here at Wilfrid Laurier University. My primary research interest is factors in literacy development among individuals learning English as an additional language. Specifically, I am interested in the writing development of adolescent students learning English as an additional language, and the contribution of oral language proficiency, as well as other cognitive and sociocultural factors. I collaborate with Dr. Alexandra Gottardo, and have received SSHRC funding for my studies at Laurier. I will graduate with my M.A. in summer, 2010. I chose to remain at Laurier for my graduate studies because I loved the environment. The faculty is enthusiastic, and very dedicated to both research and excellence in teaching. I found that the small campus quickly felt like home! Laurier is a great place to develop yourself as a well-rounded individual as well as an academic, and offers many opportunities to be actively engaged in your education.

 

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Elizabeth Flynn-Dastoor

Ph.D. candidate
 flyn2006 [at] mylaurier.ca

 

I am a doctoral candidate in my final year, working under the supervision of Dr. Michael Pratt. I completed my undergraduate degree at King's University College at the University of Western Ontario, and my M.Sc. at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Broadly, my research interests lie within the developmental stage of emerging adulthood. In particular, I am interested in the undergraduate experience and how post-secondary institutions -- at all levels, from administration to the classroom -- can create an environment that supports students as they make the transition to adulthood. In my dissertation research, I am examining the experiences of group facilitators in a transition to university intervention, and attachment effects on group processes within the intervention. I have also collaborated with Dr. Mark Pancer, Dr. Eileen Wood, and Dr. Anne Wilson.

 

 

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Maureen Hinan

Ph.D. candidate

 

I am a first year Ph.D. student in the Developmental Psychology program at Laurier, working in the lab of Dr. Alexandra Gottardo. I completed my undergraduate studies at Laurier and after completing a career in teaching returned to the University of Waterloo to complete my Master’s. I am especially interested in working memory and its impact on the development of reading and writing skills in children.

 

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Christine Javier 

M.A. candidate
javi7830 [at] mylaurier.ca

 

I am a second year M.A. student in the Developmental Psychology program at Wilfrid Laurier University, working under the supervision of Dr. Alexandra Gottardo. I received my B.A. from McMaster University in Hamilton. Broadly, I am interested in the development of reading and language skills in bilingual children. More specifically, my thesis focuses on bilingualism, language dominance and heritage language loss in Spanish English language learners (ELLs) in middle childhood. I am a recipient of the SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS - Master's Level and I plan on completing my M.A. in the Spring of 2012.

 

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Jia Fanley 

Ph.D. candidate

 

I am a third year Ph.D. canadidate. I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Winnipeg and my Master’s degree at Wilfrid Laurier University. I am the recipient of the Ontario Graduate Scholarship for my doctoral studies. My research interests lie within the areas of cultural variations and moral identity development in adolescence. I am also interested in literacy development in ELL students in Canada. Recently, I involved in a longitudinal project about how identity and generativity predict environmentalism. Currently, I am conducting studies about moral values and identity development in Chinese immigrant youth in comparison to native Chinese and Canadians who grow up in their home countries. My Ph.D. supervisor is Dr. Tobias Krettenauer. I also collaborate with Dr. Alexandra Gottardo and Dr. Michael Pratt at Laurier.

 

 

 

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Florence Mak

M.A. candidate makx1670 [at] mylaurier.ca

 

I am a second year M.A. student in Developmental Psychology studying under the supervision of Dr. Michael Pratt. I did my undergraduate degree at York University. Broadly, my research interests lie within narrative research. More specifically, my primary research interest is in romantic narratives in young adulthood. In the Generativity and Family lab, I am currently involved in the Futures Project and the Generativity, Family, and Environmentalism Project. I am also collaborating with Dr. Eileen Wood and currently working on the Allowance Study.

 

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Lorinda Mak

M.A. candidate
makx8140 [at] mylaurier.ca

 

I am a second year MA student in the developmental psychology program at Wilfrid Laurier University working with Dr. Alexandra Gottardo. I completed my undergraduate studies at York University and my advanced graduate diploma in Behavioural Science Technology at George Brown College. Broadly, I am interested in reading and cognitive development in bilingual children. More specifically, my thesis focuses on the role of working memory on reading comprehension in grade 4-6 Chinese-English language learners.

 

 

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Samantha Makosz

M.A. candidate
mako2120 [at] mylaurier.ca

 

I am a first year M.A. student in Developmental Psychology at WLU, where I also completed my undergraduate degree. I am a recipient of the Ontario Graduate Scholarship for 2011-2012 to support my Master’s thesis project under the supervision of Dr. Joanne Lee. I am also a research assistant in Dr. Lee’s Child Language and Math Lab. Some of the projects I have been a part of are the role of adult talk on children’s early numeracy acquisition, and the role of mathematically-related gestures on children’s early numeracy acquisition. My general research interests lie in young children’s mathematical development. I also help run the community outreach program called LittleCountersTM that was developed by Dr. Lee and her collaborator Dr. Donna Kotsopoulos. The program focuses on assisting caregivers to instill early numeracy talk with their toddlers during their purposeful play. For my M.A. thesis I will be introducing LittleCountersTM as a mathematically-rich curriculum into early education settings and evaluating the outcomes of this program on children’s early mathematical abilities.

 

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Amna Mirza

M.A candidate mirz5320 [at] mylaurier.ca

 

I am a first year M.A. student in the Developmental Psychology program at Wilfrid Laurier University, working under the supervision of Dr. Alexandra Gottardo. I received my undergraduate and MSc degree in Clinical Psychology from The University of Punjab, Pakistan. Broadly, I am interested in the development of reading and language skills in bilingual children. More specifically, my thesis focuses on bilingualism, language transferring skills and first language loss in Urdu speaking school aged children. I am also collaborating with Dr. Eileen Wood. I plan on completing my M.A. in the Fall of 2013.

 

 

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Sonia Sengsavang

Ph.D candidate seng9330 [at] mylaurier.ca

 

I am a first-year PhD student in Developmental Psychology studying under the supervision of Dr. Tobias Krettenauer. After I completed my BA Combined Honours in Psychology and Mass Communication at Carleton University, I started the MA program here at Laurier and recently fast-tracked into the PhD program. My research interests lie within moral identity and moral self research. More specifically, my primary research interest involves examining individual differences (e.g., aggression, personality, parenting) that may affect social adjustment and the development of the moral self in childhood. I was a recipient of a SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Master's for 2011-2012 and currently holding a Ontario Graduate Scholarship for the 2012-2013 academic year.

 

 

 

 

 

Melissa Sleightholm

M.A. candidate
 slei1320 [at] mylaurier.ca

 

I am a second year M.A. student in the Developmental Psychology program at Wilfrid Laurier working with Dr. Joan Norris and Dr. Michael Pratt. I did my undergraduate degree at the University of Waterloo. Under the supervision of Dr. Joan Norris, and in collaboration with Dr. Joseph Tindale from the University of Guelph, my current research focuses on gambling attitudes and behaviours in older adults. Specifically, I am examining the positive aspects of gambling and its effects on family relationships. I have received funding from SSHRC for my studies at Laurier and I plan to complete my Master's in summer of 2012.

 

 

 

 

 

Caryl-Anne Stordy 

M.A. candidate 
stor0350 [at] mylaurier.ca

 

I am a second year M.A. student in the Developmental Psychology program at Laurier working in the Child Language and Mathematics Lab under the supervision of Dr. Joanne Lee. I did my undergraduate degree at Wilfrid Laurier University. Broadly, my research interests lie within the realm of child development. More specifically, my primary research focused on a case study which examined mathematically-relevant input during play of a visually impaired caregiver and her sighted toddler. My current thesis examines the role of purposeful play in mathematical acquisition of young children.

 

 

 

 

 

Éric R. Thériault

Ph.D. candidate
thxe8710 [at] mylaurier.ca

Moi j'viens du nord, I am born and raised in Northern Ontario where I completed all my previous education. My undergraduate work was done at l’Université Laurentienne (Sudbury) in psychology. I then did Master’s of Science at Lakehead University (Thunder Bay) in experimental psychology in applied health studies with a specialization in Gerontology, where I researched and published on the health and well-being of older Francophones in the home-care setting of Ontario. I am now a fourth year Ph.D. candidate in Developmental Psychology, where my overarching research interest focuses around psycho-gerontology and non-immigrant minority ethnic groups, such as Francophones in Ontario. Dr. Joan Norris is my primary doctoral supervisor. We collaborate with the University of Guelph and the Gambling Among Multi-Ethnic and Intergenerational Families project (GAMEIF) where we are examining gambling in older Métis and Francophone populations in Ontario. I have also worked with Dr. Michael Pratt to examine generative and social responsibility themes in interview transcripts regarding work scenes, and Dr. Dawn Guthrie (Kinesiology) in examining depression in older adults receiving home care in Ontario taking dual-sensory loss and maternal language into account.

 

 

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Joanna Zambrzycka

M.A candidate zamb1650 [at] mylaurier.ca

 

I am a first year M.A. student in Developmental Psychology at WLU, where I also completed my undergraduate degree. I am a recipient of the SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Master's for 2012-2013 to support my Master’s thesis project under the supervision of Dr. Joanne Lee. I am also a research assistant in Dr. Lee’s Child Language and Math Lab where I am one of the instructors who run a community-based program called LittleCountersTM that was developed by Dr. Lee and her collaborator Dr. Donna Kotsopoulos. The program focuses on teaching caregivers how to support the early numeracy development of their toddlers through everyday activities and play in the home. For my undergraduate thesis, I examined the role that parent’s block play complexity has on their children’s subsequent numeracy development. For my Master’s thesis, I plan on further investigating how to foster young children’s geometry and spatial knowledge before formal schooling.

 

 

 

 

 

Lucia Zivcakova

Ph.D. candidate

 

I am a first year Ph.D. student in the Developmental Psychology program at Laurier working in the lab of Dr. Eileen Wood. I did my undergraduate degree at University of Toronto. Broadly, my research interests lie within the realm of the use of technology in learning. More specifically, my primary research focuses on multitasking using digital technologies on learning in a real-time classroom lecture. My secondary research investigates the role of academic integrity. I also collaborate with Dr. Alexandra Gottardo.