Graduate Student Profiles

Read the profiles for some of our current Child and Youth Studies graduate students.

Masters students

portrait of Chae Lynn Bush

Chae received her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Psychology at Brock University. She is now in the Child & Youth Studies MA program at Brock, under the supervision of Dr. Ayda Tekok-Kilic.

Chae is interested in the relationship between anxiety and executive functioning in adolescents and early adults. Her current thesis work uses eye tracking to assess the extent to which people with anxiety can control their automatic urges (i.e., inhibitory control). She is also passionate about the impact of mindfulness-based interventions on cognitive performance in people with anxiety.

Chae intends to work with adolescents and early adults in a clinical context after graduation. Outside of University, she enjoys teaching yoga, riding with her women’s mountain biking club, and listening to live music.

portrait of Rebecca Currie

Rebecca received her Bachelor of Arts in Child and Youth Studies with a Legal Studies option at Trent University Durham. Rebecca is currently a Masters student in the Child and Youth Studiesprogram, working under the supervision of Dr. Voula Marinos.

Rebecca’s research interests include the experiences of young people in the youth justice system, as well the influence of parents during the youth diversion process.

Joceline received her Bachelor of Arts in Child Health with First-Class standing at Brock University. Joceline is now enrolled in the MA Child and Youth Studies program under the supervisor of Dr. Matthew Kwan.

Joceline’s research work has been taking place in the Infant and Child Health (INCH) Lab in the Coordination and Activity Tracking in Children (CATCH) study. The CATCH study looks at children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) and examines the pathways between DCD, physical activity, motor movements. Her thesis hopes to fill the gaps of the impact of physical activity on mental health outcomes for children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD). She also hopes to look at how parent perceptions of their children with motor difficulties may affect their physical activity and mental health.

Myra studied for their Bachelor’s at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) with a double-major in English and Sociology, Concentrations in Creative and Professional Writing, with minors in Music, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS). Myra is currently enrolled in the Masters CHYS program under the supervision of Dr. Hannah Dyer.

Myra’s research interests are in ludology (study of games), thanatology (study of death), queer studies, and how they all intersect within the realm of young people, especially through the realm of videogames.

Myra’s short-term plans are to be a professor at their home back in NY, teaching Introduction to Sociology courses at Schenectady County Community College (SCCC) for students entering the college and/or wanting college credit, where she will also be tutoring as well. After saving up some money and looking at school options, Myra would really like to come back to the Niagara Region and go into the Digital Humanities for their PhD.

Felicidy joined the Child and Youth Studies department at Brock university to pursue her Master’s degree after completing an Honours BA in Child and Social Institutions from King’s University College at Western University. She also holds a certificates in Childhood Advocacy and in Childhood and the Legal System. Felicidy is supervised by Dr. Heather Ramey and her research interests include children’s rights; child and youth participation; child and youth advocacy; the lived experiences of children and youth; and the sociology of childhood. Upon graduation, Felicidy plans to pursue a PhD degree and a career in child advocacy.

JaCoya Laplante graduated from Trent University in 2021 with a Bachelor of Arts in Child and Youth Studies. JaCoya is currently a Masters student in the Child and Youth Studies program under the supervision of Dr. Voula Marinos, where they are working on a thesis related to the youth criminal justice system. Their other research interests and passions include neurodiversity, queerness, Indigeneity, and intersectionality. JaCoya looks forward to completing this degree and taking a well-deserved break from academia.

Jiayi is a MA student in the CHYS department, supervised by Dr. Naomi Andrews and Dr. Tony Volk. She completed her BA at the University of Alberta, majoring in Psychology with a minor in Sociology.

Her previous research experience is related to qualitative data coding, systematic review, and meta-analysis. For her thesis, she is interested in youth peer relationship, bullying and peer victimization, and coping process of youth victims.

Kelly is MA student in the Child and Youth Studies department working alongside Dr. Donato Tarulli. She received her Bachelor of Education degree as well as her Bachelor of Arts degree from Brock University in 2018. She then went on to teach full- time for two years with the Hamilton- Wentworth Catholic District School Board. She hopes to return to the profession with a renewed sense of child advocation.

Kelly’s research interests pertain to the New Sociology of Childhood, with an intent to disclose alternative ways of being in the world to reconceptualize our dominant assumptions and future- oriented temporalities about childhood. Kelly believes in the value of children now and her efforts are committed to improving the conditions in which they develop.

I received my Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in Psychology from Brock University in 2021. I am now enrolled as a MA student in the Child and Youth Studies department.

My broad research interests include wellbeing in students, children’s access to mental health services and the parent-child relationship. I am working under the supervision of Dr. Heather Ramey for the duration of my Masters degree.

Haley holds a diploma in Event Coordination from Holland College, a Bachelor of Public Relations degree from Mount Saint Vincent University, and an LLM in International Human Rights from the National University of Ireland – Galway. Her LLM thesis was on children’s right to play and recreational activities in Canada, focusing on the role of sports and the impacts of competitiveness. She is broadly interested in youth leadership, advocacy and participation, as well as children and youth in sport, and impacts of food insecurity and homelessness for young people. Haley is a Master’s student and is under the supervision of Dr. Rebecca Raby.

She will be examining the effectiveness of student councils/governments in secondary schools in Atlantic Canada. Examining this issue through lenses of youth participation, children’s rights, education and leadership, she hopes to answer questions of impact, social justice, skills and empowerment.

After graduating with an honours specialization in Childhood and Social Institutions and a major in Thanatology from King’s University College at Western University, Kira was given the opportunity to work toward a Masters degree at Brock University with her passionate supervisor, Dr. Richard Mitchell.

Kira’s research interests include queerness, neurodivergence, lived experiences of youth, youth advocacy, and youth rights. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a degree in social work and a PhD in a similar field, and meaningfully work with youth in various settings. Kira is enthusiastic about enhancing youth participation and inclusion. Aside from these interests, she also loves music and other forms of art, being by water, games, and animals! Kira is enjoying learning from her professors and peers in CHYS, developing her research skills and knowledge, and of course, being a Brock Badger!

Taylor holds a Bachelor of Arts degree (Honours) in Early Childhood Leadership from George Brown College in Toronto, and now, is currently enrolled as a first year MA student in the Child and Youth Studies Department at Brock University, under the supervision of Dr. Matthew Kwan. Taylor’s research work currently takes place in the Infant, Child, and Youth (INCH) Lab at Brock and her research focuses on the implementation of an 8-week Physical Literacy (PL)-based intervention program for newcomer youth coming to Canada.

Patrick Segawa is a Master’s student in the Child and Youth Department and also a Graduate Teaching and Research Assistant in the same department with his current supervisor, Dr. Rebecca Raby. He holds a Master’s of Science in Public Health – Population and Reproductive and Bachelor of Science in Public Health from Uganda Martyrs University and Clarke International University respectively.

Patrick has over 7 years of management experience coordinating and implementing reproductive health and HIV/AIDS community programs in developing countries.  Patrick previously served as Executive Director & Team Lead for Public Health Ambassadors Uganda (PHAU).  PHAU is a not for profit youth led and serving organisation working sexual and reproductive and HIV/AIDS prevention awareness through youth empowerment programs, health education, social entrepreneurship and use of ICT for health.

Patrick’s research interest includes; mental health, school related gender based violence, HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive health, creative and performance arts, substance abuse and additions, menstrual hygiene management among young people.

Lauren Stepien is currently a master’s student in the Developmental Neuroscience Lab under the supervision of Dr. Ayda Tekok-Kilic. She has recently completed her honours thesis on sex differences in anxiety and temperament using electroencephalography (EEG) in this lab. Lauren has been a research assistant on a project in collaboration with Pathstone Mental Health which she is very passionate about as she is passionate about learning about and improving mental health of children and youth. She is currently working on her MA thesis that will focus on highly sensitive children and how their environmental sensitivity to auditory and visual stimuli impacts cognitive performance. She is interested in studying this to gain insight regarding how sensitive children may be better supported in school and other noisy or overstimulating environments while learning, doing schoolwork, and performing daily tasks. .

Ruchika received her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Child and Youth Studies (CHYS) with First Class Standing at Brock University. She is now enrolled in the MA CHYS program under the supervision of Dr. Richard Mitchell.

Ruchika’s research interests revolve around various aspects of children’s rights, including the lived experiences of children and youth, sociology of childhood, youth criminal justice, and youth participation. Currently, her MA research primarily centers on comprehending the experiences of children throughout Canada in relation to their rights. To accomplish this, she utilizes the data generated by the Shaking the Movers (STM) workshops.

Upon graduation, Ruchika aims to work toward creating awareness of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) to ensure children’s rights are acknowledged and respected.

I am a graduate student in Child and Youth Studies at Brock University with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Azad University Iran. My supervisor is Dr. Erin Panda, my research focuses on attention control and parenting styles within the context of children and youth. My ultimate goal is to inform parents about their potential impact on their children’s mental health and to help create more supportive school environments by raising awareness among educators about their influence on students’ futures.

Phd Students

Elizabeth is a PhD student in the CHYS department. She completed a BA at the University of Ottawa, with a major in Psychology and a minor in History prior to completing an MA in CHYS with her current supervisor, Dr. Tony Volk. Broadly speaking, Elizabeth’s research interests include gender, youth peer relationships and social contexts, pro- and anti- social behaviour, social-emotional learning, and “children’s” media.

Erika is a PhD student in the Department of Child and Youth Studies, under the supervision of Dr. Rebecca Raby. She completed a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Early Childhood Leadership Degree and has just graduated with a Master of Arts in Early Childhood Studies Degree from Ryerson University.

Erika is a Registered Early Childhood Educator and an advocate for children’s rights. She has worked in the field of early learning and education for over seven years and has extensive experience working with children of diverse backgrounds and needs. She has previously worked as an Instructor at the post-secondary level and is currently a Field Advisor for the Early Childhood Education program at Humber College.

Erika is passionate about advocacy, life-long learning, and the power of research. Her research interests include pursuing qualitative research, researching children’s agency and participation in society, Indigenous youth, and children’s interactions with nature.

Ultimately, Erika hopes to pursue purposeful research to inform policy and decision-making that will support children and communities.

Brianna is a SSHRC-funded doctoral student in the Child and Youth Studies program under the supervision of Dr. Tricia Vause. She has an MPEd in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) and a BA in Psychology from the University of Western Ontario, as well as a graduate certificate in Autism and Behavioural Sciences from Fanshawe College.

She is a board-certified Behaviour Analyst with a decade of clinical experience implementing applied behaviour analytic interventions with individuals with developmental disabilities. Her research interests include evaluating the effectiveness of Functional Behaviour-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and compassionate, empirically supported group treatment for addressing obsessive compulsive behaviours in children with developmental disabilities. Brianna’s long-term goal is to continue conducting socially significant research with the aim of improving quality of life for children with developmental disabilities and their families.

Abneet Atwal is a Ph.D. student in Child and Youth Studies, supervised by Dr. Donato Tarulli and Dr. Kathryn Underwood. Abneet received her Honors B.Sc in Psychology (Specialization in Exceptionalities in Human Learning) from the University of Toronto and completed her M.A. in Early Childhood Studies at Ryerson University. She is also a project coordinator on the Inclusive Early Childhood Service System project at Ryerson University.

Abneet’s research interests include childhood disability, disability and culture, and disabled children’s participation. Her dissertation research will focus on the intersection of childhood disability and immigration.

Zihang Bu is a PhD student in the CHYS department under the co-supervision of Dr. Ayda Tekok-Kilic and Dr. Dan Cui.

She graduated from Dalian Medical University in China and received the BSc degree in Applied Psychology. After half a year of working and volunteering in the hospital and primary school, she was interested in further investigating children and adolescents’ mental health. She then moved to Canada and earned a Masters degree in Child and Youth Study at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Now she is interested in developmental psychopathology, biopsychosocial approach, cross-culture study, intervention and evaluation of children and adolescents’ mental issues.

Sarah Ciotti is a PhD student in Child and Youth Studies, supervised by Dr. Shannon Moore. Sarah completed a Bachelor of Arts with double major in Sociology and Criminal Justice and Public Policy, a Master of Arts in Sociology and a Certificate in Couple and Family Therapy from the University of Guelph. She is a Registered Psychotherapist who has extensive professional experience working with children, youth and families.

Sarah’s research interests include resilience, trauma, and the relationship between mental and physical health. Sarah’s dissertation research will explore the relationship between trauma and long-term Lyme disease symptoms through a transdisciplinary social justice theoretical orientation.

Kate is a doctoral student researching typical and atypical reading and math development, with the occasional foray into more esoteric topics (such as developmental neuroscience and electrophysiological patterns of language processing), and the periodic push into more applied topics (such as pedagogical practice, curriculum development and instructional design). She works under the supervision of Dr. Jan Frijters.

Kate hails from the western United States, earned a B.A. in Linguistics, spent six years teaching frequently-delightful and intermittently-frustrating middle schoolers in Texas, completed an M.Ed. in Learning and Technology, bumbled through a period of designing adaptive learning software for kids, then obtained a perhaps superfluous M.S. degree in Cognitive and Brain Sciences before making her way to Brock’s Child and Youth Studies PhD program. In her spare time she likes to watch a lot of TV, walk along the Niagara river, visit family in the beautiful mountains of northern Utah, think about starting new hobbies, and second-guess her life choices.

Sarah completed a Master of Arts in Applied Disability Studies with a specialization in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA). She is also a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst with experience working with children and youth with exceptionalities. Sarah is currently completing her PhD in Child and Youth Studies, under the co-supervision of Drs. Tricia Vause and Kendra Thomson. Broadly, Sarah’s current research interests include the application of behaviour analysis in the dance context to support children’s participation and promote positive outcomes.

Laurel has a Bachelor of Early Childhood Leadership Degree, a B.Ed. in primary and Junior Education and a MA in Early Childhood Education, which she received from The University of British Columbia. She is a registered Early Childhood Educator and has experience working with young children in a variety of early years settings for over eight years. Her research is grounded in children’s rights with a focus on children’s voices and more specifically looking at children’s perspectives of outdoor play spaces within early childhood settings.

Laurel is currently involved in a research project as a research assistant with Dr. Rebecca Raby that focuses on children’s experiences during Covid-19 through online video calling interviews. Laurel is a second year PhD student in CHYS and her supervisor is Rebecca Raby.

Emily has an MA in Applied Behaviour Analysis and is presently a doctoral student in Child and Youth Studies under the co-supervision of Dr. Jan Frijters and Dr. Tricia Vause. Her previous research focused on interventions for children with intellectual disabilities and obsessive compulsive behaviours under the supervision of Dr. Vause. Continuing with her interest in comorbidity and intervention response, Emily is presently studying risk factors for dyslexia including ADHD and anxiety.

She is also investigating how these factors influence longitudinal acquisition of reading skills. In the long term, Emily aspires to use advanced quantitative methods to facilitate an inter- or transdisciplinary collaboration between fields whose methods may have been previously incompatible.

Matt joined the Child and Youth Studies department at Brock University as a PhD student after completing degrees at the University of Western Ontario. Student accessibility services is Matt’s primary research interest, which he studies under the supervision of Dr. Donato Tarulli. Outside of academic life, Matt enjoys intensive mixed martial arts training.

Ikechukwu Ikerionwu (Ike) has a BA in History from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nigeria. He studied at the University of Massachusetts, US, where he earned an MA in Peace and Conflict Resolution with concentration on Policy Analysis. He also studied Child and Youth Care at the University of Victoria, BC as a post graduate student.

Ike is presently a Ph.D. student under the supervision of Dr. Richard Mitchell.

Ike, an advocate for children and youth rights, has worked extensively with vulnerable and socially stigmatized youth in the US experiencing social injustice and its adverse effects, especially how punishment and reward are used to address delinquency and youth culture, which contributes to his orientation of critical pedagogy and concern for social justice, equity, and human rights.

Ike’s research interests are entwined with real world praxis regarding young people on the cliff of risk and potentials and in the creation and evaluation of psychosocial intervention programs to address the perennial issues surrounding at risk and proven risk children and youth.

Michelle Janzen

Michelle Janzen is completing her Ph.D. within the Child and Youth Studies under the supervision of Dr. Maureen Connolly, and previously received both her BA and MA in Child and Youth Studies from Brock ,as well as an undergraduate degree in Sociology. For over a decade Michelle has worked with children and youth experiencing various disabilities and mental health issues which has influenced her research interests and focus. Michelle is specifically interested in Disability and Human Rights and is highly interested in special education policy and practice. Throughout her research she has focused on the experiences of parents advocating for children and youth within the education system, and investigating the inequalities experienced by families due to policies and practices implemented within the education system. Currently within her Ph.D. programming, Michelle is studying the effect the Pandemic has had on parents with children who have complex care needs (those that are medically fragile or with dual diagnosis), as well as youth experiencing disabilities and the effect the Pandemic has had on community service providers that support families of children and youth with complex care needs.

The focus of the study is to examine systemic inequalities and policies that affect families, children, youth, and providers during times of national crisis or disaster. Michelle is also interested in youth mental health and is hopes to investigate how peers influence mental health recovery trajectories for youth attending mental health treatment programming and the implications this may have for educational policy and practice once youth leave treatment and return to their general education classes. Lastly Michelle is interested in examining the human rights of Autistic youth in their ability to have their sexual and gender identities recognized as authentic as these identities are often viewed as a symptom of being on the Autism spectrum, rather than as an authentic self.  She is interested in how to better support these youth and how to prevent them from experiencing potential mental health disorders as a result.

PJ holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Carleton University and is currently pursuing their PhD degree in the Child and Youth Studies program at Brock University. They are supervised by Dr. Hannah Dyer and have a variety of research interests including race/racialization and diaspora, children’s art and aesthetics, critical theories of childhood, behavioural assessment, and treatment for children/youth with ASD. Upon graduation, PJ plans to become a board certified behaviour analyst as well as continue research and teaching as a professor.

After 20 years of experience working with children and youth in clinical contexts, Shauna decided to change course for her doctoral research and study childhood through a socio-cultural lens. She is now a Ph.D. candidate in the Child and Youth Studies department at Brock University where she is supervised by Dr. Shauna Pomerantz and studies de-schooling as a method for resisting neoliberalism. For her dissertation, Shauna is writing an autoethnography about her experiences as a de-schooling parent. In her free time, Shauna enjoys complex origami, circus hooping, and vegan cooking

Sandra received her Honours B.Sc in Psychology at Brock University and completed her M.A in Gender Studies and Feminist Research at McMaster University. Upon completing her second M.A in Social Justice at Brock University she wishes to continue her goal of compiling a case against Precarious Work in Canada. Working with Dr. Tom O’Neill in the Child and Youth PhD program, she hopes to add how children and youth are negatively affected by their engagement with precarious work or vicariously through their parents’ precarious jobs.

Her previous research has involved the breaking down binaristic thinking and resolving dualisms (Reason & Emotion, Male & Female, Quantitative & Qualitative) this time she will look at resolving Love & Work.

Xiaomei is a PhD student in the Child and Youth Studies Department and is under the supervision of Dr. Dan Cui.

Xiaomei completed her Bachelor of Arts in English and Master of Education in Curriculum and Teaching Methodology at Shanghai International Studies University in China.

Xiaomei’s research interests include the international students’ social stratum, mobility, adaptation, mental health, immigration and employment transition. Xiaomei hopes to explore international students’ living experiences by using a transdisciplinary framework.

My name is Jake Maiuri and I am in my third year of Brock University’s PhD Child and Youth Studies (CHYS) program. This is actually my 9th year in a row as a Brock Badger. Before I entered into graduate studies, I had completed the Concurrent Education Primary/Junior CHYS Bachelor of Arts (Honours) program and the Master of Arts CHYS Program. I am working under the supervision of Dr. John McNamara, interested in the field of learning disabilities, whom I also worked with throughout my undergraduate and MA thesis projects. I am currently studying the effects of prenatal heroin exposure on neonatal learning development over time.

I am looking at what pre-existing literature suggests on the effect of maternal heroin use on a newborn child’s learning development throughout a single illustrative-case study and if it can be combatted through intensive support and tutoring. My long-term goal is to address a significant gap in this area of research that is extremely relevant but scarcely studied. I hope this research will inform and educate many areas including hospitals, orphanages and foster homes.

Alicia is a PhD student in the Child and Youth Studies department and is under the supervision of Ayda Tekok-Kilic. She has received her Honours of Bachelors in Child and Youth Studies from Brock University and completed a Masters of Education in Counselling and Psychotherapy at the University of Toronto.

She is working on becoming a Qualifying Psychotherapist at this time. Alicia is employed at Pathstone Mental Health and volunteers at Resilience Connections Niagara. She provides academic support, emotional regulation and life skill development to youth ages 12-18 who are struggling on areas such as family breakdown, trauma and abuse, mental health and developmental challenges. In doing this she uses a multidisciplinary and trauma informed framework when working with clients.

Her research experience involves working with Ayda on projects related to ADHD and Anxiety. She is currently working on a collaborative-capacity building project at Pathstone Mental Health in the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab (CAN) where they will be screening temperament, sensory patterns and executive functions as risk factors for externalizing and internalizing challenges in young children. Alicia also participates in the Developmental Neuroscience Lab (DN) at Brock University. She hopes to continue this research using a transdisciplinary framework. Other research interests include areas such as, mental health, addictions, trauma and resiliency in children, adolescence and adults.

portrait of Melody Minhorst

Melody is a PhD student under the supervision of Rebecca Raby. She completed her Master of Education at York University and additionally holds a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture and a Bachelor of Arts with a focus in psychology from the University of Guelph.  As a scholar with a background in transdisciplinary approaches and multicultural education, they are interested in how the environment affects inclusion and education for children. Melody is interested in children’s voices and their experiences of the interaction of space/place and learning. Their background in landscape architecture and work in education built their holistic approach exploring how the educational experience is not separate from the learning environment and is impacted by social and environmental concerns. Outside of her academics, Melody enjoys sewing clothes and trying out new baking recipes.

Emily is a PhD student in Child and Youth Studies and is primarily interested in youth subcultures, aesthetic modes of survival and creative means of resistance. Her SSHRC-funded dissertation research, under the joint supervision of Dr. Hannah Dyer and Dr. Chelsea Jones, explores the practice of “raving” as a queer mode of relation and a means to reckon with generational inheritances, in the context of Toronto’s queer DIY rave scene. This work also pays considerable attention to the activist and mutual-aid networks forged on the dance floor.

Her work incorporates psychoanalysis, queer theory, cultural studies, affect theory, and crip theory and she approaches research with a transdisciplinary mindset—seeking out methodologies that accommodate messy and multiple ways of knowing and forms of knowledge dissemination that extend beyond the academic manuscript. Emily is a graduate student affiliate of the Posthumanism Research Institute at Brock University and a co-founder of SOAK, a Toronto-based collective aimed at supporting people of marginalized genders in experimental electronic music.

Rebekah’s academic journey began with a Bachelor of Arts in Health Studies at Queen’s University, where she focused on understanding health and wellness through psychological, sociological, and environmental perspectives. After learning of the term ‘young carer,’ she decided to pursue a master’s degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies at the University of Waterloo to contextualize her own experience supporting a parent with mental illness and explore leisure in the lives of young carers. In her master’s degree, she facilitated a critical participatory action research project in partnership with The Young Caregivers Association, The Young Carers Program, and four young carers. In their research, they explored leisure in the lives of young carers, challenging dominant discourses of childhood and finding ways to better support young carers in their care roles. Rebekah recently entered into a PhD in Child and Youth Studies, where she hopes to engage in autoethnography to bring awareness to the experience of supporting a parent with mental illness. She is extremely passionate about working in partnership with young carers and their families and intend to dedicate my academic career to further understanding and supporting young carers in their unique and complex experiences.

Veronica graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour from McMaster University in 2017. During her undergraduate degree, she completed a senior honours thesis under the supervision of Dr. Bruce Linder to improve the quality of life for adults who have sustained an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI).

After graduating from McMaster University in 2017, she has since worked in the field to assist clients with ABI to gain dignity, respect, independence and autonomy for those affected by the symptoms of ABI.

While working in the field, Veronica also perused her Masters of Education with a specialization in Applied Behavioural Analysis from the University of Western Ontario.

Veronica is now a PhD student under the supervision of Dr. Ayda Tekok-Kilic in the Developmental Neuroscience Lab.

Emma is a PhD student in the CHYS department. She completed her Honours BA in CHYS with a minor in Sociology and her MA in CHYS and Brock University with her current supervisor, Dr. John McNamara. Emma’s SSHRC funded masters research adopted a critical disability studies lens to understand the transitional experience and role of mental health for first year students with a diagnosed learning disability. Her broad research interests include learning disabilities, children and youth mental health, critical disability studies, and social-emotional learning.

Emma is passionate about self-advocacy for young people, specifically those who are traditionally marginalized, such as those with learning disabilities. For her SSHRC funded doctoral work, Emma is looking to research the dual diagnosis of learning disabilities and mental health for children and youth, an area not typically considered as one.

Manmit Rakhra began her academic journey in 2014 at Humber College where she graduated with an Advanced Diploma in Child and Youth Care. She then went on to acquire her Bachelor of Applied Science in Psychology at the University of Guelph-Humber. Her interest in school psychology and children’s mental health then led her to the Master of Arts in Child and Youth Care program at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly known as Ryerson University).

Currently, Manmit is a doctoral student in the Child and Youth Studies program working under the supervision of Dr. Shannon Moore. Her research explores the mental health and behavioural challenges of children in school settings specifically in Ontario, which includes: access to mental health services, peer interactions and relationships, school staff training and education, school discipline, and early interventions. She hopes to include the voices of young people in her research and collaborate with diverse communities to ensure culture specific recommendations are considered. Concurrently, Manmit is working towards registering as a Psychotherapist.

Kay had the privilege of receiving her undergraduate degree in Forensic Psychology and a her Masters Degree in Applied Disability Studies; both right here at Brock. Kay is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Child & Youth Studies at Brock University, whose primary research interests include transdisciplinary theorizing about the lives of children and youth with respect to education, educational experiences, policy and procedures from an anti-racist or decolonial framework under the supervision of Dr. Maureen Connolly.

Kay’s plans are to continue to center the lives of marginalized children and youth, particularly Black Children in her work. To continue to prioritize these voices and stories which are historically lacking in representation. This doesn’t feel like popular work, it feels like passionate work. This doctoral program has allowed Kay the freedom and safe space to explore these thoughts and feelings.

Lisa Whittingham is a PhD student in the Department of Child and Youth Studies. She completed both her undergraduate degree in Psychology and her M.A. in Applied Disability Studies (with a concentration in applied behaviour analysis) from Brock University. Her research interests focus on the interactions of persons labeled as vulnerable (e.g., persons with developmental disabilities, mental disorders, youth) with the criminal justice system. For her SSHRC-funded PhD dissertation, she will be working with Dr. Voula Marinos to examine the the impacts of the Autism Spectrum Disorder registries used and maintained by police.

Lisa is also a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA). Prior to her PhD, she was employed as a behaviour consultant working with adults with developmental disabilities in the community. Her practice included working with individuals with dual diagnosis, justice-involvement (including problematic sexual behaviour), fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), and acute mental health crisis. She remains interested in how various interventions can be used to promote quality of life and be used to support the needs of these populations.