Graduate Student Profiles

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

Masters students

Marianna is enrolled as an MA student in the department of Child and Youth Studies. She has thus far received an Honours BA in Child Health with a minor in Sociology from Brock University. Her broad interests include looking at children’s activism and engagement with their communities and other peers. Her sociological background has her thinking critically about social constructions, society, and where children fit into this paradigm. Her primary interest includes looking at the inequalities children face within their educational spaces and knowing how knowledge is produced and distributed.

Marianna will be working under the supervision of Dr. Dan Cui. Her thesis will critically evaluate the different perspectives of second generation immigrant children and youth and how their race, gender and class work together to create their unique educational experiences.

Sophia received her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in Sociology with a minor in Women and Gender Studies from Brock University. She is currently a second year MA student working under the supervision of Dr. Thomas O’Neill, exploring the theoretical concept of ‘habitus’ in relation to the lived experiences of first-generation female students.

Sophia spent thirteen years self-employed in a wholesale produce partnership which she left behind to pursue her own passions. She has worked extensively with children, youth and parents for more than 25 years, starting as a volunteer. Sophia spent over a decade as a family pastor at a local church, where her leadership role led to overseeing outreach events and coordinating social justice conferences. A highlight of her career was pioneering a youth-focused, female leadership development program as one way to strategically begin the cultural shift towards gender equality in what is traditionally known as a male-dominated environment.

Sophia’s research interests are in child welfare, social justice, sociology of education and women and gender studies. These areas of study are influenced by her experiences as a foster parent and travel to various countries such as Jamaica, Haiti, Guatemala and Cuba. Sophia aspires to produce knowledge that is practical, useful for prevention and policy, and ultimately improves the lives of children – especially those from unequal childhoods.

Emily is enrolled as an MA student in Child and Youth Studies. She completed a double major undergraduate degree at Trent University in forensic science and psychology and during her program she was able to work on a Community Based Research Project through the Trent Community Research Centre. Her area of focus was explaining the reason for the increase of mental health calls received by police in Ontario since 2012.

Emily’s research interest allowed her to connect with her current research supervisor, Voula Marinos, who explores diversion programs and the Youth Criminal Justice System. Emily is specifically interested in restorative justice regarding Indigenous youth and currently aims to expand her research to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and its integration into the criminal justice system.

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.

Evan holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in Child and Youth Studies from Brock University, which he achieved alongside a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies in 2018. He is primarily interested in the intersections between studies of childhood and gender, including how young people negotiate and reproduce normative presentations and understandings of gender. Previously, Evan completed a critical discourse analysis of the Ontario public school curriculum under the supervision of Dr. Richard Mitchell, wherein he analyzed the language and prompts within the curriculum documents. He discovered dominant themes among the text, including a series of heteronormative implications regarding family structure, and a clearly defined and exclusive gender binary.

Evan is a Master’s student in the department of Child and Youth Studies working with Rebecca Raby. His research asks what gendered discourses are present in the summer camp setting, how the ways that gender is asserted may be unique to that environment, and how young people at camp resist and negotiate normative gendered expectations.

Jonah received his BA (Hons.) from Brock University, with a major in Child and Youth Studies. He is now an MA student in the department under the supervision of Dr. Erin Panda. Their research is in developmental cognitive neuroscience and is focused on using electrophysiology (EEG) to understand neurocognitive development.

Through this, Jonah has been involved in research examining how the functional brain networks associated with reading develop. For his Masters research, he is broadly interested in examining the neural activity associated with inhibitory control. He hopes to extend these research areas to better understand neurodiverse children (i.e., those diagnosed with ADHD and Reading Disabilities).

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.

Education: BA (Honours) in Child and Youth Studies with a minor in Indigenous Studies from Brock University. Currently doing my MA in Child and Youth Studies under the supervision of Dr. Hannah Dyer.

Areas of interest: My areas of interest are Disability studies and geopolitics. Particularly how geopolitics impact the ways in which neurodiverse individuals/individuals experiencing disability are conceptualized, defined, managed, and accommodated in various societies. This interest was sparked from the years of experience working with organizations that support or provide programming for neurodiverse individuals, as well as by my experience of growing up with a neurodiverse twin brother. My brother played a fundamental role in my undergraduate thesis project about how a neurodiverse sibling may interpret their sibling relationship.

Current Idea: I am hoping to expand my knowledge on how Canadian Indigenous communities define and manage neurodiversity within their communities.

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.

Prakisha is an MA student working under the supervision of Dr. Thomas O’Neill. She completed her Social Service Worker Diploma at Sheridan College, Fundraising Management Certificate at Ryerson University and BA (Honours) degree in Child and Youth Studies at Brock University.

Her previous work with both national (Canadian Newa Guthi, India Rainbow Community Services, Naya Goreto – Nepal) and international non-profit organizations (World Vision, Action Aid Nepal, Save the Children, Hellen Keller International) generated a research interest in exploring representation of children and youth in philanthropic work, specifically in Fundraising Campaigns. For her Masters, she seeks to further explore the topic in conjunction with UNCRC.

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.

Niki is a MA student working under the supervision of Dr. Jan Frijters. Their primary research focus is in cognitive neuroscience where they are particularly interested in processes of attention and ADHD. In their master’s thesis Niki will be using neuroimaging methods to observe the biological role of the attentional control network in reading acquisition in a group of children with developmental dyslexia. Dyslexia and ADHD are highly comorbid disorders. This research will help to explore that comorbidity and give some insight into the mechanics of reading development.

In their previous work Niki studied neuroscience and mental health at Carleton University. There they were largely interested in the cognitive cerebellum and its ties to developmental disorders. This interest has happily made its way back into their current lab, which is a very exciting coincidence. You just never know.

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 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.

Brianna is also a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst with nearly a decade of clinical experience implementing ABA interventions with children and adolescents with developmental disabilities. To date, her research had been an extension of this passion with a focus on the efficacy of ABA interventions and mediator training models.

For dissertation, Brianna will be investigating the use of functional behaviour-based cognitive behavioural therapy as an early intervention for reducing obsessive compulsive behaviours in children with developmental disabilities.

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.

Kristopher received his B.Sc. in Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour (Mental Health Specialization) from McMaster University in 2015. He then went on to complete an M.A. in Psychology at Carleton University in 2017 with a focus in forensic psychology. He is now a Ph.D. student in Child and Youth Studies at Brock University working with Dr. Tony Volk.

Kristopher’s research interests are in psychopathic personality, the constructs of masculinity and femininity, and anything to do with evolutionary theory. For his doctoral research, he is applying and combining these interests to explore plausible evolutionary functions of psychopathy in adolescent males, which has implications for youth relationships and well-being as well as the structure, function, and stability of young male groups and coalitions. Other research interests and collaborations include Indigenous scholarship and ways of knowing, mate and sexual selection, the philosophy of science, and personality research.

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.

Alli received her Bachelor of Arts Degree, Honours Specialization in Childhood and Social Institutions, and Major in Disability Studies from King’s University College, University of Western Ontario in 2017. She completed her Masters of Critical Disability Studies at York University in February 2019. Alli’s research interests have compelled her to continue her graduate studies at Brock University commencing in September 2019 in the Child and Youth Studies PhD program.

Alli has a particular keen interest in advocating for the participation, and hearing the voices of the individual experiences of marginalized groups. Alli has a fervent interest in hearing the voices of children and people with disabilities, and to show the value of this so that their rights are respected. She is specifically interested in how participation has an impact on everyday outcomes such as sense of self and the ability to create change.

2017: HSP in CSI & Major in Disability Studies
2019: MA in Critical Disability studies

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.

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.

Nabin Maharjan holds an M.A. in Social Policy and Development from the Middlesex University, UK where his dissertation focused on Nepal’s health inequalities comparing the rural health care services with urban. He received his B.A. in Development Studies from the Kathmandu University, Nepal; and a Diploma in Development Leadership with specialization in Advocacy and Citizen Engagement from the Coady International Institute, St. Francis Xavier University, Canada.

He has worked extensively with vulnerable and socially marginalized youth of Nepal, specially People Living with HIV (PLHIV) and People Who Use Drug (PWUD). His work focused on health/human rights of marginalized youth and their meaningful participation in the policy reform process in Nepal.

Presently, Nabin is working on his Ph.D. in Child and Youth Studies (CHYS) under the supervision of Dr. Tom O’Neill. For his Ph.D. research, he intends to examine the role of youth civic engagement to re-establish social trust in highly stratified communities of Nepal, with a particular focus on youth-led community development initiatives in the context of the ongoing political transformation and post-disaster rebuilding process.

My name is Jake Maiuri and I am in my second 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.

Emily is a PhD student in Child and Youth Studies and is primarily interested in the affective remains of childhood trauma and aesthetic modes of survival, with secondary interests in digital youth cultures and posthuman subjectivities. Her work incorporates elements of queer theory, cultural studies, affect theory and sound studies. In her SSHRC funded dissertation research, under the supervision of Dr. Hannah Dyer, Emily will explore how the affective remains of queer childhoods are materially elaborated on the dancefloors of queer nightclubs, and the imaginative potentials that lie therein.

She approaches research with a transdisciplinary mindset, and seeks 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-Montreal based collective aimed at supporting women and non-binary artists in experimental electronic music.

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.

Anne Readhead

Anne received her B.A. in psychology from McMaster University. She continued her graduate studies at Brock University, completing her M.A. with the Centre for Applied Disabilities.

Her area of study was a case study of an innovative organization that supports five social enterprises that provide an inclusive employment option for persons with developmental disabilities. This study was part of a larger project conducted by the Social Business for Marginalized Social Groups CURA based at the University of Toronto. The larger project involved several social enterprises in Toronto. After graduating with her M.A., she continued to be a member of the Brock research team working on this project.

Anne has recently begun her CHYS PhD working with Dr. Fran Owen. Her research continues to focus on the examination of the Integrated Transitional Aged Youth process in the Niagara region for persons with IDD and the use of social return on investment as a valuation model. Anne has experienced the majority of her employment working for the developmental services sector including children and adult services. While employed as a residential manager, Anne was the agency liaison for the 3Rs CURA project at Brock University.

Anne is a strong advocate for human rights within developmental services. She has assisted with the development, planning and facilitating of her agency’s Rights Review Committee. Anne has also facilitated numerous Interactive-Behavioural Therapy groups with persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

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.