Originally from Australia, I arrived in Canada in 1988. I came to Canada to work with an international missions organization, and for the next 7 years I worked on community development projects with various NGOs and communities in Central and South America, Eastern Europe, East Asia and North America. Some of the projects in which I participated were working in orphanages and constructing a goat farm in the highlands of Honduras; working with street kids in London and Manchester (England); and, working in orphanages in Eastern Europe populated with children experiencing illnesses due to Chernobyl. As you can see, many of my experiences during this time revolved around children and families, which definitely influenced my later academic interests.
I decided to leave the missions organization and pursue academic interests. In 1999 I received my B.A. (Hons) in Psychology (minoring Classical Studies) from the University of Waterloo. I then went ‘down the street’ to Wilfrid Laurier University to work on my M.A. in Experimental Psychology (even then, I was very interested in research methodology and statistics). In 2001 I attended the University of Guelph receiving my doctorate in Family Relations and Human Development in 2006. It was then time to ‘finally’ (as my family constantly reminded me) to get a job!
In 2006 I came to work in the Department of Psychology at Trent University, first on a series of limited term appointments and then later as a tenure track appointment (2011). I received tenure and promotion as an associate professor in 2012.
As you can see, much of my teaching and research interests have been influenced by my earlier and personal experiences outlined above. I have taught courses in Child Development (PSYC 2500H), Family Development (PSYC 3540H), Families and Cultural/Cross-Culture Development (PSYC 4530H); Qualitative Research Methods (PSYC 4120H); Psychology of Evil (PSYC 4720H); and, Advanced Univariate Statistics at the Graduate level (PSYC 5016H). My research interests also align with my teaching responsibilities.
My research interests are varied and somewhat diverse. I conduct research in the domains of family acculturation, health (specifically Indigenous health), interpersonal relations (specifically how relationships change after one or both partners participate in bariatric surgery), the psychology of religion, and most recently the psychology of evil. I have supervised both undergraduate and graduate students in these various domains and have found the experience to be mutually rewarding.
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