I am an Associate Professor of Developmental Science in the Department of Psychology here at the University of Alberta. I received my PhD in Lifespan Development from the University of Victoria and completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at New York University. In my research, teaching, and daily life I am interested in ways that we can best support the well-being and development of children and youth.
How do social, cultural and individual processes converge in enhancing or undermining the social and emotional development of socially and economically vulnerable children and adolescents? The developmental significance of social and economic adversity for children and adolescents continues to be an applied social challenge facing our communities and a rich area for scientific discovery. My research scholarship is aligned with a developmental psychopathology perspective that seeks to understand the etiology and developmental pathways of the various competencies and challenges that emerge across childhood and adolescence.
I conduct both basic and applied, community-based research on the social and emotional development of vulnerable children and adolescents and factors that enhance or undermine their resiliency. Most typically, my research investigates how relationships with peers, parents, and teachers, and setting-level processes (e.g., classroom instructional practices) offer protection or confer risk for social and emotional development in childhood and adolescence. My applied research uses a community-based approach to investigate how school-based programming and practices promote positive peer relations and social and emotional competencies in childhood and adolescence.
In my research I encourage the active participation of junior colleagues, including graduate and undergraduate students. Students are involved in all phases of research, from project development to data collection and analysis to knowledge mobilization.
I believe that learning is a lifelong process and a shared experience that is informed by our everyday interactions with others. Community service-learning (CSL) is a pedagogical practice that I regularly integrate into my formal teaching to engage all participants in the learning process. My formal teaching assignments commonly include PSYCO 305 (Special Topics: Developmental Psychopathology), PSYCO 323 (Infant & Child Development), PSYCO 325 (Applied Research in Developmental Psychology), PSYCO 327 (Adolescent Development), PSYCO 423/622 (Special Topics: Social and Emotional Development in Childhood; Peer Relations in Childhood), and PSYCO 522 (Developmental Methods: Design & Data). I also regularly supervise students in individual research courses, including research apprenticeships (PSYCO 299), independent study courses (PSYCO 396/398/496/498), and honours theses (PSYCO 390/399/499).
Each year I provide ongoing mentorship to several graduate and undergraduate students. This mentorship is focused on social and emotional development in childhood and adolescence and on rigorous and ethical developmental methods. I have been the primary supervisor for 3 Doctoral students, 6 Master’s students, and 18 undergraduate honors students, and have served as a committee and/or examining member on several Master’s and Doctoral theses and candidacy exams (~17 students). Each year I also mentor between several undergraduate students in research apprenticeships, independent study courses, honours theses, and volunteer placements within my lab.
I am not currently accepting any new undergraduate students for independent studies or the honours program for the 2021-2022 academic year. I will potentially be accepting new graduate students for September 2022, particularly students whose interests are in the area of peer relations and social-emotional development in early childhood.
Biological, cognitive and social aspects of psychological development during the period from infancy to childhood. Prerequisite: PSYCO 223. [Faculty of Arts]Fall Term 2021
Integration of developmental theories and research with an emphasis on practical approaches to support healthy development. Students volunteer with a local agency to work with infants, children, or adolescents. May be offered as a Community-Service Learning course. Prerequisite: PSYCO 223. [Faculty of Arts].Winter Term 2022
An in-depth review and analysis of research in an area of developmental psychology. Prerequisites: STAT 141 or 151 or 161, and PSYCO 323 or PSYCO 327 or 329. Note: Consult with the Department for the specific topic offered each year and any additional prerequisites. [Faculty of Arts].Winter Term 2022
[Faculty of Arts]Winter Term 2022