Centre for School Mental Health

Graduate Students

Alicia Lapointe

Alicia Lapointe

PhD Candidate, Research Assistant
Biography: Alicia is a PhD Candidate under the supervision of Dr. Wayne Martino, Research Assistant, and Instructor at the Faculty of Education at Western University. She currently researches Gay-Straight Alliances (GSA) and student activism in Ontario public and Catholic schools. Alicia is also a Research Associate at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health where she assists with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) adaption of the Health Relationships Plus Program. In addition, Alicia was a recipient of the 2017 Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.


Amanda Kerry

Amanda Kerry

PhD Candidate, Research Assistant

Biography: Amanda is currently a PhD candidate in School and Applied Child Psychology at the Faculty of Education under the supervision of Dr. Claire Crooks. She completed an H.BSc in Psychology, Behavioural Neuroscience Specialization at McMaster University and an M.Ed in Counselling Psychology at Western University. Her graduate thesis, which was supervised by Dr. Alan Leschied, examined non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) among girls in tertiary care. Prior to returning to Western to pursue a PhD, Amanda completed two terms under contract with the Correctional Service of Canada where she was employed as an Offender Counsellor within the Psychology Department at minimum, medium, and maximum security federal institutions. Amanda also worked as a research consultant with the London Family Court Clinic, where she conducted a comprehensive literature review of the treatment needs of youth offenders, enabling her to identify key areas of need for this population, including; self-harm, substance use, poor school performance, family conflict, exposure to antisocial peers, and traumatic life events. Her current research interests include prevention and intervention programs designed to promote resiliency and redirect children and youth from a trajectory of unhealthy, antisocial behaviours. Amanda was the recipient of the 2017 Scotiabank Graduate Award for Studies in Violence Against Women and Children.


Arely Rodriguez

Arely Rodriguez

PhD Candidate

Biography: Arely graduated with a B.Sc. in Psychology and an M.Sc. in Education in Mexico. Her previous research work was based on the development of an educational program to improve emotional intelligence in children with learning disabilities. Her professional background includes working as a High School Teacher in a public school and an Educational Psychologist at a government institution in Mexico. As an Educational Psychologist, she was responsible for providing psycho-pedagogical counseling to help children with disabilities and emotional/behavioral disorders, and implementing curricular adaptations to improve their cognitive skills. As a PhD candidate under the supervision of Dr. Claire Crooks, she would like to further examine and evaluate social emotional learning training programs to identify the key training elements that more effectively develop social emotional competencies in teachers. The results of this study could be used to prepare more effective social emotional learning training programs, which would consequently increase teachers' success in developing social and emotional skills in students.


Caely Dunlop

Caely Dunlop

PhD Candidate, Research Assistant
Biography: Caely is currently a PhD candidate supervised by Dr. Claire Crooks in the Faculty of Education. Previously, she has received her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Psychology from Wilfrid Laurier University and a Master of Arts in Applied Psychology-Educational Psychology/Special Education from Western University. In addition to her work at the Centre, Caely currently works as a Residential Youth Counsellor at a treatment facility for youth experiencing mental health issues and addictions. Her research interests broadly include interpersonal violence and victimization among children and adolescents.


Chloe Lau

Chloe Lau

Master's Candidate
Biography: Chloe is currently an MSc candidate in clinical psychology at the Faculty of Social Science under the supervision of Dr. Donald Saklofske. She completed a BSc in Psychology, Neuroscience, and Behaviour at McMaster University. During her time there, she co-piloted a psychiatry mentoring curriculum with Dr. Randi McCabe and Dr. Jennifer Ford and currently works as a Psychiatry Mentoring Program Coordinator at McMaster University. Chloe also works as a research assistant with Dr. Marnin Heisel, where she is investigating the role that meaning in life plays in the enhancement of mental health in older adults. Her current research interests in Dr. Shannon Stewart’s lab include problematic video gaming in youth and psychometric properties of various scales on the interRAI-ChYMH.


Devon Trower

Devon Trower

Master's Candidate, Research Assistant
Biography: Devon is currently completing a Masters of Applied School Psychology in the Faculty of Education under the joint supervision of Dr. Claire Crooks and Dr. Lynda Hutchinson. Devon completed her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Psychology at King’s College at Western University. Under the supervision of Dr. Lynda Hutchinson, she was involved in research projects that examined the links between children’s self-regulation (SR), features of instruction, and peer relationships in educational contexts.


Elizabeth Thornley

Elizabeth Thornley

PhD Candidate, Research Assistant
Biography: Elizabeth completed her Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Science in the Department of Psychology at Western University. She is currently a PhD Candidate in School & Applied Child Psychology under the supervision of Dr. Shannon Stewart. Some of her previous experience with children includes promoting full inclusion among peers for children with behavioural exceptionalities in child care settings. In addition to inclusion studies, Elizabeth’s research interests include psychosocial development, prosocial behaviour and comorbid mental health diagnoses in children.


Heather Hargraves

Heather Hargraves

Master's Candidate, Research Assistant
Biography: Heather is an MA candidate in Counselling Psychology under the supervision of Dr. Paul Frewen. Her thesis is investigating a new form of EEG-neurofeedback based on the therapeutic potential of altered states as revealed on EEG. Heather has recently published research investigating the Mindful Breath Attention Score (MBAS) as a measure of focused attention during meditation in an online sample. Heather also holds a BAH in Philosophy from the University of Windsor. Heather is currently a Research Assistant with the Centre supporting the Uniting Our Nations program with First Nations, Metis, and Inuit students in Thames Valley District School Board.


Janell Klassen

Janell Klassen

PhD Candidate, Research Assistant
Biography: Janell is a PhD Candidate under the supervision of Dr. Shannon Stewart in School and Applied Child Psychology. She plans to investigate resiliency factors and barriers associated with education among young children. Janell just completed her Masters of Counselling Psychology with Dr. Stewart examining harm behaviours (e.g., non-suicidal self-injury, suicidal behaviours, and substance use) exhibited by clinically referred adolescents in Ontario, Canada.


Jenna Armiento

Jenna Armiento

PhD Candidate

Biography: Jenna is currently completing her PhD in School and Applied Child Psychology under the supervision of Dr. Shannon Stewart at Western University. She previously completed her Masters of Arts in Counselling Psychology at Western University and prior to that completed an undergraduate degree in honours psychology at Brock University. Her research interests are in the area of children and youth's mental health. Specifically, her interests include nonsuicidal self-injury and suicide among youth. Her current area of research is focusing on comparing nonsuicidal self-injury and suicide among different sub-populations and service sectors.


Jenny Kassen

Jenny Kassen

PhD Candidate
Biography: Jenny is currently completing her PhD in Critical Policy, Equity, and Leadership Studies under the supervision of Dr. Wayne Martino. Jenny's Master’s research focused on educators living with mental health issues and their experiences of stigma in their workplace. Jenny holds a Bachelor of Education from The University of Western Ontario and a Bachelor of Design from OCAD University, and is an Intermediate/Senior teacher with the Thames Valley District School Board.


Jessy Pandori

Jessy Pandori

PhD Candidate, Research Assistant
Biography: Jessy is currently completing her PhD in School and Applied Child Psychology under the supervision of Dr. Susan Rodger at Western University. Previous to her doctoral program, she received her Masters of Education in Counselling Psychology from Western University. Along with her research and affiliation with the Centre, Jessy is involved in a multitude of community and national projects including her active involvement with PREVNet and the Canadian Red Cross as a researcher. Her research interests broadly include school related violence, specifically bullying perpetration and victimization, at-risk youth and mental health, and enhancing school safety and inclusive education through the cultivation and implementation of early intervention and prevention programs in collaboration with parents, teachers, and students.


Melissa Coyne-Foresi

Melissa Coyne-Foresi

Master's Candidate, Research Assistant
Biography: Melissa is a Master’s candidate in School and Applied Psychology under the supervision of Dr. Claire Crooks. Her professional background includes work as a School Support Counsellor with the Thames Valley District School Board, Family Consultant with the London Police Service, as well as registration with the Ontario College of Social Workers. Melissa holds an MEd in Educational Counselling from the University of Ottawa and an undergraduate degree in psychology from King’s University College. Her research interests include facilitating student engagement through peer mentoring programs as a means of fostering students’ empathy, leadership and confidence. Melissa was the recipient of the 2017 Canadian Research Centre on Inclusive Education Award.


Nicole Off

Nicole Off

Master's Candidate, Research Assistant
Biography: Nicole is currently completing her MA in Counselling Psychology under the joint supervision of Dr. Claire Crooks and Dr. Karen Bax. Previously, she received her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Psychology from King's University College at Western. Her current research interests include the implementation of early intervention and prevention programs focusing on mental health, mindfulness, and self-regulation in children.


Richelle Bird

Richelle Bird

PhD Candidate, Research Assistant
Biography: Richelle is currently a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Education specializing in School and Applied Child Psychology under the supervision of Dr. Susan Rodger. She earned her M.A. in Counselling Psychology from Western University in 2015. During this time Richelle worked as an intern at Western’s Psychological Services and co-facilitated group therapy at an addictions treatment centre for men. Richelle's past research has been in the area of cross-cultural psychology and has looked at issues pertaining to acculturation, as well as focusing on the experience of First Nations and Indigenous populations in Canada. Richelle has a particular interest in researching and working with vulnerable and marginalized populations including individuals with serious mental illness, at-risk youth, and First Nations, Metis, and Inuit (FNMI) communities.


Robyn Masters

Robyn Masters

PhD Candidate, Research Assistant
Biography: Robyn is pursuing a PhD in School and Child Psychology under the supervision of Dr. Susan Rodger. She earned her Master’s in Counselling Psychology from Western University in 2015. During this time Robyn interned as a Child and Family Therapist with a trauma-informed, strengths-based, attachment perspective. Robyn's current research interests involve cross-discipline collaboration, the bringing together of researchers, practitioners, and users to create lasting systemic changes in the way child mental health is supported in Canada. Current projects include the development and evaluation of an innovative school-based mental health website to support educators with timely, targeted, and digestible mental health resources and support. Robyn’s work with the Centre for School Mental Health has inspired her doctoral research, an investigation into the role of mental health literacy in preparing teacher-candidates to recognize and support the mental health and wellness of their students, how we can we best prepare teachers to do what they do best.


Ruth Rodney

Ruth Rodney

PhD Candidate
Biography: Ruth is a PhD Candidate in Nursing at the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing with collaboration in Global Health through Dalla Lana's School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. Under the supervision of Dr. Denise Gastaldo, Ruth is focused on understanding parents', teachers', and adolescents' perceptions of adolescent dating violence and its prevention in Guyana, South America. The findings from this study will be useful in developing primary preventative programs and models. Ruth's desire to focus on adolescents and violence prevention arose from over ten years of nursing experience in Canada and globally. Her passion for sustainable change and social justice has been her motivation to complete her doctoral studies and contribute to the body of knowledge on violence prevention for Canadian and Caribbean populations. Dr. Claire Crooks works closely with Ruth on her project and as a member of her committee.


Tessa Alexander

Tessa Alexander

Master's Candidate, Research Assistant
Biography: Tessa received her BA in Psychology from Brock University and is currently completing her MA in Counselling Psychology under the supervision of Dr. Claire Crooks. Her research interests focus on how our society can increase the quality of life of those managing issues related to mental health. Current projects include exploring adolescent help-seeking behaviour and the barriers to accessing help resources.