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Wilfrid Laurier University Office of Research Services
December 9, 2016
Canadian Excellence

Who Are We?

Dr. Manuel Riemer, Director


Dr. Riemer, is an Associate Professor of community and environmental psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University. He received his Master’s and Ph.D. in Psychology from Vanderbilt University. He is the director of the Centre for Community, Research, Learning and Action and the Community, Environmental and Justice Research Group. His current research focuses on using community psychology principles, theories, and tools to address issues related to global climate change mitigation and adaptation. Dr. Riemer is the principal investigator of the international study Youth Leading Environmental Change, which tests an innovative youth engagement program in six countries. He works with local environmental organizations on issues related to collaboration, training development, and evaluation. Examples of recent collaborations are a partnership with the David Suzuki Foundation to evaluate the long-term effectiveness of the leadership training program Camp Suzuki and a collaboration with My Sustainable Canada to study the knowledge of sales representatives about the environmental aspects of their products. Dr. Riemer is also an editor of the book “International Community Psychology: History and Theories” and the action editor of the special issue of the American Journal of Community Psychology on Community Psychology and Global Climate Change. He is also the editor of the column “Environment & Justice” in The Community Psychologist. His contributions to the field were recently recognized with the Early Career Award from the Society for Community Research and Action.

His areas of interests and expertise include community and environmental psychology, sustainability, global climate change mitigation and adaptation, youth engagement in the environment, pro-environmental behaviour change, changing complex social systems, collaboration, program evaluation, and mixed method research.

Alexa Stovold, Co-Director


Alexa Stovold is currently a first years Masters student in the Community Psychology program at Wilfrid Laurier University. Alexa has always had a strong interest in Community Psychology, with an emphasis on social and environmental justice issues. In regards to her research experience, Alexa has participated in numerous research studies over the past few years. More recently, Alexa and fellow classmates partnered with Opportunities Waterloo Region to learn more about societal attitudes toward poverty. Alexa also completed her undergraduate thesis, which assessed how the narrative approach can be used to facilitate students’ learning about environmental issues. Moving forward, Alexa is working to complete her Masters thesis at the graduate level.

In addition to her academic work, Alexa has worked hard to gain a variety of volunteer and professional experience. Alexa has fulfilled the role of the Development Support Coordinator at Centre for Community Research, Learning and Action, and she is currently fulfilling the role of the Co-Director of the Community, Environment, Justice Research Group (CEJRG). Additionally, Alexa has gained experience working with the community, as she worked at a local youth shelter for four years, and she is currently in the process of completing her practicum at the Region of Waterloo. Looking forward, Alexa is eager and excited to apply what she has learned from the CP program so that she is able to create positive social change for her local community. 

Nahian Alam, Undergraduate Student


Nahian graduated from A.B Lucas Secondary School in London, Ontario on June of 2011. After getting his diploma, he applied to the faculty of Arts in Waterloo University and decided to major in psychology while minoring in philosophy. He is currently in the honours psychology program in Waterloo and hopes to graduate in 2015- 2016.  

Nahian's research interests are mainly in the field of cognitive neuroscience. He hopes to pursue a Ph.D in this field and design research experiments to better understand the biological/psychological events that take place during dreams. He would also like to research memory and intelligence.

His current research interests lie with the social psychology portion of the environmental justice project. This is not necessarily the field he would like to pursue, but it provides a different perspective to the world of psychology. The key to understanding a person’s biology is to understand who they are as a whole which he thinks social psychology tries to appreciate.

After he receives his BA in psychology, he hopes to continue on to graduate school in Waterloo and receive his Ph.D in the field of cognitive neuroscience. He is still unsure what he would like to do in this field but would prefer a research position or perhaps work as a clinical neuropsychologist. His current goal is just to work hard and achieve the marks necessary for him to reach the next phase of his plan.

Livia Dittmer, PhD Student


Livia Dittmer is a doctoral student in the Community Psychology program, working with Dr. Manuel Riemer. Her main research interests include critical education, community service-learning, environmental education, critical consciousness raising, praxis, sociopolitical engagement of youth, the connections between physical and mental health, and consultative epistemology. Livia served as the student co-director of the Community, Environment, and Justice Research Group (CEJRG) from 2009 to 2010. She is also a collaborator and researcher on the Youth Leading Environmental Change research project through CEJRG.

Allison Eady, PhD Student


Allison Eady is a Ph.D. student in the Community Psychology program at Laurier working with Dr. Manuel Riemer. Before coming to Laurier, she completed her undergraduate degree in psychology at McMaster University and worked at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto General Hospital, and Women’s College Hospital as a research assistant on projects looking at various facets of social equity and health, while volunteering and organizing around issues of social and environmental justice.   Her broader research interests include: food security, environmental justice and health, and community engagement in environmental and social justice action. More specifically, she is interested in learning about the relationship between food security and mental health, connectedness to nature and wellbeing, and building healthy, sustainable communities. Allison was a peer facilitator for the Youth Leading Environmental Change workshops, and has taught the 3rd year psychology course Environment, Psychology, and action. She is currently the co-chair, of the APA division 27 Environment and Justice Interest Group.

Alex Latta, Associate Professor


Dr. Latta holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from York University. He is Associate Professor in the Department of Global Studies and in the Balsillie School of International Affairs.

In his research, Dr. Latta examines debates and conflicts over environmental issues as key sites where the shape of contemporary citizenship is constructed, challenged and reshaped by a diverse array of actors. With a focus on the Latin American region, and a particular specialization in energy and water politics in Chile, he works with the theoretical and methodological tools of political ecology to chart the way that political agency within socio-ecological assemblages takes shape in relation to competing visions of nature, society, the nation, and the globe.

Dr. Latta is an Associate Fellow of the Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean, at York University. With WATERLAT, an international network on water issues in Latin America, he is a member of the Publications Commission and coordinates a thematic research area on Water and Megaprojects. His research has appeared in journals such as Citizenship Studies, Environmental Politics, Latin American Perspectives and Cultural Geographies. He is co-editor with Hannah Wittman of the recent volume, Environment and Citizenship in Latin America.

Felix Munger


Felix is a facilitator, consultant, instructor and researcher with significant experience in community development, addictions, psychiatry, community health, health equity, and environmental and social sustainability. He specializes in community and stakeholder engagement, organizational networks and collaboration, collaboration development, process facilitation, leadership, and research and evaluations.

Originally educated as a psychiatric nurse in Switzerland, he received his master’s degree in Environmental Studies from York University and completed his PhD in community psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University. From 2001 to 2008, he held different management positions at the Centre for Addiction and Mental health including the Scarborough Addiction Services Partnership, the Metro Addiction Assessment Referral Service, and the Borderline Personality Disorders Services. As a consultant, he has worked for the Region of Waterloo, the Waterloo Region District School Board, the Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council, Waterloo Region Public Health, the Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion, and the Central East Local Health Integration Network.

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Sara Wicks, Masters Student


Since 2006, Sara Wicks has been actively involved in the youth-led climate change organization, Reduce the Juice, and current serves as Director.  Sara has a B.A in International Development from the University of Guelph and is a first year Master of Arts student in the Community Psychology program at Wilfrid Laurier University.  Her research interests include community-based change for sustainability, environmental education and youth engagement in environmental initiatives.  Sara sits on the Steering Committee for IMPACT: Youth Program for Sustainability Leadership, the Advisory Board for the Centre for Community Research, Learning and Action (CCRLA) at Wilfrid Laurier as well as the Community, Environment and Justice Research Group (CEJRG).  Lastly, Sara is also a youth advisor and workshop facilitator for the multi-national study Youth Leading Environmental Change.

Narges Kermani, Ph.D Student


Narges Kermani is first year Ph.D. student in community psychology program, working with Dr. Manuel Riemer. She received her Masters in counselling psychology, from the University of Isfahan, Iran. ​She changed​ her field of study to community psychology to conduct​ ​and collaborate on international research for social change​ and environmental justice, especially on engaging youth in these changes. She​ plan​s​ on widening the international collaboration​s of the research group by linking it to researchers and community organizations in the Mi​dd​l​e ​East. She is currently investigating the social issue of street children in Iran using a community psychology lens. Her research interests are linked to cultural change and youth engagement in environmental justice. She is specifically interested in youth engagement on future changes, using art based methods for social movements, social justice, poverty and climate change. 

Radha Sayal  


Radha Sayal is a recent Laurier graduate with an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a concentration in research and business management. She is currently employed as Research associate with the Community Environment and Justice Research Group (CEJRG) and the Poverty Reduction Research Group (PPRG). Radha is also the Research Coordinator for the Laurier Student Public Interest Research Group (LSPIRG). Her research interests include environmental justice, community engagement,  knowledge mobilization, accessible education, poverty, and social change.