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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Science
October 23, 2016
Canadian Excellence

Community Psychology Grad Students

Community Psychology graduate students at Laurier work with one mentor during their first year and one advisor during their second year in the Master's program. During the Doctoral program students work with at least two faculty members beyond their primary advisor, increasing the breadth of research training. Students are engaged in a multitude of interesting projects as youíll read below.


Rachel Caplan

Ph.D candidate

I am a second year Ph.D. student in the Community Psychology program at Laurier, studying under the supervision of Dr. Geoffrey Nelson. I completed an undergraduate degree at York University, double majoring in Psychology and Kinesiology. I subsequently completed my M.A. in Early Childhood Studies at Ryerson University. Broadly, my research interests lie within the realm of paediatric education, health and well-being, and access to social services. More specifically, my primary research focuses on the socio-political, psychological, economic, and ecological determinants of child health, poverty, and homelessness, and how they impact the lives of children who are homeless themselves or have parents that are (or were) homeless. My secondary research investigates methodologies used to facilitate the empowerment and identities of children.


Livia Dittmer

Ph.D candidate livia.d.dittmer [at]

I am a second year Ph.D. student in the Community Psychology program at Laurier working with Dr. Manuel Riemer. I am a researcher with the Youth Leading Environmental Change international research study, and am travelling to Uganda in Feb 2013 to interview students about their participation in our environmental education program. I am also working with Waterloo Regional Homes for Mental Health to evaluate the impacts of their Minds in Motion walking program on well-being and stigma-reduction. I collaborate with Dr. Geoff Nelson on this project. My dissertation research is focused on models of education that utilize critical pedagogy and community service-learning and the impacts of these models on cognitive, affective, spiritual, and behavioural dimensions of learning.


Renato Liboro

Ph.D candidate libo0730 [at]

I am second year PhD student of the Community Psychology program under the supervision of Dr. Robb Travers.  I obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and a Doctor of Medicine degree from the Philippines, where I practiced as a clinician for nearly 10 years.  After immigrating to Canada in 2007, I worked as a clinical researcher in Toronto for over three years before pursuing my doctoral studies.  My research interests include advocacy for issues affecting the health, mental health and well-being of different LGBT subpopulations in the community, including the youth, elder, immigrant, and racial minority groups.


Tim Macleod

Ph.D candidate macl9940 [at]

I am a first year PhD student in the community psychology program. My supervisor is Dr. Geoffrey Nelson who I work with on research that focuses on housing and mental health. My primary research interest is the role of landlords in Housing First interventions for homeless adults who have mental health issues. With Dr. Nelson I am currently doing research with the Mental Health Commission of Canada's At Home/Chez Soi Research Demonstration Project - a Housing First trial. In addition I am interested in critical psychology and post-structuralist research methodologies largely in line with Michele Foucault's late work on governmentality. I completed my undergraduate degree at Trent University in International development and my MA at Laurier in Community Psychology.


Lauren Munro

M.A. candidate
munr0250 [at]

I am a first year Masterís student in Community Psychology, as well as the Research Coordinator for Dr. Robb Travers' Equity, Sexual Health & HIV Research Group. Broadly speaking, my research interests are in the area of social exclusion related to mental health and wellbeing. For my Masterís thesis, I am interested in exploring how the effects of pre-migration experiences with homophobic violence interact with post-migration challenges to shape unique and complex mental health and wellbeing concerns for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) refugee youth, particularly in relation to HIV vulnerability.


Darren Thomas

M.A. candidate
dthomas [at]

SgeNoSwaGweGo (Peace be with you) My English name is Darren Thomas, my real name is Yohjaseh, I am a Seneca Nation, Bear Clan from the Grand River Territory of the Haudenosaunee. I am a second year M.A. student in the Community program. I completed my undergraduate degree here at Laurier. My research focus is on the decolonization of First Nations more specifically on Indigenous Knowledge as a tool for prevention. My secondary research is on understanding the impacts of colonial trauma on First Nations, and I am working with Dr. Terry Mitchell in the Community Psychology area.


Kathleen Warton

Ph.D candidate

I am a PhD student in Community Psychology working with Dr. Geoffery Nelson. Currently, my work involves exploring effective strategies for knowledge transfer within academic and community settings. My other interests include the development of community-university partnerships and the role of public spaces in promoting healthy and vibrant communities.


Sandra Yan

M.A. candidate
yanx3120 [at]

I am a second year M.A. student. I did my undergrad at U of T where I double majored in integrative biology and psychology. I am interested in the social determinants of health, health disparities/inequalities, health equity and institutional racism. My thesis topic focuses on the access barriers to sexual health that LGBTQ youth of colour face. Dr. Robb Travers is my supervisor.