Psychology M.A./M.Sc. Alumni Profiles

Jessica Curran, 2016

I completed a MSc. in Psychology at Trent in July of 2016. My thesis research, which I conducted under the supervision of Dr. Geoff Navara, sought to explore the representations of Aboriginal health in the media across three popular Canadian publications.  In order to explore this phenomenon, I conducted a thematic analysis while co-opting devices used primarily in Critical Discourse Analysis. While completing my MSc, I was also fortunate to aid in conducting a Program Evaluation for two not-for-profit social services agencies in the Peterborough area. The Program Evaluation aimed to explore Employee Wellness and the increase or decrease in Compassion Fatigue after the introduction of a wellness initiative at each centre; this research is ongoing. Lastly, as a graduate student at Trent, I was able to gain valuable experience as a Teaching Assistant, a Workshop Leader and a facilitator. These experiences, and the experiences that I had throughout the academic portion of the MSc. have allowed me to hone skills in several areas. Currently, I am the Program Coordinator for Circles of Support and Accountability in Peterborough, a non-profit organization that helps former offenders successfully reintegrate into the Peterborough community, lessening their likelihood of reoffending.  I can confidently say that it is thanks to the graduate program at Trent that I have the strength and diligence to perform well in my new role.

Amy Peverley, 2016

I completed my M.A. in Developmental Psychology at Trent in January 2016.  My graduate thesis investigated students’ preferences for either traditional print textbooks or contemporary e-textbooks, the reasons for this preference, and how this relates to student characteristics.  Specifically, I explored whether students who chose e-texts and those who chose print texts differed in their self-regulatory abilities, motivation to learn, and use of cognitive learning strategies.  

Currently, I am a project coordinator and psychometrist for a longitudinal study exploring the relationships between numeracy, language, and executive function in early childhood.  In addition, I am a teaching assistant/lab instructor for research methods and advanced statistics courses at the Trent Durham campus. 

Patricia Smith, 2016

In June 2016, I successfully defended my thesis for a MSc. in Psychology, titled “Why Not Give Up? A study on the Role of Resourcefulness in Goal Pursuit”, under the supervision of Dr. Deborah Kennett. Always having been interested in the positive aspects of human psychology, my focus was on what characteristics make individuals successful with the hopes of finding practical ways to help improve everyday goal pursuit. 

Building upon that motivation, I am currently in the middle of the medical school application process, with hopes of taking my passion for positively impacting people into the rehabilitation branch of neurology. 

My time at Trent was an incredible experience, both academically, as well as personally. Not only did the faculty push and stretch me as an intellectual, but without their tremendous support, I would have never realized the passion and potential I had. Anyone who has the opportunity to do graduate work here will be a better scholar and human being because of it and I will always look back on my time here fondly!

Carly Bumbacco, 2015

I completed my MA in psychology with the thesis, entitled, “Help Wanted: Attachment, Help-Seeking Attitudes, and Help-Seeking Behaviour among University Students”, from Trent University in September 2015.  For my MA thesis, I used a cross-sectional survey study to examine how attachment to care-givers and help-seeking attitudes play a role in first-year students’ choice to seek support from professional sources such as therapists as well as informal sources such as family members.  As a follow-up, I conducted a mixed-methods study in which I used students' attachment scores to compare across interview transcripts and discover themes related to their help-seeking experiences.  I intend to build upon my master’s thesis research at the doctoral level and pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical or Counselling Psychology.  I am immensely grateful for all the support, guidance, encouragement, and opportunities the Trent University faculty have provided me over the past few years. 

Chelsea Kilimnik, 2015 

I completed my M.Sc. thesis in Psychology at Trent in August, 2015. My thesis, which I conducted under the supervision of Dr. Terry Humphreys, focused on the role of nonconsensual sexual experiences in the sexual consent attitudes and behaviors in both a college and community sample of men and women. In my time at Trent I was also able to take part in a number of other amazing research experiences, including working with the Peterborough County-City Health Unit on how to holistically assess the sexual health of adolescents, working closely with the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre, contributing to the new Ontario sex education curriculum resources around sexual consent, and investigating the attitudes around sexual consent and sexual boundaries in an incarcerated population of men at the Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsey, Ontario. I was also given the amazing experience of working on a committee at Trent to help develop the new sexual violence response and prevention policies in the Spring of 2015. I am now a doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program at the University of Texas at Austin continuing my research on the influence of nonconsensual sexual experiences on sexual well-being. I am incredibly grateful for the wonderful opportunities Trent University afforded me and the tremendous support and education I received from the faculty.

Raymond McKie, 2015

I completed my MSc thesis in September 2015 under the supervision of Dr. Terry Humphreys, and am currently pursuing my PhD in Community Psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University under the supervision of Dr. Robb Travers.  My master’s thesis examined sexual consent understanding and negotiation strategies in a sample of men who have sex with men (MSM) and heterosexual men internationally (Canada, the United States, and Western Europe).  I have since published from these data and am still in constant contact with my advisor at Trent as we continue to conduct research together.  Currently, Dr. Humphreys, myself, and Chelsea Kilimnik are working in collaboration with colleagues at the Ministry of Safety and Correctional Services of Ontario where we are collecting data within three maximum-security prisons.  Additionally, Dr. Humphreys and I continue to work on a project in collaboration with a faculty member at the University of New Brunswick.  During my time at Trent, I was afforded the opportunity to work with the Sexual Consent Policy Review Committee, and act as the first year sciences student representative for the Graduate Student’s Association.  The master’s program at Trent University has prepared me very well for my current doctoral degree and I am thankful to all who contributed to my success.  Following my PhD, I hope to pursue a PsyD to expand my knowledge of clinical work.

Rebecca Martin, 2015

I completed my M.A. in Psychology at Trent University in 2015.  My thesis examined the role of self-compassion and general coping skills in promoting students' academic resourcefulness and adjustment, finding self-compassion to be a protective factor against low academic resourcefulness for students with small repertoires of everyday life coping skills.  As a Trent student, I had the opportunity to participate in several interesting scholastic activities, such as the Three Minute Thesis competition and the Symons Seminar Series, as well as fun social events hosted by fellow students and the Graduate Students' Association.  Since completing my degree, I have worked on a number of fascinating research projects, analyzing data from Trent University’s Equity and Diversity survey, developing and implementing an evaluation framework for a school-based drug education program, assisting with an investigation on harvesting impacts and perceptions of climate change in a Northern Labrador community, and collaborating on a study exploring the relationships between compassion for nature, the self, and others.  My current work with the Health, Environment and Indigenous Communities Research Group at Trent University focuses on food security and food needs in Nunatsiavut.  I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a student at Trent, and attribute a large part of my work success to the quality of my education. Trent is a supportive and nurturing learning environment, where the faculty truly care about their students' academic and personal growth, and fellow students help each other out.

Ashley Toohey, 2015

I completed my M. Sc. in Developmental Psychology at Trent in September 2015.  My thesis investigated how children and young adolescents think about, and understand, others’  intentions and emotions.  Thanks to the research experience I acquired throughout my Masters degree, I gained many valuable skills that have allowed me to continue to work in the Language and Cognition Lab at Trent Durham as a psychometrist, project coordinator, and research assistant.  In addition to my role in the lab, I was also able to secure a position as a psychometrist at a medical clinic that focused on children’s mental health.  I work and volunteer in a number of child-focused organizations and am planning to pursue my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.



Joshua Black, 2013

My research interests are in the area of dreams in bereavement, with a special focus on dreams of the deceased. I first investigated this area while in the Master’s of Arts program here at Trent University. My MA thesis examined themes, content, and meaning of dreams that contain imagery of the deceased. I am currently in the PhD program at Brock University continuing to investigate dreams in bereavement. I have published scientific literature in the area and I continue to provide volunteer support to individuals who are bereaved. Recently, I developed a website ( for others to learn more about bereavement dreams, share their bereavement dreams, and ask questions.



Kristen Withers, 2012

I graduated from Trent's Psychology M.Sc. program in 2012. I conducted my thesis research under the supervision of Dr. Michael Chan-Reynolds. In our study, we used eye-tracking technology to explore the human ability to detect visual changes. Our results provided support for the existence of a pre-attentive change detection mechanism. 

Immediately after graduating from Trent, I enrolled in law school at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. I graduated from the law program with my Juris Doctor degree in the spring of 2015. I spent the summer of 2015 taking the bar exam in Vancouver, and since September 2015 I have been clerking at the British Columbia Supreme Court. Once I complete my one-year judicial clerkship, I will be starting articles with Borden Ladner Gervais LLP in Vancouver. I expect to be called to the bar in late 2016 or early 2017. 


Completed M.A./M.Sc. Theses

  • 2018 Erin Laverty "Scripted Sexual Beliefs and Behaviours: From First to Recent Sexual Encounters" (Supervisor: Dr. Terry Humphreys)
  • 2017 Alexandra Ha "Emotional Intelligence and Bullying Victimization: An Exploration of Gender, Age, and Sub-Types of Bullying Activities" (Supervisor: Dr. James Parker)
  • 2017 Emily Stiner "Are we all on the Spectrum?  Assessing Autistic Traits in the Hexaco Personality Framework" (Supervisor: Dr. Ben Bauer)
  • 2017 Jessica Reid "Jail Time: Effects of Attachment, Gender, and Contact on the Associations Between Parental Incarceration, Offspring Symptoms and Deliquency" (Supervisor: Dr. Elaine Scharfe)
  • 2017 Ripdaman Savinder Singh "Thinking Ahead: Stakeholder Perspectives on Transitioning Media Change for Communication between Health Care Providers and Employers During Return to Work" (Supervisors: Dr. Fergal O'Hagan and Dr. Deborah Kennett)
  • 2017 Laura Bouchard "Asserting Sexual (Dis)Interest: How do Women's Capabilities Differ?" (Supervisor: Dr. Terry Humphreys)
  • 2017 Jessica Pasinetti "Sweat it Out: Attitudes and Decision Making Surrounding Ethical Garments" (Supervisor: Dr. Elizabeth Nisbet)
  • 2017 Sarah Healy "Executive Function as a Predictor of Emotional, Behavioural, and Social Competence Problems in Children with Epilepsy" (Supervisor: Dr. Nancie Im-Bolter)
  • 2017 Neha Khullar "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World: A Critical Analysis of the Perceptions and Lived Experiences of Mental Health and Illness in Kuwait" (Supervisor: Dr. Rory Coughlan)
  • 2017 Michael Jorgensen "How do we let the Players Play and Keep Them Safe? The Issue of Problematic Beliefs in the Prevention of Concussion Injury" (Supervisors: Dr. Fergal O'Hagan & Dr. Hugo Lehmann)
  • 2016 Dougal Nolan "The Fathering Experience of the Transition into Parenthood" (Supervisor: Dr. Brenda Smith-Chant)
  • 2016 Christopher Bedore "Comparing Two Tablet-Blased Visuomotor Tasks to Standard Laboratory Versions" (Supervisor: Dr. Liana Brown and Dr. Hugo Lehmann)
  • 2016 Gregory Tracey "Tool-Use and Near-Tool Effects: Exploring the Influence of Training Demands" (Supervisor: Dr. Liana Brown)
  • 2016 Laura Kennedy "Childhood Precursors of Adult Train Incompleteness" (Supervisor: Dr. Laura Summerfeldt)
  • 2016 Amy Peverley "I Like Big Books: Students' Preferences for Text and Academic Characteristics at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario" (Supervisor: Dr. Brenda Smith-Chant)
  • 2016 Janet Lobban-Shymko "Social Communicative Factors as Predictors of Sympton Severity in Autism Spectrum Disorder" (Supervisor: Dr. Nancie Im-Bolter)
  • 2016 Patricia Smith "Why not give up?  A study on the role of resourcefulness in goal pursuit" (Supervisor: Dr. Deborah Kennett)
  • 2016 Jessica Curran "Representations of Aboriginal Health in the Media" (Supervisor: Dr. Geoffrey Navara)
  • 2016 Susan Coltman "Practicing and Rewarding Task-Relevant Motor Variability to Optimize Motor Performance" (Supervisor: Dr. Liana Brown)
  • 2015 Hay-Yui Lai “Kiss and tell: Exploring the associations between attachment representations and the sexual encounter” (Supervisor: Dr. Elaine Scharfe)
  • 2015 Clarissa Williams “The Relationship between Virginity Scripts and Precoital Sexual Behaviour” (Supervisor: Dr. Terry Humphreys)
  • 2015 Rebecca Martin “To Be Kind or Not to be Kind: The Role of Self-Compassion in the Academic Self-Control Model” (Supervisor: Dr. Deborah Kennett)
  • 2015 Carly Bumbacco “Help Wanted: Attachment, Help-Seeking Attitudes, and Help-Seeking Behaviour among University Students” (Supervisor: Dr. Elaine Scharfe)
  • 2015 Ashley Toohey “Cognitive and affective theory of mind in children and young adolescents” (Supervisor: Dr. Nancie Im-Bolter)
  • 2015 Danielle Sage “Marital Satisfaction throughout the Journey of Weight-Loss Surgery” (Supervisor: Dr. Geoff Navara)
  • 2015 Raymond McKie “Just say Yes: Sexual Consent and Boundary Setting on-and Offline: An International Perspective of Men of Varying Sexual Orientations” (Supervisor: Dr. Terry Humphreys)
  • 2015 Elizabeth Shepherd “Non-Hippocampal Memory Systems Contributing to Reinstated Context Memory” (Supervisor: Dr. Hugo Lehmann)
  • 2015 Chelsea Kilimnik “Sexual Consent: The Role of Nonconsensual Sexual Experiences, Identification, and Affective Sexuality” (Supervisor: Dr. Terry Humphreys)
  • 2015 Korri McCourt “Youth Justice in Canada: Just Ice?” (Supervisor: Dr. Rory Coughlan) 
  • 2015 Kristen Morrison “CTRL + ALT + DEL: A Dark & Interpersonal Perspective of Cyber-Bullying” (Supervisor: Dr. Elaine Scharfe)
  • 2015 Sean Carlin “Near-Hand Effects and Recruitment of Visual-Tactile Bimodal Cells” (Supervisor: Dr. Liana Brown)
  • 2015 Karolina Beben “Testing the Role of Bimodal Cells in Near-Hand Effects: An rTMS Study” (Supervisor: Dr. Liana Brown)
  • 2014 Kyle Kenniphaas “Neonatal Environment Influences Behavioural and Physiological Reativity to Stressors, and Mammary Gland Development in BALB/c Mice: Implications for Breast Cancer Risk” (Supervisor: Dr. Leslie Kerr)
  • 2014 Caitlin Higginson “The Role of Multiple Nights of Sleep in the Consolidation of an Engaging and Complex Motor Learning Task” (Supervisor: Dr. Kevin Peters)
  • 2014 Christopher Quinn-Nilas “Application of the Sexual Self-Control Model and the Two-Dimensional Sexual Double Standard Scale to Heterosexual Undergraduate Men and Women” (Supervisor: Dr. Deborah Kennett)
  • 2014 Nicolle Miller “Assessing the Effects of Brief Interventions on Mood and Dream Imagery in Recovering Alcohol and Drug Addicts” (Supervisor: Dr. Teresa DeCicco)
  • 2013 Gillian Tibbetts “War and Peace: Attachment, Conflict, and Collaboration in Adult Sibling Relationships” (Supervisor: Dr. Elaine Scharfe)
  • 2013 Joshua Black “Examining Dreams, Dream Content, and Meaning of Dreams in Bereavement” (Supervisor: Dr. Teresa DeCicco)
  • 2013 Jesiqua Rapley “First Nation Community Perceptions of Positive Behaviour Changes Identified in Youth Associate with Participation in a Community Recreation Program: A Grounded Theory Approach” (Supervisor: Dr. Brenda Smith-Chant)
  • 2013 Katharine Bailey “Talking it out: Social Problem Solving and Language in Middle Childhood and Early Adolescence” (Supervisor: Dr. Nancie Im-Bolter)
  • 2013 Muniq Anam “Parent-Child Synchrony and Child Psychopathology” (Supervisor: Dr. Nancie Im-Bolter)
  • 2013 Kyle Morrissey “Finger-Counting Habits and Number Processing in Canadian and Chinese University Students” (Supervisor: Dr. Mowei Liu)
  • 2013 Karen Gillis “Emotional Competency and Trait Motivations for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder” (Supervisor: Dr. Laura Summerfeldt)
  • 2012 Hilary Fast “Learned Resourcefulness and Exercise Behaviour: The Development and Validation of the Exercise Resourcefulness Inventory” (Supervisor: Dr. Deborah Kennett)
  • 2012 Willow Burns “Insecure, hostile, angry and unhealthy: The mediating role of Type A in the association between attachment insecurity and health” (Supervisor: Dr. Elaine Scharfe)
  • 2012 Kristen Withers “Pre-Attentive Guidance Contributes to the Search for Changes: Evidence from Eye Movements” (Supervisor: Dr. Michael Chan-Reynolds)