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Previous Research Members

Tanja Samardzic

Ph.D ,2023

Tanja Samardzic defended her Ph.D. in Applied Social Psychology (supervised by Dr. Paula Barata) in late April 2023 and will graduate in June 2023. Her mixed-methods dissertation included an investigation of both the societal discourses at play that place importance on the finding and maintaining of intimate relationships for young women and young women’s employment of relational strategies – particularly self-silencing – within the context of being in relationships with abusive men. She is currently employed at the Hospital for Sick Children as the Evaluation Specialist for the Mental Health Strategy, which aims to integrate physical and mental health care for young people and their families. Tanja’s Applied Social Psychology training and her extensive experience, due in great part to a three-year research assistantship with the Community Engaged Scholarship Institute, among other roles, has equipped her well for such a career.

Brianna Wilson

MA, 2020

Brianna Wilson, MA, is a community-based researcher and evaluator who works with social-purpose organizations to help them strengthen their impact. She completed her Master of Arts degree in Applied Social Psychology from the University of Guelph in 2020, where her research focused on gender-based violence prevention. She is currently working with several organizations on projects that address gender-based issues such as women’s economic development, housing for survivors, and accessible sexual assault services.

Mechaela Alfonso

BAH, 2022

Mechaela Alfonso has previously completed her BAH Psychology undergraduate degree at the University of Guelph from 2018-2022. For her undergraduate honours thesis, Mechaela and Dr. Barata worked together with the Guelph Wellington Women in Crisis’ Sexual Assault Center to start the project ‘YOU WILL BE HEARD: Black Women’s Experience with Support after Sexual Violence.’ Qualitative interviews were held to assess if Black women disclosed their experience of sexual violence, and with whom they decided to disclose this information to. Mechaela is now at Carleton University to complete her master’s degree in social work, with hopes to become a Psychotherapist and Registered Drama Therapist in the future.

Paul Copoc

BAH, 2021

Paul (he/they) graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, Honours, in February 2021. Currently, he is completing his master’s degree in the Applied Social Psychology program at the University of Guelph under the supervision of Dr. Benjamin Giguère. Paul’s research examines the process that transgender and gender non-conforming folks undergo when they change their name, socially or legally. Outside of school, Paul is a research consultant at Taylor Newberry Consulting, where they conduct program evaluations.

Ben Armstrong

BAH, 2023

Ben Armstrong has completed his Bachelor of Arts (Honours) majoring in Psychology. He completed his Honours Thesis Project with guidance from the research group in which was designed to explore how the current sexuality education curriculum influences the safe sex behaviours of sexual minority men. He is planning on continuing his education in Fall 2024 in counselling psychology or a related field.