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Current Research Team

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Above: Current Women’s Lab Research Team. From top left to bottom left: Dr. Paula Barata, Alexis Fabricius, Dylan Schentag, Brianna Wilson, Brittany Pompilii, Olivia Barclay, Sandra Erb, and Tanja Samardzic.

Dr. Paula Barata

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My research deals with the psychosocial determinants that influence women’s health and wellbeing. In particular, I am interested in how women are broadly impacted by sexual and physical violence, and what we can do to ameliorate that violence.  Currently, I am working on projects dealing with the evaluation and implementation of a sexual assault prevention program, housing discrimination against battered women, and the evaluation of a program for children who have witnessed intimate partner violence.  I have also done work on the incorporation of HPV technologies into cervical cancer prevention.

Alexis Fabricius

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Alexis Fabricius is in the Applied Social Psychology program working toward her second MA after having completed two Honours BAs (one in history and one in psychology) at York University in Toronto. Her undergraduate research focused on gendered violence; specifically, she examined how the experiences of blind and partially sighted women can be used to develop relevant violence prevention programming for them. Her research was awarded the Originality Prize in memory of Paul Jeffrey Kuszyszyn. More recently, her applied work is examining how sex and gender impact the severity and outcomes of traumatic brain injury with Dr. Angela Colantonio in the Acquired Brain Injuries lab at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. Presently, her research is focused on using qualitative methods and critical theory to challenge traditional approaches to interventions, programming, and policy. Her research interests include feminist and critical theory, post-modern approaches to psychology, sex and gender, sexual assault/IPV prevention, health research, and women’s experiences in the healthcare system. Alexis Fabricius also owns and operates a feminist women’s self-defense company, Invicta Self-Defense.

Brianna Wilson

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Brianna is an MA student in Applied Social Psychology at the University of Guelph. She also completed her Honours BA in Psychology, with a minor in Philosophy, at U of G. Her research interests include community-based research, gender norms, and violence against women prevention. For her MA thesis, Brianna is investigating the impact of exposure to online misogyny on men’s acceptance of sexual violence, and what might be done to mitigate any negative influences. Within the lab, Brianna has also assisted with a community-based research project studying financial abuse in the Toronto area. Furthermore, she is currently working at the Community Engaged Scholarship Institute as a Graduate Student Research Assistant.

Tanja Samardzic

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Tanja Samardzic is a Ph.D. candidate in Applied Social Psychology. Before beginning doctoral studies at the University of Guelph, Tanja completed both an Honours BA in Psychology with Thesis and an MA in Applied Social Psychology at the University of Windsor. Broadly, Tanja’s research is focused on exploring self-silencing, which involves the active restriction of one’s self-expression for the purpose of maintaining intimate relationships. Her MA thesis explored young women’s experiences of male-perpetrated intimate partner violence and engagement in self-silencing, as well as the consequences to the relationship (e.g., compliance with unwanted sex). For her doctoral dissertation, Tanja will investigate 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. In addition to her doctoral work, Tanja works as a research assistant at the Community Engaged Scholarship Institute (CESI) and she co-organized the Honouring International Women’s Day 2020 Conference: Research & Revolt!

Sandra Erb

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Sandy is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology program at the University of Guelph. Her research focuses on the experience of negative self-conscious emotions and resilience in survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV). Sandy’s master’s thesis research examined the relationship between self-compassion, shame, and self-blame in IPV survivors. She is currently collecting data for her dissertation project that involves the development and validation of a trauma-related shame and guilt scale. Sandy has also collaborated in the PhotoVoice research project on women’s safety with the Women’s Health and Wellbeing Research Team. 

Olivia Barclay

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Olivia Barclay is a fourth-year B.A. Psychology student at the University of Guelph. Currently, Olivia is working in Dr. Barata’s lab as a website designer and helping Barata and the other lab members conduct research. She will be completing an Honours Thesis this year. Olivia plans to continue her studies in graduate school, pursuing clinical or counselling psychology.