Current Members

Caroline Burnley  (Lab Director-on leave)

Caroline obtained her Ph.D. from Carleton University in 1994 and has been a full-time faculty member in the Department of Psychology at VIU since 1995. Caroline is one of the directors of the Department’s Resilience Research Lab (RRL) which she founded with her colleague Ruth Kirson. Her interests include social welfare, developing social capital in communities, understanding how resilience is exhibited within contextual frameworks, and supporting programs that foster and support resilience in children, youth and adults. She has been involved in resilience research at the local, national and international level with children, adolescents, adults and seniors. Caroline values the opportunity to teach her students through research and lab projects.

Ruth Kirson  (Lab Director-on leave)

Ruth obtained her M.A. at Simon Fraser University and was a Ph.D. candidate at both the University of British Columbia and the University of Oregon before becoming a faculty member in the Psychology Department at Vancouver Island University in 2001. Ruth is one of the directors of the Resilience Research Lab (RRL) which she founded with her colleague Caroline Burnley in order to provide research opportunities for students in the Psychology Department. The aim is to have students engage in research that contributes to the resilience literature and has the potential to inform social policy and assist the local community. Ruth’s interests focus on the development of healthy children and adolescents with special interests in caregiver-infant interaction, language development, exploring adolescent resilience, fostering resilience, and research ethics. She is a former chair of the VIU Research Ethics Board.

Stephanie McKenzie  (Acting Director)

Stephanie obtained her MA at the University of Regina in Experimental and Applied Psychology. She is currently a sessional instructor at Vancouver Island University. Stephanie’s interests include the history and systems of psychology, theories of personhood, and emergent agency. She joined the Resilience Lab in 2017 in order to expand her theoretical and research interests into the field of resilience and support student research.

Esther van Velthuijsen (Student Researcher)

Esther is currently working on her undergraduate degree. Her desire to be involved with the Resilience Lab stems from a longstanding interest in supporting and advocating for the mental health and wellness of others. She hopes to invest the knowledge and research experience,gained within the lab, to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable individuals. Her area of interest lies in building the social determinants of health for those facing neurodevelopmental disorders and neurodegenerative diseases as well as concurrent disorders.

Ashley Therrien  (Student Researcher)

Ashley Therrien is currently completing her undergraduate degree in psychology at Vancouver Island University. Before attending VIU she graduated from Dover Bay High School in 2014. Her goal is to obtain a PhD in Psychology and become a therapist. The Resilience Research Lab is providing Ashley with valuable knowledge that she can apply to future clients. She feels that resilience is a strength that every person can acquire no matter their ethnicity, age, or sex. Ashley believes that how one can overcome their difficult times can be useful in planning a treatment program for bettering individuals as well as a community. 

Jordyn Monaghan (Student Researcher)

Jordyn is currently completing her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a minor in Criminology. Her desire to be involved in the research lab comes from an interest in Forensic Psychology. Particularly, she hopes to apply the experience she receives in the research lab to help support resilience for victims of crime as well as assist previously-incarcerated individuals reintegrate into the community. Jordyn looks forward to increasing her knowledge on resilience in the research lab.

Brianne Knowles (Student Researcher)

Brianne Knowles is currently working on her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with the intention of working with children and youth. After her bachelor’s degree, Brianne plans to complete her master’s degree in Art Therapy at Adler University in Vancouver. Through Art Therapy, Brianne wants to help children and teens who have experienced traumatic events build on and increase their own resilience and move forward. Joining the Resilience Lab will allow Brianne to gain insight into helping others, as well as providing her with valuable tools for her own further education and research.

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