Undergraduate Students

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Sharanya Suresh Nair


Sharanya is completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a minor in Family and Child Studies. She is completing her undergraduate Honours Thesis under the supervision of Dr. Safdar. Her thesis assesses the influence of perceived injustice and tightness-looseness on the willingness of majority and minority groups in Canada towards participating in collective action. This study is part of a larger project that assessed cultural predictors of collective action and involved 23 countries.

Jaiden Herkimer


Jaiden graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a minor in Neuroscience. She conducted her honours thesis under the supervision of Professor Safdar at the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research. Jaiden’s thesis explored how psychological phenomena can affect behavioural outcomes such as mask-wearing and social interaction during COVID-19. Her study also compared the findings between two different ethnic groups in Canada: Asian-Canadians and European-Canadians. In the future, she hopes to continue doing research and would like to focus on topics relating to Indigenous issues, bicultural identity, and the mental health and wellness of marginalized groups.  

Amelia Edmonds


Amelia completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a minor in Philosophy. Their undergraduate honours thesis with the Centre for Cross-cultural Research studied the effects of ideology on intergroup relations. They explored how intercultralism and multiculturalism are viewed in Canada and the relationship between these ideologies and intergroup contact, group evaluations, and tolerance. Future applications of this could mean better understanding of policies that should be used in Canada to best support minority groups and the diversity of Canada as a whole.

Neil Horning


Neil worked on his Bachelor of Arts and Science degree in Biotechnology and Psychology. He completed his undergraduate thesis with the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research. His project focused on giving hope to Syrian refugees.

Saba Vejdani


Saba worked on his undergraduate honours thesis under the supervision of Professor Safdar as part of his double major with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology: Brain and Cognition and a Bachelor degree in Human Kinetics. For his honours thesis, Saba explored the importance of setting achievable simple daily goals and how accomplishing those goals can lead to optimism and confidence for Syrian refugees in Canada. The study was part of a larger cross-cultural project that combined information from Canada, Germany, and Spain. Ideally the implications of this study could be used to impact organizational ideas for future refugees. 

Roha Hena


Roha has completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, with a minor in Neuroscience. She conducted her undergraduate thesis with the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research. Her project focused on explaining the effects of culture on the brain by exploring how social norm violations are perceived at a neurobiological level between collectivistic and individualistic cultures.

Montana McDonald


Montana McDonald completed her undergraduate honours thesis for her bachelor degree in Psychology under the supervision of Prof. Saba Safdar. For her honours thesis she looked into the different services that are offered to Syrian Refugees in Southern Ontario. The study was part of a larger cross-cultural project that combined information from Canada, Germany, and Spain on the services specifically with Syrian refugees. Montana’s research specifically examined the challenges that the service providers encounter in addition to identifying their strength. Ideally, the future implications of her research is to contribute to developing more effective services.

Jonathan Ely Cass


Jonathan Ely Cass completed his undergraduate honours degree in psychology, with distinction, in the fall of 2015. As a Canadian from a diverse ethnic and religious background— composed of Armenian, French, Italian, Lebanese, and Jewish immigrants—Jonathan has first-hand experience with his main interests: stereotyping, prejudice, discrimination, and social categorization. For his undergraduate thesis, Jonathan assisted Professor Saba Safdar and her students in the development of a Subjective Meaning of the Islamic Veil (SMIV) Scale, a research tool to better understand what the hijab (and other religious clothing relating to the Muslim faith) mean to Canadian women. Jonathan is currently employed as a legal administrator at a respected Ontario law firm and plans on pursuing a career change to psychology or its related fields.

Zahra Kamal


Cultural Ethnicity: Afghan
I completed my undergraduate Honours thesis under Dr. Safdar’s supervision as part of my Bachelor degree in Science in Psychology: Brain and Cognition with a minor in Family and Child Studies. I worked at the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research alongside the cross-cultural team for two years (since Fall 2013). My honours thesis was on the development of a new scale looking at the Subjective Meaning of Islamic Veils (SMIV) from the perspectives of Muslim Canadian women. As part of my study, I collected data from more than 400 Muslim women and  validated the newly developed scale (i.e., SMIV) with other scales measuring religiosity and beliefs. My overall research interests lie in the adjustment of immigrants as well as how family and couple dynamics may change within a new country of settlement.

Angela Cerdena D’Unian


Angela’s thesis focused on examining the psychosocial adaptation of Latino immigrants in Canada while testing the Multidimensional Individual Difference Acculturation (MIDA) model. Her research interests include acculturation and psycho-social adaptation of immigrants. She is also interested in researching topics related to immigrant health, particularly among women.

Joel Martini


I worked on an Undergraduate Thesis under the supervision of Dr. Safdar. My research involved exploring ethnic dress and identity among first- and second-generation immigrants in Canada. Specifically, I am interested in investigating why a shift in clothing and attitudes occurs using descriptive content analysis to account for the unique experiences of participants.
Cultural Ethnicity: Canadian (Of Italian, Irish, and Scottish Descent)
Education: Degree In Psychology from the University of Guelph

Richelle Bird


For her thesis, Rashelle looked at the effects of acculturation on attitudes and behaviours towards clothing. More specifically she examined whether the acculturation strategy adopted by Chinese and Indian students influence their ratings of clothing from ethnic and Canadian clothings. 

Ben Townsend


Ben’s honours thesis focused on individual factors such as attitudes and behaviours towards clothing that may predict acculturation strategy in Chinese and Indian individuals. Besides acculturation, Ben’s other research interests lie within social cognition. In particular, facial processing and gaze aversion associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Christina Kocharakkal


Cultural ethnicity: Indian-Canadian
For her Honours’ thesis, Christina created and conducted a quantitative study to examine the relationship between an individual’s ethnic identity and their level of acculturation using fashion as a mediating variable. The participants were students from the University of Guelph. The study provided an original look at some key factors in unison as compared to other studies where they were analyzed separately.
After graduation, I was accepted in Master’s program at the University of Guelph in the Couples and Family Therapy program. My interests lie heavily within a relational context with an awareness of systemic influences and dominant discourses. This aligns with my current research interests in the field of multi-cultural counselling.

Kirsten Hartburg


Kristen’s thesis examined Emotional Display Rules within Canada. More specifically, she explored the nuances of regulation and expression of seven basic emotions by comparing three samples: a Canadian born student sample, an Immigrant student sample and a Canadian-born adult sample. Results indicated the regulation of emotional expression differs according to immigrant status and age. Kirsten also worked on two other research projects concerning sexuality, focusing on sexual scripts (i.e. the socially constructed rules that govern our sexuality) and the impact gender ideology has on sexual health. 

Katrina Rozga


Katrina’s thesis examined the Acculturation of Russian and Asian Indian immigrants using an acculturation framework, referred to as the MIDA model. Katrina’ also on other research projects, including examining acculturation of immigrants living in rural and urban area. Katrina enjoys travelling, music, reading and going out with friends.