Lab Director

Dr. Rhonda Martinussen was first appointed to OISE in 2006 as Assistant Professor in the Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development, after receiving a PhD from the University of Toronto’s Institute of Medical Science in 2005. She received tenure and was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor in 2013. She has since held a number of administrative appointments, including past service as Interim Director and Acting Director of the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute for Child Study (JICS), and as Program Coordinator of the Master of Arts in Child Study and Education (MA-CSE) program. She is currently the director of JICS.

Prolific researcher 

Dr. Martinussen’s research interests are in learning disabilities and teacher preparation with respect to elementary literacy and language arts, as well as the promotion of knowledge mobilization in educational settings. She has held several major grants from Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and other agencies, and is currently the Principle Investigator on a three-year research contract with the Ontario Ministry of Education on the subject of learning disabilities. Her research is highly collaborative and has generated 18 peer-reviewed articles in high caliber journals in child psychology, learning disabilities, and curriculum/instruction fields, in addition to numerous conference presentations. 

Dedicated educator 

In addition to teaching and supervising in the MA-CSE program, Professor Martinussen has several years of experience as an elementary school teacher. 

Graduate Students

Brittany Burek is a doctoral student in SCCP. Her research and clinical interests include exploring ways to leverage digital media to support the mental health and wellbeing of children, youth and families. Her research asks, What is the process and experience of online research and comprehension for neurodiverse students?”

Laurie Faith is a doctoral student in DPE with 17 years of elementary teaching experience. She is interested in the different ways that learning regulation takes place in classrooms. Her research explores the implementation of complex, pedagogical self-regulated learning supports. She asks, What supports do teachers need to carry out planned change to their daily pedagogy?” Laurie’s self-regulated learning intervention, called “Activated Learning,” currently operates in several Ontario school boards. She regularly writes and speaks about this work. 

Natalie Holtby is a doctoral student in SCCP. Her research focuses on understanding the functional implications of the attentional profile known as sluggish cognitive tempo (SCT). In particular, Natalie hopes to develop our understanding of the pathways through which SCT symptoms relate to children’s emotional functioning, academic engagement, and achievement.

Michelle Iznardo  is an MA student in CSE. Her thesis investigates how teacher-student relationships influence the link between ADHD symptoms and resilience in students with learning disabilities. Her research interests are the socioemotional and academic resilience in students with ADHD.

Melissa Kang  is a doctoral student in SCCP and has a background in teaching high school science. She is interested in the cognitive and behavioural responses that exacerbate academic difficulties and particularly how to best support students with ADHD in mathematics and academic coping.

Christine Kwong is a doctoral student in DPE. Her research focuses on the relationship between vigorous physical activity and mental well-being in university students with ADHD. She hopes her research can demonstrate the importance of sports and/or physical activity in facilitating positive mental health, social support, and adaptive coping in individuals with ADHD.

Elizabeth McEwen is a doctoral student in SCCP.  She is interested in bridging her academic and therapeutic experiences in childhood emotional development and academic achievement. Her research focuses on the development of math anxiety in early elementary school, particularly how math anxiety is measured with this age group, how it changes over time and what factors relate to it. 

Daniel Poliszczuk is a doctoral student in DPE in the final stages of preparing his dissertation. His work focus on tracking the relationship between executive functions and play behaviour in Full Day Kindergarten.

Valerie Prowse is an MEd student in DPE. Her work recognizes that teachers face multiple barriers to instruction inside and outside the classroom and that identifying and understanding these barriers is important in helping teachers improve differentiation techniques in the classroom. Her research asks,

“What influences the way teachers use differentiated instruction in the classroom?”

Lauren Saly is a MA student in DPE. Her work focuses on developing an innovative eLearning module for Ontario educators about acquired brain injury. Lauren is passionate about improving outcomes for children with disabilities in Ontario schools through implementing research-based practices and improving teacher training. 

Kimberley Tsujimoto is a doctoral student in DPE with a background in reading disabilities. Kimberley’s research investigates the role of motivation and engagement in early elementary school. She is interested in how shared versus unique traits of affective factors impact the achievement trajectories of early and struggling readers.

Her research asks, “Why are some students motivated while others are not and can this explain variation in reading achievement?”

Work Study Students and Volunteers