Julie graduated with a Specialization BA in Psychology and Minor in Diversity and the Contemporary World in 2021. Growing up in Shanghai with French and Italian parents meant that she adopted three distinct cultures very early on. Julie moved from Shanghai to Montreal for her university studies and joined the Lab in early 2019 as a volunteer. Her arrival to Montreal and the Lab was met with so many other students who, like her, have grown to nurture a complex understanding of their many cultures. The fluidity (or lack of) which accompanies the shift between cultural contexts has always fascinated Julie. So much that she decided to complete her Directed Readings and Research on developing an instrument that concretely measures acculturation. With Dr. Ryder’s guidance and support, she was able to showcase her work at several conferences. Following her graduation, she has been working as lab manager, assisting Dr. Ryder and coordinating various projects. Julie is also a research assistant at Université Laval’s MERRI lab and has been a part of the Access Centre for Students with Disabilities since 2017. In terms of future aspirations, Julie seeks to pursue graduate studies to further develop her research skills in the context of quantitative or mixed-method research in the hope of merging her passion for clinical cultural psychology with first-episode psychosis studies.
During her spare time, Julie scours markets to find new plants for her apartment that now resembles a tropical oasis to make up for Montreal’s weather. As a published singer-songwriter, she tends to her plants by singing to them more often than she would care to admit!
Undergraduate Thesis Students
Joon Lee is a Korean-Canadian undergraduate research assistant. He received his B. Eng. in civil engineering from McGill University. After further exploration into his greater meaning and calling in life, contemplating many different paths such as theology, religious studies, and philosophy, he decided to study psychology in the belief that it would satiate his need to use his acquired skills from engineering, and fulfill his intellectual curiosity about Man and his greater purpose.
He joined the Culture, Health, and Personality Lab in 2021. Currently, under the supervision of Dr. Ryder, he is working on multiple research projects involved with mental health, personality, and culture research. Ideally, as his knowledge in these respective fields accrues over the years, he hopes to integrate it into a formal theory of meaning-making and well-being, considering its religious and political implications. Being passionate about helping others, his long-term goal is to be a clinical psychologist, and a scientific communicator.
Emma is currently enrolled at Concordia University where she is completing her honours thesis in the Culture, Health, and Personality lab. In her thesis she will be addressing integrative complexity of identity and acculturation. Emma was born in France and moved to Canada as a young child. She has always been interested in psychopathology, and recently grew a passion for it and how it is influenced by culture. She noticed how little attention was given to culture in shaping human experiences and the potential gaps that could be filled with further research, which gives her confidence that the lab would offer her a unique opportunity to explore the field of cultural psychology that has captured her fascination. She hopes that her learnings will provide her with the skills to further pursue graduate studies while expanding her knowledge in the field. In the past, Emma volunteered at the “Centre de Réadaptation de l’Ouest de Montréal” where she accompanied children with ASD in a number of activities. She currently also volunteers at the Stress, Interpersonal Relationships, and Health Laboratory. In her free time, Emma is an artist; she loves to draw and paint. She also spends her time fostering cats out of her apartment.
Sofia was born in Montreal, but was raised in Curitiba, Brazil. She always dreamed of coming back to her hometown to pursue her higher education. Now she is completing her final year of her B.Sc in psychology at Concordia University.
Before coming to university, she thought her main interest would be in neuropsychology. However, after taking social and cultural psychology classes she found her true passion. Due to this, her dual citizenship and interest in different cultures, she joined the Culture, Health and Personality lab in 2020. She is now completing her specialization thesis on women’s mental health as students at Concordia University, more specifically how women in different programs have different experiences and issues with mental health due to the program’s gender prevalence (e.g., women in STEM vs women in psychology). She plans on pursuing her master’s and PhD in social and cultural psychology and advancing the knowledge of this new and broad field.
In her free time, she loves reading fantasy books, blasting Taylor Swift on the speakers, traveling and going to concerts.
Juliana is a Lebanese-Egyptian student finishing her last year in Psychology (B.A.) at Concordia University. She discovered a passion for cross-cultural psychology when, by chance, she took a class in the fall semester of 2021 entitled “Cultural-Clinical Psychology”. She then joined the Culture, Health and Personality Lab. Ever since, she has been thinking of ways to incorporate this new interest with another, in which she has accumulated a lot of experience, that of aging and mental health research. Thus, her research activities now consist of looking at how age, mental health, and cultural differences interact with one another. In addition to this, she is currently a research assistant for Aging in Data, a project which examines how well older adults understand informed consent in neuroimaging studies. She hopes to pursue her research on cross-cultural psychology in a Master’s (clinical or research) or PsyD/PhD program. Ultimately, she would like to be a clinical psychologist and/or university professor with pronounced cultural training.
In addition to her academic career, Juliana volunteers at the General Jewish Hospital and is a volunteer shift supervisor at Face à Face (a non-profit organization which serves the homeless community of the Greater Montreal area). She is also part of a sorority called Delta Phi Epsilon at Concordia where fundraisers are organized every semester to benefit different foundations such as the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders foundation. In her spare time, Juliana adores spending time with her two tea-cup chihuahuas, whom she spoils rotten.
Thomas is currently completing their BA with a specialization in psychology. They completed their thesis in April 2021, researching the impact of multiculturalism on cognitive flexibility. Their research interests include multiculturalism, gender identity, sexuality, and intersectionality. Through the study of these topics, they hope to better understand how people’s relationship with their social environment can affect their mental health, especially people belonging to marginalized communities.
Outside of psychology, they are very interested in the works of feminist philosophers such as Audre Lorde and Judith Butler. Thomas is also very passionate about music, and people they meet outside of school are often surprised to hear that they study psychology in hopes of becoming a researcher.
Emma is a currently completing her B.A. in Psychology at Concordia University. She lived in Holland for two years and came back to Montreal overjoyed to begin her studies in psychology. In 2020, the pandemic served as a catalyst for Emma’s volunteer work, as the need for mental health support rose substantially. She volunteered at Face à Face Montreal and The Canadian Peer Support Network helping various populations with mental health issues. She also joined the Culture, Health, and Personality Lab working with an engaging team to write a systematic literature review on cognitive flexibility and is currently working to submit for publication. In 2021, Emma joined an additional team at the Stress, Interpersonal Relationships, and Health Lab to further explore her interests in psychology. Emma is also a volunteer in the TIP-OA program at the Jewish General Hospital helping vulnerable older adults with mental health/cognitive issues. After her B.A., she wishes to pursue a master’s degree in Clinical Health Psychology. In her free time, she enjoys practicing mindfulness meditation, taking photographs, and reading with her book club.
Having completed a Bachelors’ of Commerce in Finance and Economics, Jonathan is currently in his second year of a BA in Psychology at Concordia. Although firmly committed to interdisciplinary research, he does not intend to incorporate the two fields together in his future work; however, his in-depth understanding of the economy has informed his research interests and political commitments. Although still relatively inexperienced in psychological research, Jonathan has completed a CUSRA research project under Dr. Ryder’s supervision looking into the intersection of cultural clinical psychology and social class. Building on that project, he is continuing to work under Dr. Ryder on a directed reading project on the subject of somatization, having been led to believe that there is a gap in the literature with regards to differences along class lines in recent years. A lifelong Montréal resident, he spends almost all his time sitting and sometimes lying in parks, except in the winter months.
Xuerui received her B.Sc. in psychology from McGill University in 2019. In the same year, she drove to New York to begin her master’s degree in clinical psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University. Even though New York has attracted many as “the mysterious mixture of all love, money and power, the shining and perishable dream,” she came back to Montreal for its serenity and safety. Currently, she is applying to PhD programs and is looking forward to the next chapter of her life.
Xuerui joined the Culture, Health, and Personality Lab in 2020 as a RA. She completed her master’s project with the lab, which investigated the nature and consequences of perceived discrimination among residents from Hubei province during the pandemic. For the future, she hopes to examine the generalizability of some culture-specific concepts, especially filial piety, in Western cultures or populations. More specifically, how these concepts may relate to family interactions, parent-child intimacy, and mental health in childhood or adolescence, and whether filial beliefs can directly predict eldercare in late adulthood. Aside from work and research, she is always on the hunt for good desserts.
Myriam Israel completed her undergraduate honours thesis in the lab during 2020-2021. Her multicultural background (Taiwanese and Moroccan) and curiosity to learn more about cross-cultural psychology phenomena is what initially drew her to the Culture, Health, and Personality lab. Her thesis project focused on the use of a novel machine learning algorithm to tackle the cultural biases that may be present among cultural-clinical psychology research, specifically when studying internalizing disorders.
Currently, she is working on a research project that surrounds the link between schizotypy and the personality trait openness to experience. Her interests include cross-cultural psychology, as well as the broader field of social psychology. Myriam intends to pursue a PhD in Experimental psychology in the social domain, where she hopes to work on a project that can help advance the integration of data science in social psychology research.
Outside of research, you can find Myriam cooking up some vegan food, working out, spending time with her pets, and travelling.
Catie Ajin Jeon is an art therapist and artist based in Montreal. She is hoping to pursue a Ph.D. in Cultural-Clinical Psychology in the near future. Catie completed her B.A. in Psychology at McGill University, and recently graduated from Concordia University with an M.A. in Art Therapy. Catie completed her internships at the Centre for Arts in Human Development and McGill University’s Student Wellness Hub, working as a therapist with adults with developmental disabilities and McGill University’s student population, respectively. In the last year of her M.A. degree, she served as the president of the Creative Arts Therapies Students of Colour Association (CATSOCA), organizing a multi-session speaker conference in partnership with the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. The series invited BIPOC mental health professionals from various locations and institutions such as Beirut, Lebanon and NYU, among others, to discuss topics and issues regarding culture and racial politics in mental health fields. In combining her passion for research in mental health with her interests in cultural diversity, Catie is hoping to soon pursue a Ph.D. in Cultural-Clinical Psychology. She has a particular interest in further understanding the interaction between culture and mental health within immigrant populations, with a focus on Korean immigrant groups. As an artist, Catie works primarily with watercolours. She specializes in creating watercolour dog portraits and illustrating children’s books.
Angélique is currently working to complete her B.A. in Psychology and Women’s Studies at Concordia University. Studying in these two different fields has allowed her to create her own interdisciplinary approach to learning about and understanding how the intersectionality in one’s identity can create different lived experiences. These diverse lived experiences can then impact how one views mental health, experiences and seeks help for mental health problems, and what treatments will actually be beneficial to improve their quality of life. This interest in both mental health and the diverse lived experiences of others led her to join the Culture, Health and Personality Lab as a volunteer in 2019, as this was the only psychology research lab at Concordia to contain both aspects of her interdisciplinary interests. Although she has not done any research of her own, over the years she has helped with various projects within the lab, mainly helping with Momoka Watanabe’s research, while avidly learning more about the relationship between culture and mental health. Angélique’s long term goal is to complete a Master’s in counseling psychology in order to become a psychotherapist that can help expand the use of cultural psychology research in clinical practice. Outside of school and work, Angélique spends her time rock climbing with friends or singing and dancing at home with her