Grad Student Research

Michael Fairbrother, University of Ottawa

Michael Fairbrother

Michael Fairbrother is a PhD candidate at the University of Ottawa. As a special education and classroom teacher, Michael completed an MEd degree in Special Education, focusing on inclusive instruction for students within a Response to Intervention (RTI) model. His doctoral dissertation is centred on understanding the influence of teachers’ professional learning on their classroom instruction for students who have difficulty learning how to read. Michael is eager to better understand the ways in which inclusive classrooms can best be developed in order to meet the needs of diverse groups of students, particularly those who struggle in the early years of school.

Supervisor: Dr. Jessica Whitley

Linda Ismailos, Brock University

Linda Ismailos

Linda Ismailos is a PhD Candidate at Brock University Faculty of Education. She is also a lecturer in the same faculty teaching these courses for teacher candidates: Cognition and the Exceptional Learner, and Socio-emotional/Physical Processes and the Exceptional Learner.  Linda’s plan for her dissertation is to employ a mixed methods approach investigating the cognitive and emotional factors that influence a successful transition to post-secondary studies for students with exceptionalities. Linda’s extensive experience as a teacher and a researcher is a valuable asset to the Centre.

Supervisor: Dr. Tiffany Gallagher

Mélissa Villella, University of Ottawa

Mélissa Villella

Mélissa Villella, OCT, is a PhD candidate at the University of Ottawa. She holds a Special Education specialist qualification and communicates in French, English and Italian. Mélissa completed her Master of Arts in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at OISE-UT where she compared how Francophone Teachers with Anglophone partners transmit French language and culture to their students and children in a minority setting. Her current PhD dissertation explores how Franco-Ontarian school principals develop intercultural competency through a short-term volunteer experience with Steve Sider of Wilfrid Laurier’s Education and Leadership Institute in Haiti, where she is also participant. Her supervisor at the University of Ottawa is Dr. Nicholas Ng-A-Fook.

Supervisor: Dr. Steve Sider

Tsz-Wing Zita Lau, Western University

Tsz-Wing Zita Lau

Tsz-Wing Zita Lau is a second-year PhD student in the School and Applied Child Psychology program at Western University. Zita completed her Master of Arts at the same institution, examining children’s thoughts on social exclusion of peers with learning difficulties in inclusive education. Participants were invited to share their ideas and sort the data into meaningful categories through the group concept mapping methodology, which allowed educators and researchers to perceive from students’ perspectives. Zita would like to further explore students’ educational experiences in inclusive classrooms and bring more attention to children’s voices in research. Her supervisor is Dr. Jacqueline Specht.

Supervisor: Dr. Jacqueline Specht

Evan Charles, Western University

Evan Charles

Evan Charles  is a first-year PhD student in the School and Applied Child Psychology program at Western University. Under the supervision of Dr. Jacqueline Specht, Evan’s research has focused on exploring factors that contribute to levels of confidence in teaching within diverse classrooms. He is interested in further exploring the long-term social and educational outcomes of positive student-teacher relationships within inclusive classrooms.

Supervisor: Dr. Jacqueline Specht

Jessica Delorey, Western University

Jessica Delorey

Jessica Delorey is a M.A. student in the School and Applied Child Psychology program at Western University. Under the supervision of Dr. Jacqueline Specht, Jessica’s research will explore understanding the experiences that shape beginning teachers’ beliefs about teaching and learning in inclusive classrooms as they transition from their teacher education program into the early years of their career.



Supervisor: Dr. Jacqueline Specht

Fizza Haider, University of Victoria

Fizza Haider

Fizza Haider is a M.A. student at the University of Victoria, pursuing graduate work in special/inclusive education within Educational Psychology under the supervision of Dr. Donna McGhie-Richmond. She is interested in investigating beginning teachers’ attitudes and understanding of instructional strategies and frameworks (i.e., Universal Design for Learning) and auxiliary aids (i.e., assistive technologies) which have the potential to mitigate the educational challenges of students with diverse learning needs. Moreover, she wishes to research ways in which those attitudes can be molded and enhanced at the preservice level so that teachers can implement inclusive strategies more effectively. Previously, she has worked with both children and young adults with varying levels of cognitive, developmental and physical abilities, evaluating their needs, providing appropriate instruction, and facilitating the provision of academic accommodations. Fizza has recently joined the Beginning Teacher Study research team.

Supervisor: Dr. Donna McGhie-Richmond