Our People

Meet the mir Lab

Nigel MANTOU lou

Lab Director

I am an Assistant Professor at the Department of Psychology, and a research fellow at the Centre for Youth and Society, University of Victoria. I am the director of the Motivation and Intercultural Relations Lab (MIR lab). You can find more about me and my research here.

 

NATASHA UNRUH

Lab Coordinator

I am a second-year psychology student, currently serving as the lab coordinator and leading a project that investigates the reasons Canadian universities provide for wanting international students on their campus (e.g., diversity, revenue, globalization) and how these various rationales may impact international students. I possess a broad spectrum of research interests and volunteer as an RA in various labs here at UVic. Additionally, I contribute to my community by teaching elementary psychology to middle schoolers through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Victoria.

 

Graduate students

Imran Tatla

Masters Student

Hi! My name is Imran, and I’m an MSc student in the social psychology program at the University of Victoria. My research interests focus on intercultural/intergroup relations within minority groups. In particular, I am interested in evaluating how culturally based conflicts  ( e.g., choosing a romantic partner from the mainstream culture) between parent and child impact second-generation youth’s identity development. In my spare time, I enjoy traveling, staying active, reading, and sketching.

Kimberly ning

Masters Student

Hello! My name is Kimberly Ning (or just Kim) and I’m an MSc. student pursuing a degree in Social Psychology at the University of Victoria. I come from Edmonton, AB which is where I completed my BSc. (Psychology Major with a Minor in Business) from the University of Alberta.

I love the study of Psychology as a whole and have a multitude of research interests, but my focus tends to fall into the realm of minority-status group processes. As such, I am highly invested in the topics of intersectionality and discrimination, as well as immigration and acculturation. Currently, I am researching the intersection between queerness and ethnicity and hope to eventually expand my research towards examining the queer migrant experience.

In my spare time, I like to take walks while surrounding myself with nature, or just getting to explore places I haven’t been at yet. I love music, sitting down with a good show or film (Ghibli is my go-to!), and settling into a comfy chair with something to read and a fragrant cup of tea/coffee. In addition, I love to cook, bake, and partake in a good meal :).

Kingsley ivande

PhD Student

I am a Ph.D. student in the Department of Psychology at the University of Victoria. My research interests are in the intersection of Personality/Social, Economic, Cross-cultural, and Positive psychology. My research is driven by a data-centric approach, as I strive to harness the power of cutting-edge data analytics and data sciences techniques to unveil the intricate dynamics of acculturation, motivation, and intergroup relations, particularly within the context of immigrants and minority communities. One pivotal aspect of my research centers on the well-being of immigrants and minority communities navigating the complexities of acculturation and adaptation to new cultures. I delve into strategies that not only aid individuals in coping with the challenges of acculturation but also empower them to thrive in their new environments.

My academic journey is firmly grounded in the realm of positive psychology, where I delve into the transformative potential of concepts like self-compassion, gratitude, and positive mindsets (e.g., the upward social mobility mindset, growth mindset, and stress-can-be-enhancing mindset), exploring how these concepts directly and indirectly influence intergroup and interpersonal processes, adding a rich layer of data-driven insights to the field.

Outside of my academic pursuits, I enjoy spending quality one-on-one time with close friends, and I am an avid sports enthusiast, with basketball being a personal favorite. Go DUBS!

Brandon Justus

Master’s Student

Hi.  Thanks for checking out the lab and reading my bio! My area of interest and research is on the topics of video and board games with relationships to various factors (classrooms, teamwork, friendship, etc.). More specifically, I focus on the impact board games have on learning and developing social cohesion. Additionally, I provide consultation for instructors who wish to implement board games into their class structure, and I assist with running online Psychology labs at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. In general, I enjoy improving different aspects of our lives with video or board games.

I am currently in the MSc. Social Psychology program here at UVic, and I look forward to expanding my research experience. When I am not doing research or working on achieving my Master’s degree, I enjoy playing video games—no surprise—and watching animations (e.g., Castlevania). I am also down for karaoke and grabbing a beer to chat about research or local/world events.

“ I hope to see you on campus or online!

Chenxi Wu

Master’s Student

I’m deeply fascinated by the intricate interplay between human psychology and technology, particularly in the realm of motivation. My research centers on exploring the diverse motivations behind individuals’ use of technology, with a keen focus on how it might influence their social and emotional well-being.

My curiosity in this area stems from the rich tapestry of portrayals of robots and AI in popular culture, ranging from the endearing companionship depicted in films like “Her” (2012) and the classic manga “Astro Boy,” to the ominous and menacing representations seen in works like “Terminator” and “M3GAN” (2022). Beyond exploring the nuances of technological motivation, I’m also intrigued by the potential cultural variations in perceptions of humanoids and social chatbots. I’m particularly interested in investigating how these differences in perception may impact individuals’ interactions and experiences with technology.

In my leisure time, you’ll often find me immersed in the world of cinema, indulging in a wide range of films from “The Holy Mountain” to the enchanting creations of Studio Ghibli. I also enjoy delving into visual novels and anime for their captivating narratives. Additionally, I love connecting with friends and occasionally doodle in manga style. Feel free to reach out!:)

JIE LI

Graduate Student Affiliate

Hi everyone, I am Jie, and I am a graduate student in the clinical lifespan psychology program supervised by Dr. Cathy Costigan. My research interests include immigrant family systems, acculturation, and mental health. Currently, I am working with Dr. Nigel Lou as a research assistant on the Mindsets Project. In my spare time, I enjoy playing squash, skiing and travelling.

 

Andy van drom

Graduate Student Affiliate

I have been teaching linguistics and English as a second language in Quebec City since 2005, first at Université Laval and then, since 2012, at Cégep Limoilou. After completing my doctoral studies in linguistics, I am now working part-time on a second master’s degree, in college pedagogy, at Université de Sherbrooke. My research, under the supervision of Dr. Séverine Parent (Université du Québec à Rimouski) and Dr. Nigel Mantou Lou (University of Victoria) studies the influence of metacognitive activities on the language mindset, motivation and engagement of college-level ESL learners. Andy has also published 4 textbooks with Pearson ELT. My desire to innovate in pedagogy through digital technology has earned me an AQPC Honorable Mention and the EF Excellence Award in Language Teaching. Access Andy’s website here to learn more about his research.

 

Undergraduate students

KEMMERLY CHIPONGIAN

Honour student (2023 Fall);  Independent Study Student (2023 Spring); Research Assisant (2022 Fall)

Hi! My name is Kemmerly, and I am completing my Honours thesis with Dr. Lou in the MIR Lab. My research focuses on intended versus actual outcomes of equity, diversity and inclusion policies, and how universities can design and deliver initiatives to best support cultural minority students. In the future I hope to pursue a Masters’ degree in Public Health, and continue exploring the biopsychosocial model of health in relation to health equity and accessibility. In my spare time, I love watching films, reading with a hot mug of tea, and spending time outdoors!

 

Diljot Manj

VKURA Research Assistant (2024 Summer)

Hey there! I’m Diljot, a second-year Computer Science and Psychology major at UVic. Currently, I’m contributing as a Research Assistant in the MIR Lab. I’m personally interested in leveraging AI and Video Game Development in tandem to tackle individual challenges, such as overcoming stage fright. I’m equally fascinated with Cybersecurity and Cryptography, particularly social engineering and how it can be used with AI. Presently, I’m assisting in research at the MIR Lab on the positive impact of video games on intergroup relations. Looking ahead, I aspire to continue my undergraduate studies and later pursue graduate studies in Artificial Intelligence as well as in Applied Computer Science. Beyond academia, I enjoy programming, strategy games like Crusader Kings 3, and fantasy books.

Thomas Jin

Indepedent study student

Hello, my name is Thomas. I’m a third-year student in the psychology department at UVic. As an international student from China, I’m interested in intercultural communication, acculturation, and the development of self-concept in multicultural populations (particularly the phenomenon of frame-switching). My goals are to acquire research experience and enhance my skills to prepare for graduate school.

In my spare time, I like to sketch, do street photography, and spend time with my dog Jaxie.

 

Anjuli Strong

Volunteer Research Assistant

Hello! My name is Anjuli, and I am a third-year psychology student at Uvic from Toronto. I am interested in the intersection between mental health issues and diverse cultural backgrounds, and how to create treatments that take these differences into account. I am currently volunteering as a research assistant for a study at the MIR lab about the difficulties second generation immigrants face in relationships. I am aiming to become a clinical psychologist, though I’d like to focus on research first. At the moment, I’ve been enjoying playing video games, spending time with my friends, and painting surreal art.

 

Sunwoo Joo

Lab Intern (Undergraduate student)

Hi! I am Sunwoo, and I am a rising fourth-year psychology and counseling student at the University of Hong Kong. As part of the Mitacs program, I am excited to contribute my assistance at the MIR lab during this summer. My research interests focus on the intricate aspects of how 1.5-2nd generation immigrants maintain their cultural identity, language development, and well-being. In my spare time, I like to dance, travel, go for a walk or go to the beach. 

 

Tamara Knight-Robinson

Volunteer Research Assistant

Hi! My name is Tamara, and I am a third-year psychology major at UVic. I am volunteering in the MIR Lab as a research assistant. I am interested in research that focuses on intercultural relationships and how these affect people’s perceptions and identity. I am currently assisting on a project within the MIR Lab that is focussing on second-generation immigrants and the various conflicts that affect their identity development. I am hoping to eventually complete an independent study and attend graduate school in the future. As of right now I am focussing on continuing to grow my research skills! In my spare time, I enjoy exploring new places to eat with my friends, indulging in a good book and finding Victoria’s best matcha latte. 

 

Alumni

ISABELLA SCHOPPER

Research Assistant and Honours Student Graduate (2021-2023)

My research in collaboration with Dr. Nigel Lou explores the experiences of Asian-identifying students in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in relation to mental health outcomes. My academic involvement also includes being the former co-president of the Psi Chi international Honor Society, and the undergraduate student representative of the psychology department’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committee. I am now studying for my LSAT exam.

 

 

ISABELLA THURSTON

Honours Student and Indepedent study student (2022-2023)

Hi! My name is Isabella Thurston. I am currently a fourth-year student at UVic majoring in Psychology. I am working alongside Dr Lou on my independent study this year, which will focus on whether or not exposure to diversity initiatives on campus effects white students attitudes of threat, and we are also exploring potential moderators of this relationship. Additionally, my research interests include the effects of racism and sexism, discrimination and inequality on one’s culture, identity and well-being.

Charlotte Berry

Volunteer Research Assistant

Hi! My name is Charlotte, and I am in my fifth and final year at UVic. I am from Ontario but now reside in Tofino. I am interested in mental health, neurodivergence, and disabilities. I am volunteering as a research assistant and am excited to investigate the different stressors and coping mechanisms of minorities as well as individual well-being. I am hoping to do a master’s in counselling or work with children, and when I am not in school, I am working with kids at my other job, serving, or playing with my cat Toast.

 

Amelia Ogino-Bremaud

Indepedent study student

Hello, my name is Amélia, and I am in my third year at Uvic majoring in psychology and minoring in linguistics. Currently, my research interests primarily centre around language learning and its intersection with intergroup relations. I am particularly interested in understanding how cross-cultural family dynamics influence language acquisition and how these factors converge to shape individuals’ identities and social integration. I am currently completing an independent study on the topic of synergistic mindset interventions and its impacts on language learning and acculturation outcomes for ESL migrants. 

When I’m not busy with school, I enjoy playing piano, weightlifting, and experimenting with new culinary recipes.

KUSAM SHARMA

Independent study student (2022)

Hi my name is Kusam and I am a third year student at UVIC for a BSC in psychology, majoring also in psych. I’m originally from Victoria, I attended my first two years of my bachelors at Camosun College and transferred to UVIC at the beginning of my third year. My research interests are anything relating to the root causes of racisms, the impact racism/discrimination has on an individuals mental health as well as how individuals can expand their well being. For fun I like to watch movies, horror is my favourite genre and I enjoy going outdoors on short trips.

ZACHARIAH FENNIRI

Research Assistant

Hi! My name’s Zachariah (Zack), and I’m a third-year Biology-Psychology Combined Major. I’m volunteering in the MIR lab, working primarily on research investigating a growth-mindset intervention for immigrants learning a second language. Personally, I’m captivated by the mind and brain from both physiological and behavioural perspectives. The MIR lab is a look through that behavioural lens, which excites me greatly! Some of my interests include film photography, basketball and new cultural experiences! 

 

Evelyn Warsito

Lab coordinator (2022-2023)

Hello! My name is Evelyn and I am a fourth year psychology undergraduate student at UVic. I’m from Jakarta, Indonesia, and I transferred to UVic last year from Edmonds College in Washington. I am interested in mental health and coping strategies of migrant students, especially of marginalized communities. I am interested in pursuing graduate studies in counseling psychology in the future. 

JAZMYN CHEN

Research Assistant (2023)

My name is Jazmyn Chen, I am currently in my third year working to finish my undergraduate degree here at UVIC majoring in Psychology. I am volunteering for Dr. Lou as a research assistant this year on the Mindset project. 

 

 

Danial Mirsajedin

Independent study student (2022-2023)

I am completing the last year of my undergraduate degree in Psychology at Uvic. I am greatly interested in mental health & well-being, specifically in relation to immigrants. There is a possibility that I will further pursue my interests in mental health by looking to do a counselling or clinical psychology master’s degree in the future.

 

dogtor piper

Honorary Lab Member

 

 

 

 

 

 

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