Academic Conference 2023

Welcome to our academic psychology conference!

Our two-day conference from March 16th to March 17th aims to provide undergraduate students with an opportunity to learn about current research in the mental health field.

Students can watch an engaging keynote speech delivered by an expert in the field, participate in thought-provoking discussions on personally relevant topics with faculty and student guest speakers, and view their peers’ research at our Student Research Fair and data blitz.

Conference Dates:

March 16th – March 17th 2023

Itinerary 2023

Day 1

Thursday, March 16th

10:30 – 11:30 PM ET
Workshop – “Mind-Body Health”

Presented by Darya Shavandi, Kamal Iharratane, Marwa Bafagih and Tamar Patel

This workshop will focus on the mind – body connection. We’ll discuss the impacts of sleep, exercise, diet and overall health of the body on mental health and what we can do to improve it.

12:30 – 2:00 PM ET

Dr. Maxwell Barranti from York University

An opportunity for students who have been accepted into our Virtual Student Research Fair to present their projects in front of an audience of students.

Throughout the Conference

Virtual Student Research Fair

Presented Asynchronously
throughout the conference

Take the opportunity to view the showcased research projects at our Virtual Student Research Fair!

How to engage with the Student Research Fair:

View & Listen: When the Fair goes live, view the presentations by clicking “Student Research Fair 2023″ from the menu above or click the button below.

Interact & Engage: Leave comments and questions on presentations!

Vote: Be sure to vote for your favourite project! The top-voted presentation will be announced at the end of the conference.

Day 2

Friday, March 17th

10:00 AM – 12:00 PM ET
Networking Event – “Coffee Chat”

Presented by Graduate Students from York University

An opportunity for students to chat with graduate students and get insights on how to successfully navigate academia, stress and responsibilities.

3:00 – 4:30 PM ET
Keynote Speech – “Brain Hacks on Boosting Productivity or Not”

Presented by Norman Farb from University of Toronto (Mississauga)

An engaging event on brain hacks boosting productivity in daily life from different perspectives. Knowing the why and so what behind certain mental or physical health practices informs and inspires pupils to implement ‘brain hacks’.

Chances to Win!

Ask Questions at the Keynote Speech
For our DataBlitz there is a chance for the best question to win a 15$ giftcard.

Guest Speaker Bios


Dr. Maxwell Barranti

Associate Professor, York University

Maxwell Barranti is an assistant professor in the teaching stream at York University. Max primarily teaches personality and research methods courses where he is excited to introduce students to the science of personality. 

Coffee Chat

Born and raised in Taiwan with mosaic anthropological backgrounds, Hank always felt Western psychology fails to address his human totality. Thanks to the sense of incongruity and the replication crisis, Hank temporarily pivoted away from the field and devoted himself to philosophies and politics, which resulted in working with grassroots organizations and government agencies after graduating from the University of Toronto in 2015. Because of working directly with the political proponents and marginalized communities, he saw how the psychological zeitgeist fell short in capturing the critical conditions that manifest the generational traumas, developments of minds and behaviours. It also became clear to him how the neoliberal subjective in psychology reduces the rhizomatic nature of human behaviours into arbitrary identities for experimental purposes. These constructs, aggravatedly, often reinforce the pre-existing Eurocentric institutional apparatus on the legacy of colonialism without providing alternatives. Being in Dr. Michaela Hynie’s research group at York University, Hank seeks to develop meaningful research in helping migrant communities, mainly via community outreach and the phenomenological approach, to mobilize future policy changes from the perspective of those continually facing systematic injustice

Hank Chan Han Ko

Graduate Student
Psychology Program (Historical, Theoretical and Critical Stream)

Jessica Zaffino

Graduate Student

Jessica is a first-year PhD student at the University of Toronto supervised by Dr. Jennifer Ryan. She completed her BA in Psychology at York University where she explored her research interests by working with populations across the lifespan. She conducted her undergraduate research on older adults, exploring the connections between memory, hearing ability, and mood disorders. She later spent two years working as a lab manager in a lab focusing on infant pain. Ultimately, after exploration in research with both infants and adults, she was drawn toward research on memory and aging. Jessica is interested in psychosocial factors and their influence on memory, as well as developing strategies to improve memory functioning in older adults. For her graduate research, she hopes to hone in on this fascinating topic of research by examining specific strategies and exploring how mood disorders affect the ability to use these strategies to improve memory. During her free time, Jessica enjoys reading novels, spending time outdoors and binge-watching a good Netflix show.

I graduated in 2022 from Wilfrid Laurier University with my Honours BA in psychology, research specialisation. My work as an undergraduate was in the area of memory. In my work as a research assistant, I worked with Dr. Fahad Ahmad where we examined differences in gist or perceptual details remembered for auditory and visual stimuli. My honours thesis project was completed under the supervision of Dr. WIlliam Hockley, and we used the directed-forgetting paradigm to look at the relationship between emotion and memory. Currently, I am a first year PhD student at the University of Toronto and the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Hospital. My first project uses an entrainment task to investigate how brain oscillations uniquely contribute to memory. Outside of research, I really enjoy hiking with my family, video games with friends, and reading

Savannah Tremblay

Graduate Student

Katherine Newman

Graduate Student

Katherine Newman holds a specialized honours undergraduate degree in Cognitive Science (York University), a master’s degree in Cognitive Science (Carleton University), and a graduate diploma in Neuroscience (York University).  Currently, Katherine is completing her Ph.D. with Dr. Dale Stevens in the Cognition & Aging Neuroscience Laboratory at York University.  Katherine’s research examines the relationship between genetic polymorphisms and resting-state functional connectivity of large-scale brain networks.  Her work aims to develop precision neuronavigation techniques for noninvasive brain stimulation treatments (e.g., theta burst transcranial magnetic stimulation).  Additionally, Katherine is working to improve screening and treatment protocols for traumatic brain injury (TBI) experienced by victims of intimate partner violence (IPV)

Sarah is a second-year MA student in the Brain, Behaviour, and Cognitive Sciences program at York. She is supervised by Dr. Denise Henriques and is concurrently pursing the graduate diploma in neuroscience. Her current research concerns the internal mechanisms and external mechanisms related to and driving cognitive performance. She has also conducted research in the areas of multisensory integration, computer vision (machine learning/AI), and adolescent mental health education. Sarah has been recognized by the Canadian Psychological Association and the Council of Canadian Departments of Psychology for her research and her teaching, respectively. She has also co-founded and overseen two peer mentorship programs and currently serves as a mentor to undergraduate psychology and high school students.

Sarah Park

Graduate Student
Psychology Program (Brain, Behaviour and Cognitive Sciences Area)

Brain Hacks on Boosting Productivity or Not

Norman Farb

Associate Professor, University of Toronto

Norman Farb, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto Mississauga, where he directs the Regulatory and Affective Dynamics laboratory ( He studies the psychology of well-being, focusing on mental habits, such as how we think about ourselves and interpret our emotions. He is particularly interested in why people differ in their resilience to stress, depression, and anxiety. Prof. Farb’s work currently explores online training to support wellbeing.

What Our Conference Offers

Keynote Speech

Watch an introductory presentation delivered by a mental health expert to kick start our conference.

Research Fair

Present your research project and learn about the work of your peers.

Asynchronously presented

Panels & Sessions

Participate in interactive discussions with guest speakers.

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