Our Research Team

Dr. Jessie-Lee McIsaac, Assistant Professor and Tier II Canada Research Chair in Early Childhood: Diversity and Transitions, is the Principal Investigator and Director of ECCRC.

Our multidisciplinary research staff consists of professionals and students from diverse disciplines at the undergraduate and graduate levels. We support capacity building and skills development through intentional goal-setting and teamwork.

Dr. Jessie-Lee McIsaac

Jessie-Lee McIsaacDr. Jessie-Lee McIsaac

Assistant Professor and Tier II Canada Research Chair in Early Childhood: Diversity and Transitions with the Faculty of Education and Department of Child and Youth Study

Email: jessie-lee.mcisaac@msvu.ca

Jessie-Lee McIsaac holds a Ph.D. in Public Health, an MSc in Health Promotion from the University of Alberta, and a BSc in Kinesiology from Dalhousie University. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship on policy interventions and knowledge mobilization with the Healthy Populations Institute (Dalhousie University) and Propel Centre for Population Health Impact (University of Waterloo).

The goal of her program of research is to enhance well-being during early childhood by ensuring policy and practice support families as they transition across early learning environments. McIsaac studies early childhood and educational policy initiatives using an engaged scholarship approach to co-produce research that mobilizes knowledge and experiences for and with marginalised families. She collaborates with researchers, community, policymakers and research participants to inform policy and program design and decision-making.

Fun stuff

When not doing research in early childhood, she is doing the practice of early childhood with her sons, Michael and Henry.

Marlene Flores Ramos

Marlene Flores Ramos, MA

Research Projects Manager

Email: marlene.ramos1@msvu.ca

Before joining ECCRC as Research Projects Manager in the fall of 2019, Marlene worked in various research administration capacities as Research Grants Officer and Project Coordinator. Marlene completed her MA in Women and Gender Studies through the joint MA program at Mount Saint Vincent University and Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She also holds a BSc in Biochemistry from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines and a BFA in Textiles from NSCAD University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Marlene is also a part-time faculty member in the Art History and Contemporary Culture Division at NSCAD University. Her personal research interests are rooted in Art History, Material Culture, and Museum Studies, where she explores the impacts of colonialism and globalization on identity and representation.

Fun stuff: When Marlene is not at work, you can find her whipping up a delicious meal or dessert and spending time with her partner, kids, and pets.

Jane Harley

Jane Harley, MA

Evaluation Manager

Email: jane.harley@msvu.ca

Jane holds an M.A. in Family Studies from the University of British Columbia, a B.Sc. in Psychology from the University of Washington, and an A.A.S. in Early Childhood Education. She has additional graduate training in Measurement, Evaluation, and Research Methodology. Jane spent several years teaching preschool before moving into academic research. She has been involved in numerous programs of research including investigations of ADHD in preschool populations, social-emotional learning in young children, and influences of parenting on children’s emotion regulation. Additionally, Jane spent 5 years as an instructor at the University of British Columbia teaching courses such as Child Development and Applying Developmental Theories. Her personal research interests include externalizing behavioural problems in preschool children and the impact of parent-child conflict on family processes.

Fun stuff:

Jane loves spending time with her husband and preschool-aged son, is passionate about travelling, and likes to cook, watch baseball, drink craft beer, and attempt the occasional craft project.

Stephanie McCabe

Steph1

Stephanie McCabe, MA CYS

Project Coordinator, Pyramid Model Evaluation

Email: stephanie.mccabe@msvu.ca

Stephanie is a recent graduate of the Master of Arts in Child and Youth Study program from Mount Saint Vincent University where she completed a thesis looking at parents and early childhood educator’s role in supporting the sleep hygiene practices of preschool-aged children in licensed childcare. Currently, Stephanie is working at ECCRC as the Project Coordinator for the province-wide Pyramid Model initiative. Stephanie has always been passionate about supporting children with challenging behaviours and that’s why the Pyramid Model is the perfect fit for her!

Fun stuff

In her spare time, Stephanie loves to be outside! She enjoys going camping on the weekends and spending time with family, friends, her two kittens Maple and Penny and her puppy Finn! Her favourite past times include hiking, canoeing, swimming, snowshoeing, and reading.

Brenna Richard

Brenna Richard MSVU 2018Brenna Richard, MA CYS

Email: brenna.richard@msvu.ca

Brenna has a Master’s in Child and Youth Study from Mount Saint Vincent University. Although her research interests include most anything related to healthy living, she’s especially interested in children’s physical activity and outdoor play. Her thesis research explored outdoor play in Nova Scotia’s Pre-primary Program. Brenna now works for the ECCRC from her home in Moncton, New Brunswick.

Fun stuff

In her spare time, Brenna enjoys being active outdoors, exploring trails, and learning new things. Preferable with friends, family or dogs.

Marla Smith

Marla Smith, MA CYS

Research Coordinator, Positive Solutions for Families (PHAC MHP-IF Project)

Email: marla.smith19@msvu.ca

Marla is a graduate of the Master of Arts in Child and Youth Study program at Mount Saint Vincent University. Marla’s thesis focused on Adverse Childhood Experiences and Early Childhood Educators awareness and perceived support related to working with children who have had unfavourable early life experiences. Currently, Marla is a Research Coordinator at ECCRC, leading the Positive Solutions for Families project, an add-on to the Pyramid Model, a province-wide initiative in Nova Scotia. Marla is passionate about supporting the social-emotional health of children, whether that be through her personal and/or professional work!

In her spare time, Marla enjoys spending time with friends, checking out local breweries and finding new and fun adventures to do in Nova Scotia. When she isn’t exploring the province, she is visiting her family in her hometown of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

Madison MacQuarrie

Madison MacQuarrie, MA HPO

Project Coordinator, CIHR COVID-19 Rapid Response Research

Email: madison.macquarrie1@msvu.ca

Meet Madison! Madison is a recent graduate from the Master’s in Health Promotion program at Dalhousie University. Her research interests involve many topics related to Health Promotion. For her thesis research, Madison explored partnerships and participation in the Halifax Mobile Food Market in relation to partnership sustainability. Over the past few years, she has also developed a keen research interest in the health of children in the early years, specifically related to physical activity.

Fun stuff

In her spare time, Madison can be found cooking, exploring and being active outdoors, crafting, or relaxing with family and friends!

Sarah Morris

Sarah Morris, MA HPRO

Project Coordinator, SSHRC Connections and SSHRC Exchange Projects

Email: sarah.morris1@msvu.ca

Meet another one of our project coordinators, Sarah! Sarah’s educational background is in Applied Human Nutrition, a degree she completed through MSVU in 2011. After a few years of private nutrition consulting, she discovered her passion for health promotion and disease prevention, which led her to the graduate Health Promotion program at Dalhousie University and ultimately to discover her research interest in early childhood development. Sarah’s research background primarily includes her own thesis work, which explored perceptions of physical health and well-being in the early years and her experience with social-emotional learning in the early years. It is her hope to tie together her passion for food and nutrition and early childhood development.

Fun stuff

Sarah enjoys running and is currently training for a quarter marathon this summer. Above all, she loves spending time with her husband and two daughters playing outside, hiking in the woods, and engaging her family in vegetable gardening.

Milena Pimentel

Milena Pimentel, BA CYS

Research Assistant

Email: milena.pimentel@msvu.ca

Meet Milena! She is currently enrolled in the (BA) Child and Youth Study program at MSVU and has worked at the Child study centre throughout her school terms since the summer of 2018. She loves to work with children of all ages but has found that she thrives in infant/toddler spaces. Milena’s interests lie around the social-emotional wellbeing of children and ECEs and in cultural diversity within early learning settings. Her goal is to complete an honours thesis that would allow her to explore her interests in a little more depth. Milena was born and raised in Bermuda and of Brazilian ethnicity. As a child, she visited Brazil every summer and lived there as a teenager for 5 years. She loves the rich culture and diversity within Brazil and the FOOD!

Her hobbies are whatever her kids are into! They love the water, and are still discovering Nova Scotia and have found some pretty awesome spots, the water is a tad too cold though! They love summers here in Halifax and all the fun events that happen such as Busker Festival, Rib fest (yes they are Foodies!) and they love Canada day celebrations. Strawberry picking and blueberry picking has quickly become a tradition, and they love apple and pumpkin picking in the fall!

Randi Cummings

Randi Cummings, BA CYS

Research Assistant

Email: randi.cummings@msvu.ca

Randi has recently graduated with a BA in Child and Youth Study from MSVU through which she discovered her passion for supporting the social-emotional and cognitive development of children. Randi worked as an Early Childhood Educator for some time and has since returned to MSVU to work towards obtaining a BA in Psychology. She has returned to school with the hopes of entering a specialized program that will allow her to work directly with children with diverse needs to help them realize their own potentials. Randi’s research interests broadly include how early childhood experiences such as attachment, traumatic experiences, and diverse needs, can affect the social-emotional and cognitive development of the child.

Growing up in a small fishing town has led Randi to love the ocean, and in her free time, she goes home as often as she can to enjoy the beautiful beaches and her family. She also loves to travel and does so as much as possible!

Nahal Fakhari

Nahal Fakhari, BA CYS, MA HPO (C)

Research Assistant

Email: nahal.fakhari@msvu.ca

Meet Nahal! She is originally from Iran and moved with her family 8 years ago to Halifax. She graduated with her honours in the BA Child and Youth Study program with a minor in Biology. Her thesis is about exploring e-health behaviour among Child and Youth Study students. She was also accepted into the MA Health Promotion program at Dal and will start in September 2020.

She enjoys travelling with her husband to see historical sights, historical museums, and art museums. In her free time, Nahal likes to go to the gym or do yoga, watch movies, and read books.

Oriana Mooney

Oriana Mooney, BA CYS, BBA

Research Assistant

Email: oriana.mooney@msvu.ca

Oriana recently graduated from Mount Saint Vincent University with a BA in Child and Youth Study with honours. Oriana also holds a BBA with a minor in Political Science from St. Francis Xavier University. Oriana is passionate about early childhood education and public policy. She combined these passions in her thesis where she explored the impact of provincial child care legislation and curriculum frameworks on opportunities for risky play in regulated child care settings.

In her free time, Oriana can be found spending time with her family and friends. She loves being outdoors where she enjoys hiking, camping, and swimming. Oriana has recently moved to Calgary where she is excited to start exploring the mountains and many different hiking trails!

Laken Crowell

Laken Crowell, BPR

Communications Assistant (MSVU Co-op Program)

Email: laken.crowell1@msvu.ca

Laken is a third year public relations student at Mount Saint Vincent University, minoring in marketing and communication technology. Being a very energetic individual, she took an interest in public relations so she could always be communicating and working with people. Laken enjoys working with people of all ages, but especially youth. She has taken an interest in ECCRC’s work and is eager to learn more about early childhood.

When Laken isn’t working or attending classes, she can be found in the gym coaching basketball, out on walks with her dog Maple, or out on a road trip with her friends.

Taylor Hill

Taylor Hill, MA, Graduate Research Assistant

Email: taylor.hill1@msvu.ca

Taylor is a Ph.D. student in Experimental Psychology with a methodological interest in quantitative analysis and knowledge synthesis. Her research interests include measuring and promoting well-being through a social-ecological perspective. Her doctoral research is on the psychological factors (e.g., personality, motives) that promote positive mental health. In her spare time, she enjoys shopping, baking, and talking to cats.

Emma Cameron

Emma Cameron, MA HPRO

Project Coordinator, IURN-Play research project

Email: emma.cameron3@msvu.ca

Emma is a second-year Master of Arts student in Health Promotion at Dalhousie University. She completed her BSc (honours) at Dalhousie University in Psychology. Her master’s thesis focuses on access to postnatal care for resettled Syrain refugee women in Nova Scotia. Emma has additional research interests in sexual and reproductive healthcare for refugee, asylum-seeking, and migrant women, and the experiences of discrimination among refugee youth in Canada. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Rainbow Refugee Association of Nova Scotia and is the co-founder of the Women’s Health Interest Group at Dalhousie.

Emma has two greyhounds and loves camping, hiking, cycling, and travelling with her partner.

Past Team Members

Leah Crowell, Project Coordinator
Samantha Rioux, Graduate Research Assistant
Chris Mitchell, Communications Assistant
Brittney Roughan, Research Grants Manager
Patrick Carolan, Research Project Manager
Sandeep Dhillon, Graduate Research Assistant
Sherry Stevenson, Evaluations Coordinator
Odeisa Stewart, Graduate Research Assistant

Alison Brown, Project Coordinator

Denver Hilland, Project Coordinator