Current Graduate Students

Nikola Klassen, MA Candidate

Nikola Klassen recently joined the lab in Fall 2020 after completing her undergrad in Psychology at Thompson Rivers University. Throughout her undergrad she was involved in researching memory in both children and adults. She completed her honours thesis examining the development and possible neural networks of prehension. For her MA, Nikola is interested in researching children’s memory for witnessed events and interview techniques.

Katie Berens, MA Candidate

Katie Berens joined the lab in Fall 2019. She completed her undergrad at CU Denver exploring how nature can positvely influence the well being of college students. She also interned as a victim advocate at the Denver District Attorney’s Office. Part of her rotation was in the family victims unit and much of her time was spent reviewing forensic interviews done on children. She was also a case manager for parolees. For her MA she is studying interviewing and repeated event memory.

Madison Harvey, MA, PhD Candidate

Madison Harvey joined the lab in Fall 2017 after obtaining her B.A. (Hons.) in Psychology from the University of Regina. Madison's research interests are focused on the credibility of witnesses and witness memory. In particular, her research focuses on long-term autobiographical memory. In addition, Madison is interested in voice identification and earwitnesses.

Shelbie Anderson, MA, PhD Candidate

Shelbie Anderson joined the Child’s Memory Research Group in Fall, 2017 after finishing her undergraduate degree at Grenfell, Memorial University of Newfoundland. After completing her Master's degree which was focused on accuracy of old (2 years) versus new (1 week) memory reports with differing interview techniques, she continued her research in the PhD program. Her main research interests are long-term memory, repeated event memory, and interview techniques.


Daniel Derksen, MA, PhD Candidate

Daniel Derksen joined the Child’s Memory Research Group in 2017 after finishing his undergraduate degree at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. His Master's degree investigated the impact of non-probative (not indicative of truth) but related photo on the credibilty assessment of witness statements. In his PhD, Daniel is continuing this line of work and investigating the mechanisms underlying this phenomenon.

Megan Giroux, MA, PhD Candidate

Megan Giroux is a PhD student in the Experimental Psychology and Law Program at Simon Fraser University. Her primary research interest lies in how false memories are encoded and recalled. Her undergraduate Honor’s thesis examined the roles that fantastical beliefs and post-event interactions have on children’s memory of an event. She plans to expand her research of false memories to different age groups in order to examine the differences in forming false memories across the lifespan.

Camille Weinsheimer, MA, PhD Candidate

Camille Weinsheimer is a PhD student in the Experimental Psychology and Law Program at SFU. Camille completed her Honour’s thesis at the University of Calgary where she explored whether testing can reduce the misinformation effect (the short answer: “sometimes”). This interest in memory and suggestibility is what drew Camille to the Connolly Lab, where she anticipates learning more about the exciting ways that the experiencing and reporting of events influence memory in a forensic context. Broadly, her research interests come from two paths: her background in art led the way to investigating memory processes, and her experiences working and volunteering at a centre for victims of sexual violence prompted her interest in the justice system.

Previous Graduate Students

Trishia Coburn, PhD

Patricia Coburn was a Ph.D. student in the Experimental Psychology and Law Program at SFU. Her Master’s thesis examined the influence of a potential motive to fabricate on observers’ perceptions of witnesses and memory for information in a legal case. For her PhD Patricia continued investigating legal decision making with a particular focus on how heuristics and stereotypes influence interpretation of information in cases. She also studied the effect of cross-examination on perceived credibility. When she was not in the lab or wandering the halls to get coffee with her fellow lab mates, Patricia spent most of her time hanging out with her three children. She is grateful to have been a member of such a fantastic lab.

Jesse Elterman, PhD

Jesse was a Ph.D. student in the clinical-forensic program at SFU. His research interests were in children’s involvement in the legal system. For his MA, Jesse studied the role of race in perceptions of child credibility. We had adults rate the credibility of children from various racial backgrounds to see if they were biased in judging children’s credibility. For his PhD, Jesse was  examining whether children have the cognitive ability to malinger head injuries. Outside his work at school, he enjoys snowboarding and being out on the ocean. He feels fortunate to be able to further his education at SFU in the Children’s Memory Lab. He found it to be a supportive environment in which he could challenge himself and learn.

Dayna Gomes, PhD

Dayna Gomes was a Ph.D. student in the Experimental Psychology and Law Program at SFU. Her research interests were varied, but she had a particular interest in investigative interviewing techniques of witnesses and suspects of crimes. For her master’s thesis, she studied the effects of expert testimony and judicial instruction in a disputed confession case. Her dissertation examined the effects of a common forensic interviewing technique, mental context reinstatement, on children’s, young adults’ and older adults’ memory for atypical events. 

Tristin Wayte, PhD

Tristin Wayte completed her PhD in the experimental stream of Law and Forensic Psychology in 2006. Her main area of research is child and adolescent mental health law, and her dissertation focused on comprehension of rights under the Mental Health Act.  After graduation, she became an Evaluation Consultant for BC Mental Health and Addiction Services, under the Provincial Health Services Authority.  She uses her research background to develop and implement projects that monitor clinical and program outcomes expected from treatment protocols, from programs and policies across Riverview, Children’s and Forensic Psychiatric Hospitals. The results of these projects are then looped back to the clinical and administrative teams in an effort to improve the quality of patient care.  

Heather Price, PhD

Dr. Heather Price completed her MA and PhD with Dr. Deborah Connolly. She is now a Canada Research Chair at Thompson Rivers University. After completing her Ph.D. with Dr. Connolly, she undertook concurrent postdoctoral fellowships with Dr. Peter Ornstein at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and with Dr. Kim Roberts at Wilfrid Laurier University. Her broad area of interest is in children as victims and witnesses. Specifically, she examines children’s memory for instances of repeated and stressful events, and investigative interviewing of children.

Heidi Gordon, PhD

Heidi Gordon completed her PhD in April of 2009. Her dissertation explored the influence of directed forgetting on children's autobiographical memory in an attempt to examine children's omissions, or failures to report details of an event.  Heidi completed a a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto studying children's moral development with Dr. Kang Lee.  She continues to investigate omissions in the context of children's lie-telling behaviour and secret-keeping. Heidi is working in the area of research and policy development with the Ontario government.

Jennifer A. A. Lavoie, PhD

Jennifer A. A. Lavoie completed her Ph.D. in the experimental stream of the Law and Psychology Program at Simon Fraser University. Jen joined Dr. Deborah Connolly’s lab in the fall of 2001 to begin he M.A. examining children’s memory and deception. Jen completed her PhD. under the supervision of Kevin Douglas.  Jen is currently an associate professor of criminology at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario.

Jennifer Lucyk, MA

Jennifer Lucyk completed her M.A. in the experimental Law and Psychology program at Simon Fraser University. Her research interests centre on children’s memory and suggestibility, the effects of stereotypes of child sexual abuse (CSA) on judicial decision making, and the accuracy of witnesses’ person descriptions of strangers. Jen’s MA thesis examined the influence of event frequency and training on children’s accurate responding and ability to retract initial false reports. After completing her M.A. at SFU Jen went to the University of Ottawa and completed a law degree. She is practicing law in Ontario.

Emily Slinger, MA

Emily Slinger was an M.A. student in the experimental Law and Psychology program. Emily’s research interests include children’s memory organization for repeated events, the effects of child sexual abuse (CSA) stereotypes on judicial decision making, and indices of social influence in mock juror deliberations. Her thesis applied a reaction time (RT) approach to the conceptualization of children’s natural memory organization for details of a repeatedly experienced event.  After completing her M.A., Emily went to Osgoode Hall to study law. She is practicing law in Ontario.

Previous Honours Students and their Theses Titles

Kara Kristoffersson Examining the effect of curative judicial Instructions on confirmation bias in cases involving retracted confessions

Lee M. Vargen Youth-perpetrated child sexual abuse: The effects of age at court on legal outcomes

Vivian Qi: Jurors’ evaluations of different types of evidence presented at trial

Bridgit Dean: Credibility assessments in child sexual abuse cases: The role of case typicality and competency declarations.

Ruby Banipal: The consistency of children’s reports of an instance of a repeated event or unique event

Sara Cox: Repeated events, deviations, and the recency/primacy effect in an adult population

Angelina Yui: The Perceived credibility of a child complainant in sexual abuse cases: The role of motive

Sangeeta Singh: Interplay of victim resistance, children's inherent honesty, and restrictive stereotypes in child sexual abuse cases

Chantelle Gates: Perceptions of witness credibility through the adolescent years across two allegation types

Current Research Assistants

Ala Shawesh

Anna Wilson

Rachael Minielly

Jennifer Krentz

Mikalia Fennings