Lab Director, Dr. Lara Aknin
Hello! I’m Lara Aknin, a distinguished associate professor of Social Psychology at Simon Fraser University and former fellow at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. My research interests lie at the intersection of social psychology, positive psychology, economics and judgement and decision making. My research questions often include the study of what makes people happy, the emotional consequences of kind or generous behavior, and the well-being outcomes of specific spending choices. Most of the research I have conducted thus far examines people’s perceptions of the money and happiness relationship and whether people reap greater happiness from spending money on others (i.e. prosocial spending) than when spending the same amount of money on themselves.
Lab Manager, Angie Fan
Hi! My name is Angie, I completed completing my B.A. (Hons) in Psychology in 2022, under the supervision of Dr. Aknin. My honours thesis involved examining whether if engaging in prosociality can support retiring athletes' well-being as they complete their retirement transition. At SFU, I volunteered as a FASS Peer Mentor to support first year undergrad students and I continue to work as a figure skating coach—combining my passions for psychology, teaching, and sport. My research interests include athlete well-being, mental performance, and prosociality. This fall, I will be attending a graduate sport psychology program at the University of Ottawa.
Graduate Student, Tiara Cash
Hi! My name is Tiara Cash. I am a 2022 Vanier Scholar, a 2023 Dean’s Convocation Medalist, and PhD student at SFU where I work with Dr. Aknin on intersections of life transitions, prosocial behaviors, and well-being outcomes. I hold two Master’s Degrees - one in Social Psychology (M.A.) from SFU and another (M.S.) from Western Illinois University where I studied Sport Psychology and completed research focused on student-athlete retirement and the psychosocial factors related to the quality of well-being post-play. Previously, I earned a B.S. at Arizona State University in Exercise and Wellness. In addition to being a graduate student and researching in the lab, I own an organization focused on mindfulness, meta-awareness, and meaning where I conduct presentations, workshops, and consultations through an emerging framework: Equitable Mindfulness. My career interests include working with underrepresented and underserved populations on life transitions and working in academia to support equity-seeking communities as they navigate and transition through higher education.
Hello! My name is Adriana Kowalczyk. I recently completed my B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Human Development & Counseling in June 2022. I am currently a research assistant for the Helping and Happiness Lab, where I assist with the iGen project. In the future, I hope to complete a graduate program in counselling psychology. My research interests include attachment theory, developmental psychology, positive psychology, counselling psychology, and expressive therapies such as play-based therapy and art therapy.
Hi there! My name is Angel Leung (she/her) and I’m currently pursuing a major in Psychology and a minor in Counselling and Human Development. At the Helping and Happiness Lab, I’m doing my Research Engagement! My generally interests include social, developmental, and cultural psychology. Once I graduate, I hope to pursue a Master’s in Counselling Psychology or potentially an industry related job.
Hello! My name is Erin. I'm currently pursuing a Psychology major and a Cognitive Science minor. After taking PSYC 260, I knew that I wanted to learn more about social psychology. In addition to this, I wanted to get involved in research, as my goal is to become a UX/UI Designer, where having these skills would be an asset. My interests in social psychology and research led me to becoming a part of the Helping and Happiness Lab. Currently, I'm interested in learning more about how technology affects our well-being.
Hi, my name is Gurleen! I am a fourth year student majoring in Psychology, and minoring in Counselling & Human Development and Educational Psychology. I hope to pursue a PhD in Clinical or Counselling Psychology in the future, and eventually work with prison populations. I'm interested in researching how happiness and well-being can be maintained and better supported within such populations.
Hello, I'm Jaymie and I'm a fifth year Psychology major. My research interests are focused on concussion, promotion of well-being in individuals with chronic conditions and knowledge translation. I hope to pursue graduate training in clinical psychology following my undergraduate degree. In my free time, you'll often find me exploring Vancouver’s ramen spots, painting and going on nature walks with my dog!
Hi there! My name is Hilary Grist. I am a volunteer research assistant in the Helping & Happiness Lab. I previously completed a Bachelor of Music and spent many years performing, writing and teaching music. I am currently taking Psychology and Education courses at SFU with the future goal of attending graduate school in Psychology or Arts Education.
Hi! I'm Ira (she/her) and I'm majoring in Psychology and minoring in Counselling and Human Development. I've been volunteering at the Helping and Happiness Lab since Fall 2020 and I hope to pursue graduate school in Psychology after completing my degree. Some of my research interests include interpersonal relationships, adolescence, and mental health in South Asia.
Hello! My name is Janaki Patel. I am a Psychology and Health Sciences undergraduate student and I am currently doing my honours with Dr. Aknin. Some research areas I hope to pursue in the future include prosociality, biological and health psychology, and clinical psychology.
Hi! My name is Kodi Rivera. I completed my B.A. in Psychology at SFU in 2022. I aspire to advance my education to graduate school, and one day be able to teach at the university level!
Hello everyone! My name is Maya (she/her) and I am a third-year undergraduate student working towards a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Criminology. I am a research assistant in, both, SFU's Helping and Happiness Lab and the Close Relationships Lab. I am interested in the effects of adverse childhood experiences as it pertains to adulthood prosociality and other long-term effects. I hope to pursue graduate studies in clinical psychology with the intention of becoming a clinical psychologist.
Hi! My name is Rabiya Karamali and I am a Psychology Instructor at a local college and a recent MAPP (Master in Applied Positive Psychology) graduate from UPenn. My thesis was an empirical studying looking at character strengths and well-being of parents with healthy children and parents of children with a life-altering diagnosis. I look forward to learning and contributing to the field of well-being as a research assistant at the lab,
Hello, my name is Rachel Pham. I am currently finishing my B.A in Psychology at SFU. I have been a Research Assistant for Helping and Happiness Lab since Fall 2020. Since then, I have had many opportunities to assist in various exciting research projects. I aspire to become a Clinical Child Psychologist in the future and help others.
Hi! My name is Ravneet Hothi, and I am a research assistant for the Helping and Happiness Lab. I am in my third year at Simon Fraser University, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Counselling and Human Development. After completing my B.A. I hope to attend graduate school for Clinical Psychology. My current research interests include adolescents' well-being, mental health in South Asia, developmental psychopathology, and social psychology.
Graduate Student, Jason Proulx
Hi there—I’m Jason! I am a Vanier Scholar and PhD Student at Simon Fraser University. With Dr. Aknin at SFU, I collaborate with non-profits and communities to study how real-world prosociality interventions (e.g., Intergenerational programs, Experiential Philanthropy Programs) shape adolescent prosocial development, foster meaningful social connections, and impact community well-being. I earned my M.A. at SFU examining how shared prosocial acts—like donating to charity together with a peer—impacts generosity, fosters new social connections, and enhances people’s intrinsic enjoyment. I completed my B.A. (Hons.) at the University of British Columbia on the social and emotional consequences of using smartphone technology. Across my work, I leverage mixed, community-engaged methods and rigorous, open-science practices to gain theoretical and practical insight into how to boost both human generosity and emotional and social well-being for people across the lifespan.
Hello! My name is Anurada, a senior research assistant. I recently completed my B.A. (Hons) in Psychology in 2022, under the supervision of Dr. Aknin. I examined the features of gratitude notes that increase subsequent prosocial behaviour. My research interests focus on improving well-being and happiness in underrepresented populations. In the future, I plan to complete graduate training in clinical psychology.
Hello! My name is Amanda, and I am a Psychology undergraduate student here at SFU. In addition to being an SFU student, I am a research assistant in the Helping and Happiness lab and a FASS peer mentor. Outside of school, I work part-time as a dance and gymnastics instructor. In the future, I hope to further my studies in Psychology by attending graduate school and conducting original research.
Hello, my name is Burdett Kwon and I have completed a B.A. in Psychology. I am currently a research assistant for the Helping and Happiness Lab and the lab manager for the CLOSER lab at SFU. I am currently completing my post-bachelors in Counselling and Human Development and aim to complete a graduate program in experimental psychology in the future. My research interests include developmental psychology, cultural psychology, and abnormal psychology.
Hello, my name is Fiona! I am currently in my third year at SFU, working on completing my B.A. in Psychology. I am a volunteer research assistant in the Helping and Happiness Lab, and I also volunteer with Metro Vancouver East Community Corrections. Following the completion of my degree I hope to attend graduate school for Clinical Psychology. Some of my research interests include environmental psychology, violence and aggression, interpersonal relationships, and prosocial behaviour.
My Name is Jacob Lauzon and I am a fifth-year undergraduate student at SFU working towards my Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology along with a minor in Counselling and Human Development. In the coming years, I plan on completing the Professional Development Program before I pursue a Master’s in Counselling Psychology, eventually working towards a career as a clinical counsellor specializing in family relationships. Currently, I volunteer with a wide variety of age groups and programs that focus on helping, teaching, and giving back to the community. Additionally, I am a volunteer research assistant in the Helping and Happiness Lab. In my future line of work, I hope I am able to apply my knowledge in Psychology and counselling to those in need regardless of the field.
Hello! My name is Katie. I am a volunteer research assistant in the Helping and Happiness Lab. I’m in my fourth year of study majoring in behavioural neuroscience and psychology. I am pursuing an honours degree and have future ambitions in clinical psychology. I am interested in how psychology and neuroscience can be harnessed to encourage well-being in all human populations.
Hello, my name is Kalum Kumar. I am a research assistant for the Helping and Happiness Lab in my third year at Simon Fraser University. I am pursuing a B.A. in psychology and in the future, I aspire to attend graduate school. I have yet to find an area of psychology I dislike and hope to use this passion to fuel a career closely tied to the discipline.
Hello! My name is Mahima and I am a volunteer research assistant at the Helping and Happiness Lab. I am currently working towards completing my B.A. in Psychology and Minor in Business Administration. I hope to pursue my masters in either Social Psychology or Organizational Psychology. Some of my research interests include prosociality, social influence and group behaviour, social identity, motivation, and job satisfaction.
Hello everybody! My name is Marcel Aini and I received the lovely opportunity to be a research assistant at the Helping and Happiness Lab. I am majoring in Psychology with the hope of minoring in Counselling and Human Development. Human behaviour has always fascinated me, and as I took more classes here at SFU, I realized how much I enjoyed Social Psychology! So being part of this lab to help with some amazing research was another step I could take to learn even more. In the future, I hope to enter a graduate program, possibly in Counselling Psychology, with the goal of becoming a registered clinical counsellor.
Hi! I am Marwan Saleh, a third-year international student from Egypt majoring in Psychology and minoring in Counselling and Human Development. I am currently a volunteer research assistant in the Helping and Happiness Lab. I also hope to go to graduate school for Counseling psychology after my undergraduate degree. I have been incredibly passionate and involved in the field of psychology after having faced multiple challenges with my own mental health and not being able to receive the resources I needed. With that, I made it my mission to create great change within the mental health field in the Middle East for future generations.
Hello! My name is Natalie and I am currently volunteering as a research assistant at Dr. Lara Aknin’s Helping and Happiness Lab. I am excited to see where this incredible opportunity and experience will take me as I work on completing my B.A. in Psychology at SFU. Some of my interests outside of school are writing, volunteering with animals, and calligraphy.
Hi! I'm Rachel. I am a fourth year Psychology major and minoring in Cognitive Science. I volunteer in both SFU’s Happiness and Helping Lab and Behavioural Endocrinology Lab. In my spare time I work as a research consultant for an interior design company focusing on how designed environments impact wellbeing. Many aspects of psychology interest me and I intend to pursue a graduate degree in the future.
Hi! I am Sophia Vennesland, a fourth year student majoring in Psychology and minoring in Counselling and Human Development. I am currently a volunteer research assistant in the Helping and Happiness Lab. I hope to go to graduate school for either clinical or counselling psychology following my undergraduate degree. My research interests include the well-being of children and adolescents, developmental psychopathology, mental health and positive psychology.
Hi! My name is Tori Kazemir, and I’m a volunteer research assistant for the Helping and Happiness lab. I’m in my third year at SFU, working towards a Bachelors degree with a major in Psychology and minor in Linguistics. In the future, I hope to pursue graduate school in Clinical Psychology. My research interests include child and adolescent psychopathologies, and positive psychology.
Former lab members:
Dr. Dylan Wiwad