The Team

Principal Investigator

Eva Pila, PhD

Dr. Eva Pila is an Assistant Professor at Western University in the School of Kinesiology. Her academic background consists of a BSc in Kinesiology and Psychology at McMaster University, MSc in Exercise Science (Behavioural Stream) at McGill University/University of Toronto, PhD in Exercise Science (Behavioural Stream). She completed a joint postdoctoral fellowship at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Women’s College Hospital, and the University of Saskatchewan.

Dr. Pila’s research program is currently funded by SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council). As a new investigator, she has been recognized with a national award (Franklin Henry Young Scientist Award, 2018) from the Canadian Society for Psychomotor Learning and Sport Psychology. She is also an Editorial Board Member for Body Image: An International Journal of Research, Psychology of Sport and Exercise, and Sex Roles.

Dr. Pila has had a longstanding interest in body image and women’s health. Specifically, she is interested in affective experiences (e.g., self-conscious emotions; self-compassion) as related to body image and health (behaviour). She has experience working with community populations across the lifespan (e.g., adult women, adolescents, athletes) and clinical populations (e.g., adolescent eating disorders, mood disorders, breast cancer).

Current Graduate Students

Laura Touch-ups (3 of 4)

Laura Hallward, PhD

Laura completed her BSc and MA in Exercise and Health Psychology, and obtained her PhD in Kinesiology Sciences in 2022, all from McGill University. Her graduate work focused on lived experiences with compulsive exercise among individuals with eating disorders. Laura is currently a postdoctoral research associate and is interested in exploring intuitive movement and weight-inclusive physical activity practices. As a postdoc, she enjoys working with graduate students in lab on their various studies. Outside of work hours, Laura teaches spin classes and enjoys trying new cafés and restaurants.

SSHRC Postdoctoral Award (2022-2024)
Fonds de recherche du Québec – Society and Culture Postdoctoral Award (2022-2024)
Western Postdoctoral Fellowship Award (2022-2024) 

Kelsey Sick, MA (PhD Year 4)

Kelsey completed a BSc in Kinesiology at the University in Calgary and MA in Kinesiology at Western University. She is currently a PhD candidate in the Psychological Basis of Kinesiology with a research interest in the development of the ‘self’. In her theoretical-based research program, she will test an integrated model of physical self-evaluations and their relations to global self-concept during various time-scales of adolescence. Collectively, the forthcoming findings of this doctoral research will highlight the dynamic interplay between the temporal processes that drive relations among adolescent girls’ global self-concept and domain-specific physical self-evaluations.

SSHRC CGS-Doctoral Award (2021-2024)
Dr. Bert Carron Scholarship in Sport & Exercise Psychology (2021)
Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2020-2021)
Mitacs Accelerate-SSHRC Joint Initiative Fellowship (2020)
Earle F. Zeigler Scholarship (2020)
Faculty of Health Sciences Graduate Conference Travel Award (2018; 2019; 2021; 2022)
Brown Commemorative Scholarship (2018)
Western Graduate Research Scholarship (2017-2022)

Katarina Huellemann, MSc (PhD Year 3)

Katarina obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Western in 2018 and a MSc in Social Psychology at Western in 2020. She is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Psychology, and is co-supervised by Drs. Rachel Calogero and Eva Pila. She is interested in how body image, gender, and self-perceptions interact to influence disordered eating and dysfunctional exercise behaviour. Additionally, she is interested in the role of self-conscious emotions and emotion-regulation processes (self-compassion, mindfulness) on body image, exercise, and mental health. Outside of the academic world, Katarina enjoys cooking, spending time with her dog (Bentley) and cat (Zeke), and yoga.

SSHRC CGS-Doctoral Fellowship (2022-2025)
Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2021-2022)
Leola E. Neil Award (2021)
Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2020-2021)
Western Graduate Research Grant (2020; 2021)
Ralph S. Devereux Award in Psychology (2020)
Graduate Travel Award (Society for Personality and Social Psychology Convention) (2019)

Vanessa Coulbeck, BA (MA Year 2)

Vanessa graduated from the Honours BA in Kinesiology program at Western University, and is currently a second-year MA student in the Psychological Basis of Kinesiology. Vanessa’s research interests include body image and psycho-education practices related to involvement in sport and physical activity. She is also interested in emotion regulation processes (self-compassion & mindfulness) with intuitive physical activity promotion in adolescent females. She hopes to see this research be used in physical education contexts and sport federations/foundations to promote a positive uplifting environment, and improve sport and physical activity adherence throughout their lifespan, with a greater appreciation for being compassionate and mindful towards the self! Non-academic interests include hiking, yoga, sunset chasing, cottaging and adventuring around the earth!

SSHRC CGS-Master’s Scholarship (2022-2023) Mitacs Accelerate Fellowship Award (2022) Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2021-2022) Western Graduate Research Scholarship (2021; 2022) Undergraduate Student Research Internship (2020; 2021) Dean’s Honour List (2019; 2020; 2021)

Jade Bailey, BA (MA Year 2)

Jade completed a BA Honours Specialization in Kinesiology at Western University and is now a first year MA student in the psychological basis of Kinesiology. Her research interests are on the intersections of body image, mental health, and physical activity in adult female and LGBTQ+ populations. She is particularly interested in and passionate about self-compassion and intuitive movement interventions. Outside of academia Jade is an avid triathlete, enjoys playing classical violin, loves to cook, and is a general extrovert who loves being around other people.

CIHR CGS-Master’s Scholarship (2022-2023)
Undergraduate Student Research Internship (2021)

Dean’s Honour List (2017, 2018, 2019)

Karen Leung, BA (MA Year 2)

Karen completed a BA in Kinesiology with a minor in Psychology at Western University, and is currently a second-year MA student in the Psychological Basis of Kinesiology with research interests in body image, exercise, and mental health. Specifically, her research focuses on investigating biological effects and affective experiences, such as body-related guilt and shame of higher weight women and novice exercisers in social evaluative contexts. With additional interests in positive body image, she is interested in exploring how positive domains of body image can promote adaptive exercise, mental health, and well-being. The overall objective of her research is to identify evidence-based strategies to promote exercise and to attenuate the negative effects of weight stigma for higher weight women.

Kinesiology Graduate Conference Travel Award (2022)
Mitacs Accelerate Internship (2022)
Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2021-2022; 2022-2023)
Western Graduate Research Scholarship (2021-2023)
Undergraduate Student Research Internship (2021)
Dean’s Honour List (2020; 2021)

Sara Stanley, BA (MA Year 1)

Sara Stanley is entering her first year of her master’s degree under the supervision of Dr. Eva Pila. She completed her Honour’s Bachelor of Arts in Kinesiology with a Major in Psychology from Western University in June 2022. Her primary research interests are sexual and gender minority body image. Additionally, she is interested in investigating the novel construct of ‘fitness culture norms’ within populations of women who either endorse or reject them. Outside of the lab, Sara enjoys sewing and painting her nails.

Undergraduate Student Research Internship (2022)

Research Assistants

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Sara Bozzo, BSc

Sara completed a BSc Honours Specialization in Kinesiology at Western University and partook in the Western USRI program in 2022. Currently, she is a research assistant for the Body Image & Health Lab. Her research interests include examining the influence of self-objectification on indices of body image and sexual health in adolescent girls and young women. She is also interested in exploring the relationship between practices of mindfulness and mental health & wellbeing in a physical activity context. Beyond academic pursuits, Sara loves playing basketball, travelling with friends and family, and reading.

Western Undergraduate Student Research Internship (2022)
Dean’s Honor List (2018; 2019; 2021; 2022)

Undergraduate Research Volunteers

Elitza Parvanova

(Kinesiology, Year 4)

Volunteer 2019 – 2020

Julie Dunn

(Kinesiology, Year 4)

Volunteer 2019 – 2020

Maggie Lai

(Kinesiology, Year 4)

Volunteer 2019 – 2020

Michelle Lui

(Kinesiology, Year 4)

Volunteer 2019 – 2020

Olivia Kyriakopoulos

(Kinesiology, Year 4)

Volunteer 2021

Cindy Wen

(Medical Science, Year 3)

Volunteer 2021 – 2022

Emma Newman

(Kinesiology, Year 4)

Volunteer 2021

Balraj Gill

(Kinesiology, Year 4)

Volunteer 2021 – 2022


MacLean Press, MA

MacLean Press completed an MA in the Psychological Basis of Kinesiology in 2022. Her research interest is in body image and women’s health. Specifically, her research focused on the effects of verbal cues on indices of self-objectification and exercise engagement among inactive young women. She hopes her research will be used to inform strategies to improve exercise adherence and enjoyment, and improve body image in women subjected to self-objectification.

SSHRC CGS Master’s Scholarship (2021-2022)
Western Undergraduate Student Research Internship (2020)
Dean’s Honor List (2019, 2020)

Isabella Randall, MA

Isabella completed a M.A. in the Psychological Basis of Kinesiology in 2021. Her research focused on how weight-based discrimination influences the psychological stress response and exercise outcomes. Isabella is now working as a Research Coordinator at London Health Sciences Centre.

Faculty of Health Sciences Graduate Student Conference Travel Award – 2019


Madeline Wood, BA

Madeline completed a NSERC USRA and a BA honours research thesis in the BIH lab in 2020-2021. She is passionate about health science, women’s health, and mental health. Madeline is currently a Master’s student in Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Toronto.

NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award (2021)
Dean’s Honour List (2018, 2019)
Transfer Student Scholarship (2017)

Stefania Rizzardo, BA

Stefania completed a Bachelor of Arts Degree with an Honours Specialization in Kinesiology at Western University. She completed an honours thesis project in the BIH Lab examining the acute effects of a self-compassion writing task on exercise motivation. Stefania hopes to gather valuable experience and knowledge in the area of exercise psychology to better prepare for a career in public and global health. 


Erika Gray, BKin, MA

Erika worked as a research assistant in the BIH lab while she was a MA student in Sport Management at Western University. Her research interests include gender equity and equality in sport, senior leadership, women and girls in sport, and physical literacy. Erika is now a PhD student at the University of Ottawa.

PackianathanChelladurai Award at Western University (2018)

Anna Zheng, BA

Anna completed an Honours BA Kinesiology at Western University in 2020. Specifically, her senior research project was a scoping review that investigated the relationship between weight stigma and physical activity. In addition, she was granted a Summer Undergraduate Student Research Award from the Faculty of Health Sciences to research the effects of compassion-focused training on women with mood disorders who were attending a behavioural weight management program. Anna is now enrolled in the MSc Physical Therapy program at the University of Toronto.

Faculty of Health Sciences Summer Undergraduate Student Research Award (2019)

Claire Adams, BMSc

Claire recently completed a Bachelor of Medical Sciences at Western University specializing in physiology and pharmacology. She is passionate about integrating science and the social, mental and physical aspects of health to enhance well-being. Claire’s research interests include mental wellness, psychological impacts of illness, chronic disease prevention and physical activity. In her spare time, Claire enjoys doing yoga, reading and dancing with friends.

Western Undergraduate Student Research Internship (2020)
MROO Scholarship Recipient for commitment to volunteer service and leadership (2019)
Dean’s Honor List (2019, 2020)
Western Scholarship of Excellence (2018)

Honorary Members