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 Sturents

Kelsey Sick, MA (PhD Year 2)

Kelsey completed a BSc in Kinesiology at the University in Calgary and MA in Kinesiology at Western University. She is currently a PhD student in the Psychological Basis of Kinesiology with a research interest in body image and mental health. Specifically, her work focuses on exploring how social comparisons and self-evaluations of the physical self contribute to global self-worth and mental health. Working predominantly with female adolescents, the results of this doctoral work will be used to disseminate evidence-based strategies to inform theory and practices promoting healthy adolescent development. Kelsey is also the co-founder of UR Enough.

SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship (2021-2024)
Mitacs Accelerate-SSHRC Joint Initiative (2020)
Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2020)
Earle F. Zeigler Scholarship (2020)
Western Graduate Research Scholarship (2017-2020)
Faculty of Health Sciences Graduate Conference Travel Award (2018; 2019)
Western Graduate Research Scholarship (2018/2019)
Brown Commemorative Scholarship (2018)

Katarina Huellemann, MSc (PhD Year 1)

Katarina obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Western in 2018 and is currently in the process of completing her MSc in Social Psychology at Western. She is interested in the link between body image and the self-concept and how this influences disordered eating and 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 yoga.

Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2020-2021)
Ralph S. Devereux Award in Psychology (2020)
2020: Western Graduate Research Grant (2020)
Graduate Travel Award (Society for Personality and Social Psychology Convention) (2019)

Isabella Randall, BSc (MA Year 2)

Isabella completed a BSc in Anatomy and Cell Biology at McGill University. Currently, she is in the first year of her M.A. in the Psychological Basis of Kinesiology. She is interested in how weight-based discrimination influences the physiological stress response and exercise outcomes. Specifically her thesis project aims to understand how exposure to weight-based stigma elicits the psychophysiological stress response, and impacts women’s health behaviours.

Faculty of Health Sciences Graduate Student Conference Travel Award – 2019

MacLean Press, BA (MA Year 1)

MacLean Press recently completed a BA in Kinesiology at Western University and is an incoming MA student in the Psychological Basis of Kinesiology. Her research interest is in body image and women’s health. Specifically, her research focuses 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.

Western Undergraduate Student Research Internship (2020)
Dean’s Honor List (2019, 2020)

Alexandra Rakin (MSc Year 1)

Alexandra completed a Honours BHSc in Kinesiology and Health Promotion at Sheridan College. She is currently a MSc candidate in Integrative Biosciences at Western University. Her research interests are in exercise prescription, pregnancy and eating disorders. She currently works at both the Body Image and Health Research Lab and Exercise and Pregnancy Lab, where she has the opportunity to work with a variety of different populations and interventions. Non-academic related interests she has are outdoor related activities (hiking, running and road biking) and competitive powerlifting and bodybuilding. She placed first in Regionals and Nationals in her age/weight class and qualified for Worlds in 2020.

Summer Students

Jade Bailey, BA Year 4

Jade is in the final year of a Bachelor of Arts Honours Specialization in Kinesiology at Western University. Her research interests are on the intersections of body image, mental health, and physical activity in both adolescent and adult female populations. She is particularly interested in and passionate about self-compassion and intuitive movement interventions. Outside of academia Jade is an avid triathlete and runner. She enjoys cooking and spending time with her fur children, Calvin and Maya.      

Undergraduate Student Research Internship (2021)
Dean’s Honour List (2017, 2018, 2019)

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Madeline Wood, BA Year 4

Madeline recently graduated from a Bachelor of Arts Honours Specialization in Kinesiology at Western University. She will be commencing a Master’s of Science in Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Toronto in Fall 2021. She is passionate about health science, women’s health, and mental health. Madeline’s research interests include the psychology of body image, cognitive neuroscience, and women’s health as it relates to gender-specific experiences. Madeline recently finished a 4th year hours thesis project in the BIH lab, and is working as a NSERC USRA student in the BIH lab in Summer 2021. In her free time, she enjoys working out, baking, and spending time her with family.

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

Vanessa Coulbeck, BA (Incoming MA Student)

Vanessa recently graduated from the Honours BA in Kinesiology program at Western University, and is an incoming 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!

Undergraduate Student Research Internship (2020; 2021)
Dean’s Honour List (2019; 2020; 2021)

Karen Leung, BA (Incoming MA Student)

Karen completed a BA in Kinesiology with a minor in Psychology at Western University. She is an incoming  MA student in the Psychological Basis of Kinesiology with research interests in body image and mental health. Specifically, her research focuses on social exercise contexts on self-conscious emotions, such as body-related guilt and shame, and social physique anxiety of inactive women. The overall objective of her research is to promote exercise among inactive women by uncovering gym anxiety to identify strategies to foster a judge-free and safe environment to exercise. Karen’s non-academic interests include playing badminton, running, working out, reading, and scrapbooking. She is also a major foodie and adores exploring the city to discover new restaurants in her spare time.

Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2021-2022)
Undergraduate Student Research Internship (2020; 2021)
Dean’s Honour List (2020; 2021)

Research Assistants

Claire Adams

Claire is currently completing 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)

Past & Present Research Volunteers

Elitza Parvanova

(Kinesiology, Year 4)

Volunteer 2019 – 2020

Julie Dunn

(Kinesiology, Year 4)

Volunteer 2019 – 2020

Michelle Lui

(Kinesiology, Year 4)

Volunteer 2019 – 2020

Maggie (Mei Kei) Lai

(Kinesiology, Year 4)

Volunteer 2019 – 2020

Alumni

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Erika Gray, BKin, MA

Erika is currently a PhD student at the University of Ottawa. She completed a MA in Sport Management at Western University in 2020 and a B. Kin (H) at Brock University. Her research interests include gender equity and equality in sport, senior leadership, women and girls in sport, and physical literacy. In the BIH Lab, she was involved with projects pertaining to adolescent girls involved in sport and in exploring body image and movement-based beahviours in undergraduate students.

PackianathanChelladurai Award at Western University (2018)

Stefania Rizzardo, BA

Stefania recently 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. Stefania’s hobbies include reading, running, playing piano and cooking.

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)

Honorary Members

Cali

Bentley

Millie

Ava

Charlotte

Maya

Calvin