Principal Investigator

Elina Birmingham
Associate Professor
Faculty of Education
Simon Fraser University
email: ebirming[at]

Graduate Students


Kari Gustafson

Kari is a PhD student in Educational Psychology in the faculty of education at SFU, under the supervision of Dr. Birmingham. Her focus is qualitative and ethnographic-based research with persons with ASD and their experiences with education and social inclusion / exclusion.

She completed her ME in Educational Psychology (Cand.pæd.pæd.psyk) at Aarhus University, Danish School of Education (DPU) in 2013. Her master’s thesis was entitled “Educated to be normal”: Experiences of persons with autism diagnoses in learning communities under the supervision of Dr. Line Lerche Mørck. Her background includes studies in Alaska, USA and Copenhagen, Denmark in the areas of social education, philosophy, and music, and teaching about Nordic pedagogy and childhood to American university students at DIS – Study Abroad in Scandinavia.

Kari’s PhD study focuses on projects investigating self-advocacy groups and Larp (Live Action Role Playing) and Edularp, and role playing game (RPG) communities as models for social inclusion and inclusive educational contexts.


Research Assistants

CindyCindy Shi
email: qiwans[at]
Cindy was a MA student in Psychology under the supervision of Dr. Richard Wright. Cindy has been helping to collect and analyze data for an outside eye tracking project under the supervision of Drs. Birmingham and Iarocci.


Sherif Hussein
email: sherifh[at]
Sherif is a Mechatronic Systems Engineering (MSE) undergraduate interested in incorporating embedded technology with neuropsychology to implement feasible solutions for auditory hypersensitivity/hyperacusis in ASD. Sherif is completing a co-op position co-supervised by Dr. Birmingham and Dr. Arzanpour (MSE).





Rebecca Fisher




Lab Alumni

Dominic Trevisan
email: dtrevisa[at]
Dominic completed his Ph.D. dissertation, entitled, Alexithymia and Atypical Facial Expressions in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders, under the supervision of Dr. Birmingham. Dominic’s research was supported by a SFU Multi-Year Funding Award and the Autism Research Training (ART) program. In addition to his research, Dominic served as an editor for the SFU Education Review, and as a research coordinator and mentor for SFU’s Autism Mentorship Initiative. He also founded the SFU Social Behaviour Colloquium.  Dominic is now a Hilibrand Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale School of Medicine in Dr. James McPartland’s lab.

Nicole Roberts
Nicole completed her MA thesis, entitled Conceptualizing a Mentorship Program for University Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder, under the supervision of Dr. Birmingham.  She currently works as a Behaviour Consultant at Salish Sea Behaviour Consulting.

Zoe Crane
email: zcrane[at]
Zoe was an undergraduate student at SFU completing the Psychology major, Counselling and Human Development minor, and Certificate in Liberal Arts programs. Zoe was interested in learning more about ASD research through SARG and began volunteering in the lab in Fall 2017. She helped with research projects on ASD and the display of facial expressions.

Emerson Gaglardi
: egaglard[at]
Emerson was an undergraduate student at SFU studying Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. He helped out with research on ASD at SARG as a Work-Study student in Summer 2017. He hopes to pursue a career in teaching.

pamela_smallPamela Plantinga
email: pplantin[at]
Pamela began volunteering with SARG by assisting in Social Science Summer camp July 2016. Pamela helped analyze data for an emotion-recognition study. Her school Co-ops and non-school related work experiences have largely been with children and adults with developmental disabilities which has inspired her to pursue an eventual Masters in Occupational Therapy. Getting hands-on experience in ASD research here at SARG was a privilege on this journey.

Cathy LinCathy
: chl32[at]
Cathy was an undergraduate student of Linguistics. Cathy helped helping to collect and analyze data for a project on the subjective experiences of eye contact in individuals with ASD.  She will be entering  as a student in the Speech Sciences Masters program at UBC in the Fall of 2017.


Marleis Bowering
email: mbowering919[at]
Marleis was an undergraduate student of Linguistics at SFU. Her main research interests include both the linguistic and psychological aspects of First Language Acquisition, how children develop skills for effective communication, and practical intervention strategies for teaching those skills.  She is currently in the Speech Sciences Masters program at UBC.

Dominic Wong_smallDominic Wong
Dominic was an undergraduate student in Psychology, with a minor in Counselling and Human development. His main research interests are related to how mental disabilities and learning disabilities affect attention, memory and perception of stimuli. He also works as a mental health worker at Coastal Mental Health.

vivian's photo_croppedVivian Qi
email: qixx8480[at]
Vivian was an RA for SARG in 2014/2015 and collected data for several studies on facial emotion recognition. She is now a graduate student at Wilfred Laurier University (WLU) in the Child Memory Lab.


Dawn Chan
email: dawn_chan[at]
Dawn is a graduate student at Simon Fraser University.  She spearheaded several studies in SARG in 2012/2013 when the lab was just starting up!

tori cropTori Kling

email: torik[at]
Tori was the lab manager for SARG from 2012-2014.  She also completed her MEd. at SFU.  She left the lab to pursue motherhood, among many other things!

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