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The Connections Lab


Presentations from Lab Meetings 2014-2015




Radio interview with Dr. Shaw on the Andrew Carter Morning Show CJAD 800 (October 2, 2014)


Welcome, Labbies!

So here are some bits and pieces as we start getting ready for an intensely productive fall.

  • History: The term “labbie” was used by residents of Los Alamos, New Mexico to refer to the influx of scientists into the community during the Manhattan Project. It was first a term of derision, but later became a term of affection.
  • We have a lab co-director this year. Professor Anna Jankowska from the University of Gdansk (Poland) will be the co-director this academic year. She and I have not negotiated roles yet. But she is a shockingly hard worker and truly brilliant. She is also kind, helpful, and a joy to work with. It would be worth your while to get to know her.
  • Labbies are divided into two groups: Active labbies—those who are currently taking classes and collecting data. Senior labbies—those who are on internship or completing doctoral theses. Most of these things are relevant to active labbies. Undergrads and volunteers are considered active labbies.
  • We have a dropbox with our list of resources and spreadsheet of projects. Let me know if you have not received an invitation to be on the dropbox.
  • Create a twitter account. Post tweets at least once per week. I will be keeping track. Use twitter as a way to communicate what you have done, report on your research, or generally say something inspiring, funny, or funky. You may keep your account protected, if you wish to screen folks who want to follow you. But do allow all other labbies to follow you.
  • Neither McGill nor our programme have a social media policy. Remember that you are a professional and employers and collaborators will certainly investigate your social media history. We work with children. So please show discretion and caution. It is okay to be yourself and have a bit of an edge--however, let's eliminate photos of us with alcohol, any explicit photos, controversial political statements, and other information that might cause you problems. There is not a rule, but remember to ask yourself: would an employer with whom I wish to work object to this? Just go and clean up your Facebook account every so often. Sometimes keeping anonymous accounts is a good idea for those of you with wilder sides (and you know who you are). 
  • We will have lab meetings once per week for one hour. These meetings shall be journal club, business meetings, or research organization meetings.
  • I will be meeting with each active labbie once per week this year for 30 minutes.
    • Please send me your schedule or suggested meeting times for our individual and group lab meeting
    • Within 24 hours, please send me a summary of the meeting via e-mail—this is a reminder of what I am supposed to do, makes sure we both have the same understanding of the meeting, and keeps meetings focused on issues.
    • Have an agenda coming to each meeting. Preparing for the individual meeting is at least ½ of the value of the meeting.
  • We have a website (https://www.mcgill.ca/connectionslab/), Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ConnectionsLab) , a blog site (http://researchtopracticeconnections.wordpress.com/), and I have a twitter account (@Shawpsych). We use all of these for communication and dissemination of our work.
  • Read old-posts of my blog to get a strong sense of life in the lab and my general approaches to working.
  • Create a CV. If you do not have something to update in your CV each month, then there is a problem.
  • This September, each labbie needs to develop goals for the year. Start thinking of your goals now because these will be the focus of our first individual meeting.
  • More history: The Connections Lab once focused entirely on children with rare genetic disorders. We have now spread into school-based interventions for children at risk for school failure. After over two years of making the transition, we are now done developing and piloting ideas and into full on data collection and writing mode. So this should be the most productive year we have had in a long time.

I am truly looking forward to working with all of you this year. We have a massive number of projects and exciting opportunities. 


The Connections Lab refers to a collection of graduate students, undergraduate students, and other scholars conducting projects related to school and developmental psychology under the supervision of Dr. Steven Shaw. The overall goal is to improve school functioning for the students at highest risk for school failure. Among the populations considered are students with rare genetic disorders, intellectual disabilities, medical issues, low income, behaviour issues, and other concerns. What makes the Connections Lab exciting is that we conduct high quality research, but always use our projects to help students and their families overcome risk factors to experience school and life success.

Our current partners include the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League, Commission scolaire de la Pointe-de-l'Ile (Montreal, Quebec), Lester B. Pearson School Board (Dorval, Quebec), National Association of School Psychologists, Miriam House, and Instytut Psychologii Uniwersytetu Gdańskiego (Institute of Psychology, University of Gdansk, Poland). 

Dr. Shaw is the Graduate Program Director of the School and Applied Child Psychology program.

  • Please send all questions concerning our graduate program to steven [dot] shaw [at] mcgill [dot] ca.
  • Follow Dr. Shaw's twitter feed at: @Shawpsych