Class of 2009

Jonathan Stein (B.Ed (Physical and Health Education) 2006, MA (Sport Psychology) 2009) is the Physical and Health Education teacher at Willingdon Elementary School in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Montreal, Quebec. He completed his master's degree under the supervision of Professor Gordon Bloom, with our Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education.

In February 2018, during the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, Jonathan Stein was featured in the Global News story "NDG’s Willingdon Elementary hosts its own Olympic opening ceremony," by Amanda Jelowicki. Please click here to read the article. (February, 2018)

Krista C. Ritchie, PhD '09

Krista C. Ritchie

Assistant Professor, Educational Psychology, 
     Faculty of Education, Mount Saint Vincent University
Adjunct Professor, Community Health and Epidemiology,
     Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University
Chair, Board of Directors, Homes for Independent Living

What did you specialize in during your doctoral studies?

I completed my Master’s degree in Educational Psychology with a major in Instructional Psychology in 2005 and my PhD with a major in Applied Cognitive Science in 2009. The foci of my studies are now represented in the Learning Sciences program.
My dissertation focused on how high school science students engage in problem finding processes (aka how they learn to ask a good research question). I described the social, emotional, and problem solving aspects of students’ problem finding processes, and compared these experiences to students in regular science education courses. During my PhD I also gained valuable work experience on the Evaluation Team of the McGill Educational Initiative on Interprofessional Collaboration. In this role, I evaluated processes and outcomes of a group focused on understanding and promoting interprofessional education and practice in the health professions.

What is your current position? Please describe what you do.
I am an Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology in the Faculty of Education at Mount Saint Vincent University. I also hold a faculty position at Dalhousie University in the Faculty of Medicine. I teach and do research in both universities on topics very similar to my PhD studies.

How did your doctoral program help prepare you for this position?
My doctoral program prepared me for work in academic and healthcare settings in more ways than can be described on a webpage. Highlights include providing me the autonomy to pursue my areas of personal interest through thesis, coursework, teaching assistantships, and volunteer experience. The autonomy I had was paired perfectly with mentorship and support from many of the professors in the department. I was able to carve my own path, and was encouraged and supported every step of the way. Special thanks for being my mentor still to this day goes to my PhD supervisor, Prof. Bruce Shore.

What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
I think it is early days in my career to declare a “great professional accomplishment”, but I can say that I am proud of how statistics-savvy I have become, and that I have the opportunity to teach statistics to many students and professionals in both education and healthcare. I am also thrilled to have just been awarded an NSHRF Establishment Grant that will focus on understanding how (and if!) students and early career health professionals develop knowledge, attitudes, and skills related to evidence based clinical practice. The Co-PI for this NSHRF Establishment Grant is Dr. Erna Snelgrove-Clarke, who graduated from McGill with a PhD in the Faculty of Nursing.

Personally, my greatest professional accomplishment has been reaching my early career goals while also having two beautiful children with my husband in our scenic hometown of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

CHRISTOPHER ALFANO (PhD, Education, 2009) has been named as the winner of the Meritorious Service Medal, awarded by David Johnston, Governor General of Canada.

The civilian award is granted to an individual who has been an example for others to follow, and who has carried out distinguished work that improves the quality of life in a community at the local, provincial, national or international level.

Among Dr. Alfano's accomplishments are the creation of an adult music program at La Salle Secondary School in Kingston, Ontario -where Alfano currently teaches- in 1994. Dr. Alfano took time off to complete his PhD with McGill's Faculty of Education, earning his PhD in 2009 under the supervision of Professor Joan Russell with his thesis Senior's Participation in an Intergenerational Music Learning Program. 

“It’s an amazing acknowledgment of Chris Alfano’s work with various groups of people in the community," Principal Ted Holden told Kingston's The Whig. "It is just incredible. He is quite passionate about providing education opportunities for seniors and retirees.”

[read "La Salle teacher wins Governor General's award", The Whig, Nov. 24, 2016]

S. DARLENE KEHYAYAN (BEd 1993, MEd 1999, Grad. Cert. Ed. Leadership 2006, Grad. Cert. Ed. Leadership-2 2009) is the principal of Dunrae Gardens Elementary School in the Town of Mount Royal. After joining Dunrae as the new principal in 2008, Darlene was successful in increasing the school’s student population by more than 450 students in her first few months. A French immersion school within the English Montreal School Board, Dunrae regularly welcomes student teachers from McGill. Darlene previously worked as the principal of Cedarcrest Elementary School in St. Laurent. (McGill Alumni News Magazine, Fall/Winter 2011)

ANDREW CHIARELLA, PhD (Learning Sciences, 2009), is Assistant Professor in Educational Psychology at the Centre for Social Sciences with Athabasca University.

Andrew Chiarella's research interests focus on the study of social annotation systems. He has designed and programmed a software application which aggregates the annotations of a community of readers and then adds text signals to the text based on this community consensus. Principles and characteristics of complex, self-organizing systems were used to design this software. His research examines how those signals develop over time, their quality, and their effects on readers.

Dr. Chiarella was recently awarded tenure at Athabasca University.

Andrew believes the training and education he received in the Learning Sciences concentration in Educational Psychology (formerly known as the minor in Instructional Psychology) provided a strong focus on research design and analysis (statistical and discourse/semantic). He was provided with opportunities to teach at the post-secondary level, as well as collaborate on, and assist with various research projects with students from different backgrounds, programs, and disciplines.

JONGHWI PARK, PhD, 2009 (Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology), is Programme Specialist and Team Leader of the ICY in Education Programme at Asia Pacific Regional Bureau for Education for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The Bureau serves 46 member states in the region, based in Bangkok, Thailand. Her primary role is to provide governments with technical advice on the effective integration of ICT in their education systems, and to organize high-level policy at the regional level (eg. Asia-Pacific Ministerial Forum on ICT in Education (AMFIE), Central Asia Symposium, etc.).


ROBERT SAGGERS, PhD (Learning Sciences, 2009), is the head of his own consulting practice "dedicated to helping organizations improve their performance through enhancing their capacity to learn to change by tapping into and developing the leadership potential of their people". This entails leadership development, teambuilding, change management, coaching mentoring and trainer development.

Dr. Saggers has also been associated with McGill for over 25 years as a graduate studies instructor in the School of Continuing Studies, and as a collaborator on a joint venture basis to develop and deliver corporate training programs and public workshops.

Dr. Saggers believes the Instructional Psychology stream in Educational Psychology (currently the Learning Sciences concentration) helped prepare him by providing a comprehensive theoretical foundation to complement his practical experience.

ERIK GALAS, BEd (Physical Education) 2009, Inks Deal with CFL's Alouettes

MONTREAL – The Montreal Alouettes have signed McGill University receiver Erik Galas, a 22-year-old free-agent from Ottawa, to a contract of two years, plus an option. 

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound slotback is a two-time all-Canadian and the CIS all-time record holder with 194 receptions in 34 career contests. He also established McGill career records for most receptions, yards (2,555) and receiving TDs (19).

“I’m pretty excited about this opportunity,” said Galas, a physical education senior. “I think that I can compete for a roster spot in the CFL and will do the best I can. I’m happy to be with the Alouettes. It’s a great fit for me as my family and friends are nearby and we play at Molson Stadium where I will feel quite at home.”

Galas is coming off an impressive season with 64 receptions in eight games, the third-highest single-season total in CIS history. He ranked fifth among CIS leaders in yards (781) and hauled in six TDs.

A multi-sport athlete out of St. Matthew’s high school in Ottawa, he played five years with the Redmen, earning second-team all-Canadian honours in 2007 and first-team honours last season. He is currently completing his collegiate eligibility playing with the basketball Redmen.

Galas, who was invited to the CFL combines draft evaluation camp in 2007, is bidding to become the 57th member of the Redmen to play in the Canadian Football League and the 23rd to make the Alouettes.

Three McGill grads played in the CFL last year, including long-snapper / linebacker Randy Chevrier with the Grey Cup champion Calgary Stampeders, plus linebeacker Jean-Nicolas Carriere (Toronto) and receiver Greg Hetherington (B.C. Lions). (source: McGill Athletics, Dec 2008)

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