Toronto (Dec. 19, 2007) - Growing up as a child with a congenital disability gave Alexandra a unique perspective on the impact rehabilitation can have on people's lives. Alexandra has wanted to be a scientist and researcher since she was a teenager. With a strong record of academic and research achievements, Alexandra graduated with distinction from McMaster University's Psychology Specialist Program with an Honours Bachelor of Science.

Alexandra has a form of cerebral palsy called spastic diplegia. It was during her undergraduate studies at McMaster that Alexandra developed a passion for neuroscience. She is fascinated by neuroscience and has a long-standing interest in the psychosocial impact of disability. As a graduate student at York University, her Master of Arts thesis examined students with physical disabilities adaptation to university life. Alexandra is now a Ph.D. student in York University's Clinical-Development Psychology Program.

Her Ph.D. research will investigate facial emotion perception in people with traumatic brain injury (TBI) with a goal to develop a treatment to allow people to recognize facial emotions more accurately. Social isolation is often the biggest problem reported by people with TBI after their injury. Losing the ability to detect happiness, anger, sadness or boredom can lead to many serious misunderstandings. This research focus is allowing Alexandra to combine her love of neuroscience and clinical training with her desire to contribute to rehabilitation research.

Alexandra has trained at the Hospital for Sick Children, in both the stroke and oncology programs, and the Simcoe County District School Board. She developed her research skills while working in McMaster's Health Information Research Unit and the Adaptation to Chronic Illness Project at the Hospital for Sick Children.

Alexandra is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions including a Canada Graduate Scholarship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and two Ontario Graduate Scholarships. She also volunteers within the disability and university communities.

Upon completion of her Ph.D., Alexandra's ultimate goal is to become a research scientist and psychologist at a hospital or university. She also looks forward to teaching and sharing her knowledge with future students.

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