Our PhD Students
Julia Daun is a 4th year PhD student and has been with the Health and Wellness Lab since April 2014. What she hopes to achieve through her research is to bring movement to all individuals affected by cancer, specifically in the clinical setting; contribute to the incredible work our entire lab is doing in order to inform better medical practices, advance the healthcare ecosystem, and most importantly, enhance patient experiences. Julia's current research project is The Feasibility of Exercise in the Care Pathway for Surgical Head and Neck Cancer Patients.
Julia enjoys travel and has been to all 7 continents and >40 countries, as well as speaks five languages!
Emma McLaughlin is a 3rd year PhD student who started with the Health and Wellness Lab in April 2019. Her project is looking at tracking the dissemination and implementation of the international Pediatric Oncology Exercise Guidelines (iPOEG) toolkit. Through her research, Emma hopes to support healthcare providers, community-based organizations, fitness professionals, patients, and family members using the iPOEG Toolkits, and to ultimately help children and adolescents affected by cancer move more both during and after treatment. A fun fact about Emma: She has lived in 3 provinces (NB, NS, and AB), and yes… she is an Edmonton Oilers Fan! Emma's other passions include going to the mountains, visiting family and friends, going to spin and yoga classes, listening to country music, and learning to play the ukulele!
Key research interests: Children, adolescents, and young adults affected by cancer; Knowledge translation; Movement
Mannat Bansal (she/her) is a 2nd year PhD student and has been affiliated with the Health and Wellness lab since 2017. Her doctoral research focuses on enhancing accessibility to exercise oncology resources for individuals of South Asian heritage. Specifically, Mannat aims to promote equity in resource access for Punjabi-speaking individuals of South Asian heritage living with and beyond cancer. Ultimately, Mannat strives to increase the diversity of participants within exercise oncology programs, thereby ensuring that more individuals can benefit from exercise throughout their cancer journey. A fun fact about Mannat: Her favourite season is winter! Wrapping up in blankets next to the fireplace and reading while it’s raining or snowing outside is one of her favourite things to do. Her favourite forms of physical activity are weightlifting, hiking, and biking.
Key research interests: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion; Behaviour Change; Implementation Science
Jenna Sim (she/her) is a 1st year PhD student new to the Health and Wellness Lab. She joins us from the University of British Columbia – Okanagan, where she completed her Bachelor of Human Kinetics and Master of Science under the supervision of Dr. Mary Jung. Her previous research has been in type 2 diabetes prevention, specifically working with individuals who are experiencing food insecurity to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Jenna’s doctoral research will focus on evaluating the implementation and effectiveness of the Transplant Wellness Program. She is also passionate about health equity, behaviour change, and knowledge translation and is excited to work in these areas throughout her degree.
Outside of research, Jenna enjoys discussing anything Taylor Swift related, cross-country skiing, mountain biking, climbing, running, and hiking. As a new resident of Calgary, she is excited to explore the outdoor opportunities, especially the rocky mountains, that this region has to offer!
Our Master's Students
Tana Dhruva is a 2nd year MSc student and has been with the Health and Wellness Lab since January 2019. Tana started with the HWL as a volunteer through the Thrive Centre and then as a MSc student.
Her research focuses on the body image and quality of life in relation to physical activity, among young adults living with and beyond cancer. Additionally, she works on other projects in the lab such ACE-Neuro and EXCEL, and is passionate about teaching ACE Maintenance classes. Outside of exercise oncology, you can find Tana reading, hiking, and spending time in the mountains with her friends and family.
Jocelyn Cannon is a 1st year MSc student and has been involved with the Health and Wellness Lab since fall 2022. She graduated from the University of Calgary in spring of 2023 where she completed her Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology, majoring in Exercise and Health Physiology. Jocelyn completed a practicum with the Health and Wellness Lab and further decided to stay involved and was inspired to take on her own research with beginning her Masters! Jocelyn has not yet begun her own study, though her love of yoga and her recent 200hr yoga teaching certification have inspired her to begin to examine the use of mindfulness and yoga practice in health-related quality of life and look into integrating a wider, more accessible range of exercise to people living with and beyond cancer. She is also very interested in knowledge translation and investigating barriers that create the evidence to practice/policy gap in exercise oncology research.
Jocelyn loves a range of physical activity! She grew up playing team sports such as hockey, baseball, and volleyball. She now practices yoga and enjoys fun HIIT style group fitness classes such as boxing or spin! She loves trying out new sports, however, her competitive nature can be frustrating when she doesn’t excel right away (PICKLE BALL ISN’T THAT EASY PEOPLE!). Nonetheless, Jocelyn is an advocate for life-long moving and is excited to be working with likeminded individuals that continuously promote that exercise is beneficial for everyone!
Hannah Cripps is a 1st year MSc who got started with the Health and Wellness lab in the spring of 2022 and has stayed involved since. Hannah recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology, majoring in Exercise and Health Physiology. She is a big advocate of being active at all ages and stages of life and promoting exercise as a wellness tool. Hannah will be working with Young Adult/Pediatric populations for her Master's project and is very excited to continue to be a part of the important work the HWL is doing.
Hannah loves to get involved in any type of competition (recently Spikeball is a favourite!), baking, watching the Great British Baking Show, playing guitar, reading, movie nights, and of course, spending time with friends and family. To stay active, Hannah enjoys walking, running, hiking, pilates, yoga, and resistance training.
Clinical Exercise Physiologists
Bachelor of Kinesiology (Bkin), Clinical Exercise Physiologist (CSEP-CEP)
Tanya Williamson is a Clinical Exercise Physiologist (CEP) and project coordinator who started with the Health and Wellness Lab in September 2010. Her role within the lab is as the project coordinator for the Alberta Cancer Exercise (ACE) study, a program that offers free exercise classes to cancer survivors to enhance their quality of life. Some fun facts about Tanya: She is the proud mom of two kids, Ella and Owen; she has travelled and seen more of Australia than her Australian husband; and she is also the funniest lab member (self-proclaimed)! Tanya's other passions outside of leading exercise oncology classes include playing field hockey, hiking, snow shoeing, skiing, and golfing with her friends and family. She especially loves games nights and lip sync battles with her fellow lab members. Lastly, Tanya loves spending time in the mountains or on a lake and loves watching and playing most sports - give her a ball to chase and she's happy.
Master of Kinesiology (MKin), Clinical Exercise Physiologist (CSEP-CEP)
Jessica is a Clinical Exercise Physiologist (CEP) who started with the Health and Wellness Lab in the summer of 2011. Currently her main role is with the TrueNTH Lifestyle Management project, providing exercise and wellness resources through an online portal to men with prostate cancer, as well as ACE-Neuro, a unique exercise study for individuals with a brain cancer diagnosis. Jess absolutely loves the challenge of working in such a busy lab with amazing lab mates, but her favourite part is the interaction with the participants. They have taught her so much about life, perspective, compassion, motivation, relationships, and opened her heart in a special and unique way. Life outside of the lab for Jessica includes her husband Ben and their 3 young children, Gabriel, Lena, and Indiana, as well as their dog Murphy. They enjoy activities together like biking, walks along the river, skiing, lying in the hammock, eating ice cream, and are hoping to get a campervan so they can do some family road trips exploring Canada.
Master of Kinesiology (MKin), Clinical Exercise Physiologist (CSEP-CEP)
Mariah, a Clinical Exercise Physiologist (CEP), joined the Health and Wellness Lab (HWL) in the summer of 2023. Her journey with the HWL began as a volunteer, progressing to a practicum student, then an instructor, and finally, the newest CEP in the lab. One might wonder if she will ever leave!
Currently, Mariah's primary responsibility is teaching exercise oncology classes, both online and in-person. Additionally, she lends her expertise to support her fellow CEPs and ensure the smooth functioning of ongoing projects. Mariah finds immense joy in collaborating with the exceptional group of women at the HWL, appreciating the valuable insights they have already shared and eagerly looking forward to further learning.
In the field of exercise oncology, Mariah takes pride in creating a secure environment for participants to connect and foster a strong sense of community, benefiting everyone involved. Beyond her work at the lab, Mariah's life revolves around her fiancée, Destin, and their charming kitten, Penny. To stay active, she engages in resistance training, plays softball, attempts ice skating, and enjoys neighbourhood walks to the ice cream shop.
Clinical Exercise Physiologist (CSEP-CEP)
Julianna Dreger is a project coordinator who started with the Health and Wellness Lab in May 2020. Her role within the lab is as the project coordinator for Project EXCEL (EXercise for Cancer to Enhance Living Well), a program aiming to increase the access of exercise therapy to rural and remote cancer survivors across Canada. A fun fact about Julianna: She lived in New Zealand for a year and in Melbourne, Australia for four yeas. She also used to be a competitive show jumper and has a diploma in Landscape Design! Julianna's other interests and passions include travelling, spending summers at the lake, time in the mountains, being active, gardening, painting, starting (and never finishing) knitting projects, spending time with family, and coffee.
Key research interests: Exercise oncology; Health promotion; Exercise physiology
Bachelor of Human Kinetics (BHK), Kinesiologist
Georgia, the Health and Wellness Labs (HWL) coordinator, joined the lab in December 2022. At the lab, you can find Georgia working on projects such as Alberta Cancer Exercise (ACE), EXercise for Cancer to Enhance Living Well (EXCEL), and Implementation of Physical Activity for Children and Adolescence on Treatment (IMPACT).
Some fun facts about Georgia: She was a competitive swimmer for 14 years and swam varsity for the University of Regina; she has now hung up her goggles, but you can still find her on the pool deck coaching the next generation of swimmers. Georgia enjoys weight training, swimming, canoeing, and hiking to stay active.