Basic information


Robin Back

Membership status

Program member (conducting undergraduate thesis)


I have recently completed my Bachelor of Arts in Specialized Honours Psychology. I completed my first two years of school at Wilfrid Laurier University.

The combination of my research experience, past and current employment, and volunteer and academic experiences have led to the areas of study and research I am most interested in, primarily within the field of Health Psychology. I would like to research topics such as: coping with chronic illness (psychosocial oncology), pain and perception, obesity and eating disorders, the psychological effects of HIV, effects of stress on health, and addictions/substance abuse, with a strong focus on the study of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

I have a strong background in research and am highly motivated to continue working as a researcher.

Research interests

Health Psychology, Counselling Psychology, Psychosocial Oncology, Clinical Psychology

Research experience

I am currently completing a qualitative specialized honours thesis under the supervision of Dr. Karen Fergus. I am investigating the formation of the therapeutic alliance between program facilitators and couples participating in the Couplelinks program. is a professionally facilitated online support program for young women (under age of 50 at diagnosis) facing breast cancer, and their male partners.

August 2013 – Present: Volunteer with Rehabilitation Network Canada Inc. I assist in the administration and scoring of psycho-vocational assessments for adults that have been injured in the workplace. Assessments administered and scored include: Beck Depression Inventory, Beck Anxiety Inventory, Continuous Performance Test, Trailmaking Test A and B, WAIS-IV, WIAT-III: Written Expression, WASI-II, PPVT-4, Structured Inventory of Malingered Symptomology.

May 2013 – August 2013: Volunteer Assistant to Dr. Michael Luther. Sunnybrook Hospital's NICU. I assist in the administration and scoring of follow-up assessments for 6-year-old children that were born prematurely and at a low weight.

October 2012 – Present: Volunteer Research Assistant in Dr. Karen Fergus' Lab, York University.

October 2012 – May 2013: Volunteer Research Assistant in Dr. Alberta Pos' Lab, York University.

During the summer of 2012 I worked as a research assistant to Suzanne Fredericks and Dr. Terrence Yau on a pilot study being conducted at the Toronto General Hospital through Ryerson University. The study evaluated the effect of an individualized teaching program in reducing complications and hospital readmissions during the first 3 months of home recovery following a coronary bypass artery graft or a valve replacement.

As a research assistant to Suzanne Fredericks and Dr. Yau, my responsibilities included: confirming subject eligibility, subject recruitment, obtaining informed consent, randomization, baseline demographic data collection, and data entry. I have been asked by Suzanne Fredericks to work on the much larger, follow up study that is scheduled to begin in April 2013.

Skill and resources

I am organized, hard working, punctual, efficient, and studious. I am a very quick learner, and I am able to retain the information I learn and apply it. When I am working on a project, whether it is for school, for work, or in my personal life, I put in a complete effort. I am always proud of the quality of the work that I produce and what I am able to accomplish. I take pride in the fact that I work hard. I am not easily deterred from the task at hand. When something needs to get done, I make sure that it gets done in a timely and efficient matter, without sacrificing quality.

I have had a lot of experience working with people in a variety of emotional states and situations, with a variety of needs as a result of the positions I have worked in over the years. While working as a research assistant, I was primarily working in the cardiac unit of Toronto General Hospital. I was in direct contact with nurses, doctors, and patients who had just come up from heart surgery. Talking to patients right after they had gotten out of surgery was a delicate task as they were in a distressed state. I had to adapt quickly to their emotional state. Dealing with patients who had life-threatening illnesses in addition to multiple other conditions was great learning experience.
In my retail and service industry experiences, I was dealing primarily with people who were looking for instant gratification. In my current position at the sports injury clinic, I am the patients first point of contact. I see people who are in various amounts of pain, depending on their injury. It is my job to make sure they are facilitated as much as possible.

I have the ability to work well with people successfully so that whatever outcome they are looking for is potentially facilitated.