Lab Members


Sean Locke, PhD

Canadian Diabetes Association Post-Doctoral Fellow

Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Post-Doctoral Fellow

Sean completed his doctorate in the College of Kinesiology at the University of Saskatchewan.  Here at UBC – Okanagan Campus, his main role is to coordinate a community-based initiative to help individuals diagnosed with prediabetes make lifestyle changes to reduce their risk of progressing to type 2 diabetes.

Sean’s independent research program has explored the unhelpful thoughts that we have when deciding to exercise.  For example, sometimes we feel too busy, and automatically think, “GAH!  There’s just not enough time in the week to exercise!!” This thought has truth to it – you are busy – but you may have automatically jumped to the conclusion without considering the whole situation.  Maybe you are busy, but not as busy at you feel?  Maybe you are really busy, but could still find 20 minutes here or there?  The point is, did you really think through the decision?  Sean continues to explore how these exercise-related cognitive errors cause us to disengage from exercise.

Fun fact 1: Sean’s favourite painting is Salvador Dali’s, The Persistence of Memory.

Fun Fact 2: In 2010, Sean helped to create and coordinate a meals program in Windsor, Ontario to bring food to those struggling with food insecurity and poverty. Thanks to numerous volunteers, the program (now called Feeding Windsor; has ramped up to serve about 15,000 meals per year.




Elena Ivanova, PhD

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Elena completed a PhD in Clinical Psychology at McGill University. Elena’s main research interests are to integrate cognitive-behavioral techniques into exercise interventions with the goal to increase the physical activity levels of low active but otherwise healthy adults and clinical populations.

Her research work in the Health and Exercise Psychology Lab is to optimize the delivery of a community-based exercise intervention that aims to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes for adults in the community.

Elena enjoys traveling to new places, relaxing with friends, and trail running.




Jessica Bourne – Research Coordinator

Lover of all things British, Ms. Bourne takes care of us all in the laboratory and maximizes productivity like nobody’s business. Since joining the team in April 2012, she has single-handedly whipped us all into shape whilst teaching us the true meaning of Guy Faulkes “celebration”. Jess combines her incredible (slightly obsessive) need for organization and tidiness with a Masters of Science degree in Exercise Psychology earned from UBC Vancouver to superwomanly conquer all research challenges.




Megan MacPherson- MSc (OT), PhD Candidate

Megan completed her Bachelors Degree in Honour’s Psychology at UBC followed by her Masters Degree in Occupational Therapy at Queen’s University. Megan’s research interests center around the impact of smartphones, mHealth apps and other technologies have on individual’s activity level and health behaviours.

Megan’s work in the HEPL lab focuses on the investigation and optimization of technology-related physical activity interventions. The overarching goal of Megan’s work is to determine how to best utilize technologies to positively impact physical activity and health behaviours in a variety of populations.

In her down time, Megan enjoys reading, exercising and relaxing with her partner.




Rebecca Lee – Masters Candidate

Rebecca completed her BSc in Life Sciences and Mathematics at Queen’s University before moving to UBC Okanagan to pursue graduate studies. Her research is motivated by her interest in examining less invasive methods of health maintenance such as healthy eating and physical activities. Outside of the lab, Rebecca spends her time trying vegan recipes and acting as a residence advisor.




Jodi Langley – Masters Candidate

Jodi enjoys taking risks, whether it be swimming with sharks, or jumping off a cliff, she loves to keep her family and friends on their toes! Jodi is a recent graduate of the kinesiology program at Acadia University in Nova Scotia. She is now completing her Master’s with both Dr. Mary Jung and Dr. Jonathon Little in the Small Steps for Big Change community project. As a retired track and field athlete Jodi is now exploring new forms of physical activity for herself and taking advantage of all the outdoor activities Kelowna has to offer. Jodi has volunteered with many physical activity programs at Acadia University and is looking forward to using her experience to help implement physical activity programs into the City of Kelowna.


Veronika Zarnoch –Undergraduate Research Assistant

Veronika is currently working through her BA in Psychology. Her research interests revolve around making mental health care more accessible, through an integration of physical, mental and community health.  Outside of the lab, Veronika is a yoga teacher who encourages healthy workplaces, and enjoys exploring local food systems in quest of life cycle sustainability. Veronika’s biggest fan is her Giant Schnauzer- Liberty, with whom she spends much time exploring.



Alissa Smith – Undergraduate Research Assistant

Alissa will be finishing up her last year of her undergraduate degree with a BA in Psychology this fall. Throughout her degree she has fallen in love with Health Psychology and hopes to pursue further education at a graduate level within the specialization. When she’s not in the HEPL, you can find her volunteering in the Health Psychology Lab, being a Teaching Assistant within the Psychology Department, or organizing events within the Psychology Course Union. Outside of campus, Alissa loves to explore the outdoors, experiment with healthy cooking/baking and spending quality time with friends and family!


Alysson Hamilton 

Alysson is a first year Medical Student in the Southern Medical Program. She did undergraduate courses in Biology most recently at Lakehead University while competing on the National Cross Country Ski Team. She is passionate about using lifestyle changes to improve health and is excited to be involved in the Small Steps for Big Changes Program.


Skylar Schmidtke 

Skylar Schmidtke is a fourth year undergraduate at UBCO, working towards a major in psychology and a minor in creative writing. Skylar is interested in the psychology of health and fitness.  She has been working on a directed studies project assessing the use of health claims on alcoholic beverages.  Come graduation, she hopes to continue her education through enrollment in a graduate program, specifically in the field of health and nutrition. She is currently volunteering on a research project, coding food logs for a national study assessing daily calcium intake of Canadian families.  In her spare time, Skylar enjoys reading, weightlifting, and anything Taylor Swift!