The IARP Research Team
Dr. Courtney “Nuka” Plante
Department of Psychology
Renison University College – University of Waterloo
Dr. Courtney “Nuka” Plante is a social psychologist currently teaching at Renison University College and doing a part-time post-doc at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario. He attained his B.Sc (Honors) from the University of Alberta in 2008, his Master’s of Arts from the University of Waterloo in 2011, and his PhD from the University of Waterloo in 2014. His interest in studying the furry fandom came about quite naturally from his participation in the fandom since 2007 (though he had been a fan of furry artwork long before then). Specifically, he studies furries through questions about dehumanization, the use of groups for identity and self-expressive purposes, and (recently) an interest in perceived stigmatization and embattled minority narratives. His “non-furry” research includes work on video games and aggression and the use of fantasy identities (role-playing games, video games, novels) as a means of protecting self-esteem against threats.
When he is not running around doing science, he enjoys reading science fiction, playing computer/ video games and hanging out with local furries. He has also written three novels. His fursona is a neon-blue kitty named “Nuka” with a penchant for science, fuzzy things and marshmallows.
Dr. Kathy Gerbasi
Department of Psychology
Niagra County Community College
Dr. Kathleen Gerbasi’s 2008 study, Furries from A to Z (Anthropomorphism to Zoomorphism) was the first study produced by the IARP team, and to our best knowledge is the first peer-reviewed journal exploring the furry fandom. Her other research interests are the social/psychological aspects of anthrozoology. She developed and taught a course on the psychology of human-animal relations at the State University of New York, and in addition to her work with IARP teaches psychology, social psychology, and life span development. She is a professor at Niagara County Community College, and is the program coordinator of the Niagara CC Humanities and Social Science Program.
Dr. Stephen Reysen
Department of Psychology
Texas A&M University-Commerce
Dr. Reysen conducts research concerning personal and social identities. A personal identity is what distinguishes one person from another. A social identity is a group identity that distinguishes one group from another. Using social psychological research methods, Dr. Reysen examines fans’ personal and social identity and how fan identification affects everyday life.
Dr. Sharon Roberts
Department of Sociology
Renison University College at the University of Waterloo
Sharon Roberts is interested in exploring the transition to adulthood and identity resolution in furry populations. She is an Assistant Professor at Renison University College at the University of Waterloo. She received her PhD from the University of Western Ontario in 2008. She has an interdisciplinary background with degrees in sociology and psychology, a certificate in program and policy evaluation, and a diverse research background that spans multiple methodologies and areas including private business forecasting and the quantitative evaluation of major governmental interventions. In her volunteer work, Sharon has been a member of the board of directors at Hope’s Garden Eating Disorders Support and Resource Centre since 2006 and is the Chair of the Program Committee. She is also the Vice President of Research and Education at the Eating Disorders Foundation of Canada. In her spare time, Sharon takes acoustic drum lessons from her husband, a professional musician.
Originally from Boulder, Co., Karlin is a proud alumnus of Pacific Lutheran University (B.A., Comparative Religion, 2003) and a current PhD candidate in Clinical Psychology at Palo Alto University in Palo Alto, CA. Her dissertation research is focused on health management and self-care in adults with spina bifida.
As part of her long-standing interest in how people construct and express their identities, Karlin is interested in how furries create their fursonas, and how they use them to express different facets of who they are and who they would like to be. She believes that insights gleaned from this research could inform the development of additional clinical techniques to help furries and non-furries develop a healthier, more positive, and more authentic sense of self.
Karlin’s research and study interests include motivation, psychology of religion, LGBTQ issues, autism spectrum disorder, human and animal cognition, positive psychology, animal-human relations, persusaion and decision-making, and empirically-supported therapeutic modalities. She has worked with youths and their familites in elementary and middle school settings, and with adults in LGBTQ-focused sub-clinics. In her spare time, she enjoys writing, reading, watching movies and TV, sculpting, swimming, snowshoeing, and mascotting and character performance.
Kendra Doyle – Facebook
Kendra, also known as “L’L Bubbles” or “Dr. Shazzy’s Minion in Training” is currently in her first year of Social Development Studies at Renison University College at the University of Waterloo. She intends to specialize in Social Work and graduate with a joint major in Social Development Studies and Sociology. She is enthusiastic and eager about pursuing a Bachelor of Social Work, a Master in Social Work, a Master in Sociology and considering furthering her education by completing a PhD.
She is passionate about dedicating her life to supporting others as well as continually working for personal growth. She takes pride in her curiosity and passion to learn something new every day. Kendra has the hopes of working as a clinical therapist for children and youth. She is passionate about research; her interests consist of identity in relation to mental illness, psychopathology in children, the effects of parental mental illness on children, and much more.
Kendra’s interests outside of her academic pursuits consist of reading, playing with her gerbils, dancing, being colourful (in multiple ways), creating art, organizing, writing, being free-spirited, and advocating for stigmatized or disadvantaged individuals.
She is very excited to be a part of the International Anthropomorphic Research Project (IARP) team and embraces her “minion” identity.
Jacklyn Furlong – Facebook
Jacklyn is a senior studying Social Development Studies and minoring in Sociology at Renison University College, graduating in 2016. She plans on pursuing her education further through a Masters in Social Work. Jacklyn volunteers part-time at KW Counselling and Family and Children services and loves working with children. In her spare time, she loves to hangout with her fur baby, Julia, and is a devoted “Cat Lady”.
Kim holds an Honors Bachelor Degree in Sociology and Childhood and Family Relations, as well as a Bachelors Degree in Education. Kim currently sits on the Board of Directors for Hope’s Garden, an Eating Disorder Support Centre, in London ON. She also volunteers in many elementary schools within the London and surrounding area. As a research assistant with the Anthropomorphic Research Project Kim recently attended Furry Fiesta 2012 in Texas as well as Anthrocon 2012 in Pittsburgh. In her spare time, Kim enjoys crafting, cooking and traveling, as well as watching as much NHL hockey and NFL football as possible!