People

Dr. Janette Hughes
Canada Research Chair in Technology and Pedagogy & Professor

I am a Professor in Digital Literacies at Ontario Tech University where I teach and conduct janette-small-198x300research in the Faculty of Education. My research and teaching interests include: critical digital literacies, digital making, adolescent literacies and identity, writing and digital media, new literacies and conceptualizations of learning, and digital citizenship.

Digital literacies encompass all conceptions of engaging in meaning-making, mediated by texts that are read, received, interpreted, produced and distributed through digital means. I am particularly interested in how digital media enable users to teach, learn, connect, collaborate, communicate, critique, create and promote social change.

Click here to learn more about Janette and her accomplishments, or visit her personal website for more information.


Dr. Jennifer Laffier
Senior LecturerProfile picture_JLaffier

Jennifer is a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Education at Ontario Tech University. She teaches and researches in the areas of child and adolescent mental health, technologies impact on human development, at-risk youth, students with special needs, safe schools and theories of motivation and learning. She has practiced in the field of mental health for 23 years as a therapist and consultant. She is passionate about the promotion of social justice, kindness and global citizenship.


Dr. Laura Morrison
Sessional Instructor & Remote Lab Manager

Dr. Laura Morrison is the Research Project Manager in Canada Research Chair, Dr. Janette Hughes’ STEAM3D Maker Lab, located within the Ontario Tech University Faculty of Education. She is also a sessional instructor at Ontario Tech University where she co-developed and teaches the online course, Learning in Digital Contexts. Laura completed her Master of Arts at UOIT with a focus on the impact of digital literacies skills development in the language learning process. Laura completed her Education Doctorate at the University of Calgary with a focus on promising practices associated with online pre-service teacher education. Her favourite ways to communicate are through poetry, narrative and image.


Stephanie Thompson
Academic Associate & Project Manager

Stephanie Thompson is currently on leave from the Durham District School Board enthusiastically fulfilling the roles of Academic Associate and CODE/MOE Project Manager in the Faculty of Education at Ontario Tech University. She completed her Master of Arts in Education and Digital Technologies at Ontario Tech in 2014.

Her research interests include digital literacies, digital storytelling and most recently, maker pedagogies.  She has been involved in several research projects exploring social justice topics, adolescent identities, bullying and the effects of media on young adults.


Zeynep Gecu-Parmaksiz
Postdoctoral Fellow

Zeynep is a postdoctoral fellow at Ontario Tech University in the Faculty of Education. She is originally from Istanbul, Turkey. Before coming to Ontario Tech University, Zeynep has worked as a researcher at Yildiz Technical University, Turkey, for six years, and worked in Texas A&M in the United States as a visiting scholar from June – December 2013. Zeynep completed her B.Sc. (Primary Mathematics Education) at Bogazici University, her M.Sc. (Computer and Instructional Technologies) at Marmara University, and her Ph.D. (Computer Education and Instructional Technology) at Middle East Technical University.

Her research interests include technology-enhanced learning, primary mathematics education, mobile learning, augmented reality, virtual reality, and spatial ability.


Jennifer Robb
Research Assistant & On-Site Lab Manager

Jennifer graduated from the Concurrent Education program at Brock University in 2010, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Child and Youth Studies and a Bachelor of Education in Primary/Junior (K-6) Education. In 2021, she completed her Master of Arts under the supervision of Dr. Janette Hughes at Ontario Tech University’s Faculty of Education. Jennifer currently works as a research assistant in the STEAM-3D Maker Lab, and manages the lab’s on-site operations.

Her interests include digital technologies, game-based learning, digital literacies, the maker movement, instructional design, digital and environmental citizenship, and empowering struggling learners.


Tess Butler-Ulrich
Graduate Student & Research Assistant

Tess graduated from the Bachelor of Education program at Ontario Tech University in December 2020 after receiving an undergraduate psychology degree from Nipissing University in 2017 where she spent time as a research assistant in a cognitive aging lab. As of January 2021, she began graduate studies at Ontario Tech University and is working towards a Master of Arts in Education under the supervision of Dr. Janette Hughes. Tess works as a research assistant in the STEAM-3D Maker Lab.

Her research and academic interests include digital literacies and citizenship, STEM/STEAM education, digital tools for activism and empowerment, and environmental education – especially the intersection between the environment and digital technologies.


Devin Flynn
Graduate Student & Research Assistant

Devin graduated from the Bachelor of Education program at Ontario Tech University in December 2020 after completing a Bachelor of Science in Biological Science, Life Science, minoring in Forensic Psychology at Ontario Tech University. In September 2021, he began graduate studies at Ontario Tech University. Devin works as a research assistant in the STEAM 3D Maker lab.

His research and academic interests involve STEAM education, bridging the digital divide, leveraging technologies to better support marginalized students, particularly LGBTQ2S+ students, and digital literacies.


Kelly Wang
Graduate Student & Research Assistant

Kelly is a Research Assistant at Dr. Janette Hughes’ STEAM-3D Maker Lab. She is currently a first-year Master of Education student at Ontario Tech University. Kelly completed a Master of Media in Journalism and Communication at Western University in 2021.

She takes an interest in how technology intersects with adult learning, higher education, and English as a Second Language. Kelly is also a journalist in London, Ont. You can hear her on-air on AM980 and read her articles online at 980cfpl.ca


Katlin Walsh
Graduate Student & Research Assistant

Katlin Graduated from the Honours Bachelor of Interaction Design Program at Sheridan College in the spring of 2019. In September of 2020, she began graduate studies at Ontario Tech University and is working towards a Master of Arts in Education under the supervision of Dr. Janette Hughes. Katlin Works as a research assistant in the STEAM 3D Maker Lab.

Her research and academic interests involve STEAM education, robotics, and technological design.


Melanie J Maas 

Melanie brings a broad perspective, curious nature and a unique set of skills acquired through business, technology, education and research roles and experiences. While working in the technology industry, Melanie developed an extensive skillset through progressive sales, marketing, program development, partner/channel development, training, growth and strategy roles.

When the opportunity to expand upon these skills was presented, Melanie completed her Master of Education at Ontario Tech University exploring digital and immersive technology (Augmented, Virtual, eXtended Reality), educational theory in technology evaluation and application, educational STEAM Maker Labs, researching, presenting and publishing in peer-reviewed journals.

Melanie supports the lab through social media and digital marketing, website design and administration, research and copywriting.