Research Team

"Who are you anyway?"

The Researchers

Dr. Kathy Gerbasi

Full Professor
Psychology Department
Niagara County Community College
Social Psychology

Gerbasi, K. C., Paolone, N., Higner, J., Scaletta, L. L., Bernstein, P. L., Conway, S., & Privitera, A. (2008). Furries from A to Z (Anthropomorphism to Zoomorphism). Society and Animals, 16, 197-222.

Courtney "Nuka" Plante, B.Sc (Honors), M.A.
PhD Graduate Student
Psychology Department
University of Waterloo

Courtney "Nuka" Plante is a social psychology graduate student at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario.  He attained his B.Sc (Honors) from the University of Alberta in 2008 and his Master's of Arts from the University of Waterloo in 2011.  He is currently working toward a PhD in Psychology with the hope of being a professor and researcher.  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. Stephen Reysen
Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
Texas A&M University-Commerce
Reysen Research

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.

Reysen, S., & Lloyd, J. D. (2012). Fanship and fandom in cyber space. In Z. Yan (Ed.), Encyclopedia of cyber behavior (pp. 292-300). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.
Reysen, S., Lloyd, J. D., Katzarska-Miller, I., Lemker, B. M., & Foss, R. (2010). Intragroup status and social presence in online fan groups. Computers in Human Behavior, 26, 1314-1317.
Reysen, S., & Branscombe, N. R. (2010). Fanship and fandom: Comparisons between sport fans and non-sport fans. Journal of Sport Behavior, 33, 176-193.

Dr. Sharon Roberts
Assistant Professor
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.   

Karlin "Troj" Bruegel

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. 

Research Assistants

Rebekah Churchyard
4th Year Undergraduate Student
Social Development Studies (Gerontology, Psychology)
Renison University College at the University of Waterloo

Rebekah is currently pursuing a degree in social development studies with plans to pursue a bachelor and eventual master's degree in social work.  Her interests include working with communities of older adults and she hopes to one day work toward creating edible gardens within these communities.  Rebekah enjoys working with people and interactive research as well as urban agriculture and community initiatives. 

When she's not working and studying she loves to spend time with her family and gardening.  She enjoys cycling, camping, baking and photography.  Rebekah likes Criminal Minds and wishes she had much more time to read for fun. 

Simona Ghai
4th Year Undergraduate Student
Social Development Studies (Sexuality Marriage and Family, Individual and Well-Being, Child Abuse Studies)
Renison University College at the University of Waterloo

Simona is currently pursuing a degree in social development studies with plans to pursue a Masters of Social Work.  In her volunteer work she is a crisis responder for Victim Services of Waterloo Region.  In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading and checking items off her bucket list; her most recent achievements include flying an airplane, climbing a waterfall, and attending Anthrocon.

Kimberly Watt
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!