Lab Reports

News from the DRAGEN and Well-Link Labs

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The MEDIEVAL DIGITAL RESEARCH IN ARTS AND GRAPHICAL ENVIRONMENTAL NETWORKS LABORATORY (DRAGEN LAB) is at the centre of Environments of Change,  a seven-year project using emerging technologies to investigate the historical relationship between climate and culture in the late Middle Ages.

The WELL-LINK LAB at St. Jerome’s University, aims to investigate the mental health and well-being of emerging adults (18-29 years of age). The lab also researches various psychological factors that impact students’ success in higher education and afterwards – during the transition to the workplace following graduation.

Dr. Steven Bednarski
Professor of History and Co-Director, Medieval Studies Program (University of Waterloo)
Dr. Bednarski is an award-winning Canadian historian of the Middle Ages who specializes in 14th-century environment, crime, sex, gender, and microhistory.
Dr. Maureen Drysdale
Professor of Psychology and Adjunct Professor in the School of Public Health Sciences (University of Waterloo)
Dr. Drysdale is an acclaimed global expert on work-integrated learning (WIL) and hence focuses many research projects in the lab on the mental health and well-being of students during WIL placements.
Co-Director Dr. Ann Marie Rasmussen and Lab Manager Dr. Caley McCarthy; and a team of senior research scholars, doctoral and graduate fellows, online interns, and international collaborators and partners.
The lab currently consists of a diverse, multidisciplinary team of undergraduate and graduate research interns, clinicians (e.g., registered psychotherapists, crisis centre counsellors, wellness coordinators, medical students), and international collaborators and partners.
  • DRAGEN Lab interns Owais Hamid and Sahand Shaghaghi have developed and installed a research project to measure visitor movement and engagement at “UNZIPPED,” the Rolling Stones exhibit at THEMUSEUM in Kitchener. 
  • PhD Candidate, Erin Kurian, has had a paper accepted for presentation in May 2022 at the 57th Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University and is currently revising the Environments of Change website to reflect the progress the project has made this past year. 
  • Andrew Moore, Research Facilitator for Environments of Change, successfully defended his PhD in November 2021. Moore and Dr. Steven Bednarski have an article forthcoming in the Spring 2022 issue of Speculum.
  • Dr. Bednarski and, project co-investigator, Dr. Nicholas Graham are currently applying for an eCampus Ontario grant to hire a developer to create a video game for high school students.
  • MA Candidate, Gillian Wagenaar, has relaunched the Waterloo Historical Review through the DRAGEN Lab; the latest issue can be found here.
  • The DRAGEN Lab is currently preparing for the upcoming Summer Archaeology Field School at the Bader International Study Centre at Herstmonceux Castle and is now accepting expressions of interest from students who wish to apply for funding. 
  • The Well-Link Lab has a newly updated website where you can access all of the Lab’s published research on student mental health and well-being, as well as resources for students and recent graduates to access free mental health and well-being services, peer support, career guidance, and more. The website will continue to grow and be updated in the coming weeks.
  • Through 2021, Dr. Drysdale has conducted many training workshops and roundtables for experiential education practitioners, and has continued to conduct and publish research with the Well-Link Lab team of researchers and collaborators (in Canada as well as in Sweden, Germany, Australia, Scotland, and the US).
  • Well-Link’s most recent research publications:
    • The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on university students, in regard to their mental health, well-being, coping strategies, and perceptions about the public health measures in place. The feasibility and impact of implementing online peer support on the well-being of university students
    • Student mental health struggles and perceptions following student suicides on a university campus
    • The well-being and academic achievements of students who perceive they are exceptionally gifted
    • The sense of belonging of sexual minority students in work-integrated learning placements
The team looks forward to welcoming students into its workspace in the renovated SJ1 building in 2022, where it will serve as a safe space for students to meet with staff and researchers, and receive guidance, peer support, and access to mental health and well-being resources. The space has been temporarily closed during the fall term, due to the pandemic.

The lab plans to expand its research and student resources access through new and increased grants and donors in the mental health and well-being spheres.
DRAGEN LAB students
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Well Link Lab students welcome you
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