Graduate Student Spotlight: Camille Rousseau


Congratulations to our Doctoral Studies Publication Award recipient Camille Rousseau!

While Camille is still new to UBC – and to Kelowna – she’s already being featured in publications. Before pursuing her PhD at the Okanagan School of Education, Camille was researching animal-assisted education for children during her Master’s degree at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont. She connected with Professor Binfet at an anthrozoology conference in California and was able to collaborate with him during her Master’s research. It was Professor Binfet who inspired and encouraged her to further her research with us.

“I’m really thankful for the program that is offered here and how it allows me to expand the depth and breadth of my expertise. There is really nothing like what we do here at B.A.R.K.


Question and Answer Session with Camille

What is your research project?

My research focuses on animal-assisted education – specifically therapy dogs in an educational context for children. Previously I concentrated on literacy, and whether the presence of therapy dogs was associated with increases to children’s reading motivation and reading persistence. I’m moving away from the reading context now and looking more at whether dogs can support youth struggling in oral contexts, such as when they experience public speaking anxiety.


What difference do you hope your research will make?

I hope my research will help further our understanding of whether therapy dogs can support children’s learning in educational contexts. Dogs are an important part of children’s ecology, and as such it is important to understand how they impact children’s socio-emotional and educational development.

Ultimately, I hope that my research will lay the foundations for the development and implementation of standards to execute canine-assisted activities for educational purposes.


What advice do you have for future graduate students?

As an undergraduate student, I wasn’t very much involved in research processes. It would have been nice to work in a lab early on in my academic career. I would recommend that future grad students connect with supervisors that are conducting research in areas they are interested in, and to participate in what’s happening on their campus even before pursuing graduate studies. Find what inspires you and get involved!

Specifically for graduate students, take a step back and appreciate what you’re doing. It’s so easy to be self-critical, and you really need to look after yourself.


Read Camille’s latest co-author publication with co-authors Professor Tardif-Williams and Professor Binfet: Shifting Preservice Teachers’ Views of Animal Welfare and Advocacy through a Human-Animal Relationships Course

Graduate Supervisor: Dr. John-Tyler Binfet