Lab Director

Kanako Taku

Kanako Taku is an Associate Professor of Psychology who is a leading scholar on post-trauamtic growth (PTG).  As a clinical psychologist certified in Japan, she has conducted a series of cross-cultural research on the subject for 14 years on how people change psychologically, cognitively, socially, and spiritually after traumatic events. Click here for her contact information, click here for resume (curriculum vitae), here for publications, and here for current research interests.

Graduate students

Whitney Dominick


Whitney is a first year PhD student, with a Bachelors in Psychology from Colorado State University. She is interested in pursing the relationship between animals and PTG, particularly as it pertains to traumatized children. Her ultimate goal is to establish an animal assisted therapy program for traumatized children utilizing dolphins in the wild. Currently she is assisting in a study of PTG in medical professionals, analyzing the qualitative data about the relationships between adolescents’ understanding of PTG in regards to their demographics, and examining what elements in support, including spending time with animals specifically, may be beneficial in fostering PTG. Whitney can be reached at Recently, she has presented at ISTSS as well as her thesis presentation to the lab.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Lauren Harrison

IMG_5572Lauren Harrison is currently a Junior at Oakland University majoring in Psychology and minoring in Communications. She joined the PTG lab because she found that PTG offers an alluring alternative perspective on the effects of trauma. Her main interest in PTG is how a traumatic event could produce positive change in individuals with personality disorders, particularly narcissism. After undergraduate school, Lauren would like to further pursue her studies in psychology by attending graduate school, specializing in Mental Health Counseling. Lauren can be reached at: She recently presented her article presentation and hypotheses to the lab.

Kyle Vens

img_5361Kyle currently a junior at Oakland University and is majoring in psychology and minoring in Christian studies. He joined the PTG lab because he finds posttraumatic growth to be a more positive approach to trauma and something that should be studied more in-depth. He has an interest in how PTG affects spirituality and plans on studying how an individual experiences spiritual growth as a result of a traumatic event. After graduating from Oakland, Kyle plans on going to graduate school to obtain a masters in clinical psychology. Kyle can be reached at: Last semester, he presented an article to the lab and represented the PTG Lab at Psi Chi’s RA Workshop. He has recently presented another article to the lab.

Jenna Duroino

screen-shot-2016-09-08-at-10-15-53-pmJenna is currently a junior at Oakland University and is double majoring in Psychology and Writing & Rhetoric. She joined the PTG lab because of her passion for helping people who suffer from PTSD. In particular, Jenna is interested in examining how rumination promotes post traumatic growth, and what implications this could have for the treatment of those suffering from PTSD, as well as other stress-related disorders. Upon graduation from Oakland University, she plans to pursue graduate studies in Psychology with the ultimate goal of establishing a career in research. Jenna can be reached at: Last semester, she presented an article to the lab and she recently presented another article along with her own hypotheses.

Velinka Marton

img_5123Velinka is currently a sophomore at Oakland University majoring in psychology. She became interested in joining the lab because she finds the construct of posttraumatic growth encouraging and full of potential. During her time in the lab, she hopes to study a number of different aspects of PTG, namely how PTG relates to demographics and rumination as well as vicarious PTG.  After completing her undergraduate degree, she plans on pursuing a doctorate in clinical psychology. She plans to use what she learns in the PTG Lab for a future career that may include promoting posttraumatic growth therapeutically. Velinka can be reached at:

High School Student

Reema Gowda


Reema Gowda is currently a sophomore at Stoney Creek High School. She recently joined the PTG lab to support her budding interest in psychology, but specifically PTG after reading several articles and books on it prior to joining. She is particularly interested in growth found in individuals residing in inner-city neighborhoods and the different causes of growth. As she continues her years in high school, she hopes to progressively become more involved within the lab and possibly pass over these interests into her undergraduate years. She can be reached at:

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