2021 Dissertation Award, Kristie L. Poole, PhD

Kristie L. Poole, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada, Social Development Lab, Department of Psychology

Postdoctoral Supervisor: Dr. Heather A. Henderson
Ph.D., Developmental Psychology; McMaster University, Child Emotion Lab, Department of Psychology, Neuroscience, & Behaviour Dissertation: The origins and heterogeneity of shyness: A developmental, biological perspective, Supervisor: Dr. Louis A. Schmidt

Doctoral Research Productivity and Accomplishments

Kristie has demonstrated research excellence, independence, and leadership on a number of fronts within the research domain. Kristie’s research productivity has been outstanding. She has published many empirical papers and book chapters, with the majority of them in high impact journals. Kristie was directly responsible for the conceptualization and intellectual lead on these papers. She has also coedited a book with me on Adaptive Shyness that includes international experts in the field that was recently published by Springer Publishers, 2020. Her work has already been highly cited even at this early stage of her career, which is strong evidence of her impact on the field.

Another mark of Kristie’s research excellence and leadership are the many awards and honors she has received to fund and recognize her research, illustrating the international regard to which her work is held. She received a 3-year doctoral scholarship from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) that has funded her graduate work. She was also awarded the prestigious 2019 Elizabeth Munsterberg Koppitz Child Psychology Fellowship from the American Psychological Foundation and received a 2019 Dissertation Funding Award from the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) to fund her doctoral research. Kristie was also awarded a 2019 Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement from CIHR, which she used to extend her research skills in brain-based measures of shyness in children at the Pennsylvania State University to work with Dr. Koraly Pérez -Edgar. Most recently, she was awarded a 2-year post-doctoral fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) to work with Dr. Heather Henderson at the University of Waterloo.

Kristie and her research also have been recognized by the International Society for Developmental Psychobiology (ISDP) in the recent past and has contributed to the society through many recognitions, publications, and presentations. For example, Kristie was awarded the 2018 Sandra Wiener Student Investigator Award from ISDP, and still, more recently, was awarded the 2019 Hennessy Smotherman Wiley Best Student Paper Award in Developmental Psychobiology from ISDP. She has also published in Developmental Psychobiology and presented at ISDP meetings. I believe this speaks volumes in terms of how the larger developmental research and academic community views Kristie’s accomplishments, research excellence and leadership, and academic potential.

Dissertation Research Overview and Impact

Kristie’s dissertation was ranked among the department’s highest this past academic year, and was also recently recognized with a 2021 Dissertation Award from the American Psychological Association (APA) Developmental Psychology Division. Kristie’s dissertation work and research program focused on understanding the developmental origins of shyness from a biological perspective, as well as investigated heterogeneity in children’s shyness. The idea that shyness may be rooted in early pre- and post-natal biological factors that contribute to the development of different types of shyness has been hypothesized for several decades but has not been systemically and programmatically tested empirically. Kristie’s dissertation was comprised of five empirical first-authored manuscripts that were each directed towards distinguishing among different biological correlates and subtypes of childhood shyness. These series of studies systematically extended and complemented each other to build a strong body of programmatic research. Kristie was the intellectual driving force behind these series of studies. Her research is truly innovative, timely, and important. Because some shy children are at-risk for maladaptive outcomes, Kristie’s work has practical implications for how to use this knowledge to manage individual differences in children’s emotion in different contexts (e.g., school context, peer relationships), and help to support positive outcomes for shy children. Kristie’s work to this point has been highly influential and breaks new ground in the field of children’s personality and socioemotional development.

In short, I believe Kristie is a rising star and among the next generation of stellar new scholars to enter the field of developmental and personality science. Her dissertation work was theoretically strong with many practical applications. In my opinion, Kristie is destined to make significant contributions to the fields of developmental psychology, developmental neuroscience, and developmental psychopathology in general and personality and socioemotional development in particular. Kristie has my highest recommendation for the 2021 ISDP Dissertation Award.


Louis A. Schmidt, Ph.D.
Professor & Science Research Chair in Early Determinants of Mental Health
Director, Child Emotion Laboratory
McMaster University