Jamie Edwards

Chief Tester

Other Titles: Just a guy who makes website stuff
Office: UNC215
Phone: 250.807.8406
Email: jamie.edwards@ubc.ca


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FINDING THE TRUTH in the face of a liar is Dr. Leanne ten Brinke’s specialty.

During her doctoral studies in forensic psychology at UBC Okanagan, Dr. ten Brinke meticulously coded, frame-by-frame, the televised footage of 78 people pleading for the return of a missing loved one. It turns out half of the pleaders were actually responsible for the death of the missing person.

She analyzed speech, body language and emotional facial expressions to determine the behavioural consequences of extremely high-stakes, real-life deception relative to real-life sincere displays.

What Dr. ten Brinke discovered is that genuine emotion is hard to fake, and if you know what to look for, you can find the tell-tale signs.

“Lying is difficult, and controlling all aspects of your behaviour is nearly impossible.”

“Lying is difficult, and controlling all aspects of your behaviour is nearly impossible,” says Dr. ten Brinke, now an assistant professor at UBCO’s Irving K. Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

“Deceptive pleaders were more likely to express happiness and surprise, where people who are genuinely distressed don’t show these kinds of emotions.”

Since her doctorate, Dr. ten Brinke’s research has studied diverse reactions to liars and truth-tellers that happen even when people aren’t actively trying to detect deception. For example, she finds that people experience more physiological reactions—like sweating or vasoconstriction—when observing lies, while people feel more sympathy for those who express genuine sadness.

From criminal to the everyday

Dr. ten Brinke’s findings have been used to educate legal professionals across Canada and around the world, in the hope of improving lie detection when it matters most. However, lying is not exclusive to criminals. She says spotting the signs of deception could save people from being conned by a shady salesman or being duped by a cheating spouse.

Early in her research career, Dr. ten Brinke studied psychopaths—individuals who are particularly likely to tell lies—and found that these personalities reach far beyond the criminal justice system.

“I was interested in exploring if psychopathic personality traits appear in contexts outside of prison walls, and if there are professions in which psychopaths might thrive.”

To further her research, Dr. ten Brinke spent time at the London Business School, where she examined the effect of inappropriate emotions in corporate apologies on stock market performance. She then joined the Haas School of Business and the Department of Psychology at University of California, Berkeley, where she continued her research on behavioural cues to deception and deception detection.

As an assistant professor at the University of Denver, Dr. ten Brinke researched hedge fund managers with psychopathic tendencies and discovered that they don’t necessarily thrive as investors, ultimately producing lower returns than their less-psychopathic peers.

In 2020, Dr. ten Brinke rejoined UBCO, where she continues her research at the Truth and Trust Lab. There, Dr. ten Brinke and her students use diverse methods—from nonverbal behavioural coding to physiological and neuroendocrine reactions—to understand how trust, affiliation and influence unfold in the real world.

Graduate student Jayme Stewart with Dr. ten Brinke and undergraduate student Chloe Kam.

Graduate student Jayme Stewart with Dr. ten Brinke and undergraduate student Chloe Kam.

Student support

“To anyone considering graduate studies in psychology, I would say consider UBC’s Okanagan campus,” says Dr. ten Brinke, who was the first psychology doctoral student to ever graduate from the campus.

“Undergraduate and graduate students have access to experts in diverse fields, and modern research facilities that allows for close work with peers and professors.”

She is grateful for the advice, mentorship and encouragement from Dr. Paul Davies and other professors in UBCO’s Psychology Department.

“My time at UBCO as a graduate student set me on a path that led to four years at UC Berkeley as postdoctoral fellow, where I broadened my research interests and connected with highly respected researchers in the field. The guidance and support of these mentors has also led me to my current position, where I have the opportunity to lead my own research lab and train future students to conduct psychological science.”

AS A SPOKESPERSON FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ RIGHTS, award-winning writer, activist, novelist and poet Dr. Jeannette Armstrong has always sought to change deeply biased misconceptions related to Aboriginal Peoples.

Dr. Armstrong feels passionately that the best way to accomplish this is through her role as a professor of Indigenous Studies in the Irving K. Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, where she gets to research, develop, educate and inform the minds of the next generation.

“I get excited when students are inspired and new insights occur,” she says.

Whether it’s in the classroom or the community, Dr. Armstrong cherishes the opportunity to enrich students across a wide variety of topics. Her research into Indigenous philosophies and Okanagan Syilx thought and environmental ethics that are coded into Syilx literature has been recognized locally and globally, and she serves as a member of the En’owkin Centre.

In 2021, Dr. Armstrong was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) in the area of community, culture and global studies. The fellowship of the RSC comprises over 2,000 Canadian scholars, artists and scientists who are peer-elected as the best in their field and have made remarkable contributions in the arts, humanities, sciences and public life.

“I’m extremely passionate about Indigenous research that advances knowledge and will better guide environmental practices,” says Dr. Armstrong. “At UBC’s Okanagan campus, I know that my research directly contributes to the Syilx Okanagan community, as well as other Indigenous communities, in terms of tangible applications in the betterment of cultural revitalization toward positive change.”


Known for her literary work, Dr. Armstrong has written about creativity, education, ecology and Indigenous rights. Slash, which Dr. Armstrong published in 1985, is considered by many as the first novel by a First Nations woman.

Commissioned by the curriculum project for use as part of a Grade 11 study in contemporary history, Dr. Armstrong wanted Slash to connect with and relate to her students.

Slash explores the history of the North American Indian protest movement through the critical perspective of the central character, Tommy Kelasket, who is eventually renamed Slash. In the novel, Tommy encounters intolerance and racism in an assimilationist school system but his family encourages him to be proud of his Okanagan heritage.

Slash positions the reader to walk in the moccasins of an Indigenous Okanagan person, encouraging an Indigenous view of that period rather than the one-sided view available in popular media,” says Dr. Armstrong.

In 2016, Dr. Armstrong was named the first First Nations recipient of the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award, British Columbia’s most prestigious literary honour recognizing local authors. The award recognized Dr. Armstrong’s outstanding contributions to B.C. literature.


One important project Dr. Armstrong has spent several years working towards is the creation of UBC Okanagan’s Bachelor of Nsyilxcn Language Fluency (BNLF)—a first for Canadian universities.

Developed in collaboration with the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology and the En’owkin Centre, the program is designed to work closely with community members to provide a comprehensive and high-quality education in Nsyilxcn, while also helping speakers gain a deep understanding of the language, culture and customs of the Syilx Okanagan Nation.

“The idea that there’s only knowledge in English or French is absolutely not true,” says Dr. Armstrong. “Language is identity. Indigenous knowledge systems and an Indigenous paradigm—how we view the world and how we interact—is deeply rooted in language.”

She adds that the transfer of Indigenous ideas and consciousness can only happen through the knowledge systems that are resident in the language.

“We hope to help foster a revitalization of the Nsyilxcn language in our communities and to see it spread across all domains of community life,” she says. “This is an important step in acting on Indigenous peoples’ rights to develop and transmit their languages, knowledge and oral traditions.”

As part of the University of British Columbia’s own response to the TRC’s Calls to Action, in 2019 UBC Okanagan signed a declaration in front of Elders, chiefs and community members from throughout the Syilx Okanagan Nation, on whose unceded territory UBC Okanagan is located.

The declaration formally committed the university to delivering on five recommendations developed by UBCO’s Aboriginal Advisory Committee. One of those five commitments was to develop activities to support the revitalization of Indigenous language fluency; other recommendations included developing and delivering an Indigenous culture orientation program for all faculty and staff; creating a senior advisor role on Indigenous affairs; advancing Indigenous teaching and research; and expanding health and wellness services to better support Aboriginal students.

“To study in your language and your knowledge systems, which many English speakers take for granted, is not there for Indigenous peoples,” Dr. Armstrong says. “UBC Okanagan is at the cutting edge in making that breakthrough — it’s a powerful statement of reconciliation.”

She adds that the declaration signing was not only an important step for UBCO, but especially for students. “For all students of this institution, there is great opportunity to make change happen so we can have a better future for all our people.”


In 2013, Dr. Armstrong was honoured for her work and was appointed a Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Indigenous Knowledge and Philosophy. Her chair was renewed for another five-year term in 2018 to further research, document, categorize and analyze Okanagan Syilx oral language literature.

Oral Syilx stories contain a wealth of Indigenous knowledge but much of this knowledge is largely inaccessible because no extensive work to date has been undertaken by a fluent speaker.

As CRC, Dr. Armstrong aims to address existing barriers to research within the Indigenous community by surveying, analysing and categorizing Syilx captikwl (oral story) and smamay (legends) from a variety of published and unpublished collections.

Western conventions have created a cultural blindness to Indigenous methods of knowledge documentation in storytelling. As well, analysis of Syilx culture and language contexts has not been conducted using a combination of Syilx story and Western literary conventions.

Dr. Armstrong’s work involves analyzing Syilx traditional knowledge to inform and revitalize contemporary Syilx society. She also contributes to local ecological and sustainability practices, and links story knowledge to such areas as Syilx governance, land use and health. Her analysis is being conducted in the Nsyilxcen Okanagan language and includes approvals by fluent language speakers for accuracy of translations.

“Through my research, my goal is to make the Indigenous knowledge of the Syilx Okanagan accessible, while also providing planning and development support within Syilx Okanagan First Nation communities.”

SOMETIMES SCIENCE leads to discoveries that change society. Sometimes societal changes open the door for scientific advancement.

Zach Walsh, Associate Professor of Psychology, studies medicinal cannabis use. He says we are at an historic turning point in the public perception and use of medicinal plants, and our understanding of how to use them to help people suffering from a variety of issues.

Why Psychology?

“We are at an extraordinary intersection of a social-change movement and scientific explosion that will directly affect the lives of people around the globe,” he says. “Canada and British Columbia are leading the way in the acceptance of using cannabis for therapeutic purposes. Canada was among the first countries in the world to have a medical cannabis program.”


Dr. Walsh, who is a registered clinical psychologist and co-director of the Centre for the Advancement of Psychological Science and the Law at UBC’s Okanagan campus, balances his work as a clinical psychologist with his active research program.

“Researching the medicinal use of cannabis allows for a mix of applied and theoretical perspectives, and gives people in the community answers to pressing issues. The place where community engagement and high-quality science mix is a rewarding place to be as a researcher and an educator.”




Since joining UBC Okanagan in 2009, Walsh has supervised students through the Irving K. Barber School Undergraduate Research Award program, which gives undergraduate students the opportunity to pursue innovative and original research.

He also believes in the importance of students working in the community to see the “big picture science” and experience one-on-one contact with practitioners and patient. Students see how research directly affects the lives of people who rely on plant-based medicines.

Walsh’s students have visited local seniors groups to discuss the benefits of medicinal cannabis for ailments such as arthritis, and have presented work at international conferences and to the House of Commons in Ottawa.


“There is so much we don’t know about the use of medicinal plants,” he says. “Refining medicines derived from cannabis and other plants will have a dramatic effect on the health of Canadians and people worldwide. How do we make the best use of these plants and combine them with other therapies to create better outcomes for people who are suffering?”

Walsh believes British Columbia and UBC Okanagan are perfect places to conduct this type of research. “Our campus is small enough that undergraduates can work closely with faculty and senior researchers, and be involved in high-level research at one of the top research universities in the world.

“And, what better place to study an issue like this than in Kelowna, Canada, where tolerance and freedom are valued and celebrated?”

—by Deanna Roberts

NICOLE TOMASIC LOVED SCHOOL ever since she can remember. Growing up on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast, Tomasic describes her childhood as unsettled, which led her to focus all of her time and energy on school.

Find out more about Philosophy, Politics, and Economics

“School was my life, I would have loved to move and begin my bachelor’s degree right away, but I didn’t have the tuition money and there wasn’t any help from family,” she says.

Instead, Tomasic used a small scholarship from her high school to enroll in some classes at Vancouver Island University’s satellite campus in her hometown of Powell River, BC. After completing some courses, she decided to take a few years off to travel and save money for her next post-secondary endeavour. 

“I just felt aimless after completing those courses and the thought of taking out a loan when I didn’t really know what I wanted to do seemed like the wrong choice,” says Tomasic.

After some research, Tomasic found the Philosophy, Political Science and Economics (PPE) program at UBC Okanagan.

“When I came across the PPE program, it looked so interesting and niche,” says Tomasic. “I also loved the idea of getting to study philosophy, political science and economics because I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do.”

Wanting to earn a degree from a world-class institution in a more intimate environment, Tomasic packed her bags and relocated to Kelowna.


At 24 years old, Tomasic was classified as a mature student, and worried about how she would fit in on campus.

“It was terrifying, I was worried I’d stick out like a sore thumb or struggle socially because I wasn’t fresh out of high school,” says Tomasic. “But I realized very quickly I was going to be fine — I met lots of people my age who were also working, and some who had kids,” she adds.

Tomasic worked 20 hours per week as an Insurance Broker while pursuing her degree, picking up extra shifts whenever she could. “It was a really difficult way to do school, but it ended up making me a really efficient person,” says Tomasic.

“There were days I was barely holding it together, but I always thought about how worth it all of this would be in the end. It’s easy if you just want to pass and get your degree, but if you really care about achieving high grades, and getting those GPA based scholarships along the way — it’s incredibly challenging.”

Despite her struggles to balance school and work, Tomasic excelled during her time at UBCO, winning the Roger Watts Debates in 2017, and delving into some fascinating research on the ‘sugar baby’ phenomenon that is playing out across university campuses nationwide.

Tomasic’s interest in sugaring — when female university students date older wealthier men for a fee — was sparked when a classmate shared that she was working as a sugar baby to put herself through school.

“I think I was so intrigued because I was working 20 hours a week in a stressful job while taking a full course load, and it made me think about how nice it would be to work less hours but make way more money,” says Tomasic. “I knew it was something I couldn’t do, but I struggled to articulate why, so my research delved deeper into that ambivalence.”

Tomasic says her time in the program was an incredibly diverse and positive experience. “It was awesome — I loved the degree. It was so interesting and all of us became so close,” says Tomasic. “We studied together, had social nights, and we all had close relationships with our profs. We were on a first name basis — it was such a tight-knit, supportive environment,” she adds.


Tomasic had never been to the Okanagan when she decided to make the move in 2015, but says she appreciates the beauty of the valley.

“It’s absolutely gorgeous here — the wine touring, farmers’ markets and fresh fruits and vegetables have made it so easy for me to live here.”


During her time at UBCO, Tomasic was selected for a reading week experience in India. There, she worked with students from Punjabi University Patiala to research the region’s heritage by visiting historical sites and engaging in activities with local artists and heritage specialists.

“The trip to India was so amazing and so eye-opening, and gave me a taste of learning while travelling,” says Tomasic. “The food, the culture, the craziness in the streets — it was like another world.”

“I was really able to connect with the students who lived there, it’s amazing how much you can learn about someone by sharing a meal with them,” she says. “This trip was heavily subsidized by UBC, so I’m incredibly grateful for being given that opportunity to go to a part of the world I’d never been to before,” she adds.


Tomasic has a long road ahead of her, both literally and figuratively, as she relocates to Halifax, Nova Scotia to attend law school at Dalhousie University this fall.

Tomasic says the PPE program was an excellent stepping stone for law school. “Law came up in a lot of our classes. It was actually the philosophy of law course that made me realize that I was interested in the academic side of law — I could really see myself teaching law as a profession,” she says.

“When I think about what I want my day-to-day life to look like — I love campuses — there’s something about the learning environment that speaks to me,” she says. “I could also see myself working as the legal counsel for a non-profit organization that I’m passionate about. I’m hoping law school will help me discover what area of law I’m most suited for.”

Tomasic hopes sharing her story will encourage those who want to pursue post-secondary education, but feel there are too many barriers to overcome. “My roots are humble. My mom graduated high school but that was it, my dad never graduated. If my story can help encourage one person who doesn’t think higher education is possible — for whatever reason — that would be a success to me.”