University of Calgary

Erica Makarenko

  • Senior Instructor

Currently Teaching

Not currently teaching any courses.

Profile

Erica Makarenko (nee Backenson) grew up in southern New Jersey and completed her undergraduate work at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. She went on to complete a Master of Arts degree in School Psychology and an advanced degree as an Educational Specialist from Rowan University in New Jersey. After completing her first two graduate degrees, Dr. Makarenko worked as a School Psychologist for the Greenwich Township School District in New Jersey and the Brandywine School District in Delaware before undertaking her doctoral work. She completed her Doctor of Psychology degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2012 with a specialization in School Neuropsychology.

Dr. Makarenko came to the University of Calgary in 2012 to complete a postdoctoral fellowship in School Neuropsychology with the Werklund School of Education. In her role as a postdoc in the BrainGain Laboratory, Erica was responsible for identifying and serving children with multiple learning disability subtypes, teaching, research, and service delivery in the School and Applied Child Psychology program and in the University of Calgary’s Integrated Services in Education clinic (formerly UCAPES).  Upon completing her postdoc in 2013, Erica continued to teach in the School & Applied Child Psychology program as an instructor. From 2013 until 2016, Dr. Makarenko worked as the Director of Instructional Impact for the James Chaput Centre for Educational Research Applications in Calgary, where she collaborated with a team of professionals to develop and pilot 21st century learning tools and academic programming.

In her current role as a Senior Instructor in the Werklund School of Education and the Academic Coordinator of both the Master of Education in School & Applied Child Psychology program and the Master of Counselling program, Dr. Makarenko is responsible for overseeing the administration and delivery of these programs as well as supporting students in the programs. As well, Dr. Makarenko is the Co-Academic Coordinator of the graduate certificate program in Educational Neuroscience: Applications for Teaching & Learning and the Manitoba First Nations cohort of the Master of Education in School & Applied Child Psychology program.

In 2018, Dr. Makarenko assumed the role of Director of the ISE. In this role, Erica is focused on maximizing client experience and providing high quality graduate student training within the ISE. Dr. Makarenko is a Registered Psychologist in Alberta and a Nationally Certified School Psychologist in the United States. Dr. Makarenko is married and lives in Calgary with her husband, Dustin, and step-daughter, Leanne.

Education

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Educational Specialist
Rowan University

Master of Arts
Rowan University

Bachelor of Science
St. Joseph’s University

Peer Reviewed Publications

Schwartz, K., Exner-Cortens, D., McMorris, C., Makarenko, E., Arnold, P., Van Bavel, M., Williams, S., & Canfield, R. (2020). COVID-19 and student well-being: Stress and mental health during return-to-school. Canadian Journal of School Psychology.

Craig, H., Wilcox, G., Makarenko, E., & MacMaster, F. (2020). Continued educational neuromyth belief in pre- and in-service teachers: A call for de-implementation action for school psychologists. Canadian Journal of School Psychology.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0829573520979605  

Wilcox, G., Galilee, A., Makarenko, E., Stamp, J., & MacMaster, F. (2020). The importance of research on Integrating Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (TDCS) with evidence-based reading interventions. Journal of Pediatric Neuropsychology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40817-020-00090-7 

Schroeder, M., Makarenko, E., & Warren, K., (2019). Introducing a late bank in online graduate courses:  The response of students. Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning10(2). https://doi.org/10.5206/cjsotl-rcacea.2019.2.8200

Makarenko, E. M. & Andrews, J. J. W. (2017). An empirical review of the mental health and wellbeing of online instructors. Journal of Educational Thought, 50(2&3), 182-198.

Backenson, E. M., Holland, S. C., Kubas, H. A., Fitzer, K. R., Wilcox, G., Carmicheal, J. A., Fraccaro, R. L., Smith, A. D., Macoun, S. J., Harrison, G. L., & Hale, J. B. (2015). Psychosocial and adaptive deficits associated with learning disability subtypes. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 48(5), 511-522.

Wright, P. W. D., Hale, J. B., Backenson, E. M., Eusebio, E. C., & Dixon, S. G. (January 2013). Forest Grove vs. T.A. Rejoiner to Zirkel: An attempt to profit from malfeasance?. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 31(3), 317-324.

Kubas, H. A., Backenson, E. M., Wilcox, G., Piercy, J. C., Parker, D. J., & Hale, J. B. (2012). The effects of methylphenidate on cognitive function in children with attention- deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Postgraduate Medicine, 124(5), 33-48.

Articles in Professional Journals

Schwartz, K. D., Makarenko, E. M., & McMorris, C. (2021). Alberta Student Wellbeing and Resilience During School Re-Entry. Psymposium, 31(5), 14.

Schwartz, K. D., Makarenko, E. M., & McMorris, C. (2020). COVID-19, school closures, and students with exceptional needs. Psynopsis, 42(3), 22-23.  

Andrews, J. J. W., Makarenko, E. M., & Schroeder, M. (2018). School and Applied Child Psychology Program at the University of Calgary Celebrates a First-of-its-Kind Partnership with Manitoba First Nations. Psynopsis, 40(2), 24-25. 

Interviews & Media Broadcasts

1. Interview for uToday story, “Werklund School provides counselling to families stressed out by pandemic”, by Clayton MacGillivray, Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, January 22, 2021.  This news story highlighted the free counseling services provided to children and families in Alberta in response to the need for additional mental health supports resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.

https://ucalgary.ca/news/werklund-school-provides-counselling-families-stressed-out-pandemic

2. Interview with CTV titled, “With pandemic pressures stressing out children, U of C offers to listen” with Chris Epp, CTV News Producer. This interview focused on back to school anxieties children may be facing and providing information on resources to support children through the ISE clinic at Werklund.

https://calgary.ctvnews.ca/with-pandemic-pressures-stressing-out-children-u-of-c-offers-to-listen-1.5112451?cache=peulyatxqy%3FclipId%3D68597

3. Interview with UToday titled, “Return to Class Calls for Kindness and Curiosity to Keep Pandemic Anxiety at Bay”, by Jacqueline Moore, Advancement, University of Calgary, August 2020. This interview focused on offering suggestions to parents to temper stress — and increase joy — for students and parents during the unprecedented transition back to school in September 2021 amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. 

https://www.ucalgary.ca/news/return-class-calls-kindness-and-curiosity-keep-pandemic-anxiety-bay

4. Interview with CTV News for Alberta Primetime, “What Parents can Expect for School Reopening after the Covid-19 Pandemic”, by Stephanie Radditz, CTV News, Calgary, June 2020. This interview focused on what parents should be considering as the 2019-2020 school years wrapped up and what they can do to support their children over the summer in preparation for school reopening in September 2020. 

https://vimeo.com/427546918

5. Interview for Werklund School of Education’s Alumni Connections Magazine, "A collaborative approach  to child well-being", by MaryKate MacIsaac, Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, October 2019.  This article was developed to showcase the efforts that the Werklund School of Education is taking towards a more holistic conceptualization of child wellbeing. 

https://werklund.ucalgary.ca/news/collaborative-approach-child-well-being

6. Interview for uToday story, "First-of-its-kind partnership addresses needs of Indigenous students from Manitoba", by MaryKate MacIsaac, Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, March 29, 2018.  This news story resulted from a media coverage of the partnership between the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre and the University of Calgary. 

https://www.ucalgary.ca/news/first-its-kind-partnership-addresses-needs-indigenous-students-manitoba

7. Interview for Graduate Programs in Education Promotional Video, “Why Study at the Werklund School?”. Developed by the Werklund School of Education to promote graduate programs and advertise our course-based and thesis-based programs.

8. Interview for Master of Education in School & Applied Child Psychology Promotional Video, “About the Master of Education in School in Applied Child Psychology”. Developed by the Werklund School of Education to promote our professional, course-based program in School Psychology.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYC3GqqXm0I&feature=emb_logo

Peer Reviewed Presentations

Makarenko, E. M., Wilcox, G. M., MacMaster, F., & Galilee, A. (May 2020). Wired to Read: TDCS & Reading Intervention for SLD. Presentation at the 79th Annual Canadian Psychological Association 2020 National Convention, Montreal, Canada. (conference cancelled).

Makarenko, E. M., & Purcell, V. L. (May 2020). Service Utilization Review in a Psychology Training Clinic Summary. Poster Presentation at the 79th Annual Canadian Psychological Association 2020 National Convention, Montreal, Canada. (conference cancelled).

Purcell, V. L. & Makarenko, E. M. (May 2020). Cognitive Trends in Children and Youth with Learning Disabilities. Presentation at the 79th Annual Canadian Psychological Association 2020 National Convention, Montreal, Canada. (conference cancelled).

Makarenko, E. M., Wilcox, G., Craig, H., & MacMaster, F. P. (February 2020). Busting neuromyths in schools: The role of school psychologists. Presentation at the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) Annual Conference, Baltimore, MD. 

Makarenko, E. M. & Wilcox, G. M. (June 2019). Bridging Education & Neuroscience: The Role of School Psychologists. Presentation at the 78th Annual Canadian Psychological Association 2019 National Convention, Halifax, Canada.

Makarenko, E. M. (June 2019). Combatting Neuromyths in Schools: Why it Matters to School Psychologists. Presentation at the 78th Annual Canadian Psychological Association 2019 National Convention, Halifax, Canada.

Makarenko, E. M., Flanigan, L., Hoey, F., Purcell, V., & Young, J. (June 2019). Assessing and Supporting Students with Low-Incidence Neuropsychological Disorders in Schools. Presentation at the 78th Annual Canadian Psychological Association 2019 National Convention, Halifax, Canada.

Wilcox, G. M., Makarenko, E. M., Magaud, E., Cullen, O., Dimitropolous, G., McLuckie, A., & Huckell, I. (February 2019). Are you Crazy? We Don’t Have Stigma in Our Schools. Presentation at the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) Annual Conference, Atlanta, GA.

Wilcox, G. M., Makarenko, E. M., MacMaster, F. P., Lebel, C., Reynolds, J. E., & Swansburg, R.  (February 2019). Wired to Read: Repeated Reading and Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (TDCS). Presentation at the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) Annual Conference, Atlanta, GA.

Schroeder, M., Makarenko, E. M., & Warren, K. (October 2018). Using a student-centered teaching strategy to support learning in online graduate programs. Presentation at the 15th Annual International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Conference, Bergen, Norway.

Makarenko, E. M., Schroeder, M., & Warren, K. (June 2018). Designing graduate psychology courses to improve student self-efficacy and reduce course-related stress: The implementation of a late bank policy to allow flexibility in submission deadlines. Presentation at the 29th Annual International Congress on Applied Psychology, Montreal, Canada. 

Craig, H. & Makarenko, E. M. (June 2018). Prospective memory in children: Considerations for assessment and interventions. Presentation at the 29th Annual International Congress of Applied Psychology, Montreal, Canada. 

Schroeder, M., Makarenko, E. M., & Warren, K. (January 2018). Designing and teaching courses that promote student well-being and mental health. Presentation at the 16th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Education, Honolulu, Hawaii. 

Watts, D., Heudes, A., Johnston, H., Makarenko, E., & Wilcox, G. (June 2017). Implementing progress monitoring for a community-based reading intervention. Presentation at the 77th Annual Canadian Psychological Association 2017 National Convention, Toronto, Canada. 

Carmichael, J. A., Kubas, H. A., Fitzer, K. R., Backenson, E. M., & Hale, J. B. (June 2013). Comparing neuropsychological and behavioural methylphenidate response in ADHD. Presentation at the 74th Annual Canadian Psychological Association Convention, Quebec City, QC. 

Hale, J. B., & Backenson, E. M. (May 2013). Brain literacy in the classroom: The neuropsychology of literacy. Presentation at the Innovators, Designers & Researchers: Leading a New Knowledge Network Conference, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB. 

Backenson, E. M., Hale, J. B., Kubas, H. A., Fitzer, K. R., & Carmichael, J. (February 2013). Specific psychosocial deficits associated with learning disability subtypes. Presentation at the International Neuropsychological Society (INS) Annual Conference, Waikoloa, Hawaii. 

Hale, J. B., Kubas, H. A., Backenson, E. M., Fitzer, K., & Carmichael, J. (February 2013). Differentiating frontal subcortical circuit dysfunction in ADHD medication response. Presentation at the International Neuropsychological Society (INS) Annual Conference, Waikoloa, Hawaii. 

Kubas, H. A., Fitzer, K., Carmichael, J., Hale, J. B., Backenson, E. M, & Wilcox, G. (February 2013). Neuropsychological impairment and ADHD: Do teacher ratings determine medication response? Presentation at the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) Annual Conference, Seattle, WA. 

Hale, J. B., Kubas, H. A., & Backenson, E. M. (February 2013). Concordance-discordance model: Empirical specific learning disability identification and intervention. Presentation at the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) Annual Conference, Seattle, WA. 

Hale, J. B., Backenson, E. M., & Kubas, H. A. (November 2012). Using the Concordance-Discordance Model (C-DM) for specific learning disability subtype identification and intervention. Presentation at the British Columbia Association of School Psychologists Annual Conference, Vancouver, BC, Canada. 

Invited Presentations & Workshops

Makarenko, E. M., Schwartz, K. D., & McMorris, C. (September 2020). Children’s Experiences During Covid-19: Using Survey and Case Study Data to Support Resilience in Children and Youth. Session presented for the University of Calgary’s Alumni Weekend Speaker Series, Calgary, AB, Canada. 

Makarenko, E. M. & Wilcox, G., & MacMaster, F. (September 2019). What Do You Know About the Brain?  Neuromyths in Child development and Education. Session presented for the University of Calgary’s Alumni Weekend Speaker Series, Calgary, AB, Canada.

Hale, J. B., & Backenson, E. M. (May 2013). Teaching brain literacy to help children learn. Invited presentation for the Learning Disabilities Association of Alberta, Calgary, AB. 

Hale, J. B., Wilcox, G., Backenson, E. M., Fitzer, K. R., Kubas, H. A. & Carmichael, J. A. (March 2013). Mapping Alberta Ministry of Education curricular competencies and indicators to the brain. Invited workshop to the Alberta Ministry of Education, Education Program Standards and Assessment, Edmonton, AB. 

Hale, J. B., Fitzer, K. R., Carmichael, J. A., Backenson, E. M., Wilcox, G., & Kubas, H. A. (January 2013). Developing a brain literate curriculum in Alberta: Teaching changes child brain function. Invited workshop to the Alberta Ministry of Education, Education Program Standards and Assessment, Edmonton, AB.

Hale, J. B. & Backenson, E. M., (December 2012). Teaching to the brain: Why neuroscience of learning is the future of education. Invited Workshop for the Galileo Group, Calgary, AB, Canada. 

Backenson, E. M., Hale, J. B., & Kubas, H. A. (November 2012). Applying neuropsychological principles in assessment and treatment of ADHD and other child psychopathologies affecting attention. Invited Workshop for the Minnesota Department of Education, Division of Special Education. Twin Cities, Minnesota.  

Hale, J. B. & Backenson, E. M., (October 2012). Combining RTI and comprehensive evaluation to serve diverse learner needs. Special Education Council of the Alberta Teachers’ Association, Kananaskis, AB, Canada. 

Hale, J. B., & Backenson, E. M. (September 2012). Optimizing academic and behavioural outcomes in ADHD: Is neuropsychological medication response relevant? Alberta Children’s Hospital, Developmental Pediatrics Grand Rounds Presentation. Calgary, AB, Canada. 

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