Poster session highlights undergraduate research
This is the hallmark of the Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA) recipients, a collection of more than 115 students representing every Faculty and every year of undergraduate study, some of whom were able to exhibit the results of their summer research project at a poster session held on Tuesday, Jan. 15 in the MUSC Marketplace.
The USRAs are sponsored by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the Faculties of Social Sciences, Humanities and Business and the Office of the Vice-President, Research and International Affairs.
The USRAs provide each student with $5,000 and, under the supervision of a faculty advisor, they have the opportunity to explore possible career opportunities in a research environment, investigate and learn more about an area of research that interests them, enhance their academic experiences and prepare for work at the graduate level.
Thirty-five students participated in this year's poster session and in a short stroll through the Marketplace, you would have heard students expound on everything from the "tip-of-the-tongue state" to the muscles and blood tissues inside the body, been enlightened by the music of troubadours, seen examples of Throne of Grace Christian art, learned how to better map the biological function of human organs, exposed to complex math theorems and informed about how round goby fish in Hamilton Harbour have been exposed to PCBs.
Allison Sekuler, associate vice-president (research) and Canada Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience, organized this year's poster session and also supervised USRA recipient Matthew Pachai, who studied classification images and how we discriminate faces with the vision scientist.
Sekuler notes that "the USRAs provide undergraduates with a significant range of benefits that include the opportunity to discover their research passion, further enrich their academic experience at McMaster plus acquire a skill set that is invaluable for both graduate work and the job market."
She offers yet another perspective: "The USRAs also provide students with the chance to discover if research is indeed the path they want to take. They might discover that this isn't what they want to do as a career, or perhaps discover that they're better suited for another field of study. Ultimately, the Undergraduate Student Research Awards are all about possibilities and the opportunity for personal growth and discovery."
That sentiment was echoed by Humanities student Elizabeth Klein, who discovered that a research career was destined to be her future.
"I wanted to find out if I was able to spend days in libraries, on my own, immersed in researching one topic," she said. "I loved the experience and know now that I absolutely want to pursue graduate work and become a professor."
When asked, "What do you want to do next?" most USRA recipients answered that they'd like to pursue some kind of graduate work. For Kelsey Norlund, her USRA stint with professor Lesley Warren fast-tracked her from fourth year to the first year of PhD study, continuing the research she did with Warren on the mining industry and the problems associated with waste rock and its effect on the environment.
For Ruby Chang and Amy Beth Warriner, their graduate study dreams have been bolstered by the publication of their work in academic journals -- Chang will see her research in a future issue of Neuroscience Report and Warriner has been published in Experimental Psychology.
To find out more about how to apply for Undergraduate Student Research Awards, visit:
The following is a list of students who participated in the Jan. 15 poster session, their faculty supervisors and the title of the projects they were involved in during the summer of 2007.
RATH -- Programming with Relational Datatypes, faculty supervisor: professor Wolfram Kahl, Computing and Software
Female Exercisers' Thoughts and Feelings About Exercise, faculty supervisor: professor Steven Bray, Kinesiology
TAME, faculty supervisor: professor Patrick Speissegger, Mathematics & Statistics
Modeling of Traffic Flow, faculty supervisor: professor Lia Bronsard, Mathematics & Statistics
Neuroprotective effects of guanosine on cerebral ischemia in rats, faculty supervisors: Dr. Shucui Jiang, Neuroscience; Dr. Michel Rathbone, Medicine
Hardware Acceleration of Statistical Methods in Medical Imaging, faculty supervisor: professor Nicola Nicolici, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Synthesis of a Strained Cycloalkyne and its Reaction with Silylenes,
faculty supervisor: professor William Leigh, Chemistry
Photogrammetry-Based Reconstruction of an Object, faculty supervisor: professor Natalia Nikolova, Electrical & Computer Engineering
A Meta Review on Research Papers Presented at the McMaster World Congress on Intellectual Capital and Innovation, faculty supervisor: professor Nick Bontis, Business
Nanosensors, faculty supervisor: professor Ray LaPierre, Engineering Physics
Word Processing in Groups, faculty supervisor: professor Hans Boden, Mathematics & Statistics
Investigating Polychlorinated Biphenyl Distribution in Round Gobies of Hamilton Harbour, faculty supervisor: professor Greg Slater, Geography and Earth Sciences
Troubadour Influence on 13th Century Italian Music, faculty supervisor: professor Andrew Mitchell, Music
Throne of Grace, faculty supervisor: professor Peter Widdicombe, Religious Studies
Cigarettes, Whiskey, and Wild Wild Women, faculty supervisor: professor Christina Baade School of Arts
Minimal Whey Protein with Carbohydrate Stimulates Muscle
Protein Synthesis Following Resistance Exercise in Trained Young Men, faculty supervisor: professor Stuart Phillips, Kinesiology
The Influence of Bilingualism on Executive Control, faculty supervisor: professor Karin Humphreys, Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour
Proteomic Profiling of Plasma Apolipoprotein B, faculty supervisor: professor Joseph Macri, Pathology & Molecular Medicine
Tuned Liquid Dampers (TLDs), faculty supervisor: professor Michael Tait, Civil Engineering
Silicone Surface Topography and Its Biological Application, faculty supervisor: professor Michael Brook, Chemistry
The Effects of Surface Active Contaminants on the Infiltration of Soil Water, faculty supervisor: professor Jim Smith, Geography & Earth Sciences
Potential Binding Partners in Satellite Cell Activation, faculty supervisor: professor Gianni Parise, Kinesiology
Views through the Window: The Canadian Woman's Perception of Self and Place, faculty supervisor: professor Angela Sheng, Art History
Thiosulfate oxidation by Acidithiobacillus spp. under varying O2 and Fe(III) conditions, faculty supervisor: professor Lesley Warren, Geography and Earth Sciences
Classification Images Measured in a Same/different Face
Discrimination Task, faculty supervisor: professor Allison Sekuler, Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour
Provenance, Connoisseurship and Authenticity: A Case Study of the Getty Kouros, faculty supervisor: professor Spencer Pope, Classics & Art History
Fairness Perceptions of Asymmetric Pricing, faculty supervisor: professor Sourav Ray, Business
The Effects of Carbohydrate and Protein on Blood Markers of Muscle Damage, faculty supervisor: professor Martin Gibala, Kinesiology
Into the Ancient Deeps: A Sedimentological Analysis of the Argillites at Whitefish Falls, Ontario, faculty supervisor: professor Carolyn Eyles, Geography and Earth Sciences
Stress in Silicon Oxynitride CVD Thin Films, faculty supervisor: professor Peter Mascher, Engineering Physics
Acute repeated bouts of endurance exercise with antioxidant supplementation, faculty supervisor: Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky, Medicine
Learning to Fail: Reoccurring Tip-of-the-Tongue States, faculty supervisor: professor Karin Humphreys, Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour
Sex-based Comparisons in Skeletal Muscle Fatigue and Twitch Potentiation, faculty supervisor: professor Stuart Phillips, Kinesiology