This summer, Augustana is welcoming a record number of summer research students to work on a range of projects. We’ll meet a few of them every week over the summer!
Larissa Gomez, Autlan de Navarro, Mexico
“My name is Larissa Gomez,” she writes. “I’m in the third year of my Bachelor’s degree in agricultural and natural resources at the University of Guadalajara in Autlan de Navarro, Mexico.” Larissa is working on Purple Martin conservation in Central Alberta with Dr. Glen Hvenegaard.
“I got involved in the project thanks to the program Mitacs Globalink – I had six projects to choose from, but this one was the I liked the most from the beginning.”
Carissa Ferguson, 3rd year BA Psychology from Hanna, Alberta
Carissa is partnered with Sam Jones (4th year BA Psychology) on a two-year project to explore issues surrounding disability and employment under Dr. Rebecca Purc-Stephenson. They will help develop a theoretical model and support for future vocational rehabilitation interventions, beginning with with a quantitative data review of studies published from 1980 to 2015 and ending with disseminating the results at national and international conferences!
Carissa’s interest in Health Psychology led her to the project. “My future plans are to work in the health profession of Speech-Language Pathology,” she says. “This project also matched my interest in learning more about qualitative research designs and how to conduct a meta-ethnography.”
Brittany Johnson, BA English ’15 from Camrose
“I got involved with this project because Dr. Roxanne Harde asked me to be her research assistant and I gladly accepted,” she says. “I am studying Aboriginal Children’s Literature, focusing on orality and cultural survivance. Over the course of my summer of research for Dr. Harde, I hope to learn valuable research skills that will serve me well in my graduate studies this fall.”
James Hudec, 3rd year BA History from Camrose
James is working with another research student from South Korea to transcribe an unedited devotional text written in 1541 for English instructor Dr. Brandon Alakas. Dyuerse and Holy Instrucyons was written by the monk Richard Whitford after the institution of monasticism had been suppressed: this text adapts monastic spirituality to new contexts in post-Reformation England.
Carly Heck, 4th year BSc Biology from Calgary, Alberta
Dr. Tom Terzin supervises Carly Heck’s project, examining how an individual’s demographics influence their perception of beauty in nature. “We are showing participants pictures of moths and butterflies from Dr. Terzin’s extensive collection here at Augustana,” Carly explains. “They are asked evaluate the insects’ beauty and then tell us their reasoning. We hope that the information we find could be applied to industries such as textile design, advertising, and even architecture.”
“I volunteered for a year for Dr. Tom Terzin working on his study of aesthetic judgments,” she continues. “I decided that I needed more time with the data we collected in order to fully understand what was found, so I applied for funding for the summer.”
Sara Dyck, 5th year BSc Biology Salmon Arm, BC
“Dr. Haave asked if I would be interested in helping him this summer,” Sara says, “and I accepted the amazing opportunity to work with him!”
Dr. Neil Haave leads the national editorial team for an internationally renown publication. Sara is helping nail down the fine details of the upcoming issue of Collected Essays on Learning and Teaching, as well as organizing materials and assignments for the revamped AUBIO 111 lecture (previously AUBIO 130). Part of this involves designing a learning philosophy assignment for students as part of Neil’s McCalla Professorship.
Suhyun Choi, Art History and English double major from Seoul, South Korea
Suhyun traveled from Seoul National University as part of the University of Alberta Research Experience Internship Program to join Dr. Brandon Alakas (English). She is working with James Hudec to transcribe an unedited devotional text written in 1541: Richard Whitford’s Dyuerse and Holy Instrucyons. Written by a monk after the institution of monasticism had been suppressed, this text adapts monastic spirituality to new contexts in post-Reformation England.
Sam Jones, 4th year BA Psychology from Lethbridge, AB
Sam is partnered with Carissa Ferguson (3rd year BA Psychology) on a two-year project to explore issues surrounding disability and employment under Dr. Rebecca Purc-Stephenson. They will help develop a theoretical model and support for future vocational rehabilitation interventions, beginning with with a quantitative data review of studies published from 1980 to 2015 and ending with disseminating the results at national and international conferences!
Sam got involved in this project through her increased interest in health and applied social psychology. “I wanted to participate in the Research Assistant experience to help broaden my horizons and guide the type of graduate or professional schools I was interested in pursuing,” she says. “My role in the current projects related to disability and employment have allowed me to further explore social issues that I am passionate about and let me explore potential solutions to issues that I feel can make a difference to marginalized groups.”
Ryley Corcoran, 4th year BSc Environmental Science from Ardrossan, AB
Working with Dr. Glen Hvenegaard, Riley is the Greenspace and Wildlife Stewardship Coordinator.
Erin Specht, BSc Environmental Science (’15) from Pipestone, AB
This summer, Erin is working for Dr. Glen Hvenegaard, with her research focusing on the development of Augustana’s new Miquelon Lake Research Station.
“As an environmental science major, I heard about this station and was quite excited for its opening,” she says. “This summer RA position was appealing for me because it provided an opportunity to develop my planning and management skills, and I would be able to be a ‘founding father’ of the station, in a sense.”
Marcus Suvanto, 4th year BA Psychology from Grimshaw, AB
Marcus has been working with Dr. Paula Marentette for eight months on a gesture project. “We are trying to find a way to measure the complexity of a story a child – age 8-11 – has told us,” he says, “and see if we can predict when and where gestures or meaningful hand movements will occur based on the difficulty or complexity of that part of the story.”
“Dr. Marentette told me of the possibility of getting research experience on this project,” he continues. “And because of my interest in pursuing graduate studies, I jumped at the chance. It was a year long directed reading and I got the chance to continue the work into the summer which I was keen to do.”
Raiany Dias de Andrade Silva, 5th year Environmental Science student from the Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro
Raiany is working on a wide range of research activities related to how ecosystems respond to disturbance. These include examining how grassland roots respond to climate change manipulation and reviewing the literature on recovery of Alberta’s oil and gas wellsites after they have been reclaimed.
Raiany is inventorying the botanical specimen collections at Augustana, and will also be exploring the botanical biodiversity found both here on campus and off campus in the local parks. She will also be undertaking research on forest gardens: there is interest in exploring the idea of having a forest garden here at Augustana.
Hope Menary-Dianocky, 4th year BA English from Edmonton, AB
Hope is working with Dr. Brandon Alakas to research William Bonde’s Directory of Conscience, a devotional guide for laypeople written in the 1520s, which engages with Lutheran notions of Christian freedom and devotional practice.
Heather spent 14 years in Vancouver, BC, mainly working in graphic design when her involvement in the local food movement and work in Tanzania broadened her interest in environmental and social justice issues. She began her degree in Fine Art, but decided to complete one in Environmental Studies.
Heather has been working with Drs. Glen Hvenegaard (Environmental Science) and Jeremy Mouat (History) to research and write about the life of Camrose naturalist, Frank Farley. Farley was an avid ornithologist at a time when natural history was becomingly increasingly scientific and rooted in ecology. He also inspired and mentored many young people, including his great-nephew, writer/environmentalist Farley Mowat. After finishing her degree in December, Heather will continue to work on the Farley project.
Simin learned about Dr. Roxanne Harde’s project on American Literature & Culture from the University of Alberta’s website.
Melissa Tollitt, 4th year B.Sc. Biology, Whitecourt, AB
Allison Rodvang (B.Sc. Env Sci ’15), Coronation, AB
Kalene Gould, 4th year B.Sc. Env Sci, Lacombe, AB
Glynnis Hood is supervising a team of students who are working on a project entitled Mitigating Human-Wildlife Interactions through Adaptive Management.
“We are conducting research in Beaver County to address human-wildlife conflicts by developing division-specific management options that are based in an adaptive management approach,” Glynnis explains.
The students’ fieldwork involves installing pond levelling devices to counter flooding by beavers while still allowing beavers and wetlands to stay intact and gathering invertebrate data to assess biodiversity relative to this aquatic management. They use wildlife cameras and wildlife complaint data to identify key conflict sites in the county, and integrate Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology to create an interactive map. Their research will allow County managers to identify the best approach for mitigating human-wildlife conflict in a manner that considers environmental sustainability.
“I’m working as a research assistant again thanks to the amazing funding provided by the University of Alberta’s Undergraduate Research Initiative!” says Emily.
“This summer, I’ve been able to continue my work with pencil graphite electrodes, but have also gotten the opportunity to work with and train two wonderful international students, as well as put on a chemistry ‘magic show’ for a local junior high school. It has all been a fantastic experience. I can’t think of a better way to spend my last summer at Augustana before starting dentistry!”
“My name is Uyen – almost sounds like “You Win” if you say it real fast,” Uyen laughs. “I’m from the University of Agriculture and Forestry in Vietnam. As the final adventure in our 4.5 year program in Food Science and Technology, we were encouraged to do an internship in a foreign country. Never in my wildest dreams could I imagine working in Canada, but thanks to the Mitacs Globalink Program, I found myself surrounded by lovely international friends at the beautiful Augustana Campus in Camrose.”
Uyen is a research assistant in Dr. James Kariuki’s lab, using electrochemistry to analyze the amount of antioxidants in different parts of fruits. This 3 month summer research project is her chance to test what she has learned during her studies in a real lab environment. “Also,” she adds, “I would like to learn new technical and social skills as well as expand my network. I hope to one day contribute to our quest for better, healthier food using science and technology, so ‘processed food’ would no longer evoke a cheap, ugly image.”
Jinyuan Duan, 4th year B.Sc. Food Science & Engineering from Sichuan, China
Jinyuan is going into her fourth year at Northwest A&F University, majoring in Food Science and Engineering.
“Food chemistry is one of my favorite fields to work in and I hope to conduct research linked to it in the future,” she explains. “My interest in food chemistry led me to apply for the project of using electrochemical methods to analyze antioxidants in food.”
Jinyuan received funding from the China Scholarship Council to work with Dr James Kariuki and three other students.
“For me, this means providing myself with a wider world to explore food chemistry,” she says with a smile. “I really enjoy the moments where we collaborate and share everyone’s ideas to find better techniques for the experiments. I am looking forward to learning more about how to set-up experiments starting from a simple idea, learning to analyze data from multiple angles, as well as working with people from different backgrounds. I believe what I will learn from this internship at the University of Alberta, Augustana Campus will definitely contribute to more achievements in my future.”
Carly Olafson, 4th year B.Sc. Chemistry from Armena, AB
Carly is in her second summer researching with Dr. James Kariuki.
“I first got involved with this project when James approached me with the opportunity to perform research in my field of study,” says Carly about the project she shares with the two international students. “This summer, I am looking at how brewing methods can affect the antioxidant content of coffee and teas.”
Carly’s research has brought many opportunities along with it. “In June, I travelled to Ottawa to present at the Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition where I received an Honourable Mention for my presentation on last summer’s research,” she says proudly. “The experience was absolutely amazing! In addition, I was a recipient of the inaugural Lloyd and Margaret Cooley Memorial Studentship in Analytical Chemistry awarded by the University of Alberta’s Department of Chemistry to help support my research with Dr. Kariuki.”