Undergraduate Project Symposium2018-02-07T14:32:36+00:00
Symposium

 

The Undergraduate Project Symposium is an annual event highlighting the research, scholarly and artistic works of undergraduate students at the University of Saskatchewan. From research posters to sculptures, presentations to musical numbers, community engaged learning experiences to dramatic dialogues. Any type of work may be submitted!

2018 USSU Undergraduate Project Symposium Results

People’s Choice Award and Signature Research Area Award

Jessica Phelps ($200 prize) Topic: Mercury concentrations in walleye (Sander vitreus) relative to the Fort McMurray oil sands developments Fort McMurray oil sands developments have been hypothesized to affect many aspects of the Athabasca River ecosystem, including increasing the mercury concentrations in walleye. Here we investigate temporal trends in mercury concentrations in walleye of the oil sands area over the past 40 years and with increasing development. We also compare mercury concentrations in walleye of the development area with populations upstream of Fort McMurray and downstream in western Lake Athabasca and with the Peace River. Some forage fish mercury data also are presented.

The Vice-Provost’s Award in Indigenous Engagement

Michelle Brandt ($200) Topic: Nearshore seabed habitats and benthic biodiversity, Arctic Bay, Nunavut.

Recent pan-arctic inventories of benthic macrofauna diversity identified the waters bordering the Canadian Arctic Archipelago as some of the most poorly explored marine habitats in the circumpolar North. This is especially true for hard substrate habitats and the soft sediments surrounding them. This study explores the shocking diversity of seabed habitats, benthic invertebrates and macroalgae observed in nearshore coastal environments of Arctic Bay, Nunavut.

The University President and Remai Modern Award in Artistic Engagement

Elizabeth Smith ($400) Topic: Métis Fiddle Music: Going Beyond the Distinctive Sound

The exploration and evolution of Métis fiddle music in Canada. A musical analysis of the transcriptions of “Red River Jig” highlighting the distinctive Métis practices and differences in oral learning. The research is backed up with an interview from Richard Lafferty, a fiddler from the Northwest Territories who discusses the social importance of dancing and aural learning. A study of how Métis fiddle music is constantly changing, yet remaining alive and distinct.

The University President and Mayor’s Award in City-Building

Brynn Kosteniuk ($500) Topic: How Companion Animals Contribute to Recovery From Opioid Addiction

Although Animal-Assisted Therapy has been becoming an increasingly popular source of support in substance use recovery, the potential of clients’ companion animals has received very little attention. Thus, the goal of this project is to conduct an exploratory study that will aim to answer the question: Among clients at the Methadone Assisted Recovery Services clinic, do companion animals contribute to their recovery process? If yes, how?

Sciences & Engineering Placement Prizes

Kelly Christopher First Place ($500 prize) Topic: Seizing Caesium: Phytoextraction of Caesium from Soil by Brassicaceae Family A scientific literature review regarding the potential of members of the Brassica family to be used in the phytoextraction of radioactive Caesium-137 from soil, as well as conditions that may impact the bioaccumulation rates. As one of the most common byproducts of Uranium-235 fission, Caesium-137 has contaminated vast swathes of the planet through events such as the Chernobyl and Fukushima Daiichi disasters. Plants such as those in the Brassica family have shown the ability to remove various toxins and heavy metals, and the potential for its use in the removal of Caesium-137 from soil is evaluated.

Ashley Stock Second Place (3 Way Tie $233 each) Topic: Determine Trajectories of Massive Particles in Curved Space-Time

The trajectories of free falling particles are dictated by the geometry of space time, as well as the energy and momentum of the particles. Due to the dependence on momentum, particles with the same total energy but different masses should follow slightly different trajectories when travelling in curved space-times, near high density regions in space such as black holes or neutron stars. By measuring the deflection of particles which travel in curved space times, estimates can be made on the particles’ mass. This project aims to model the trajectories of particles with different masses and determine the difference in their trajectories when they travel near black holes.

Courtney Onstad Second Place (3 Way Tie $233 each) Topic: Petrography and geochemistry of granitoids in the Misaw Lake area, northeastern Saskatchewan, with a focus on rare metals

The objective of this project is to analyze representative samples of various granite suites in northeastern Saskatchewan to determine the minerals present, textural relationships and their chemical composition to provide information on their origin.We will be comparing the chemical properties of these suites to more well-studied granite suites in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. Constraining the distribution of rare metals in the minerals will also be completed to be used for targeting the best rock types for future exploration in this area of Saskatchewan. Satellite images will also be attained to look for prospective boulders for later field follow up.

Sean Lipsit Second Place (3 Way Tie $233 each) Topic: Psychiatric Risk Protein, DISC1, and the Biochemical Effect on Binding Partner, GSK3beta

With an estimated 1 in 5 people being affected by mental illness in their lifetime, research aims to investigate the cause and treatment of these disorders. Discovered in a family with a high incidence of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression, Disrupted in Schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) is a protein involved in neural development found in the stem cells that develop into the brain. The effect of DISC1 on a second protein, Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 beta (GSK3beta) may be regulating the proliferation of cells during development. Biochemical characterisation of this DISC1 to determine the 3-D structure and its interactions with other proteins may give the insight into the function of this protein and provide insight for potential treatment when a malfunction occurs.

Social Sciences, Humanities & Fine Arts Placement Prizes

Brynn Kosteniuk First Place ($500 prize) Topic: How Companion Animals Contribute to Recovery From Opioid Addiction

Although Animal-Assisted Therapy has been becoming an increasingly popular source of support in substance use recovery, the potential of clients’ companion animals has received very little attention. Thus, the goal of this project is to conduct an exploratory study that will aim to answer the question: Among clients at the Methadone Assisted Recovery Services clinic, do companion animals contribute to their recovery process? If yes, how?

Julianne Labach Second Place ($400 prize) Topic: How President Trump’s Tweets Affect the Stock Market

Traditional financial theories rely on the assumption that investors are rational – yet in practice this is rarely the case. Investors often exhibit irrational behaviour, in response to a variety of cognitive, emotional, psychological, and social factors. In today’s world social media affects many aspects of our daily lives: why not our investment decisions too? This project seeks to explore how social media affects the stock market, through a content analysis of President Trump’s Twitter account.

Bidushy Sadika Third Place ($300 prize) Topic: Disgust and Homonegativity Toward Gay Men and Lesbian Women: A Comparative Analysis

The purpose of this research is to examine the associations between disgust sensitivity, homonegativity (i.e., old-fashioned and modern) and discriminatory intentions or behaviours toward gay men versus lesbian women. Homonegativity is defined as prejudice and/or discrimination toward individuals being perceived as gay or lesbian. There are old-fashioned and modern types of homonegativity that are based on religious objections and abstract concerns respectively. The study is in its data collection phase. However, the findings from the analysis of responses so far indicates that the sexual form of disgust correlate positively with prejudice and discrimination against sexual minorities, and in particular, gay men. This research is hoped to contribute to the society by facilitating a better understanding of gay and lesbian experiences in a North American Context.