The Undergraduate Symposium is an annual event highlighting the research, scholarly and artistic works of undergraduate students at the University of Saskatchewan. The Project Symposium takes place annually in January, in the North Concourse of Place Riel.

From research posters to sculptures, presentations to musical numbers, community-engaged learning experiences to dramatic dialogues.

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2021 USSU Undergraduate Symposium Results

1st Place Social Sciences, Humanities, and Fine Arts

Sponsored by the Vice-Provost Teaching, Learning and Student Engagement (TLSE)

Isabelle MacLean ($750)

The Effect of Linguistic Relativity on Intertemporal Decision-Making: The Implementation of Climate Change Legislation

Behavioural economics is a topic of great diversity, with issues ranging from risk aversion to framing. The topic of framing contains a number of theories – including that of linguistic relativity. The theory of linguistic relativity suggests that the language you speak can in itself frame an event or economic choice. This can take on many forms, however, I focus here on the use of future tense. In a number of languages, future tense is non-existent, leading to a misperception of intertemporal costs and benefits – specifically where present costs yield future benefits. The issue of climate change is of such a nature. For countries, present costs take the form of climate change legislation and the implementation of carbon taxes, which yields future benefits including a cleaner environment. Thus, I purport that countries with weak future-time references (“FTR”) for their majority language will display an increased likelihood to implement climate change legislation domestically following the Kyoto Protocol. I illustrate this point through the following points: (i) the role of linguistic relativity; (ii) evidence drawn in support of linguistic relativity’s effects on the outcomes of the Kyoto Protocol. Using the Climate Law, Institutions and Measures Index (“CLIMI”), logarithmic regression analysis is used to support the theory that there is a statistically significant relationship between FTR strength and CLIMI, which is not nullified by intervening factors such as GDP per capita and climate education. The research concludes that there is a statistically significant relationship between weaker-FTR and increased implementation of climate change legislation.

2nd Place Social Sciences, Humanities, and Fine Arts

Sponsored by the Office of the Vice President Research (OVPR)

Kamila Wyszomirski ($500)

Understanding Family Decision Making with Children in Competitive Sport – The Parents Perspective

My  project is a marketing honours research project under the supervision of Dr. Maureen Bourassa.  I have completed the qualitative data collection but I am still in the middle of data analysis.  While this project is incomplete, this opportunity would allow me to present some preliminary themes.  The purpose of this research project is to understand the family consumer decision making process for parents and children in competitive sport.  This project uses competitive gymnastics as a case to gather data and understand family dynamics when deciding sport for children.  Gymnastics is a highly competitive sport and requires a large time commitment for its athletes as well as a large financial commitment for the caregivers of the athletes.  Gymnastics in Saskatchewan is also not as popular as other competitive sports such as Hockey, Soccer and Football.  I was motivated to understand what it is that influences participation in an artistic sport like gymnastics. This research will help understand the barriers and benefits that families face when choosing sport in Saskatchewan.  It also looks to understand the post-purchase behaviours of these parents and children throughout their during in competitive gymnastics.

3rd Place Social Sciences, Humanities, and Fine Arts

Sponsored by the Vice-Provost Teaching, Learning and Student Engagement (TLSE)

Abhineet Goswami ($250)

Lens: Seeing the Unseen

Video Abstract

1st Place Sciences and Engineering

Sponsored by the College of Agriculture and Bioresources

Zoey Bourgeois ($750)

Investigating the clearance of chemical mixtures in isolated perfused livers of rainbow trout

Environmental risk assessment of chemicals relies on estimations of bioaccumulation, such as the bioconcentration factor (BCF). BCF is considered the gold standard metric for gauging this criterion, though scientists and regulators have been looking for alternatives due to the high cost and animal use. Previous research has indicated that by isolating the liver, the main detoxification organ, a more reliable measure of xenobiotic biotransformation can be obtained for the creation of accurate in vitro-in vivo extrapolation (IVIVE) models. The purpose of this study was to obtain hepatic clearance rates of a pharmaceutical mixture in isolated perfused fish livers, to generate urgently needed data to validate IVIVE models. Livers of juvenile rainbow trout were cannulated through the hepatic portal vein, and perfused with a physiological buffer that was spiked with a mixture of 9 antipsychotic, antidepressant and anticonvulsant drugs at 5 μg/L. Afferent and efferent samples were taken in 15-minute intervals for 5 hours. The perfusate was analyzed using liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS), to determine hepatic clearance over time of the individual compounds. The results show, for the first time, that this experimental model can be used to test mixtures of chemicals for the measurement of the hepatic clearance of individual chemicals in fish. This will allow for reduced animal use, and improved chemical risk assessment.

2nd Place Sciences and Engineering (TIE)

Sponsored by the College of Agriculture and Bioresources, College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, and Office of the Vice President Research (OVPR)

Katie Klymyshyn ($500)

Dolomitization Model of the Belcher Group, Nunavut: Addressing the “Precambrian Dolomite Problem”

The Belcher Group forms a 7-10 km thick sedimentary basin and was deposited approximately 2 to 1.8 billion years ago, which exhibits transgressive-regressive sea level cycles and periods of volcanism. It consists of Paleoproterozoic-aged carbonate, siliciclastic, and mafic volcanic rocks and occurs on a series of islands in Hudson Bay, Nunavut. Stromatolites (mounds of cyanobacterial mats) are present in many of the carbonate rocks, which were common during Precambrian time, but are rare today. The stromatolitic dolostones of the Belcher Group are predominated by the mineral dolomite, but it is not entirely clear when or how the dolomite formed (e.g., from seawater, from fluids during burial, or facilitated by the cyanobacteria). The ubiquity of dolomite over calcite in ancient carbonate rocks without a consistent model for how it formed refers to an issue in geology called the Precambrian Dolomite Problem. The main objective of this undergraduate thesis study is to analyze samples from the Belcher Group to determine the model of dolomitization. Methods include petrographic analysis (light microscopy and cathodoluminescence) and isotope geochemistry. This presentation will focus on preliminary results, which includes the microscopy work showing there are at least two phases of dolomite formation. Further work on characterizing the fluids that formed the dolomite phases will help determine the setting in which these dolomite phases formed.

2nd Place Sciences and Engineering (TIE)

Sponsored by the College of Agriculture and Bioresources, College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, and Office of the Vice President Research (OVPR)

Amira Muftah ($500)

Exploring Communication Between Consultants and Referring Physicians – A Qualitative Study

Effective communication between physicians is a core competency in medicine. However, requests from referring physicians for advice from consultants is often stressful, subject to misunderstanding, and has been identified as a source of professional incivility. While existing literature focuses on the role of referring physicians, little is known on how consultants can improve the structure and substance of their advice. Until recently, phone conversations involving physicians from Saskatoon were mediated by trained telecommunicators through the Acute Care Access Line (ACAL). These services are now provided by the provincial System Flow Coordination Center. This study explores the experiences of ACAL operators to: (1) identify the effective and ineffective components of physician-to-physician communication; (2) recognize the factors which trigger and sustain the tensions that are anecdotally reported by referring physicians; (3) generate a series of concrete recommendations to aid consultant physicians in providing advice. Thirteen ACAL operators were recruited to participate in individual semi-structured interviews. Interview transcripts were analysed using a grounded theory approach. Linguistic, personal, and situational features of telephone consultations were identified as sources of tension. Communication breakdowns due to these tensions were implicated in delays in patient care, transport and care miscommunications, avoidance of consultants by referring physicians, and overwhelming other medical services. To mitigate these tensions, we propose a scheme to aid consultants in providing professional advice to referring physicians. Future process improvement efforts and educational interventions may be informed by this model to reduce perceived tension during physician-to-physician communication and increase the utility of consultations.

University Signature Area award

Sponsored by the Office of the University of Saskatchewan President and the Office of the Vice President Research (OVPR)

Vaidehee Lanke ($400)

Applying Deep Learning to Predicting Phenotypes from Genomic Data

Phenotype prediction from genomic data has important applications in crop breeding and deep learning can be applied to use features from genomic data to predict phenotypes. The challenge is the scale and quality of paired genotype and phenotype data required to train an accurate model. The work done on this project builds on pervious work done in this lab and aims to apply transfer learning to increase predictive power of model when a small number of data samples used.

Mayor’s and University President’s Award

Sponsored by the City of Saskatoon and the Office of the University of Saskatchewan President

Nikaela Lange ($500)

Open-Source Intelligence in Pandemic Preparedness and Response and the Implications for Global Governance 

In this paper I will argue that open-source intelligence is an invaluable tool for global governance in the COVID-19 global pandemic. First, I will provide a brief overview of open-source intelligence, exploring it’s applications, strengths, and weaknesses. Then I will outline securitization theory and the securitization of disease as a useful framework for global health governance. Following this, I will briefly explain how OSINT came to be a tool used for global health surveillance and how it is used today. From there, I will explore the three primary applications of OSINT in the COVID-19 pandemic specifically, which are early detection, foreign government oversight, and public sentiment analysis. From there I will analyze the potential that OSINT has for exacerbating global conflict in terms of state privacy, vulnerability, and sovereignty. Finally, I will propose that an ethical framework is created for the use of OSINT in future global public crises, drawing on an already existing call for Sustainable Development Goal 18- Global Health Security