2020 USSU Undergraduate Symposium Results

People’s Choice Award

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

Sahil Soota ($200 prize)

Project Title: A Scan of Community-Based Health Oral Health Resources for Individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Fetal alcohol syndrome is a lifelong disease that is caused by in-utero alcohol consumption, and this disease is preventable. The study focused on finding the various resources available in Canada for people with or at risk of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder. The study determined all of the programs available to the Canadian public and sought to break it down by province and what the program offered.

Signature Research Area Award

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

Anne-Sophie Fortier & Haley Garden ($300 prize)

Project Title: Empowering Women and Girls in Uganda through Menstrual Health Education

Given the cost and inaccessibility of feminine hygiene products, women from rural areas of Uganda face challenges in managing their menstrual period while maintaining their daily activities. The purpose of this community initiative was to deliver culturally-relevant menstrual health education to girls and women, conduct hands-on workshops on how to make reusable sanitary pads from locally-available materials, and provide Uganda-made Afripads [TM] to the participants. These objectives were accomplished by presenting to 130 students aged 10 to 14 years old from the Ndekye Primary School and twenty community members in the Rugazi community. As the health of a community largely depends on the health of its women and children, this initiative aimed to empower this population group with knowledge about their bodies and skills for menstruation management.

The Vice-Provost’s Award in Indigenous Engagement

Sponsored by: the Vice-Provost Indigenous Engagement

Jerilyn Alderman-Hansson ($500 prize)

Project Title: I AM

It is an art piece that I created for my Women’s and Gender Studies 210 class on Gendered Perspectives on Current Events. We were asked to either write a paper or create an art piece on a current event. My art piece originated when I thought of how the Women’s March 2019 and the Indigenous Peoples’ March 2019 were one day directly after the other and how they were essentially asking me to identify as just a woman one day and just an Indigenous person the next day. My art piece signifies that there are many intersecting factors that create all that I AM, and they are all intertwined and interconnected that I cannot separate one from the other because I AM all of them.

The University President and Remai Modern Award in Artistic Engagement

Sponsored by: the University President and Remai Modern

Jerilyn Alderman-Hansson ($250 prize + 1 Year Membership to Remai Modern)

Project Title: I AM

It is an art piece that I created for my Women’s and Gender Studies 210 class on Gendered Perspectives on Current Events. We were asked to either write a paper or create an art piece on a current event. My art piece originated when I thought of how the Women’s March 2019 and the Indigenous Peoples’ March 2019 were one day directly after the other and how they were essentially asking me to identify as just a woman one day and just an Indigenous person the next day. My art piece signifies that there are many intersecting factors that create all that I AM, and they are all intertwined and interconnected that I cannot separate one from the other because I AM all of them.

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

Sponsored by: the City of Saskatoon Mayor and the University President

Aurora Lepe Zepeda ($500)

Project Title: How Weather Factors Affect Water Intake of Alpacas (Vicugna pacos) in Northeast Alberta, Canada

Mycoplasma genitalium (MG) infection rates are rising and isolates are receiving increasing attention by the medical community since antimicrobial resistance and treatment failure rates have been observed. In this study, I utilized the polymerize chain reaction (PCR) and Sanger sequencing to determine the prevalence of mutations in genes conferring antimicrobial resistance to macrolides and fluoroquinolones. Macrolide resistance is associated with 23S rRNA mutations and fluoroquinolone resistance is associated with parC mutations. 189 MG positive remnant Aptima urine specimens were tested; 38.4% of the total samples contained a 23S rRNA mutation and 6.9% were identified with a mutation in parC associated with antimicrobial resistance. No statistical significance was found in the distribution by sex of the mutation rates. A total of 7/189 (3.70%) samples carried drug resistance-associated mutations in both 23S rRNA and parC. The MG infections of the patients from which these specimens were obtained are virtually untreatable. This presents an important public health issue that threatens STI control in Saskatchewan.

Sciences & Engineering Placement Prizes

Sponsored by: the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Saskatchewan (APEGS), the College of Agriculture and Bioresources, The Global Institute for Food Security, College of Engineering, and Office of the Vice President Research (OVPR).

Aurora Lepe Zepeda – First Place ($1,000)

Project Title: How Weather Factors Affect Water Intake of Alpacas (Vicugna pacos) in Northeast Alberta, Canada

Mycoplasma genitalium (MG) infection rates are rising and isolates are receiving increasing attention by the medical community since antimicrobial resistance and treatment failure rates have been observed. In this study, I utilized the polymerize chain reaction (PCR) and Sanger sequencing to determine the prevalence of mutations in genes conferring antimicrobial resistance to macrolides and fluoroquinolones. Macrolide resistance is associated with 23S rRNA mutations and fluoroquinolone resistance is associated with parC mutations. 189 MG positive remnant Aptima urine specimens were tested; 38.4% of the total samples contained a 23S rRNA mutation and 6.9% were identified with a mutation in parC associated with antimicrobial resistance. No statistical significance was found in the distribution by sex of the mutation rates. A total of 7/189 (3.70%) samples carried drug resistance-associated mutations in both 23S rRNA and parC. The MG infections of the patients from which these specimens were obtained are virtually untreatable. This presents an important public health issue that threatens STI control in Saskatchewan.

Sydney Murray – Second Place ($800)

Project Title: Neuron-specific toxicity of chronic acrylamide exposure in C. elegans

The objective of our project is to characterize the effects of chronic acrylamide exposure on C. elegans locomotor activity and to evaluate whether chronic acrylamide exposure causes neurodegeneration to motor neurons in C. elegans. Our experiment concluded that chronic exposure to acrylamide causes locomotor defects in C. elegans. Acrylamide exposure also causes significant neurodegeneration to dopaminergic and cholinergic neurons. However, surprisingly GABAergic neurons were not affected. Such damage to dopaminergic neurons as seen in our experiment is a hallmark indicator for the human movement disorder called Parkinson’s disease.

David MacTaggart – Third Place ($600)

Project Title: Using Remote Sensing to Detect of Sclerotinia Stem Rot in Canola

Sclerotinia stem rot (SSR) is currently one of the top three diseases in Western Canadian canola. This project looked to identify the best performing foliar fungicides to manage SSR and if five-band multispectral imaging could be used to identify SSR from a drone platform. The top performing fungicide products were identified based on a single location field trial in 2019 with 14 treatments in randomized complete block design in addition to multi-spectral wavelengths and subsequent vegetative indices that correlated best with ground-based disease ratings.

Social Sciences, Humanities, and Fine Arts Placement Prizes

Sponsored by: the College of Arts and Science, Edwards School of Business, the Vice-Provost Teaching, Learning, and Student Engagement (TLSE), and the Office of the Vice President Research (OVPR).

Steven Hall – First Place (2 Way Tie $900 each)

Project Title: Engaging patients and their carers through patient-oriented research: Setting research priorities together through the Cancer and Ageing Research

The Cancer and Aging Research Discussion Sessions were held in Regina and Saskatoon in 2019. By engaging older adults with cancer and their carers, we sought to set research priorities through a patient-oriented approach. While data collection continues, we present preliminary findings from the discussion sessions and follow-up interviews with participants. This project was generously funded by a micro-grant from SCPOR.

Tasnim Jaisee – First Place (2 Way Tie $900 each)

Project Title: Toward Better Relational Engagements of Women With Disabilities

This zine aims to get the public to have a better understanding of the unique experiences of women with disabilities. Firstly, multiple representations of women with disabilities are discussed based on their impacts on this demographic. Next, approaches to negate the adversities of women with disabilities are further discussed. Lastly, a set of demands are requested to aid the lives of women with disabilities.

Dorcas Adedolapo Fadare – Third Place ($600)

Project Title: Nigeria’s Tertiary Education System: From a Planetary Health Perspective

As a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholar Dolapo Fadare spent the summer in Uganda and Nigeria. During her time there, she learnt how planetary health and worked with local communities to meet sustainable development goals. In Nigeria, she interned at PwC Nigeria and conducted research on the country’s tertiary education system.