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Research and Graduate Studies

2022 award recipients

Meet the 2022 URE award recipients

Click a name to learn more about the students and their award-winning projects.

Community Service Research

Indigenous Research

College of Arts


Faculty of Health Sciences

Faculty of Professional Studies

Faculty of Science

Faculty of Education, Community, and Human Development

Community Service Award

Sarah Thomasen

Sleep Hygiene Education Study

Faculty supervisor: Mark Littlefield

Personal Note: Sarah Thomasen is currently in her fourth year of her Child and Youth Care bachelor’s degree (CYC). Her goal is to graduate at the end of 2022 and find employment within the Langley School District as a Child and Youth Care worker. Conducting a research study under the direction of Mark Littlefield has enriched her education by learning to utilize her CYC resources, activities, and supportive network. She chose to do a continuation of this project as she felt it was important to assess the impact of her third-year practicum experience.

Project Summary: Sleep hygiene refers to habits that aid in getting a good night's sleep. Bad behaviours that have been repeated over years, are often the source of common sleeping difficulties. If optimum sleep habits are not met, it can result in lower academic achievement and poor mental health. Within this project, good sleep hygiene practices were identified, and fun resources were provided to caregivers and students aiming to improve sleep quantity and quality! It was through the Middle Years Development Instrument (MDI), that they learnt about Abbotsford's grade 4 and 7 students scoring lower than other students for good sleep hygiene practices. After receiving this information, the Abbotsford Middle Years Committee and Sarah Thomasen (UFV CYC student in her third-year practicum) chose to develop an information campaign surrounding the importance of sleep to raise awareness. The social media campaign and educational flyers evolved into a research survey to learn more about the impact of our education. The results of the survey revealed an increase in sleep hygiene knowledge as well as increased sleep hours. It was discovered that anxiety was the most common pre-existing condition interfering with sleep. This is an area that may benefit from further research.

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Indigenous Research

Shelby Davis

How can Indigenous Storywork contribute to the learning and cognitive development of all students?

Faculty supervisor: Nikki Yee

Personal Note: I am finishing my final semester at UFV with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Geography. Soon after I will be applying to the teaching program in hopes to teach in an elementary school. Due to my family ties to Indigenous culture and respect for all it has to offer, I felt that this topic is extremely relevant. In the education curriculum there is a major push towards understanding and implementing Indigenous knowledge. This project allowed me to be apart of the research of displaying the importance of this perspective and ways of knowing.

Project Summary: Storytelling is an ancient and continuing interactive art form that has been used in elementary schools across Canada since time immemorial. In this project, I drew connections between westernized story telling and Indigenous story work and how the regular usage of story work in classrooms can heavily influence the cognitive development and learning of students. Storytelling provides opportunities to express the experiences of Indigenous peoples in Indigenous languages and nurtures relationships and the sharing of Indigenous knowledges and cultures; it sustains communities and validates the experiences and epistemologies of Indigenous peoples.  

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Carlanna Thompson

(Re)Indigenizing the Creator’s Game: Settler Colonialism and Lacrosse’s Journey from Haudenosaunee Hands in the East to Stó꞉lō Hands in the West

Faculty supervisor: Scott Sheffield

Personal Note: I am graduating this semester with my Bachelor of Arts in History Honours and a minor in English. I have always been a little obsessed with the past. As a kid, I devoured book after book about historical events and imagined what it would have been like to live through them. Little did I know, I was developing a sense of historical empathy that would serve me well not only as a researcher, but as a future educator. My dream is to write historical graphic novels to help spark curiosity about the past in children and young adults. I look forward to becoming an educator and using the skills I’ve honed at UFV to pass the stories of the past on to a new generation. 

Project Summary: Taking a public history approach, my website traces how the Creator’s Game, an Indigenous sport, was adopted by non-Indigenous settlers and adapted into “modern” lacrosse, which was then imported to British Columbia, where it was embraced and “re-indigenized” by the Stó꞉lō peoples of the Fraser Valley. I examine not only how the version of lacrosse played by Indigenous peoples in British Columbia was a colonized version of what was originally a Haudenosaunee variation of the game in Northeastern North America, but also how this colonized version of lacrosse was incorporated and co-opted by Stó꞉lō communities for their own purposes. Stó꞉lō peoples used lacrosse as a vehicle for cross-community communication and relationship building, for fostering of pan-Indigenous identities, and supporting pride in their own identity and proficiency. 

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College of Arts

Olivia Daniel

A Visual Anthropological Approach to Analyzing Greenteacel's Representations of Womanhood and Femceldom

Faculty supervisor: Nicola Mooney

Personal Note: I am a fourth-year history and anthropology student with a commitment to social justice which inspires me to research histories and narratives of oppression and to pursue and document hidden community histories. I have been fortunate to have several research opportunities at UFV, including being a student ambassador for UFV's Peace and Reconciliation Centre Collaboratorium where I worked with the Kwantlen First Nation to develop a digital archive. I have also been an RA in both the Anthropology and History departments and have conducted and presented publicly on several independent research projects. I intend to apply my training in history and anthropology to graduate work in ethnohistory. 

Project Summary: Public understandings of inceldom evoke moral panic while the popular media presents female involuntary celibates or femcels positively and through a feminist lens. My project focused on this paradox of representation, exploring it through a visual analysis of femcel and incel imagery and associated discursive commentary as apparent in the postmodern digital art created by femcel artist Greenteacel. I examined her drawings and their online audiences as sites of femcel meaning making as well as in relation to the incel male gaze. On the surface, it seems like femcels are creating safe online spaces to discuss their frustrations about toxic masculinity and relationships with men as well as to explore their own self-image. However, my analysis of Greenteacel’s art demonstrates that femcels desire to be loved within monogamous heteronormative relationships; thus, they internalize the male gaze, romanticize traditional gender norms and the domestic sphere, and submit to the patriarchy. 

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Maegen Sargent

Cariboo Gold Rush Theatre: Barkerville's Ghost Town Status Examined

Faculty supervisor: Heather Davis-Fisch

Personal Note: In September I will be attending Carleton University in Ottawa to begin my master's studies in art history, with an intent to teach at a post-secondary level once I've obtained my PhD. I chose Barkerville theatre as my topic because my great-grandfather, Charles Henry Hayton Sr., taught there between 1918 and 1919. It was through finding a photograph of him that I realized Barkerville was not actually a ghost town after the Cariboo gold rush had ended. 

Project Summary: When Barkerville's newspaper, the Cariboo Sentinel, closed its doors on October 30, 1875, Barkerville mistakenly became known as a "ghost town." In actuality, gold mining life continued in this region well past the Cariboo gold rush era of the early 1860s up until it was declared a historic site in 1958. In assuming Barkerville was abandoned like many other boom towns of the nineteenth century, Barkerville's theatre and performance culture was also presumed nonexistent. How, then, do we approach and trace the theatre history of a site that has been actively forgotten? This project questions the definition of "theatre," and provides proof of entertainments in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries that may be deemed performative, while suggesting a possible method of approaching the theatre history of boom towns exiled into ghost town status that may be used when analyzing other historic towns. 

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Avitasha Chand

Effective Treatment and Therapy Options to Combat Anxiety and Depression for People with Epilepsy

Faculty supervisor: David Thompson

Personal Note: I am currently in my third year at UFV pursuing a degree in Psychology. Receiving an award for a research project surrounding mental health means a lot as it has been a focus on mine to raise awareness about it, alongside neurological disorders/mental illnesses. I am very thankful to David Thomson for giving me the space to explore a topic, such as epilepsy that is not discussed enough. I hope to continue my education in graduate school and utilize my platform to help make mental health resources more accessible.

Project Summary: “Effective Treatment and Therapy Options to Combat Anxiety and Depression for People with Epilepsy” started off as a potential idea for this research project due to a personal journey with epilepsy. It is also a neurological disorder that is often not given the proper attention it deserves.  In addition to that, anxiety and depression are not typically the first things people think about when it comes to epilepsy. However, it is a major part of it that needs to be talked about more. There is a high prevalence rate of anxiety and depression amid individuals with epilepsy.

The research report looked at a few different treatment options for anxiety and depression in people with epilepsy, and to see which are more effective. Regarding anxiety, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) was found to not only decrease anxiety, but also the number of seizures. Oral medications on the other hand have been found to aid patients with generalized anxiety disorder and overall, a better treatment option for individuals with epilepsy. CBT has been found to be a more effective treatment option for individuals with epilepsy battling depression. 

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Daniela Castroparedes Herrera

Considering the Best Interests of the Child Within the Impact of Race and Culture Assessments for African Canadian Offenders 

Faculty supervisor: Hayli Miller 

Personal Note: I am a UFV School of Criminology and Criminal Justice alumni student. In September, I will be attending the University of Victoria to begin my Juris Doctor studies. Through my honours studies and my work as a legal assistant, my drive to advocate for equity and equality continues to grow, which has fueled my aspiration to succeed in law school.

Project Summary: Within my research, and under Dr. Millar’s guidance, I analyzed how the Impact of Race and Cultural Assessments (IRCA) can be used to make decisions that prioritize the wellbeing of the defendant's children when making sentencing judgements for African and Caribbean Canadian criminal defendants. This topic allowed me to advocate for children who experience traumatic loss throughout the criminal justice system. Though my positionality as a Latina means I cannot fully understand the lived experiences of African and Caribbean Canadians, I can relate my own experiences of racism and parental loss to the circumstances in the case law I reviewed. Within my research, I found three primary findings. Firstly, during the criminal sentencing of a parental caretaker, there is an overall lack of recognition of the best interest of the child. Further, that the cultural and social networks of African and Caribbean Canadian children need to be safeguarded, and notably, the IRCA reports did not include ramifications a child may face if their parent is given a carceral sentence. 

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Adena Penner

Determinants of Salaries of First Nations Elected Chiefs in British Columbia

Faculty supervisor: Michael Batu  

Personal Note: I am currently graduating from the University of the Fraser Valley with a Bachelor of Arts. I have been a dedicated student for many years and am excited to continue my education at SFU this coming fall. I am very grateful to my family, friends, and professors that have encouraged me to come thus far, as I would not be here without them.

Project Summary: This study analyzes the First Nations elected Chiefs salaries in British Columbia and determines factors that influence their annual compensation. We used the First Nation profiles available on Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada to measure the First Nations elected Chief’s salary given the reserves dependency on government transfers and other possible socio-demographic characteristics. We also used Statistics Canada’s 2016 Census data to determine whether the community’s well-being impacted the elected Chief’s salary. Beyond the regional characteristics, our results indicate that First Nations elected Chiefs salaries increase in two ways: as population increases and when the reserve becomes less dependent on government transfers. Finally, we discuss possible reasons why these two factors result in an increase in the elected Chief’s salary and why future research on this subject should be explored.

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Caroline Zenky

Remedies for the Wounds of Supremacism

Faculty supervisor: Prabhjot Parmar  

Personal Note: I am studying to become a high school Humanities teacher after I graduate from UFV’s Bachelor of Arts program and achieve certification. I am thankful to have written this specific term paper as it has enriched my knowledge of various diasporas throughout history. 

Project Summary: The term research paper, “Remedies for the Wounds of Supremacism”, discusses the catastrophic effects of British Imperialism in regions like British East Africa and British India in two major literary works: Tariq Malik’s Nights of Kleptomania and M.G. Vassanji’s The Book of Secrets. The wounds of such violent racial supremacism have continued to be perpetuated throughout history, lasting to the present day in our globalized world. The paper suggests a remedy in the form of memory, as Malik’s and Vassanji’s narratives explore. Ultimately, it proposes that there is significant healing power within memories – whether it is holding fast to them or letting them be buried once and for all.

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Colby Stinson

Grain for Bread, Grain for Beer: Temperance and First World War Legislation on Brewing and Consumption in the United Kingdom

Faculty supervisor: Christopher Leach   

Personal Note: While podcasts, documentaries, and feature films may have brought me to the study of history, independent research has deepened my interest and fundamentally changed my relationship with the discipline of history. Researching this project allowed me the opportunity to see the interconnectivity always present when analyzing historical events. Wars, revolutions, disasters, and technological discoveries litter the pages of popular history, but it is the ways in which these great cataclysms affect the daily life of both individuals and systems that I find truly compelling. As an aspiring teacher of history and social studies, I look forward to drawing on these lessons learned through hours of scouring old newspapers to inspire students to apply their own critical lens to research and reading. 

Project Summary: This project spawned from a research roadblock on an entirely different subject. While digging through old newspapers for perspectives of Belgian refugees during the First World War, I came across a variety of articles dealing with issues of beer production and consumption. On my faculty supervisor’s suggestion to look for the ordinary within the extraordinary, I found a wealth of information on an under researched secondary effect of the war: drinking habits. 

In my discussion of beer production, changing legislation, and the temperance movement in the UK before, during, and after the war I aim to show the catalytic effect of war on societies. 

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Thomas Wilson

Representing the Past and the Present: Consumption, Nostalgia, and The Simpsons

Faculty supervisor: Darren Blakeborough 

Personal Note: Thomas is a third-year English student with a minor in Media & Communications and an interest in rhetoric, semiotics, identity, and pop culture. Upon successful completion of his BA, he will pursue an MA in the sphere of Media & Culture and eventually obtain a Ph.D. This project gave him the unique opportunity to blend his academic and personal interests to expand upon what he noticed as a common, albeit latent, thread that permeates much of the literature on The Simpsons. 

Project Summary: This paper looks at presentations of nostalgia in both cultural artifacts in The Simpsons and the show itself. Specifically, I examine the appearance of the Simpson family’s television set and family heirlooms before turning to the series and its merchandise. Through semiotic analysis, it becomes clear that nostalgia is closely linked to postmodern parody, highlighting the differences between not only the past and present, but the perceptions of the individual in relation to other consumers. In this sense, nostalgia can subvert our understandings of cultural or political history and reify oppositional readings of the text. Above all, these findings suggest that media literacy is at the center of our ability to render invisible the many ways that consumption permeates Western capitalist society. 

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Ian Boese

Ontological Conceptions of Possible Worlds

Faculty supervisor: Wayne Henry 

Personal Note: I am a 4th year philosophy major, hoping to continue on to law school, with a particular interest in Indigenous law. I became interested in modal logic after completing an introductory course in symbolic logic, thinking that more study in that area would prepare me for taking the LSAT. What I found is that considering modality is philosophy at its imaginative best, and that so many ostensibly tangential issues are tied up in the concept, making it rewarding to consider and study.

Project Summary: The project titled, “Ontological Conceptions of Possible Worlds,” concerns the ontological and epistemological foundations of a consistent philosophical theory of possible worlds. So-called ‘Possible Worlds’ theories are concerned with the nature of intentional discourse that occurs in natural languages and are taken to have great promise for understanding the semantics of meaningful discourse. There are currently a few distinct theories, while all problematic in some ways, that are most promising for making sense of possible worlds ontology. This project critically surveys these theories and (somewhat gently) favours a particular conception prominently articulated by Nicholas Rescher. In addition to the light shed on the meaningfulness of natural language, the theory holds great promise for illuminating the nature and power of imagination, arguably one of the most distinctive traits of human cognition. 

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Adam Magalhães

Guns for Hire: The Corporatization of Conflict - The growth of the mercenary phenomenon since the end of the Cold War and their threat to a Liberal world order

Faculty supervisor: Edward Akuffo

Personal Note: I am a third-year Political Science major with studies focused on geopolitics, political philosophy and security. I can hardly tell what the future holds for me given how much of a non-linear path I have blazed so far: from being uninvolved at the university to answering the call of student governance and serving as a bridge between Political Science students and faculty. This research paper was a culmination of my disciplinary interests in geopolitics and security as much as it was the impact of videogames I played growing up that addressed the issue of mercenaries.

Project Summary: This paper examines the prevalence of mercenaries in world history, and how private military and security companies (PMSCs) used to operate under a legal vacuum—and how to some extent they still do. Furthermore, it addresses the standing of the industry as it relates to international law and conventions such as the UN’s International Convention Against the Recruitment, Financing and Training of Mercenaries. More importantly, it discusses the incompatibility of an industry whose business model revolves around war profiteering and where profits come second to none with a liberal order that prioritizes peace and human rights. This conundrum is even more concerning considering the increasing role of Russian and Chinese private military companies around the world and how they operate under different rules. 

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Michelle Grafton

Mind the (Empathy) Gap: Using moral reframing to increase empathy and change COVID-19 vaccination attitudes across the left-right political divide 

Faculty supervisor: Sven Van de Wetering

Personal Note: I am currently an undergraduate student at the University of the Fraser Valley, where I will graduate this spring with a BA in psychology and extended minor in sociology. During my time as a student, I have been fortunate enough to work as a research assistant for the Community Health and Social Innovation Hub (CHASI) at UFV, as well as conduct original research such as the directed studies project which is receiving this award. I hope to continue my work in social and psychological research and pursue a graduate degree in the near future.

Project Summary: Existing research demonstrates that people’s moral values tend to differ with their political orientation. Using a technique called moral reframing, this online study explores whether framing COVID-19 messaging using moral values which appeal to conservatives (loyalty) versus liberals (fairness) are effective in changing participants' COVID-19 vaccination attitudes and/or effective in increasing empathy towards people of differing vaccination statuses. This study is the first to apply moral reframing to COVID-19 vaccination messaging and directly increasing empathy, and results may be used to increase efficacy of real-world vaccination messaging, as well as bridge the ‘empathy gap’ that often exists between people of differing political orientations.  

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Brooke Higginbottom

“I don’t need to have sex to know that I don’t like it”: Asexual perspectives and experiences of romantic and sexual relationships

Faculty supervisor: Kathleen Rodgers 

Personal Note: This semester was the end of my third year here at UFV. I am a sociology major, and my goal in studying sociology is to impact our understandings and constructions of everything to do with gender, sexuality, and sexual health. Moving forward, I hope to continue my education to achieve a Master's in Sociology. I plan on continuing my research into other lesser-known aspects of gender, sexuality, and sexual health.

Project Summary: Over the past year, I realized that I am asexual. I wanted to incorporate this part of my identity into my studies, so, when given the opportunity, I decided to study the experiences of other asexuals. I realized that there were many gaps within the existing research about asexuality, so I took the opportunity to not only address those gaps, but to use my project as a way to educate others. I found that the experiences of asexual people vary greatly from person to person, as the asexual spectrum goes beyond our basic understandings of sexuality. There is no way to capture every asexual experience within a single statement or paper. The sexual identities of asexual people actively deconstruct mainstream norms and ideas of relationships, romance, and sexual attraction. Many of the people in my study were aware of this and provided insightful comments on the construction of attraction.

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Mia Davison

“Performing Pain Under the Big Top" / "Just, Only, and Still Human"

Faculty supervisor: Heather Davis-Fisch  

Personal Note: Mia Davison is a graduating student of the University of the Fraser Valley’s theatre program. At the same time, she trained in a professional acrobatic program. She’s excited to apply her learning and experience from both as she begins studying education. 

Project Summary: “Performing Pain Under the Big Top” is a paper that compiled and discussed information suggesting and confirming the alarming prevalence of normalized pain in artistic, physical performance, and specifically in circus. I was able to anecdotally research through my own experiences in circus, as well as through theatre, physical therapy, and sociology sources. This paper helped me realize a darker side behind the bright big top. 

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Faculty of Health Sciences

Katrina Frankenberger

The Feasibility of an Online Progressive Resistance Training Program with Instability for Individuals with Parkinson’s Disease: A Pilot Study

Faculty supervisor: Gilliant Hatfield 

Personal Note: I am extremely grateful to the School of Kinesiology at UFV for providing numerous opportunities to learn about research in a hands-on setting, all of which led me to gain the skills needed to complete this pilot project. After graduation, I plan to gain practical experience in the field working with various populations, before applying to graduate school to study clinical exercise physiology. In the long term, I hope to purse post-secondary teaching as well as continuing to investigate how exercise can be used to improve the quality of life for people who suffer from chronic conditions, and work directly with those patients.   

Project Summary: This pilot study looked at the feasibility of an online exercise program for people with Parkinson’s Disease through a randomized control trial. Though Parkinson’s has no cure, there are a host of benefits to participating in regular physical activity. During COVID-19, face-to-face exercise classes were cancelled; therefore, we looked at whether the benefits of physical activity could be replicated in an online environment. The study found clinically significant changes when comparing control and intervention groups. These changes suggest that online programs could be beneficial, though more research needs to be conducted in this area. Outside of COVID-19, online classes could increase accessibility of care for people who live in rural areas, do not have access to transportation, or cannot afford in person classes. 

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Nicole Cusick

Exploring D/deaf and hard of hearing people's experiences in the Canadian healthcare system

Faculty supervisor: Shelley Canning  

Personal Note: I am a fourth-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing student passionate about Deaf-aware healthcare. In the future, I plan to pursue nurse practitioner training and provide Deaf-aware primary care services to D/deaf and hard of hearing patients, including services in American Sign Language. 

Project Summary: The purpose of this study was to identify the healthcare barriers experienced by D/deaf and hard of hearing people and to explore how healthcare professionals can provide Deaf-aware care. Poor communication, attitudes of healthcare providers, and the inaccessibility of services were themes that revealed a significant lack of Deaf-awareness in the Canadian healthcare system. A lack of access to sign language interpreters, especially in urgent situations, left participants feeling isolated from their health and medical care. Experiences of poor communication compromise fundamental healthcare principles of patient safety, health literacy, and informed consent. Changes are needed to support the provision of a system that is accessible and Deaf-aware. Examples include ensuring streamlined and emergency access to interpreters, using clear face masks, and educating healthcare professionals on sign language and Deaf culture.

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Faculty of Health Sciences

Addy Schnider, Trisha Kumar

Stop for Squirrels, Speed up for my Manager: An Exploration of Supervisor-Perpetrated Mistreatment in Front-Line Service Work

Faculty supervisor: Kirsten Robertson 

Personal Note: Addy - As a Bachelor of Arts student with a double minor in business and communications and aspiring HR professional, Addy (she/her) is always looking for opportunities to get involved in the UFV community. This qualitative research project has allowed Addy to explore her interest in organizational behaviour and pursue her passion for lifelong learning. Trisha - I am a fourth-year student working towards a Bachelor of Business Administration Honors degree in finance. After completing my undergraduate degree, I intend to pursue a Master of Science in Finance degree. This project has allowed me to develop the skills necessary to succeed in a rigorous, research-oriented graduate program.

Project Summary: We explored the experience of direct (i.e., being mistreated oneself) and third-party (i.e., observing co-worker mistreatment) supervisor mistreatment in the service industry. Through in-depth interviews with 35 service industry workers, we developed a framework of responses consisting of four categories. Within these four categories, we identified contrasting responses between experienced and observed mistreatment. We outlined the implications of our research for the mistreatment literature and service organizations.

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Chanzo Muema

Social Embodiment of Companion Robots in Smart Spaces: IoRT for Independent Living

Faculty supervisor: Amir Shabani 

Personal Note: I recently graduated from UFV’s Bachelor of Science program, majoring in Computer Science. During my final year, I began research with the Interactive Intelligent Systems and Computing research group under the supervision of Dr. Amir Shabani. Engaging with the research group has greatly assisted with my securing multiple related career opportunities in software engineering. I intend to continue the research we began and eventually pursue a master’s degree in Computer Science with a focus on affective computing.   

Project Summary: Our system introduces a human-centered Artificial Intelligence (AI) approach to support independent living by providing immersive interactions between humans, robots, and their environments. We aim to have a socially intelligent robot equipped with personalized machine learning (ML) capability that can assist with daily human activities and improve the quality of life for individuals (e.g. dementia patients). We used AI and ML to aid in smart space control, and to improve emotion and mood through affective computing. To make it scalable, we developed a method to remotely control these social companion robots (SCR) using an augmented reality (AR) interface. Furthermore, we developed a means to use a SCR to carry an audio conversation and one-way video feed with a centralized controller wearing an AR headset. To improve the mood of the individual, we integrated Google Assistant so that the SCR can interact with a smart environment (toggle lights, temperature, music, etc.).

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Faculty of Health Sciences

Heather Kelly

The Investigation of LNP-siRNA Formulations for Rainbow Trout Fish Cell Lines Through the Examination of Cellular Uptake and Reporter Gene Knockdown In Vitro

Faculty supervisor: Justin Lee  

Personal Note: This past semester I completed my Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Biology. Throughout my degree I had the incredible opportunity to be involved in research, which allowed me to gain vital skills for both my academic and professional future. I chose to conduct my research on the use of lipid nanoparticles in aquaculture due to the therapeutic use of LNPs and their multiple applications. In the future, I hope to continue my education by working towards my goal of becoming a family doctor.

Project Summary: LNP-mRNAs have gained extreme popularity in the last year as they are the major component of the Pfizer (Comirnaty) and Moderna (Spikevax) COVID-19 vaccines. Our project aims at transitioning this technology to benefit fish health, with the end goal of creating a new branch of aquaculture therapeutics. Encapsulating siRNA into LNPs can potentially be utilized to treat RNA fish viruses, including viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV). We have been testing LNP-siRNA systems in a variety of fish cell lines in vitro to examine cellular uptake, gene silencing, and cytotoxicity. We also wanted to determine if this delivery platform is suitable for aquaculture. Results indicate that LNP-siRNAs are successfully taken up by the tested fish cell lines and that there are no significant cytotoxic effects.  

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Bach Nguyen

Investigating novel monometallic Bis-amidoanilino metal complexes as small molecule activation catalyst

Faculty supervisor: Linus Chiang 

Personal Note: I am currently studying at Simon Fraser University to pursue my Master’s degree with Prof. Warren. I graduated from UFV last Fall with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. Research at UFV with Prof. Linus Chiang has developed my interest in working with the application of inorganic to catalyst design. During my time at UFV, the research prepared me to work well in my graduate studies as it shares many similarities. My research at UFV focused on designing new copper complexes to be used for CO2 reduction. The project gives me a chance to create a catalyst from the beginning (literature research, lab work experience, problem-solving).

Project Summary: Functional groups that coordinate the metal center of an inorganic compound can greatly influence its electrochemical behaviour or the potential at which an oxidation or reduction reaction will occur. A widely studied class tetradentate ligand is the salen ligand, which is popular due to its ease of synthesis, allowing for a near-endless permutation of different complexes to be investigated. My project focus on creating a related class of tetradentate ligands. It can be used for different metalation reactions and will be explored using optical and electrochemical methods established in the Chiang research group. I successfully made the target ligand for my project, which can be further studied and developed as a catalyst for CO2 reduction by my lab-mate at UFV.  

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Jennifer Heldt

The Impact of Urbanization on the Water Quality Within Stoney Creek, Abbotsford, BC: A deeper look into the correlation in temperature and dissolved oxygen

Faculty supervisor: Steven Marsh

Personal Note: I am currently an undergraduate student at the University of the Fraser Valley, where I will be graduating this summer in the Environmental Studies (Natural Science) program. I have greatly enjoyed my education at UFV thanks to the amazing instructors and students that helped me along the way. I decided to pursue this project due to my passion for research and conserving the environment.

Project Summary: We are all aware of the current impacts our Earth is facing with anthropogenic activities, but how much do we know about the impacts happening in our own backyards. This project allowed me to further my research by sampling the water in our local creeks. Stoney Creek is the main focus of this project which runs through residential areas in Clayburn. This leaves the water at risk of pollution and becoming contaminated. Due to this, it is extremely important to continuously keep up to date on the water quality of these watercourses. Water quality parameters (temperature, dissolved oxygen, specific conductivity, turbidity, ORP, and pH) data were collected from 2015 to 2022. This project focuses on dissolved oxygen and temperature and how they alter over the years. This project brings awareness to our vulnerable resources that need to be monitored. 

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Faculty of Health Sciences

Lauren Rae Peterson

How do Canadian LGBTQIA+ Students Experience School?

Faculty supervisor: Nikki Yee 

Personal Note: I am an adult student returning to university after 15 years with the goal of completing a bachelor’s degree in Integrated Studies focusing on English, education, and international studies, to eventually teach English overseas. Engaging in this research project helped me to consider and learn more about student experiences, open up about my own personal growth, and hopefully bring attention to an important yet severely under-researched subject.

Project Summary: I wanted to explore how Canadian LGBTQIA2S+ youth experience school and how K-12 SOGI programs could help, however I had a very hard time finding relevant research on the subject. Presenting my project like a classic storybook, I told a story based on my own experiences about how “Ivy”, a non-heteronormative person, experienced childhood, education, and adulthood. I then connected BC and Canadian student survey results with plot points in the story, in an effort to help the reader connect with and understand the research data on a deep and empathetic level. There is a disturbingly large disparity between how well the average student rated their mental health in comparison to trans and non-binary youth, as well as how much more often trans, non-binary, and non-heterosexual youth experienced bullying and discrimination. In fact, 36% of Canadian trans and non-binary youth aged 14-25 reported feeling UNSAFE at school in 2019, which is completely unacceptable. 

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Sara Hoffman

Transformative community development in the 21st century: A Canadian guide

Faculty supervisor: Brianna Strumm 

Personal Note: Sara graduates this year with a Bachelor of Social Work degree. Her supervisors note: “Sara’s contributions have exceeded the Research Assistant job description, as she participated in editorial meetings with our Oxford University Press editors, and provided, from the lens of an upper level BSW student, a valuable review of content that has helped shape our vision of the book.“Sara’s work has been highly valuable and, additionally, she is reliable, punctual, responsive, professional, and manages her time extremely well. We wish her all the best in her future endeavors and are sad to see her go!”

Project Summary: Transformative Community Development in the 21st Century will be an indispensable resource for Canadian postsecondary students interested in a comprehensive, up-to-date, practical textbook on community development. It will provide an overview of community development theory, history, and ethics as well as a practical guide to developing skills and strategies essential for engaging diverse communities in transformative community development initiatives. Sara’s duties included reading drafts of completed chapters to provide a student perspective on content and offering suggestions to make chapters more student-friendly and identifying important curriculum that has been left out or underemphasized.     

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"(Research has) been a really sweet way to optimize my time at school. Looking back, I’m so grateful that I did this. It has truly been a highlight to work under Shelley (Canning). She has been a wonderful mentor and has impacted me and my nursing practice immensely."

  • – Rosaley Klassen
  •    BSN

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