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Research and Graduate Studies

URE Awards

About the URE awards

Each year, the UFV Research Office presents Undergraduate Research Excellence (URE) Awards to students who have conducted high-calibre research as part of the UFV Work Study program, as research assistants, or for an outstanding project as part of a course.

Departments/Schools are invited to submit nominations for their best research student for projects done in the past year.

Additional awards are available for the best:

  • Community Service Research project completed by a student with a community service agency
  • Indigenous Research project completed by a student on an Indigenous related topic, or research done by an Indigenous student
  • Community Engagement Research project completed by a student with a regional community partner

A celebration event is held in Spring to acknowledge the students and their research supervisors.  


The URE awards started as a one-time opportunity back in 2004 to disperse funds raised through a VW Beetle raffle. The event was so well received, UFV decided to make it an annual event! It has become the highlight event for the Research Office, which has dispersed over $270,000 to students through these awards over the last 15 years.

The Globe and Mail recognizes UFV's commitment to undergraduate research in their 2017 Canadian University Report:

"UFV students are encouraged to pursue their own research, even at the undergraduate level, to increase their chances of obtaining scholarships, awards and graduate-school positions. The university's Research, Engagement, and Graduate Studies office hosts an annual dinner to celebrate the research conducted by undergraduates; this year, UFV awarded more than $22,000 to 37 promising students."

2023 URE Awards Program

2022 URE Awards Program

Meet the 2023 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

School of Business and Computing

Faculty of Science

Faculty of Education, Community, and Human Development

Community Service Research Award

Carter Johannes and Saba Berenjiforooshazar

Extreme Heat Mapping

Faculty supervisor: Mariano Mapoli

Carter's Personal Note: Carter is a Physical Geography major at UFV who plans to complete the Geographic Information Systems certificate. The research he has done has broadened his view to the universal applicability of GIS and he hopes to continue to use the technology for many years to come in his career or otherwise. 

Saba's Personal Note: I, Saba Berenjforooshazar am currently an international student at UFV. I came to Canada with an associate degree in computer software engineering from IAU in Tehran, Iran. I started my journey at UFV in the Fall of 2022 and hope to complete my GIS Certificate in the Fall of 2023. At UFV, I have dedicated a consistent daily effort towards my career expectations of becoming a GIS Spatial Analyst. Participating in the “Extreme Heat Mapping” project and working alongside SLUEC professors and other students, has been a transformative experience for me, as it has provided me with the opportunity to acquire new data analysis skills which enhanced my GIS education significantly. I owe a great deal of my success in this regard to the expert guidance and meticulous instructions provided to me by Dr. Mapili, whose skillful tutelage enabled me to process the information with utmost accuracy and precision.   

Project Summary: Extreme heat maps produced before the heat dome event of summer 2021 were regional in scope, the spatial unit of analysis used is either the Census Tract or Dissemination Areas, and the temperature data used were calculated estimates from satellites. All problematic for a heat map that will be used at the local level. We created an extreme heat GIS based not only on Census data, but also local/municipal data. We started with the development of the Mission Mapping Units (MMU) based on a combination of Dissemination Block and Property Parcels. Next, we identified the Most Vulnerable Parcels (MVPs) which contained the most vulnerable population. We used ground stations for temperature data to drive our Mission Climate Map (MCM), and finally, we created several scenarios for municipal planners including the use of the Mission Community Assets (MCA) to mitigate the extreme heat.

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Indigenous Research Award

Fergus Dalton

Critical Health Psychology: Medicine Walk

Faculty supervisor: Carey DeMichelis

Personal Note: I’m a fourth-year psychology student at UFV who had little interest in research prior to my first brush with it in a Directed Studies project completed in winter 2022. Since then, it’s become a passion. My goal now is to advance to graduate school to become an experimental psychology researcher and faculty member at a university like this one, and I hope to contribute to the field by applying a critical eye to all the faults and assumptions which have led to the replication crisis today. 

Project Summary: On-brand with my usual deviation from the norm of assignment instructions, in my Health Psychology presentation on Indigenous Health, I diverged from the PowerPoint method and took the class for a medicine walk. Rather than citing academic sources, I consulted with my Métis Elders on traditional Indigenous medicines and scoured the UFV property in search of native plants in order to teach the subject the way it was traditionally taught. For the presentation, I took the class outside, pointing out the medicines that Elders Joe and Lorelei had mentioned to me, highlighting the historical context and cultural differences to colonial conceptions of medicine and health. Upon returning inside, I provided a prepared tea with the class from medicines I’d harvested myself and shared about my family’s experience with residential schools. The presentation aimed to highlight how colonial conceptions of health diverge from traditional teachings while emphasizing the value that indigenous methods provide through engaging, hands-on learning.

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College of Arts

Jenna Duffin

Is Virtual Reality Social Media: Questioning the Constraints and Possibilities of Fully-Immersive and Social VR

Faculty supervisor: Nicole Stewart

Personal Note: I am a fourth year Bachelor of Arts student and am currently completing a major in communications and a minor in business. As I near the end of my studies, I hope to pursue an internship with the Canadian Federal Government through the 2024 Parliamentary Internship Programme. In the future, I would love to continue my academic journey and achieve a Master of Arts in Communications. My time at UFV has allowed me to grow, not only academically, but personally. I have had the opportunity to continuously challenge myself through my studies, which has given me the ability to create a clear plan for long-term academic and professional success.

Project Summary: This project explores the notion that, while social VR (metaverse applications) are forms of social media, fully-immersive hardware platforms (i.e. Quest 2 head-mounted displays) are not forms of social media. Using a theoretical approach, the study proposes that the four parameters for social media (a framework inspired by Aichner et al, 2021) and the theories of Networked and Refracted Publics (specifically the dynamics and conditions) must exist simultaneously within a particular network for it to be considered “social media”. Discourse analysis was used to analyze the testimonies of research subjects, mainly, occurrences in which subjects compared, contrasted, or linked virtual reality technologies to the required characteristics of social media. The main results of the study provide that, while the four parameters for social media and the frameworks of networked and refracted publics exist within social VR, they are largely absent within VR as a technology platform. These findings are significant, as they not only create new potential for how “social media” can be defined, but also explicitly link the theories of networked and refracted publics with social VR applications.

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Isaac Barker

Searching for a Solution: A Qualitative Study into the Challenges Facing Canadian Search and Rescue Agencies

Faculty supervisor: Irwin Cohen

Personal Note: I will be graduating this June after 5 years at UFV with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) degree in Criminal Justice with an extended Minor in Psychology. I have always had the intention of becoming a lawyer and I am continuing this pursuit at the University of Birmingham in the UK this upcoming September. The driving force behind my focus for this project stems from the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the disappearance and recovery of a friend along the Fraser River. The subsequent involvement and efforts of Search and Rescue, despite the terrible situation, was truly amazing to witness and helped me to better understand the crucial role they play across the country. This project allowed me to build my understanding of research methods and honor someone close to me in a meaningful and impactful way. I am grateful for the opportunity Dr. Irwin Cohen and UFV’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice has provided me. 

Project Summary: This study explores the perceptions of a sample of SAR members about the current human, financial, and technological challenges facing SAR in British Columbia. Utilizing a convenient sample of SAR members, six in-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted. Using an inductive approach to data analysis, themes, and patterns were extracted following the completion of the interview process. The underlying patterns include an increase in caseloads, the influences of global warming, problems associated with funding and fundraising, structural challenges in training methodologies, burnout, as well as, administrative and collaborative struggles between SAR groups. Much of the findings of the current study support similar results found in previous qualitative and quantitative research. Considering these findings, the present study demonstrates a need for additional research into this subject matter and consideration for improved training methods, different strategies for obtaining funds, and tactics for addressing burnout and a growing annual caseload.

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Joel Pedersen and Justin Manalo

An extension of “The Luxury of Lockdown”

Faculty supervisor: Bosu Seo

Joel's Personal Note: I have recently graduated from the University of the Fraser Valley with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration. I have recently started a new position at Gulf and Fraser as an investment specialist. I plan on continuing education by getting my CFA and/or CFP. Research throughout university has helped me develop my technical skill assessment and problem-solving capabilities which is paramount in my field of work.

Justin's Personal Note: My future aspirations are to pursue a career in banking. Regarding my engagement in research, it has helped me recognize underlying attributes that are the foundations of a successful student, such as the commitment to exceed expectations, and proper organization of personal activities while spending critical time to contribute to this project. Nonetheless, Joel and I were dedicated to do this project because after finding interest in “Luxury of Lockdown”, constructed by Mehdi Shiva and Hassan Molana, we believed that extension of the article would be possible to unlock new findings inspired by their work.

Project Summary: To reflect upon the project to which Joel Pederson and I have constructed, it investigates the impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic between countries depending on whether they were an under-developed or developed nation. Particularly, our work identifies how the pandemic has shifted the way that countries act and how they respond, while accounting for their economic status and the deaths that have accumulated. The data that we have collected illustrates the significance of a variety of important aspects such as the difference in COVID-19 testing, life expectancy, and contrasting number of deaths, which are investigated in respective hypotheses. Nonetheless, our data compliments the data presented in Shiva's article because it shows correlations which may have strengthened the conclusions made by Shiva and Molana.

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Sarah Brown

From the Phonetic Alphabet to AI-Powered Large Language Models: A Study of Writing Technology and Culture

Faculty supervisor: Hilary Turner

Personal Note: I graduated from BCIT’s Marketing Management program in 2017 with many unanswered questions like “how did we get to the present moment” and “why are things the way they are.” I transferred to UFV in 2018 and was thrilled to be in a stimulating environment surrounded by students and professors interested in similar questions. I am very grateful to finish the fourth year of my English Honours degree with an undergraduate research project. This opportunity to dive into deep questions about how we think and live is exactly the experience I was craving at BCIT, and I was lucky to do so under the mentorship of Dr. Turner. I intend to start my Master’s studies in English in the next year or so and am interested in doing interdisciplinary research at the graduate level.

Project Summary: The project titled “From the Phonetic Alphabet to AI-Powered Large Language Models: A Study of Writing Technology and Culture” considers the progression of communication technologies from ancient Greece to the natural language processing of the present. This paper contextualizes models like ChatGPT within Rhetoric and Media Studies by applying Marshall McLuhan’s and Walter J. Ong’s theories to the artificially intelligent language models. McLuhan argues that each technological innovation produces a profound remodelling of the human interpretation of experience, and this paper compares past large-scale readjustments of human consciousness to one brought about by adopting this new technology. This project connects contemporary technologies based on large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT and the proceeding, equally revolutionary discoveries of alphabetic writing, print technologies, and electric forms of communication in language (such as radio, cinema, and television).

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Jaclyn Drummond

The Risk Would be Small but Why Take it at All? An Examination of Anti-Vaccinators in British Columbia's 1892 Coastal Smallpox Epidemic

Faculty supervisor: Keith Carlson

Personal Note: I completed my Bachelor of Arts degree with a History major and Art History extended minor in December of 2022. Since my third year I have had the opportunity to work for Dr. Keith Carlson as a research assistant and now as his research coordinator. I have been accepted into the Dual Master of Archival Studies and Library and Information Studies at UBC and will begin my studies there in September of this year.

Project Summary: After a relatively healthy 30 years, the province of British Columbia was hit with yet another smallpox epidemic in 1892. Smallpox had ravaged the entire province in 1862 with particularly large death tolls among Indigenous peoples. This time, smallpox found its target in B.C.’s main coastal cities: Victoria, Vancouver, and New Westminster. At the close of the epidemic a Royal Commission was called together, headed by Judge Matthew Baillie Begbie and Doctor Emil Arnold Praeger, to investigate how smallpox had entered the city through two questions of inquiry: “What was the channel and means of the introduction of the epidemic?” and “How and why did this visitation become epidemic?” Remarkably, although the minutes of evidence from the Commission and accompanying documents have all been preserved in paper (non-digital format) in the BC Archives, scholars have overlooked them, and as such their contents have not been able to contribute to discussions into the history public health in British Columbia and in particular, into the history of the anti-vaccination movement. What these records reveal is that despite the presence of debate over certain scientific facts, the core anti-vaccinator argument in 1892, like today, anchored around individual rights and opposition to government overreach into citizen’s lives. This focus also reveals subtle ways in which the anti-vaccinator rhetoric of human rights was deployed in methods that sought to reinforce racial and ethnic divisions within British Columbia.

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Avery Fraser

Why Do Female Fans Love True Crime?

Faculty supervisor: Chantelle Marlor

Personal Note: Avery is completing her BA, majoring in Sociology, with a social research concentration, and minoring in Global Development. She feels that research has enhanced her education by providing her with practical skills, such as qualitative data analysis skills, that will benefit her in the future. After graduating, she hopes to attend law school.

Project Summary: Despite the vast array of true crime content and its prominence in today's mainstream media landscape, the true crime audience and the precise motivations or reasonings behind why female fans are fascinated with true crime content remain a mystery. Therefore, Avery's qualitative research project seeks to understand why female fans are fascinated with true crime. By employing a uses and gratifications theoretical frame (Katz, 1959), Avery's research aims to expand on and confirm previous researchers' findings concerning why female fans gravitate to and are fascinated with true crime content across a variety of media forms (e.g., books, documentaries, and podcasts). Avery conducted two semi-structured interviews with two female interviewees for her project and identified six key themes as to why female fans are fascinated with true crime content, including escapism, convenience and availability, learning opportunities, psychological content, relatability, and for some female fans, an emotional connection or investment with the (usually female) victim in the true crime content they are consuming. When engaging with true crime content, female fans vicariously experience horrific crimes and acts of violence and, ultimately, survive.

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Reuben Louwerse

A Defense of Richard Taylor's Principle of Sufficient Reason

Faculty supervisor: Jeff Morgan

Personal Note: I’m doing a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Philosophy and an extended minor in History. My passion is for philosophy, especially philosophy of religion, and I look forward to more deeply studying topics in this area in the future.

Project Summary: My paper, A Defense of Richard Taylor’s Principle of Sufficient Reason, is exactly what it sounds like. It takes the Principle of Sufficient Reason that Richard Taylor put forward in his cosmological argument for God’s existence, which states that any positive truth has a sufficient reason which makes it true, and defends it against two objections: Van Inwagen’s Modal Collapse Argument and Mackie’s “No Justification” Objection. If my defenses are successful, then two objections to a crucial premise of Taylor’s argument are removed, and the argument is one step closer to successfully arguing for the existence of God.

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Muskan Manhas

“I Think I Wear the Pants!”: Role of Perceived Power in Sense of Control & Wellbeing Within Romantic Relationships

Faculty supervisor: Zoe Francis

Personal Note: After completing my Bachelor of Arts degree at UFV this semester with a major in Psychology Honours and a minor in English, I will be attending Acadia University in Nova Scotia this Fall to complete a Master of Science degree in Clinical Psychology. Both my mental health journey and the experiences of those close to me have caused me to gravitate towards Psychology, making me motivated to make a positive difference in the lives of others. As such, I ultimately wish to complete a PhD in Clinical Psychology which will allow me to work as a clinical psychologist and professor/researcher. I am incredibly thankful to UFV for many enriching opportunities, such as the UFV Student-led Research Grant which allowed me to conduct my research the way I had always envisioned it. Finally, I am especially grateful for my supervisor Dr. Zoë Francis, whose guidance and mentorship I will never forget.

Project Summary: Relationship power refers to the ability to influence a romantic partner’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviours to reach a desired goal or to resolve a conflict. Additionally, power dynamics play a major role on a range of romantic relationship outcomes (i.e. satisfaction, adjustment, quality, conflict resolution). While the relationship between perceived power and relationship outcomes which impact mental health has been studied, the direct relationship between perceived power and mental health has not previously been considered. Furthermore, research considering the role of traditional gender norms and aggression in perceived power and its effects has been contradictory. Thus, my research looked at whether low perceived power was associated with a diminished sense of control and well-being, following a disagreement with a romantic partner. 

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Sterling Kai Pollock

Ghosting of Sumas Lake Research Book

Faculty supervisor: Shelley Liebembuk

Personal Note: Sterling Kai took on the roll as Dramaturge/Assistant Director for the Theatre production of Ghosting of Sumas Lake in fall 2022. The extensive resource book that Sterling Kai produced of the draining of the lake, and previous floods, Indigenous perspectives and the original flora and fauna of the history of the lake became extremely valuable for the theatre production and led to other projects including a exhibition at the S’eliyemetaxwtexw Art Gallery.

Project Summary: The research project originally consisted of my compiling information on the Sumas Lake in British Columbia, with the aim of creating dramaturgical research to share with the cast of the fall 2022 Theatre devised production of Ghosting of Sumas Lake, conceived and directed by Dr. Michelle LaFlamme.
My instructor and director, Dr. Michelle LaFlamme, told me to try to answer the who, what, why, and how it got drained. Who was responsible, why did they choose to drain it, and what were the repercussions of the draining?
In the end, I ended up with over 300 pages of text, video links, and photos. This was both exciting and concerning for its magnitude. This research in edited form made it into the book and supported the fall 2022 Theatre devised production of Ghosting of Sumas Lake.”

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Brielle Quon

Relocation Camp - The Remains of Tashme: Social Landscape Photography

Faculty supervisor: Grace Tsurumaru

Personal Note: Brielle Quon will be graduating with a double extended minor in Visual Arts and Graphic Design this August. She has always found photography to be a useful tool in both fields of art and design as it has taught her professionalism in how to document information. Her project idea stemmed from a passion for the location of the site as it is where her cabin is located.

Project Summary: Brielle's series delves into themes of social landscape photography, offering a profound exploration of the space occupied by Tashme’s remaining structures. It explores the human impact on the landscape during a significant historical event. To capture these structures, Brielle used a large format 4x5 camera for its ability to capture intricate details precisely. The meticulous process of using this camera further compelled the photographer to focus and ensure precision in every shot. In order to gain a deeper understanding of the significance of the remaining structures at Tashme, thorough research into the site's history was undertaken. Brielle researched what life was like at the relocation camp and the ways these structures were utilized. As the structures of Tashme persist, they serve as a reminder of the passage of time in a place not forgotten.

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Faculty of Health Sciences

Greg Luesink

Investigating the Effect of Eight Week Hangboard and Handheld Training Methods on Finger Strength and Endurance in Intermediate and Advanced Rock Climbers

Faculty supervisor: Cynthia Thomson

Personal Note: I started rock climbing in my first year of university, and this has directed a lot of my goals. One day I would like to work as a physiotherapist for climbers and other outdoor athletes. I wasn't offered a spot in the UBC MPT program for this fall, so I am planning to work as a Kinesiologist to gain some experience before I reapply. This project gave me an opportunity to simultaneously learn about the research process and do it in an area that I am passionate about.

Project Summary: Having rehabbed from several climbing-related finger injuries myself, I wanted to test different training devices for improving finger strength in climbers, while mitigating injury risk. Specifically, comparing conventional hangboard training to pinch block and crimp block devices, which have not been empirically tested. Overall, I found that all three training methods had similar improvements for finger strength and endurance over time, measured by hangboard, pinch block, and crimp block tests. Only one significant difference between groups was found. For Left Hand Pinch Block Endurance, the Pinch Block training group outperformed the Crimp Block training group. This supports the Specificity principle of training - Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands. Pinch Block training may be the safest and most versatile due to portability, low training load, and activation of both the finger flexors and extensors, all of which may be important for preventing injury of the fingers, hand, and wrist.

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Jasleen Brar

Implementing a Dementia-Friendly Care Approach for Cancer Patients Living with Dementia

Faculty supervisor: Shelley Canning

Personal Note: I am going into my fourth year of Bachelor of Sciences in Nursing degree. After graduation, I plan to work at the Abbotsford Regional Hospital’s medical unit and eventually move to the emergency department. In the future, I also plan to pursue my Master’s degree in Nursing. I am very grateful to be involved in this research study with Dr. Shelley Canning which has helped me recognize barriers that impact healthcare providers and patient care. I am excited to continue working as a research assistant and help develop an education module to improve cancer care practices at BC Cancer.

Project Summary: The purpose of this study is to develop and implement a dementia-friendly education module and recommendations for improving cancer care practices at BC Cancer. The study will follow a qualitative design and ethnographic approach. The study consists of two phases. Phase one explores experiences of patients with both diagnoses of cancer and dementia, their caregivers, and their care providers. Currently, the team is gathering data via participant observations and interviews. Early findings reveal lack of formal dementia diagnoses, lack of dementia education, gaps in care provider communication, and increased patient safety risk during treatment. Once data analysis is complete, phase two will begin, which includes developing a dementia awareness education module. This phase will also include practice recommendations for BC Cancer healthcare professionals and an evaluation of the education module. This research study will help develop evidence-based practices that are necessary to provide safe, high-quality, dementia-friendly care to cancer patients.

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School of Business and Computing

Saransh Ahuja

Improving Deep Learning methods for Speech Emotion Recognition

Faculty supervisor: Amir Shabani

Personal Note: As a high-achieving student and a dedicated participant in esports, my intellectual tenacity is mirrored in my academic excellence, earning me a place on the Dean's List. My entrepreneurial spirit led me to start my own company, and I've also been making substantial impacts in the top departments of a prestigious organization, demonstrating my versatility and commitment to innovation.

Project Summary: This paper presents a fine-tuned ChatGPT approach for emotion recognition and regulation in social companion robots. The methodology involves feature extraction using MFCC, CQT, and Mel spectrograms, speech-to-text conversion, and fusion of emotional features for accurate emotion recognition. The RAVDESS dataset is employed for training and evaluation, showcasing high accuracy in emotion recognition and the effectiveness of the fine-tuned ChatGPT API in regulating emotions during human-robot interactions. The integration of this system into social companion robots holds potential in healthcare, education, and elderly care, fostering more engaging and emotionally supportive interactions.

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Faculty of Science

Mack Frost

Can GA3 and tryptophan increase flower production in strawberry plants?

Faculty supervisor: Lauren Erland

Personal Note: This past semester, I completed my Agriculture Science degree at UFV. I am very passionate about horticulture and closed-environment agriculture. This research project enabled me to expand my knowledge of data collection and experimental design. I plan to take this experience with me as I continue to work in the industry and pursue my own business ventures in the future.

Project Summary: The focus of this study was to apply both gibberellic acid and tryptophan to strawberry plants of the same cultivar and examine the results against a control group. Through analyzing the results, we could determine how these products can be used in commercial production to reduce fertilizer usage and improve fruit yield. The research trial demonstrated that ten parts per million of GA3 had a positive effect on strawberry flower and fruit production. With these findings in mind, GA3 products could be used to decrease flowering time and increase fruit yield without increasing fertilizer use.

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Maor Arad

Rapid Proteomic Workflow Utilizing Pepsin within an in-situ Fabricated Open-Tubular Immobilized Enzyme Microreactor (IMER)

Faculty supervisor: Golfam Ghafourifar

Personal Note: Participating in research at UFV, has enabled me to connect the content that I’ve learned in class, into real world applications. The project that I have been a part of is directly connected with my goal of advancing personalized medicine and disease detection. The experience the I’ve gained will be vital as I continue onto graduate school where I will apply the methods that I have developed at UFV on a large scale.

Project Summary: Proteomics is the study of all of the proteins present in an organism. Generally, enzymes are added into a protein sample to break them down into smaller pieces called peptides. However, common methods employed can take upwards of a day to complete. My research was focused on developing a new method that was faster and fully automated. I was successful in developing an Immobilize Enzymatic Microreactor (IMER), which works by linking enzymes into the inner wall of a capillary. This allows proteins to be cleaved into peptides as they pass through. The IMER I developed is reusable, and only requires 15-miniutes per sample, which is much faster than what is currently used throughout the research and healthcare fields. The IMER is now being tested with biological samples, with the goal of its use being adopted on a large scale.

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Abbey Riddols

Forest Systems and Wellbeing

Faculty supervisor: Steven Marsh

Personal Note: I am happy to be graduating this June after 6 long years at UFV with a double honors in Biology and Physical Geography. I plan on spending some time after graduation working in the field, and getting some much needed traveling in. Performing this research during my undergraduate years deepened my connection with the Chilliwack River Valley, and the people who live in it. I would like to thank the Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribe for allowing me to conduct research on their lands.

Project Summary: My research from the past year contributed to the Forest Systems and Wellbeing Project, a collaborative effort between the Stolo Research and Resource Management Centre (SRMMC), Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribe Management Ltd. (TTML), and the University of the Fraser Valley. In addition, I am collaborating with our international research partners at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) for guidance and analysis of water quality samples. I am thankful to be working with these groups at such an early stage in my academic career. I came to this project from the angle of watershed health, water quality, and vegetation analysis. Initially I was solely focused on developing a sampling strategy for comparing old and second-growth watersheds in the Chilliwack River Valley (CRV) at a high resolution. My involvement with SRMMC and TTML directed my focus to better align with their “Forest Systems and Wellbeing” project. This meant that I had to expand my role to include sampling for vegetation diversity, comparing high and low elevation sites, and providing a foundation for future work that might take place in the CRV.

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Aiden Haagensen

Forest Systems and Wellbeing

Faculty supervisor: Steven Marsh

Personal Note: I am currently in my fourth year of a Bachelor of Environmental Studies. After I complete this, I hope to apply to law school, where I would like to focus on environmental law. My sense of place is so defined by the natural landscape that surrounds me and being an Environmental Studies student has created a newfound appreciation for the natural world. Working with the team from the Stó:lō Research and Resource Management Centre has awarded me the opportunity to learn in the field, surrounded by the topics of discussion from the classroom. Experiencing Stó:lō stories while being in the very places they originate is special in a way that cannot be put into words and has attributed to my appreciation for this beautiful land.

Project Summary: This research was conducted by the Stó:lō Research and Resource Management Centre, Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribe Management, and the S’ólh Téméxw Stewardship Alliance supported by faculty and student researchers from the University of the Fraser Valley. Three sites were selected within a geographically condensed research area based on different levels of forest succession and human disturbance on the southeast side of Sx̱ótsaqel. Soil, water, and tree core samples were collected from young (recently logged), mature, and old growth forest systems. The purpose of the study is to better understand how various forest health parameters change as a result of logging operations, and to monitor impact to old growth forest systems. Using our methodology from our work at Sx̱ótsaqel we broadened our research area to various high elevation sites within the Chilliwack River Valley. We are continuing the research this summer to continue to build a collection of data that will be used to protect culturally and environmentally significant sites. I am honored to be a part of this project team and to play a small part in protecting these vital ecosystems.

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Faculty of Education, Community, and Human Development

Ashley Sharma and Jacey Giesbrecht

Do as I say, not as I do”: Gender roles and decision-making power among racialized immigrant women in Canada

Faculty supervisor: Karun Karki

Ashley's Personal Note: I’ve now completed my 4th year of the Bachelor of Social Work with a specialization in Child Welfare. Having the opportunity to research alongside other students and my professors has helped me understand the intricacies of the lives of some of the most vulnerable peoples. I hope to spread these findings to other social workers so we are better informed in cultural and gender competency.

Jacey's Personal Note: As a recent Bachelor of Arts graduate with a major in Psychology and minor in Sociology, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to conduct meaningful research within the Social Work department. Ultimately, my goal is to attend graduate school and pursue a career as a clinical counsellor. Engaging in this research has provided a rich learning experience in which I have gained an unexpected admiration for research and knowledge dissemination. I look forward to putting my newfound skills into practice as I move forward from UFV to further academic endeavors and helping professions.

Project Summary: Studies have found that the majority of immigrant women come to Canada as dependent immigrants with their husbands. As such, it is important to investing ate immigrant women’s lived experiences of gender autonomy in decision-making power and challenges that contribute to their limited socio-economic and civic opportunities in Canada. From a practice and policy perspective, the role and context of immigrant women affect social services, health, education, and economic sectors. The findings from this study will be significant for community and government organizations to develop gender-sensitive policies and programs appropriate to immigrant women of racialized groups. Further, the study will generate interest and debate among community practitioners and social workers and become a tool for advocacy and social action for women’s empowerment and gender equity.

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Devina Badesha

Devina Podcast: The Impact of Racism on Student Learning and Development

Faculty supervisor: Nikki Yee

Personal Note: My name is Devina and I just finished my last semester of my Bachelor of Arts degree. I am starting the Teacher Education program this fall and for one of the education classes I recently took, I got the opportunity to do a research project on the impacts racism can have on learning and development. Being from a minority background, shedding light on this issue is extremely important to me and it is crucial that educators become aware of the importance of including diversity within classrooms. Engaging in the project not only helped me spread awareness on a prevalent issue in education, but I got to gain an in-depth understanding of what I can do to foster an inclusive environment in a classroom and celebrate diversity. In order to become culturally competent educators, it is important to become aware of the detrimental impacts of racism and how it can affect children in and out of the classroom.

Project Summary: My project focuses on how macro level policies are impacting micro level practices within the classroom and how these practices are failing to nurture languages, cultures and traditions that students from all walks of life bring with them. Such practices are contributing to the belief that those from monolingual and white upper/middle class backgrounds are superior, which prevents marginalized students from being able to achieve success in the classroom. It also has many negative impacts on a student’s self esteem, their confidence and overall mental well being. This highlights the need to re-imagine learning and development to support marginalized students, which includes implementing culturally sustaining pedagogy, diversifying the representation of teachers and adopting frameworks and practices that allow students to make connections with their identity. When such steps are taken, students reap immense benefits that not only help them succeed academically and show positive behavioral outcomes, but it helps them build a positive racial identity as well.

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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