By Anne Russell. If you wandered past Room B121 on the UFV Abbotsford campus on March 20, you would have seen the normally dark room transformed into a hubbub of chatter and enthusiasm.
The event was Student Research Day, and UFV celebrated the hard work of both students and professors by hosting a series of micro-lectures in the morning and a poster presentation in the afternoon.
The usually open space was crammed full to bursting for most of the afternoon, as close to 30 students and their posters jostled for space and attention amongst a sea of curious visitors.
The research projects spanned disciplines and academic levels, from Communications 155 to 400-level chemistry courses, to a plethora of directed studies ranging from sociology to history to biology and back again.
The students, for the most part completing the last year of their degrees, were able to both rub elbows with other disciplines and eye up the rest of the research community at UFV in a friendly competition.
The 28 project posters competed for seven different awards, which were announced at the end of the day. Each award included a scholarship amount between $150–200, and the students will be honoured at the annual research awards banquet.
Of the seven available awards, chemistry students took home four prizes and geography students cleaned up the remaining three.
“While it was gratifying to see our students do well, many others were equally deserving,” said David Fenske, UFV’s chemistry department head. “The quality and breadth of research on display was truly impressive.”
“These instructors’ commitment, passion and professionalism is making a big difference in our students’ lives,” said UFV president Mark Evered, extending a thanks to the faculty who supported and guided the student researches. “I was very impressed and proud of our students.”
STUDENT RESEARCH WINNERS:
Brandon Yanciw — Provost and VP Academic Award ($200)
Steve Clegg — AVP Research & Graduate Studies Award ($200)
Ariel Brown — AVP Research Science Award ($150)
Paul Foth — Dean of Science Award ($150)
Meagan Beatty —Dean of Health Sciences award ($150)
Danielle Hamel, Andrew Alexander and Jessica Tennant — Vice Provost and AVP Academic Award ($150)
Paul Stephany — Dean of Arts award ($150)
Kelly Hodgins — Dean of Professional Studies ($150)
A SAMPLER OF PROJECTS:
Shea Wind — Indo-Canadian Studies
White-Canada Forever: A Look Through The Eyes of the Vancouver Daily Province Newspaper 1906–1915
Where some posters were filled with graphs and lengthy text explanations, Shea Wind’s posterboard was instead filled with photocopies of newspaper headlines.
“This is pretty much a representation of what I did for the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies in the fall semester,” Wind said. “I transcribed articles from the Vancouver Daily Province newspaper, focusing on Indo-Canadian immigration to British Columbia and the racism that arose from that.”
These racist undertones are easy to see in the headlines he’s picked out to include as part of the presentation: The headline “Will Arrest Hindu Who Is Alleged To Have Voted” stares at the viewer in all caps, and suspicion seems to be a prevalent theme.
“There are definitely some stories that shock you, that this could happen in the last 100 years. It shows just how brutal British Columbians could be to outsiders during this time period,” Wind noted.
This project was one he undertook while working for the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies last fall.
“I loved the whole project,” Wind said.
Paul Foth — Chemistry
Synthetic Steps of GFP Chromophore Analogue
To most people, it might seem more than a little frustrating to spend the better part of a year trying to create a molecule and still not know for sure if you’ve done it.
For fourth-year chemistry student Paul Foth, it’s just the way it goes sometimes.
“A lot of the time in first- and second-year chemistry, you just get an outline of the lab you’re going to do, and you always get the result because it’s a reaction that’s been done for years and is known,” Foth said “But once you start doing your own research, you never really know what you’re going to end up with.”
Under the supervision of UFV instructor Cory Beshara, Foth started his two-semester project by picking a glowing protein in jellyfish.
“Off the coast of Seattle, people found jellyfish that were glowing green,” he explains, pointing out a clean drawing of the molecule — called a chromophore — that caused the fluorescent green tinge.
For his project, Foth and Buschara decided to map out the chromophore and then play with the structure.
“We wanted to see if we could alter it to make it better, and see how we could alter properties of it by making something similar but not exactly like it,” he explains.
They completed the theoretical stage without a hitch, but unfortunately for the chemistry team, the physical chromophore proved a little more elusive. The final molecule should have been within the spectrum of visible light, glowing like the original chromophore.
“We hoped that we formed it, and I thought that I formed it, but tests showed differently,” Foth concluded. “So it may have broken down – that might be why we didn’t see it.
“You can get frustrated when things aren’t working or when you don’t get what you want, but that’s just research. That’s the way it goes sometimes.”
The project concluded on a happier note, however – Foth was awarded the Dean of Science Award for his research poster.
Pictured: Shea Wind