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Faculty of Science spotlights leading-edge student research at NSERC Undergraduate Research Conference

Faculty of Science spotlights leading-edge student research at NSERC Undergraduate Research Conference

The Faculty of Science hosted its annual NSERC Summer Undergraduate Research Conference on Aug. 19, via Zoom.

Students from the Faculty of Science, Faculty of Health, and Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change participated in the event. The conference is the culmination of participants’ summer work terms, where they conduct research in labs across the University with York supervisors over the course of 16 weeks.

Most of the participants received an NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award (URSA), a Dean’s Undergraduate Research Award (DURA) or a York Science Scholar Award. The DURAs are funded through Bernadene Magnuson and Earle Nestmann, the Gérard Herbert Award and the Luise Herzberg Award for Women in Science.

“We would like to thank NSERC and all our generous donors who make this event possible,” said Michael Scheid, associate dean of students, Faculty of Science. “These summer placements give our talented undergraduate students an invaluable opportunity to conduct research they’re passionate about in a real-world setting and hone their future career trajectories.”

At this year’s virtual conference, 43 students showcased their research through oral and poster presentations, spanning topics such as proving dark matter with gravitational waves, cognitive and visuomotor performance in COVID-19 patients, and tracking changes in permafrost thaw on northern lakes.

Judges evaluated oral and poster presentations and selected winners for each category.

Oral presentation winners

  1. Coral Hillel
  2. Ailiya Rizwan
  3. Tamara Kostyuk 

Poster presentation winners

Breakout Room 1:    Claire Del Zotto

Breakout Room 2:    Elizaveta Yakubovskaya

Breakout Room 3:    Alex Akhundov

Breakout Room 4     Kristina Issa

Breakout Room 5     Edman Abukar

Breakout Room 6     Ethan Sooklal

The success of the program and virtual conference was also enabled by the generous contributions of time and talent by faculty members, researchers and staff.

“We are grateful to the supervisors, graduate students, postdoctoral Fellows and technicians, as well as our event judges and organizers, who helped make this year’s program a success,” Scheid said.

Since 1980, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has supported research experiences for university students early in their careers through the USRA program. The program currently provides direct support for research work terms for more than 3,000 students each year and is meant to nurture the interests of undergraduate students and fully develop their potential to pursue a research career in the natural sciences and engineering disciplines.

The full conference program, along with profiles of students’ research, can be found at

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