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50+ award-winning Concordia undergraduate research projects

On September 22, learn about everything from damselflies to facial recognition algorithms
September 13, 2017
By Renée Dunk

Photo by Photofreestyle (Flickr Creative Commons) Photo by Photofreestyle (Flickr Creative Commons)

Whether they’re changing the face of charitable giving, studying the restoration of Atlantic salmon populations, documenting the life stories of migrants or addressing the hype surrounding disruptive technologies, there’s no doubt that Concordia undergraduates are gaining valuable research experience.

The fourth annual edition of Concordia’s Undergraduate Research Showcase is taking place on the afternoon of Friday, September 22 in the Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex (EV Building) Atrium.

More than 50 students from all four faculties will be on hand to display their findings and talk about their work.

The event will highlight the winners of the 2017 Concordia Undergraduate Student Research Awards (CUSRA) as well as recipients of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Undergraduate Student Research Awards.

In total, 125 projects received funding, with a record 82 students earning support from CUSRA.

Christophe Guy
 is vice-president of Research and Graduate Studies at Concordia. He says that affording undergraduate students the chance to train with faculty researchers in their labs sets them up to become better professionals.

“Universities are where we train people. Even if our students don’t become researchers themselves, they are still gaining valuable skills that they can use to tackle problems and contribute to society years down the road,” Guy says.

“The Undergraduate Research Showcase is an opportunity for them to show off the results of their work and communicate them in an accessible way to the wider community.”

A more connected learning experience

Sebastian Alvarez is an undergraduate majoring in design and computation arts with a minor in computer science. Under the supervision of Najmeh Khalili-Mahani, a member of both the PERFORM Centre and the Concordia Centre for Technoculture, Art and Games, Alvarez worked on a project called “Play the Pain.”

It’s a gamified version of a pain diary that allows users to record and manage their chronic conditions through personalized games and relaxation applications.

Alvarez says that Play the Pain is the product of extensive research in a diversity of fields, including design for mobile health applications and pain tracking techniques, as well as user experience and interface design. Showcase visitors can expect to see the app’s prototype design and promo animation video.

Alvarez says that the experience he gained through his research project is invaluable, given the fact that he worked well outside of his comfort zone as a designer.

“Aside from the software and technical skills I picked up during the making of this prototype, I learned to step outside the aesthetic and user-interaction fields that are more familiar to me, and moved more into research and conceptual aspects of project development,” he says.

“It was challenging to dive into science-oriented research, looking into peer-reviewed journals and going through large amounts of literature, and using this research for creative purposes.”

He also had glowing things to say about his supervisor, Khalili-Mahani.

“Conceptualizing a mobile app based on topics that were previously unknown to me taught me how to look at the bigger picture and be resourceful, and also to reach out and talk to professionals in the field and check in with peers,” he says.

“Naj, my supervisor, was a great presence in all of this, she was patient and provided me with enough flexibility to experiment and give life to this project. I definitely learned a lot, especially about chronic pain and mobile applications.”

The student presentations at the Showcase run the gamut. They include: interactive filmmaking and an examination of artistic representations of walking practices from the Faculty of Fine Arts, German philosophy and the role of mitochondria in aging from the Faculty of Arts and Science, machine learning and 3D aircraft modelling from the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science, and female entrepreneurship and social media-use patterns from the John Molson School of Business.

Don’t miss the 2017 Concordia Undergraduate Research Showcase, taking place on Friday, September 22 from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex (EV Building) Atrium (1515 Ste. Catherine W.) on the Sir George Williams Campus.

Find out more about 
undergraduate research opportunities at Concordia.



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