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Prizewinning students explore solar energy, demographic diversity in the workplace and more

50+ research projects presented to the general public on Sept. 21 at the Undergraduate Research Showcase
September 13, 2018

Whether they’re testing solar-powered cooling systems on aircrafts or investigating diversity in the workplace, there’s no doubt that Concordia undergraduates are gaining valuable research experience.

Their important work will be on display at the fifth edition of Concordia’s annual Undergraduate Research Showcase, taking place on Friday, September 21 from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex (EV) Atrium.

The event will highlight the winners of the 2018 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, 132 projects received funding in 2018, with 81 students earning support from CUSRA. More than 50 students from all four faculties will be on hand to discuss their findings and talk about the projects they worked on over the summer.

I learned how to work with professionals in my faculty

Alisha Dhanraj

Alisha Dhanraj, a human resource management major in the John Molson School of Business (JMSB), worked with Linda Dyer, professor and chair in the Department of Managemennt, to assess individual perception of older and younger workers.

By showing a set of images to sample groups, Dhanraj and Dyer looked at the impact of demographic diversity in the workplace. Dhanraj notes that the results of their work, which revealed how images of younger people were linked to perceptions of achievement and power, would be useful for employers and managers because they will be aware of the factors that may influence their employment-related decisions, such as how to better train older and younger workers.

“Working as a CUSRA student was an interesting experience,” she says.

“I learned how to work with professionals in my Faculty, how to assess participants' written stories about the images and how to incorporate the findings into a detailed report.”

Noah Sadaka, an aerospace engineering student supervised by associate professor Susan Liscouët-Hanke, looked at the feasibility and potential benefits of adding a solar-powered cooling system to an aircraft. Sadaka was specifically interested in how solar-powered fans could save energy by reducing the cabin temperature before running the air conditioning system, which uses a fuel-burning engine as a power source.

His main conclusions were that the longer the aircraft remained parked before the air-conditioning system activated, the more beneficial the solar-powered fans were to reducing the amount of cooling energy required. In a real-life scenario, Sadaka determined that the solar fans are most effective for the first flight of the day, but less so for fast turnarounds.

“This was my first term doing research with a faculty member, as opposed to previous internship experiences where I worked in industry,” he says.

“I enjoyed being able to focus only on this project and became better at working independently through it. Doing a research project made me more confident in my choice to do a master’s degree once I finish my undergraduate program.”

Check out the Undergraduate Research Showcase, on Friday, September 21 from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex (EV) Atrium. Find out more about 
undergraduate research opportunities at Concordia.

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