Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

StFX’s broad, deep academic experience highlighted in 15th annual Student Research Day

March 31st, 2017

The full breadth of StFX’s rich academic experience was on display March 30 as a record number of students showcased their research and advanced studies during the 15th annual Student Research Day, a highlight of the academic year.

Energy and conversation filled the air as students across disciplines explained and discussed their research—covering topics from the economic future of lobster in the Gulf of Nova Scotia to the evaluation of group therapy for Canadian veterans and RCMP officers with PTSD—during the university-wide forum held in the Keating Centre conference rooms and executive boardroom.

In all, around 100 students presented their research work.

“There is a record number of presentations this year – 88 students submitted titles for poster presentations and 15 for oral presentations,” says human kinetics professor and organizer Dr. Angie Kolen, who conceived of the idea and has been facilitating Student Research Day since its start in March 2003.

“I think one of the reasons we have so many presentations this year is reflective of the research we do at StFX and the overall interest to provide students with a broad and deep academic experience,” Dr. Kolen says.

“I also think there is a culture around Student Research Day – graduating students want it to be part of their fourth year as they want to share their research with others. I am deeply impressed with the quality of the submissions.”

Student Chelsea Yeo of Halifax, NS, completing an honours degree in psychology, says the day is a wonderful opportunity.

“This is how we move forward in our research and our lives. We take the things we’re interested in and we’re able to present them in a way that not only enriches our own understanding, it helps to teach others,” she says.

“It’s a lot of fun to be here with the rest of my peers, to talk about my research and to see what everyone else has been working on.”


The emphasis at StFX on research opportunities for undergraduate students is unparalleled, Dr. Kevin Wamsley, Academic Vice-President and Provost, said in welcoming remarks as he talked about the “StFX advantage,” on how faculty members work with bright undergraduates to take their learning to the next level, to accelerate their experiences in certain areas like research.

“This is a tremendous advantage you have as undergraduate students as you move into the next chapter of your life,” he told students on their ability to bring theory to practice.

This is an experience that other students at universities across North America just don’t get, he said.

“A special thank you to the professors who spend the time, the extra time to enhance your research and bring out the best in your work. Thank you to the librarians and staff members who help, and congratulations to all of you.”

Dean of Science Dr. Petra Hauf and Dean of Arts Dr. Karen Brebner also provided remarks to open sessions during the day, and Dr. Richard Isnor, Associate Vice-President Research and Graduate Studies, gave closing remarks and facilitated the awards presentation. 

Award winners included:

StFX Bookstore Awards:

12 – 1:30 p.m.

Gold: Connor O’Brien, Supervisor = Greg Tkacz

Silver: Garrett Bramall, Human Kinetics, Supervisor = Mel Lam

Silver: Kimberley Taylor, Aquatic Resources & Earth Sciences, Supervisor = Dave Risk

1:30 – 3 p.m.

Gold: Jessica Samson, Human Kinetics, Supervisor = Charlene Weaving

Gold: Sarah MacPhee, Economics, Supervisor = Greg Tkacz

Gold: Taylor Chase, Economics, Supervisor = Zeynep Ozkok, Jon Rosborough

3 – 4:30 p.m.

Gold: Christina Minions, Environmental Science, Supervisor = Dave Risk

Silver: Lynsay Spafford, Environmental Science, Supervisor = Dave Risk

Silver: Matthew O-Brien, Finance, Supervisor = Ping Wang

Oral Presentations:

Gold: Emil Jurja, Biology, Supervisor = David Garbary

Silver:  Briony Merritt, Psychology, Supervisor = Margo Watt

Outstanding Community Engaged Research Project

Emma van Reekum, Psychology, Supervisor = Margo Watt

Megan Thompson, Business, Supervisor = Brad Long

Angus L. Macdonald Research Award

Jane Stevenson, Human Nutrition, Supervisor = Ann Fox

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