Students present research findings at inaugural Undergraduate Summer Research Day


From left to right: Acting Dean Greg Kopp, Elizabeth Blokker, Jenna Wemple, Lauren Straatman, Eric Grolman and Kamran Siddiqui, Acting Associate Dean (Graduate and Postdoctoral) 

Western Engineering News | August 28, 2018

Western Engineering recently hosted its inaugural Undergraduate Summer Research Day, where some of the 2018 summer research students participated in three-minute-thesis-style presentations and created posters to share their work conducted over the last few months. 

Of the 75 students who conducted research at Western Engineering over the summer, 20 presented their research findings to peers and a panel of judges comprised of Western Engineering faculty. Awards were given for the top three presentations and an Ontario Graduate Scholarship of $15,000 was presented to the student with the highest overall project score. 

During the closing remarks, Acting Dean Greg Kopp commented on how brave it is for students to get up in front their faculty and peers to present.

“I often tell my students that ‘your research doesn’t exist until you tell someone about it,’” said Kopp. “Learning to effectively communicate your research is such an important aspect of your career development.”

Western Engineering alumnus Kevin Brown, BESc’10 and MESc’12, was the keynote speaker. Brown is a Software Engineer and Partner at Dattivo Software Inc., a consulting company which solves business problems by engineering, building and supporting custom-developed software.

Brown’s discussion focused on three key pieces of advice he’s learned since completing his Master’s degree at Western Engineering.

  1. Just write: Start writing papers as soon as you can. The perceived hurdle is always higher than the actual difficulty.
  2. Don’t underestimate trends: You must be cognizant of current trends in your field and how your work fits into those trends.
  3. “Nothing is born out of diamonds, but from manure you get flowers.” - Fabrizio De André
    Don’t let the demands of something polished push out the mess and authenticity of life. Remember to make time for friends and hobbies that extend outside of your work and research.

Following Brown’s keynote discussion, awards were presented to the top three students, as well as an Ontario Graduate Scholarship.

  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship ($15,000): Elizabeth Blokker, 4th year Mechanical and Materials Engineering
    • Research topic: Optimization of Porous Medium for Solar Thermal Capture
  • 1st prize ($300): Lauren Straatman, 4th year Mechanical and Materials Engineering, University of Toronto
    • Research topic: Grip Configuration in Participants with and without Hand Osteoarthritis During Tasks of Daily Living
  • 2nd prize ($200): Eric Grolman, 4th year Chemical and Biochemical Engineering
    • Research topic: High-Concentration Gadolinium Nanoparticles for Pre-Clinical Computed Tomography
  • 3rd prize ($100): Jenna Wemple, 3rd year Mechanical and Materials Engineering
    • Research topic: Development of a Mechatronics Arm Simulator for Validating Wearable Exoskeleton Upper-Limb Devices

Congratulations to all the students who participated in the inaugural Undergraduate Summer Research Day and devoted much of their summer to conducting innovative research here at Western Engineering.