Research from summer undergraduate students in the Lassonde School of Engineering at York University will be showcased at the school’s third annual Undergraduate Summer Student Research Conference on Aug. 16. The conference – sponsored by Lassonde, York University’s Vice-President Research and Innovation (VPRI), and the Faculty of Graduate Studies – will host more than 70 undergraduate students who are working on exciting projects with researchers at the school.
Research being undertaken explores a wide range of topics, including: the construction of unmanned vehicles for underwater exploration; the development of systems preventing flooding on Earth; and the creation of technology for outer space exploration.
Students working on these projects were recruited from multiple programs at five Ontario universities (York, Queen’s, McMaster, Carleton and Toronto), as well as post-secondary institutions from across the globe (including Germany, India, China and Mexico).
Undergraduate student researchers include those awarded 25 Lassonde Undergraduate Research Awards (LURA); 18 Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada – Undergraduate Student Research Award (NSERC USRA) recipients; six Mitacs Globalink Research Award students; eight Dr. James Wu Research Internship students; 11 Research at York (RAY) students; and six research assistants.
Lassonde’s associate dean, Professor Regina Lee, is proud to support this year’s undergraduate research cohort.
“Congratulations to all the undergraduate researchers,” she said. “May this be your first step towards a successful career in science and engineering research. Take what you have learned in the lab, connect it with the lessons learned in the classroom and apply it to the real-world problems you are solving every day. Wherever your journey takes you, the skills you learned this summer will help you every step of the way.”
During the summer, students work alongside professors and graduate students to research and develop solutions for real-world problems. In the process, students gain laboratory skills, learn to problem solve, learn how to collect and process data and analyze results, and learn how to communicate research findings.
“Conducting research the first time was an extremely valuable experience for me,” said student Rahmah Khalid. “It was definitely a steep learning curve, yet a very enjoyable learning curve at that. It made me realize how much I enjoyed the development of methods to solve real-world problems.”
At the end of the summer, students present their research findings at the Lassonde Undergraduate Summer Student Research Conference. This research experience allows students to acquire a unique perspective and obtain an edge in their field of study, making this a highly sought-after program. The conference attracts government officials, professors, industry experts and students.
“The LURA/USRA gave me the opportunity to connect theoretical concepts I have learned in my courses to a hands-on experience applicable to my future career,” said student Austin Martins-Robalino. “The work that I performed allowed me to acquire a deeper insight that both challenged and intrigued me.”
About the LURA program and the summer research program
The Lassonde Undergraduate Research Awards (LURA) program launched in 2015. Its focus is to address the increasing demand for experiential learning at the Lassonde School of Engineering through its summer research program.
LURA attracts a diverse student population recruited not only from programs offered by Lassonde, but also from other programs of study such as medicine, physics, biology, geography, business administration, psychology, mathematics and statistics, among others. The LURA program is open to students of all enrolment levels and degrees, and is proudly reaching gender balance in the award recipients. It is one of the funding awards that grants students a full-term, 16-week summer research project working under a Lassonde professor.
To date, Lassonde has hosted more than 180 undergraduate student researchers, with approximately 45 per cent coming to the program as LURA recipients recruited from Ontario and international universities.