Students focus on UN SDGs at 2022 Lassonde Undergraduate Research Conference

The Lassonde School of Engineering held its seventh annual Undergraduate Summer Research Conference on Aug. 16. Students presented their final research findings to fellow students, faculty members and staff during the event after four months of hard work over the summer. The event was hosted in person for the first time since 2019.

The undergraduate summer research program provides students with an experiential learning opportunity and allows them to gain experience in a professional research environment. Over the summer months, more than 90 undergraduate students worked alongside Lassonde faculty members on a variety of research projects focusing on the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals (UN SDGs).

Dena Ghiassi (BSc, computer science ‘05/MBA 2010) delivered a keynote address titled “Own Your Career Journey” in which she described her professional experiences at IBM, KPMG, Shoppers Drug Mart, RBC and Sobeys. As an advocate for lifelong learning, she returned to York for her MBA a few years after finishing her undergrad and encouraged students to be innovative and learn to adapt when faced with professional challenges. By talking about her journey and non-linear career path, she encouraged the undergraduate researchers, particularly the female attendees, to be bold and take risks.

The undergraduate summer research program allows students to gain experience in a professional research environment and address real-world challenges. Students presented their research on a wide range of topics focusing on the UN SDGs, including:

  • The effect of climate change on bridge infrastructure (UN SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure).
  • The effect of electric vehicle charging loads on the power grid (UN SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities).
  • Ensuring point of use water safety in decentralized drinking water systems in Canada (UNSDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation).
  • Modelling the effect of climate change on groundwater recharge (UN SDG 6).
  • The Augmented and Virtual Reality Sandbox – Teaching Complex Systems through Immersive Environment (UN SDG 4: Quality Education).

Details about the student researchers and their projects can be found in the conference program and website .

The research projects were funded through the following programs:

  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada: Undergraduate Student Research Award (NSERC USRA)
  • Lassonde Undergraduate Research Award (LURA)
  • Mitacs Globalink Research Internship (GRI)
  • Research at York (RAY)

“After participating in the LURA program this summer, I have a better understanding of what research involves. I was able to apply a lot of my knowledge from classes I have taken previously inside the High Bay Lab,” said civil engineering student Emma Bresil. “The experiential learning that I received through the undergraduate research program furthered my understanding of the concepts and theory I’ve learned in the classroom.”

At the conference, student projects were evaluated by judges who selected the top presentations. See the list of winners below.

Best presentation:

First place

Faruq Afolabi, supervised by Robert Allison
Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
Exploring the Impact of Immersion on Teleoperated MASS (UN SDG 9)

Second place

Mark Vertlib, supervised by Regina Lee
Department of Earth & Space Science & Engineering
Improving the Satellite Facet Modelling Process for More Accurate Simulated Light Curve Analysis (UN SDG 9)

Third place

Maria Beshara, supervised by John Lam
Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
Gallium-Nitride Based Multi-MHz Bidirectional Power Interface for Integrated Energy Storage in a DC Microgrid (SDG 7)

Honorary mentions

Madison Bardoel
Kumar Vaibhav Jha
Dhyan Thakkar
Walid Orabi
Kyle Lapuz
Vannesa Weedmark
Kyle Baird
Anupriya Ravula
Faiz Ahmed
Hongru Wang
Xuchen Tan
Nadine Norman
Suha Siddiqui
Bridget Price

Jarod Anjelo P. Lustre

Students’ Choice Awards

First place

Hira Memron, supervised by Amir Asif
Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
Cost Optimization Model of Electric Vehicles Parking Lots for Distribution System Operator (UN SDG 7)

Second place

Jessie Chesal, supervised by Isaac B. Smith
Department of Earth & Space Science & Engineering
Cyclostrophic Winds in the Atmosphere of Venus from the Radio-Occultation data collected by Venus Express and Akatsuki (UN SDG 9)

Third place

Jack Wawrow, supervised by Regina Lee
Department of Earth & Space Science & Engineering
Open-Source Photometric Light Curve Processor for Space Situational Awareness (SSA) (UN SDG 9)

For more information on undergraduate research at Lassonde, visit the website.