The University of Winnipeg



Randy Kobes Symposium celebrates undergraduate research

UWinnipeg student Laura Kinsman was one of four students to win first-place honours at the virtual Randy Kobes Poster Symposium.

The 15th annual Randy Kobes Undergraduate Poster Symposium is in the books, and it’s one students, faculty, and judges certainly won’t forget.

In total, 38 students competed this year, which Dr. Nora Casson, Department of Geography, says is much higher than last year and one of the highest participation totals yet. She also noted there continues to be an increase in participation each year from students who participated in the Pathways to Graduate Studies (P2GS) program and Indigenous Summer Scholars Program (ISSP).

“It’s always a highlight of the fall getting to see the breadth of undergraduate research on campus,” said Casson. “I feel like it was especially important to celebrate and share the undergraduate research this year, since so many students were working on their own. This is a chance for people to come together virtually and see what student researchers have been up to.”

Due to COVID-19, all presentations were made via Zoom during the week of September 14 – 18, followed by judging last week. It all wrapped up yesterday with the virtual ceremony.

Because of the virtual format, questions and answers with the students were pre-recorded, so there were no direct interactions with the judges. However, despite these changes, the students were credited for rising to the challenge and adapting extremely well to the format.

Congratulations to this year’s first-place finishers:

Lucas Mosienko (Biosciences), The Impact of Nuisance Mosquito Control on Bat Activity and Feeding Behaviour in the City of Winnipeg;

Laura Kinsman (Social Sciences), Making the Personal Political: Self Versus Group Focused Rumination Following Sexual Harassment;

Michael Grehan (Math and Theoretical Physical Sciences), Creating Holographic Complexity in AdS; and,

Seeratpal Jaura (Experimental Physical Sciences), Named Entity Recognition on CORD-19 Dataset.

“One comment I heard across the board from judges was that the student presentations were really high quality,” said Casson. “They were very polished and professional presentations of excellent research being done.”

Research topics ranged from fish physiology to planetary exploration to cognitive psychology. Their experiences ranged from working for a month over the summer in the P2GS program to honours thesis students who are on their way to graduate school this fall.

In many cases, the work is, or has been, turned into a peer-reviewed publication – a high bar which speaks to the excellent work done by students.

But, perhaps, what made the research all the more impressive, was that it was all conducted during a pandemic.

“In some cases, this meant they undertook projects specific to COVID-19 or had to modify the project (because of COVID-19),” said Casson. “The students demonstrated tons of creativity and resilience in making these changes, which was really impressive.”

Congratulations to this year’s second- and third-place finishers:

Karl Friesen-Hughes (Biosciences), Seasonal Patterns of Stream Nitrogen and Nitrogen: Phosphorus Stoichiometry in Cold Region Agricultural Streams and Nikita Goel (Biosciences), Isolation and Purification of Protein Components of Garcinia Kola Seed;

Michael Kvern (Social Sciences), “Watt” Does Energy Security Mean in the North? The Need for Local Agency and efficiency and Anya Ingram (Social Sciences), Mural Art and Public Space Quality in Winnipeg’s West End;

Antonio Axalan (Math and Theoretical Physical Sciences), Extreme Winter Temperature Trends in Northeastern Forests of N. America and Kathleen Watts (Math and Theoretical Physical Sciences), Design and Computational Chemistry of Cyclic Selenoureas; and,

Kiera Augusto (Experimental Physical Sciences), Liquid Deuterium Thermosyphon for an Ultracold Neutron Source and Stephanie Connell (Experimental Physical Sciences), The University of Winnipeg Participates in a Student-Led Space Mission to Study the Effects of Space Weathering.

The Randy Kobes Undergraduate Poster Symposium team sends special thanks to the entire University community; including the Dean of Science, the Research Office, and the research supervisors for helping pull off this event.