Jamie Cassels Undergraduate Research Awards recipients - 2018/19


Anderson, Cole

Project title: Central Asian views of China’s Belt and Road Initiative

Department: Pacific and Asian Studies

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Andrew Marton

"The belt and road initiative is one of the world’s largest ongoing development projects. Being funded by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank based in Beijing, the goal is to improve much of the world’s shipping and trading infrastructure while tying the world closer together. This has not come without controversy however as the western world is hesitant of a Chinese lead investment bank being totally honest about their ultimate goals. This has been none more true in Central Asia, where after decades of Soviet rule, the countries have fell into a state of disrepair. China and the AIIB are trying to change that however and are working with the governments of these central asian nations to change this. But how do people in this region actual feel about the departure of the Soviets and entrance of the Chinese? How do the Chinese citizens feel about their government’s advancements into Xinjiang and further in Central Asia? This project will analyze and process these thoughts and try to see what China and AIIB might actually be planning for the future of the region."


Verwoerd, Bethany

Project title: Why do teachers choose to work at independent (versus public) schools?

Department: Curriculum and Instruction

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Helen Raptis

"Throughout the course of my second year in the Bachelor of Education Elementary Curriculum program, I have noticed that many of my peers are hesitant - if not resistant -to the idea of working at an independent school. While some of this resistance stems from their own negative independent school experiences or hearing about negative independent school experiences from others, many are opposed to teaching in a private school because they simply do not know enough about independent schools. The purpose of this JCURA project is to answer the following questions:

  1. How are independent schools similar to and different from public schools in British Columbia?
  2. What has drawn teachers, historically and presently, to teach at independent schools?
  3. What do current teachers at Abbotsford Christian Elementary School say about why they choose to teach at an independent school?

This study will use historical and interview methods to explore the reasons why teachers choose to teach at independent schools.

The debate regarding whether independent schools should co-exist with public schools in Canada is heated, and is frequently discussed amongst teachers, parents, and teacher candidates. This project is significant in that it will add an important dimension to the currently polarized discussion that tends to focus on government’s partial funding of independent schools. It will also fill a gap in teacher candidates’ understanding about independent schools."   


Braun, Graham

Project title: Defiant Maidens: The Social Role of Medusa and Gorgons in Art and Literature

Department: Greek and Roman Studies

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Brendan Burke and Dr. Trevor Van Damme

"In this comprehensive analysis, the monstrous gorgons that appear in Ancient Greek art and literature are analyzed and placed into their social context and roles in society. With Medusa and the myth of Perseus as a template, this project aims to present a new definition to the word “gorgon,” suggesting that gorgons represented women who refused to be objectified and treated like property in their patrilineal traditions. As a result, they were vilified and demonized because of their threat to the patriarchal system in Greece. With this definition in mind, I inquire about the gorgon’s connection to various other figures, especially Artemis, Apollo, and Athena, specifically looking at the archaeology of important sanctuaries and temples. By comparing archaeological find contexts, typological styles, and the development of gorgon images in Archaic Greece with certain literary sources and evidence, this holistic study of the gorgon around the 7th and 6th Centuries BC shows that Medusa and gorgons represented more than just monsters but demonized social actors. As a result, their connection to other mythological characters can be rationalized by examining their qualities and attributes based on this new definition."


Buhne, Eric

Project title: Regional Identity in B.C. and Alberta: The Disparate Development of Identity in Western Canada

Department: Political Science

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Jamie Lawson

"British Columbia and Alberta, while neighbouring provinces, have distinct political cultures. Alberta, despite its varied geography, managed over many decades to consolidate a dominant regional identity, expressed in part for many years in a highly lop-sided party system. B.C. has yet to construct such a consolidated dominant provincial identity. Instead, it appears to have developed several sub-regional identities that are less easily represented conjointly by the provincial state. For this project, I want to answer the questions: “How did existing regional identities in Alberta and B.C. develop?” and “Why, despite several common factors, did regional identities in Alberta and B.C. develop so differently?” In order to answer my questions, I plan to examine each province’s economic, demographic, and political development, as well as the way in which these factors intersect.

I believe that this work will complement existing literature on Canadian and provincial politics by elaborating on the existence and political significance of regional identities in Western Canada. Moreover, I suspect that by juxtaposing Alberta’s more consolidated regional identity with the messy mix of B.C.’s regional identities, a deeper understanding of the causes of these provinces’ interprovincial tensions may be drawn. Furthermore, as any attempt to map the regional identities of B.C. has yet to be made, I hope that my work might serve as a catalyst for such a project in the future."  


Burgoyne-King, Jessica

Project title: Strategies of Co-Resistance: Indigenous and Black Mobilizing to Combat Racism and Colonialism in Canada

Department: Political Science

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Rita Dhamoon

"What relationships of solidarity exist between Indigenous and Black communities mobilizing to combat racism and colonialism in Canada? How is liberation and decolonization approached in similar or different ways by Indigenous and Black communities? My research will bridge an Afro-futurist lens with Indigenous strategies of resistance. This research will be grounded in the resistance strategies and experiences of Queer, Transgender, Two-Spirit (QT2) people’s perspectives on resistance, and will examine how QT2 people resist within their communities and bridge their modalities of resistance to dismantle oppressive state structures. I specifically focus on the some contemporary modalities of co-resistance that deconstruct the current hegemonic power relations imposed by the nation-state on the bodies of Indigenous and Black peoples, such as collective action organized through Idle No More and Black Lives Matter-Toronto. I will benefit from this mentoring experience because of the research skills I will gain, specifically in terms of conducting a literature review, defining key terms, using databases to identify sources, evaluating those sources, and linking theories of liberation and decolonization with political practice."  


Byrne, Liam

Project title: Development of droplet digital PCR for detection of common N370S mutations

Department: Biology

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Francis Choy

"Gaucher disease (GD) results in progressive neurodegeneration and premature death in the most severe form. Current approaches for fetal diagnosis of GD include amniocentesis/chorionic villus sampling  which are invasive and increase the risk of spontaneous abortion. Recently, a sensitive screening technique called droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) has allowed for minute fetal blood detection within circulating maternal blood. Through a mother’s blood draw, fetal genetic disease can be detected without increasing risk to the fetus. We hypothesize that common GD mutations  p.N370S and p.L444P can be detected when present as <5% of a total DNA sample using ddPCR, recapitulating detection thresholds required for fetal genetic diagnosis in circulating maternal blood. If successful, non-invasive prenatal testing of maternal blood could be offered for mothers who are heterozygous carriers for GD or are from at-risk populations, such as Ashkenazi Jewish."   


Callo, Esther

Project title: Tell Me a Story: Why Canadians Need Narratives by Indigenous Women

Department: English

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Misao Dean

"For years, Canadians have heard about missing and murdered Indigenous women in the form of statistics, as though statistics alone might make the problem disappear. Our collective inaction has been described as genocide by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls; yet, this report, too may gather dust unless Canadians awaken to the horrific accusation of participating in the murder of thousands of Indigenous women.

“Not me,” might be the response of countless Canadians. “I have never laid a hand on an Indigenous woman.” Such denial is founded on the notion that murder starts and ends with physical action. However, murder starts with thoughts and belief systems that maim and kill the human spirit long before individuals act out this social malaise. Hence, counting bodies solves little--it merely confirms the symptoms of the invisible social and spiritual crimes that Canadians commit on a daily basis.

What, then, can we do? My intent is to read the works of several Indigenous female Canadian authors to explore common themes and narrative techniques that counter the genocidal narrative pervading our social landscape. Statistics reveal nothing of the human spirit. Narrative, on the other hand, claims territory in the imagination of the reader, reversing the cultural tide of colonialism that is at the root of our current crisis."   


Carhoun, Jacqueline

Project title: Body dysmorphic disorder and face perception

Department: Psychology

Faculty supervisor: Dr. James Tanaka

"The growing presence of social media has been linked to a dramatic rise in a clinical disorder known as  Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). BDD is a psychiatric disorder in which a person  becomes fixated on a perceived imperfection and minor flaw on their face or body. In face processing, the person is obsessed with the local details of their face rather seeing the face holistically.

In my study, I will investigate the local processing hypothesis of BDD by selecting university undergraduate students who score high or low on the BDD Scale.  I will take photographs of these participants to create novel composite faces by joining the top and bottom halves of their faces.  In the experiment, participants will view their face or the face of another participant and instructed to focus only on the top (or bottom) portion of the study face.  Next, an own-and-other composite face will be shown and participants must decide as quickly as possible whether the top (or bottom)  is the “same” or “different” as the cued portion of the study face.  If the study face is their own face, I predict that due to their local processing bias, high BDD participants can more easily attend to cued half of the composite face producing faster response times. In contrast, low BDD participants are influenced by the holistic impression of the face resulting in slower response times. Findings from this experiment will have important implications for understanding the sources and possible clinical treatment of BDD."   


Cartwright, Sally

Project title: On and Off the Stage: Exploring Women’s Status in 18th Century Theatre

Department: French

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Sara Harvey

"The feminine voice in 18th century French theatre has largely been neglected in studies and excluded from what is considered canonical literature. As a living art with significant political and social implications and a moral function, theatre can communicate powerful ideas, creating a need to explore the nature of female perspective within the genre. As we cannot expect this perspective to be uniform among all women - but rather varied and multifaceted - a comparison of Françoise de Graffigny’s Cénie and Anne-Marie du Boccage’s Les Amazones will seek to explore the range of these voices; in what ways do these works and their authors engage with the ideas of their time, particularly with regard to their development of female empowerment in a literary community that generally sought to exclude them? The commentary these authors provide through their personal correspondence will further develop this analysis and distinguish their approaches to the issues of their time. This project seeks to connect the private and professional dimensions of two female authors’ lives in the 18th century in order to better understand the positions of women within their community, using the stories they create and their real-life experiences."   


Castro, Melina Emilia Cortina

Project title: Impermanent Workers, Permanent Labour: Policy Analysis of Temporary Foreign Workers Programs in BC

Department: Sociology

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Karen Kobayashi

"The government of Canada, in an agreement with the governments of Mexico, Guatemala, and various Caribbean countries, runs the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program. These programs allow thousands of people from the aforementioned countries to work in Canada temporarily, mainly on agricultural farms and construction sites. Under the rules of both programs, foreign workers can enter Canada yearly, but only for a specific number of months. Many of these workers have returned annually for decades, but very few have been given the opportunity to obtain residency and even fewer citizenship. Moreover, published and gray literature (from NGOs) indicate poor living and working conditions, including labour exploitation and social marginalization, that characterize the experiences of these workers in Canada. The objectives of my research, therefore, are to explore how these programs, along with migratory and work policies pertaining to temporary foreign workers in British Columbia, are designed and implemented, and how they impact the quality of life and work experiences of foreign workers."   


Cavallin, Natalie

Project title: New on-the-spot sensors for illicit drugs

Department: Chemistry

Faculty supervisor: Prof. Fraser Hof

"I will develop chemical agents that bind to illicit drugs. The agents will be designed such that they undergo a detectable change upon binding, including a colour change, a turn-on of fluorescence on a paper test strip, or the creation of a fluorescent solid by-product that drops out of solution. The information on these changes will provide a fingerprint that allows one to identify the illicit drug in an unknown sample quickly and easily."   


Chudleigh, Jocelyn

Project title: Holistic Healing and the Acute Care Setting: Connecting Theory to Practice

Department: Nursing

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Maureen Ryan

"A qualitative study of the practical application of holistic healing concepts explored primarily in semester five of the Bachelor of Science Nursing Program at the University of Victoria into consolidated practice experience (CPE) three and four. Semi-structured interviews with students following completion of CPE will explore the challenges and successes of incorporating holistic healing modalities into the acute care setting.  This data will in turn inform a larger study looking at teaching strategies to support student learning in contexts that do practice holistically (e.g. simulating holistic practices to augment student learning)."


Cicon, Leah

Project title: Gold nanoparticle mediated cancer radiotherapy

Department: Physics and Astronomy

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Devika Chithrani

"Gold is a high atomic number material that can enhance the radiation dose through Compton and photoelectric effect. The goal of this project is to use gold nanoparticles to target tumor cells for to enhance the local radiation dose during radiotherapy.

We will use head and neck cancer cell line, CAL-27, as our tumor model. We will use linear accelerator at BC cancer agency for our radiation experiments. Tumor cells will be targeted with GNPs followed by radiation. We will assess the damage by mapping the damage to DNA and other organelles in tumor cells.

Local improvement in radiation dose within tumor cells could improve the tumor cell killing while protecting the surrounding healthy tissue and organs. These novel technologies could improve the quality of life in cancer patients in the near future." 


Conway, Kate

Project title: Investigating the effects of bacterial-derived antimicrobial peptides on host immunity

Department: Biochemistry and Microbiology

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Lisa Reynolds

"Treponema pallidum is the causative agent of syphilis. It is a motile spirochete bacteria that infects humans through breaches in epithelial cells during sexual contact, disseminates via the blood and lymphatic systems and invades a variety of tissues and organs. The Cameron Laboratory at UVic have recently identified T. pallidum proteins that have microbicidal activity against a range of bacterial species in vitro. Why T. pallidum produces these antimicrobial proteins is unclear, although it seems likely that production of these allows T. pallidum to gain a competitive advantage against other microbes it encounters in the human host.

In addition to direct microbicidal effects, many well-characterized antimicrobial peptides also have modulatory effects on mammalian immune cells. For example, several antimicrobial peptides have been reported to alter inflammatory cytokine production from phagocytic cells or epithelial cells. This raises the hypothesis that T. pallidum produces antimicrobial peptides which have direct modulatory effects on host cytokine production and facilitate its ability to invade and disseminate throughout the host. This project will test this hypothesis by culturing murine and human epithelial and macrophage cell lines with recombinant T. pallidum antimicrobial peptides and examining the resulting host cytokine production using cytometric bead array assays and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Known immunomodulating antimicrobial peptides will be included as a positive control, and T. pallidum proteins lacking antimicrobial activity will be included as a negative control in these assays. It is expected that this project will contribute to fundamental knowledge about how this important human pathogen colonizes host tissue."   


Corrie, Lorissa

Project title: Dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate: Dispersant, laxative and endocrine disruptor

Department: Biochemistry and Microbiology

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Caren Helbing

"Dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate (DOSS) is an oil spill dispersant present in COREXIT used in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and a common constituent of laxatives. Recent evidence has linked DOSS, a persistent contaminant in the environment, to the promotion of obesity and feminization through the disruption of the action of certain hormones including estrogen, but there are considerable knowledge gaps that remain on its human and wildlife health impacts. In particular, it is not known if DOSS affects thyroid hormone action.

Thyroid hormones play a critical role in regulating growth, development, and metabolism of all vertebrates. One of the most dramatic examples of the importance of thyroid hormones is the requirement for these hormones to drive the metamorphosis of a tadpole into a frog. Tadpole metamorphosis is an excellent model for studying the mechanisms of thyroid hormone action.

My project will investigate the effects of DOSS on thyroid hormone activity in American bullfrog tadpoles (Rana catesbeiana). In particular, it will examine the effects of DOSS on the expression of thyroid hormone-regulated genes. Premetamorphic R. catesbeiana tadpoles will be exposed to three environmentally realistic concentrations of DOSS in the presence or absence of thyroid hormones. Tail fin, olfactory epithelium, back skin and liver tissue will be collected, mRNA will be isolated, and reverse transcription-quantitative real time PCR will be used to analyze thyroid hormone responsive gene transcripts. This will indicate whether DOSS affects the normal thyroid hormone response and shed light on the environmental impact of this potential endocrine disruptor."  


Costain, Rae

Project title: Indigenous Tattooing in British Columbia: Resistance and Resurgence in the Visual Record

Department: Anthropology

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Andrea Walsh

"Tattooing, piercing, and other body modification practices are significant among many Indigenous communities throughout what is now British Columbia as a means of expressing identity, social standing, and social place. Crest tattoos indicating familial and clan association were ritually applied during potlatch ceremonies. With the potlatch ban enacted in the 1880s along with pressure from missionaries who discouraged the practice, tattooing was gradually replaced by other means of representing crests, including jewelry. However, the knowledge of traditional tattooing persisted, and the practice has been revitalized in many communities.

This research engages two complex visual records: the first is the anthropological record created in the era of salvage anthropology and cultural suppression. The second is a contemporary record emerging from the resurgence of tattoo practice in Indigenous communities and documented by Indigenous artists through forums like blogs and social media. The link between these records are the tattoo designs which have maintained powerful social meanings throughout colonization.

This research will explore the way that Indigenous tattooing practice on the west coast of Canada has been documented, first through drawings and sketches commissioned from community artists and later through photography and social media. The combined visual record reveals the agency of artists and their designs during the time of the potlatch ban and contemporarily and shows how the knowledge held in the anthropological record can be adapted to support Indigenous resurgence. This research will also explore the ways that visible identity markers contribute to cultural resurgence in our contemporary, multicultural context."   


Crozier, Chad

Project title: SBNR: A Reclamation of the Lost Dimension of Religion

Department: Religion, Culture and Society

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Paul Bramadat

"The proposed research project will conduct a survey of the Ashtangu yoga community in the West, in an attempt to demonstrate the correlation between both the rise of yoga practitioners and identification of SBNR with the loss of the experiential component of religion."   


Dao, Nathan

Project title: Selective Access to a Functionalized Dicyclopentadiene Monomer

Department: Chemistry

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Jeremy Wulff and Dr. David Leitch

"The Wulff group recently described a functionalized form of the industrially important polymer material polydicyclopentadiene (PDCPD). This new functionalized polymer has several advantages over the currently used material, while maintaining the desirable properties of high strength and good stability at high temperatures. However, the synthesis of the monomer (i.e. the starting material for polymerization) remains labour-intensive. In this research project (to be carried out in both the Wulff and Leitch research labs), I will develop an improved route to the key monomer. My synthesis will start from dicyclopentadiene (readily available in huge quantities) and will ideally be no more than 1–2 synthetic steps. The ultimate goal is to provide a more efficient access to this key intermediate, which will in turn facilitate ongoing collaborations with industrial partners looking to commercialize the polymer."   


Daxini, Swapnil

Project title: Designing an External Cavity Diode Laser

Department: Physics and Astronomy

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Geoffrey Steeves

"An ECDL provides a stable single-frequency, single-mode laser output using an external cavity created between the laser diode and a diffraction grating. The external cavity, together with the internal cavity within the laser diode, provides a small range of wavelengths that can be scanned over using a piezo to perform laser absorption spectroscopy.  For this project, a design for the overall layout of the components needs to be created as well as controllers to stabilize the current and temperature of the diode." 


Dierks, Katherine

Project title: More than just wool: Exploring the life and death of a Nuu-chah-nulth wool dog

Department: Anthropology

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Iain McKechnie and Dr. Lisa Mitchell

"The domestication of dogs is a global phenomenon that holds specific cultural importance to Indigenous peoples on the Northwest Coast who selectively bred wool dogs. The fur of this pre-contact dog was highly valued for use in making blankets. Wool dog burials have been encountered in several coastal British Columbia archaeological sites. This research project focuses on one Nuu-chah-nulth wool dog burial excavated in Tseshaht First Nation territory on western Vancouver Island, B.C. as part of the Kakmakimilh Archaeological Project, a collaborative project between Tseshaht First Nation, the Department of Anthropology at the University of Victoria, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, and the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre. Based on preliminary analysis during the 2018 UVic archaeological field school, the skeletal remains show visible bone degradation and remodelling on the right femur which exhibit potential signs of osteoarthritis in the dog’s knee. My research involves gaining expertise from knowledgeable veterinary professionals and creating 3D models of the remains to explore paleopathological understandings of the remains. The dog’s mortuary commemoration will be further examined through analysis of associated artifacts and fauna. Through this work, I seek to shed light on this dog’s health and treatment by people in life and death to provide insight on how Tseshaht cared for and managed wool dogs. This archaeological research is valuable in that it centers Indigenous histories in British Columbia by exploring and adding context to the social and cultural significance of dog domestication within communities on Vancouver Island and elsewhere on the Northwest Coast."   


Ebert, Sarah

Project title: Pannexin 1 in cortical neuron plasticity

Department: Medical Sciences

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Leigh Anne Swayne

"The project builds on our lab’s previous work demonstrating the channel protein Pannexin 1 regulates network properties and synapse formation in cortical neurons. The focus of the JCURA project will be to further investigate synaptic physiology in primary cortical neurons from the Pannexin 1 KO mouse. In order to address this, I will compare spontaneous potentials from cultured cortical neuron cells using perforated patch clamped electrophysiology in primary cultures of wildtype and Panx1 KO cortical neurons. This information will further our understanding of the functional role of Pannexin 1 at synapses."


Emery, Jamie

Project title: The Impact of Tobacco Smoking on Household Food Insecurity

Department: Economics

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Christopher Auld

"My proposed research is an empirical investigation of the relationship between tobacco smoking and food insecurity (FI)–inadequate or insecure access to food resulting from financial constraints. Evidence suggests that low-income smoking households are much more likely to be FI after controlling for other characteristics (Armour et. al., 2008). I will use microeconometric methods to establish whether this correlation is causal and assess the consequences of tobacco taxation on FI.

Cigarettes are addictive so, following price increases, low-income smoking households may crowd out purchases like food to maintain consumption. It follows that tobacco tax increases intended to deter smoking may have the consequence of increasing FI, which contributes to a myriad of adverse health and social outcomes. However, if higher taxes incentivize smokers to quit, or never initiate smoking in the first place, then tobacco taxes may reduce FI. Hence, theory cannot predict the impact of higher taxes on FI; it is an empirical question.

The proposed project contributes to the literature by estimating models of the effects of smoking on FI. I will combine data from the U.S. longitudinal Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) and information on tobacco taxes. Changes in tobacco taxes imposed at different times and amounts across states introduce exogenous variation in smoking, establishing causality. Variants of these models can determine if taxes increase or decrease FI, and which socioeconomic groups are most affected.

The implications of this work potentially include more effective smoking cessation programs and policies which increase the living standard of low-income smoking households."   


Fitterer, John

Project title: Investigating Postnatal Choline Supplementation as a Potential Avenue for FASD Treatment

Department: Medical Sciences

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Brian Christie

"Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) are the leading known cause of preventable developmental disabilities in Canada, however due to a lack of effective treatments, the associated physical and mental deficiencies typically persist over one’s lifetime. However, recent research has shown promising results with choline. I will be using in vitro electrophysiology to examine how prenatal ethanol exposure (PNEE) affects cholinergic transmission in males and females, and how those changes respond to postnatal choline supplementation. By investigating these changes during critical postnatal stages, I will be testing the efficacy of the novel treatment, postnatal choline supplementation, with the ultimate goal of rescuing FASD deficits in adolescents."


Fortini, Benjamin

Project title: Biofluorescence in Marine Communities: An Assessment of Phenotypic and Phylogenetic Variability

Department: Biology

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Francis Juanes

"This project will explore the habitat and life-history characteristics that determine the presence or absence of fluorescence within and across marine taxa. Intertidal surveys conducted around southern Vancouver Island, and assessments of species available through the University of Victoria Animal Care Services, and the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre, will focus on model organisms: Actiniaria, Chitonida, and Decapoda. As biofluorescence has been previously determined to be phylogenetically widespread and phenotypically variable, this project will illuminate the environmental and species-specific factors that may act on biofluorescence through evolutionary time. This project will provide insight into the evolution and expression of biofluorescence, it's validity as a tool for differentiating potentially cryptic taxa, and it's prevalence in the northeast Pacific."   


Franklin, Joshua

Project title: Holon Inc.: A Multidisciplinary Exploration of Holistic Process Based Art

Department: Visual Arts

Faculty supervisor: Prof. Richard Leong

"For this research project I propose to engage in a durational, multimedia, performance based, installation project where I will live within a self-built and site specific structure for seven days and while in it, complete a finite number of pre-dictated tasks. The main objective and or explorative aspect of this performance are to present an unadulterated experience of viewing what occurs from a projects genesis to its dynamic resolution. The project will showcase and exercise process based art making and through this lens, there will be an investigation and critique into the likes of art object making, holistic process based art practice, painting in the expanded field, product driven culture, the attention economy, body and action as art, the queering of spaces, social aesthetics, and site specificity. Ultimately, through the exhibition of my own body in action of building an environment, the viewer will be given the opportunity to watch and contemplate the work that must be undertaken to actualize the project."


Fraser, Jesse

Project title: Teaching and Learning for Change: Building Knowledge and Skills to Address the Social Determinants of Health

Department: Priority Initiative - Nursing

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Kim Daly and Dr. Bernie Pauly

"Nurse navigation is an emerging role that contributes to health and social system advances by improving access, equity, efficiency, and the effectiveness of health services.  However, few undergraduate nursing students have opportunities to develop systems navigation skills or structural competencies that aim to address the social determinants of health in a community setting. Learning will include interviewing students who have participated in a pilot of a community-based Collaborative Learning Unit in health equity and the social determinants of health to hear student perspectives.  In addition, the JCURA scholar will complete a review of the literature related to the conceptualization of the nurse navigator role in community settings and the Collaborative Learning Unit as a model of practice education."


Getz, Alan

Project title: Applications of the Continuous Model Theory of C*-Algebras to Cantor Dynamical Systems

Department: Mathematics and Statistics

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Christopher Eagle

"The study of topological dynamics of Cantor spaces is a vibrant branch of pure mathematics with connections to the study of AF algebras and K-theory via the examination of Bratteli diagrams.  Moreover, the field has seen numerous applications in areas such as computer science and electrical engineering.  Gelfand duality provides a link between these dynamical systems and C*-algebra theory, and so the aim of this project would be to apply recent developments in the continuous model theory of the latter to the study of the former.  In particular, I hope to characterize the generic homeomorphism of the Cantor set purely in terms of the model theory of its corresponding C*-algebra."   


Giannopoulou, Kleio

Project title: Child-slaves in Classical Athens

Department: Greek and Roman Studies

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Geoffrey Kron

"How are child-slaves depicted in Classical Tragedy? What can these texts reveal about their lives? My project will explore these questions through the investigation of the tragic plays of Euripides and Sophocles. For this project I will research the intersections between artistic creation and reality. Also, I will be looking, as a helpful basis for comparison, into the work of Keith Bradley, who has investigated child slavery in the context of the Roman empire. Moreover, I intend to contrast the examples of child-slaves with case studies of male and female slaves. This contrast will highlight differences in the treatment of minor-slaves and adult-slaves. I am currently most interested in the lives of child-slaves, mainly because of the huge legal and cultural gap between what consists child abuse in the classical period and in our time."


Good, Ireland

Project title: An Analysis of the Euthanasia Program Propagated by the National Socialist Regime

Department: Germanic and Slavic Studies

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Charlotte Schallié

"The Euthanasia Program, as was implemented by the National Socialist Party beginning in 1939, was a program which permitted inhumane killings of those who were deemed ‘unfit’ to the party’s ‘ideal’ society. This research project will be examining how this program affected small towns within Germany and the impact it had on the families of those who were affected."   


Gulka, Sebastian

Project title: Confocal laser scanning microscope imaging of the ex vivo, intact, unfixed mouse cornea

Department: Biology

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Bob Chow

"Previous work in the lab involved the development of a novel method for analyzing the cornea utilizing a lipophilic fluorescent membrane dye, SGC5, paired with confocal laser microscopy. This method uses unfixed enucleated eyes of mice which were recently sacrificed, in order to preserve (as best as possible) the anatomical structure of the cornea. Approaches which include fixation of the eye may result in by-products-such as corneal bubbling or distortion-which can lead to inaccurate corneal quantification. Current highlights of this technique include visualization of corneal thickness and curvature, and robust corneal nerve imaging. Imaging corneal nerves presents the possibility of corneal nerve quantification as a function of this method. These metrics are all useful in contrasting the differences between normal and disease states which affect the cornea. My current research is aimed at refining this technique using mouse models by trialing approaches which alter SGC5 concentration, corneal application strategy for SGC5, and other variables. All corneal nerves are seemingly not labelled with this approach; therefore, I also seek to determine what fraction of corneal nerves that this technique labels."   


Haaf, Jenna

Project title: Does a Collaborative Learning Unit (CLU) impact development of a knowledge informed culture and implementation of evidence-based practice for nurses in priority patient settings?

Department: Nursing

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Lenora Marcellus

"This research project focuses on how the current undergraduate nursing education practice model, Collaborative Learning Units (CLU), impacts the growth of knowledge with aims for further recommendations for curriculum development.  It is a collaborative study with Island Health and Camosun College regarding CLU in the South Island in three acute care facilities and community settings. As a research assistant, I be conducting a literature review and working with data collected from other phases of the study to aid in knowledge translation to propose finalized recommendations for CLU development."


Hackett, Kristin

Project title: Mechanisms of proliferation in transformed immune and neuronal cells: The biological effects of iron deficiency and excess

Department: Biology

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Patrick Walter

"Iron is an essential element for normal biological function. However, it accumulates in highly proliferative cancer cells and when removed, cells cease proliferation and enter apoptosis. Although excess iron and iron deficiency have been extensively studied for their role in toxicity and tissue injury, little is known about the mechanisms by which iron influences cellular proliferation. We propose to investigate the effects of iron concentration on cellular proliferation by studying the cellular changes that occur in two different cell lines – immune and neuronal cells. These cell lines could give us insight into the different roles of iron in cancer and Parkinson’s Disease. The first goal is to quantify the transcriptional levels of the enzyme ribonucleotide reductase (RNR), an iron-containing enzyme that is essential to DNA synthesis, and deoxycytodine triphosphate (dCTP) concentrations in both cell lines. dCTP is one of the nucleosides synthesized by RNR and is particularly sensitive to changes in RNR activity. We hypothesize that with increasing iron there will be increased transcriptional levels of RNR as well as increased pools of dCTP and removing iron will inhibit these effects in both immune and neuronal cells. qPCR will be used to measure mRNA transcripts of RNR and a fluorescence-based qPCR assay will be done to quantify dCTP pool levels in both cell types. Through this we explore how iron concentration plays a role in cellular proliferation in these different cell types, thereby improving our understanding of iron’s role in cancer and Parkinson’s Disease."


Hammerstrom, Mathew

Project title: Portable Measurement of Interbrain Neural Synchrony

Department: Exercise Science, Physical and Health Education

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Olav Krigolson

"Interbrain neural synchrony is a new research area in neuroscience that explores the temporal and spatial coupling of the brain activity between communicating humans. Currently, the limited research has shown that interbrain synchrony is a positive predictor of efficient communication, and is enhanced by teamwork and leadership. Here, we aim to show that interbrain synchrony can be measured portably in natural environments using the MUSE EEG headband by replicating methods from a previous study (Fishburn et al., 2018)."   


Harder, Kathryn

Project title: Examining Sound Change in Hulq’umi’num’

Department: Linguistics

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Sonya Bird and Prof. Alexandra D’Arcy

"The goal of this project is to determine how Hul’q’umi’num’ pronunciation has changed over time and across speakers living in different locations. This project will make use of archival recordings from the 1970s to 2000s made by Drs. Tom Hukari and Donna Gerdts. These archival materials provide the opportunity to explore a wide range of features in the Hul’q’umi’num’ sound system, as realized in spoken language. Based on auditory impressions of sounds that vary in interesting ways, possible foci for the project include the vowel /e/ and the consonants /q/ and /tl’/. Similar research documenting change in Maori shows that New Zealand English has increasingly influenced Maori pronunciation overall, and yet new generations of Maori speakers appear to be exhibiting sociolinguistic change that is driven by their own internal social network, rather than contact with New Zealand English. The current project will replicate the methods of existing Maori studies as closely as possibly, to document variation in Hul’q’umi’num’ pronunciation. The study is of interest to members of the Hul’q’umi’num’ language community and, on a broader scale, it will contribute to the emerging literature on sociolinguistic variation in minority/indigenous languages."   


Harnois, Pierre-Jean

Project title: Transportation Geography in Victoria BC - Stakeholder views, current state of infrastructure, and planning for the near future

Department: Geography

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Shannon Fargey and Dr. Cameron Owens

"This project will revolve around an analysis of current state of transport infrastructure in Victoria BC, as well as the views held & issues raised by different stakeholders, and objectives for the near future. This will involve a comparative study of how certain cities in Europe and North America have addressed transportation conflicts in a bid to find sustainable, inclusive, and efficient solutions. The project will also include consultation with representatives of the City of Victoria to pinpoint research areas of particular relevance."   


Hibbing, Lydia

Project title: Bridging the German Gender Gap

Department: Germanic and Slavic Studies

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Matt Pollard

"German is a traditionally gendered language in which all nouns are assigned a grammatical gender and all nouns referencing persons are gender specific; that is to say there are currently two gender specific terms for all nouns referencing persons, which attribute either male or female gender to the person being identified. For example, the male student is “der Student” and the female student “die Studentin”; both have plural forms, but the masculine plural “die Studenten” is often used as the generic term to refer to a mixed group of persons.  Problems of inclusion arise not only from singular gender specificity within German, but also from the plural gender specificity, by which the masculine form becomes the default norm for discussing all students.

However, linguists and journalists have proposed some recent solutions to the problem. The asterisk (“die Student*innen”), the dash (or “gender gap”: “die Student_innen”) and slash (“die Student/innen”) all appear in varying degrees in print media, although nothing has been formally adopted at this time.

These solutions – some of them prescriptivist -- have come up against resistance and, while some alternatives such as “Studierende” (“those who study”) provide a modicum of reprieve, none seem to solve the issue and all generate their own problems and controversy. I propose to examine the controversies and proposed solutions to the issue of gender inclusivity (or lack thereof) within German and the problems associated with the recommended solutions."   


Hoepner, Julia

Project title: Eternal Roman Domination

Department: Mathematics and Statistics

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Gary MacGillivray

"We will define and analyze a combinatorial game that is an eternal extension of Roman domination: the player must guard against an infinite sequence of attacks to maintain a Roman dominating set.  This project will first investigate several variations of the game and draw comparisons to corresponding results for eternal domination.  A basis for further research along those branches will established before focusing on one.  We expect to determine bounds on the number of required guards, criteria for which player has a winning strategy, and a give a precise description of such strategies when the game is played on graphs belonging to well-structured families."   


Hof, Steve

Project title: Hidden Markov Models for Estimating Difficult to Measure Populations

Department: Mathematics and Statistics

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Laura Cowen

"Population sizes of small or otherwise ‘difficult to mark individually’ animals are notoriously difficult to estimate due to the necessity of ‘batch marking’ techniques which make estimating the likelihood of a population model difficult. In her research Dr. Cowen has demonstrated that Hidden Markov Models can provide a unified approach to population estimation whether the individuals of the population can be easily marked or not. This allows for the simultaneous estimation of population sizes, immigration and survival rates as well as efficient estimation of standard errors and model selection methods using standard likelihood techniques. In this project we hope to write and release an intuitive and efficient R package allowing for the easy implementation of these methods by fellow researchers or other individuals not necessarily intimately familiar with the underlying math."   


Holmes-Smith, Carmen

Project title: Seasonal climatology study of diurnal, semidiurnal, and terdiurnal components of atmospheric tide from reanalysis

Department: Earth and Ocean Sciences

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Adam Monahan

"Thermally-driven atmospheric tides are hemispheric-scale phenomena strongly influenced by local mesoscale and boundary layer processes. Global characterization of atmospheric tides can make use of surface pressure observations from operational weather stations (irregularly distributed in space, with large areas without observations) or spatially-uniform reanalysis products. A substantial limitation of past reanalysis-based analyses has been their relatively coarse temporal resolution (typically 6-hourly). The recently produced Modern Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Application, version 2 (MERRA-2) provides temporally and spatially high-resolution (respectively hourly and 0.625 x 0.5 degrees) representations of sea level pressure and surface pressure. This research project will use the MERRA-2 data to characterize the global distributions of amplitude and phase of the diurnal, semidiurnal, and terdiurnal tidal components of sea level pressure and surface pressure. These results will be compared to previous analyses using station data and earlier generation reanalysis products. Differences between the new and earlier results will be interpreted in terms of the effects of interpolation and model resolution."   


Ingram, Megan

Project title: Police, Prejudice, and Film: Contemporary Perspectives on Filmic Representations of Law Enforcement

Department: Art History and Visual Studies

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Lianne McLarty

"The proposed research project will examine representations of police officers and law enforcement personnel in relation to historically legally disadvantaged groups (people of colour, indigenous persons, women) within the last fifty years of North American narrative cinema. The project will analyze films centred around the relationship of law enforcement personnel to citizens of a variety of gender identities and races. Specifically, it will examine how these representations present ideological and social constructions that manifest in reaction to contemporary legal debates and human rights movements such as Black Lives Matter. This is a valuable research avenue as it will contribute to existing academic literature on representations of law enforcement in film, but from an interdisciplinary sociological and intersectional feminist approach. The research conducted will draw on feminist theories of representation, sociological theories of crime and deviance, cultural theories of race representation in film, and on analyses of key films."   


Jacobsen, Hanna

Project title: Transgender Identity Narratives in Communities

Department: Interdisciplinary Academic Programs - Social Justice Studies

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Aaron Devor

"My research discusses the normative narratives about transgender and non-binary experiences that have gained increasing mainstream visibility in the media in recent years, such as being “born in the wrong body” and the medical model of dysphoria. I will investigate how these narratives are both upheld and challenged within trans communities, and how they legitimate some trans people while further marginalizing others. My research employs the concept of transnormativity, queer theory, and other emerging topics in trans studies."


Jesperson, Talya

Project title: Using Technology To Curate Our Understanding of Politics

Department: Interdisciplinary Academic Programs - Technology and Society

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Janni Aragon

"This project is focused on using Netlytic (https://netlytic.org/) with Twitter hashtags to follow political campaigns in the Fall 2019 season. This will include the Canadian Federal election and the pre-primary season for the US election. In particular, I am particularly concerned with following the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) hashtag related to the Canadian Federal election to follow how closely Indigenous women's issues are discussed. I will also examine hashtags related to the pipeline and the election and the election outcome."


Johnson, Emma

Project title: Using Virtual Reality to Create Profound Experiences for Behavior Change: Tsunami Preparedness

Department: Computer Science

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Yvonne Coady

"Research surrounding the use of virtual reality for behaviour change is currently focused on
desensitisation and influencing mood, but the potential of VR goes far beyond that. I propose
to study how experiencing a profound or eye-opening situation in virtual reality can change the
outlook and stance on emergency preparedness; while exploring how levels of presence and
lack of control impact the effectiveness of anxiety inducing virtual environments."   


Kelly, Alida

Project title: Family Values

Department: Social Work

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Cindy Holmes

"Family Values is an interdisciplinary arts-based participatory action research project that will use the process and aesthetics of collective theatre creation to explore what the chosen family means to LGBTQIA2S+ youth and young adults."   


Kennedy, Mia

Project title: Investigating the role of the short-chain fatty acid isovalerate on intestinal immune responses

Department: Biochemistry and Microbiology

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Lisa Reynolds

"Our laboratory investigates the relationship between parasitic worms (helminths), the intestinal microbiota, and the immune system. Helminths have evolved mechanisms to alter our immune system in order to maintain chronic infections in their host. Some of these mechanisms work to suppress the onslaught of the immune response against them, and if elucidated, could offer potential treatment for inflammatory disorders or autoimmune diseases.

My project will explore one possible immunomodulatory mechanism employed by a helminth, previously identified in our laboratory. Through metabolite analysis it was found that levels of the short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) isovaleric acid are elevated during a helminth infection, and return to baseline upon clearance of the helminth. I will be working under the hypothesis that the helminth directly increases the levels of isovaleric acid in order to promote its survival in the host.

To test whether our model helminth directly produces isovaleric acid, I will culture helminths with various amino acid substrates that can be broken down to produce isovaleric acid, and will then measure isovaleric acid levels. To test whether isovaleric acid levels promote helminth survival, I will track the ability of mice to expel helminths after mice have been supplemented with or without isovaleric acid. To measure the ability of mice to expel helminths I will track helminth egg output in feces, enumerate adult worms in the intestinal tract after several weeks of infection, and measure the immune response of mice using flow cytometry."   


Kikuchi, Kai

Project title: Technology and "Herbivore Men" in Japan

Department: Pacific and Asian Studies

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Timothy Iles

"This project analyzes the influences and links between technological innovation and changes in historical situations around gender roles in contemporary Japan. I will argue that the advancement of technology and available services (rent a family, robots) contribute to the rise of “herbivore men” which affects the declining birthrate in Japan.

I will start by introducing the roles of men and their expectations in the past as an example to differentiate what has changed.

  • Point 1: Technology (Robots, VR, etc.).
  • Point 2: Available services (Rent a family, brothels, etc.).
  • Point 3: Men who are viewed as the “breadwinners” in Japan are less inclined to work full hours which leads them to believe they are unfit to support a family, contributing to the decision of not having children."

King, Alexandra

Project title: Forecasting Wildfire Severity: A Spatial Statistical Analysis

Department: Geography

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Chris Bone

"The ability to accurately forecast a wildfire season, considering the number, sizes, and severity of incidents, is an indispensable step towards effective fire management and allocation of fire-fighting resources. The Canadian Fire Danger Rating system is a long-standing tool encompassing climatological and topographical input features to estimate wildfire severity; however, with the changing climate and rising intensity of fire seasons in both BC and nationally, there exists a new demand for updated analysis on both its accuracy, and thus efficiency.

My research project aims to meet that demand by examining historical wildfire severity ratings in British Columbia, and their relationship to the locations and sizes of where wildfire events actually occurred. Additionally, I will consider the placement of fire-fighting resources as to whether they are more consistent with the projected risk areas, actual event areas, or both. This will be accomplished through a range of data processing, geospatial programming, and spatial statistical analysis, utilizing skills acquired in Geomatics courses. The results from this project will contribute a quantitative examination of the ‘risk rating to actual event’ spatial patterns of wildfires, and provide a provincial framework for improved forecasting and resource allocation. Furthermore, through an anticipated partnership with a member of the Canadian Forest Service, this research will also directly provide valuable information on a national scale of wildfire management."   


Kirkbride, Stephen

Project title: Aristotle on First Principles: Divine Substance and Book Lambda

Department: Philosophy

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Clifford Roberts

"In Book Lambda of Aristotle's Metaphysics, Aristotle provides an account of how divine substance is related to everyday material substances. Aristotle considers divine substance to be the most basic substance, but it does not seem to be any different than everyday material substances. Consequently, there are questions about how Book Lambda fits into the rest of Aristotle's Metaphysics. My aim will be to offer an interpretation on how divine substance is related to material substances."   


Kocay, Brandi

Project title: Geochemistry of carbonates formed during low temperature alteration of the oceanic crust

Department: Earth and Ocean Sciences

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Laurence Coogan

"On long timescale it is widely thought that Earth’s climate is controlled by the silicate weathering feedback that, simply put, means more CO2 is drawn out of the atmosphere the higher the atmospheric CO2 level.  This project will investigate another CO2 sink – weathering of the seafloor – through the study of seafloor carbonates."


Kwan, Heather

Project title: Coming soon

Department: Psychology

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Jodie Gawryluk

"Coming soon."   


Lacerte, Sage

Project title: #strongresilientindigenous: _An exploration of Indigenous feminisms, decolonization and resurgence

Department: Priority Initiative - Gender Studies

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Laura Parisi

"My research project will focus on the experiences of Indigenous feminists who practice resurgence by enforcing decolonial attitudes and actions within their lives and the communities they reach in the province of BC. Indigenous feminisms have many modalities and are often exhibited through decolonial and resurgent practices of reculturation and place­ based practices. I will glean "best practices" and lived experiences by conducting a number of interviews with Indigenous feminists who operate within governmental, educational, community-based, and non-profit institutions. It is my goal to allow the words of my elders and teachers to speak for themselves, therefore many of these interviews will be written verbatim."  


Lake, Daniel

Project title: Living Learning Communities and University Student Success: Do Themed Residence Floors Impact Future Incomes?

Department: Economics

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Maggie Jones

"In many academic institutions across North America, students moving into a university residence have the opportunity to choose between living in a traditional dormitory floor, or on a themed floor, often called a Living Learning Community (LLC). LLCs differ from traditional dormitory floors as the environment of an LLC is catered to a specific theme, often based on academic discipline or shared interests. In the United States and Eastern Canada, research has shown that students who have lived on themed residence floors have higher retention rates into subsequent years of study, as well as higher graduation rates when compared to students on traditional floors. Since living on a themed floor is positively correlated with graduation rates, and if degree holders on average have higher median incomes than those who do not, it may be the case that living on a themed residence floor can positively impact future real median income. This study will compare outcomes of students who have lived in LLCs to those who have lived in traditional residence dormitories, specifically looking at retention rates and graduation rates to see if previous research is consistent in Western Canadian universities, and if there is a link between living in a LLC and future median income."   


Lakshmanan, Aditi

Project title: The KhiTT framework: Knowledge translation and health information technology for transparency in policy-making

Department: Nursing

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Anastasia Mallidou

"Understanding the process that influences health policies and their implications for health outcomes is essential. This study explores the meaning of evidence-based health policy (EBHP) among four discrete stakeholder groups: knowledge producers/researchers, policy-makers, the public, and health information technology (HIT) professionals to better understand their perspectives, insights, and experiences about EBHP, using the KhiTT conceptual framework. The proposed framework focuses on enhanced collaboration and communication between knowledge producers (researchers) and knowledge users (policy-makers) to improve the way in which health information is accumulated and health policies are formulated."


Landrey, Jennifer

Project title: Japanese Canadian Testimonies: An Oral History Inquiry

Department: History

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Jordan Stanger-Ross

"As a research assistant for the Landscapes of Injustice research collective, I have access to more than 140 new oral interviews on the dispossession of Japanese Canadians and their descendants.  I will analyse memory, identity, and historical consciousness within oral history theory."   


Larnder, Ashley

Project title: Evaluating Drug Checking Technologies

Department: Chemistry

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Dennis Hore

"This project is critically examining drug checking as a harm reduction method within overdose prevention sites in Victoria. The goal is to evaluate drug checking technologies by running samples across multiple analytical instruments where the results can be cross-examined. This comparison can allow a better understanding of the range and accuracy of results for each instrument relative to illicit drug-related compounds. The collected data will also allow the further development of current analytical tools and visualization of trends in the current drug supply."   


Lauder, Caroline

Project title: Exploring the Intersection between Sociology and Marketing

Department: Sociology

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Bruce Ravelli

"My research will explore how the discipline of marketing has borrowed from and been influenced by sociology. Specifically, I am interested in the role of brand activism in promoting engagement around contemporary social issues. Throughout this research, I intend to also work with colleagues from the Gustavson school of Business. This will create an interdisciplinary exchange of knowledge between both disciplines. Further, I intend to engage with businesses and individuals in the community. The goal for this research is to explore the intersection between sociology, marketing and social activism." 


Lawrence, Bronwyn

Project title: Decolonizing Praxis: Implications for Child and Youth Care

Department: Child and Youth Care

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Mandeep Mucina

"As the University of Victoria moves towards reconciliation and decolonization, it is important to provide critical research that supports this movement. More specifically, due to the historical approach to social services in Indigenous communities, decolonization needs to be at the centre of practice in the School of Child and Youth Care (CYC). Therefore, I am applying for the JCURA award to support my work with Soolin Yang to explore decolonizing praxis in CYC practicum settings. Our research would explore the perspectives and ideologies of faculty who work with practicum students and support the creation of updated curriculum. As a student in the Indigenous specialization, I have been through two practicum courses and I have insight into practicum at an Indigenous agency. To ensure good practices in the suggested curriculum updates, I would centre Indigenous voices in this process, and incorporate the voices of Indigenous CYC students and faculty."


Lee, Robert

Project title: Data Mining Algorithms Implementation for Human Detection Application

Department: Electrical and Computer Engineering

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Kin Fun Li

"In many of today’s leading-edge computer vision research areas, the speed and resilience of object detection is vital to the system’s performance. Often, real-time processing may be necessary. However, due to its inherent computational complexity, it is difficult for purely software-based systems to meet real-time requirements. In this project, an FPGA-based implementation of object detection system, using a to-be-chosen data mining algorithm, and its corresponding potentials for parallelism, low power, and reconfigurability are investigated."


Li, Sherry

Project title: Application on High-Q Silica Microcavities: Portable Bio-Monitor

Department: Electrical and Computer Engineering

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Tao Lu

"Coming soon."


Louw, Moira

Project title: Identity Crisis: The Relevance of National Identity in the 21st Century

Department: Political Science

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Oliver Schmidtke

"For years, the European Union was expected to facilitate the development of a “European identity” which overrode the national identities of its member states. But in the past few decades, support for nationalist-populist parties and nationalist governments has been growing in countries such as Hungary, Italy, and Poland. While Europe is more integrated than ever, nationalism is becoming increasingly important for determining communal belonging and collective identity in Europe.

Having spent the past year on exchange in the Netherlands and observed Dutch and EU-level elections as a (temporary) European resident, I have noticed how influential the idea of a national identity can be even in a seemingly ‘tolerant’ country. My travels, interactions with professors and fellow students, and personal experiences have increased my interest in understanding not only European identities, but the Canadian one as well.  In 2015, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called Canada the world’s first “post-national country.” Canada is often seen as a country which has successfully created an identity grounded in its diversity, rather than exclusive nationalism as we see elsewhere in the world. The idea of a national identity seems to be increasingly relevant in the European context, but does the same hold true in Canada? This research will analyze why the idea of a national identity is still relevant in Europe in the 21st century, and finish by considering implications for Canadian identity." 


Luke, Cedar

Project title: Indigenous Governance and Community Resiliency in Cotacachi, Ecuador

Department: Latin American Studies

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Beatriz de Alba-Koch

"Ecuador has a rich history of Indigenous federations which have grown to become an important political power within the nation today. I will focus my research on Cotacachi, Ecuador, a community that has struggled for decades to maintain a sustainable economy and environmental integrity in the face of ecological destruction led by international mining corporations. I am particularly interested in the role of the Indigenous perspective within this struggle. The history of their resistance began by confronting the Japanese company Bishimetals who found a large deposit of copper in the region and later the Canadian company Ascendant Copper; mining is led currently by the Chilean company CODELCO.  I will explore the alternative solutions which developed in Cotacachi through the leadership of its current Kichwa mayor, Auki Tituaña. In his previous two terms as mayor, Tituña led a progressive movement towards inclusivity and transparency, supporting practices of sustainability including organic agriculture, handcrafts, and environmental tourism. He built his authority on a political model of participatory governance that empowered the people of Cotacachi to boldly defy the destruction of their region’s natural wealth. To what degree does Cotacachi exemplify how the value of maintaining the integrity of the natural world is central to connecting diverse communities and strengthening a broader vision of personal and collective wellbeing? My research will allow me to explore one case within the rich history of social movements in Latin America demanding political and ecological justice."


Markwart, Emily

Project title: Florence B. Price: An Antidote to the Whitewashed Classical Music Canon

Department: Music

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Katharina Clausius

"Florence B. Price (1888-1953) was the first African-American woman to receive acclaim for her compositions; however, very little is known about her in spite of increasing public interest in her output. The most recent analytical scholarship written about Price’s music, by Rae Linda Brown, dates from the 1990s. Brown catalogued Price’s lost works and brought her music to the attention of musicologists, but there remains significant primary research to be completed.

In 2009, dozens of Price’s lost works were found in the attic of her old summer home and added to the University of Arkansas’ holdings, along with letters and diaries that I have accessed through their digitized collection. I have also been in contact with violinist Er-Gene Kahng (University of Arkansas), who recorded the two violin concertos, String Quartets, and Price’s important Piano Quintet in a minor, which has not been released. Kahng has generously provided me with the score for the Piano Quintet, which will serve as the main case study for my project. The culmination of this project will be a performance in collaboration with string students from the School of Music.

This project undertakes to rediscover Price’s music, focusing on the Piano Quintet, in the context of its place in Price’s compositional output, America’s early 20th century compositional schools and methods, and current theories of race and gender. The aim is to bring scholarly and public attention to a marginalized composer and to acknowledge Price’s music for its compositional merit and cultural insights."   


Marshall, Liam

Project title: Objectivity and the Purpose of Philosophy in Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations

Department: Philosophy

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Patrick Rysiew

"In his Philosophical Investigations, Ludwig Wittgenstein presents a powerful critique of several traditional philosophical positions which have guided the discipline of philosophy from the time of Plato to the current day. In particular, this project will focus on his critique of a traditional conception of objectivity, and the extent to which a particular image of objectivity leads us into philosophical confusion. Some have described Wittgenstein’s work as “anti-philosophical,” or seeking to bring about the end of philosophy. However, through an exploration of his views on objectivity, this project will suggest that instead of ending philosophy entirely, Wittgenstein’s work should be understood as laying the foundations for an entirely new understanding of philosophy’s aims and its role in our lives."  


Mason, Hana

Project title: Re-coming of Age: Themes, Motifs and Conventions in New Adult Fiction

Department: Writing

Faculty supervisor: Mr. Lee Henderson

"Through research for a current writing project, I have noticed a new genre of literary fiction arise that is neither YA (young adult) nor traditional adult contemporary. It is neither about teenagers, nor about full-grown adults, nor even about children told in retrospect by adults. It explores themes and motifs that pull from both, and has conventions all its own. This genre, which has been called “New Adult” and focuses on the lives of 19-35 year olds, is what my research for this JCURA will focus on. What are the commonalities in these “quarter-life-crisis” novels? What themes are millennial authors exploring? What are the style conventions of said works? I will use this research to further my own novella project, which fits into this new, exciting genre."


McDonald, Callum

Project title: Zola’s Rougon-Macquart novels: A history of the Second French (Overseas) Empire?

Department: French

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Émile Fromet de Rosnay

"Émile Zola’s Rougon-Macquart novel cycle (1871 to 1893), provides the history of a family under Napoleon III’s Second Empire (1852-1870), a polity divided between France proper and an overseas empire which saw its most concrete manifestations in Algeria and in the Suez. This project will examine two novels which closely bear on imperial statecraft: L’Argent and Son Excellence Eugène Rougon, which describe the Parisian stock exchange and the life of a politician in the French state, respectively. Zola’s mentions (and omissions) of France’s overseas policy reflect a relationship between his work and empire. First, this project will theorize a link between the descriptive focus of Zola’s Naturalism and forms of empire, both in Zola’s own time and in the novels’ historical time.

Zola’s Naturalism was committed to both accuracy and to the exploration of social change in the recent historical past. This project, interdisciplinary in nature, will be primarily occupied with the extent to which Zola’s Naturalist commitments to social understanding extend to a growing French imperial reality. Two interpretive questions will follow. First, what function do Zola’s non-European references serve in his Naturalist works? Second, is this function different from the one generally assumed of works traditionally called “Orientalist,” i.e. works that legitimate Western power over Eastern subjects, as Edward Saïd theorized in Orientalism (1978) and Culture and Imperialism (1993)?

A potential visualization of this project will entail contrasting a map of the actual French empire in Zola’s time with the locations mentioned in his work."   


McDowell, Catherine

Project title: Informing Canada’s Blood Donor Deferral Policy for Sexual Minority Men

Department: Public Health and Social Policy

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Nathan Lachowsky and Ms. Karyn Fulcher

"In recent years, blood donor deferral criteria related to men who have sex with men (MSM) in Canada have been reduced from a lifetime to 3-month period. Community advocacy seeks further change to a policy that is not specific to MSM, one that is “gender blind”. Funded by Canadian Blood Services, this multi-method community-based research study seeks to assess the acceptability of screening and alternative risk management technologies among patient and blood-user groups. A national survey will evaluate the acceptability of a new screening questionnaire and the inclusion of sensitive questions, identifying new potential donors who have previously been discouraged by the current MSM deferral policy. We will conduct interviews with patients who rely on blood products in order to generate evidence on the opinion of and impact that possible changes to donor screening could have on blood-user groups. As a JCURA student, I will assist with project development, help conduct and transcribe interviews, and analyze transcripts. Working on behalf of the University of Victoria in collaboration with the Community-Based Research Centre (CBRC) and under the supervision of Dr. Nathan Lachowsky, I will focus on the perceived impact of donor deferral policy change on patients and blood-user groups. This project will produce critical and robust evidence to inform applications to Health Canada for deferral criteria amendment, and international blood safety policy in the long-term. Collectively, we strive for greater multi-stakeholder support to implement an individual behavioral-based risk assessment donor policy."   


McMunagle, Alexa

Project title: An Exploration of Transracialism and Transableism — Legitimacy, Reactions and Implications

Department: Gender Studies

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Sikata Banerjee

"Through this research project, I hope to explore the emerging issues of “transracialism” and “transableism”. In 2015, transracialism made international headlines with the case of Rachel Dolezal, an American woman born to two Caucasian parents who now identifies as black. Reactions to her story were generally very negative, with many characterizing her and others like her as mentally ill and/or offensive. While transableism has received less media attention in comparison, the attention and reactions it has received were also overwhelmingly negative, with many accusing self-demand amputees of being equally as offensive and mentally ill as individuals claiming transracial identities. Through this research project, I would first and foremost like to explore the legitimacy of transraciality and transability by reviewing the current literature, examining the similarities and differences that exist between transracialism, transableism, and transgenderism, and, if possible, by interviewing individuals who identify as transracial or transabled. Secondly, I would like to examine why the public reacted in the way that it did towards publicized cases of self-identified transracial and transabled individuals. Lastly, I would like to explore what transraciality or transability can teach us about race, bodily integrity and identity."   


Miller, John

Project title: Testimonial Alienation: A Marxist Examination of Testimonial Injustice

Department: Philosophy

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Patrick Rysiew

"Karl Marx described four kinds of “alienation”, harmful psychological effects resulting from an individual losing control over the process and product of their labour. Using Marx’s explanation of alienation, I explore whether and how testimony could be considered a form of labour, and how adversarial or discriminatory epistemological circumstances could lead to groups or individuals being alienated from their testimonial labour."   


Moore, Hannah

Project title: Revisiting the Anarchist Politics of Barnett Newman’s ‘Zip’ Paintings

Department: Art History and Visual Studies

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Allan Antliff

"The objective of my research project is to explore American abstract expressionist painter Barnett Newman’s (1905-1970) ‘zip’ paintings in relation to his famous declaration in 1970 that “if my work were properly understood, it would be the end of state capitalism and authoritarianism.” (“Interview with Emile de Antonio,” reprinted in Barnett Newman, Selected Writings and Interviews, 1990: 307-8) I am interested in Newman’s Judeo-anarchist ontology and its development in the context of post-World War Two America during the 1940s, 50s and 60s. I will research the formulation of his ontology in part by drawing on the writings of the Jewish-Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677) and the Russian anarchist Peter Kropotkin (1842-1921) as well as secondary literature on Barnett Newman, the abstract expressionist movement, and the history and philosophy of anarchism. My goal is to investigate how Newman combined the heterodox Judaic religiosity of Spinoza with Kropotkin’s conception of social transformation to formulate his belief that his abstract expressionist paintings could convey a political message. Understanding Newman’s Judaic-anarchist ontology will provide a basis for revisiting Colin Gardner’s conception of Newman’s work in his influential article, "Barnett Newman's Zip as Figure" (Deleuze Studies, 6:1 2012: 42-54).  I will show that, while Gardner recognizes the relevance of Spinoza for understanding Newman’s outlook, he offers an incomplete analysis of Newman’s Zip paintings because he neglects their ontological foundations in the politics of anarchism."   


Nielsen, Julianna

Project title: Orientalism, Borders, & (Im)Migration: the human dimensions of East/West border-making and -crossing

Department: History

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Andrew Wender

"My research project will inquire into Orientalist constructions of the geographical and cultural boundaries between the ‘West’ and the ‘East’—civilizational entities imagined as limited, bordered, and ‘essentially different’—in relation to the phenomenon of (im)migration. Existing literature brings attention to various manifestations of Orientalism, as a mindset and practice, in the ways in which the ‘West’ envisions itself—as ‘modern,’ ‘secular,’ ’progressive,’ and etc.—in relation to the ‘East,’ especially  in the context of historical and contemporary (Western) imperialisms.

I am curious to understand how theories and practices of (forced) migration have challenged or affirmed, in different historical contexts, ‘static’ conceptions of the borders and frontiers between ‘a self-imagined Europe’ and its ‘Eastern Other.’ To ground this theoretical study of Orientalism, borders, and migration, I explore the processes and human consequences of boundary-making and -crossing as they relate to Greek independence from the Ottoman Empire (1810s-20s), the population exchange between Greece and Turkey (1920s), and the contemporary ‘refugee crisis’ in the Eastern Mediterranean (2010s). In this way, I come to analyze the institutions, practices, and discourses through which communities crossing the border between ‘Europe’ and the ‘East' are classified, racialized, and securitized in respect to Orientalist frameworks which assume an ‘Eastern’  ‘difference,’ ‘incompatibility,’ and ‘threat’ to supposed ‘Western’ values and ways of life."        


Oakley, Alex

Project title: Partial Grounds and Partial Essences: Does Every Part have a Whole?

Department: Philosophy

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Michael Raven

"We sometimes wish to explain something partially, or say what something is in part. My having knowledge can be partially explained by my having a true belief; but this does not wholly explain it. And part of what it is to be me is to be human; but this does not exhaust my identity. I construe these as examples of partial ground and partial essence, respectively. Ground and essence have seen a resurgence of interest in recent years. However, their partial counterparts remain underexplored. My project engages in an especially vital question; namely, whether each partial ground or essence must be part of some full ground or essence. If yes, then we partially explain knowledge in terms of true belief because there is a full explanation of knowledge, of which true belief is a part. Likewise, being human is a part of what it is to be me because there is a full, individuating identity of me, of which being human is a part. As it turns out, many debates regarding features ground and essence may have turn on this question. The project thus promises to contribute to these debates. Moreover, I hope the project will expose the depth to which the two notions are connected. The project also has direct import to philosophy more generally; if the account given of partial ground and essence is ultimately denied, the scope of philosophical inquiry is broadened accordingly: even in cases which do not permit of full explication, partial explanations may exist."  


Ogden, Shannon

Project title: Total Roman Domination Edge-Critical Trees

Department: Mathematics and Statistics

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Kieka Mynhardt

"A Roman dominating function on a graph G is a function f assigning a value of 0,1 or 2 to each vertex in G, such that every vertex which is assigned a 0 is adjacent to some vertex that is assigned a 2. If the subgraph induced by the positive vertices is isolate-free, then f is a total Roman dominating function (abbreviated TRD-function). The total Roman domination number (abbreviated TRD-number) is the minimum weight of a TRD-function on G. The addition of an edge to a graph has the potential to change its TRD-number. A graph G is total Roman domination edge-critical if the addition of any edge to G decreases its TRD-number. In this project, we will investigate the properties of various total Roman domination edge-critical trees, beginning with spiders and double-spiders, with the goal of characterizing which trees are total Roman domination edge-critical."   


Orsini, Henry

Project title: Development of a Fire Model in Southern Vancouver Island

Department: Geography

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Chris Bone

"This research project will contribute to understanding wildfire behavior in Southern Vancouver Island. Working with the Capital Regional District, a specific regional fire model will be created using local environmental characteristics. This model will help inform management decisions such as the implementation of prescribed burns. Prescribed burning is a useful management tool that requires comprehensive research due to the risks involved. This research project is important in its support of these management plans."   


Overeem, Tait

Project title: Changing Hydrological Dynamics in the Mackenzie Delta : A Gwich’in and Inuvialuit Perspective

Department: Environmental Studies

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Trevor Lantz

"Gwich’in and Inuvialuit communities depend largely on the land and waterways of the Mackenzie Delta for subsistence and for the continuation of important cultural practices. This project will involve analyzing and synthesizing data collected from interviews conducted with Gwich’in and Inuvialuit peoples as part of the Tracking Change project in the Mackenzie-Beaufort region. The interviews to be analyzed were designed to gain insight into observed changes in the hydrological dynamics in the delta, particularly those affecting fishing and navigation such as changing water levels, water flow, and accessibility to traditional fishing areas. This project will aim to create a greater understanding of how ecological changes are impacting the waterways of the Mackenzie Delta and what that means for the communities that depend on them."


Parker, Benjamin

Project title: Post-War Art in Europe: Stravinsky, Sibelius, Vaughn Williams and Schoenberg in the wake of WW1

Department: Music

Faculty supervisor: Prof. Merrie Klazek

"Historiographical methods and musical analysis will be used to investigate the careers and work of four
European composers during World War One and the inter-war period. Specifically, we will explore how World War One's economic, cultural, and political consequences intersected with the careers of these four composers, and the extent to which these three careers had similar responses to the consequences of World War One. The four composers, Stravinsky, Sibelius, Schoenberg and Vaughn-Williams have been chosen for the diversity they represent, in nationality, residence, and style of music. Inclusion of a composer each from Russia, Finland, Austria and England, will provide four different perspectives of life during and after the War, and four unique musical responses. Included in the research will be some reference to how political conflict affects artists and their work, thereby offering a platform of art as a reflection of life. This is an influence that is highly applicable and significant to our current day political climate."


Parkin, Hayley

Project title: Isolating Nickel Phosphenium Complexes for Catalytic Applications

Department: Chemistry

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Lisa Rosenberg

"This project will include the synthesis of some unusual new nickel complexes and their characterization using NMR spectroscopy. We are interested in these "phosphenium" complexes as catalysts for hydrophosphination, which allows the formation of new carbon-phosphorous bonds.  Previous research has shown that phosphenium species are able to react with simple, unactivated alkenes, which broadens the applications of this catalytic process."  


Paterson, Keegan

Project title: Hospital Creek Estuary Restoration Project

Department: Geography

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Eva Kwoll

"Due to a long history of urban and agricultural development, the Hospital Creek estuary near Portage Inlet is severely degraded and almost entirely eroded. This project will examine the geomorphic processes that influence the structure and function of the Hospital Creek estuary in order to determine appropriate measures to restore its physical and ecological processes, as well as mitigate future disturbances, such as sea-level rise. Through a collaboration with Peninsula Streams Society (PSS), the results will be used directly to implement restoration activities in the near future."   


Pinto, Sonja

Project title: Putting Down the Pen: Education Beyond the Classroom in Victorian Fiction

Department: English

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Mary Elizabeth Leighton

"Nineteenth-century England implemented many educational reforms, from acts that broadened university accessibility to non-Anglicans (and, eventually, to women) to acts that mandated primary education for children under 12. Many Victorian novelists engaged with educational reforms within their writing, perhaps most famously in Charles Dickens’s Hard Times (1854) and Thomas Hughes’s Tom Brown’s Schooldays (1857). Despite this shift towards educational reform within academic institutions, many Victorian novels were also preoccupied with the ways in which characters educated themselves through non-academic means. While many scholars have studied representations of academic education in fiction, this focus rarely addresses the ways in which texts advocate for non-academic learning. I am interested in how texts represent education beyond these academic institutions. Thus, my research will focus on the ways in which Victorian fiction promoted education outside the classroom, in such activities as domestic handicrafts and art, rather than within traditional classrooms that prioritized the classics and rote learning.

My project will consider how Victorian fiction represents characters’ self-education beyond formal schooling by analysing such Victorian texts as Charlotte Brontë’s Villette (1853), George Eliot’s Romola (1862), George Gissing’s The Odd Women (1893), and Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure (1894). These texts demonstrate an interest in non-traditional education, from Lucy Snowe’s art critiques to Jude Fawley’s autodidacticism. By examining these novels, I hope to understand how Victorian fiction encouraged educational reform through learning that takes place outside conventional avenues of education."   


Pobuda, Anika

Project title: Social and Political Instability and the Rise of Russian Absurdism in the Early 20th Century

Department: Germanic and Slavic Studies

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Megan Swift

"This project will focus on the absurdist aspects of the Russian Futurist movement which flourished after the Russian Revolution. Specifically, I will focus on the way in which the movement progressed from impressionism to absurdism, becoming more extreme and abstract as the social and political landscape became more violent and uncertain, finally culminating in the eradication of the futurist movement and its authors by Stalin in the 1930s. While futurism and other avant-garde movements gained a foothold during the brief period of relaxed censorship in the early 1920s, the imposition of increasingly strict censorship laws by the Bolsheviks and the inability to speak openly against Stalin’s regime lead to increasing abstraction of the movement, allowing authors to hide societal critiques under a veil of nonsense. Other European nations also experienced an emergence of absurdism in movements such as surrealism and in authors such as Kafka, but absurdism didn’t reach a crescendo in Europe until post-World War Two, when the Russian absurdist movement had already been stifled. Today, aspects of absurdism are re-emerging in popular culture. Based on the rise and decline of Russian absurdism alongside an unstable landscape marked by social unrest, political turmoil, and war, it is possible to conclude that the modern socio-political landscape is starting to provide the fear and uncertainty required to fuel a new absurdist movement."   


Ponti, Paloma

Project title: Perspectives on the Role of Counselling in Social Change and Activism

Department: Gender Studies

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Sikata Banerjee

"While there are various theories on how social change occurs, many agree that social justice is a collective project requiring systemic structural change that extends beyond individual responsibility. But what does it mean to bring a social justice lens into counselling, arguably a field that focuses on change within the individual? In my proposed JCURA research, I will review literature written on the development of social justice counselling and its differing approaches over the past two decades. My review will address both the broad parameters of incorporating a social justice approach and will look specifically at the role of counselling in addressing rape culture, ending sexualized violence and supporting survivors. In addition, I will conduct interviews with a small number of practicing social justice counsellors in the Victoria area to gain insights into the practical and theoretical place of individual growth, empowerment and healing within a wider social justice agenda. A key part of both streams of my research will be to understand the implications of a social justice approach from the counsellors’ perspectives on clients’ and counsellors’ roles in activism."   


Rambold, Natalya

Project title: Masculinities in Motion: The Implications of Shifting Narratives of Nationalism on The Formation of Canadian Masculine Identities

Department: Political Science

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Sikata Banerjee

"Recent changes to the way we talk about men and masculinity from the #MeToo, to the rise of so called ‘incels’, has led academics and Reddit users alike to declare a ‘crisis of masculinity’. While feminists and men’s rights activists differ greatly in their understanding of the ‘crisis’ and their proposed solutions, it seems that the very definition of masculinity is under review. My research attempts to discern the impact that nationalism has on the debates surrounding emerging trends in masculinity in Canada.

Using an explicitly feminist lens, this project aims to understand the ways in which shifting discourses of Canadian nationalism are impacting the formation of masculine identity for young, self-identified Canadian men. Given the deeply gendered and racialized roots of all nationally ‘imagined communities’, my project attempts to understand how recent efforts to publicly acknowledge the legacies of colonialism and move towards a kinder, ‘gentler’ nationalism, have impacted discourses of Canadian masculinity. The goal of this research is to use my findings on emerging trends in Canadian national rhetoric to better understand the so called ‘crisis of masculinity’ in Canada, and the gendered, racialized, and colonial underpinnings of the Canadian nation-state."  


Ronayne, Emma

Project title: Maternal mortality: Inevitable evolutionary obstetrical dilemma or preventable health outcome?

Department: Anthropology

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Helen Kurki

"This research project will look at of causes of postpartum and childbirth-related maternal mortality to investigate dominant perspectives on the evolutionary implications of bipedalism for risk in childbirth. The Obstetrical Dilemma posits that bipedalism and increasing brain size in our evolutionary history led to increased risk of obstructed labour. However, causes of maternal mortality are not only, or even predominantly related to pelvic morphology (i.e., cephalopelvic disproportion during labour), rather there are multiple 'obstetrical dilemmas', or factors that may cause complications during childbirth, many of which may be preventable. By researching childbirth and maternal mortality, we can learn more about the evolutionary role of pelvic physiology and its associated complications during labour, as well as identify more critical determinants of mortality and preventative measures. Research will be conducted by using a variety of academic sources and critically looking at the World Health Organization’s statistics of maternal mortality across the globe. The goal of this project is to provide a better understanding of why maternal mortality occurs during, or soon after, childbirth, the role of pelvic physiology in an evolutionary sense (i.e., did childbirth become exponentially more dangerous and difficult alongside the evolution of bipedalism?), and why certain populations of women have higher statistics of maternal mortality during labour than others."   


Ross, James

Project title: Impact of Media on Mental Health in Japan

Department: Pacific and Asian Studies

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Andrew Marton

"Mental illness has been a taboo subject in Japan for countless years, resulting in the public being undereducated on how to cope with their own physiological disorders. My project will elaborate on how Japanese society handles the discussion of mental health in modern times through the analysis of domestic popular culture such as manga publications and anime broadcasts. I will examine how those suffering from mental illness are portrayed in the media and how this correlates with the public’s opinion on the subject. The aim of this research is the better understand if popular culture is currently contributing a positive or negative opinion on mental health and how that is affecting the lives of Japanese citizens."


Ruff, Kara

Project title: Proof of principle: targeting of GFP to Dictyostelium mitochondrial matrix

Department: Priority Initiative - Biology

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Ryan Gawryluk

"An emerging protistan model of mitochondrial biology is the slime mold, Dictyostelium. As an amoebozoan, Dictyostelium occupies a key evolutionary position (Amoebozoa is sister to animals + fungi), and its complex life cycle – involving both unicellular and multicellular stages – may help elucidate the mitochondrion’s role in the evolution of multicellularity. However, the lack of a well-curated Dictyostelium mitochondrial proteome is an impediment to its utility in mitochondrial research. The Gawryluk laboratory aims to characterize the mitochondrial proteome in Dictyostelium by targeting a biotinylating protein BioID to the mitochondrial matrix, subsequently purifying the proteins, and identifying them by mass spectrometry. This project aims to develop a necessary control by demonstrating that the all steps in the protocol are effective in localizing a protein to the matrix. I will extract RNA from Dictyostelium to attain the N-terminal targeting peptide, ligate it into a GFP plasmid, transform Dictyostelium with the plasmid, and co-localize GFP with MitoTracker."   


Santana, Sebastian

Project title: Music and Dementia: Exploring Protective Factors for Cognitive Function

Department: Psychology

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Stuart MacDonald

"Dementia is a chronic and progressive neurodegenerative syndrome that impacts the lives of millions of Canadians. One of the most debilitating dementia-related impairments is the progressive deterioration of the capacity to solve complex problems and manage novelty, usually referred to as dysexecutive syndrome. Such declines in executive function (EF) are commonly associated with additional impairments including loss of independence, social isolation, passivity, depression, and other negative outcomes. For these reasons, there is a clinical and practical imperative to identify protective factors that may mitigate the progressive deterioration of EF in people with Dementia.

This project will analyze data from the Voices in Motion (ViM) choir. ViM is a novel interdisciplinary socio-cognitive intervention that seeks to support both individuals with dementia and their caregivers. Spanning a period of two years, two professionally-directed choirs were implemented. During that time, numerous assessments of neuropsychological function, physical health, social connection, and emotional well-being were sampled using an intensive repeated measures design. This research design facilitates a comprehensive multilevel analysis of potential factors that modulate trajectories of change in executive functions for those with Dementia, pursuant to onset of choir participation. The proposed analyses of change will aim to identify key factors that buffer the progressive deterioration of EFs and quantify their impact. These findings will help expand our understanding of socio-cognitive interventions and their potential impact for maximizing the cognitive abilities of people with Dementia."   


Scharf, Makayla

Project title: Gendered Monstrosity in Malory’s Le Morte d'Arthur

Department: English

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Allan Mitchell

"In Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur, women are far from the simple damsels we might imagine populating the chivalric world. Whether situated astride a serpent in the quest for the Grail, engaging in adulterous liaisons, or working evil magics, Malory’s women embody the seductive, the chaotic, and the destructive. Adapting Minji Lee’s and Sarah Allison Miller’s ideas of the female body as monstrous in medieval medicine and religion, my comparative character analysis seeks to highlight Malory’s literary alignment of woman and monster. Malory’s Questing Beast, for example, whose origins in a women’s moral failing are occluded in Malory, is femininely coded in its appearance just after Arthur sleeps with Morgause, his yet-unknown half-sister. The Beast is offspring of their ungodly union, as well as a prophetic emblem of Arthur’s future doom—the child born of that union is Arthur’s eventual killer, Mordred. Additionally, MaryLynn Saul argues that Morgan is figured by medieval witch hysteria, a feature that, I argue, dominates her character despite her benevolent role as Arthur’s conveyor to Avalon. Virginia Blanton goes further, exploring how Guinevere’s earlier actions leave readers viewing her as “petulant, not repentant” by the work’s end, while Lancelot’s repentance is accepted without comment. I will build on such ideas to argue that even in benign or repentant roles, Malory’s women embody an implacable threat to the social order, and that fraught relation becomes definitional within Arthurian lore. Malory’s Camelot is rife with beasts and spirits, but no fantastical monstrosity surpasses the dangerous woman."   


Schneider, Lindsey

Project title: ¿Y sí los facistas ganaran?/And if the Fascists Won? Spain and World War II Political Narratives

Department: Hispanic and Italian Studies

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Silvia Colás Cardona

"My 2019/2020 JCURA project will be an in-depth analysis of the political and social climate surrounding the Spanish Civil War. Spurred by the question, “How did fascism survive World War II in Western Europe?”, the investigation will draw on my undergraduate work in theatre and Hispanic Studies to analyze the sociopolitical environments of both Spain and the Allied Powers that enabled Francisco Franco’s dictatorship to survive well into the 1970s. As a theatre major, I was fascinated by the rich creative output of the Republican-leaning Generation of 27, especially when it came to their sometimes-revolutionary writings in the increasingly hostile environment of Spain in the 1920s and 1930s. This JCURA will blend my Hispanic Studies minor with technique from my theatre major–the Spanish-language research and translation work will fuel the creation of a performance piece that incorporates historical research, texts from contemporary Spanish dramatists, first-person accounts from the period, and my own writing. Inspired by performance styles such as vocal masque that I have studied throughout my theatre major, The Living Essay-style, one-woman performance will address the research question ‘Did the fascists win? And why?’. The final piece will take place at the Phoenix Theatre on Presentation Day, a celebration and exhibition of the theatrical work of the department’s newest graduates."   


Senay, Zack

Project title: Predicting onset of disordered eating behaviours in first-year undergraduate students

Department: Psychology

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Brianna Turner

"My research will use survival analysis to examine the predictive role of impulsivity and affect reactivity in the onset of disordered eating behaviours in a large sample of first-year undergraduate students. Student self-reported scores of impulsivity and affect reactivity in September, collected as part of a larger longitudinal study, will be used to predict the likelihood of engaging in disordered eating behaviours (ie., binge eating, purging, & restrictive eating) over the course of the following 7 months. These scores will be compared against healthy controls and those who have continuous disordered eating behaviours prior to university as well as during."   


Seyed-Ali, Seyed Sina

Project title: Reassessing Plea Bargaining and Separating the Innocent

Department: Economics

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Linda Welling

"In the Canadian criminal justice system, negotiations between the Crown prosecution and the defense counsel through which the accused agrees to plead guilty in exchange for concessions constitute a process called “plea bargaining”. These negotiations may encompass varying forms, such as charge bargaining, sentence bargaining, and fact bargaining. Charge bargaining includes the reduction, withdrawal, or promising of charges pursued, while sentence bargaining concerns punishment and post-trial treatment; finally, fact bargaining involves the submission or omission of certain case information. While proponents of plea bargaining have pointed towards the practice’s economic and practical utility, particularly with respect to its conservation of resources and its insuring ability to identify guilty parties, opposition is persistent. One critique of interest here involves the coercive nature of the practice, and how inadequate safeguards and regulation of prosecutorial bargaining discretion may induce even innocent accused parties to plead guilty. This makes the practice susceptible to inaccurate and unjust outcomes. This research aims to model a multi-issue bargaining problem under asymmetric information, with the goal of examining how the varying types of plea bargaining available may impact the broader welfare goals of the general procedure itself, particularly when the guilt of the accused is unobservable and evidence acquisition is costly. With special attention paid to the Crown’s ability to separate the innocent and guilty, this paper will use game theoretic tools as well as insights from behavioral economics to make recommendations for minimizing any such discrepancy."   


Shaman, Wren

Project title: An Exploration of the Ethics of Studying Indigenous Settler Relations at the Undergraduate Level

Department: History

Faculty supervisor: Dr. John Lutz

"When we talk about “Indigenizing the Academy,” the notion that we need to re-evaluate the ethics of teaching/researching Indigenous-Settler relations, and Canadian history more broadly, appears frequently.  Yet there has been little exploration of what this means for undergraduate research projects.  This project will review the historiography on the subject and examine how the best practices (or decolonizing academic research projects might be applied to undergraduate research at Canadian universities."   


Short, Monica

Project title: Human Predators and the Transfer of Zoonotic Diseases: Exploring how disease risk might affect which species are targeted for human consumption

Department: Geography

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Chris Darimont

"There are still many unanswered questions on why certain species have a greater risk of human predation than others. Although size may be an important factor in determining risk, there are likely other factors at play. This research project will examine how proxies for the ability to carry shared zoonotic disease might predict whether a species is targeted. Specifically, data on the ‘use’ (i.e. harvest) of 70,000 animal species from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List will be studied. Additionally, species characteristics related to zoonotic relevance such as trophic level or known shared diseases will be derived from other biodiversity archives to support this analysis. By better understanding how humans select targets, this can help managers to shape evidence-informed policies to safeguard both wild populations and human health in a world where biodiversity is eroding and emerging infectious disease threaten wildlife and humans alike. This can also help to protect species that are at risk of human predation in order to more comprehensively recover suffering populations."   


Simpson, Lucas

Project title: Gates in the London Wall and their Spatial, Cultural, and Regulatory Significance

Department: English

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Janelle Jenstad

"There were eight gates through the London Wall that allowed access to the early modern City (1550-1666) and regulated community boundaries. Protecting those within and excluding those without, they accrued rich cultural significance and served symbolic functions in literary texts. The Map of Early Modern London has not yet mapped the locations or described the significance of these gates, nor has it offered an overview of the significance of London’s gates in general. Using information from early maps and ground plans, the metadata from the London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre, and documentary sources, I will determine GIS and Agas map coordinates of all the gates in the London wall. I will research and produce encyclopedia articles for the individual gates and a general article on the gates that will identify their practical and symbolic significance in early modern London. Sources will include: early modern texts by Dekker, Rowley, Heywood, Middleton, and others; John Stow’s Survey of London; secondary historical material; and recent geohumanities criticism. The coordinates and articles will be published on MoEML's open-access platform. This research will contribute to a better understanding of how Londoners of the early modern period identified with their locality and will provide a more concrete understanding of the spatial boundaries of London as perceived in the early modern cultural imagination."   


Stagg, Katie

Project title: Microbrewidics: Creating stable hop oil emulsions using microfluidic technology

Department: Chemistry

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Katherine Elvira

"In collaboration with Phillips Brewing and Malting Co., the goal is to push the boundaries of hop flavour and gain selective control over the hop essential oils that are integrated into the complex flavour matrices found in beers. This will also enable more accurate predictions of flavour degradation during distribution. Emulsion formation and visualisation is performed using microfluidic devices to determine the hop emulsion characteristics that provide the most stable flavour profile in beer. These lab-on-a-chip platforms use plastic chips designed to include features such as pipes and valves to create oil-in-water emulsions, and the individual droplets that create the emulsion can then be visualised and quantified both on- and off-chip."   


Steele, Robert

Project title: Changing Times: Timepieces as Metonyms of Industrialization in Victorian Fiction

Department: English

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Mary Elizabeth Leighton

"In his 1934 history of technology, Lewis Mumford famously proclaimed that “the clock, not the steam-engine, is the key-machine of the modern industrial age” (14). Expanding on Mumford’s claim, historians such as E. P. Thompson have explained how the industrial revolution engendered the mass production of timepieces, the standardization of timekeeping, and the internalization of time discipline (whereby workdays are structured around clock time rather than natural time), producing by the mid-nineteenth century a Victorian populous that was obsessed with time. Indeed, Victorian literature is obsessively time conscious. As literary scholars have noted, Victorian fiction was thematically preoccupied with time, fixating on the fleeting moment and yearning for a pre-industrial time consciousness. However, few of these scholars have considered Victorian novelists’ material engagement with time through the representation of timepieces.

Building on these studies, I propose to undertake a historical and formal analysis of timepieces in Victorian fiction, examining the intersection between the material and industrial histories of timepieces and their representations in a range of Victorian fiction. From Elizabeth Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters (1864–66), which parallels generational conflict and the disjunction between London time and rural time, to Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd (1874), which persistently reminds readers of the ubiquity of industrial time discipline despite the novel’s idyllic pastoral setting, Victorian novels continually position timepieces as metonyms of industrialization. Attending to both the history of Victorian timepieces and their fictional representations, this study will provide insight into how the Victorians experienced their own changing times."   


Stefanek, Evan

Project title: 3D Bioprinting of cell-laden hydrogel microfibres

Department: Mechanical Engineering

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Mohsen Akbari

"3D bioprinting has the potential to develop human tissues in vitro for drug screening and implantation applications. This project will investigate bioprinting of cell-laden hydrogel microfibers for disease modelling and drug discovery. Different compositions of hydrogels will be evaluated for their cytocompatibility and ability to maintain cellular function after printing. We will also perform a holistic study on the effect of printing conditions on cellular function and viability. Overall, this approach should allow for the engineered tissue construct to mimic the mechanical properties of physiological tissue."


Stewart-Dziama, Rachel

Project title: Ethnographic Mapping and Indigenous Landscapes in the Gulf Islands

Department: Anthropology

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Brian Thom

"This project, in partnership with members of the Hul’q’umi’num’ Lands and Resources Society, will work to take a large but disparate dataset of Indigenous place names, land use, cultural landscapes, collected over the past 10 years, and make it more accessible for community use. The challenge will be to establish a common database structure, work through quality control, and identify candidates for public release, while respecting Indigenous data sovereignty goals."   


Studders, Carson

Project title: Effect of Screw Configuration on Bone Graft Micromotion in BIO-RSA

Department: Mechanical Engineering

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Joshua Giles

"Reverse shoulder arthroplasty (RSA) is a joint replacement procedure wherein the normal anatomical ball-and-socket relationship between the humerus (arm bone) and scapula (shoulder blade) is reversed by placing a cup-shaped implant on the humerus and a ball-shaped implant on the scapula. Severe deformity of the bone into which the scapular implant is anchored makes this procedure more difficult and increases the risk of early loosening and other unfavourable outcomes, but a new procedure called BIO-RSA (bony increased offset RSA) seeks to decrease these risks by reconstructing this area with a bone graft. While this increases the range of applicability of the procedure, the mechanical behaviour of the bone graft when subjected to joint forces during normal arm motion is not well studied. Above a certain threshold of relative motion at the graft-implant and graft-bone interfaces the graft will not successfully integrate, increasing the risk of loosening and the need for revision surgery. To investigate what impact implant screw configuration, the primary fixation method, has on graft relative motion, the results of computational finite element models done as part of this research will be experimentally validated with a custom testing device and instrumented samples."


Styner, Tyler

Project title: Exploring (& Expanding) the Historical Ecology of Clam Populations in the Southern Gulf Islands

Department: Environmental Studies

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Darcy Mathews

"Historical clam abundance plays an integral role in shaping our modern-day perceptions of intertidal ecosystem health and the subsequent government policies around conservation and restoration. With Indigenous clam gardens, as with many fisheries around British Columbia, our scientific understanding of what comprises the thresholds for “good”, “fair” and “poor” population conditions are greatly affected by a shifted baseline of data. While the current baseline for historical clam abundance in the southern Gulf Islands stems largely from DFO documents, these were not established until the 1970’s - well after shellfish populations had already been greatly impacted by commercial fisheries among other socioecological factors. This research thus aims to expand the contemporary scientific understanding of historical clam abundance by exploring early records of recreational and commercial fisheries, as well as ethnographic accounts and the possibility of interviewing local knowledge holders.

While Indigenous Knowledges are inseparable from any study of clam gardens that have been created and cared for by local First Nations since time immemorial, it is my intention here to present additional data that in some small way contributes to a shared cross-cultural understanding of just how significant clams have long continued to be in these lands and seas – for the ancestors of the present to the generations to come."


Swaich, Anmol

Project title: How young adults with immigrant backgrounds navigate cultural differences in gender roles

Department: Psychology

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Catherine Costigan

"Gender role expectations can have a strong impact on identity, especially when they do not align with one's personal values or beliefs. Individuals with immigrant backgrounds are often raised with two different models of gender roles, which they must reconcile or choose between. At times, these decisions can be in conflict with familial or social expectations. I plan to collect data from young adults with immigrant backgrounds to understand what factors influence their decisions, the process through which they make these decisions and the way in which these choices relate to their wellbeing. This research will further our understanding of the impact of gender expectations on wellbeing, in an increasingly diverse society."   


Taillieu, Deanne

Project title: Impact of University Cafeteria Nudge Strategies on Student Vegetable Purchasing

Department: Exercise Science, Physical and Health Education

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Patti-Jean Naylor

"Sufficient vegetable consumption is imperative in achieving both mental and physical health as they provide essential nutrients that support cognitive abilities, strengthen immunity, and decrease the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity. Establishing healthy dietary behaviours early in adulthood lays the foundation for achieving overall health and well-being both immediately and in the future. The transitional period from high school to University is often accompanied by dramatic weight gain, primarily an increase in fat mass, as well as a decline in vegetable consumption as students gain complete autonomy over their food choices. Choice architecture, or ‘nudging’, targets the environmental factors that may subtly guide one’s decision in one direction or another. Economic incentives, while not considered nudges, can also influence dietary behaviour. Both of these strategies have been used effectively with adults in community environments, but few intervention studies have focused on the University setting or the consumption of vegetables. This study aims to understand the impact of nudging compared to an economic incentive (cost reduction and marketing communications) on student dietary choices in a University cafeteria setting. Specifically, it will address student awareness of, and response to, the nudge or economic incentives; did they influence their purchasing behaviour."   


Tervo, Christian

Project title: Representing War on the Canadian Stage

Department: Theatre

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Sasha Kovacs

"In this project I will compare, contrast and evaluate the dramaturgies used to present topics of war on the Canadian Stage. The focus of the engaged dramatic text will be collected in Canada and the Theatre of War Volume 1, Edited by Donna Coates and Sherrill Grace. Alongside these readings, the focus of research will engage with theatre theory that particularly investigates the methods used by the playwrights to represent the past, thereby acknowledging how theatre participates in historiography and cultural memory."   


Thomas, William

Project title: Carbon Pricing Effects on Canadian Manufacturing Sectors and Final Product Importation Rates

Department: Economics

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Emma Hutchinson

"Carbon pricing (CP) is implemented on carbon emitting inputs such as gasoline in order to reduce emissions of CO2. This method of CP, however, fails to account for emissions resulting from production of goods that are imported from outside of the CP system. This can have detrimental effects on carbon pricing locations such as hindered production as well as carbon leakage (where firms relocate to outside of CP zones). Current research has theorized the negative repercussions of CP and even empirically identified real world cases; however, no empirical paper has analyzed all of the provinces across Canada together. I propose an empirical analysis of the effects of carbon pricing on manufacturing and final-product importation rates in the provinces across Canada. I would use panel data and difference-indifference regressions to remove bias and identify any causal relationships present with the implementation or removal of carbon pricing systems. This method would work well with Canada as there is national data on provincial manufacturing/importation as well as each province has a diverse history with regards to carbon pricing (such as: steady implementation, intermittent implementation, and no implementation). This diversity in carbon pricing will aid in removing bias and isolating any repercussive effects of the carbon pricing systems."


Thomson, Malcolm

Project title: After the Crash-Out: Understanding the Implication of Brexit on EU Economic and Monetary Integration

Department: Interdisciplinary Academic Programs - European Studies

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Elena Pnevmonidou

"The 2016 referendum decision for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union (EU) has caused a fundamental change in how the EU and its member states view European political, social, and economic integration. This change is seen in current EU member states reconsidering their position vis-à-vis the EU as well as in how the EU views its relationship to both current and potential member states. My research will analyze the impact the Brexit decision has had on European economic and monetary integration with respect to both current and potential member states. My research will outline different political blocs that currently exist within the EU and will analyze the positions that these blocs have to EU economic and monetary integration following the Brexit decision. My research will consider in particular the following blocs: the New Hanseatic League who, like Britain, are skeptical of the monetary union; new member states who aspire to join the monetary union; and core Europeanist states like Germany and France. Additionally, my research will analyze how these blocs view the prospect of EU enlargement in regards to the EU’s Economic and Monetary Union and how these positions will affect the ability of the EU to grow its membership in the future."


Timmins, Marielle

Project title: Impact of Actue Stress on Human EEG

Department: Exercise Science, Physical and Health Education

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Olav Krigolson

"The student will be using mobile EEG to examine whether or not acute stress can be measured with this methodology. The potential impact of this work is immeasurable as it could potentially lead to the development of a low cost too for examine stress in the work place. The student will test 100 participants from the UVic community and will examine the relationship between power in the different bands of the EEG spectra and a medically validated assessment of acute stress."   


Toppings, Jillian

Project title: Impact of Stress on the EEG Correlates of Human Decision-Making

Department: Exercise Science, Physical and Health Education

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Olav Krigolson

"It is well known that stress impacts our behaviour in a variety of ways. Here, I will examine how acute and chronic stress impacts human decision-making. More specifically, I will examine how acute and chronic stress impacts the EEG (or brain wave) correlates associated with Type I and Type II decision-making during performance of a medical decision-making task. I predict that both acute and chronic stress will result in slower reaction times and more decision errors. Further, I predict that acute and chronic stress will reduce frontal EEG power in the theta band (executive control) and posterior EEG power in the alpha band (attention)."   


Underdown, Chantal

Project title: Frog and frog habitat census

Department: Environmental Studies

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Alejandro Frid

"Within a proposed UNESCO biosphere reserve and Howe Sound Biosphere Region, Bowen Island is rich in biodiversity and diverse ecosystems including habitats ideal for a variety of frogs. As a mountainous, rocky island, the island biodiversity is vulnerable to drought and human impact. As an indicator species, frogs may be particularly affected by individual or cumulative changes to ecosystems. There is a critical need for baseline data on frog species, populations and habitat. Due to the limited space of an island, every ecosystem that supports a frog is significant for the survival of the breeding population. This study will: identify species of island frogs; identify frog populations on map; identify threats and potential threats to frogs, as well as potential mitigation of the threats; provide a base for any long-term research on effects of climate change, droughts, human population growth, tourism, development, and roads; be useful regarding potential industrial logging on crown land; engage the community in frog conservation. Community outreach will help identify sites on public, and privately owned property. Anecdotal evidence of historic and current frog populations will be collected and include observed habitat changes. Field Research will include: frog call recordings; observations of eggs, tadpoles and frogs at various sites; search for Tailed Frog, which has not been recorded on island. Many small losses of habitat can be devastating to a small or fragile population. An assessment of frogs and the ecosystems that support frogs will be a valuable tool for immediate and long-term stewardship."


Vanwieren, Connor

Project title: Characterizing the Triassic/Jurassic boundary through stratigraphy of northern Vancouver Island carbonates

Department: Earth and Ocean Sciences

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Jon Husson

"As marine carbonates are deposited, they record chemical information about the seawater they were formed in. My project aims to describe and characterize the paleoenvironmental conditions that existed throughout the Late Triassic and Early Jurassic in the Parson Bay Formation of Northern Vancouver Island. This will be done through field stratigraphy of carbonate rocks located in both Port Alice and Holberg, as well as chemostratigraphy using isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS). I aim to identify isotopic excursions in measured ­­­13C and 18O values and correlate them to changing paleoenvironmental conditions. Biostratigraphy of dinoflagellate cyst assemblages will also be used to further characterize these excursions."   


Verwoerd, Bethany

Project title: Why do teachers choose to work at independent (versus public) schools?

Department: Curriculum and Instruction

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Helen Raptis

"Throughout the course of my second year in the Bachelor of Education Elementary Curriculum program, I have noticed that many of my peers are hesitant - if not resistant -to the idea of working at an independent school. While some of this resistance stems from their own negative independent school experiences or hearing about negative independent school experiences from others, many are opposed to teaching in a private school because they simply do not know enough about independent schools. The purpose of this JCURA project is to answer the following questions:

  1. How are independent schools similar to and different from public schools in British Columbia?
  2. What has drawn teachers, historically and presently, to teach at independent schools?
  3. What do current teachers at Abbotsford Christian Elementary School say about why they choose to teach at an independent school?

This study will use historical and interview methods to explore the reasons why teachers choose to teach at independent schools.

The debate regarding whether independent schools should co-exist with public schools in Canada is heated, and is frequently discussed amongst teachers, parents, and teacher candidates. This project is significant in that it will add an important dimension to the currently polarized discussion that tends to focus on government’s partial funding of independent schools. It will also fill a gap in teacher candidates’ understanding about independent schools."   


Wang, Anke

Project title: Incorporating Subjective Well-Being (SWB) into the Human Development Index (HDI)

Department: Economics

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Merwan Engineer

"In my research project, I focus on factors that can reflect the level of human development. Although the Human Development Index (HDI) is better and more comprehensive than per capita Gross Domestic Product, it still has some problems in its indicators and practical calculating process. Whereas there has been substantial work on improving the objective measures in the HDI, such as inequality into the analysis, not much research has looked at including subjective well-being (SWB) measures into the analysis. Therefore, I will pay attention to individual satisfaction towards the quality of life, social environment and other factors. My paper combines objective human development components along with subjective well-being measures. In addition, the weights on the different dimensions will be endogenously determined through a Principle Component Analysis or entropy method base on objective data rather than keep with the arbitrary equal weighting that has been criticized in the literature. Thus, a new “human development and well-being index” will be created, which includes the average life expectancy, educational level, net assets per capita, and individual satisfaction. I will then compare the ranking of nations generated by my new index with the existing HDI and other popular indexes."   


Weinzierl, Miriam

Project title: Metal hypersensitivity screening among healthcare workers

Department: Nursing

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Dzifa Dordunoo

"Access to timely evidence is critical to evidence informed decision making for improved patient outcomes. However, it is estimated that it takes roughly 17 years for 14% of research findings to be incorporated into clinical practice. Current strategies for evidence dissemination include peer reviewed journals, workshops, conferences, e-health tools, and hospital policies. Documented barriers to access of evidence among nurses include time, limited access, “user- unfriendliness” of published guidelines, practice environment unsupportive of electronic device use and difficulty using research resources. This project aims to use online tools to evaluate and disseminate evidence regarding metal hypersensitivity screening among healthcare workers.

Student Activities

  • Recruit participants using online tools
  • Participate in scoping review
  • Present preliminary findings at JCURA Student Fair (March 2020)."

Wheeler, Olivia

Project title: EVOKE: An Exploration of Theatrical Designs Emotional Stimulus

Department: Theatre

Faculty supervisor: Prof. Patrick Du Wors and Dr. Alexandra Kovacs

"At the University of Victoria, our theatrical practice is focused the performer; the other theatrical elements support their emotional journey.  The elements of performance design, such as sound, lighting, and set, create the world around the performer and yet, their impact often goes unnoticed by the audience. Through my research project, I will explore ways in which performance design alone can tell a story, transform the atmosphere and environment, and have the equivalent emotional impact on the audience as an actor.  Through this project, I will be using the five stages of grief as the basis to create an immersive design installation using sound, lighting and scenography.  The research will include assisting a professional designer to further develop my technical skills, research in the symbolist and surrealist art movements and psychology behind emotional states, such as Sigmund Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams, and surveying the audience’s response to the scenographic installation.  By using performance design as the principal story-telling technique, the audience will be immersed in all elements of the design installation, and as a result, feel the environment transform around them through the five stages of grief.  The theatre going audience in Victoria does not often have the opportunity to experience non-conventional forms of theatre. My research project will explore performance design outside of its traditional confines.  Further, this project will promote a dialogue about the impact of scenographic design and the ways in which contemporary practitioners are challenging the traditional parameters of the discipline."   


Wilkinson, Scott

Project title: Observing the Frequency of Mergers in Post-Starburst Galaxies

Department: Physics and Astronomy

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Sara Ellison

"Post starburst galaxies are defined as galaxies that have had star formation in the last billion years and then recently stopped forming stars. My research will select Post-Starburst galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey using a modern identification method and observe their morphologies to determine if they have recently merged with other another galaxy. I will then compare the merger frequency to a control sample and to sample of Post-Starburst galaxies selected using a more traditional method. The goal of this research is to quantify the relationship between mergers and Post-Starburst galaxies and to explore the different methods of identifying galaxies as Post-Starburst and classifying galaxies as mergers." 


Woodland, Candace

Project title: Bisexual Identity Maintenance: Facing Biphobia and Bi-Erasure in Popular Media

Department: Sociology

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Edwin Hodge

"Bisexual folk face a unique set of challenges which are often overlooked in LGBTQ+ research. This qualitative research project will examine the ways that bisexual folk construct and maintain their queer identities, despite encountering frequent biphobia and bi-erasure in popular media. Special attention will be given to the intersection of bisexuality and gender."


Xu, Keren

Project title: The flute solo repertoire ‘Reflections 1’ and reception of female composer Diane Berry

Department: Music

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Suzanne Snizek

"In the project, the inspiration and method of the repertoire, the reception of Diane Berry through composing, and as well how gender impacts the reception of her work will be discussed."   


Yang, Soolin

Project title: Decolonizing praxis: Implications for Child and Youth Care

Department: Child and Youth Care

Faculty supervisor: Prof. Jin-Sun Yoon

"As a student who was born in and raised in Korea, my background in Korean history during the Japanese colonial rule has encouraged me to extend my understanding in colonialism into Canadian society. In the School of Child and Youth Care, a preamble about decolonizing praxis in practicum courses has been implemented as a guiding principle with little concrete direction. In this research project, I would like to explore how decolonizing praxis has been conceptualized by faculty members who teach practicum courses and their specific intentions in transforming practicum courses with a decolonizing approach. Through this research, I aim to provide some operationalization of terminology in order to provide clarity for students, instructors, and field supervisors because the term “decolonization” is often misunderstood depending on our varying social locations as Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. As the school’s mission to decolonizing praxis in practicum settings is early in its implementation, the results of this research will support future directions in terms of curricular decolonization. Furthermore, it is timely to set upon this research in light of the recent release of the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls’ report and to enhance the school’s commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions Calls to Action report from 2015."   


Zaborniak, Tristan

Project title: Electronic Transport in Molecular Networks

Department: Electrical and Computer Engineering

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Chris Papadopoulos

"Modern electronics (on which digital information and communications systems depend) are based on semiconductor transistors, with transistor density being proportional to computational power. Historically, Moore’s law, which predicts a doubling in the number of transistors per integrated circuit, or chip, about every two years, has held more or less true since its 1965 formulation, though a marked plateauing has been seen in recent years. This is due to unwanted quantum mechanical tunnelling and increased power dissipation compromising the reliability and efficiency of conventional transistors as they decrease in size, as well as issues relating to their fabrication on small scales (below 10 nanometres).

One potential means of circumventing this slowing in circuit downscaling could involve the replacement of bulk-material electronic components with molecule-sized analogs. Molecules being among the smallest stable structures possible, this approach constitutes an ultimate goal in circuit miniaturization. The aim of this project is to work toward this via a two-step approach: (1) exploratory in-silico modelling, to determine the theoretical electronic properties of molecular devices and identify those of promise, and (2) molecular device fabrication and testing.

Specifically, software implementations employing Density Functional Theory on Compute Canada’s supercomputing systems will be used in calculating the electronic transport characteristics (e.g. transmission and current) of select dithiol molecule structures as a function of applied voltage, and solution-based self-assembly techniques will be used in fabricating molecular-nanoparticle networks and films based on such molecules in-situ. Characterization of these will involve using precision current-voltage source-measure units in combination with atomic force microscopy."


Zhao, Yichun

Project title: Dealing with Fake News: Automated Fact-checking AI Algorithms and Trust Database to Monitor, Summarize, and Cross-reference Information, and to Identify Claims

Department: Computer Science

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Jens Weber

"Fake news is defined by the Ethical Journalism Network as “deliberately fabricated and published” information intended “to deceive and mislead others.” It manipulates the ignorant into false beliefs and causes negative societal impacts. Although there are various organizations such as Snopes and Full Fact dedicated to check facts and verify news articles, automation must be introduced to assist humans to monitor, summarize, and cross-reference user-generated information, news articles or reports, and to identify claims from them due to the speed and scalability of the internet.

Such automated fact-checking algorithms need known facts to compare. We do this by building a trust database sourced and summarized from reputable news sites such as Reuters and PolitiFact. This should be achieved in an automated way to constantly update facts and to avoid repeated information. The database should also contain claims previously verified by the algorithm for comparison.

To design the automated fact-checking algorithm, I will evaluate the suitability, performance and accuracy of using machine learning and text analysis algorithms for the purpose of monitoring wide-spread information on social media, summarizing information, identifying claims, and cross-referencing with the trust database. Other details include spotting facts which were already checked in the database, and analyzing questions in a text to check for facts as answers. Training data must be designed carefully to avoid any human bias for machine learning models to accurately identify fake information. There are already available test data in the public domain. Lastly, identified limitations for this research will also be addressed."