Queen’s undergraduate student researchers were honoured for their contributions to academia.
Queen’s University recognized students’ research achievements on Aug. 31 at the Biosciences Complex. Those who were honoured participated in the Undergraduate Student Summer Fellowship (USSRF) and Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA) programs.
The USSRF supports undergraduate students at Queen’s by providing experiential learning opportunities for students in social sciences, humanities, and creative arts research under the supervision of a Queen’s faculty member. Likewise, the USRA includes opportunities for science-focused students.
USSRF recipient Mandy Taylor, ArtSci ’24, concentrated her research on “Localizing Black History.”
“In Canada we have an opportunity to not just have a package deal on Black history—we can customize it to each area. I hope this project will inspire those around their area to look up their own Black history,” Taylor said in an interview with The Journal.
According to the Queen’s Gazette, the project has expanded to include a diverse range of research disciplines. This year, there were 101 recipients at Queen’s with 97 recipients based on main campus and four at Bader College. Seventy-seven Queen’s students received USRA awards in 2023.
Taylor observed the word “Black” was only mentioned in the curriculum 11 times, inspiring her research to fill the gap. She took a deep dive into her hometown of Fort Erie, ON as well as the Greater Buffalo and Niagara Region.
The USSRF projects in Kingston benefited from $9,800 of funding throughout the 16-week period. Bader College students received $5,300 each throughout eight weeks during the summer.
URSA recipient Hannah Moran-Macdonald, ArtSci ’23, sequenced soil fungus from burnt areas to understand how fire impacted species composition, fungal reproduction, and population dynamics in Ontario.
For Moran-Macdonald, USRA was a great experience for her personal and professional growth.
“This award gifted me the opportunity to do meaningful work in the [Fire, Earth, Water, Air Contaminant Biogeochemistry] FEWA Lab alongside passionate biogeochemists, in addition to lasting experience in the lab and field,” Moran-Macdonald said.
Taylor encouraged students to nurture their passion in a specific field, something USSRF allowed her to do.
“I was incredibly happy and proud to receive this award because it gave me the opportunity to be another woman of colour putting her research out there and showing other women of colour you can do whatever research you put your mind to,” Taylor said.
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