Skip to main content

Meet our Summer Researchers

Our Dean's Excellence Engineering Research Experience Award winners are students who entered McMaster's Faculty of Engineering with top marks and scholarships. They have just finished their 1st year in the Faculty of Engineering and are now spending their summer working under professors, researchers, and entrepreneurs across campus to gain valuable work experience and create a network of contacts to grow their careers. 

Melanie Chung

Melanie Chung

Bled Award for Women in Engineering and Research Experience Award

Program: Chemical & Biomedical Engineering 
Why McMaster? One of the things I love about McMaster is how welcoming and supportive the community is. When I came on campus, I knew that this was the place I wanted to spend my next five years. The general first year gave me time to explore and learn about the different streams so that I could make a more informed choice about what I wanted to do in the future. I also like how the co-op program is flexible, allowing me to take work terms of varying length. It was extra incentive to have this research experience available for me after first year!
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Todd Hoare
Research area: My research involved fabricating and testing antibacterial coatings with long-term efficacy. I performed bacterial tests using Staphylococcus aureus and complied and analyzed the results in preparation for our monthly Suncor meetings.
What are the real-world applications of this research? Given the current social landscape, my research is very relevant. The coatings can be sprayed on high touch surfaces with long term effect, reducing the number of frequent disinfections which saves time and cleaning products. For example, the coatings can be applied to a cafeteria table and still be efficacious after being touched and washed due to the nature of the coating’s drying thickness. This property allows for less disinfection, since the coating is actively killing any bacteria and viruses that come in contact with the surface for a longer period of time.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: I was lucky to have the opportunity to work in the lab and perform experiments in-person. I was trained on skills that I never would have learned, and I was able to make connections with other lab members. This experience not only taught me technical skills that I could apply in the future, but it showed me the kind of work environment that I would enjoy for future positions.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? The lab members were welcoming, knowledgeable, and supportive. I loved learned about their projects during the group meetings which allowed me to see what other research options are available for me to explore in the future. They also made me feel comfortable to ask questions, and eventually present my own work during a meeting.

Anna De Leenheer

Anna De Leenheer

Dean's Excellence Entrance Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: Electrical Engineering & Society
Why McMaster? I chose McMaster because of the excellent co-op job opportunities, strong reputation for research, and for their approach to well-rounded engineering education that makes students desirable in the workplace. Since coming here, I have found some of my best friends in our awesome Fireball Family. I could not have made a better choice! 
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Rafael Kleiman 
Research area: I tested a new approach of concentrator photovoltaics passive tracking where a magnetic follower unit (about the size of a sugar cube) moves around a grid to stay under a beam of concentrated sunlight. I started by writing code in MATLAB and Python to simulate theoretical movement of the magnetic follower under different conditions of friction coefficients and magnet layouts. By the end of my term, I simulated the device electronically with electromagnets connected to programmable power sources and was using motion tracking software to locate the follower unit!
What are the real-world applications of this research? We all use electricity, even right now as you read this! The global shift to renewable energy is happening right now with the ever-pressing need to lower our carbon footprint. Concentrator photovoltaics (CPV) allows us to use high efficiency solar cells at a low cost by focusing large amounts of sunlight onto a small panel. Current CPV technology uses large, industrial units on 2 rotating axes and needs input energy for tracking. The cost-effective module that I tested would be about the size of a shoebox and have enough power to charge your cellphone off-grid!
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: I would describe my research experience as fantastic! My work structure was a hybrid of on-campus and at-home. For safety, anything that could be done from home was done from home (ex. reading, coding, writing our paper) and all of our group meetings were virtual. Halfway through the summer I got to attend the virtual TOP-SET scholars conference about solar technology and presented my research. Some of the hands-on work included 3D printing lab set-up parts, running electronic simulations with programmable power sources, and doing motion tracking. I absolutely loved my research position this summer and would highly recommend research to other students!
Most rewarding part about working with your team? I worked directly with a Master's student who oversaw the project. It was great working with him because our device is still in the formation stage, so we could bounce ideas off each other and work together on important decisions. The other awesome people in my lab were all working on their own unique projects ranging from integrating solar panels on the roof of a car to laser satellite communications to advanced quantum mechanics! The most rewarding part of working with the Kleiman lab community was how we all learned from each other.

Kileigh Harrington

Kileigh Harrington

Joseph IP Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: Mechanical Engineering & Society
Why McMaster? I chose McMaster because of its strong emphasis on community, both in academics and athletics. Despite experiencing first year online, I have still been able to develop strong ties with my teammates and classmates! 
Faculty supervisor: Dr. James Cotton
Research area: My partner and I scraped Ontario energy data from the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) website using various Python scripts and formatted the information in text files. The text files were sent through an Interface and stored in a Data Archive for future use by researchers in the McMaster Institute for Energy Studies (MIES). I also developed various dashboards to track and display trends in this energy data.
What are the real-world applications of this research? The energy data that I have scraped and stored will be used by the MIES ICE Harvest team to determine Ontario curtailment and identify potential locations for ICE Harvest sites to promote community harvesting, sharing, and storing of heat and electrical energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This data will also be readily available for other researchers and their energy-related projects.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: My research this summer was very different from what I expected because all of my work was online. However, because of this modification, I was able to gain valuable skills and experience working with computer programming and data analysis software. I also had the opportunity to work with a tightly-knit team and expand my professional network. 
Most rewarding part about working with your team? The most rewarding part about working with my team is the knowledge that my hard work this summer will enable future researchers to tackle today's energy problems and work towards a more sustainable energy system.

Julia Love

Julia Love

Dean's Excellence Entrance Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: Materials & Biomedical Engineering
Why McMaster? The iBioMed program was the main reason I decided to go to McMaster. I loved how the program was project-based, and that we were solving real-world problems by collaborating with others. It allowed me to pursue engineering while still being involved in the biomedical and health sciences fields. I also loved the welcoming environment that I felt when I first toured McMaster.
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Kyla Sask
Research area: I assisted a PhD student with her research regarding topographical influences on protein adsorption and the resulting cell response. The mechanisms are not yet understood on how surface mechanical and topographical properties influence protein adsorption. This research aims to examine how surface topography affects the amount of fibrinogen (a blood protein) adsorption and the protein's degree of unfolding.
What are the real-world applications of this research? In the real world, thrombus formation is a common cause of failure for blood-contacting medical devices. This failure leads to increased morbidity, mortality and healthcare costs. As protein adsorption is the first step of thrombus formation, being able to control protein adsorption will allow for decreased medical device failure.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: This summer, my research experience was online due to the pandemic. I adapted to become a more independent worker, but I was still able to connect with my research group via video Microsoft Teams calls. I spent a lot of time reading academic papers for background information and procedural specifics from their experiments. I also assisted creating cost comparison sheets for proteins, antibodies and other lab equipment to find the most suitable product for our research needs.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? The most rewarding part was being able to interact with other researchers in my group to collaborate about similar topics we were all researching. Everyone's knowledge came together and we could all share resources we found helpful. Even in the online environment, I felt comfortable asking anyone for input.

Rita Filipe

Rita Filipe

Yves and Cynthia Bled Canadian Future Achievers Award for Women in Engineering, Dean's Excellence Entrance Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: Chemical Engineering & Management
Why McMaster? I really like the environment and the people at McMaster. Everyone is so friendly, and you can really tell that people want to help each other out. I fell in love with McMaster in grade 9 when I did a proper visit of engineering for the first time. Ever since then, I have known that I wanted to go to McMaster. Even though I did my first year online because of the pandemic, every time I have visited McMaster, I like it more and more and I know it’s the kind of place I want to be at every day. Also, the research opportunities are great, the facilities are excellent, and the campus is beautiful. Of all the universities I have visited, in my opinion, McMaster has the best campus. It is also the only university that has a chemical engineering and management program! 
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Prashant Mhaskar
Research area: In Dr. Mhaskar’s process control group, I learned about various machine learning and data-driven modelling techniques and how to apply these using MATLAB. By the end of the summer, I created a tutorial/workshop on subspace identification to present to employees at a consulting company.
What are the real-world applications of this research? The workshop I created allowed employees to apply subspace identification techniques to industrial processes. In general, process control is used to control the conditions in which a product is made to ensure better quality and efficiency.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: Due to the pandemic, everyone in Dr. Mhaskar’s research group worked from home this summer, but it was nevertheless a rewarding and fun experience. I think that, in the end, I preferred working from home because one has more flexibility, and it is easier to have meetings at any time. In a typical week, we would have several meetings through MS Teams, and I would learn about new topics, do some research and MATLAB exercises related to those topics, and then compile a weekly report. One of my favourite parts of the online aspect was our group meetings on Microsoft Teams, where everyone in the group was present from all around the world and we would solve riddles in breakout rooms as a team building exercise. Overall, I really enjoyed working in this research group this summer and am very grateful to have been given such an amazing opportunity.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? Having worked with such a kind, welcoming and hard-working group of people was the most rewarding part. I am fortunate to have taken part in this enriching experience and am grateful for all I have learned. This experience has helped me recognize that I really enjoy this area of work and would like to pursue a career in this area in the future! I am very thankful to have been given this opportunity and to have met such amazing, helpful people.

Jocelyn Xu

Jocelyn Xu

SHAD Alumni Entrance Scholarship, Moulton College Entrance Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: Electrical & Biomedical Engineering 
Why McMaster? When I first visited McMaster, I was immediately drawn to the welcoming community. I sensed a strong collaborative spirit from the people around me, and I could envision myself spending the next several years at this school. From the interdisciplinary education in the iBioMed program to the wide range of clubs and teams at McMaster, there was a lot to be excited about. I also loved the idea of health-related design projects and how I'd be able to get hands-on learning opportunities right from first year. After working with amazing people on various projects, I can confidently say I made the right choice calling McMaster my second home!
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Boyang Zhang
Research area: This summer, I trained deep learning neural networks to automatically classify images of colon organoids based on morphological features. Based on the confidence scores of the model predictions, I plotted the images in a graph to provide a visual representation of the results. Applying emerging technology to bioengineering research was very fascinating!
What are the real-world applications of this research? Performing flat, two-dimensional cell cultures is currently the most common approach in biological research; however, this practice is not entirely representative of the environment in the human body. Since organoids are three-dimensional cultures derived from stem cells, they are more physiologically relevant and therefore more suitable for human drug discovery. Automating their classification reduces subjectivity and allows for changes to be observed quickly when performing real-world drug tests.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: My research experience was very valuable even though my position was remote. Though I had no experience in research or artificial intelligence at the start of the term, my team was able to help me overcome the learning curve and provide me with resources or guidance along the way. I sharpened my technical skills through improving the accuracy of pre-trained models, enhanced my communication skills from presenting my work, and gained new knowledge in emerging fields. I became more confident in myself as the summer went on, and I'm very thankful to have worked with such an incredible team!
Most rewarding part about working with your team? I really appreciated having a supportive team and supervisor that constantly encouraged me and gave helpful feedback. I was able to learn something new from all our meetings, and I always felt comfortable asking for advice or proposing new ideas. My grad student Lyan was always willing to meet with me to help if I ran into any problems, which I was really grateful for!

Anthony Hunt

Anthony Hunt

Dean's Excellence Entrance Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: Computer Science
Why McMaster? Ever since I was a child and participated in summer camps at Mac, I wanted to attend McMaster University. I enjoyed learning about STEM from those summer experiences and developed a love for learning. In high school, I was given the opportunity to become a junior counsellor for McMaster’s Venture Engineering and Science Summer Camp where I developed valuable skills in presenting and teaching Grade 7 and 8 students about STEM-related projects. As my parents are also McMaster alumni, I was excited to follow in their footsteps and join the McMaster Engineering Faculty. I always admired the McMaster community, accomplishments, ongoing projects, and research showcased within the Engineering building displays. This year I was excited to be part of the McMaster community where I enjoyed learning about applied computer science from the perspective of engineering, rather than taking a purely mathematical viewpoint.
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Jacques Carette and Dr. Spencer Smith
Research area: My research was primarily focused on the improvement of programs that generate all parts of scientific computing software. Namely, I worked on analyzing, developing, and documenting the Drasil framework. I also investigated and implemented methods of information encoding using Drasil to enhance the existing physics-related examples created with this software. For more information, please see the GitHub repository here
What are the real-world applications of this research? The real-world application of my research will influence software developers to minimize information duplication and enhance the use of domain specific knowledge in software. By continuously improving upon the Drasil framework, our research team hopes to one day produce a program that can directly influence the process of developing software. When creating these types of scientific computing software, users and developers often find the documentation aspect difficult and time consuming. This drawback occurs as the information needed to produce the scientific program must also be written out as human-readable documentation, which requires any domain-specific knowledge to be duplicated between the code and corresponding documentation. The Drasil framework itself aims to lessen developer and user effort by reducing these cases of duplicate information and building up a database of domain-specific knowledge. As a result, time investments needed to create new scientific software artifacts will be reduced. Thus, we can minimize costs and allow users to focus more on the knowledge-based aspect of scientific software rather than the technicalities of creating such software.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: I thoroughly enjoyed my work experience learning new concepts and designing ideas to improve the project. Even without the current COVID situation, I felt that the Drasil project suited an online working environment, as the project is completely software-based. Naturally, the Drasil team used GitHub to communicate ideas and share any changes to this project online. Using GitHub made it easy and efficient to discuss any challenges or raise any issues related to a certain aspect of the project. All members of the Drasil team were readily available and eager to talk about potential designs and improvements, which I felt worked well with the setup of Drasil.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? Through my research, I grew significantly both as a software developer and a computer science student. This opportunity helped me learn more about programming-related terms, concepts, and information by working with the experienced and knowledgeable Drasil team members. The professors and graduate students were always ready to help and encouraged me to seek out my own initiatives to improve the project in addition to the assigned tasks. Through this, I was able to make meaningful contributions to the project and I really felt like I was a part of the team. Furthermore, I learned more about the common workflow in developing software and was able to apply most of the concepts taught from my first-year courses to this work experience.

Dorian Knight

Dorian Knight

Dean's Excellence Entrance Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: Mechatronics & Biomedical Engineering 
Why McMaster? I have always been fascinated by engineering and medicine but had always thought that eventually, I would have to choose one and leave the other behind. Entering high school, I had made it my goal to be a McMaster Health Science student in the hopes of pursuing a career in medicine and had given up my hopes of pursuing any kind of career in engineering. Having set my sights on health sciences, I wanted to hear all about the program so when I was in grade 11 my parents and I went on a tour of the McMaster campus during the fall open house. Between being chaperoned from building to building and hearing what the guides had to say, I got to see the hustle and bustle of campus and noticed the diversity of students that made up the McMaster community. I instantly felt at home and knew that McMaster was a welcoming campus where I’d be able to succeed. I heard presentations for all the programs that interested me but one interaction stood out above all the rest. When I was in the lobby of JHE, my parents and I spoke to a student representative from the iBioMed program purely by chance. I was shocked to learn that there was a program that would allow me to marry both my passions, designing and prototyping together with medicine. My worldview had been changed for the better knowing that I could keep both my passions alive. I decided to go to McMaster so that I could pursue my dream of innovating upon the way that prosthetics integrate into the nervous system which necessitates a solid base in both engineering and medicine.
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Matiar Howlader
Research area: Thanks to the Research Experience Award I was able to work closely with one of Dr. Howlader’s PhD students on the electrochemical sensing of neurotransmitters within the human body. I was working specifically on building a non-enzymatic method for sensing the glutamate neurotransmitter which is responsible for excitatory impulses within the nervous system.
What are the real-world applications of this research? Within the human body, the balance of neurotransmitters is essential for maintaining proper neurological function. Imbalances in certain neurotransmitters (such as glutamate) could be symptomatic of certain diseases that affect neurological or cognitive function such as fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s. Most sensors to measure glutamate levels require the use of expensive enzymes and trained technicians but if a low cost, easy to use, and durable sensor could be fabricated, widespread testing for abnormal glutamate levels could become commonplace; helping to catch pathologies early on. If clinicians could have quicker return times on tests to measure glutamate levels this could increase the quality of care that the patient would receive.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: My experience with research this summer has been empowering. Despite the difficulties of pandemic protocols, my team found a way to safely get me into the lab so I could start constructing the sensor. To ensure everyone stayed safe, our lab had a schedule for when everyone could come in and use the required instruments and kept our team meetings to online platforms like zoom and teams. Even though my experience may have been different because of COVID-19 I am still left with the feeling that if I work hard and I put myself out there, I’ll be able to make a difference for the better that I will truly be able to be proud of.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? The most rewarding part about working with my team is knowing that I have the opportunity to make a difference for the better. With all of the events of the last year, it’s been really easy to lose hope and slip into a sense of despair that nothing I can do will make any difference. Working with my team gives me hope that my effort and my input can help lead the way for a better future where my great-grandchildren will never have to experience late-stage Alzheimer’s because we as a species have invented advanced diagnostics and treatments that can help mitigate the disease better than we can today.

Sarah Arnold

Sarah Arnold

Dean's Excellence Entrance Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: Chemical & Biomedical Engineering
Why McMaster? McMaster's strong emphasis on undergraduate research was a large incentive. I was very interested in research and knew that being able to get involved early in my university career would be a wonderful experience. In addition, I loved the uniqueness and hands-on approach of the iBioMed program, which was exactly the type of program I was looking for.
Faculty supervisor: Dr. David Latulippe and Dr. Boyang Zhang
Research area: This summer, I was doing research within the Department of Chemical Engineering. Our work involved creating different 3D printed designs and we ended up investigating the leaching impacts of these prints. We specifically looked at how leachates could interfere with biological assays that are used to quantify protein and DNA concentrations.
What are the real-world applications of this research? The field of 3D printing has grown drastically. The ability to create unique and complex designs have made it a desirable tool in biotechnology and biomedical applications. If the issue of leaching is not properly addressed, there could be large negative impacts.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: My experience this summer was a perfect introduction to the field of engineering research. I was able to learn several labs techniques and practices, while also being a part of the collaborative process. It was the perfect combination of learning new things and applying my skills.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? By far, the most rewarding part of working with my team was the supportive and collaborative environment. I was very fortunate to have fantastic mentors who taught me a great deal about the field, while also encouraging me to share my thoughts and opinions about the project!

Sheel Ayachi

Sheel Ayachi

Dean's Excellence Award and Research Experience Award

Program: Chemical Engineering & Bioengineering 
Why McMaster? I chose McMaster for a few reasons. I really enjoyed how research intensive the school is, especially within the department of Chemical Engineering. Also, the community that exists at McMaster for students is extremely collaborative and supportive. I've gotten to experience the atmosphere through clubs, teams, group projects, and off-campus. Lastly, my program in particular that combines bioscience with chemical engineering was really fascinating and pretty unique!
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Charles de Lannoy
Research area: My research this summer has been about water quality at the Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve, Indigenous water insecurity, co-creation of knowledge, and environmental reconciliation. My work involved reviewing literature, water testing, field work at Six Nations, ethics applications, studying novel wastewater treatment systems, data work, and community consultation.
What are the real-world applications of this research? This work impacts First Nations communities directly. Clean drinking water and sanitation is a human right that should be accessible to everyone. What is really fascinating is using STEM and Chemical Engineering solutions to co-create knowledge with Indigenous communities!
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: I had a great time this summer! I did some work online but also got to go into the lab and work with water testing equipment. On top of that I got to do field work at Six Nations to test wastewater and discuss research with community. It has been an extremely rewarding summer for me.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? I think the most rewarding part of working with my team has been the sense of community within the lab group fostered by Dr. de Lannoy. Everyone at the lab is willing to help eachother and extremely friendly. I've become friends with fellow undergraduates and learnt a lot from my two supervisors Hannah and Colin, for which I'm really thankful!

Eleanor Robson

Eleanor Robson

Engineering Big Ideas Runner-Up, Ontario Professional Engineers Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: Chemical Engineering & Bioengineering
Why McMaster? I love both biology and engineering, and wanted to go to McMaster to study specifically in the Chemical and Bioengineering pathway. When I took a tour of campus, the friendly atmosphere and beautiful trails around Hamilton convinced me!
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Boyang Zhang
Research area: This summer I assisted one of Dr. Zhang's PhD students, Sonya Kouthouridis, with a literature review. I synthesized current research on sex-based genetic and hormonal differences in organ morphogenesis, function, and disease. This information can now be applied in a bioengineering context to make sex-specific organ-on-a-chip and body-on-a-chip systems.
What are the real-world applications of this research? Organ-on-a-chip systems mimic organ inputs, outputs, and processes on a small scale, allowing scientists to study diseases and test pharmaceuticals. These chips may eliminate the need for animal testing in drug development, and make human drug trials safer.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: My skills as a researcher grew significantly this summer. Being in a virtual environment, I spent a lot of time working independently, which allowed me to dive deep into research articles (and learn a great deal about the human body in the process!) I now feel comfortable conducting database searches, understanding scholarly writing, and communicating my findings in a professional manner. Best of all, these abilities are highly transferrable!
Most rewarding part about working with your team? As a member of Dr. Zhang's lab, I got to sit in on several lab meetings. It was fascinating to learn about the inner workings of lab and hear about a range of such interesting projects!

Yash Matharu

Yash Matharu

Dean's Excellence Entrance Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: Electrical & Biomedical Engineering
Why McMaster? One of the biggest reasons why I chose McMaster is because of the incredible community. Even though I have only done virtual school so far, I’ve met so many welcoming and friendly people within the community. Another reason was the flexible co-op option. I liked how McMaster gave students the freedom to complete a co-op whenever they want, rather than following a fixed schedule. Last but not least, I loved how McMaster Engineering has a strong emphasis on real-world projects. These projects allow me to take the knowledge learned in the classroom and transform them to solve real problems!
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Younggy Kim
Research area: My research focused on using artificial intelligence to rapidly detect cryptosporidium oocysts and giardia cells within water. I developed deep convolutional neural networks for image classification and object detection tasks. In addition, I worked on fine-tuning other pre-trained models to improve the model’s accuracy.
What are the real-world applications of this research? 1.7 billion cases of diarrhea are caused due to protozoan outbreaks. Cryptosporidium and giardia are one of the most common causes of protozoan diarrhea. Current water treatment processes may not entirely remove these cysts, as they are infectious and often difficult to remove. My research directly solves this problem, and aims to help third-world countries that cannot afford an advanced water treatment system using AI and computer vision.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: My research experience was extremely rewarding. Despite not actually seeing the lab, I learned a ton this past summer. Going into the co-op, I had no idea what AI and machine learning was. My supervisor told me to take this project step-by-step and encouraged me to grasp a strong understanding of these topics. By the end of this co-op, I developed a full machine learning model that can be used by others around the world!
Most rewarding part about working with your team? The most rewarding part was just being able to learn from other people! I was able to learn from other students’ experiences, as well as learn from professors in Civil Engineering. Everyone was always open to my ideas which I greatly appreciated. Lastly, I loved how I was encouraged to learn new things and constantly challenge myself throughout the project!

Grace Xing

Grace Xing

Dean's Excellence Entrance Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: Electrical Engineering 
Why McMaster? The warm and welcoming atmosphere of McMaster and the amazing architecture was what initially drew me in. Ultimately, it was the general first year of engineering that sealed the deal for me. In grade 12, I had no idea what I wanted to specialize in. McMaster provided me the perfect opportunity to experiment with different areas of engineering to see what interests me. This helped me make a more informed decision about my specialization.
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Hao Yang
Research area: My research focuses on monitoring and tracking the flow of traffic using machine learning. I developed a system that is able to detect the different types of vehicles on the road and estimate their distance from the user’s vehicle. It also uses facial landmark detection algorithms to alert the driver when they are distracted or drowsy.
What are the real-world applications of this research? This research plays a significant role in the development of fully autonomous and connected vehicles. It is used for enhancing safety and accident prevention by also alerting drivers about their distractions and other road user’s behavior. Other applications could be gathering high resolution traffic data (headway/flow/density) that can be used for traffic control applications such as actuated signals.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: My research was very independent and self-paced. Each week, I would meet with my professor on Microsoft Teams and I would give him a overview of what I have developed so far. Obviously with COVID-19, my research was mainly online and conducted in a virtual setting. However, it was refreshing being able to drive around the streets of Hamilton as I needed to collect data with the system I developed.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? The most rewarding part about working with my team is being able to bounce off ideas with people who are much more experienced and knowledgeable than me. To be honest, it was terrifying at first. However, I eventually felt much more comfortable with my teammates, and they were extremely helpful every time I needed advice!

Mya Hussain

Mya Hussain

McMaster Engineering Big Ideas Scholarship, Rishi Sudan Scholarship, and Research Experience Award

Program: Software Engineering 
Why McMaster? McMaster has a very well-rounded environment when it comes to academics, research, coop opportunities and student life. The university has a very welcoming and encouraging community making it easy to improve both academically and interpersonally. The opportunities here are endless provided you're willing to work hard for them.
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Saiedeh Razavi 
Research area: I'm developing software to aid in the solving of various vehicle routing problems, especially those related to fleet design and route optimization involving pickups and deliveries, backhauls, and time window complexities. The software is being developed in Java with the help of the JSprit library, Google OR-Tools and some Google APIs. My work with McMaster started early in January of 2021 and will continue throughout my second year of university for a total of 16 months.
What are the real-world applications of this research? The software allows one to optimize a specific fleet of vehicle types alongside their individual routes to service a particular demand, given the demand's constraints. Apart from the clear industry benefits of route and fleet optimization in transportation, this software can be used to draw research conclusions to help move towards more cost-effective and eco-friendly transportation systems.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: Being in an online environment, I connect with my team through virtual meetings and over email. After group discussions, I tend to work independently on the changes any software needs as discussed during our meetings or over emails. This experience continues to teach me new programming and interpersonal skills while giving me the privilege of working alongside many welcoming and accomplished colleagues.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? The inviting atmosphere and in-depth knowledge that everyone brings to the table makes working together an exciting and rewarding experience. I am forever grateful to all of my colleagues who've provided me with such a welcoming and professional environment in which I get to do what I love.

Krish Patel

Krish Patel

Dean's Excellence Entrance Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: Software & Biomedical Engineering
Why McMaster? I decided to go to McMaster because of the iBioMed program and the Engineering community. I found the combination of Health Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, and one specialization option provided me with a wide range of skills and hands-on projects that would build my resume. The Engineering community was also very welcoming and helpful which confirmed my decision.
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Jamal Deen 
Research area: I had the opportunity to work on creating a threshold-based fall detection system that is targeted for the healthy ageing of seniors in any environment and situation. This system would use an inertial motion unit that tracks the user’s acceleration and angular velocity. I also had the opportunity to perform literature reviews to organize the current information on neurodegenerative diseases and their associated gait disorders.
What are the real-world applications of this research? As the senior population in the world increases, there will be an increase in the number of falls and individuals with neurodegenerative diseases. By aiding in the development of a fall detection system, the quality of life for seniors will improve. Neurodegenerative diseases have distinct gait patterns that can be identified with proper monitoring. This monitoring can serve as early detection for that particular neurodegenerative disease.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: My experience with research this summer was eye-opening. I learned about the research process and its grand implications which ignited my passion for the field of biomedical engineering.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? The most rewarding part was being able to learn and form connections with experienced researchers. Their advice, support, and kindness through this summer had been vital to my growth as a student
researcher.

Joel Tunikaitis

Joel Tunikaitis

DECA Alumni Entrance Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: Electrical Engineering & Management
Why McMaster? I decided to come to McMaster because of the amazing community and opportunities associated with the school. I wasn't offered anything like this from another school, and I knew that getting an opportunity to work in research after first year would be an incredible experience early in my degree. The general first year was also very appealing!
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Adriaan Buijs 
Research area: This summer I worked on developing code for the modelling of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) with Dr. Buijs. My contribution was mainly focused on making minor modifications to the materials and dimensions in different areas of the reactor to help Dr. Buijs optimize the current design of the SMR.
What are the real-world applications of this research? SMRs are currently seen as the future of energy production, specifically for smaller communities. The SMR that Dr. Buijs' team is working on is designed to be deployed in the Canadian Arctic, where remote communities get electricity from generators that use diesel fuel that has to be flown in by plane. This is obviously not very environmentally friendly, so the SMR that is being designed is a much cleaner way for these communities to obtain electricity.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: I would describe my experience with research this summer as challenging, but also enjoyable. A lot of my job involved a fair amount of problem solving which I haven't experienced much of in my past jobs, but I really enjoy viewing a problem and then trying to figure out the best way to solve it given the resources I have. This job allowed me to do exactly that, and also put into practice a lot of the skills I developed in ENGINEER 1P13 as well as my other first year classes.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? The most rewarding part about working with my team this summer was seeing how people with different areas of expertise can all collaborate towards a common goal. Even though I've seen glimpses of that in my first year of engineering, it is much more fascinating to see when a team is working on such a challenging task. I also found it rewarding that the members of the team were willing to explain things to me even when it wasn't necessary to the task I was doing, but because they knew it would help me see the bigger picture of what we were doing.

Abeka Selliah

Abeka Selliah

DECA Alum Entrance Scholarship, General Motors Entrance Scholarship, and Research Experience Award

Program: Mechanical & Biomedical Engineering 
Why McMaster? I chose to go to McMaster because its a very well-rounded school and I loved the programs it offered. I was really interested in the iBioMed and engineering programs and the courses offered. I also enjoyed the environment and community at McMaster. Everyone is very friendly and always ready to help each other out. I also loved how beautiful the campus was when I visited!
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Boyang Zhang
Research area: I worked with Dr.Zhang and a PhD student Shravanthi. My PhD student was working on building small-scale organs in the lab for drug testing and disease modeling. 
What are the real-world applications of this research? All drugs and medication need to be tested before they can be accessed and available to the public. By building and testing on small-scale organs, drug testing and disease modeling can be more easily conducted.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: My research experience was very different from what I had expected, as I was working from home due to covid restrictions. My graduate students' research was primarily in the lab, so I was helping remotely with other tasks for her project and the lab. These tasks included working on lab organization methods, making CAD models and researching.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? All of the members in the lab were very welcoming and supportive. My favorite part about working with the team was getting to sit in on the lab meetings and learn more about the other graduate students' projects. Although I was working online, it helped me recognize the importance collaboratoin and networking in the lab.

Ayesha Adil

Ayesha Adil

Dean's Excellence Entrance Scholarship, Ontario Professional Engineers Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: Mechanical & Biomedical Engineering 
Why McMaster? The Biomedical Engineering program at McMaster offered the perfect blend of my interest in both biology and engineering. Beyond that, I visited multiple university campuses and McMaster was by far my favourite!
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Hao Yang
Research area: My research explored membrane and cuboid packed-bed chromatography as a means of purification of a potential COVID-19 vaccine candidate. I tested the effectiveness of these methods using both virtual computation and in-lab experiments.
What are the real-world applications of this research? The SARS-CoV-2 spike protein is highly immunogenic and therefore a great candidate for a COVID-19 vaccine. It allows for single-dose administration, a more desirable route of administration (intradermal vs hypodermal injection) and an increase in vaccine supply. My research focused on overcoming the challenge of purifying this protein for large-scale manufacturing.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: Due to COVID-19 restrictions, I did not run in-person experiments for the first month of my position. During that time, I ran computational experiments using an application called COMSOL to test the effectiveness of a potential cuboid chromatography device. These findings were then compared to results from in-person experiments to gain a thorough understanding of the effectiveness of our device.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? Running into problems during experiments is inevitable in any lab; however, overcoming challenges with the incredibly kind and patient team I had this summer was very rewarding!

Theodore Liu

Theodore Liu

George & Nora Elwin Scholarship, SHAD Fellow Entrance Scholarship, and Research Experience Award

Program: Health, Engineering Science and Entrepreneurship (HESE) 
Why McMaster? I think the unique and interdisciplinary nature of the iBioMed program really stood out to me. McMaster provided me with the opportunity to combine my interests in engineering, business, and the health sciences. I believe that the combination of these disciplines can give you a really well-rounded skill set that can prepare you for any challenge in the real world.
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Thomas Doyle 
Research area: This summer I worked on developing a GUI to visualize the work of Biomedic.AI Lab members for presentation and collaboration with other research groups. I designed the user interface and using Python, I developed a program that implemented artificial intelligence models to classify diseases, perform image/video processing, and conduct live-data analysis on Hexoskin and other health-sensing smart clothing.
What are the real-world applications of this research? Artificial intelligence is transforming the medical industry, however, there needs to be a better way to implement and allow clinicians to utilize AI to its full potential. The program I developed aims to make the visualization of results easier for adoption in future research and clinical practice. Some scenarios the GUI addressed include:
1. Classifying potential diseases like atrial fibrillation from electrocardiogram data, and highlighting areas of interest using explainable AI (XAI).
2. Image processing that allows for elementary emotion, edge, and facial landmark detection using OpenCV.
3. Identifying tumors in ultrasound images and evaluating imaging technician experience level based on cluster distances.
4. Visualizing live acceleration data, performing human activity recognition, and demonstrating transfer learning between Hexoskin & Zephyr biometric data.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: I really appreciated how the other members of the lab did their best to assist me and support my development as an undergraduate research assistant despite the virtual setting. Having frequent update meetings, and discussions created a strong sense of connection and throughout my work, I was encouraged to generate my own ideas. In addition, working on a wide range of projects with different members of the Biomedic.AI Lab allowed me to gain a comprehensive view of the various applications of AI in the healthcare industry.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? Getting to chance to contribute and learn more about research as a whole. Knowing that my work will help members of the labs with their thesis defenses and has the potential for more development excites me as I know that I've been able to make an impact. Combining this with the new computing, design, and teamwork skills I've gained made the entire research experience very fulfilling.

Blake Freer

Blake Freer

A.G. Reilly Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: Mechatronics Engineering 
Why McMaster? I chose McMaster Engineering because of their focus on experiential learning. Despite being online, my first year engineering course gave me plenty of experience where I learned CAD, programming and professional skills that were applied in each of the 4 projects throughout the year, including one project where I worked for a real client. In addition to the engineering course, McMaster provides students with 2 workshops (The Hatch Student Workshop and Thode Makerspace) for students to work on extracurricular or personal projects. These spaces were major factors in my decision to attend McMaster because I learn best when I can apply my classroom knowledge to real-world projects. Of course I must mention that the beautiful campus and welcoming atmosphere of the university also made me confident that McMaster was the school for me!
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Gary Bone
Research area: I spent my summer designing pneumatic "soft" robot joints. In addition to modelling parts in CAD, I performed Finite Element Analysis simulations to test the strength of the parts under various loads before fabricating them on a 3D printer. The third component of my research was developing methods to create and test pneumatic actuators made of thermoplastic sheets.
What are the real-world applications of this research? Pneumatic robotic arms may be a viable solution to bring personal robotic assistants into the homes of people in need of physical assistance. Current commercial robotic arms use electric motors, causing them to be extremely expensive, heavy, and dangerous. Pneumatic robot joints may be able to fix these issues. Rather than comprising of several kilograms of metallic parts, pneumatic actuators are hollow and therefore lighter. Additionally, if a robot is to be safely used alongside people, it must not be rigid as this would cause injury if the robot touched the person. Pneumatic actuators are powered by air, so it has built-in compliance or "bounciness," which makes them inherently safe.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: Remote research was difficult. Instead of having a structured schedule and location to work from, I had to continually monitor my own progress and reach out via email or messaging to talk with my professor. Once I was permitted to go into the lab regularly to fabricate and test my project, my experience greatly improved. Going to the robotics lab to work, instead of my bedroom, allowed me to shift between a "work" and "rest" mindset which improved my work efficiency and well-being. Overall I was satisfied with my research experience. In addition to gaining many skills through my work, I was exposed to the university research environment and learned about the exciting developments that are being made by researchers at McMaster.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? My "team" was very small, consisting of just my professor and myself for most of the term. Despite this, the continuous design reviews and project vision plan updates between us gave me a sense of what it is like to work on an important industry project. I appreciated the opportunity to have my design decisions analyzed and critiqued by my professor. My design skills improved greatly due to these conversations. Further, it was rewarding to see my robot joint design be fabricated and successfully tested.

Amy Hall

Amy Hall

George & Nora Elwin Scholarship, SHAD Alumni Entrance Award and Research Experience Award

Program: Mechanical & Biomedical Engineering 
Why McMaster? I chose McMaster Engineering because of the community. When deciding where I wanted to attend university I was torn between two schools. Unsure of what to do I asked current students from both institutions the same question; what is your favourite thing about your school? Different people highlighted different things but McMaster students always mentioned the McMaster Engineering community. Even as a prospective student I could see it. While on campus tours everyone seemed connected. Everywhere I went people were smiling and saying hi to each other. While connecting one on one with current students they were always eager to help me. Being able to see the impacts of the McMaster Engineering community first hand helped me to make my decision. I knew from the moment I accepted my offer I really would be a part of the Fireball Family.
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Robert Fleisig
Research area: This summer, I researched first response to traffic collisions and explored new possibilities and the future implementation of technologies. This was done using design thinking methodologies and engineering principles. My team engaged with project stakeholders to understand the needs and challenges of victims in an attempt to alleviate them with human-centered solutions.
What are the real-world applications of this research? In Hamilton alone there is one collision every 53 minutes, one person injured every 4.5 hours, and one fatality every 26 days. These numbers represent the people whose lives are altered everyday as a result of traffic collisions. Optimizing response to these collisions will reduce the impact on victims, saving lives and improving outcomes.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my research experience. The team I was working with solved problems using design thinking methodologies. This approach to problem solving is different from anything I had done previously. Despite my research being primarily virtual, I was able to embrace and fully immerse myself in this way of thinking. From conducting stakeholder interviews to flying drones to planning and executing a virtual design charrette, the adventure never stopped. I am grateful for everything I have learned and experienced during my research.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? The most rewarding part of working with my team was the supportive environment. Without my team I would not have grown my communication and problem solving skills the way I did. Everyone on the team helped encourage me to grow as a student and as a person, which is something I will never forget.

Aruka Selliah

Aruka Selliah

DECA Alumni Entrance Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: Mechanical & Biomedical Engineering 
Why McMaster? McMaster has an incredibly supportive and welcoming community, which is one of the things that I valued for my undergraduate experience. As an engineering student, having a supportive cohort is amazing, as everyone is always willing to help. Even though we were online for our first year, the friends I made helped create a memorable experience. Moreover, McMaster has a well-rounded atmosphere, with a reputable co-op program, excellent research opportunities, and an unique approach to engineering. As a first year student, I was able learn more about real-world engineering problems and help find solutions in a group environment. Lastly, my program combines both biomedical and mechanical engineering, which perfectly aligns with my interests.
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Qiyin Fang
Research area: This summer I had the opportunity to work with Dr.Fang and the members of the Biophotonics Lab to assist with the Smart Home Project. A Smart Home allows clinicians to monitor one’s health and physical activity with the incorporation of various sensors, cameras, and other devices. The data collected can provide insight on how users live their daily lives while coping with a disease or their response to a certain therapy. My individual project this summer was designing a Smart Pillbox device that assists with tracking one's medication.
What are the real-world applications of this research? With an increase in the aging and disabled populations, there is a rise in the need for home rehabilitation to understand the needs of elderly users. Through monitoring, individuals can understand the indoor patterns of users struggling with dementia or other health complications. Through the examination of physical activity and the behaviour of older adults, it is possible to detect abnormal events, such as falls, seizures or loss of consciousness. As a result, at-risk individuals can continue to live independently for a longer period, while still remaining safe.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: My experience with research this summer was fairly unique as majority of my research was done virtually, with some in person components. Although it was a virtual environment, I was still able to meet most of my team and interact with others through Journal Club and various meetings, which helped us build relationships and get to know each other. I am extremely thankful for this experience, as I was able to apply the skills and knowledge I learned in class to my project. This experience also allowed me to learn new skills that will further assist me as a student and engineer. Overall, I loved my research position this summer, and am really grateful for the experience!
Most rewarding part about working with your team? The most rewarding part about working with my team was getting to know the lab members throughout the summer. The sense of community within our lab group helped create a supportive and collaborative environment, which made researching virtually still engaging and enjoyable. Everyone was extremely inclusive and friendly, and they helped make this summer a memorable experience!

Emily Nobes

Emily Nobes

DECA Alumni Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: Engineering Physics & Society 
Why McMaster? Throughout the application process, I was continually amazed by the vastness of the community's reach at McMaster. I have always known mac to foster a collaborative, holistic environment within the classroom, but the breadth of the ways in which these sentiments reach beyond curricular activities is astounding. The fundamentals of the McMaster community are present in every club, every extra-curricular opportunity, every alumnus, and every conversation. Never before have I felt so welcomed by a group of people.
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Peter Mascher
Research area: My summer project involved studying mechanical, chemical, and optical behaviours of rare earth metal doped thin films. I used relevant literature, multiphysics simulation software, ellipsometry, in lab depositions, and industry discussions to create accurate, workable models. The end result of my project yielded several high fidelity, dynamic virtual film models, as well as a collection of calculated coefficients to interface with the Stoney formula to describe behaviour within abnormally fragmented film substrates.
What are the real-world applications of this research? Thin films are more common than you'd think! The projects that I had a chance to work on this summer were intended for use in quantum computing, solar cell beautification, and communication dynamics. Thin films in general are heavily present in computing, photography, photonics, and wave filtration of any kind.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: Working this research position presented to me the opportunity to push the limits of my ability to self start, as much of my work was self directed and my schedule self regulated. This was challenging, especially when entering a position unlike any work experience I have ever had. I had to work to keep myself on task, to continually keep my coworkers and supervisors in the loop (which is trickier than expected in an online environment!), and to seek out the resources that I needed to be successful. I truly believe that I am a better, more efficient worker because of this experience.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? The most rewarding part of my lab work this summer was seeing my work play a part in the academic journeys of my supervisors. I worked directly with 3 fantastic graduate students who each gave me a small chunk of problems to tackle related to their thesis work. At the end of the summer, some of my results were included in their presentations, talks, and posters. Seeing the progress that I made and results that I achieved come to life this way was a fantastic way to end my work term.

Samuel Khyzym

Samuel Khyzym

Schulich Leaders Scholarship, A. G. Reilly Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: Software Engineering 
Why McMaster? I decided to go to McMaster because of the incredible community and support it has for its students that is very difficult to find in other prestigious schools. Furthermore, the scholarship that I received was very good and there were many clubs and teams that aligned perfectly with my interests.
Faculty supervisor: Dr Ali Emadi, Dr. Mark Lawford and Dr. Alan Wassyng
Research area: I worked with a fantastic team of individuals at the McMaster EcoCAR Mobility Challenge to re-engineer a 2019 Chevrolet Blazer into a hybrid vehicle with autonomous features. This is a four year challenge and we currently at the start of year four, integrating all our developed code to date into the vehicle and developing some final new features.
What are the real-world applications of this research? We are working to advance both hybrid technology in electrifying vehicles as well as obtain experience in developing autonomous technology such as adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist. Furthermore, V2X communication will pave the way to establishing inter-vehicle communication on roads to allow to improve traffic and safety on roads.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: Most of my research was in person at the MARC lab. It was very fulfilling to see the car and dynamically see the code we write both for our systems and the vehicle itself functioning as expected, so that was a great advantage of being in-person. There were restrictions such as mask-wearing and limited capacity, but thankfully, that did not impact our operation this summer as much as I had initially expected.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? There were long periods of time when our team was stuck on certain parts of the project, but with perseverance and seeking out many different resources for help, many of our summer goals were accomplished by the end of the work term. The moment we accomplished our goals after working so hard to secure it was so rewarding, both for me and for the entire team.

Alexandra Wu

Alexandra Wu

DECA Alumni Entrance Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: Engineering Physics & Biomedical Engineering 
Why McMaster? My decision to come to McMaster University was predominantly based on two factors. First was the novelty of the iBioMed program - there is truly no other program in Canada that is fundamentally based on the interdisciplinary study of Biomedical Engineering and Health Sciences. This combination aligns strongly with my desire to pursue a career at the intersection of medicine and technology. Second, as someone who is considering graduate studies, the abundance of undergraduate research opportunities was highly appealing.
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Fei Geng
Research area: My research strives to understand the biomarkers involved in Chronic Post-Surgical Pain (CPSP) and their underlying mechanisms. This investigation utilizes a bioinformatics framework comprising of multiple modules, including Search Tool for Interacting Chemicals (STITCH) analysis, Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) analysis, and molecular docking analyses.
What are the real-world applications of this research? There are many real-world applications of studying Chronic Pain proteomics, most notably repurposing marketed drugs, developing diagnostic tools, and implementing individualized treatment plans. These applications have the potential to alleviate the social and economic burden caused by Chronic Pain, such as its contributions to the opioid crisis.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: My experience with research this summer was a defining milestone and learning opportunity in my academic career. The environment was very supportive and conducive to all my inquiries and questions. Overall, I could not have asked for a more positive introduction to engineering research!
Most rewarding part about working with your team? I had the opportunity to work alongside professors, graduate, and undergraduate students. Many of them were conducting unique investigations that complemented their respective areas of expertise. Being involved in a lab group meant that I was able to collaborate with a diverse range of individuals who share my passion for research. Learning from these highly knowledgeable people was easily the most rewarding part of the experience.

Kailin Chu

Kailin Chu

Shad Alumni Scholarship, Dean's Excellence Entrance Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: Mechatronics & Biomedical Engineering 
Why McMaster? Since I am extremely interested in the intersection of healthcare and engineering, I loved that the iBioMed program allowed me to explore this interest. I also liked that many of our courses were project-based, giving us the opportunity to solve real-world problems. Mac’s friendly community and the variety of clubs offered, further solidified my decision.
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Spencer Smith and Dr. Zahra Motamed
Research area: This summer, I wrote a Python program that automatically creates a 3D reconstruction of the thoracic aorta based on its CT scan. I researched, developed, and compared different segmentation methods and determined which worked best.
What are the real-world applications of this research? Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of death worldwide. 3D reconstructed geometries of the aorta can be used to provide earlier diagnoses, thus improving patient outcome. Currently, experts manually reconstruct geometries of the aorta, which can take significant time, up to 30 minutes. A program that automatically reconstructs these geometries could improve CVD research and patient care.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: This summer’s research has been a valuable and rewarding learning experience. Although my position was virtual, I was able to get to know my supervisor and the grad student on the project meetings. I also got to meet and get advice on medical imaging from other professors at Mac. I did a lot of independent work and had the liberty of exploring many different ideas. Not all ideas worked out, but when they did and the final program worked, it was very gratifying!
Most rewarding part about working with your team? I really enjoyed being able to learn from people with different backgrounds and experiences. Each person had different ideas for what approach to take, and it was rewarding to see it all come together in the end.

Awurama Nyarko

Awurama Nyarko

The Provost Entrance Scholarship, Dean's Excellence Entrance Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: Software Engineering 
Why McMaster? I decided to attend McMaster University for a multitude of reasons; the prestige of the university, the large variety of clubs and teams, the great opportunities for research & successful co-ops, the highly ranked engineering department and so on. However, the biggest thing that drew me to McMaster was its care for their student's mental health & livelihoods outside of academics and the diverse, warm, and welcoming community. Another thing that made me even more confident in my decision to attend McMaster University was the unparalleled way the shock of covid was handled, from the clear and continuous communication with students to the careful decision making on when & how to return on campus. I also really appreciated how international students are treated at McMaster University by being given opportunities to represent all different cultures.
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Jacques Carette and Dr. Spencer Smith
Research area: My research was working on a program/framework named Drasil. It is a way of generating "software artifacts from a stable knowledge base" with a primary focus on scientific software. My duties were to learn more about this program, delve into it spot and fix any errors. I was also assigned "tickets" to develop any areas which could be improved in any way within my abilities with help from other teammates. In addition to this I worked on creating documentation to help ease the transition of future research student into working on Drasil.
What are the real-world applications of this research? The research I was working on (Drasil) is going to help Software developers in the future to avoid any repitition of information ("knowledge duplication") through the process of scientific computation. It will allow these Software developers making use of the program, to focus more on the actual knowledge base/ content of their programming itself than all the technicality of building a program from scratch up. The main goal of the research is to gradually develop Drasil till it's a full blown system that can impact the process of programming for software developers, not only making it less time consuming but also improving the efficiency of the programmers as they can be more focused on what the end goal of their program is.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: My research was online so I spent a lot of time in front of my computer's screen. Working on Drasil was very interesting and so this did not bother me but time away from the screen for a walk always helped to get away for a bit. Fortunately for me, Drasil was quite easy to work on online, as it is developing a software over github it was easy to communicate with my supervisors and teammates from a distance. The only thing working online took away was the opportunity to work in the same space/working environment as my teammates. The Drasil work environment was very involving & inclusive all my teammates were always ready to help and give input whenever need be.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? My team was a small group of people which allowed for a sense of community to be established. I grew comfortable enough to ask my teammates questions as this was highly encouraged throughout the summer. My team's supervisors also highly encouraged us to learn more things that could help improve how we worked on the research as increasing our personal knowledge base was part of the research as well. Going into the research with no knowledge of haskell and little knowledge of coding in general, I feel as though I came out with a new and refreshed view of how i see myself fit into the world of programming. The most rewarding part for me was how much I was able to learn from my team members, and from working on Drasil itself. I was also very glad I was able to leave a piece of documentation behind which would hopefully make working on Drasil even easier for first time software developers like me.

Mackenzie Keeler

Mackenzie Keeler

SHAD Fellow Entrance Scholarship, George and Nora Elwin Scholarship, and Research Experience Award

Program: Mechatronics & Biomedical Engineering 
Why McMaster? I chose to go to McMaster for the fantastic opportunities available to the students, such as the world-renowned research happening, the clubs and teams, and the project-based learning. More importantly, I chose McMaster for the inclusive and diverse community I knew I belonged in.
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Kyla Sask
Research area: I had the opportunity to help a Master's student work on her project about biological fluids and their interactions with biomaterials. I helped research techniques such as atomic force microscopy (AFM), to learn more about protein conformation following adsorption onto polymers. The specific protein I looked at was alpha-2-HS-glycoprotein (also known as Fetuin-A), and its adsorption onto PDMS, and potentially a PDMS-PEG BCP copolymer.
What are the real-world applications of this research? When a medical device gets put in the body, the blood interacts with the material and can potentially cause issues such as thrombosis and infection. Understanding how the proteins in the blood interact with biomaterials is key to developing safe devices for implanting into the body.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: Having to switch everything to online, I was worried about missing out on this unique opportunity, but everyone worked incredibly hard to make this experience as impactful as possible. Dr. Sask went out of her way to allow the team to socialize as we would have in person, making sure no one felt alone. I am very grateful for my experience this summer, and I have grown so much from it.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? Having my first big job during a pandemic was intimidating, but the team I worked in was full of dedicated and kind people who were more than willing to answer all of my questions. Not only did the experience itself teach me a lot, but I also learned so much by talking to the professor I worked for and the other students on the team. It was a great feeling to be working on such exciting research while being part of such a welcoming and committed group.

Isabelle Ragany

Isabelle Ragany

DECA Alumni Entrance Scholarship, Ashbaugh Scholarship, and Research Experience Award 

Program: Electrical & Biomedical Engineering 
Why McMaster? McMaster has a great reputation for academics and research! Additionally, ever since I first stepped foot on campus, I felt welcomed by everyone. There is a great range of clubs and teams, so every student has a way to participate in McMaster’s amazing student life.
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Hatem Zurob
Research area: I have worked on COVID-19 initiatives including research with copper foams and researching new alloys for biomedical implants and car manufacturing. Another exciting opportunity I had was to film and create video demonstrations for the labs and experiments in the Structure and Properties of Materials: MATLS 1M03 class.
What are the real-world applications of this research? With the ongoing pandemic, research into PPE has become vital to protecting the general population. Moreover, two driving factors in the car industry are weight and cost, the aim of our research into new alloys is to discover the best of both worlds. Finally, creating engaging videos for demos that typically happen in the class, will hopefully make for a more engaging online experience.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: My typical day consists of Microsoft Teams calls and independent work. I am very grateful to be working with an incredible team who is outgoing and always communicating any new discoveries in their research. This replicates the typical office and lab setting, where we are all able to interact. Additionally, I spend a lot of time on databases looking for literature relevant to the topic I am researching.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? The leadership and guidance within the team has been amazing. The diversity of research the team is conducting covers a broad range of topics within the Materials Science and Engineering field. Everyday I get to learn more about the unique way’s materials can be manipulated to produce the desired outcomes.

Arun Mistry

Arun Mistry

Dean's Excellence Entrance Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: Mechatronics Engineering 
Why McMaster? Being an international student, I never had the opportunity to visit all universities and explore their campuses. However, McMaster had an inexplicable and friendly atmosphere that I really liked, and was the university where I saw my greatest personal growth at. Haven't regretted coming here ever since!
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Ghada Badawy
Research area: I had to build several front-ends for websites for various clients, working with tools such as Vue.js and Bootstrap. I also collaborated on coding the backend for a dashboard, to allow the static pages I had made to become dynamic.
What are the real-world applications of this research? Web development is a critical component for most entities such as organisations, businesses and individuals, for various reasons such as to demonstrate something or advertise a product. Websites are also how most users interact with the internet on their personal devices, and being able to tap into streamlining the interaction certainly helps.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: The first three weeks were hard due to the steep learning curve, but everything went along smoothly after that. Working from home was also a nice experience, as it gave me more flexibility to when I worked, morning, evening or night, on any given day. My favourite times were morning and night.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? My favourite part about working with others was throwing around ideas and collaborating on specific tasks and issues, and witnessing them come to fruition.

Catherine Scott

Catherine Scott

Dean's Excellence Entrance Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: Mechanical Engineering and Society  
Why McMaster? I got to visit campus on a trip to Ontario (I am from Nova Scotia) and I immediately fell in love with the community. My visit overlapped with the first day of welcome week and every single upper year I met was willing to offer advice and a lending hand to someone they had never met. I knew Mac had a wonderful co-op program and disciplines I was very interested in (mechanical and eng phys at the time) and realizing I felt at home on campus sealed the deal.
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Stephen Velduis and Steven Remilli
Research area: My supervisor's relay project specifications and ideas from our clients to me, where I am then able to research different solutions. From there, I design and eventually build the solution, receiving feedback and updated constraints along the way.
What are the real-world applications of this research? My projects are all working with clients looking to solve a problem. Everything I do works to provide a viable solution to the clients, either for their personal use or their business use, or for the greater good of society.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: Independent. I am very fortunate to have kept my position this summer. Although I would have much rather been in the MMRI lab with all my coworkers, I have learned a lot about independence and working alone as I am "commuting" from my house in Nova Scotia to an advanced lab halfway across Canada. My experience has been far from typical given the current events, so this summer has been one of learning and adapting, which is something I am very thankful for.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? I get to take the lead on two very different projects to learn about the full engineering design cycle which has allowed me to gain an understanding of what it means to work as a mechanical engineer. I have learned how to communicate more effectively with different kinds of people to get the results I need.

Mathieu Chenier

Mathieu Chenier

A.H. Atkinson Education Fund Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: Engineering Physics & Biomedical Engineering
Why McMaster? I decided to go to McMaster because I thought the iBioMed program was a great fit for me. iBioMed is at the intersection of all things health, science, and engineering, which are interests of mine. Having the ability to be in a research environment after my first year was also attractive as it allowed me to experience education in a medium that I was unfamiliar with.
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Chang-qing Xu
Research area: Along with my supervisors, I am researching to develop an accurate, quantitative and point-of-care antibody test for the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus which has produced the largest health crisis of the 21st century. Although several platforms already exist to test for SARS-CoV-2, more importantly, we are developing a format that could be modified for future viruses and reduce the severity of future pandemics.
What are the real-world applications of this research? In a sense, antibody tests can retroactively diagnose infection. They don't directly detect the presence of infection, but rather the body's antibody response, which is not instantaneous but may subside longer than other indicators. This allows antibody testing to nicely complement RT-PCR tests, which are the primary method to diagnose acute COVID-19.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: This summer provided obvious challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one of which was working from home. Due to this, I felt more like a research consultant. I was asked to make important decisions on experimental design, reagent purchasing, and parameterization, which are all vital to conducting research. Although nothing was 'hands-on,' I was able to make an impact on the project. What was also interesting was that my research was largely based on pre-prints that were released as I was working since the COVID-19 pandemic shifted the paradigm of how research is conducted, released, and shared.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? This summer, I got to provide a lot of input into the experimental design of our team's project, which is both rewarding and terrifying. Rewarding, because it shows that my team values my input and allows me to make decisions that will impact the results of our research. Terrifying, because my decisions will impact the results of our research. I'm excited to see the results of our experiments as the project continues.

Brianna Chester

Brianna Chester

Dundas Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: Chemical Engineering
Why McMaster? I loved the community at McMaster because I felt welcome whenever I came on campus. Additionally, it was close to home, and the tuition was reasonably priced. Finally, McMaster offered me the research scholarship, which would give me the opportunity to explore the research aspect of Engineering and see if I enjoyed it.
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Latulippe
Research area: I did literature reviews to explore current research for several different projects. One project I worked on was searching for articles on particles that abraded the membrane during filtration and summarized the findings for an introduction to a future paper about membrane abrasion from microplastics. Another project I focused on was non-spherical particle filtration and how the shape of particles affected filtration, which could be used in another future paper on non-spherical microplastic filtration.
What are the real-world applications of this research? In wastewater treatment plants, microplastics pollution is becoming a more commonly recognized issue, which means the process used to filter the wastewater needs to be updated so microplastics are properly filtered out. Microplastics are hard, non-spherical plastics that can cause abrasion to the membranes used to filter wastewater. Accordingly, there needs to be more research to determine the effects microplastics have on the wastewater treatment membranes so they can be improved, and environmental damage can be reduced.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: In the beginning, everyone was figuring out new projects that could be worked on remotely, so there was less sense of direction. I had to learn how to intentionally communicate with my team since we were working from home. I had to develop my self-regulation to be able to finish tasks and make my own schedule without someone there to directly supervise me. Originally, I mostly did literature reviews, however near the end of the summer when the PhD students could access the lab, I was able to analyze and graph their data.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? My team was able to motivate me to do better and kept me on track, since we had weekly meetings to update the team on our progress, which I found helpful since we could not work in-person. I learned new skills from them, both indirectly by watching them present their work and directly by lessons from the PhD student who helped me.

Ishan Vermani

Ishan Vermani

SHAD Fellow Entrance Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: Mechatronics & Biomedical Engineering
Why McMaster? In high school, I was interested in both engineering as well as biology, and so when I saw the iBioMed program, I thought it was too good to be true. This program is unique in the country and was such a perfect blend of all my interests, with flexibility for careers in engineering or health science, that I decided to go for it.
Faculty supervisor: Dr Qiyin Fang
Research area: Coughs have a unique set of features, and using Python, I am working to find an algorithm to identify these cough events in a stream of audio. This involves manual labelling of prerecorded sounds, extracting certain features from the audio waveform and frequency, and using machine learning classifiers to identify the features that best correlate an unknown snippet of sound to a cough.
What are the real-world applications of this research? In the medical industry, measuring the duration, density, and intensity of coughs plays an important role in diagnosis and recovery. Physicians cannot monitor patients 24/7, and self monitoring is also often inaccurate. A device that can listen to audio and identify coughs can be a significant tool for physicians and greatly improve diagnosis and outlook capabilities.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: It was underwhelming to be virtual, but it was a great experience with the opportunity to learn a breadth of new skills in computing. I was able to find new python libraries and new uses of existing ones I was familiar with, as well as being more competent with algorithm construction and scientific approach. Literature reviews were also a great way for me to get a better sense of the research purpose and the work needed to be formally published.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? I get a chance to absorb knowledge from grad students who have been working on their projects and with certain tools for a long time. It's really great experience and connection to have.

Bridget Latka

Bridget Latka

SHAD Fellow Entrance Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: Engineering Physics & Biomedical Engineering
Why McMaster? I decided to go to McMaster because of the great engineering programs offered where I was able to do more than just an engineering degree. I really liked how the integration between the engineering faculty and others was fully combined and not just something that you add on. I was able to combine my fascination with human biology and engineering through the ibiomed program.
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Todd Hoare
Research area: My research surrounds the polymer POEGMA and its application in making an antibacterial hydrogel and its benefits as a brush polymer. I looked into the experimental techniques to determine the efficiency of an N-Halamine and POEGMA sprayable hydrogel. I also researched POEGMA as a brush polymer used as in sensor applications.
What are the real-world applications of this research? The real world applications of my research would be preventing viruses and harmful bacteria from being transmitted between surfaces, allowing for less frequent sanitation periods in order to keep surfaces clean.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: My research has been adapted into a remote based research job where I am focusing on reading papers and then bringing the most important parts of the paper together in the form of a document such as a proposal or grant or review paper. It has been different not being in the lab to carry out experiments and strange that after a summer of working in the lab I have no data. However, I think this experience has been rewarding in its own way because of the self directed nature of the job and I think that all the learning on my own is mimicking what the school term will be like.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? The most rewarding part about working with my team is the fact that I get to learn about so many other research projects because everyone shares what they are working on in weekly meetings. They also create a very open environment to be able to ask questions and for help when I am feeling stuck which is really helpful because I have no previous experience with research.

Angela Tollis

Angela Tollis

FIRST Robotics Entrance Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: Mechanical Engineering & Society 
Why McMaster? I decided to go to McMaster for a few reasons, the first being that the university, especially our Faculty of Engineering, is extremely close knit. Everyone works together as a community and helps to make McMaster feel like home whether you are from Hamilton or staying on campus. There are also so many opportunities to get involved to enjoy your time at school alongside your studies. Additionally, I also wanted to come to McMaster specifically due to their involvement in FIRST robotics. As a FIRST robotics alumnus and a Hamiltonian, my high school's robotics team and I were always involved in McMaster's FIRST Robotics Competition District Event along with other STEM workshops and presentations at the university. Finally, McMaster was a key component to helping me find my passion for engineering. In high school, I attended many programs such as the LEAP program, a high school co-op in the Faculty of Engineering, Women in Engineering events, workshops, May at Mac, etc. Every experience I ever had always increased my love for the school and clearly showed me what I wanted to do in post-secondary. Being a student here really is a long-time dream come true! 
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Ayse Turak
Research area: My research this summer revolves around the methods of spray coating, specifically the method of high-voltage electrospray, to effectively coat various substrates with micelle solutions in lab. This research is meant to improve micelle research, as this method of spray coating has the ability to uniformly coat substrates in order for the solutions to be tested and analyzed for future use in organic photovoltaic devices and other applications. The goal of the research term was to build a high voltage electrospray apparatus in lab that could be used and to gain a deeper understanding of the method so the variables involved in the spray coating process could be manipulated.
What are the real-world applications of this research? My research and building of the high voltage electrospray apparatus will mainly be used for micelle research to help develop organic photovoltaic devices, which depend on the development of organic solar cells. Additionally, the research and physical set-up can help with additional real-world projects such as creating micelles that can disinfect a surface from viruses such as Covid-19. This project provides an excellent method for various solutions to be put to the test for different applications, as electrospray will potentially improve the analysis of different micelles with the uniform distribution is provides.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: I am so thankful for what I learned during my time in the lab and for being able to do it alongside wonderful individuals. I was able to challenge myself throughout the term with my project and to explore concepts I had never looked into. I recognize that I was very lucky to have been given the opportunity to actually go into the lab during this difficult time due to our lab opening up for Covid-19 research. However, my at-home, remote research was also very enjoyable and rewarding as I still got to research my individual project in depth. I have previously worked in the Turak Research Group in high school for my grade 12 co-op, and being able to return and pick up where I had previously left off was a great experience.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? The most rewarding part is being able to collaborate with the other members of the lab! Having the opportunity to learn through my own project and other student projects makes the experience that much more enjoyable, and further pushes me outside my comfort zone to experience new things. Collaborating in various elements such as our weekly update presentations and lab experiments has also allowed me to learn how to work well as one team and how to efficiently plan and execute project elements.

Nathaniel Hu

Nathaniel Hu

FIRST Robotics Entrance Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: Software Engineering 
Why McMaster? I initially chose to go to McMaster because of its reputation as a great school for students looking to go into Engineering. I chose to stay for the friendly and welcoming community of fellow students that I met and made friends and connections with. The student-centred culture at McMaster was what drew me into a community of empathetic students who were willing to lend a hand whenever it was needed. McMaster’s Engineering program and flexible co-op options are what garnered my interest, but it was the welcoming student community and culture that encouraged me to stay.
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Jacques Carette and Dr. Spencer Smith
Research area: My research revolved around my contributions to a framework designed to aid in the development of Scientific Computing Software (SRS). This framework, known as the Drasil framework, is intended to help auto-generate all the artifacts needed in the software development process, such as sample source code (in a multiplicity of object-oriented languages) and Software Requirements Specification (SRS) documentation. I helped make several minor improvements to this existing framework in several different places, and I also designed and implemented an analysis function to aid in the framework's future development.
What are the real-world applications of this research? The real-world applications of my research are mostly related to the Drasil framework that I contributed to, and they extend to the development of Scientific Computing Software (SCS). However, the application scope of my research also extends to software engineering and all kinds of software development. Given the growing influence of software in our society, it is paramount that this software has several key properties (e.g. verifiability, reliability, etc.) and is accompanied by complete, thorough and well-maintained documentation. The Drasil framework that I helped to develop is centred around accomplishing those key objectives. With further development, the Drasil framework would help bring down the long-term costs of developing software, while also helping to produce higher-quality software in the process.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: My experience with research this summer largely consisted of a steep uphill battle at the beginning, to a gradually shallower uphill climb by the end. My initial challenge lay in the fact that I would be programming in Haskell, a language that I was not very familiar with prior to starting my research. This challenge was made more difficult in that the current pandemic situation forced my team and I to work remotely from home. As a result, I wasn’t able to benefit from the more instantaneous in-person interactions and mentoring that would’ve aided me greatly in my research, especially at the beginning. I was, however, able to benefit from online help and mentoring from my team members through MS Teams. Since all of my research was to be done online regardless, I slowly began to learn how to program in Haskell, and begin contributing to the Drasil framework without any other major issues. As I gained more experience programming in Haskell and learned more about the inner workings of the Drasil framework, I was eventually able to make greater contributions with more ease than I ever expected to by the end of my research term.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? The most rewarding part about working with my team was that I was able to strengthen my sense of self-confidence and independence in the research work that I did. The freedom that my supervisors gave me signified the amount of trust that they had in me to be able to learn how to program in a language called Haskell, one that I had no prior experience working with. It also demonstrated the trust that they had in my work ethic and that I would deliver on their expectations. I was also able to benefit from working with other members of my team who could help me whenever I encountered a roadblock in my research. Through this experience, I was able to develop the skills I would need to work independently and contribute to a group effort in the future.

Arielle Ainabe

Arielle Ainabe

Schulich Leader Scholarship, Dean's Excellence Entrance Scholarship, and Research Experience Award

Program: Engineering Physics
Why McMaster? I decided to go to McMaster because to me it was a mix of everything I wanted in my undergraduate career. McMaster has a wide variety of engineering disciplines you can go into in second year and being able to have a general first year helped me explore these different aspects of engineering. Also we have a flexible co-op, friendly community and a nice campus!
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Rafael Kleiman and Dr. Steve Hranilovic
Research area: We looked at using adaptive optics to improve free space optical communication to provide internet for rural Canadian communities. I was responsible for researching existing technologies as well as developing MATLAB simulations of the system for different weather and satellite conditions.
What are the real-world applications of this research? Satellite communication is a hot topic because it can help transmit data over far distances and to communities where using fibre optic cables is not very efficient. However, one of the biggest issues is the atmospheric turbulence which can disrupt the laser beam and cause it to lose signal. Adaptive optics can help correct this by using a deformable mirror fix the wavefront. It is more often used in astronomy but we believe that it can have a big impact in communications.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: My experience was a lot different than I expected because labs were closed for the most part this summer. However, I am glad I was still able to work in a field that interests me. Overall, I would say this co-op taught me new skills that I did not think I would learn with it being remote. For example learning presentation skills, literature review and using MATLAB.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? The most rewarding part of working with my team was being able to see how many different research projects go into one big engineering endeavour. I got to collaborate with people whose research was different than mine, but still was part of the goal of satellite communication.

Richard Adam Steacy

Richard Adam Steacy

Dean's Excellence Entrance Scholarship, Ontario Professional Engineers Entrance Scholarship, and Research Experience Award

Program: Mechanical Engineering & Society
Why McMaster? My choice to go to McMaster was driven by academics and community. McMaster has a phenomenal reputation in engineering and research with an amazing community to back it up. Mac Eng was the perfect combination of everything I was looking for and I knew it was the right fit for me from the first time I stepped foot on campus!
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Cheryl Quenneville
Research area: My research mainly focused on the development and testing of controls systems for an apparatus used to dynamically load knee joints in an MRI. The device allows for the imaging and analysis of cartilage deformation within a knee joint under simulated walking forces. I was also able to do some research into the impact properties of human tissues as a side project.
What are the real-world applications of this research? Some of the real world applications for this kind of device include imaging cartilage while under simulated loads, diagnosing potential knee injuries, understanding the biomechanical functions of a joint, and preventative medicine. Understanding the biomechanical functions of the human body is crucial for many applications including general medicine, professional sports, the military and just about anything else you can think of!
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: This summer was different than expected with the transition to at home/online work. The pandemic forced the position to be more flexible and dynamic with what was expected of us. I am lucky enough to be working on a project that allowed for some hands on assembly and programming, so I got to take a break from reading research papers all day! In the end, I am so grateful to have had this amazing position right out of first year and I am so lucky that this position acted as my introduction to the Mechanical engineering department.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? The most rewarding part of working in a research position this summer has been new skills I was able to develop. The out of classroom, hands on experiences you get while doing research are second to none. You are exposed to new challenges like trying to build from work someone else has done or come up with your own methods and creative solutions. With the support of my supervisors and lab group I was able to learn so much in such a short time and have a better understanding of the Mac research community.

Paris Liu

Paris Liu

Joseph Ip Entrance Scholarship, Big Ideas Entrance Scholarship, and Research Experience Award

Program: Civil Engineering
Why McMaster? I chose McMaster for the well rounded nature of the school. The school itself is academically ranked, with the civil engineering program being 3rd in Canada and 33rd in the world, there is a strong co-op program, and there is an emphasis on community and extracurricular involvement outside of academics. Overall, McMaster had a great community that I could see myself being a part of.
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Samir Chidiac
Research area: My research examined the effect of climate change on the heating and cooling of buildings. I specifically analyzed the short term effect of COVID-19 on the heating and cooling degree days of buildings in 4 different climate zones in Canada.
What are the real-world applications of this research? In 2015, buildings alone were found to contribute to 28% of global energy related C02 emissions. By utilizing climate models to predict the future climate under different emission scenarios and examining historical weather data, we are able to predict changes in future cooling and heating energy demand as well as examine the effects of an unexpected event like COVID-19 to ultimately increase the resiliency of our buildings to climate change. 
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: My experience this summer has allowed me to develop important skills that I would not have learned in the classroom. I was able to strengthen my reading and writing skills through conducting two literature reviews, as well as become more comfortable with handling large amounts of data on Excel. Most importantly, I was able to expand my knowledge about climate change and buildings while contributing to a research area that I care deeply about.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? The most rewarding part about working with my team is the breadth of knowledge that I am able to learn from those more experienced in the field than me.

Ben Tomka

Ben Tomka

DECA Alumni Entrance Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: Mechatronics & Biomedical Engineering
Why McMaster? I was really interested in the iBiomed program since it focusses on problem based learning and has a heavy hands-on component with the design projects in IBEHS 1P10. I also really liked the atmosphere around campus as it was very welcoming.
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Zahra Motamed
Research area: The research that I did with Dr. Motamed focussed on cardiovascular diseases, specifically coarctation of the aorta and aortic stenosis. My work primarily revolved around obtaining background information on how different cardiovascular diseases affect other pathologies and the rest of the cardiovascular system with a focus on biomechanics and hemodynamics. This information showed the importance of developing tools to accurately evaluate cardiovascular diseases in order for proper treatment.
What are the real-world applications of this research? Ultimately this research will help lead to the development of better diagnostic and predictive tools for all types of cardiovascular disease, as well as improving treatment methods in a patient-specific manner.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: Research this summer was definitely different than I expected. Although working from home was not the same as being in the lab and running simulations or testing equipment, it was still very interesting. I learned a lot about how to go through research papers and write papers. Additionally, Dr. Motamed was a very helpful supervisor and helped me get really comfortable with what I was doing. I think the experience of working from home was definitely valuable, but I would hope to get into the lab in a future work term!
Most rewarding part about working with your team? It is definitely rewarding to help put together papers that will hopefully be published. It is also rewarding and interesting to have an insight in the potential future of healthcare.

Kelly de Chastelain Finnigan

Kelly de Chastelain Finnigan

FIRST Robotics Entrance Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: Civil Engineering & Management
Why McMaster? McMaster has a great reputation in research, academics and student life, but it is also a great environment for learning. Everyone is very welcoming as soon as you step onto campus and it is easy to find your people. The easy access to hiking trails and stunning views from the walking paths also allow students to take a break from academia for a few minutes without even having to step off-campus. This seemingly effortless balance between school and recreation ultimately made me pick McMaster.
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Sarah Dickson
Research area: Using hydrogeolocial modelling softwares and e-log data I am designing a ground-water modelling system for the Oak Ridge Moraine. I have used data given to me by my team and finding bathemetry data of lakes in ontario I have learned about geological coordinate systems, data elevation models and using many industry level softwares such as ArcGIS, Leapfrog Works and Global Mapper.
What are the real-world applications of this research? A groundawater model can be used for many things such as tracking groundwater flow, solute transport, heat flow and aquifer deformation. By knowing about these factors researchers can monitor groundwater quality and ultimatly the safety of drinking water in private wells. From the insight brought from a groundwater model sustainability measures can also be put in place to ensure a community can survive through droughts and floods.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: Dr. Dickson was able to provide me with a work computer so I was able to complete all my work from home. Though I did not have the same face-to-face interaction with the team we met of frequent Zoom meetings allowing everyone to connect even from afar.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? I am extremely grateful to work with Dr. Dickson and her team. Her current research is in collaboration with the University of Saskatchewan so I have been able to meet graduate researchers from all across the country and learn about all the research possibilities in the field of hydrogeology.

Steven Wang

Steven Wang

DECA Alumni Entrance Scholarship, A.G Reilly Scholarship, and Research Experience Award

Program: Mechanical & Biomedical Engineering
Why McMaster? McMaster has the vibe of a close knit community. Everyone is super friendly and willing to help out. It is also a world class research institution with a one of a kind program that is iBioMed.
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Kathryn Grandfield
Research area: I am designing an adaptable porous model of trabecular bone that can be used to make custom implants through 3D printing techniques. A custom implant can minimize the mechanical mismatch between the bone and implant, improving fixation and decreasing the risk of failure.
What are the real-world applications of this research? Custom implants can minimize the mechanical mismatch between the bone and implant, improving fixation and decreasing the risk of failure. It can also be used to create implants for osteoperotic patients whose bones can benefit from less stiff implants than those currently offered.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: I would describe the experience to be just as productive as it would have been without Covid 19. My project didn't require me to be in the lab so it wasn't a big game changer that it was closed for half my term. However, I would have loved to do some hands-on lab work and I think I would have been assigned a project that did just that if it wasn't for Covid 19.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? Learning about everyone's research areas and meeting new people. I also appreciated everyone's willingness to help on problems, even if it wasn't related to their own projects.

Mark Knez

Mark Knez

John Hodgins Memorial Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: Electrical Engineering & Management 
Why McMaster? McMaster always felt like the right place for me to go, especially since It's so close to home. The general first year engineering was good for me since I wasn't sure which stream I wanted to enter going to second year. Also, the prospect of doing research after first year was a very interesting opportunity that no other school offered.
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Steve Hranilovic and Dr. Rafael Kleiman
Research area: Our team focused on free space optical (laser) communications with satellites, and specifically the mitigation of atmospheric effects during satellite to ground links, for the eventual purpose of providing coverage to northern Canadian communities. I researched past, present, and planned satellite missions that use this technology. I also developed a program in Python to model different types of orbits (e.g. orbits suited for high latitude links), to characterize the performance of different sets of intersatellite and satellite to ground links using real weather data and other parameters such as wavelengths and telescope sizes, typically seen in an optical communications system.
What are the real-world applications of this research? Free space optical communications involves the use of lasers in the infrared range to send data, whereas traditional communications systems use radio frequency (RF). While there are challenges associated with it, such as the need for very accurate laser pointing and also the negative impact of the atmosphere on the laser beam, there are also many potential benefits. Those benefits include much higher data rates than RF, the reduction in size, weight, and power requirements of the satellite (important for design) , and being able to send a signal over very long distances (e.g. future deep space missions to asteroids and Mars).
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: Research is a gradual process. It can be challenging, especially when you are just beginning to learn about a new field. However, as you get more familiar with the topic, it becomes less intimidating, which in turn makes you like it even more. I feel like my knowledge base began to accelerate toward the end of my research term, and I was able to develop a good understanding of a topic that has always interested me. I think many people might have preferred to work in the lab, collaborating in person, but even the experience at home (with virtual meetings) was invaluable and extremely rewarding.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? The most rewarding part of being a part of a research team is seeing how much knowledge, insight, and thought goes into solving a basic design problem, including uncovering the layers of complexity that the problem presents (and keeps presenting). Specifically, we were working on the problem of trying to get a laser from a satellite to the ground. There were many aspects to this problem that my team was investigating, such as adaptive optics, orbits and link availability, atmospheric modelling, different lasers and wave front sensors, developing a link budget, and so on. I really enjoyed how, as the summer progressed, I began to better understand how everything meshed together.

Jacob Willock

Jacob Willock

Joseph Ip Entrance Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: BTech Automotive & Vehicle Engineering Technology 
Why McMaster? After finding the perfect automotive program at McMaster, I came to visit the campus in the fall and experienced its beauty firsthand. Coming from a rural town, the large amount of greenery made it feel a little more like home. The combination of state-of the art buildings and historical architecture provided the best aspects of any other university that I had visited. On top of that was the extremely welcoming community that guaranteed that McMaster the perfect school for me.
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Joseph Kish 
Research area: During a previous research project, it was discovered that when a particular type of stainless steel was cut (Type 409), the cut edge corroded far worse than the top face. This summer I was looking into why this instance occurs by looking at breakdown potentials and corrosion potentials of the different faces. I also looked at the same aspects for the top face when milled down to 25%, 50%, and 75% depths.
What are the real-world applications of this research? The real world application for this research is in automotive exhaust systems. When exhaust components are fabricated, sheet steel is cut and bent in a way that exposes these cut edges to the exterior environments which results in the system corroding. This research will be used in order to determine a manufacturing model that will prevent corrosion from occurring in this manner. This application was actually the inspiration for the original research project where this corrosion characteristic was found.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: My research experience this summer was quite as a result of the online format. The research started as a literary review of a previous exhaust corrosion study so that I could understand the background information on this topic. From there it ventured into why the cut edge corrosion characteristic occurred by looking into titanium nitride particles and chromium iron binary compounds. As a result of not being able to access the laboratories, I was then transferred to a second-year materials engineering course in which I provided experience from my personal university experience to update and transfer the course into an online format. Finally, once the laboratories open once again, testing was able to occur which resulted in gathering some hard data that I could then analyze.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? The most rewarding part about working with the team was that everyone was welcoming and always excited to hear what you had to say. Whatever aspect of the project I was working on, there was always someone offering to help and listen to my suggestions. The wide variety of personalities also encouraged you to educate yourself by having a wide range of people to talk to and learn from.

Emily Brown

Emily Brown

Joseph Ip Entrance Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: Computer Science & Mathematics
Why McMaster? McMaster was the most welcoming school I visited in deciding which university to attend. Upon coming to May at Mac 2019 I knew I would end up here. Everyone I spoke to was very friendly and gave me the impression that on top of being a great engineering school, Mac prioritized personal connections. I was also very excited by the prospect of doing research after my first year.
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Mark Lawford
Research area: My research this summer was on translating embedded C code to a model based control system. My role in the research was predominantly testing the model's emulation of the C code and verifying its safety. After testing I made changes based on the results, which was great practice using Simulink, a MATLAB environment.
What are the real-world applications of this research? Model-based development is often used in industry. In automotive, medical and aviation industry, where code can be very extensive and long, it's becoming very popular given it's superior time efficiency and safety. Models auto-generate code that would otherwise have to be manually coded.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: Although at times working all day alone at my dining room table left me restless, I think this summer has been very valuable. I was given tons of opportunities to work independently, while still getting plenty of help when needed, and I was able to learn new technical skills, as well as soft skills as a professional over online meetings and presentations.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? Despite not being able to work physically with colleagues this summer, the team I worked with was very welcoming. The most rewarding thing about working with the team was the opportunity to learn new concepts and skills with the one-on-one help of my coworkers, who all had experience and knowledge they could share with me.

Ashleigh Warren

Ashleigh Warren

SHAD Fellow Entrance Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: Chemical Engineering & Society 
Why McMaster? McMaster has an overwhelmingly positive and encouraging environment, which I felt each time I came for a tour. The campus felt like its own community inside of a large city, and I knew I wanted to be a part of it. The Society program also interested me a lot, and I was excited at the prospect of being able to take courses outside of engineering to balance out my degree.
Faculty supervisor: Dr. David Latulippe
Research area: I have been researching microplastics in wastewater treatment plants, and how efficient different membrane technologies are at removing them. I have looked at existing articles for trends, changes in microplastic composition, as well as areas for improvement in the literature. I also worked on updating the custom courseware for CHEMENG 2O04 and learned how to use online tools like Pipe-Flo and LaTex.
What are the real-world applications of this research? Microplastics are a growing problem in our everyday lives, especially now, with the use of single-use plastics growing extensively. They pose a severe threat to marine life, making it crucial that technology is available to prevent them from entering aquatic environments. Therefore, it is important to understand how microplastics interact with membrane technology as well as have treatment technologies implemented in wastewater treatment plants that focus on removing microplastics.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: Although unconventional and unexpected, my research experience was extremely beneficial. Even though I was not able to work in the labs, I was informed of different experiments going on and able to analyze data that was collected. I had the ability to develop online research skills which will be very valuable in my future, especially if I wish to continue doing research throughout my education. I also was able to learn how to use different online programs which I will be able to use in upper year courses.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? It was interesting learning about all the research that is going on and all the effort being put in to try to solve issues presented by microplastics. Everyone was extremely supportive and encouraging even with the unusual circumstances presented by an online platform. Having the opportunity to collaborate with others in the department of Chemical Engineering and learn from them was very rewarding.

Maggie Zhu

Maggie Zhu

General Motors Entrance Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: Mechatronics and Biomedical Engineering  
Why McMaster? McMaster is renowned for its research and innovation. Students are driven and passionate about solving real-world problems. It’s an environment where you can’t help but want to achieve your full potential, and where you have the resources to do so. Even more importantly, McMaster has an amazing community, especially in the Faculty of Engineering. Students are supportive of each other’s dreams and will help you through a hard time.
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Todd Hoare 
Research area: Throughout the summer, I worked on several projects regarding different types and applications of hydrogels. Hydrogels are polymers that absorb and retain a high volume of water in comparison with their weight. I studied zwitterionic hydrogels, which have a neutral net charge and are useful for their anti-fouling property, thin film hydrogels, and superabsorbent hydrogels.
What are the real-world applications of this research? Hydrogels are utilized in a wide variety of applications. Just a few areas where hydrogels can be used are in drug delivery, tissue engineering, agriculture, wound dressings, biosensors, and contact lens. The applications my projects were specifically focused on were cell encapsulation in tissue engineering, various types of coatings, and diapers.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: My experience this summer was still extremely rewarding, despite not having the chance to gain a true lab experience. My responsibilities were focused on reviewing and gathering current literature on the research topics I worked on. This work helped me to gain an understanding of the current innovations in the field and of why the research is so valuable in a real-life setting. I was fortunate enough to contribute to the papers my supervisor is currently writing. The experience was challenging, but I was able to learn from my supervisor and develop skills that are valuable as a researcher.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? The most rewarding part was learning from the other students. Our lab had students studying across many different levels of their education and although it was intimidating as a student who just finished first year, they always treated me as an equal. We had many team meetings where we were able to learn about each other’s research as well as get to know each other personally.

Alexandra Colville-Reeves

Alexandra Colville-Reeves

Dean's Excellence Entrance Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: Mechatronics & Biomedical Engineering
Why McMaster? The iBiomed Program at McMaster intrigued me as it allowed me to combine my original plan of studying engineering with my interest in biology and health sciences. As well, the interdisciplinary nature of the program and the focus on applying your knowledge to real issues in the engineering and healthcare industries is something that I believed would challenge me as a student. Seeing the amazing campus and student environment when I visited assured me this was the right choice for me.
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Todd Hoare
Research area: This summer I have been working with a PhD student to develop a surface coating that is able to eliminate biofilms, specifically in the agriculture industry. I have been conducting literature review as well as gathering and configuring data pertaining to current effective biofilm elimination methods. Based on this information we worked to adjust the current experimental procedure to achieve a more effective surface coating.
What are the real-world applications of this research? Biofilms are very prevalent in a number of different industries including medical, food, and agriculture. Their complex structure makes them difficult to remove as they often present antibiotic resistantance. Current treatment options often exhibit cytoxicity making them unfit for removal of biofilms from medical implants and food processing devices. A surface coating that is able to effectively eliminate biofilms in a short period of time without harming the surface underneath would prove useful in numerous applications.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: Adjusting everything to an online setting posed obvious challenges and caused a shift in my responsibilities and day-to-day tasks. However, I feel like I was still able to have an active role in the project through numerous weekly meetings with my supervisor and other members of the lab. Over the course of the summer I worked to complete a number of smaller tasks that provided the basis for the continued development of the project. It was very rewarding to see how pieces of my work were applied to the project and even combined with other projects in a proposal.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? The most rewarding part about working with my team was being able to share my work and receive feedback, as well as learning about numerous other projects students were working on. Because the shift to online resulted in a much more independent work experience it was great to be able to have a number of meetings and opportunities to present and share progress updates with the lab. Everyone in the lab was extremely open and happy to answer questions which made it really easy to learn about topics I previously had no knowledge of.

Nicholas Carbonara

Nicholas Carbonara

A.G. Reilly Scholarship, SHAD Fellow Entrance Scholarship, and Research Experience Award

Program: Mechatronics and Biomedical Engineering  
Why McMaster? I was intrigued with the prospect of enrolling in McMaster’s innovative iBioMed program since it would allow me to apply my passion for math, physical sciences and biology. McMaster was the best choice to provide me with the uniqueness of inquiry learning in the biomedical engineering field which would enhance my ability in solving real world challenges. Visiting the campus showed me the great sense of community at McMaster and all of the extracurricular activities that are offered which reinforced that McMaster would be a perfect choice for me.
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Todd Hoare 
Research area: My research focused on engineered nano-carriers as potential agrochemical delivery systems, more specifically, the post-synthetic functionalization of mesoporous silica nanoparticles, as well as their release and translocation. Through a literature review, I explored the various possibilities of functionalization that can elicit a controlled release of an active ingredient in the presence of an external stimulus that would enhance the application of these nanoparticles in the agricultural setting.
What are the real-world applications of this research? An escalation in research of nano-carriers in the field of agriculture was sparked by the possibility of an agrochemical being delivered to a specific target at the right time in a safe fashion, thus improving plant growth and increasing crop production while decreasing eco-toxicity. Thereby, some of the real-world applications of functionalized mesoporous silica nanoparticles as a controlled release system are to deliver pesticides and to play a role in plant breeding, disease control and growth promotion which have great potential in the agricultural market due to a reduction in environmental pollution and cost effectiveness.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: As we all know, this summer has presented us with unprecedented times altering my research position to an online format. Dr. Hoare did an excellent job of adapting to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic by creating an environment, albeit online, that allowed for growth in various areas such as scientific knowledge, scientific writing and communication. Although I missed hands on research in the laboratory, I am grateful for my development in the areas of communication and scientific writing. I was fortunate to be presented with the opportunity to collaborate on writing a review paper. As well, each week, I had the chance to learn about new emerging scientific topics to augment my knowledge in different fields, unrelated to my research, through online seminars such as 3D bioprinting or the impact of COVID-19 on your heart. All in all, I found my research experience to be one of enrichment that has provided me with a good foundation for any future research endeavours I may undertake.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? The most rewarding part of working with my team was being able to connect weekly, not only to present my work but to listen to my team members’ progress on their projects. This allowed for my knowledge in various areas to expand and grow, as well as, improving my presentation skills.

Riyadh Baksh

Riyadh Baksh

Joseph Ip Entrance Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering  
Why McMaster? One of the most significant opportunities for me at McMaster is that all first-year engineering students have a common year. This was important because it allowed me to explore a little bit of all engineering fields, before making a decision. McMaster is also a renowned research-intensive university, which is ideal for an aspiring researcher, such as myself!
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Todd Hoare 
Research area: I explored the topic of macroporous hydrogels, particularly those that can be injected for biomedical purposes within tissue engineering. I researched the various preparation techniques as well as their specific advantages and limitations. I also spent time analyzing real data to observe trends and the impact of certain variables.
What are the real-world applications of this research? Hydrogels are an innovative material that can have many useful possibilities across a variety of biomedical fields. For example, in tissue engineering, macroporous hydrogels support cell growth and migration well, with the nutrient diffusion necessary to support their viability. Conventional tissue regeneration is an invasive surgical procedure, but with recent research in injectable hydrogels, it can now be significantly less invasive, with reduced risk of infection and less pain.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: Despite the restrictions around in-person lab work, my research experience this summer was nonetheless a remarkable opportunity that I am fortunate to have had. In replace of hands-on lab work, I spent time exploring academic papers that detailed both background knowledge and previously applied techniques. By regularly meeting virtually with my supervisor and the team as a whole, I was able to enrich my understanding and discuss my findings. In-person research was perfectly adapted to a virtual setting this summer!
Most rewarding part about working with your team? Working with the Hoare Lab was an incredibly valuable experience for a range of reasons. As only a first-year student, it was great to have the opportunity to work alongside a graduate student that is well-versed in their field. This has allowed me to gain a greater insight into tissue engineering, to get a first-hand understanding of whether I would enjoy pursuing this research area. Within the team at the Hoare Lab, there is a wide diversity of specific topics under a general field, which provided me with a meaningful chance to explore!

Emma Vanslack

Emma Vanslack

FIRST Robotics Entrance Scholarship and Research Experience Award

Program: Mechanical & Biomedical Engineering 
Why McMaster? I chose to come study at McMaster because the Integrated Biomedical Engineering and Health Sciences program is unparalleled anywhere in Canada, and I love how the program involves hands-on, collaboration based projects right from the start. Another decision factor was the number and quality of research opportunities available on campus and in industry to McMaster Engineering students. I knew that I wanted to gain real-world engineering experience before graduating, and Mac allows me to take several summer work terms and a full year work term so I can a broad range of employable skills and make important industry connections.
Faculty supervisor: Dr. Robert Fleisig
Research area: We worked with the Hemodialysis unit at the St. Joseph's Hospital in Hamilton, developing an interactive and user-friendly online platform to help new patients learn how to set up and operate the dialysis machine themselves, in order to be able to stay at home for their treatments. We analyzed their current training program and interviewed patients to find the "pain points" in the training, and developed a simple tablet app with game levels that slowly introduce important concepts in a safe environment before they go into the hospital to learn on the real machines.
What are the real-world applications of this research? In the next year or so, this app will be given to St. Joe's Hemodialysis unit where the nurses will give it to the incoming patients. This will hopefully lead to an increase in the number of people who are able to dialyze from the safety and comfort of their own homes, putting fewer people at risk and alleviating some stress from our healthcare system. In a broader context, if this roll out is successful, other hospitals and other chronic treatment programs may begin to introduce more online components to empower patients with knowledge about their care.
How would you describe your research experience this summer?: While this summer played out very differently than I had first imagined my research placement, the experience was still very fulfilling and I learned so much more than I could have even hoped. I think that I missed out on fostering a closer relationship with the team I was working with, due to the fact that we were never in the same space, but luckily the work we were doing was highly conducive to an online environment.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? The most rewarding aspects of working on this project was interacting with the patients and hospital staff. It was clear that the work we were doing was going to have a significant impact on them, and they were always very excited to see the developments. I gained important insight into the lives of the nurses working in the unit and the patients who have to rearrange their lifestyles for this treatment, and it helped me to empathize with their needs and priorities for the app.

Sanjula Ganepola

Sanjula Ganepola

Joseph Ip Entrance Scholarship, President’s Award, and Undergraduate Summer Research Award

Program: Software Engineering and Management
Why McMaster? McMaster University’s world-renowned reputation and its focus on innovation and research drew me to study here. The welcoming community of professors and students here offers countless opportunities for learning, creativity, and growth.
Faculty supervisor(s): Dr. Thia Kirubarajan and Dr. Ratnasingham Tharmarasa
Research area: I am working with a group of researchers in the Estimation, Tracking and Fusion Research Laboratory where I am helping to develop software the deals with computer vision, video processing, autonomous vehicles, and surveillance systems. Under the guidance of Dr. Kiruba and his graduate students, I am helping to develop this machine learning based tool through working on GUI, image labeling, testing, and documenting.
What are the real-world applications of this research? One focus of this research is to improve the image detection software that is used for autonomous vehicles by implementing machine learning to assist with image and radar processing. This research is also used by several companies that require tracking and surveillance of objects through various sensors such as radar, sonar, and lidar.
Describe your lab environment:  I work in a computer lab where I collaborate with undergraduate and graduate researchers. It is a productive and welcoming place which makes it a perfect learning environment.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? Being able to work alongside experienced graduate students and professors on a project that allows me to branch off into areas I would not be able to in the classroom. It is also rewarding to see that the research we do now as a team will be used to develop future technology.

Maddison Konway

Maddison Konway

HATCH Entrance Scholarship, George and Nora Elwin Scholarship, and Undergraduate Summer Research Award

Program: Materials Engineering
Why McMaster? To be honest, it was the opportunity to research. I have dreamed of doing research my entire life and receiving a USRA opened the door to fulfil that desire for exploration and discovery. In addition, I knew I felt I would be more than just a student number at McMaster.
Faculty supervisor(s): Dr. De Lannoy
Research area: Over the summer, I will likely be synthesizing polymers to use as wetting agents on soils that have become hydrophobic as a result of heating, specifically due to forest fires. Ideally, these surfactants should be biodegradable and return fire to pre-fire conditions to reduce run-off and erosion.
What are the real-world applications of this research? After forest fires, increased runoff and erosion are common due to the hydrophobicity of soils. As a result, surrounding communities that are desperately trying to recover from the damage of the fire often face flooding, which can potentially contaminate water sources. By treating the soil before heavy rainfall, it may be possible to reduce the long-term environmental and social impact of forest fires on the environment and society as a whole. This is particularly important as climate change increases the frequency and intensity of wildfires.
Describe your lab environment:  I have to say working in the lab is a bit of a whirlwind - one moment, everyone is rushing around, other times it is calm and all you can hear is the equipment.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? The incredible knowledge and experience that each individual brings to the table. We can all learn from each other, no matter what our formal level of education may be. Even though I just finished my first year of engineering, I feel my contributions are valued.

Adam Tosti

Adam Tosti

FIRST Robotics Entrance Scholarship, Ontario Professional Engineers Foundation for Education Entrance Scholarship, President's Award, and Undergraduate Summer Research Award

Program: Mechanical Engineering
Why McMaster? I decided to come to McMaster because of the flexibility in co-op as well as a focus on research and advancement. The Engineering department hosts lots of student teams and clubs which present a unique way to be involved while studying. McMaster as a whole has offered a great community and the engineering program showed itself to be very welcoming.
Faculty supervisor(s): Dr. T. Kirubarajan & Dr. R. Tharmarasa
Research area: I get to develop new programs which integrate physical devices with computer programs and intelligently use human input to simulate flight as accurately as possible.
What are the real-world applications of this research? This research will create a flight simulation which produces extremely accurate data regarding every aspect of flight and can be actively controlled using standard flight control mechanisms. It will allow people to simulate long distance flights and pilots to train while generating and logging large amounts of important data as well as studying the effects of different techniques and movements.
Describe your lab environment: I work in a computer lab along side a few other undergraduates which makes for a fun community aspect as well as a great environment to learn and be productive. There are lots of different projects being worked on so being able to see different sides of research is enjoyable.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? I have the opportunity to work with distinguished professors as well as other undergraduates which provides an environment of constant learning. Being able to use my own ideas to solve problems and build on them freely as well as seeing them succeed is very rewarding.

Natalie Fossenier

Natalie Fossenier

Dean's Excellence Entrance Award and Undergraduate Summer Research Award

Program: Electrical Engineering
Why McMaster? McMaster has a great reputation in academics, research, and student life but I ultimately chose McMaster for the community. It is very welcoming, collaborative and an awesome environment to be in!
Faculty supervisor(s): Dr. Ali Emadi
Research area: I am working at McMaster Automotive Resource Centre (MARC) on an industry project partnered with Eaton Aerospace. The project is developing new strategies, technologies, and products for electrical transportation in airplanes! This summer I have been helping a team characterize air-cooled heatsinks in a high efficiency and high-power density propulsion inverter.
What are the real-world applications of this research? The largest sector contributing to greenhouse gas emissions is the transportation industry. The research I am helping with will reduce the emissions and change the way we travel.
Describe your lab environment: MARC is a large facility and I split my time between a shared work area and one of the labs downstairs. The environment is collaborative, welcoming and exciting!
Most rewarding part about working with your team? The most rewarding part about working with my team is how applicable the research we are doing is. Working directly with the industry provides tangible evidence of the research that is redefining the transportation industry while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Griffin McLean

Griffin McLean

Dean's Excellence Entrance Award and Undergraduate Summer Research Award

Program: Mechanical & Biomedical Engineering

Why McMaster? I decided to come to McMaster not only for the research opportunity but more so for the community, student life, and culture that surrounds it - there is something for everyone at McMaster.
Faculty supervisor(s): Dr. Kathryn Grandfield & Joseph Deering
Research area: I work in the faculty of Materials Sciences and Engineering where I use 3D metal printing (selective laser melting - SLM) to fabricate porous materials that resemble bone through a trabecular design. Once these designs are created with a computer assisted drawing (CAD) program I go on to stress test them along with recording and presenting the data with MATLAB.
What are the real-world applications of this research? The hope is to understand if trabecular materials (fabricated through SLM), can be used for orthopedic implants. Hopefully improving anchorage (better bio-compatibility) with similar mechanical properties of what is currently on the market.
Describe your lab environment: To my surprise, laid back and causal! I had this idea that lab work was a very bureaucratic process, instead I found there was a lot of trust placed in me to complete tasks/projects however I saw fit as a long as I met my timelines. Really allowing me to play around with different programs, tools, and resources to complete a job.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? Definitely the mentorship aspect with both grad students and post docs. Their insight/experience goes beyond just the lab.

Jonathan Que

Jonathan Que

Dalvi Family Scholarship, President's Award, and Undergraduate Summer Research Award

Program: Chemical & Bioengineering
Why McMaster? I decided to go to McMaster mainly because the atmosphere is so welcoming. During welcome week I felt and saw nothing but open arms for the first-year students. The school isn't too large in capacity either which is great for class sizes beyond first year, as you have the opportunity to get to know your professors and receive personalized help.
Faculty supervisor(s): Dr.Todd Hoare
Research area: I create ultrasound triggered microcapsules which I'm trying to miniaturize in size. This is done through an electrohydrodynamic process called 'electrospraying'. I also create polymer tissue scaffolds using another electrohydrodynamic process called 'electrospinning' to act as templates for cell regeneration.
What are the real-world applications of this research? The microcapsules that I am creating are used for drug delivery. I'm trying to miniaturize them so they're able to flow through the bloodstream in case the microcapsules need to be delivered to the liver as an example. On the other hand, tissue scaffolds are used for wound healing and cellular regeneration.
Describe your lab environment: The lab is always a busy place, however, it is a great learning environment where I can act on my own and conduct my own experiments knowing that my supervisors trust me to do so.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? I'm very grateful to work with experienced graduate students and with a professor such as Dr. Hoare. Everyone in the Hoare Lab is welcoming and willing to help out with any questions or ideas that I have and I feel that my work is appreciated in the lab.

Yasemin Al-Banna

Yasemin Al-Banna

Dean's Excellence Entrance Award, President's Award, and Undergraduate Summer Research Award

Program: Electrical and Biomedical Engineering
Why McMaster? I chose McMaster for its world renowned reputation in research and for its amazing sense of community. Everyone is so welcoming and is always willing to lend a hand.
Faculty supervisor(s): Dr. Qiyin Fang
Research area: Working at the Westdale Smart Home in research focused on developing technology to help seniors and their caregivers by proposing ways to monitor older adults’ health and physical activity with a variety of sensors and optical devices.
What are the real-world applications of this research? The goal is to support aging-in-place for the elderly population. We want them to be able to live longer in their homes rather than move to elderly care facilities.
Describe your lab environment: My lab environment is very welcoming and diverse as I get to see what other undergraduate summer students are working on and learn about their exciting groundbreaking research.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? The opportunity to work with experienced individuals and professors really opened my eyes on the different area of research. Everyone on my team was so helpful and mentored me to make the best of this opportunity and to learn so many new skills while still having fun.

Mariam ElSheikh

Mariam ElSheikh

Winner of the George and Nora Elwin Entrance Scholarship & Undergraduate Summer Research Award

Program: Mechanical Engineering
Why McMaster? McMaster is a fantastic university with a high world ranking. It’s also one of the most research intensive universities and I’m looking into becoming a professor one day.
Faculty supervisor(s): Dr Ghada Badawy
Research area: Temperature optimization for power of data centres through experiments on the cooling systems, leading to a higher efficiency percentile.
Describe your lab environment:  Intensive IT. Cables everywhere. Highly impressive!
Most rewarding part about working with your team? It’s a very humbling experience to be the only 1st year working on this project. I get to learn so much from incredible people with vast experiences. The project in itself is one step towards the future of data control and to be a part of that is truly rewarding.

Julian Morrone

Julian Morrone

Winner of the Dean's Excellence Entrance Scholarship, President's Award, & Undergraduate Summer Research Award

Program: Electrical Engineering
Why McMaster? When I came for a tour I instantly fell in love with the environment of the school and campus. (The scholarship didn't hurt either!).
Faculty supervisor(s): Dr Jennifer Bauman
Research area: I am designing a GUI in Matlab to aid in electric mining truck optimization as well as comparing the results to optimized diesel trucks. I will also be creating a website and conducting a literature review. All of these tasks are transferable to real world jobs in industry. Matlab is used widely in almost every engineering discipline. 
Describe your lab environment:  A comfortable and fun learning environment!
Most rewarding part about working with your team? The most rewarding part is having a blank canvas and seeing progress develop day by day.

Kieran McKenzie

Kieran McKenzie

Winner of the Joseph Ip Entrance Scholarship, President's Award, & Undergraduate Summer Research Award

Program: Chemical and Bioengineering
Why McMaster? McMaster offered more to me compared to the other universities I applied to - the campus was more attractive, the students seemed more welcoming, and of course, the academic reputation of McMaster was very high.  
Faculty supervisor(s): Dr Jake Nease
Research area: This summer, I will be completing my research as a Course Developmental Assistant.  In this position, I will help a Chemical Engineering professor work to improve one of the courses that he teaches.  This includes first mastering the material,
then creating various modules and other teaching aids that the course will be taught off of in future years.
Describe your lab environment:  Quiet, relaxed, welcoming, and productive.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? The amount of experience I am able to gain in the field of teaching will aid me greatly when applying for TA positions in the future!

Rebecca Gysbers

Rebecca Gysbers

Winner of the President's Award & Undergraduate Summer Research Award

Program: Civil & Biomedical Engineering (iBioMed)
Why McMaster? I came to Mac because it has an amazing engineering program! It's always evolving (I'm in the new iBioMed program), and I love the feeling of community!
Faculty supervisor(s): Dr. Rakesh Prasad Sahu (Supervisor) and  Dr. Ishwar K. Puri (Director - and Dean!).
Research area: I am working on a biosensor project with MuRG (Dr. Puri's Multiphysics Research Group). We are developing a magnetically printed biosensor; the ink is made of carbon nanotubes, and the sensor detects antigens of diseased cells.This sensor, once fully developed, will be able to help find diseased cells amongst healthy ones! It could help with the detection and diagnosis of cancer.
Describe your lab environment: My lab is safe, welcoming, and a great learning environment!
Most rewarding part about working with your team? I love that I get to take what I learned this year and apply it to a real-life project! I am also learning a lot of things about research that I don't think can be learned in a classroom; you have to experience them hands-on.

Jessica de Leeuw

Jessica de Leeuw

Winner of the Dean's Excellence Entrance Scholarship, President's Award, & Undergraduate Summer Research Award

Program: Computer Science
Why McMaster? I loved the feel of the community, and the supportive environment that McMaster offers. On top of that, it is highly ranked both in Canada and in the world. I knew that the combination of intense academics and the positive, welcoming environment would suit me well. And I was right!
Faculty supervisor(s): Dr. Fei Chiang
Research area: I'm working on a project that is improving data privacy by creating and implementing an algorithm that analyzes data and ensures that sensitive information is reduced to a high-level format so that privacy is maintained. It focuses on maximizing data utility while preserving the functional dependencies in the data, as well as maintaining the semantics.
Describe your lab environment: I work in an office space with all the students doing research, so it feels like I am part of the team.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? ? It is a very different environment than taking classes. I am working with a Master's student and a Postdoctoral student, so learning from their experiences and what they are doing is very beneficial and rewarding for me.

Daniel Rubinstein

Daniel Rubinstein

Winner of the Dean's Excellence Entrance Scholarship & Undergraduate Summer Research Award

Program: Computer Science
Why McMaster? The community at McMaster is what really stood out to me. Everybody was so willing to answer questions, get involved, and just say hello as I walked around campus and it truly made the university feel like home.
Faculty supervisor(s): Dr Rong Zheng
Research area: I work on MacQuest, a mobile map app for helping students around campus. I personally work mostly on the UI design end of the project, coding for Android / iOS to design a user friendly experience. Throughout the summer I also hope to learn a bit about indoor localization through WiFi connections as well as AR as these are both large parts of what's to come for MacQuest!
Describe your lab environment: I would describe my lab environment as self driven as there is a large focus on me setting my own goals and working towards successfully achieving them.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? My supervisor has pushed very hard for all the students who work with her to work together so I often find myself sitting in on presentations from undergraduate and graduate students about their own work and learning quite a bit from them even if their work may not have an actual application in my position for the summer.

Thomas Baker

Thomas Baker

Winner of the Dean's Excellence Entrance Scholarship, President's Award, & Undergraduate Summer Research Award

Program: Chemical and Bioengineering
Why McMaster? McMaster University has a much more collaborative and open approach to exploring engineering. The common first year allowed me to have the chance to explore many aspects of engineering and connect with many people. Plus the proximity and the beauty of the campus campus, along with the compassionate faculty, really reinforced my decision.
Faculty supervisor(s): Dr. Charles de Lannoy
Research area: Currently, I am working with a team to optimize advance membrane performance in order to make water treatment more efficient. Utilizing the versatile properties of carbon nanotubes, we are trying to figure out how membranes can be adapted in order to overcome problems like membrane fouling whose inefficiencies can render membrane treatment infeasible. Our work is exploring the solutions to this problem utilizing knowledge of both molecular chemistry and electricity with the membrane. By making these membranes more efficient by reducing the cost wasted due to fouling and the degradation of the membranes, the overall water filtration system will be more effective and this will make it easier for more people to access reliable clean drinking water.
Describe your lab environment: Picture that quintessential chemistry lab with the glass wear cabinet, lab coats, experiments bubbling and stirring, equipment whose names can only be pronounced by their acronyms and a good amount of Kimwipes.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? Although it seems like small steps, when we experiment and come up with a result we have just discovered something that no one else in the history of humanity has ever figured out. The fact that I can be a part of figuring out the small pieces that will eventually solve problems in completely new and innovative ways is truly inspiring.

Akram Elwazani

Akram Elwazani

Winner of the Dean's Excellence Entrance Scholarship & Undergraduate Summer Research Award

Program: Computer Science
Faculty supervisor(s): Dr. Spencer Smith and Dr. Jacques Carette
Research area: Right now I'm involved in data entry and review, but my job will progress to include programming a meta-programming framework. This framework can be used to streamline the scientific software creating and designing process.
Describe your lab environment:  My lab is less a lab and more an office space, because my work takes place on a computer. 
Most rewarding part about working with your team? The ability to learn from each other and provide support to each other when necessary.

Mitchell Cooke

Mitchell Cooke

Winner of the Dalvi Family Entrance Scholarship & Undergraduate Summer Research Award

Program: Computer Engineering
Why McMaster? McMaster is one of the top ranking universities in Canada and has excellent resources for research. I love the campus and the environment within the Faculty of Engineering is very welcoming and supportive.
Faculty supervisor(s): Dr Rong Zheng
Research area: I am working in the Department of Computing and Software under Dr. Rong Zheng where I am developing an Android application to collect data. My app uses computer vision to track and store foot movement of the user through the phone's camera as well as collecting sensor data.
Describe your lab environment: A typical office space as the majority of my work is done on the computer.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? Learning new things everyday and expanding my knowledge about computers & programming.

Jeremy Colangelo

Jeremy Colangelo

Winner of the Dean's Excellence Entrance Scholarship & Undergraduate Summer Research Award

Program: Mechatronics & Biomedical Engineering (iBioMed)
Why McMaster? McMaster has a world-renowned Engineering department and I was especially excited about the new iBioMed program. I also heard that McMaster has the best social scene.
Faculty supervisor(s): Dr Tohid Didar
Research area: I am working in the field of microfluidics, specifically micro/nano-engineered interfaces for use in biomedical devices. Using a variety of techniques, we are able to create surfaces that minimize non-specific binding, making these surfaces biocompatible and eliminating blood clot formation. The surfaces we have designed have applications for a multitude of biomedical devices, especially for medical implants such as heart valves.
Describe your lab environment: My lab is a welcoming environment where I have the opportunity to work with knowledgeable, helpful grad students.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? The most rewarding part of my research is seeing the real-world applications of my projects. Making a difference in the world is something that I have been working towards my entire life.

Seth Ebos

Seth Ebos

Winner of the President's Entrance Award & Undergraduate Summer Research Award

Program: Engineering Physics & Biomedical Engineering (iBioMed)
Why McMaster?  The iBioMed  program peaked my interest as I can see myself past my studies working directly with people and making a direct impact in that person’s life all while focusing on design and the science behind how it works. Next, the campus is surrounded by trails and wildlife. If you are out at the right time, you can always count on seeing an overwhelming amount of deer.  Finally, the enthusiasm and excitement I have felt from students that I have met while I was visiting McMaster drew me right in.
Faculty supervisor(s): Dr. Rakesh Prasad Sahu (Supervisor) and Dr. Ishwar K. Puri (Director - and Dean!).
Research area: The research involves the effect of strain on a thin films thermal conductivity. This is very important for thermoelectric devices which basically convert heat to electricity or electricity to heat. Improving thermal conduction would improve many thermoelectric devices that need cooling like air conditioning, coolers, and refrigerators. Specifically, in the military, soldiers use laser diodes to detect toxic chemicals in the environment and the thermoelectric component helps the diode operate most effectively by
regulating the temperature.
Describe your lab environment: A hustle and bustle scene, something is always going on.
Most rewarding part about working with your team? I am given the opportunity to decide what aspect or project I would like to focus on. Afterwards, I am asked to complete it with the tools I have. Of course, every person there is willing to help, but I can also contribute mainly my ideas. Could I make an electric wired adapter box or a useful computer program before coming to the lab? I did not think so, but by actively improving my knowledge and skills I was driven to get these projects done. They work too, it feels good.

Video: 

Every year, a select group of scholarship winners and other high achieving students are offered an Research Experience Award as part of their offer of admission to the Faculty of Engineering. This is a paid co-op work opportunity on campus for students to give them a head-start in developing their engineering & technology careers.

Please be advised that in order to maintain eligibility for this award you will be required to:

  • Successfully complete all required Level I program courses prior to May 1, 2020; and
  • Achieve a minimum cumulative average (CA) for all courses of 9.5 on the McMaster Grading System

The award is a contribution of $6,000 towards a paid work position in research, teaching, and/or entrepreneurship for the summer after 1st year of studies. Your employer may contribute additional funds for this position. The total amount you receive will be equal to or more than minimum wage for the hours worked.

Students can work under any faculty member or researcher on campus (inside or outside the Faculty of Engineering). Our students can also work alongside entrepreneurs at The Forge, a start-up incubator at McMaster.  Your work opportunity does NOT have to be in a traditional laboratory environment. 

In the fall of your 1st year, Engineering Co-op and Career Services will invite you to an information session. During this info session, they will explain the process which involves: 

  • submitting a resume for review and revisions (resumes are compiled into an electronic resume book and sent out to every professor within the Faculty of Engineering, The Forge, and other key research groups); and
  • learning strategies for how to research and communicate with professors in your fields of interest.

Some students will receive an invitation to interview directly from a professor who selected them out of the electronic resume book. Others students have a clear idea of who they want to work with and will seek to initiate a conversation with those faculty members or researchers directly. In either case, Engineering Co-op and Career Services is here to help guide you through the process. 

Yes! As long as your position meets the minimum number of hours/week (35 hours/week) and the minimum number of week (12 weeks), it will count as co-op credit.

In addition to your paid work position, you will be invited to participate in weekly professional development sessions, which include:

  • Guest lectures from professors on their research areas
  • Research-oriented and professional skills workshops
  • 'Speed Networking' Extravaganzas
  • Considering a Career in R&D?  Research careers outside academia
  • Trivia Social Nights
  • 3-Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition
  • 'Your Future in Graduate Studies' sessions facilitated by the Engineering Graduate Society (EGS) executive

In addition, we host various social events, including a summer BBQ, speed networking, and games! There is also an end-of-summer poster showcase, where you will share the work that you have been involved in to a broader audience.

 

Inside the Lab

Meet our student researchers

Our students offer a behind the scenes look of the work they do in our research labs. 

#InsidetheLab: New ideas sprout from nanotechnology

June 28, 2017

#InsidetheLab: New ideas sprout from nanotechnology

Can innovations in nanotechnology improve plant growth for crop-based farming?

#InsidetheLab: Improving healthcare with bio-inspired technologies

September 29, 2017

#InsidetheLab: Improving healthcare with bio-inspired technologies

The Didar Lab is showcasing their bio-inspired technologies today as part of the next instalment of Inside the Lab.

#InsidetheLab: Bearings support bridges, but how long can they last?

July 12, 2017

#InsidetheLab: Bearings support bridges, but how long can they last?

#InsidetheLab: is McMaster Engineering’s new Instagram story series that gives a behind-the-scenes look at how our students are working towards tackling the grand challenges facing our world through innovative research projects.

#InsidetheLab: The diverse research areas of advanced manufacturing

November 10, 2017

#InsidetheLab: The diverse research areas of advanced manufacturing

Students working at the McMaster Manufacturing Research Institute (MMRI) are enhancing productivity, improving quality and increasing the lifespan of materials used in various manufacturing industries.

#InsidetheLab: Fusing engineering and medicine to improve healthcare

August 25, 2017

#InsidetheLab: Fusing engineering and medicine to improve healthcare

Today’s Inside the Lab Instagram story spotlights an undergraduate student research team who put their hearts into their work.

#InsidetheLab: Combining natural and synthetic materials to create new health technologies

July 27, 2017

#InsidetheLab: Combining natural and synthetic materials to create new health technologies

Four McMaster Engineering students take you inside the new Biohybrids Lab on today’s Inside the Lab Instagram Takeover.