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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. 

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 Fauclty 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.