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Research Showcase Presentations

Find all the details about the 3rd Annual Research Showcase presentations and presenter biographies below

Bears and Bees – Room 2917 – 6:30 to 7:45 pm

Population Dynamics of Recolonizing American Black Bears (Ursus americanus) in the Beaver Hills Biosphere

Presenter Name: Sandra MacDougall 
Research Team: Sandra MacDougall (Donald School of Business, Science and Computing), Ramona Maraj (Parks Canada), Erin Hendersen (Parks Canada) 

Presentation Description: Over the past five years, there is a steady increase in black bear sightings in the Beaver Hills Biosphere region east of Edmonton. This population is considered to be right at the edge of the species’ range expansion, holding numerous implications for both provincial and federal agencies. The management of black bear harvest, the delivery of wildlife coexistence programs, and the potential impact on ungulate populations - existing without bear predation for over a century - are crucial considerations. The goals of this project are to: (1) examine the feeding ecology and demographic characteristics of black bears within the Beaver Hills region to understand the potential for population growth and dispersal at the edge of a species’ range; and (2) use this information to predict the impact of ungulate predation by black bears inside and outside of core protected areas. 

Presenter Biography: Sandra MacDougall, MEDes has been a Biology instructor at Red Deer Polytechnic since 1995. She has worked on grizzly and black bear populations in Canada’s north for over two decades. She previously conducted a three-year grizzly bear food habit, habitat use, and human-bear interactions research study in Nahanni National Park Reserve. Subsequently, she collaborated with Parks Canada and the US National Parks Service to conduct field hazard assessments and analyze human-bear conflicts in other northern parks (e.g., Kluane National Park and Reserve and the Chilkoot Historic Site, 1997-2013). 

Red Deer's Urban Bee Diversity

Presenter name: Allicia Irwin 
Research Team: Alicia Irwin, Sandra MacDougall (Donald School of Business, Science and Computing), Dave Prescott (Principle Investigator), Ken Lehman (City of Red Deer) 
 
Presentation Description: Native bees play a key role in all ecosystems, pollinating flowers and encouraging the biodiversity of plants which offer critical habitat for many other species. Wild pollinators are experiencing alarming declines around the world, and conserving the populations that we have is essential. Unfortunately, native bee populations are vastly understudied. This project involved conducting an inventory of bee species living within the City of Red Deer. It was led by Dave Prescott in partnership with a City of Red Deer biologist, and Red Deer Polytechnic students participated in various aspects of the project. Bees were sampled using blue vane traps.  

This presentation will provide an overview of results from the 2022 and 2023 field seasons. The results from this research will provide a baseline of species that are inhabiting the city, allowing us to monitor populations over time and implement targeted conservation efforts for the most vulnerable species. 

Presenter Biography: Allicia is a fourth-year Biological Sciences student. She has a passion for learning, whether it be new concepts in the classroom or technical skills in the field. She has previously researched the associations between mycorrhizal fungi and the roots of trembling aspen and white spruce seedlings and she is currently working on a collaborative research project to better understand the native bee diversity around the city. Allicia is always looking for new ways to expand her knowledge and experience as a biologist, aspiring to support and promote native biodiversity within an ever-changing world.

To Bee or Not to Bee, "Saving the Bees" in Red Deer: It's More Complicated Than You Think

Presenter name: Charity Brière 

Presentation Description: Public interest in hobby beekeeping has been on the rise in recent decades, largely due to interest in helping “Save the Bees.” However, public knowledge about the complexity of bee ecology is broadly lacking, and actions done in good faith may hinder bee conservation, rather than help. To better understand these complexities within the context of the Red Deer landscape, this Masters research aimed to determine whether there are measurable effects of hobby beekeeping within the City of Red Deer on native bumble bee diversity, abundance or size. Due to abnormal conditions during the 2019 data collection season, data are inconclusive. Nonetheless, the project provided important framework for improving understanding of local ecological context as it relates to native pollinators, fostering community collaboration and education, and contributing to on-going studies. 

Presenter Biography: Charity Brière, MSc has been a Biology instructor and Science Workshop Facilitator at Red Deer Polytechnic since 2015. With a background in entomology, botany and environmental sciences, her interests span many of the small or easily overlooked members of our ecological communities. Through her engagement in various local organizations, personal interest in pollinator-plant relationships, and her exploration of urban landscaping for invertebrate habitat, Charity enjoys looking for connections between disciplines.

Decoding the Genetic Identity of Native Bees for Sustainable Ecosystem Management

Presenter Names: Meghan Heistad and Meggie Mackenzie  

Research Team: Meghan Heistad, Meggie Mackenzie, Dave Prescott (Government of Alberta – Retired) and Anne Dempsey (Donald School of Business, Science and Computing) 

Presentation Description: Our research project aims to create a genetic barcode for 41 bee species gathered from local sources, while also delving into advanced species identification methods such as sex identification. Our primary objective was to assess whether genetic information could enhance the accuracy of species identification beyond traditional morphological criteria. Additionally, our investigation sought to determine the feasibility of identifying male bees solely through genetic data. This information is important through a conservation lens as this can lead to recognition and implementation of protective measures for species conservation.  

Presenter Biography: Meggie Mackenzie is a third-year Biological Science student at Red Deer Polytechnic. Her research interests include wildlife and conservation biology. Currently, Meggie's projects include participation in the bee genetics project, as well as a project on the effects of nicotine on Planaria regeneration and behaviour. After graduating, Meggie plans to enter into a masters program that will allow her to further her goals of wildlife conservation.  
 
Meghan Heistad is a second-year Biological Sciences student at Red Deer Polytechnic. Her academic focus revolves around ecological interests, with a keen passion for wildlife and nature conservation/preservation. She is equally committed to promoting the significance of science communication and ensuring knowledge accessibility as an aid to conservation efforts. Meghan is presently involved in the project on bee genetics and is concurrently working on initiatives such as developing a folding identification guide for local fly species. After completion of her degree in Red Deer, she hopes to obtain a masters degree in a conservation related field.

Teaching @ RDP – Room 2918 – 6:30 to 7:45 pm

Teaching Source Evaluation to Nursing Students: Which Method is Best?

Presenter Name: Caitlin Ratcliffe 

Presentation Description: Given the proliferation of medical misinformation, it is vital that nursing students can accurately and consistently identify reliable sources of information. This Scholarship of Teaching of Learning study compares the effectiveness of the CRAAP Test (Blakeslee, 2004), with an alternative method, the Source + Beyond-the-Source Framework (Rismiller et al., 2023), in a course-integrated, librarian-led workshop for first-term nursing students. Following instruction in either method, the results show few differences between the two groups’ abilities to identify reliable sources. However, all students’ abilities to identify reliable sources vs. misinformation improved between the pre-test and the post-tests, regardless of the method taught. These results will inform RDP librarians’ instructional practice for source evaluation at the undergraduate level. 

Presenter Biography: Caitlin Ratcliffe, MLIS is the Health Sciences & Indigenous Studies Librarian at Red Deer Polytechnic. Her work focuses on the student experience of students from equity-deserving communities, particularly with regards to academic integrity, and promoting Open Educational Resources to foster equitable learning environments. Her current research examines international students’ experiences with library services and of the library as a Place.

Improving SCIE 2101: Where Do I Go From Here?

Presenter Name: Kristy M. Erickson 

Presentation Description: SCIE 2101 (Contemporary Issues in Science), a course unique to RDP and only in its third year of being offered, is required for RDP students in the Bachelor of Biological Sciences and University Sciences Diploma programs. With SCIE 2101 being new, delivery of course content and assessment practices are currently being evaluated for further improvement. The author aims to turn this improvement process into scholarship but is not entirely sure where to start – this is where the audience comes in!  

In this presentation, the author will: 1) present the challenges she’s faced with improving SCIE 2101, her current improvement progress, and her ideas of how she may turn this improvement into scholarship, and 2) seek out advice, guidance, and possible collaborative work with interested audience members on how to turn her improvement process into scholarship.  

Presenter Biography: Kristy Erickson, PhD has been an instructor in the Donald School of Business, Science and Computing teaching general chemistry since 2012 and more recently SCIE 2101. Even though Dr. Erickson's M.Sc. and Ph.D. research background is in high temperature and pressure thermodynamics and equilibrium, her research interests have shifted to chemistry education, self-reflection, and student metacognition.

Using Cloud-Based Artificial Intelligence Solutions for Motion Capture in Visual Effects and Gaming

Presenter Name: Peter Fiala 

Presentation Description: This forward-looking project addresses the viability of cloud-based Artificial Intelligence (AI) replacing trained human 3D Artists cleaning up motion capture data, rendering obsolete the expensive hardware and software paradigms used in the past. In this research, cloud-based AI was used to extract motion data from filmed movements of a person's body and face, and then applied to a virtual 3D bipedal character. To stay relevant as a 3D artist, one must gain an understanding through experimentation of the areas where AI will, or will not, be adopted by the visual effects (VFX) and gaming industries. 

As faculty in the Animation and Visual Effects (AVFX) degree at RDP, this research is crucial as the results will determine what needs to be immediately included in the AVFX curriculum. Still a work in progress, the project is part of a larger ongoing investigation into the possibility of cloud-based AI solutions replacing trained 3D artists across the various typical workflow steps in production. 

Presenter Biography: Peter Fiala, MSc has over twenty years’ experience as both a 3D artist and an educator. While following his passion creating computer generated visual effects (VFX), his work has contributed to Emmy and Oscar nominated Hollywood feature films, where he worked as a lead modeling/texturing and lighting artist. 

Since 1999, Peter has also been working as an instructor and curriculum developer at several post-secondary institutions across North America and in central Europe. In 2015, Peter began work on developing RDP’s Animation and Visual Effects degree program (AVFX). He has been involved from the 2018 launch of the degree to the present day, where he works as Chair of Creative Arts, Department Head and as an Instructor in AVFX. Peter urgently believes that one should never stop practicing and learning their craft. He is always working through one personal project to the next in order to try his best to stay on the bleeding edge creating digital artwork for animation and visual effects, and games. Over the past year, he has been focusing on how generative AI is being incorporated in the animation and visual effects industry.

Readiness for Field Work: Students’ Perspectives

Presenter Name: Juliet Onabadejo, Lynne Madsen, Jolene Wright 
Research Team members: Juliet Onabadejo, Lynne Madsen, Jolene Wright, Yalda Asef (School of Health and Wellness), Michelle Doherty (School of Health and Wellness), Alanna Watt (School of Health and Wellness), Peggy Follis (School of Health and Wellness) 

Presentation Description: Clinical and field placements are essential components in academic health sciences programs, providing students with the opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge to practice. The clinical and field placements can be an extremely stressful experience for some students. Although students have often attended field placement in health sciences, there has been a gap in the literature on how to successfully develop and assess learner characteristics for field work readiness. This presentation features a current study that will explore students' perspectives on their readiness for field work before placement to understand the type of skills building required for better student and client outcomes. 

Presenter Biography: Juliet Onabadejo, RN, MN, PhD is an instructor in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in the School of Health and Wellness. Her background is in Medical-surgical nursing. Her educational attainment is focused on furthering her goals of teaching and advancing research in nursing education. She enjoys curriculum development, creating a good learning environment for students, and offering one-on-one support with learning strategies. Her research interest is in cultural influence on health and learning: multicultural populations, intersectionality, and their experience in learning, and healthcare care delivery. Dr. Onabadejo has published articles and given conference presentations on incorporating multicultural content into nursing education. She is currently engaged in health research and a study in Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL).  

Lynne Madsen, RN, MSN is an instructor in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in the School of Health and Wellness. Lynne’s nursing practice, experience, and expertise come from a Palliative Care background with Canadian Nurses Association certification in Palliative/Hospice care. Lynne received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at RDP in the University of Alberta collaborative program. She completed a Master of Science in Nursing degree with a specialty in Nursing Education. She has taught in the Practical Nurse Program and is presently in the BScN program. She has taught in Long Term Care and Acute Care clinicals, labs and in classroom courses. 

Jolene Wright, BSW, MSW, MSHX, RSW, PhD(c) is an instructor in the Social Work program in the School of Health and Wellness. Jolene’s social work practice focused on mental health and health care administration working with gerontology, acute psychiatry and the 2SLGBTQ+ populations. She also has a strong background in policy work, administration, and regulatory practice. During Jolene’s social work practice, she discovered the lack of resources and support for the 2SLGBTQ+ population, especially in central Alberta within the healthcare system. The desire to create an environment of diversity and inclusion prompted her to begin to pursue her PhD in Human Sexuality with the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. Jolene has always had a passion for education and sees this as a conduit to bridge understanding and create social awareness and change. Her research focus will be looking at creating supportive environments for 2SLGBT+ people and their families both individually and from a holistic lens. Being an alumna of Red Deer College, from both the social work and business administration diploma programs, Jolene is honoured to be teaching in the institution where her educational journey began.

The Cohort Experience: Creating a Community of Practice

Presenter Name: Brent Galloway 

Presentation Description: Considerable research is available to support the idea of designing collaborative learning experiences in our classrooms. Further to this is the idea of creating spaces in our institutions that will allow for the development of a community of practice in which students are connected to each other on many levels throughout their learning journey. In this session, participants will learn through the sharing of a case study research project which examined the benefits of collaborative learning and the use of cohorts in program development and delivery.

Presenter Biography: Brent Galloway, PhD is in his 20th year as an instructor of pre-service teacher education at Red Deer Polytechnic. During this time, he has worked extensively with student cohorts and faculty in the University of Alberta "Middle Years Collaborative Degree", and more recently in the new education degrees at RDP which have been designed using a cohort model. His research interests include Middle Years Education, and investigating those experiences which help to create engaged and empowered learners. He has presented his research both locally and internationally and looks forward to investigating additional ways to disseminate his research. 

Student Supports & Experiences – Room 2919A – 6:30 to 7:45 pm

Post-Secondary Student Homelessness: Informing Prevention through Qualitative Analysis

Presenter Names: Krista Robson, Dustin Quirk, Levis Kabahizi 
Research Team: Krista Robson, Dustin Quirk, Anomi Bearden, Levis Kahahizi, Jessica Doyle (RDP alumni), Chloe Hoppus (RDP alumni), Cassandra Curtis (RDP alumni)

Presentation Description: Close to 5% of post-secondary students experience some form of homelessness (which can range from couch surfing to living on the street). In an effort to explore interventions to support students experiencing or at risk of homelessness, Red Deer Polytechnic joined five other post-secondary institutions to collect narratives from students.

This presentation will provide a description of what homelessness looks like for some RDP students and what are the biggest challenges these students face. We will also focus on what the participants identified as key approaches and attitudes that need to be in place to effectively support students facing homelessness.  This applied project is unique in that it is part of a national, multi-site project, has various collaborators (faculty, students, community members), is multi-disciplinary, is applied leading to actionable steps to improve supports on campus and in the community.  

Presenter Biography:  

Dustin Quirk, DBA (Doctor of Business Administration) is a Business instructor in the Donald School of Business, Science and Computing. Dr. Quirk has over five years of industry experience in various government policy and economic roles related to fiscal analysis, housing market analysis, business analysis and industry liaison. His professional experience includes working as an Economist for the Ontario Ministry of Finance and as a Market and Business Analyst for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Dr. Quirk’s research interests include residential construction (housing), business sustainability, and business education.   

Krista Robson, PhD is a Sociology instructor in the School of Arts and Education. Dr. Robson has worked on different community-based, collaborative research projects in recent years; topics have included - HIV/AIDS in Aboriginal Communities, Immigrant Women’s Economic Security and Ethics & Research with Aboriginal Communities. Currently, she is the RDP representative in the Post-Secondary Student Homelessness/Housing Research Network. 

Levis Kabahizi is a graduate of the RDP Social Work Diploma. Levis is a registered social worker, working at Turning Point Society. He has experience working with and supporting a wide range of vulnerable people who are at risk of being impacted or are impacted by homelessness, substance use, and sexually transmitted and blood borne infections. Levis is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Social Work degree at the University of Calgary. Levis’s research interest includes international students’ experiences with homelessness and  sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections among African, Caribbean, Black Communities

Physical Activity, Cell Phone Use and Attention

Presenter Name: Emma Wrench 
Research Team: Emma Wrench, Dr. Reiko Yeap (School of Arts and Education)

Presentation Description: Recent research suggests a link between physical activity and improved attention; however a consensus on optimal intensity and duration is lacking. This project aims to fill this gap with a two-part study. In the first part, Emma surveys students' study break habits, physical activity, and media usage, providing insights into the general student population. The second part consists of an experiment that investigates the direct relationship between physical activity, cell phone use, and attention. Students will participate in 10 minutes of either physical activity or cell phone use to represent a short study break, then take a test that measures attention. In both parts, we compare a general student population to kinesiology students, recognizing the predominant focus on sports students in previous research. By learning how students can optimize study breaks, this research aims to contribute to the understanding of effective attention-boosting strategies, addressing a crucial gap in existing literature with a comprehensive approach.

Presenter Biography: Emma Wrench is a Psychology student at Red Deer Polytechnic. Intrigued by the exploration of cognition at various levels, from simple attention to complex emotion, Emma is currently immersed in a study examining the potential impact of study breaks on attention in students' daily lives. Her primary goal is to contribute to filling gaps in psychological research through her active involvement in studies. As Emma approaches the culmination of her undergraduate studies, she eagerly anticipates continuing her research journey in a graduate program next school year. 

Reading College Research Project

Presenter Names: Julia Rheaume, Sam Darby

Presentation Description: Reading College is a summer literacy intervention program for Red Deer Public Schools (RDPSD) grade 2 students with reading difficulties that is offered on the Red Deer Polytechnic campus. Although this month-long, camp-style program has been operating for over a decade, RDPSD is eager to determine if it has been a successful intervention in terms of both their divisional goals and individual student success in school. This research project examines the impacts of the literacy intervention program on elementary reading achievement, including identifying factors that contribute to its success, and examining the program’s ability to narrow the achievement gap for learners with diverse backgrounds.  

Our presentation will discuss our progress to date on this two-year grant-funded research project and showcase the work of the student research assistant. Funding for this research project is made available through Alberta Education. 

Presenter Biography: Julia Rheaume (EdD) is the Chair of the Bachelor of Education degree program at Red Deer Polytechnic where she has shared her passion for teaching and learning for the past 14 years. Prior to being an instructor at RDP, Dr. Rheaume taught middle school and high school French Immersion math and science for 15 years. Her experiences as a pre-service and graduate teacher educator, high school vice-principal, post-secondary administrator, and classroom teacher have inspired her interests in teacher education, pedagogy, leadership, assessment, and middle level education.

Sam Darby is a fourth-year Psychology student at Red Deer Polytechnic. His research interests are primarily in neuro-cognitive psychology and social psychology. Currently he is involved in the early literacy intervention research program with the School of Education.

How Can the Education System Support Students with Severe and Multiple or Profound Disabilities and Implement a Curriculum to Promote a More Meaningful Learning Experience?

Presenter Name: Kayl Davies 
Research Team: Kayl Davies and Caitlin Fox (School of Arts and Education) 

Presentation Description: Despite significant progress in the education system to accommodate diverse learners, a distinct population of students still encounters challenges in achieving curriculum outcomes, acquiring essential life skills, and participating in social opportunities with their peers. The study's primary objective was to examine how the education system can effectively support students facing severe, multiple, or profound disabilities and implement a curriculum that fosters a more meaningful learning experience. Specifically, the focus areas include identifying curriculum modifications, examining ongoing mental health implications, offering strategies and suggestions for additional classroom support, and recognizing the profound influence of the classroom teacher on inclusion. The study provides a recommendation for further research, as well as numerous strategies that can be implemented within the classroom. This research is crucial because it requires educators, school systems, support staff, and the general public to recognize the harmful repercussions of excluding students with severe, multiple, or profound disabilities from their learning experiences.

Presenter Biography: Kayl Davies is a fourth-year University of Alberta and Red Deer Polytechnic student in the Education collaborative degree. Kayl is in their final practicum and looking forward to graduating in the Spring.

Adaptability and Innovation in Social Work Field Education During the Pandemic of Covid -19: A Study of Student's Experiences Across Campuses in India and Canada

Research Team: Smitha Sasidharan Nair (lead researcher from Tata Institute, India), Rajesh Kalarivayil (Tezpur University, India), Baiju Pallicka Vareed (MacEwan University, Canada), Ashabanu Soletti (Tata Institute, India), and Anjum Afroz (Tezpur University, India).

Presentation Description: A group of six faculty across four campuses - two in India and two in Canada - investigated the perceptions and experiences of social work students towards their field experiences during the pandemic of Covid-19.  This unique collaboration embraces the "Nothing about us without us" approach to research, by directly surveying and interviewing the social work students themselves, at two post-secondary education sites in India and two in Canada.  The results not only complement the current research from other International social work education teams, but also add unique insights from students' voices of experiences, adding distinctive perceptions. Most notably, while adaptation and innovation were key to enriching student experiences, there were wide-ranging perceptions of readiness for professional practice upon graduation - a key objective of field placements.

Presenter Biography: Elaine Spencer is a Social Work instructor in the School of Health and Wellness at Red Deer Polytechnic, holds a Bachelor and Master of Social Work and is a Registered Social Worker and Registered Clinical Social Worker. Recently, she published work and/or presented on students’ experiences of field placement during Covid-19, social work leadership in Canada, Ethics in Child Welfare practice, the resurgence/continuation of racism/xenophobia/neo-naziism/misogyny in late-stage capitalism, and technology in social work practice. She has also conducted large-scale research into social workers’ ethical decision making and was the lead editor and author of a textbook on Social Work Ethics.

Jolene Wright is a Social Work instructor in the School of Health and Wellness at Red Deer Polytechnic, holds a Bachelor and Master in Social Work and Master of Human Sexuality. Her practice focuses on mental health and health care administration working with gerontology, acute psychiatry, and the 2SLGBTQ+ populations. She also has a strong background in policy work, administration, and regulatory practice with attention to leadership in these spaces. Jolene began teaching at Red Deer Polytechnic in 2018. Jolene’s recent publication was on original research into social work leadership in Canada. She is currently completing her PhD studies regarding queer experiences in accessing health care.

Trauma & Violence – Room 2919B – 6:30 to 7:45 pm

State Violence as Means of Persuasion: An Introduction to My Multidisciplinary Project

Presenter Name: Jeff Wigelsworth

Presentation Description: What would it take for you to change your mind; to change someone else’s mind?  What would you do if talking didn’t work and that the matter at hand couldn’t be ignored?  Would you resort to violence? How far would you go to change someone’s mind?  How far would a state go? At its full scope this project considers those questions through a multidisciplinary analysis of the 1972 Christmas Bombing at the end of the Vietnam War, seventeenth-century public executions, General Sherman’s destruction of Atlanta in the American Civil War, a disastrous invasion in the Peloponnesian War, and President Johnson’s 1965 decision to initiate bombing in Vietnam.  The project asks why violence, despite it never being a success as intended, was understood, across history and cultures, as the best means of bringing people around to a particular viewpoint, belief system, or political ideology.  Tonight’s talk introduces some preliminary conclusions and future directions. 

Presenter Biography: Jeff Wigelsworth, PhD is a History instructor whose courses range chronologically from antiquity to the twentieth century with a variety of thematic or national concentrations that prioritize people and their stories and highlight applied knowledge of the past. His current research derives from his teaching. 1) Use of state violence to change people’s minds. Following fifteen years of students asking, why didn’t they just talk it out, Jeff seeks answers through a multidisciplinary investigation. 2) From his Witch Craze course Jeff published a solution to the paradox of early-modern thinkers being able to only conceive of female witches with the fact that men were 25% of people accused of witchcraft. Jeff’s previous scholarship centers on the intellectual culture of England (1600-1800), with an emphasis on deists and their critics. Two books and more than a dozen articles are the result.  A 2023 article examined the use of Newton’s mathematical style to predict the Apocalypse as a counterpoint to deism. Other early-modern scholarship includes one book exploring efforts of All Souls College, Oxford to maintain academic independence from governmental demands and another book on science advertising at the time of Isaac Newton.

Exploring the Influence of Childhood Trauma and Childbirth Self-efficacy in Birth Trauma

Presenter Names: Jamie Prowse Turner, Shree Aiyer

Presentation Description: The perinatal period is one anticipated with joy. However, for many mothers, the experience can result in physical and emotional trauma. Although birth trauma is considered a subjective experience, the general conceptualization of the experience is complex. This research will aim to address how childhood trauma may make women more vulnerable to experiencing birth trauma, specific factors and unique characteristics of mothers related to their experience, and the outcomes of the interaction of these variables following birth. This research will fill a gap in the field and provide insights that may influence practitioners, policy makers, and the general public by promoting maternal mental health and well-being and, ultimately, contributing to healthier families. Funding for this project is made available through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Presenter Biography: Jamie Prowse Turner, PhD is a Psychology instructor in the School of Arts and Education and a Registered Psychologist who focuses in the areas of cognitive development, trauma, and perinatal mental health. Her current research is applied and community-focused with a focus on the relationship between trauma and peripartum experiences. 

Shree Aiyer is a fourth-year Psychology student. Shree is interested in the cognitive development of children and the impact that families have on their experiences: specifically, attachment, self-efficacy of parents, and the formation of positive interpersonal relationships.

Attitudes Towards Child-Safety: The Role of Legal and Socioeconomic Contexts

Presenter name: Jones Adjei 
Research Team: Jones Adjei, Kaitlin White, Ashley Sparks 

Presentation Description: While there is evidence some countries have banned corporal punishment have a tendency to produce children that are less likely to be violent, legislation against corporal punishment remains a controversial issue in many countries. This study utilizes data from the publicly available World Values Survey (Wave 7) conducted between 2017 and 2022 in 66 countries, including Canada, involving over 94,000 respondents with an average age of 43 years old. The main objective of this study is to explore how individual adults’ attitudes towards child-safety values might be affected within the context of legal provisions that explicitly prohibit corporal punishment of children, and whether living in a high-income country with bans against corporal punishment will be associated with greater child-safety attitudes. The study further explores how the socio-cultural, political, and economic characteristics of individuals associate with their attitudes towards corporal punishment. Funding for this project is made available by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Presenter Biography: Jones Adjei, PhD is a Sociology instructor at Red Deer Polytechnic, with a focus on social demography and applied statistics. His research interests include immigrant settlement experiences and population health disparities. His research has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of Sex Education, Ethnicity and Health, Canadian Studies in Population, Journal of Biosocial Science, and Canadian Ethnic Studies. Beyond his passion for teaching, he enjoys offering his research skills as a volunteer to enhance the operational capacity of immigrant service organizations in the Red Deer area. Over the past six years, he has served as a board member of the Central Alberta Immigrant Women’s Association (CAIWA).

Dealing with Loss as a Child: What is the Teacher’s Role in Supporting Students Through Grief and Loss?

Presenter Name: Katherine Gustafson 
Research Team: Katherine Gustafson and Caitlin Fox (School of Arts and Education)

Presentation Description: The likelihood of an educator being tasked with the role of supporting a bereaved student is inevitable. Given the inescapability of death, students within the classroom are sure to be burdened with the difficulty of coping and grieving a loss.  To gain a comprehensive understanding of the educator's role in supporting students through grief and loss, perspectives from current and former educators, as well as former bereaved students, were compiled. Both parties viewed the role of the educator to be the pinnacle of the student's capacity to heal and cope with loss. However, there remains a substantial and harmful gap in death education within the school curriculum. Students and teachers alike are underprepared and ill-equipped to navigate the journey of loss and grief. It is the educator's role to implement death education within the classroom to best support bereaved students and prepare non-bereaved students for the inevitability of loss and grief.  

Presenter Biography: Katherine Gustafson is a fourth-year University of Alberta and Red Deer Polytechnic student in the Education collaborative degree. Katherine is in their final practicum and looking forward to graduating in the Spring.

A Better Community: Anti-Racism Resources Availability and Usage in Red Deer

Presenter name: Abby Gale Layon, Ashley Sparks and Choon-Lee Chai 
Research team members:  Abby Gale Layon, Ashley Sparks, Jones Adjei (School of Arts and Education), Choon-Lee Chai

Presentation Description: As Canada’s population becomes more ethnically diverse, an understanding of the availability, or lack thereof, of anti-racism assets in small centers like Red Deer is timely. Using a mixed-method research approach with an online survey and semi-structured interviews, our research sought to identify tangible and intangible anti-racism resources in Red Deer. One hundred and sixty-four individuals responded to the online survey, and 17 semi-structured interviews were conducted, 11 with Indigenous and racialized individuals and 6 with local service providers.  

This presentation provides an overview of the survey results and key themes from the interviews. These themes are (i) General situation of racism in Red Deer, (ii) Experiences of racism, (iii) Coping strategies, and (iv) Anti-racism assets available. We will also share suggestions made by participants, many of whom are most affected by acts of racism or have deep knowledge about the condition of racism and available assets.

Presenter Biography: Abby Gale Layon is a third-year Psychology student and a Research Technician at Red Deer Polytechnic, who is committed to bridging the divide between psychology and the BI-POC community. She aspires to discover the interplay between culture, identity, and mental health, armed with a deep comprehension of the unique challenges faced by marginalized individuals. Motivated by genuine empathy and desire for social justice, she desires to be a catalyst for change within the field of psychology.

Ashley Sparks is a third-year Multidisciplinary Humanities student with a focus on Sociology and Anthropology. She is passionate about equity and inclusion of all peoples, in all spaces. She hopes to pursue further education by attending a graduate program in the future and to contribute to the well-being of her community by obtaining a professional position in the Social Services field.

Choon-Lee Chai, PhD is a Sociology instructor at Red Deer Polytechnic, focusing on social stratification and race and ethnic relations. He embraces visual pedagogy by incorporating visual methods, such as photo-elicitation, in his teaching. He regularly engages students in experiential learning through community-based research and service learning. In recent years, he has completed community-based research funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and in partnership with local immigrant settlement service provider organizations. His research has been published in the Journal of International Migration and Integration, Canadian Ethnic Studies, Journal of Visual Literacy, Asian Journal of Social Sciences, and Social Sciences.

Inside the Classroom – Room 2920 – 6:30 to 7:45 pm

What are the Benefits to Students of Incorporating Agricultural Education in the K-12 Curriculum?

Presenter Name: Rayanna Ramsay 
Research Team: Rayanna Ramsay and Caitlin Fox (School of Arts and Education)

Presentation Description: The focus of this study is to investigate the impact of incorporating agricultural education into the K-12 curriculum to support students' learning. The present study examines various aspects of agricultural education, including its benefits, career opportunities, agricultural literacy, and the gap in understanding within urban schools. The purpose of this study is to answer the research question, “How does incorporating agricultural education in the K-12 curriculum support students' learning?”. The findings show the positive attributes of agricultural education, such as developing a connection to the environment, enhancing students' knowledge of the agriculture industry, and promoting self-awareness and leadership skills.

Presenter Biography: Rayanna Ramsay is a fourth-year University of Alberta and Red Deer Polytechnic student in the Education collaborative degree. Rayanna is in their final practicum and looking forward to graduating in the Spring.

What are the Impacts of Differentiated Instruction in a Middle Level English Language Arts Curriculum Classroom?

Presenter Name: Mary Alice Brown 
Research Team: Mary Alice Brown and Caitlin Fox (School of Arts and Education)

Presentation Description: This research delves into the impact of differentiation on middle school students and educators in the context of English Language Arts (ELA). Recognizing a gap in understanding its effects on middle school students' achievement levels in ELA, the study investigates why educators use differentiation in ELA classrooms, exploring its role as a solution to address diverse learners' needs. The research emphasizes the effective implementation of differentiation and highlights the interconnection between differentiation and assessment. Through a survey of middle years ELA educators, the study gathers data on their experiences and knowledge of differentiation. The results overwhelmingly support the positive impact of differentiation on students' achievement in ELA. The research recommends addressing systematic barriers that educators encounter when implementing differentiation in their classrooms to further enhance its effectiveness.

Presenter Biography: Mary Alice Brown is a fourth-year University of Alberta and Red Deer Polytechnic student in the Education collaborative degree. Mary Alice is in their final practicum and looking forward to graduating in the Spring.

Is Creating Classrooms by Age of Students the Best Way to Support Student Learning?

Presenter Name: Emily David 
Research Team: Emily David and Caitlin Fox (School of Arts and Education)

Presentation Description: This study on age-based learning explored whether students learn better when grouped with peers of the same age or with multiple ages. The study examined existing literature on mixed-age students in classrooms and surveyed participants about their perspectives on the positive and negative effects on academic, social, and cognitive skills. The findings of this study suggest that students academically perform better in mixed-age scenarios and also benefit socially and cognitively from the leadership and peer teaching that occurs in these classrooms. However, teachers express concerns about the varying entry levels of students and the broader range of maturity levels in mixed-age classrooms. This paper investigates the advantages and disadvantages of multi-age learning environments beyond the traditional research on skill-based learning. The main themes explored in this paper include holistic development, inquiry-based learning, peer teaching, and collaboration.

Presenter Biography: Emily David is a fourth-year University of Alberta and Red Deer Polytechnic student in the Education collaborative degree. Emily is in their final practicum and looking forward to graduating in the Spring.

How do we Discuss and Educate Gender Identity and Sexuality in Elementary Age Students?

Presenter Name: Mia Belbeck 
Research Team: Mia Belbeck and Caitlin Fox (School of Arts and Education)

Presentation Description: The focus of this study is to dive into the crucial yet underexplored topic of discussing and educating gender identity and sexuality with elementary-age students in the education system. The research focused on addressing the research question: “How Do We Discuss and Educate Gender Identity and Sexuality in Elementary-Age Students?”. The study concluded that there is no step-by-step answer on how to discuss and educate on the topic. Thus making the research important as it displays the dire need for teacher training on this topic. The research provides various recommendations to enhance educators' understanding of how to discuss and educate on the given topic. Research makes recommendations such that educators seek diverse perspectives regardless of personal beliefs as well as continuously seeking to enhance their understanding through further education to help increase their ability to navigate this contemporary topic. This research is vital to creating an inclusive environment for all 21st century learners.

Presenter Biography: Mia Belbeck is a fourth-year University of Alberta and Red Deer Polytechnic student in the Education collaborative degree. Mia is in their final practicum and looking forward to graduating in the Spring.

What do Educators do to Support Students with at Risk Behaviour?

Presenter Name: Lindsey Beamish 
Research Team: Lindsey Beamish and Caitlin Fox (School of Arts and Education)

Presentation Description: This study was conducted to help educators meet the needs of their students that exude at-risk behaviors. For the purpose of this study, at risk behavior will include students' emotional wellness and behavioral challenges, absenteeism, and academic performance. A ten question survey was sent to current educators and administrators throughout Alberta. The feedback from the participants indicated that relationships are key in supporting students with at-risk behaviors. Creating a safe environment where teachers, administrators, parents, and school counselors work together to form support systems for at-risk students is key to the child's success. Throughout the research process, the literature supports the idea that teachers need to create a social climate within their classrooms that builds a healthy foundation for student success. Schools are shifting their focus towards nurturing the complete well-being of students, and not solely focusing on academic success.

Presenter Biography: Lindsey Beamish is a fourth-year University of Alberta and Red Deer Polytechnic student in the Education collaborative degree. Lindsey is in their final practicum and looking forward to graduating in the Spring.

Fledgling Turtles & Fungi – Room 2917 – 8:00 to 9:15 pm

Hatchery Effectiveness for Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) Sea Turtle Conservation at Playa Costa de Oro, Costa Rica

Presenter Name: Kira Weddell 
Research Team: Kira Weddell, Sandra MacDougall (Donald School of Business, Science and Computing), Gabriela Ibarguchi (Donald School of Business, Science and Computing), Nínive Espinoza-Rodríguez, Graciela Pulido-Petit, and Isabel Naranjo from CREMA (Centre for Rescue of Endangered Marine Species, Costa Rica) 

Presentation Description: Sea turtle conservation is vital for marine biodiversity, ecosystem sustainability, and coastal economies. Despite being the most abundant, the Olive Ridley turtle faces significant threats, with a 30-50% global population decline since 1980. Conservation strategies include intensive beach management with nest relocation to hatcheries, however, some nests are relocated on the beach due to various constraints. This study, conducted on Playa Costa de Oro, Costa Rica, aimed to compare hatching success between nests relocated to a hatchery and those relocated on the beach. Preliminary findings from July to December 2023 revealed a 67% predation rate for beach-relocated nests, mainly by raccoons or dogs. In contrast, hatchery nests saw reduced predation after the installation of a wire roof. These results support hatchery-based strategies and offer insights for effective resource allocation in sea turtle conservation.

Presenter Biography: Kira Weddell is a fifth-year Biological Sciences student at Red Deer Polytechnic who will be graduating in April 2024. She plans to use her biological sciences degree to pursue a career in wildlife biology with a focus on conservation and human-wildlife interactions.

Assessing the Impact of Nest Temperature and Rainfall on Olive Ridley Sea Turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) Hatchlings Along the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica During an El Nino Year

Presenter Name: Abbey Van Heuvel 
Research Team members: Abbey Van Heuvel, Sandra MacDougall (Donald School of Business, Science and Computing), Gabriela Ibarguchi (Donald School of Business, Science and Computing), Nínive Espinoza-Rodríguez, Graciela Pulido-Petit, and Isabel Naranjo from CREMA (Centre for Rescue of Endangered Marine Species, Costa Rica)

Presentation Description: Olive Ridley Sea Turtles are among many species that play an important role in maintaining coastal ecosystems. However, in Costa Rica and other parts of the world, this species is listed under the Endangered Species Act due to threats like climate change (NOAA Fisheries, n.d.). The purpose of this study is to explore the impact of nest environment (specifically rainfall and nest temperature) on time to hatching and hatching success of Olive Ridley turtles.  Over three months, rainfall and the nest temperature of relocated turtle nests were monitored at two sea turtle nesting beach hatcheries (San Miguel and Costa de Oro) along the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica. Environmental covariates were then compared to nest success, time to hatchling and hatchling size and weight.  Abbey recently returned from Costa Rica and will provide an overview of the study and research in progress.

Presenter Biography: Abbey Van Heuvel is just finishing her Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences at Red Deer Polytechnic and looks forward to working as a professional biologist in Alberta.  Highlights of her past year include working as a summer student for Nature Central cataloguing and exploring many of the amazing protected areas in Central Alberta.  She spent three months in the fall working as a Research Assistant on a sea turtle conservation project in Costa Rica.

Changes in Gut Fungal Microbiome of Conventionally and Pasture-Raised Pigs

Presenter Name: Carolyn Scott and Angela Ibe  
Research Team: Carolyn Scott, Angela Ibe, Dr. Devin Holman, and Dr. Cyrus Taheri (Donald School of Business, Science and Computing)

Presentation Description: The gut microbiome refers to the community of microorganisms living in the digestive tract of animals and plays important roles in the health of the host. The gut microbiome can change with age, changes in environmental conditions, and farming practices. Two common forms of raising pigs are the conventional and pasture-raised methods. Conventionally-raised pigs are raised in indoor facilities with highly monitored environments, whereas pasture-raised pigs are raised outdoors with access to native plants and soil. The objective of this research is to characterize the mycoflora of the swine gut and how it changes due to the farming methods used. Fecal samples from conventionally-raised and pasture-raised pigs were collected and subjected to Next-Generation Sequencing of Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS) genes on Illumina MiSeq platform. Bioinformatic tools will be used to explore differences in the gut mycobiome between the conventionally and pasture-raised pigs.

Presenter Biography: Carolyn Scott is a fourth-year Biological Sciences student. She did research in her third year as part of a Biology 399 independent research opportunity course and is now working on this project for her Biology 4902 course. After graduation, Carolyn intends on pursuing a Master’s degree.

Angela Ibe is a fourth-year Biological Sciences student. She is working on this project alongside Carolyn Scott as part of her Biology 4902 course. Their research focuses on how different farming methods affect the fungal makeup in the swine gut microbiome. 

The Application of a Fungal Metabolite to Enhance the Yield of Commercially Important Mushroom Species

Presenter Names: Destiny Gillespie and Felix Beever 
Research Team: Destiny B. Gillespie, Felix Beever, Warren Elgersma (Donald School of Business, Science and Computing), and Dr. Cyrus Taheri (Donald School of Business, Science and Computing)

Presentation Description: Commercial mushrooms are integrated into the daily diets of many individuals. As consumption increases, so does the need for a sustainable mushroom supply. The goal of the current research is to evaluate the effect of a metabolite produced by Alternaria alternata on the fructification of two commercially important mushrooms—shiitake and oyster—using both in vitro and in vivo experiments.

Presenter Biography: Destiny Gillespie is a fourth-year Biological Sciences student. Her research interests include tracking ungulates using multiple GPS tracking techniques to research their behavioral patterns, as well as plants and fungi. The ongoing project she is participating in is the project that will be presented, having done research on the topic in a class the year prior. She hopes to use the information she learns to conduct the research on how a metabolite may be able to affect the production yield of commercially valuable mushrooms, with the hope the project yields success so companies may be able to look into using this method to increase their supply for demand. 

Felix Beever is a fourth-year Biological Science student. He is interested in research involving plants and fungi, especially their applications in the medical and agricultural fields, as well as genetics and their role in developmental diseases and cancer progression. His current project is determining how a metabolite may affect the growth of edible fungi, which, if successful, would be a means to increase the supply of these fungi for the increasing demand.

Society, Past & Present – Room 2918 – 8:00 to 9:15 pm

A "Goldmine of Inspiration": Science, Religion, and Literary Solutions in the 17th Century and Today

Presenter Name: Jacqueline Cowan

Presentation Description: When Richard Dawkins attempts to bridge the current divide between the humanities and the sciences, he adopts the rhetoric of an early modern thinker he might reject in other contexts. By proclaiming that “[t]he poetry is in the science” in his best-selling book Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion, and the Appetite for Wonder (1998; 2000), Dawkins offers the poetic imagination as a new solution to the supposed incommensurability between literature and hard science. Dr. Cowan identifies the roots of this line of rhetoric in the works of the English Bishop and early Royal Society Fellow, Thomas Sprat. For both Dawkins and Sprat, recourse to poetry helped resolve the religious tensions that plagued their respective forms of science. In the seventeenth- and twenty-first century alike, scientists appropriated the power of poetry to legitimize their authority outside of the realms conventionally ascribed to “science”. Rather than rely on persistent scholarly narratives of the conflict among science, religion, and literature, Dr. Cowan shows how the resurgence of Sprat’s line of rhetoric illustrates the inextricable ties among the studies of literature, science, and religion that today we consider discrete.

Presenter Biography: Jacqueline Cowan, PhD is an English instructor in the School of Arts and Education where she teaches first-year writing courses, as well as upper-year classes on Shakespeare and on Science Fiction. Dr. Cowan has an abiding curiosity about the exciting and sometimes surprising connections between seventeenth-century literature and science. Dr. Cowan has written on Francis Bacon, Shakespeare, and John Milton, and my work appears in Literature and Theology, Studies in Philology, and Studies in English Literature. She is currently researching poetic and scientific narratives about travels to the moon.

Anthropology, Animism, Art, and Astronomy: Revealing Ancient Identity in Greater Nicoya

Presenter Names: Carrie Dennett, Irina Sheridan, Jalynn Chilibeck

Presentation Description: Nestled along the Pacific Coast of Central America, the Greater Nicoya archaeological region of Nicaragua and Costa Rica (ca. 800 BC-AD 1500) is poorly understood relative to its Mesoamerican neighbours to the north, who include the far better-known Mayan and Aztec peoples. Indeed, for more than a century the cultural and linguistic affiliation of ancient Greater Nicoya groups has been hotly contested (particularly: were they ‘Mesoamerican’ or not?), minimally researched and, as a result, the area has overall remained a curious cultural mystery – until now. Drawing on evidence from archaeology, art history, cultural astronomy, ethnography, ethnohistory, and painted codices we demonstrate that the peoples of Greater Nicoya participated – in a highly syncretic manner – in both ceremonial and sociopolitical activities directly linked to the Mesoamerican Religious Tradition prior to Spanish colonization of the region after AD 1500.

Presenter Biography: Carrie Dennett, PhD is an instructor in Anthropology and Justice Studies. Within the walls of RDP, she is an anthropologist whose teaching portfolio primarily examines – from an interdisciplinary perspective – the relationship between social institutions and social justice, particularly topics of intersectionality, discrimination, and inequality as they relate to issues of gender, sexuality, religion, ethnicity, language, and race. Beyond the walls of RDP, Dr. Dennett is actively involved in archaeological research in Central America and has contributed to projects in Honduras and Nicaragua, with a current focus on the pre-Columbian archaeology of northwestern Costa Rica.

Irina Sheridan is a fourth-year Bachelor of Arts student and a Scholarly Research Technician at Red Deer Polytechnic with a passion for multidisciplinary research, especially in areas where human culture, psychology, and biology meet. In the Psychology program, she has especially enjoyed exploring issues of empathy, consciousness, and ‘mind-body’ connections through cognitive neuroscience. However, Irina has also had many opportunities to participate in Anthropology courses and research focused on Mesoamerican studies - these have deepened her interests in human religion, language, and relationships with the natural world. In recent projects, Irina has been focusing on cultural astronomy to explore the roles of celestial bodies (e.g., constellations and planets) within Mesoamerican mythologies. 

Jalynn Chilibeck is a second-year Psychology student at Red Deer Polytechnic. Academically, she is interested in language, writing, and the etymology of words, as well as the impact that stories have on an individual's perception of the world around them. Yet she is equally invested in studying mycology and biological advancements. Jalynn’s role in the current project was to illustrate the artifacts discussed in this presentation and the forthcoming peer-reviewed article.

Campus Clinical: Re-Envisioning Authentic Learning Experiences in the BScN Program

Presenter Names: Kala Streibel, Raigne Symes, Barbara Wilson-Keates, Daphne Kennedy and Stephen Brown  
Research Team members: Kala Streibel, Raigne Symes, Barbara Wilson-Keates, Erin Lowe (School of Health and Wellness), Brenda Query (School of Health and Wellness), Daphne Kennedy, Stephen Brown

Presentation Description: The pandemic highlighted the global nursing shortage and spurred increasing enrolment into Canadian nursing programs. In addition to faculty shortages, nursing programs face increasing demands for clinical placements. In response, BScN faculty developed and piloted a new clinical placement model to support quality learning. During a 13-week clinical course, students alternated attending on-site, facility clinical with in-person ‘Campus Clinical’ to achieve learning outcomes. This project evaluated the effectiveness of the new model from instructor and student perspectives. The hypothesis was that students and faculty will report that this new learning approach helps meet students’ learning needs. Survey results indicated that students rated their experiences more positively in campus clinical and faculty believe this experience supported student learning. The new clinical learning model successfully addressed placement challenges in the program. This is a unique and innovative way to offer clinical learning experiences that may help meet the demands of increasing enrolment.

Presenter Biography: Kala Streibel, MN RN CCSNE is a Nursing instructor in the School of Health and Wellness. She teaches in the Bachelor of Science, Nursing (BScN) program, is a simulation expert and simulation lead in the Bachelor of Science, Nursing (BScN) program. Kala supports faculty throughout the School with integration and implementation of simulation into their programs. Her research interests include simulation, and maternal and child health.

Raigne Symes, PhD(c), MSN, RN, CCNE is a Nursing instructor in the School of Health and Wellness. She teaches in the Bachelor of Science, Nursing (BScN) program. Raigne has a passion for nursing education and gerontology. Her research interests include simulation, nursing education, and leadership.

Barbara Wilson-Keates, PhD, RN, CCSNE is a Nursing instructor in the School of Health and Wellness. She teaches in the Bachelor of Science, Nursing (BScN) program and is a nationally recognized simulation expert. Her research interests center around simulation and integration of technology in virtual learning spaces.

Daphne Kennedy, MN, RN, CCNE, IBCLC is the Associate Dean of the BScN program and LPN to BScN transition program within the School of Health and Wellness. She has a passion for nursing education and supporting student success. Her research interests include student experiences and success, maternal and child health and simulation.

Stephen Brown, PhD is a Psychology instructor in the School of Arts and Education. Dr. Brown is particularly interested in cognitive neuroscience, the relationship between brain and behaviour, sensation and perception, and the process of aging of the brain.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: Applied Research and Interdisciplinary Collaboration in Parasport Equipment Design

Presenter Name: Jennifer Dornstauder 
Research Team: Prateeksha Aggarwal (Centre for Innovation and Manufacturing Technology Access Centre (CIM-TAC)

Presentation Description: Para-athletes experience significant disparity in access to safe, suitable and affordable sporting equipment. While advanced manufacturing and design can reduce the cost of high-mix, low-run products, this only addresses the "affordable" part of the issue. A human-centered challenge requires a human-centered approach, starting with the people it affects and ending with the integration of a feasible solution. Learn how the groups at the Centre for Innovation and Manufacturing Technology Access Centre (CIM-TAC) and the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary are teaming up to leverage advanced technology, physiology, psychology and more to enhance the overall parasport athlete experience. 

Presenter Biography:  Jennifer Dornstauder is a versatile engineer with a Bachelor of Science in Mining Engineering from the University of Alberta. She has her Professional Engineering designation from APEGA and over a decade of experience in industrial design. In her current role as Engineering Technical Lead at the CIM-TAC, she specializes in medical device design and new product development. Simultaneously pursuing a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Alberta, Jennifer remains dedicated to pushing the boundaries of engineering and design here at RDP and in central Alberta.

Immigrant Health in Small Centers and Rural Canada: A Literature Review

Presenter names: Kaitlin White, Choon-Lee Chai, Jones Adjei

Presentation Description: Immigrants make up 23% of the Canadian population and are crucial to Canada's economic and demographic growth.  While the majority of immigrants reside in big cities, concerted efforts have aim to encourage immigrant settlement in small centers and rural Canada. These regions present a different set of settlement challenges compared to big cities. Research shows that immigrants in small centers and rural areas experience lower health outcomes compared to their counterparts in bigger cities and Canadian-born. This literature review, conducted in partnership with the Red Deer Local Immigration Partnership, sheds light on how rurality uniquely impacts immigrant health and healthcare access. We identified five recurring themes in the literature: (i) Limited support services and social network development, (ii) Lack of culturally appropriate care, (iii) Communication barriers, (iv) Transportation, and (v) Specific issues immigrant women living in rural areas face.

Presenter Biography: Kaitlin White is a second-year Multidisciplinary Studies student at Red Deer Polytechnic. In her first year of study, she achieved Years 1 & 2 First Place Research in the Student Writer Awards of Excellence for her essay on the intersection of fascism with sexuality and motherhood in Germany during World War 1 & 2. She has also had the opportunity of being a Research Technician on three separate research projects at RDP that have focused on immigrant health, anti-racism asset mapping, and corporal punishment. Her aim is graduate school, and to later work in community development.

Choon-Lee Chai, PhD is a Sociology instructor at Red Deer Polytechnic, focusing on social stratification and race and ethnic relations. He embraces visual pedagogy by incorporating visual methods, such as photo-elicitation, in his teaching. He regularly engages students in experiential learning through community-based research and service learning. In recent years, he has completed community-based research funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and in partnership with local immigrant settlement service provider organizations. His research has been published in the Journal of International Migration and Integration, Canadian Ethnic Studies, Journal of Visual Literacy, Asian Journal of Social Sciences, and Social Sciences.

Jones Adjei, PhD is a Sociology instructor at Red Deer Polytechnic, with a focus on social demography and applied statistics. His research interests include immigrant settlement experiences and population health disparities. His research has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of Sex Education, Ethnicity and Health, Canadian Studies in Population, Journal of Biosocial Science, and Canadian Ethnic Studies. Beyond his passion for teaching, he enjoys offering his research skills as a volunteer to enhance the operational capacity of immigrant service organizations in the Red Deer area. Over the past six years, he has served as a board member of the Central Alberta Immigrant Women’s Association (CAIWA).

Wellness – Room 2919A – 8:00 to 9:15 pm

Is Mental Health Much More Apparent in Today's Students?

Presenter Name: Shelby Vick 
Research Team: Shelby Vick and Caitlin Fox (School of Arts and Education)

Presentation Description: The main purpose of this study was to address the escalating number of students who are struggling with mental health. The research conducted helped narrow down the key influences that are having an impact on students in our contemporary world. The choice of this topic stemmed from the recognition that poor mental health can be a leading cause of disability and mortality. Survey participants not only identified contributing factors but also offered recommendations to initiate positive change. As educators, we need to equip and prepare ourselves for the classroom environment. What makes this project unique is its focus on recognizing elements that often go unseen.

Presenter Biography: Shelby Vick is a fourth-year University of Alberta and Red Deer Polytechnic student in the Education collaborative degree. Shelby is in their final practicum and looking forward to graduating in the Spring.

Investigating the Impact of Racial Discrimination on the Mental Health of Black Canadians

Presenter Name: Juliet Onabadejo, Folajinmi Oluwasina and Jones Adjei 
Research Team: Juliet Onabadejo, Folajinmi Oluwasina, Jones Adjei and Anita Ewan

Presentation Description: Racism and discrimination pose a hazard to the health of Black Canadians. Generally, Black Canadians report poorer health than their White and biracial counterparts. Despite these findings, scant literature exists regarding the effect of racism and discrimination on the mental health of Black Canadians. This presentation will feature a current qualitative study that aims to examine racial discrimination's effect on Black Canadians' mental health and determine the underlying processes and elements that contribute to this impact. By investigating the experiences of Black Canadians, the study will add to the current literature on racial discrimination and mental health, while also raising awareness of the experience of black individuals in Canada. Ultimately, we hope to assist in guiding policy in higher education, enhance cultural knowledge in education and practice, and improve mental health outcomes for Black Canadians and other marginalized populations. Funding for this project is made available through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Presenter Biography: Juliet Onabadejo, RN, MN, PhD is an instructor in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in the School of Wellness and Health. Her background is in Medical-surgical nursing. Her educational attainment is focused on furthering her goals of teaching and advancing research in nursing education. She enjoys curriculum development, creating a good learning environment for students, and offering one-on-one support with learning strategies. Her research interest is in cultural influence on health and learning: multicultural populations, intersectionality, and their experience in learning, and healthcare care delivery. Dr. Onabadejo has published articles and given conference presentations on incorporating multicultural content into nursing education. She is currently engaged in health research and a study in Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL).

Folajinmi Oluwasina, PhD is an instructor at the Donald School of Business, Science and Computing. He holds a bachelor's degree in microbiology, a master's degree in public health with a concentration in Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, and a Ph.D. in Epidemiology. Dr. Oluwasina is passionate about health innovations that increase access to high-quality mental health care, especially for African, Black, and Caribbean communities, as well as addressing the lack of access to healthcare and psychological therapies for patients suffering from depression and anxiety. He seeks to identify the pathways associated with a variety of stress-related health disorders, including psychosis, anxiety, suicide, depression, burnout, depersonalization, emotional exhaustion, and interpersonal disengagement. He aims to identify novel therapeutic mechanisms for treating these diseases through his research.

Jones Adjei, PhD is an instructor and head of the Sociology Department of Humanities and Social Sciences. He is a Sociologist, with a focus on social demography and applied statistics. His research interests include immigrant settlement experiences and population health disparities. His research has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of Sex Education, Ethnicity and Health, Canadian Studies in Population, Journal of Biosocial Science, and Canadian Ethnic Studies. Beyond his passion for teaching, he enjoys offering his research skills as a volunteer to enhance the operational capacity of immigrant service organizations in the Red Deer area. Over the past six years, he has served as a board member of the Central Alberta Immigrant Women’s Association (CAIWA).

The Effects of HeartMath Heart Lock-In on Elementary Students’ HRV and Self-Reported Emotion-Regulation Skill

Presenter name: Anomi Bearden
Research Team: Dr. Anomi G. Bearden, Sanne van Oostrom (RDP alumni), and Dr. Stephen B. R.  E. Brown (School of Arts and Education)

Presentation Description: It is important to address social and emotional concerns early on, as they can adversely affect learning at all levels. The classroom is an important context for fostering healthy social and emotional development. For example, emotion regulation can be reinforced through simple daily practices within schools.

The current applied research project was in collaboration with multiple community partners and assessed the effectiveness of a classroom based HeartMath practice (Heart Lock-In) on resting heart rate variability (HRV) and self-reported emotional benefits in elementary students. This repeated-measures study was conducted in central Alberta, Canada, in 2020, and involved obtaining pre-post HRV measurements from N = 24 grade five students who participated in a teacher-led 5-minute Heart Lock-In (like loving-kindness - radiating love to oneself and others) daily for 4 weeks. We hypothesized that the practice would increase resting HRV compared to a 4-week relaxation control. Qualitative questions were included to capture perceptions of the utility and impact of the practice. Univariate ANOVA analyses revealed that the HeartMath intervention significantly increased HRV compared to the relaxation control.

Students reported enhanced emotional stability, feeling more positive about themselves, and improved interpersonal relationships. They expressed that the practice gives them better focus, which helps to improve their performance (e.g., in academics and athletics). These findings provide evidence that a simple and short HeartMath emotion regulation practice can be practical for school educators, administrators, and counselors to implement in the classroom.

Presenter Biography: Anomi Bearden, PhD has been teaching various Psychology courses at Red Deer Polytechnic since 2008. Her previous research focused on the detrimental effects of media on body image, understanding human environmental behaviours (e.g., over-consumption of shared resources), and unconscious psychological motives that underlie biased defensive reactions such as prejudice, victim-blaming, and stigmatization (e.g., Just World Theory and Terror Management Theory). Although these areas still influence her work, much of her recent work centers around applying social and positive psychology to the promotion of mental health and social-emotional well-being (particularly within schools and with post-secondary students). For example, she is interested in how practicing self-compassion can reduce the negative effects of social comparison and self-critical perfectionistic standards as well as the promotion of prosocial behaviours that strengthen social connections (e.g., interpersonal mindfulness, loving-kindness, gratitude). She is also interested in social determinants (and psycho-social aspects) of mental health such as experiences of discrimination and poverty. Dr. Bearden is a passionate educator who believes that teaching psychology is her “calling”, which allows her to contribute to enhanced resilience, service orientation, and life-long learning in her students. Dr. Bearden emphasizes collaboration with various community organizations (through Community Service Learning and Applied Research), as she believes in the value of connecting student learning to meaningful service, inspiring mentors, and positive works within their community.

Empowering Wellness: Design Thinking for Assistive Technology in Long-term Care

Presenter Name: Chiyla Hemeyer 
Research Team: Dr. Gregory Wells (School of Arts and Education), Dr. Teena Dickerson (Centre of Teaching, Learning and Scholarship), Steven Friesen (Bethany Care Society), Tonya Wolfe (Division of Applied Research), Candi Raudebaugh (School of Health and Wellness) and Alicia Cafferata (Centre for Innovation and Manufacturing Technology Access Centre)

Presentation Description: This project, a collaboration between Red Deer Polytechnic and Bethany Care Society, aims to support the well-being of Young Adults residing in long-term care by leveraging design thinking principles in a care enhancement initiative integrating meaningful resident consultation and collaboration. Design thinking is a human-centered problem-solving approach which offers a framework for creative engagement and collaboration, allowing residents to become co-creators of their care experience. Design thinking workshops will be implemented with the intent of facilitating the communication of resident needs and, subsequently, the effective integration of these into assistive technology (AT). The project aims to empower residents to actively participate in identifying wellness barriers and then to brainstorm and prototype solutions that foster a sense of autonomy, purpose, and improved overall well-being while promoting the effective use of AT. Funding for this project is made available by the Institute for Continuing Care Education and Research (ICCER).

Presenter Biography: Chiyla Hemeyer is a fourth-year Psychology student with a keen interest in 2SLGBTQ+ issues and a passion for helping people from all walks of life. After completing her degree this June, she aims to work with older adults, promoting physical activity and healthy lifestyle practices. Chiyla's current research projects include the Creativity for Purpose project with Bethany CollegeSide, helping young adults in long-term care realize their needs and facilitate means to address them through assistive technology, and an in-depth review of the Move Your Mood for Older Adults pilot project. Finally, Chiyla looks forward to presenting at the annual Agora conference in April for the second time and returning to volunteering at the Golden Circle after she graduates.

Post-Secondary Barriers, Belongingness, and Well-Being: Informing Campus Mental Health Strategy Through Student Perspectives

Presenter Name: Star Clynes, Amalia Uliniuc
Research Team: Dr. Anomi Bearden (School of Arts and Education), Dr. Jamie Prowse Turner (School of Arts and Education), Star Clynes, Amalia Uliniuc, Tanya Lyons –Belt (Division of Student Success), Dr. Krista Robson (School of Arts and Education)

Presentation Description: In this qualitative study, we will use focus groups to gather Red Deer Polytechnic student perspectives on experiences with existing campus supports, barriers that impact academic success and well-being, suggestions for improvements in student services and supports, and ways to foster stronger campus connections and sense of belonging. Project supervisors are Psychology Instructors Dr. Anomi Bearden and Dr. Jamie Prowse Turner. Project collaborators are Tanya Lyons-Belt (Manager of Student Supports), RDP Counselling Centre, and Dr. Krista Robson (Sociology Instructor and RDP Lead on Post-Secondary Student Homelessness Research Project). This research will also supplement the Canadian Campus Well-being Survey and will help to inform Red Deer Polytechnic’s Student Mental Health Strategy from 2024 to 2027.

Presenter Biography: Amalia Uliniuc is a fourth-year Psychology student at Red Deer Polytechnic. Her research interests are within Social, Industrial, and Organizational Psychology, specifically pertaining to the breakdown of barriers, engagement, school/work-life balance, and organizational effectiveness to promote the growth and well-being of individuals and their organizations.

Star Clynes is a fourth-year Psychology student at Red Deer Polytechnic. Her research interests are in Social Psychology and Forensic Psychology, specifically interpersonal relationships and social connections.

Optimizing Design Through Data – Room 2919B – 8:00 to 9:15 pm

Solar Data Sharing Alliance: Illuminating the Future

Presenter name: Derek Donnelly, Benjamin Allan, and Dean Bye  
Research Team: Caleb Marquart (University of Alberta), Derek Donnelly, Benjamin Allan and Dean Bye

Presentation Description: The Energy Innovation Centre’s Data Sharing Alliance (DSA) aims to collect real-world data regarding their energy needs from our partners in Alberta. The DSA has partnered with companies and local governments that have installed solar arrays on their buildings. We take this data and collect it in our database hosted on the RDP servers; we can then take that data and perform a comparative analysis of each solar array and how it performs against similar arrays in the DSA. With data from multiple sites, the DSA allows us to build better models of solar generation in Alberta. The goal of the DSA is to include as many different technologies as possible when it comes to renewable energy and how it affects our industry partners here in Alberta.

Presenter Biography: Derek Donnelly is a second-year student pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Small Business and Entrepreneurship at Red Deer Polytechnic. Derek contributes his expertise as an Applied Research Technician in the Energy Innovation Centre (EIC). Since joining the EIC in May 2023, Derek has played an important role in the development of the Data Sharing Alliance—an initiative focused on leveraging data for advancing renewable energy practices across Alberta. Derek is driven by a desire to accelerate the transition towards a more sustainable future by expanding the scope of renewable energy research in the province. Through his involvement in the Data Sharing Alliance, Derek hopes to foster innovative solutions that will propel Alberta's renewable energy landscape forward.

Benjamin Allan serves as the Business Development Specialist for the Centres for Manufacturing and Energy Innovation at Red Deer Polytechnic. Having started his post-secondary journey at RDP and later attaining a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Alberta, Ben has cultivated a rich background spanning operations management, sales, and business development. His career path converged with RDP's innovation centres, which align his educational foundation in science with extensive professional experience, allowing Ben to contribute to the advancement of Centre for Innovation and Manufacturing Technology Access Centre (CIM-TAC) and EIC's objectives. In the EIC he facilitates collaborations with strategic partners crucial to the Data Sharing Alliance. Ben's understanding of both the scientific domain and business intricacies positions him effectively in aiding industry clients to enhance their technical capacities and business acumen through pioneering research and innovative practices.

Dean Bye embarked on his electrical career in 2002, commencing his pursuit of a Journeyperson Electrician certificate at Red Deer Polytechnic. Throughout his tenure at RDP, Dean garnered extensive experience in both residential and commercial electrical sectors. His dedication culminated in the attainment of an Alberta Master Electrician Certificate from RDP in 2011. Driven by an unwavering passion for renewable energy, Dean joined RDP’s staff in 2018 as an Electrical and Energy Innovation Lab technician. Operating within the Alternative Energy Lab, Dean expanded his knowledge, particularly focusing on solar photovoltaic systems. His commitment to advancing expertise in renewable energy was recognized with accreditation as a PV Associate by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners. Dean's multifaceted experience, coupled with his dedication to renewable energy exploration, underscores his instrumental role in the Energy Innovation Centre. His invaluable contributions continue to amplify RDP's commitment to pioneering advancements in sustainable energy practices.

Design of Fixtures

Presenter Name: Debjyoti Sen 
Research Team: Guriqbal Singh Munday, Jennifer Dornstauder, Jayden Koster from Centre for Innovation and Manufacturing Technology Access Centre.

Presentation Description: Fixtures play a crucial role in mechanical engineering by securing, positioning, and aligning workpieces in various applications.

This presentation will delve into three unique fixtures developed at the Centre for Innovation and Manufacturing Technology Access Centre. We begin with a solution ideation for workpiece fixing, followed by a research project exploring the use of plastic as an alternative to metal in fixtures. The final segment focuses on the design, fabrication, and testing of a fixture for coupon failure analysis. Throughout this presentation, we will cover fundamental concepts, guiding principles, and design methodologies, while also addressing potential challenges encountered in these projects.

Presenter Biography: Debjyoti Sen is an accomplished leader with a vision to shape Alberta's technology landscape and foster innovation. He brings extensive experience bridging academia and entrepreneurial endeavors to his role as the Director of the Centres for Manufacturing and Energy Innovation.

With a Master’s degree in mechanical engineering from University of Alberta and a strong background in applied research, Debjyoti founded two technology ventures which helped entrepreneurs, SMEs and large industries in the adoption of digital technology solutions. He has a deep-rooted belief in Alberta's potential to thrive in advanced manufacturing, energy innovation, and digital technologies, and sees the Centres for Manufacturing and Energy Innovation as a linchpin for propelling technological advancements and nurturing a thriving innovation ecosystem.

His qualifications speak to a wealth of expertise spanning applied research, engineering, project management and business leadership. Debjyoti’s portfolio includes work across sectors such as manufacturing, oil and gas, biomedicine, aerospace, and more, and key partnerships which underscore his capacity to foster impactful collaborations.

Debjyoti has a strong desire to contribute to RDP’s innovation story, and believes our infrastructure, talent pool and geographic location position us to play a pivotal role in shaping the technology landscape in Alberta. By offering his knowledge and over a decade of experience in applied research, engineering, project management and business development to this leadership role, Debjyoti hopes to progress RDP’s impact on the innovation ecosystem.

Welding, Automated and Manual – A Hot Topic in Modeling for Quality Control

Presenter Name: Kyle S. Nicholson 
Research Team: Alicia Cafferata-Arnett (Centre of Innovation in Manufacturing – Technology Access Centre), James Hogan (University of Alberta), Tonya Wolfe (Division of Applied Research)

Presentation Description: The Centre of Innovation in Manufacturing - Technology Access Centre (CIM-TAC) is collaborating with the University of Alberta on this project to develop a well-defined dataset for arc welding processes using low carbon steel materials.  This dataset, collected from both manual and automated welding experiments completed together by the CIM-TAC and the School of Trades, is being analyzed and modeled with multivariate techniques to identify useful relationships for quality control and the development of a comprehensive machine learning algorithm. The purpose of this project is to support knowledge translation of complex manufacturing processes by developing technical requirements for in-field repair of steel structures and pipelines by autonomous robotic systems.  Autonomous repair of key Albertan infrastructure can minimize down-time of equipment, reduce repair costs, and enable safe remediation in extreme environments that are cold, corrosive, high temperature, underground, or in remote locations.

Presenter Biography: Dr. Kyle Nicholson is an Industrial Research Associate at the Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing – Technology Access Centre (CIM-TAC). He is currently working on projects in autonomous welding and additive manufactured metals and ceramics. Previously he studied hydrogen absorption by magnesium rare-earth alloys for his doctoral thesis.   Kyle’s research interests include materials characterization, advanced processes for particle-based production and manufacturing, and emerging materials and technologies for energy storage. He aligns these interests with the mission of the CIM-TAC to support innovation in central Alberta manufacturing with product and process development, improvement through innovative technical services, and applied research projects.

Lattice Structures in Design: The Effect of Unit Cells on Compressive Strength

Presenter name: Prateeksha Aggarwal, Jayden Koster and Tonya Wolfe

Presentation Description: Lattices are becoming increasingly prevalent in design as they are a method to modify mechanical properties of various structures. There are a large variety of building blocks, called unit cells, that are patterned to create these lattice structures and each of these unit cells have their own set of properties. Research, design and testing were conducted to evaluate the relative difference in compressive strength between lattice structures, each composed of a different unit cell. The goal of this study was to analyze the different lattice structures to determine how the unit cell’s compressive properties may be put to advantage in different design applications.

Presenter Biography: Prateeksha Aggarwal is a Biomedical Engineering student and an Applied Research Technician at the Red Deer Polytechnic Centre for Innovation and Manufacturing. She assists in brainstorming and conducting research during the process of designing and prototyping clients’ products. She enjoys having the opportunity to apply what she has learned in her classes to industry projects.

Jayden Koster is an Innovation Lab Technician in the Red Deer Polytechnic Centre for Innovation and Manufacturing (CIM-TAC). He has a Mechanical Engineering Technology diploma from RDP. Since joining CIM-TAC in July 2020, he has continued training on state-of-the-art equipment and learning how to use various software programs and tools. Jayden’s role at the CIM-TAC includes design, research, quoting scope of work, prototyping, and 3D modelling.

Tonya Wolfe, PhD, PEng is Red Deer Polytechnic’s Associate Vice President, Applied Research. Since arriving at RDP in 2020, she has spearheaded the growth and development of the Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing (CIM-TAC) and the Energy Innovation Centre (EIC). Dr. Wolfe’s areas of expertise include metallurgy, materials design, additive manufacturing, welding, wear resistant materials, steelmaking, biomedical engineering, and process modeling. She holds a Professional Engineering designation (P.Eng), a Bachelor of Applied Science from Queen’s University, and graduate degrees from the University of Alberta. Her MSc investigated the use of biomaterials for prosthetic applications and her PhD studied composite overlays deposited by plasma-transferred arc welding.

Iterative Design: A Research Informed Hands-On Approach

Presenter name: Usman Cheema

Presentation Description: Contrary to popular belief, designing a new product or device is no easy task. The final product is often the result of multiple failed prototypes- a process known as iterative design. Despite not being widely recognized, the methodologies and rationale behind this intuitive approach are applicable across various fields of research and development. Understanding what iterative design is and learning how to implement it is often the difference between a poorly made product and a functional product that is up to market standards. Given that Centre for Innovation and Manufacturing Technology Access Centre (CIM-TAC) is involved in designing and testing protypes from the ground up, and usually a small team overseas the whole process, it allows an unprecedented knowledge of the entire iterative design process. This is noteworthy, as in the industry, this process is normally divided among separate groups and teams.

Presenter Biography: Usman Cheema is an Applied Research Technician within the Red Deer Polytechnic Centre for Innovation and Manufacturing Technology Access Centre (CIM-TAC) and a third-year Mechanical Engineering co-op student from the University of Alberta. Usman’s interest in design and manufacturing led him to the CIM-TAC. The CIM-TAC's wide variety of engineering projects from all applications and domains of engineering have provided Usman with the unique ability to understand problems from aspects of all different industries and to apply innovative solutions.

Influences on the Classroom – Room 2920 – 8:00 to 9:15 pm

Is Academic Performance Affected by Athletics?

Presenter Name: Brooke Skrypichayko 
Research Team: Brooke Skrypichayko and Caitlin Fox (School of Arts and Education)

Presentation Description: This research compared attributes and tendencies between students and student athletes and how that affects their GPA and academic performance. The goal was to investigate the relationship between a student's schedule, study commitment, and athletic involvement to understand how these factors influence grades, assessing whether the impact is positive or negative. This research is important because movement and athletics builds life skills that can be used inside the classroom like time management, teamwork, resiliency. Ensuring students are moving and receiving team sport exposure will allow for skills to be used in the classroom and excel in their academics. This research is unique because ultimately it comes down to personal attributes and drive that creates academic success and athletics can have a helping hand in that, if the student athlete chooses to do so.

Presenter Biography: Brooke Skrypichayko is a fourth-year University of Alberta and Red Deer Polytechnic student in the Education collaborative degree. Brooke is in their final practicum and looking forward to graduating in the Spring.

How do Absences in the Classroom Affect Students' Achievement and Teachers' Performance?

Presenter Name: Keith Davis 
Research Team: Keith Davis and Caitlin Fox (School of Arts and Education)

Presentation Description: This study examines how classroom absences affect both student achievement and teacher performance, exploring teacher and student absenteeism and their impact on school culture. Through an online survey involving active educators and retired administrators, the research revealed that teacher absences disrupt routines and instructional practices, ultimately affecting student-teacher connections and learning achievement. Also, student absenteeism significantly influences teacher practices and academic performance, disrupting classroom dynamics and group interactions. School culture plays an important role, emphasizing the need for collaborative efforts between educators and administrators to reduce absenteeism and create positive learning environments. The study highlights the intricate relationship between absences, teaching practices, and school culture, advocating for cooperative strategies to enhance student and teacher attendance.

Presenter Biography: Keith Davis is a fourth-year University of Alberta and Red Deer Polytechnic student in the Education collaborative degree. Keith is in their final practicum and looking forward to graduating in the Spring.

How Does Social Strain Impact Academic Achievement in the Middle Years?

Presenter Name: Shayla Beauchamp 
Research Team: Shayla Beauchamp and Caitlin Fox (School of Arts and Education)

Presentation Description: In a developmental period characterized by emerging social pressures, middle school students frequently struggle to develop and maintain a sense of belonging, acceptance, and confidence through strong social relationships. When this occurs, they are considered to be experiencing social adversity. Although it is understood that social adversity affects academic performance, deeper insight into this topic is necessary to understand the relationship and propose strategies. This research study surveyed Central Alberta middle school educators to explore how social adversity impacts academic achievement in the middle years. Information provided by this study may assist educators, counselors, and parents in understanding the importance of social ties when it comes to academics. Furthermore, educational stakeholders may utilize strategies presented in this research to support adolescents in building and maintaining robust social connections, thereby reinforcing students in their journey towards academic success.

Presenter Biography: Shayla Beauchamp is a fourth-year University of Alberta and Red Deer Polytechnic student in the Education collaborative degree. Shayla is in their final practicum and looking forward to graduating in the Spring.

What are the Influences of Parenting Styles on Student Behaviour in a Classroom?

Presenter Name: Jamie Doyle 
Research Team: Jamie Doyle and Caitlin Fox (School of Arts and Education)

Presentation Description: A large body of educational research indicates that parenting styles directly influence a student’s behaviour within a classroom and it is realized that the role parents play within their child’s upbringing directly affects their child's emotional, psychological, and social development. This study strives to recognize the influence of the four parenting styles; authoritative parenting, permissive parenting, uninvolved parenting, and authoritarian parenting, on behaviour portrayed by students within a classroom. The patterns and similarities seen through the collected data will be used to express the impact of parenting styles within a child’s emotional behaviour, academic success, and relationships within a classroom setting. It was discovered that authoritative parenting styles have an extremely favourable impact on a child’s behaviour, academic success, and relationship development, whereas authoritarian parenting, uninvolved parenting and permissive parenting styles have a detrimental effect on children’s behaviour, academic success, and relationship development.

Presenter Biography: Jamie Doyle is a fourth-year University of Alberta and Red Deer Polytechnic student in the Education collaborative degree. Jamie is in their final practicum and looking forward to graduating in the Spring.

How Should Educators Approach the Use of Artificial Intelligence in Classrooms?

Presenter Name: Sarah Dubas 
Research Team: Sarah Dubas and Caitlin Fox (School of Arts and Education)

Presentation Description: The main objective of this study is to explore the integration and influence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in educational settings. This research focuses on educators' experiences, attitudes, and the development of policies regarding AI use in classrooms. By exploring these aspects, the study offers firsthand insights from educators, providing a practical perspective on AI's application in the education.  As well, the research goes beyond analysis and suggests actionable recommendations. In our contemporary society, this research recognizes the importance of becoming equipped with constantly developing technologies as educators.

Presenter Biography: Sarah Dubas is a fourth-year University of Alberta and Red Deer Polytechnic student in the Education collaborative degree. Sarah is in their final practicum and looking forward to graduating in the Spring.