Thompson Rivers University

Record year for investment in undergraduate research

December 4, 2019


Eleven students will spend the winter investigating original and important research topics that range from an exploration of the microbial communities within the permafrost of Cambridge Bay, to the accessibility of post-secondary for low-income students.

These projects, all of which will contribute new knowledge to their respective fields, are funded through TRU’s flagship Undergraduate Research Experience Award Program (UREAP).  The program, which provides students with $6,000 scholarships (along with up to $1,000 extra for operating funds) has been available since 2003 and is supported by the Comprehensive University Enhancement Fund.  

With two UREAP competitions held annually, to date, 41 scholarships have been awarded for an investment of $250,000 in undergraduate research.

“The increased interest in programs like the UREAP is remarkable, prompting the development of other new and exciting programs for undergraduate research,” said Sukh Heer Matonovich, Associate Director, Student Research and Public Engagement. “We are thrilled to see submissions from each of the different programs on campus, from law and visual arts, to nursing, business, science, and social work. Engaging students in undergraduate research is a priority at TRU, and our growth in this area is attributed to the commitment from faculty to offer invaluable mentorship opportunities.”

The UREAP is unique in that it moves students beyond the role of Undergraduate Research Assistant, and Research Apprentice, and gives them the opportunity to be principle investigators of their own unique projects.

The UREAP is a great stepping stone to becoming an Undergraduate Research Ambassador, which is a program that allows students to gain enhanced leadership skills while working with the TRU Research Office on numerous research-related projects.

To qualify for a UREAP students must have completed at least 60 credits and have a minimum GPA of 3.2. Each student is mentored through their project by a faculty supervisor.

2019 Fall UREAP Recipients
  • Arjun Gill, Nursing, “Understanding the Decision-Making Process of Nursing Students through Case Study Testing”.
  • Avery Pottle, Science, “The DNA of Cambridge Bay: An analysis of the microbial community within the permafrost layer of Cambridge Bay, Canada.”
  • Cyrene Catenza, Science, “Capillary Electrophoresis Signal Enhancement for the Detection of Selected Xanthates.”
  • Gabrielle Dagasso, Mathematics, “Genome-wide Association Studies and their applications in bread wheat FHB resistance prediction.”
  • Jeanne Albutra, Social Work, “Accessibility of Post-Secondary Education for Low-Income Students.”
  • Lyn Richards, Visual Arts, “The Uses of Beauty: Evoking Forest Ecosystems in the Context of a Climate Emergency through Visual Art Installation.”
  • Natasha Little, Law, “Bridging the Gap between Science and Law: From Classrooms to Courtrooms.” 
  • Payal Khadaria, Business, “Climate change and its economic impacts on the forestry industry.”
  • Sage Raymond, “Relationships Between Commercial Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) Viewings and Spawning Kokanee Salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) Numbers in the Lardeau River Valley, B.C., from 2012 to 2019.”
  • Ryan Ficocelli, Computing Science, “Crowd Control Software.”
  • Tristan Stanjeck, Tourism,  “Local Attitudes towards Tourism – Kamloops” 

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