Second annual ASSU conference showcases exceptional undergraduate research

February 1, 2019 by Ariel Visconti - A&S News

Undergraduate students from diverse academic backgrounds across the Faculty of Arts & Science had the opportunity to share their knowledge and passion with a wider audience at a recent conference hosted by the Arts & Science Students’ Union (ASSU).

The second annual ASSU Undergraduate Research Conference provided a platform for students to showcase the research projects they are undertaking through their undergraduate studies at U of T. Topics ranged from food preferences among ants in Peru’s Amazon rainforests to sex, power and male witchcraft in early modern Germany, reflecting the wide breadth of research expertise within the Faculty.

The conference also featured a keynote presentation by Lynette Ong, who is jointly appointed at the Asian Institute and the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy. Ong, an expert on China and Southeast Asia, regularly contributes opinion pieces to Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, TheWashington Post and The Globe and Mail.

David Cameron, Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Science, greets ASSU staff Gavin Nowlan and Jane Seto. ASSU President Haseeb Hassaan and Executive member Victoria Chen (not pictured) led the organization of the event. All photos: Diana Tyszko.
The conference provided an opportunity for undergraduate students to share their research and engage with a wider audience beyond professors, classmates and TAs.
Kristina van Veen, who is pursuing a major in Human Geography and minors in Book and Media Studies and Material Culture, studied the impact and significance of emoticons in her research project.
Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations student Evelyn Ullyott-Hayes’ research focuses on a shabti doll – a funerary figure from ancient Egyptian times that would accompany the deceased into the afterlife – of King Senkamanisken, which is housed at the Royal Ontario Museum.
Neuroscience student Alexandra Krassikova presented her research on reprogramming cells in the brain and spinal cord to help ameliorate MS symptoms.
Urban studies students Keisha St. Louis-McBurnie and Nikki Pagaling explored the redevelopment of Moss Park. The pair worked under the supervision of Assistant Professor David Roberts through the Research Opportunities Program.
Cole B. Brookson, an Ecology and Evolutionary Biology student and research assistant for Assistant Professor Chelsea Rochman, is studying the presence of microplastics in the diet of double-crested birds in freshwater ecosystems.