Integrating research into the undergraduate experience


Integrating research into the undergraduate experience

The Undergraduate Summer Student Research Fellowships provide students with the unique opportunity to pursue their own research project under the guidance of a Queen’s faculty member.

By Jake Harris, University Relations Intern

December 14, 2022


As the winter semester wraps up, undergraduate students start thinking about how they will spend their summers. For many, this decision is filled with choices around work, internships, and a variety of other professional endeavours. At Queen’s, for more than a decade, undergraduate students have had the opportunity to further expand their research skills through the Undergraduate Student Summer Research Fellowships (USSRF).

"One of Queen’s strategic goals is to embed research into teaching and learning," says Nancy Ross, Vice-Principal Research. "The USSRF exposes students to research experiences, including the challenges and rewards. Along the way, students gain analytical and presentation skills that will help prepare them for future studies or careers."

The USSRF gives Queen’s students the unique opportunity to develop a research project with a faculty supervisor on a topic of their choice. Through this process, students develop foundational research skills that they can apply as they continue their studies and eventually transition into the workplace. Twenty students were awarded fellowships in 2022, with two of these fellowships taking place at the Bader College campus, in East Sussex, England.

"Working at Bader College was a life-changing experience as I had never been outside of North America prior to my travel," says Noah Berc, 2022 USSRF Fellow. "Growing as a field researcher requires practice and the USSRF is the best opportunity for undergraduates to learn and grow in the world of academia. Moving forward, I hope to conduct more research during my time at Queen’s."

Recently, these USSRF recipients were given the opportunity to present their final research at a recognition event hosted by Principal Patrick Deane and Nancy Ross, Vice-Principal Research.

[Photo of Angela Li presenting her project]
Angela Li presents her project "Social and Supportive Relationships of Adolescents with Physical Disabilities in Canada and France" during the 2022 USSRF recognition event.

Here are some project highlights from the 2022 cohort:

Anwar Subhani’s (Supervisor: Setareh Ghahari; Rehabilitation Studies) project looked at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada on immigrants from the United States in comparison to immigrants from other countries. Through his research, he was able to conclude that, due to a myriad of factors, non-US immigrants were more reluctant to seek external support and had a greater likelihood of contracting the virus, while US immigrants faced a higher degree of socio-economic decline.

Noah Berc’s (Supervisor: Lucas Villegas-Aristizabal; History) fellowship took place at Bader College. Berc researched the Frisian crusade to Acre between 1217-1218. His project highlighted the unpredictability and complexity of crusades throughout the European region, referencing specific historic events from the perspective of a writer who was a part of the journey.

Taylor Cole (Supervisor: J. Andrew Grant; Political Studies) examined the sourcing of minerals for renewable energy technologies. Based on her research, she concluded that the demand for minerals needed in the creation of renewable technology will expand the mining industry, which, if managed poorly, will bring with it a plethora of social consequences. She looked at the Democratic Republic of the Congo as a key example of a country that has seen the negative social effects of the expansion of the mining industry.

How to participate

The USSRF is an important initiative that demonstrates Queen’s commitment to integrating research opportunities into the undergraduate experience. To learn more about previous fellowships or the application process for the 2023 cohort of the USSRF, visit the Vice-Principal Research Portfolio website.

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