Celebrating UN SDG Research Day

Research Week 2024
UN SDG Research Day on March 20, 2024.

On Wednesday, March 20th, the SGSPA and the Office of the Vice-Provost, Global Engagement at Queen’s hosted the first ever United Nations Sustainable Development Goal Research Day as part of Research Week 2024, highlighting how graduate student research at Queen’s is helping to advance the 17 UN SDGs and the outcomes associated with them. Sandra den Otter, VP Global Engagement, and Fahim Quadir, VP of the SGSPA both attended the event and stressed the importance of the work being done by graduate students at Queen’s every day.

Students from different departments and disciplines spoke on a wide variety of topics, including:

Rebecca Hansford (PhD, Health Sciences) spoke about her research into cancer diagnosis and treatment amongst people living with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, and her findings on their outcomes once being diagnosed.

Janet Lawson (PhD, Health Promotion) shared her work on improving the levels of participation in sport amongst people with disabilities. Her research specifically focused on the area of classification, and how systems of organization for sport can be better arranged to suit the needs of people with disabilities.

Rafael Santana (PhD, Rehabilitation Science) talked about his work on improving peer interaction between children with Complex Communication Needs using technology. His project created a version of a game (Quarto) that could be controlled using an eye tracker, allowing any child the ability to engage with play.

Erynn Monette (MD/PhD, Kinesiology & Health Studies) spoke on her work improving access to palliative care in developing countries, specifically focused on a community in Belize. She shared how she worked with the community of Dangriga to improve access to healthcare using social factors.

Excellent Eboigbe (MSc, Geological Sciences & Engineering) talked about how Artisanal Small-Scale Gold Mining (ASGM), which accounts for 20-30% of the total world gold supply, can cause health & environmental problems due to toxic mercury contamination. Her work looked at communities in Nigeria where this mining takes place and analyzed concentrations of mercury in soil & foodstuffs.

Ansha Nega (PhD, Rehabilitation Science) spoke on the sustainability of work and how it can have impacts on the world & environment. Her work focused on employees in Ethiopia and how their lives can be improved after workplace accidents.

Isabella Aung (PhD, Political Studies) talked about her work into social media as a tool for grassroots activism – and how that tool can lead authoritarian regimes to oppress female activists. She also explored how social media companies can help to combat this problem in the future.

Sabrina Masud (PhD, English) explored how literary activism intersects with scholarly activism through the lens of environmental disaster, specifically the Bhopal Disaster of 1984. She shared the idea of ‘slow violence’ and how it can be portrayed through the lens of environmental collapse.

Kenneth Gyamerah (PhD, Education) talked about how traditional African philosophy & ways of knowing can be used to improve educational outcomes. He specifically shared the two concepts of ‘Sankofa’ (learning from the past) and ‘Ubuntu’ (collective orientation/knowledge gathering) and how those ways of thinking can influence educational outcomes.

Peash Saha (PhD, Computing) shared his lab’s work into creating algorithms that help with social choice problems – issues that concern the distribution of social needs, like food or housing. He also stressed the need to keep these algorithms fair and free of bias.

Jordan Stark (PhD, Global Development Studies) talked about his research into the intersection of urbanization & datafication (the aspects of everyday life that are becoming data points) and how data can be used to improve conditions in informal housing.

Islamiat Abidemi Raji (Postdoctoral Fellow, Biology) showed how her research into urban bird populations can be used to study overall environmental degradation and declining biodiversity in a region. She created an innovative, community-based resource for reporting on bird populations to get more data from cities all across the world.

Thank you to the students who shared their fascinating research!