Principal's Undergraduate Research Leaders

About PURL

The Principal’s Undergraduate Research Leaders (PURL) serve a central role in facilitating research experiences for students through advising, increasing awareness and participation in research. They also take a leadership role in supporting student-led research initiatives and in engaging in knowledge mobilization. The PURL program contributes to the Strategic goal of integrating teaching and research.

Student Guide to Undergraduate Research 

In 2023, the Principal's Undergraduate Leaders developed a Guide to Undergraduate Research at Queen's. Developed by students, for students, this guide highlights the benefits of undergraduate research, provides insight into the wide variety of research opportunities available at the university, and offers practical advice on how to get started.

 Download the Guide to Undergraduate Research


2023 PURL Recipients

Six students were selected to participate in the inaugural Principal's Undergraduate Research Leaders cohort. 

Young woman with glasses smiling at the camera in Mitchell Hall

Hayley is a second-year biomechanical engineering student and 2021 Schulich Leader from Waterdown, Ontario. Her interest in research began in high school with her co-operative education placement at the C20/20 Innovation Hub at McMaster University. The lab focuses on the development and commercialization of ophthalmic technologies. Coming out of their first year, Hayley was awarded the NSERC USRA in the Mechanical and Materials Engineering Department in the Regenerative Engineering Laboratory, under the supervision of Dr. Roshni Rainbow. The lab focuses on the development of tissue-engineered cartilage in conjunction with the study of cartilage-muscle cross talk. As a result of her work over the summer, Hayley co-authored a poster entitled, “Role of irisin in promoting resistance in chondrocytes to pro-inflammatory cytokine-mediated damage”, which competed at the Queen’s Engineering Research Networking Day. Hayley has continued to work in the lab part time, assisting in various lab experiments. As a Principal’s Undergraduate Research Leader, Hayley will share her passion by encouraging more students in engineering to explore opportunities in research, particularly more female students in support of Engineers Canada’s 30 by 30 goal.

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Sylvie Garabedian is a second-year Commerce/Geology dual degree student driven by her love for learning and understanding the people around her through research and knowledge acquisition. She has previously served as a researcher with the Institute for Youth Health and Development where, along with a team of 12 students, conducted research funded by the Toronto Public Health to investigate factors affecting body image and self-esteem in GTA youths. More recently, her curiosity has led her to develop an interest in web design and development. In the summer of 2022, she started Sylvie.CSS, a web design and marketing consultancy to support small businesses in improving their digital assets. In Fall 2022, Sylvie integrated her creative technical skills with her interest in supporting students through her work as a Student Digital Analyst at the University Relations (UR) Office, and Student Ambassador at both the Student Community Relations (SCR) Office and Development & Alumni Engagement Office (D&AE). In winter term, Sylvie looks forward to sharing her love for exploring ideas by supporting undergraduate student engagement in research through her role as Research Assistant within the PhD & MSc Research Office at the Smith School of Business.  

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Melody Garas is an Arts & Science student whose research background consists of clinical psychological research. As a third-year psychology student at Queen's, Melody had the opportunity to participate in, and gain valuable research experience during their time as an undergraduate. Melody volunteered as a research assistant in various clinical psychology labs. Currently, she is an RA in the MoodLab and the SexLab, whole also working with Dr. Kate Harkness as a directed lab student in the MoodLab, where she is exploring and researching the cognitive processes of major depression in adults. Melody looks forward to working with the team, and to sharing their enthusiasm for research by aiding to facilitate more opportunities for students at Queen's!

young man smiling outsideSanchit Kaushal is a third-year student in the Bachelor of Health Sciences program at Queen’s University. He is incredibly enthusiastic about research and has had the pleasure of working under the supervision of Dr. Karen Yeates in the Department of Medicine for the past several years. His research centers on women’s access and perceived barriers to healthcare services in rural Tanzania, including reproductive health and antenatal care. Most recently, the team qualitatively analyzed semi-structured interviews to better understand patients’ and health providers’ knowledge, attitudes, behaviours, and experiences on the region’s cervical cancer screening pathway. Outside of research, Sanchit is passionate about mentorship and student outreach. He has been named an EDIIA Fellow for his involvement in the QHS Outreach and Summer Program Mentorship Initiative, and also serves as an Ambassador for the Bachelor of Health Sciences program at events such as the Ontario Universities’ Fair and Fall Open House.

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Lisa Lavalle is currently in her first year of the MD program. Prior to entering medical school, she completed her BSc in Human Kinetics at the University of Guelph and her MSc in Kinesiology and Health Science at York University. During her MSc, Lisa used virtual reality to study the role that our visual system plays in helping us to balance. At Queen’s, Lisa is a member of the School of Medicine’s Research Task Force, where she is working on an Academic Enrichment Program to engage medical students in co-curricular research initiatives. She is also passionate about student mentorship, having held roles within the Medical Mentor Community and as a Learning Services Peer Helper. As a PURL, she will be representing Queen’s Health Sciences and is excited about the opportunity to help students engage in meaningful research experiences.

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Victoria Yu is the Faculty of Education representative for PURL. She was in the Concurrent Education (I/S) program and graduated with a B.ScH in Biology and Psychology in 2022. She is a current teacher candidate at Queen’s. During her undergraduate degree at Queen’s, Victoria was involved in a variety of research opportunities that shaped her beliefs and passions. Victoria had the privilege of receiving two NSERC USRA awards (one in chemistry education and one in biology), receiving an ASURF award (biology/chemistry education research), completing a work study in clinical psychology, completing a research mentorship in molecular biology, and completing a self-directed lab course in social psychology. These experiences enriched her understanding of the importance of incorporating research and teaching in student learning. Victoria is looking forward to sharing her experiences and supporting undergraduate students in their research endeavours at Queen’s.

 Request a Principal's Undergraduate Research Leader (PURL) 

Are you looking for a student leader to speak at your course or event about getting involved in research?

Request a Principal's Undergraduate Research Leader (PURL). The PURLs can discuss: 

  • What is research?
  • Why do students become involved in undergraduate research? 
  • How are the PURLs involved in research at Queen's?
  • What are the experiences of the PURLs? 
  • What are opportunities and resources to engage in research? 

The PURLs are available to lead presentations and speak on panels. We will do our best to accommodate your requests based on the availability of the PURLs.

  If you have any questions email or submit the form below. 

Submit contact form


Apply to become one of the six PURLs and:

  • Impact your peers' access and exposure to undergraduate research experiences to enhance their learning experiences
  • Contribute to the university’s Strategy of integrating teaching and research
  • Engage in professional development opportunities
  • Gain leadership experience
  • Refine your own research skills 
  • Network with faculty, staff, students and belong to a community of practice
  • Receive a $2,000 stipend


To be one of the six PURLs, you must:

  • Be a current undergraduate student or a student in a professional program (e.g. teacher candidate, JD, MD) at Queen’s University
  • Be committed to dedicate approximately 10hrs/month to this position from January-May 2023
  • Have experience in research, scholarship and/or creative activities


As a PURL, you will:

  • Assist faculties and other students with undergraduate research outreach programs and events
  • Share your experience and enthusiasm for undergraduate research at Queen’s
  • Collect data on student involvement in research and prepare research briefs
  • Take a leadership role in supporting student-led research initiatives 
  • Partner with other PURLs to develop new ideas
  • Mentor recipients of USSRF, ASURF, USRA and other related research funds
  • Attend educational sessions, as well as monthly meetings

Application Process

 Applications are closed.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities at Queen's

At Queen’s University, we embrace the concept of embedding research into all aspects of the student learning experience. We seek to create opportunities for all who study at Queen’s—whether undergraduates, graduates, or post-doctoral fellows—to apply their passion, curiosity, and problem-solving abilities to society’s most significant and urgent challenges.