Student Research Opportunities
Summer 2022 Research Awards for Undergraduate Students
Saint Mary's University is sponsoring several full-time summer research positions for Saint Mary's undergraduate students. The following programs are available to students:
- SSHRC Explore Undergraduate Research Awards
- First-Year Undergraduate Research Awards Program
- NSERC Undergraduate Summer Research Awards (USRA)
- Dean of Science Research Awards
Summer research students will work with a Saint Mary's professor to gain skills and knowledge related to research.
For inquires about the Undergraduate Summer Research Awards, please contact Vanisa.Omicevic@smu.ca
How to apply
*PLEASE NOTE THAT APPLICATIONS FOR THIS COMPETITION ARE NOW CLOSED*
- Saint Mary's University undergraduate students in any academic discipline may apply
Note: students from outside of Saint Mary’s University in Science/NSERC disciplines may apply for the NSERC USRA program. A limited number of NSERC USRAs may be provided to students from outside of Saint Mary’s.
- Normally, an overall GPA (“CGPA”) of at least 3.60 is required
- The First Year Undergraduate Research Awards is for students who started their studies at Saint Mary’s in January 2021 or September 2021, or in between those dates (and had 15 credit hours or less of transfer credits if coming to Saint Mary’s from another post-secondary institution).
To be considered for a summer research position, you will need to apply online by February 21, 2022 and have the following items ready to provide via the online application.
- the research areas you would like to work in (see below for researcher list)
- a short (up to one page) description/essay describing why you would like to be considered for this research position, including the following:
- why you have chosen the research areas you did
- why you feel your courses (and/or your other experience) give you some background to work in the area(s) you've selected
- your resume
- your unofficial transcript from Banner (PDF format)
Note: Position selection will involve a review of your discussion/essay, your background and resume, and your academic record at Saint Mary's University. Our goal is to select students in as many different research areas as possible from across all University Faculties: Arts, Business, and Science.
Successful applicants will be contacted after the application deadline about the next steps.
If there is a professor you are interested in working with who doesn’t appear on the list below, you are encouraged to contact that professor, and have the professor contact Vanisa.Omicevic@smu.ca if they want to be added to the list.
Although not required, students are encouraged to contact the professor(s) they are considering as a potential supervisor from the list below.
History/Canadian legal history
- The history of law in Canada from the First World War to the introduction of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982.
- Conducting research on the concepts of evil, wrongdoing, vice, and complicity.
Rachael Collins / Michele Byers
Criminology-mixed-methods, mass and serial violence / (WGST/WGSS) - media studies, critical theory
- Media coverage of serial and mass murder, with particular focus on gender, racialization, and sexuality; time permitting a narrower focus on the maritime region.
Human migration and climate change
- Research would involve reviewing literature in relation to human mobility and migration as a consequence of climate change impacts. Reviewing government documents and international Climate Change National Action Plans to address climate change adaptation will be undertaken by the selected student. Students in BES, ENVS, Political Science, IDS or SJCS would be particularly well suited to this research.
- Assisting with two projects: one related to campus sexual violence prevention and policy and the other related to policies to facilitate domestic violence prevention.
Daniel Currie Hall
- Digitizing a database of words and sentences in Mende, a tonal language.
- assisting in the ongoing development of an interactive history of science and technology web project
- assisting in a project studying the history of community-based health education in rural and remote communities
- Assistance with research on two separate projects: the first explores feminist and Indigenous governance developments in North America, with comparative work on Canada and Mexico, in particular; and the second project delves into recent changes and challenges in UK Politics.
Artificial Intelligence and Fiction
- Work on annotated bibliographies and the development of other resources for the website for social robot futures (https://www.socialrobotfutures.com/); possible blog writing. The student needs to be a good writer, an avid reader, and capable of independent research.
Project: Uninhabited Islands in the Literary Culture of Atlantic Canada
- The student will assist the professor and graduate research assistant on a project locating archival materials.
Geography & Environmental Studies
- The Socio-Economic Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Immigrant Entrepreneurship in Nova Scotia.
Eugena (Eunjeong) Kwon
- The changing nature of work and learning in the COVID-19 era: The impact on international students' health and well-being - Keywords: COVID-19, international migration, international students, social determinants of health, lifestyle, physical and mental well-being, university-to-work transition, career aspirations, academic performances.
- Assisting in research on police involvement in mental health-related crises.
Indigenous Pathways to U SPORTS
- Indigenous undergraduate student assisting alongside the Visiting Indigenous Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Sport and Health on research with Indigenous U SPORTS athletes about their experiences making their way to university sport participation.
Study of Religion/Early Christianity in the Roman World
-(1) Assisting with research on education in early Christian groups in the Roman world. (2) Assisting with the identification of sources on ancient modes of education and the development of a comparative framework for understanding how learning takes place in cultures that rely on oral tradition.
English Language and Literature - Fasting in Nineteenth-Century British Culture; "Reading Dickens"
- The student will assist with research for two projects: one related to the representation of fasting and starvation in nineteenth-century British culture and the other bibliographic research connected with a book-length project on Dickens aimed at undergraduate and graduate students.
- Assisting with archaeological fieldwork at the Roman sites of the Villa of Titus and the Baths of Vespasian in Italy, including excavation, data recording and entry, artifact processing, archaeobotanical recovery, and data analysis. Research to be done in Italy and in Halifax.
Feminist Philosophy, Ethics, Critical Race Theory, Philosophy of Law
- Ethics of conversation, microaggressions and microaffirmations, linguistic violence, tort law, blame, apology, and recovery from trauma.
Modern Languages and Classics, Mediterranean Archaeology
- Assisting in processing artifacts and organizing documentation from the archaeological excavation at the Oenotrian-Greek site of Incoronata "greca" (Italy) (8-6 c. BCE.
- Assisting in research on China's changing role in the global food regime since the 1950s.
Sociology and International Development Studies
- Project on intersectional approaches to understanding sexual and gender-based violence in the context of migration.
Danika van Proosdij
Coastal Geomorphology / Nature-Based Climate Change Adaptation
- Real world applications of nature-based climate adaptation techniques and habitat restoration in sandy systems (beneficial re-use of dredge material) and the Bay of Fundy (Managed dyke realignment).
Political Science/European Union's Foreign and Security Policies
- Assist with literature and data collection on the evolving and changing security environment in eastern Europe focusing on the European Union's relations with Eastern European countries that are seeking potential membership status in the EU (i.e., Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova).
- Various tasks including assisting with micro-Xray Fluorescence and Laser Ablation Mass Spectrometry experiments to quantify mineral chemistry
Human-Computer Interaction Design and Evaluation
Biology/Behavioural Ecology of Passerines
- Examining mate choice and parental investment in European Starlings.
- Dr. Brosseau's research interests are focused on the development of nanoscale sensors for medical diagnostics and environmental monitoring.
Global Change Ecology
- (1) Conducting field research on plant invasions in the NWT, or earthworm invasions in the Yukon or NS/NB, (2) Assisting with data syntheses on global soil biodiversity/human impacts.
- An exploration of the psychology of astronomy (e.g., effects on awe, identity, and attitudes toward the environment).
- Legacy gold mine tailing ecotoxicology research projects
- Field support for invasive chain pickerel studies
- Identification of transport proteins involved in symbiotic nitrogen fixation.
- Possible projects include analysis of experimental data from accelerator-based experiments; performing Monte-Carlo simulations of accelerator-based experiments; and work developing new detectors for nuclear physics experiments
- Assisting with virtual/remote data collection with children & data scoring/analyses for longitudinal research studies on the development of spelling and reading comprehension.
Biology / Evolutionary Physiology
- Students will help to test how freshwater tolerance evolves in stickleback or study the factors influencing hybridization rate and direction in killifishes. This work will involve collecting fish from the field, caring for fish brought back to the aquarium facilities, and conducting molecular and biochemical analyses in the lab.
Observational Astrophysics, Galaxy Formation and Evolution
- To discover how building blocks of our Universe form and grow over billions of years, students in my group use modern statistical tools to analyze fingerprints of distant galaxies taken by the largest telescopes on Earth and in space.
Division of Engineering/Mechanical properties and microstructure analysis of aluminum alloys
- Student will be involved in a project related to understanding the effect of cooling rate, alloying elements and casting techniques on the mechanical properties and microstructure of aluminum alloys for automotive application.
Astronomy and Physics / High-Energy Astrophysics
- Black holes, active galaxies: analyzing data of supermassive black holes collected with space-based X-ray telescopes.
Random Matrices and Integrable Systems (Mathematics)
- (1) Use of simulations and random matrix theory to analyse halting times of algorithms. (2) Numerical analysis of soliton gasses (KdV, modified KdV, and nonlinear Schrödinger equations).
- Microanalytical studies of mineral deposits, with the goal of developing geochemical criteria that can be used to discriminate barren (non-economic) from fertile (economic) parts of the Earth’s crust.
- Field work studying vegetation across NS forested landscapes, online data analysis projects also possible.
Ecology and Biodiversity Conservation / Based at the Halifax Museum of Natural History
- (1) Lichens of old growth forest canopies, and (2) bryophytes of agricultural habitats. Both involve traveling, lichen or plant identification, microscopy, and forest mensuration.
- The student will perform computer simulations to model the dynamical interactions between stars, binary star systems, and black holes inside dense globular star clusters.
Complex Networks and Bioinformatics
- The student(s) wil be assisting in addressing critical health issues like antimacrobial resistence and cancer by constructing giant networks of genes or nucleotides and applying complex network concepts and techniques.
Astronomy and Physics Department, Experimental Nuclear Physics and Nuclear Astrophysics
- Students in our research team work on discoveries with rare isotopes. Work involves data analysis programming, radiation detectors and electronics.
- Assisting in projects related to workplace stress and mental health.
Mathematics and Computing Science/Linear Algebra and Abstract Algebra
- The student will assist in research in the area of simultaneous triangularization of collections of matrices or in the research in the are of Hopf algebras. Both projects can be combined by writing code in the computer algebra package Sage.
- Pushing Nature’s limits to make new chemical bonds – using state-of-the-art methods and analysis techniques, students will make exciting, new molecules to explore the limits of what Nature will allow.
Numerical Analysis/Scientific Computing
- Investigation of numerical methods and software for mathematical models in science such as epidemiological models, e.g., covid-19 models.
Computer Vision and Deep Learning
- Assisting in the software prototyping of machine learning based shape reconstruction.
- Assisting in research on the use of technology (e.g., asynchronous video interviews, social media) in personnel selection.
- Uncovering how the first galaxies formed and then grew over cosmic time using data from state-of-the-art space and ground-based telescopes.
Organic Synthesis and Green Chemistry
- The student will be responsible for the some design and execution of experiments, collection of data and interpretation of data. The student will be trained and become adept at using high tech. pieces of instrumentation common to the discipline. These include NMR, GC-MS, LC-MS, FT-IR, and XRD.
- Students will characterize compounds from microbes that may be able to treat human infections and bat White Nose Syndrome.
Clinical and Forensic Psychology
- Assistance on a study that examines commercial sexual exploitation of children and youth in Nova Scotia. Assistance on other ongoing forensic projects, including graduate student research (* Upper-year student preferred)
- Understand how COVID-19 public health restrictions have affected Canadian courts.
- Molecular mechanisms underlying stress response between diploid and polyploid species.
- Assisting with a project exploring deception in high stakes situations.
Chemistry and Biophysics
- Investigating the structure of various biological tissues (e.g. human cancer tissue) using an ultrafast laser microscope.
- The analysis of deep ocean marine organic matter in and around hydrocarbon cold seeps in the offshore of Nova Scotia.
- Students will assist in field and lab research on a project assessing the yield potential of biomass crops in Nova Scotia.
Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology
- Conducting laboratory and field research on mating behaviour and reproductive success of fishes.
Structural Geology and Tectonics
- The student will act as a research assistant, aiding in field preparation, geologic field work (e.g., collection of samples and structural measurements), sample preparation, and geochronological data interpretation.
Environmental Science / Atmospheric Physics
- (1) Assisting with operation of SMU Atmospheric Observatory & fieldwork. (2) Analysing of satellite and ground-based atmospheric composition data. (3) Overall research goals: air pollution and climate change process understanding.
Sobey School of Business
Corporate Reporting and Corporate Governance, Earnings Quality and Disclosure Quality
- Analysis on corporate reporting: reviewing corporate reporting practices and related literature and developing skills for analysis on annual report content and its interaction with corporate governance structures.
Aquaponics: Economic Feasibility and System Implementation
- Assist in the design, implementation, and economic assessment of a small aquaponics system and create educational videos detailing the process. On site (within HRM) work required.
Leadership and Management
- Aid in the development of a database focused on institutional core values, missions, and vision statements.
- Collecting and analyzing interviews given by corporate executives in a variety of traditional outlets and on social media.
- This project will consider the systemic barriers and facilitators related to the proportional representation of women in senior leadership roles. We will consider issues such as sex role stereotypes, the availability of role models, tracking and measurement.
Supply Chain Management and Analytics
- Help with the study of available data in COVID-19 vaccine(s) supply chain and its distribution and derive meaningful insight from it.
Marketing / Consumer Behaviour
- Assisting in data collection, analysis, and writing on behavioral insights, digital engagement, and consumer well-being.
Economics (Natural Resource and Environmental Economics)
- Students will assist in the development of research projects in areas like forestry, fisheries and recycling.
- Assisting in a literature review, data cleaning and data analysis for a research project about the geography of daughter preference in India.
Marketing (Consumer Behaviour)
- Assisting in the development and testing of theories (grounded in marketing, psychology, and behavioural economics) pertaining to charitable giving, sustainability, and consumer well-being.
Management Information Systems/Computer Science
- Assisting in the development of business intelligence software/algorithms.
Saint Mary’s offers a vibrant and stimulating intellectual community, with an emphasis on student research. Our compact campus and small class sizes provide unprecedented access to professors, complemented by lab spaces and research facilities that are state-of-the-art. This combination leads to exceptional learning and growth opportunities.
Undergrad students may find themselves working as a paid research assistant, travelling the world for a study abroad program, taking part in field trips, presenting at a conference or even pursuing their original research — all during their undergrad years.
Saint Mary’s is also an excellent place to pursue graduate study, with 28 diverse PhD and Masters programs to choose from. Our grad students benefit from close collaboration with award-winning faculty members who are renowned experts and prolific researchers.
Find out more about student research opportunities: