Student Research Opportunities
Summer 2021 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.
How to Apply
*Please note that this competition is now closed and applications are no longer being considered*
- 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 3.50 is required
- The First Year Undergraduate Research Awards is for students who started their studies at Saint Mary’s in January 2020 or September 2020, 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 24, 2021 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.
Women & Gender Studies
- Assisting in the interviews of families who have children who identify as trans.
- Assisting in research on the history of law in Canada, in particular gun control and medical malpractice.
- Assisting in the development of a categorized research database on the civil conflict in Northern Ireland with particular attention to paramilitary groups.
- Assistance with research that assesses the contemporary status of gender equality in light of the forthcoming 40th anniversary of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms (in 2022). This project will involve a comparison and contrast of two distinctive socio-economic and political contexts and two different Prime Minister Trudeaus: the early 1980’s equality struggles under Pierre Elliot Trudeau, versus what has taken place after a majority and now a minority government under his son, the so-called “feminist” Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.
- Assisting in secondary and primary research about Indigenous history and heritage landscapes in the Yukon Territory with a focus on borderlands and animals.
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.
Mathew Novak / Khan Rahaman
Geography & Environmental Studies/Wicked Problem Lab – Policy Responses to the Pandemic
- Track municipal governments’ local responses to the global pandemic by analyzing changes in policy and political discourse using qualitative software.
Modern Languages and Classics
Assisting in processing artifacts and organizing documentation from the archaeological excavation at the Oenotrian-Greek site of Incoronata "greca" (Italy) (8-6 c. BCE).
Sociology and International Development Studies
- Project on intersectional approaches to understanding sexual and gender-based violence in the context of migration.
Danika van Proosdij
- Assisting in quantifying the wave attenuation and protection capacity of foreshore marshes.
- Assisting in the implementation of nature-based solutions to coastal erosion and climate change.
Behavioural Ecology of Passerines
- Assisting with studying parental investment and mate choice in European Starlings on the campus of Saint Mary's University.
- Design and Fabrication of Next-Generation Sensing Platforms for Point-of-Need Medical Diagnostics and Environmental Monitoring.
Global Change Ecology
- Assisting with data synthesis and field/lab work (if conditions allow) on invasive species, climate change, and soil ecology
- Legacy gold mine tailing ecotoxicology research projects
- Field support for invasive chain pickerel studies
Fishery Sustainability research (Natural AND/OR Social Sciences)
- Exploring ecological and human ingredients of fishery sustainability worldwide.
- Uncovering the function of proteins essential for the nitrogen fixation symbiosis between bacteria and legume plants.
- Analyzing nuclear reaction data relevant for stellar nucleosynthesis
- Assisting with the development of novel scintillation detectors for neutrons and charged particles.
Nonlinear Optics and Biophysics
- Coupling an ultrafast laser to photonic crystal fibers as a source for nonlinear optical microscopy.
- Assisting with data collection & 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
- Using the largest telescopes on Earth and in space to collect imaging and spectroscopic fingerprints of millions of galaxies and trace their transformations over billions of years of cosmic history.
Occupational Health Psychology
- Helping to develop and test workplace programs to improve worker mental and physical health.
History of Science and Technology
- Online Research & Development Aide: Conduct research for a planned interactive website. Opportunity to contribute and curate entries.
Division of Engineering
- The current research project is associated to the effects of alloying elements and impurities on the mechanical properties and microstructure of automotive A356+0.5%Cu alloy at room and high temperatures.
Astronomy and Physics
- Black holes, active galaxies: analyzing data of supermassive black holes collected with space-based X-ray telescopes.
- Field work studying vegetation across edges in NS forested landscapes, virtual projects also possible
- Assisting on projects such as; biodiversity inventory for coastal dune systems, waterfalls, old growth forests, and shady rock faces.
- Use observations from the world’s largest telescopes and computer simulations of globular star clusters to predict the influence of black holes on stars in these systems.
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.
- Examining the influence of organizational leaders on employee well-being and organizational behavior in the context of Covid-19.
I/O (Workplace) Psychology
- Assisting in research and development of measurement and intervention tools to assist workplaces to improve their workplace diversity, inclusion, and accessibility.
Theoretical Computer Science
- Multidimensional regular expressions
- Validation of propositional logic proofs
- Merging of bibliographic files
Dept. of 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 area 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.
Solar photovoltaic microgrid
- The student will assist in the analysis of the microgrid operation and the behavior of each component in the integrated system.
Computational Mathematics/Scientific Computing
- Student will work on the development of computational software for the solution of mathematical models arising in scientific applications such as covid-19 modelling.
Computer Vision and Deep Learning
- The summer student(s) will be assisting in the design and software prototyping of a deep learning model for 3D curves reconstruction.
Machine Learning in Embedded Systems
- A student will gain familiarity with industry relevant software and hardware development tools for building intelligent systems
- Assisting in research on the use of technology (e.g., video interviews, social media, AI) in personnel selection.
- Analyzing images from Hubble and giant ground-based telescopes to learn how galaxies form and grow in the early Universe.
Organic Synthesis and Green Chemistry
- Investigations of ionic liquids for use in Green Chemistry applications such as biomass processing, metal extractions, catalysis, and medicinal chemistry.
- Students will use microbes to search for new antibiotics for treating human infections and bat White Nose Syndrome.
Clinical and Forensic Psychology
- Assisting with project on the development and evaluation of a prevention program for people at risk of sexual offending against children; assistance with other ongoing forensic psychology studies.
*Preferably an upper-year undergraduate student
- Assisting with research on the role of crime victims in our justice system.
- Applying lie detection techniques to interviews with suspects and/or incarcerated offenders.
Soft Biomaterials Physics and Chemistry
- Nanomaterial structural investigations using ultrafast laser polarization microscopy.
Evolutionary and behavioural ecology
- Conducting laboratory and field research on mating behaviour and reproductive success of fishes.
Environmental Science/Atmospheric Physics
- Assisting with operation of SMU Atmospheric Observatory & atmospheric data analysis.
Sobey School of Business Vasiliki Athanasakou
- Analysis on corporate reporting (reviewing recent literature on corporate reporting practices and developing skills for textual analysis on annual report content)
- Develop programming skills used for data collection and advanced data analytics an implement those skills for academic work in Accounting and Finance.
Claudia De Fuentes
Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Management Department
- Assisting in designing, implementing and analyzing a survey to the wine industry in Nova Scotia, with the objective to understand the role that role that craft industries play in innovation and rural revitalization.
Governance, Accounting, Auditing and Data Analytics
- Assisting in reviewing existing literature and/or collecting and analyzing data for a research project about governance and analytics.
Education and Labour Economics
- Assisting in analyzing the labor market dynamics of teachers in Chile.
- Assisting in investigating the impact of cyber-security breaches on financials of publicly-traded companies.
Marketing / Consumer Behaviour
- Assisting in data collection, analysis, and writing on digital engagement and digital well-being topics.
Natural Resource and Environmental Economics
- Students will assist in the development of research projects in areas like forestry, fisheries recycling.
- 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 and sustainability.
Human Resource Management
- Improving employer and employee performance: what can human resource management learn from the study of sports teams and athletes?
Management Information Systems/Computer Science
- Assisting in the development of business intelligence software/algorithms.
Marketing and Management
- Assisting in the collection and analysis of qualitative data on race and racism in the marketplace.
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: