Summer 2020 Research Awards for Students

* The deadline for submissions has now closed *

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

Eligibility: Saint Mary's University students in any academic discipline

To be considered for a summer research position, you will need to apply online by February 26, 2020 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

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 if they want to be added to the “list”.

Although not required, students should feel free to contact professors they are considering selecting from the list below as a potential supervisor.

*research projects with an asterisk are open to first-year students. All other projects are open to second-year students and above.

Please be advised that we are currently working to resolve formatting issues with the research descriptions below.  If you are experiencing an issue with the research description you may wish to try a different browser until we are able to resolve the issue. We are sorry for any inconvenience this has caused.




Adel Merabet

Division of Engineering

1.Electrical Engineering: Study and analysis of solar energy system, 2. Computer Science: Image processing for detection and analysis

Aldona Wiacek*

Environmental Science / Physics 

assisting in acquisition (field work) and/or analysis (computer work) of atmospheric pollutant and greenhouse gas concentration data.

Alexandra Dobrowolsky

Political Science

assistance with research on Canadian immigration policy developments, both nationally and provincially, with an emphasis on intersecting gender, race and class dynamics.

Amanda Jernigan*

English and Literature

writing & publishing / poetry & poetics / English literature / digital humanities:  Assisting with the construction of an on-line digital-humanities resource, focused on the privately-published work of Canadian poet Richard Outram (1930-2005). This project would be suitable for a student with excellent writing skills and an interest in literary publishing; and/or for a student with excellent computer-science skills and an interest in the digital humanities.

Anne Dalziel*

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.

Ashraf Al-Zaman*


Project: Use of information technology and text search in understanding corporate and investment decision making

Bahareh Mansouri*

Finance, Information Systems, & Management Science

scheduling transportation and vehicle routing problem

Blake Brown*


Research the history of gun control and firearm use in Canada

Cathy Conrad*

Geography & Environmental Studies

research related to irregular migration or climate change/environmental migration

Christa Brosseau*

Analytical Chemistry

Research focus: Development of nanotechnology-based sensors (nanosensors) for human health and environmental  monitoring

Clarissa Sit

Chemical Biology

using microbes to search for new antibiotics for treating human infections and bat White Nose Syndrome

Claudia De Fuentes*

Innovation studies

Assisting in literature search and analysis on the importance of craft industries for placemaking in rural areas

Colleen Barber*


Mate choice and parental investment in birds. Assisting with recording male song in European starlings and doing behavioural observations on establishing incubation and provisioning patterns by parents. 

Cory Pye* 

Computational Chemistry

Studies of the Vibrational Spectra of Ions in Water

Daniel Currie Hall 


searching published grammars for patterns of syncretisms in inflectional paradigms and entering them into a database

Danielle Tokarz*


Soft Biomaterials Physics and Chemistry: Nanomaterial structural investigations using ultrafast laser polarization microscopy

Danika van Proosdij*

Physical Geography/Geomorphology 

How much mud actually gets deposited after we breach a dyke?  Measuring sediment flux in restoration sites in the Bay of Fundy

Danika van Proosdij*

Ecological Engineering 

Assisting in the quantification of wave energy dissipation by salt marsh vegetation in the Bay of Fundy

Danika van Proosdij*

Restoration Ecology/Geomorphology 

Contributing to 3D modelling of the evolution of tidal wetland landscapes following dyke managed realignment in the Bay of Fundy with use of remotely piloted aircraft systems

Darryl Leroux 

Indigenous Studies/Sociology

assisting in research involving the largest modern-day land claim negotiation, taking place in the Ottawa area

David Chiasson*


Molecular biology: uncovering the role of essential proteins regulating beneficial plant-microbe interactions

Diane Crocker


Criminology specially research related to domestic and gender-based violence, including sexual violence on campus. The project involve mostly work to develop programs and policies to address these problems. 

Ellen Farrell

Research area:  Poor funding to female entrepreneurs by venture capital -Venture Capital and Entrepreneurship

Identifying the impact of coaching women entrepreneurs about regulatory focus theory, and assessing its success as it applies to women entrepreneurs seeking venture capital. 

Erin Adlakha 

Economic Geology 

characterizing fluorite mineral chemistry associated with Cu mineralization of the Nonacho Basin, Northwest Territories

Erin Cameron*

Global change ecology

assisting with field and lab work on earthworm invasions/climate change effects on soil biodiversity in the Yukon, or in Nova Scotia

Eugena (Eunjeong) Kwon*


Looking for a research student to be involved on a project "Awareness and Utilization of Canada’s Food Policy" which would involve analyzing and evaluating a variety of health promotion strategies and government health initiatives in Canada

Evangelia Tastsoglou


gender based violence in the lives of immigrants and refugees in Canada: causes and effective policy response

Firat K. Sayin


Assist in the meta-analysis project 'The impact of accent on employment outcomes'

Genlou Sun

Plant Molecular Genetics

assisting in characterizing the molecular mechanism enhancing adaptability of autopolyploids in wheatgrass

Greg Christian

Subatomic physics/nuclear astrophysics

Analysis of data collected at accelerator facilities; development of Monte Carlo simulations; development of advanced detectors and experimental techniques.


Hai Wang*

Management Information Systems/Computer Science

Assisting in the development of business intelligence software/algorithms

Hamdi Driss

corporate finance, international finance, and financial intermediation

Proposed research: The Impact of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Performance on Firm Value

Heather Green*

Canadian, Environmental, and Indigenous History

1. archival research and/or a literature review of histories of environment and coal mining in Nova Scotia. 2. Indigenous history and heritage landscapes 

Henghameh Saroukhani 

Black British Literature and Culture:

assisting in archival work relating to key historical moments of migration and racial tension in 20th C Britain

Ivana Damjanov*

Observational Astrophysics, Galaxy Formation and Evolution

combining images of the largest areas on the sky with spectra to trace the way galaxies grow and transform over 5 billion years of cosmic time 

Jason Grek-Martin*

Historical/Cultural Geography

assisting in data collection related to popular heritage tourism sites in the Halifax area

Jason Masuda*

Chemical Synthesis

Pushing Nature’s limits to make new functional groups

Jennifer VanderBurgh

Film Studies

Assisting with research related to the films of Margaret Perry, who was Director of the Nova Scotia Film Bureau from 1945-1969

Jeremy Lundholm


Coastal Ecology- Two potential projects: 1. quantifying pollinator force in tidal marshes and dykelands; 2. measuring carbon storage in tidal wetlands

Jiju Poovvancheri*

Mathematics & Computer Science 

Keywords: 3D Vision, Computer Graphics, deep learning - Summary: The summer student(s) will be assisting in the design and development of a data driven human motion tracking system using multiple depth cameras.

Jonathan Fowler*


Examining spatial relationships between archaeological, geophysical, and landscape features relating to early colonial settlements and marshlands

Karen Harper*

Plant Ecology

Field work studying vegetation across forested landscapes near Halifax, honours research possible.

Kellie (Xiaoyu) Liu


Topic: The relationship between corporate social responsibility and corporate risks;  Description: assisting in the development and coding of corporate risks using data from corporate annual reports (North American companies)                                                     

Kevin Kelloway*

Organizational Psychology

assisting in projects related to workplace stress and mental health

Kevin Vessey


Plant Biology: field and lab work to help develop biomass crops (fast-growing grass and tree species) on marginal lands

Kirrily Freeman*

Modern European History

conducting primary and secondary research on France during and after the Second World War

Laura Weir*

Evolutionary and behavioural ecology

conducting laboratory and field research on mating behaviour and reproductive success of fishes

Leslie Digdon*


Assisting with primary (archival) and secondary historical research surrounding public health and participatory health programs

Linda Campbell*

Environmental Science & Aquatic Ecology

Work with teams on two separate projects. (1) impacts of invasive fish species on lakes and managing invasive species; (2) monitoring and remediation of historical gold mine tailing issues in Nova Scotia.  Research website:

Luigi Gallo*

Astronomy & Physics

Black holes, active galaxies: analyzing data of supermassive black holes collected with space-based X-ray telescopes

Majid Taghavi 

Operations Research

assisting in developing optimization models to solve healthcare operations problems related to the aging population

Maria Gomez

Criminology /Gender Studies/ Critical Legal Studies

Developing a diagram that compares definitions of crime across different cultures and types of crimes. Assisting in the preparation of questionnaires to address the link between crime and culture in selected films.   Assisting with a literature review on legal dissent and with editing academic references. Advanced knowledge of Spanish is an asset. 

Mark Raymond*

Natural Resource and Environmental Economics

providing economic analysis on issues such as forestry, fisheries, resource extraction, ground water and environmental remediation and sustainability. 

Matthew Boland*


Using machine learning to organize and classify company websites

Meg Ternes*


Forensic Psychology: applying lie detection techniques to interviews with suspects and/or incarcerated offenders

Mei Ling Wei*

Consumer Behaviour and Marketing

Assisting in the collection and analysis of qualitative data on race and racism in the marketplace

Michael Zhang*

Health Services Management

Support University Students Mental Health using Data Analytics

Mitja Mastnak*

Mathematics & Computer Science 

Linear algebra and abstract algebra - the student will assist in research in the area of simultaneous triangulariaztion 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.

Mohamed Drira 

Governance, Accounting and Data Analytics: 

assisting in reviewing existing literature and/or collecting and analyzing data for a research project about governance and data analytics.

Nicolas Roulin* 

Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Assisting in rating the performance of job applicants in online video interviews

Nicole Conrad*


Reading Acquisition/Psychology: assisting with data collection/analyses for a study examining cognitive factors associated with spelling and reading comprehension development in elementary school-aged children. 

Paul Muir*

Numerical Analysis/Scientific Computing

Investigation and development of software for the solution of equations representing mathematical models of real world applications in a variety of areas such as mathematical/computation medicine, epidemiology, physics, chemistry, and finance.  Since this area involves both mathematics and computing science, the interested student should have first year Calculus and first year computer programming.

Rachael Collins / Michele Byers

Criminology / Women & Gender Studies / Media Studies

Join a team doing a critical study of representations of serial killers in popular film and TV. This is a chance to read about serial killers in pop culture, as well as to watch, think, and write about TV and films like Mindhunter and Joker.

Rachel B Zellars

Social Justice and Community Studies/Black Studies

researching the history of enslaved women in 18th century Halifax

Rahman Khokhar*

Finance (Empirical Corporate Finance

Research Area/Interests: FinTech, Financial Disclosure; Data Breaches; Corporate Hedging

Renée Hulan*

Canadian literature

assistance in researching climate change stories in literary and visual culture

Richard Cisek*

Astronomy & Physics/Chemistry

Nonlinear Optics and Biophysics: Coupling an ultrafast laser to photonic crystal fibers as a source for nonlinear optical microscopy

Ritu Kanungo*

Experimental nuclear physics and nuclear astrophysics

Assist in discovery oriented experiments at accelerator facilities. Work on data processing programming, radiation detectors and electronics

Rob Singer*


Organic / Green Chemistry: Catalysis and separations using ionic liquids

Rohini Bannerjee*

Modern Languages & Classics (International Development Studies, Asian Studies, Women & Gender Studies, Peace & Conflict Studies)

-Assisting in translation project of anthology of poetry written in French (Mauritian poet) - Student must be fluent English & French

Rylan Higgins


settler colonialism; decolonization; food systems or food sovereignty; the anthropology or sociology of work/labour; the anthropology or sociology of childhood. 

Susan Bjornson*

Entomology/Insect pathology

studying the factors and effects of pathogens that cause chronic diseases in beneficial insects

Terry Wager*

Human Resource Management

Improving team and individual performance: what can sports organizations and athletes learn from human resource management?"

Tiffany Vu 

Marketing (Consumer Behaviour)

Within the domain of consumer behaviour, I examine research questions that contribute to consumer and societal well-being. I am particularly interested in prosocial research that examines questions pertaining to charitable donations, sustainability, corporate social responsibility, and ethical consumption. My research is predominantly grounded in the marketing, psychology, and behavioural economics literature. Sample project: Assisting in the development and testing of theories pertaining to charitable giving and sustainability in both the lab and field.


Tony Charles

Sustainability of Fisheries

Examining the sustainability of fisheries, as dynamic systems, through analytical and practical approaches (NSERC-related)

Tony Charles Fisheries and Conservation documenting the environmental conservation practices of fishing communities locally and around the world (SSHRC-related)
Vasiliki Athanasakou Finance ·  Corporate financial communication, textual analysis.                                                                                -Corporate communication strategies, assisting in the collection and analysis of data to assess the effectiveness of companies’ financial communication through annual reports.
Veronica Stinson Forensic Psychology 1. The Canadian jury: barriers to service and decision-making   2. The role of Canadian crime victims in sentencing
Vincent Hénault-Brunet* Astrophysics Searching for black holes in globular star clusters - comparing astronomical observations and computer simulations
Xiaoping Sun History Food, agriculture, environmental history of East Asia. Assisting in analyzing the mutual transformations between the state, humans, and nature
Yasushi Akiyama* Computer Science (Human-Computer Interaction) assisting the research and development of multimedia data (videos, sounds, images) analysis and visualization tools

Assist in the meta-analysis project 'The impact of accent on employment outcomes'È


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.