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Celebrating the Intersection Where Learning Meets Discovery

Huron University
Apr 18 2024

Huron’s Centre for Undergraduate Research Learning Holds Lively Spring Conference

London ON – Racial discourse in reality TV. The impact of Seasonal Affective Disorder on students. The effects of the “Girl Math” TikTok trend. The discoverer of insulin and London’s connection. Canadian youth and the American musical Hamilton.

These are just a few of the fascinating subjects explored by student researchers at Huron over the past year. On April 10, students and faculty involved in the Centre for Undergraduate Research Learning (CURL) came together in Huron’s student commons to share the resulting discoveries and their experiences at the research-focused academic event.

CURL provides opportunities for undergraduate students to be immersed in engaging research experiences, a form of experiential learning. Sometimes the projects arise out of course work; sometimes they reflect the student researchers’ personal experiences and interests. CURL fellowships can also be offered, providing selected Huron students with $1,500 to work on a project under the supervision of a faculty mentor.

For undergraduate students, research is a first-hand opportunity to see what academics do and how new knowledge is created. They hone their critical thinking and problem-solving skills and explore potential next steps and careers. Often, it’s a chance to make real and recognized contributions towards a career as a scholar or academic.

Huron’s Centre for Undergraduate Research Learning holds two events each year to highlight undergraduate research: the Fall Exhibition and the Spring Conference. In addition to in-person presentations, students can prepare an Instagram post based on their research. This spring, more than 20 students made presentations. “The schedule was packed!” says Huron Economics professor Dr. Mike Kottelenberg. “That stands as its own testimony to the amazing work done by Huron students, and the constant efforts by faculty to support these projects.”

In addition to traditional presentations, the conference included the screening of five documentaries about the life of Sir Fredrick Banting, and a presentation by Huron student Lauren Stoyles about her exhibit on women printers, on display at Huron’s Frank Holmes Leadership Building. The tenth anniversary of Liberated Arts, an annual journal of undergraduate research, was also marked as a celebration of student talent.

One element that resonated with me was the notion that along with a sense of curiosity, there is also a sense of urgency.

One of the highlights of the conference featured a student-faculty panel discussion on the role of curiosity in research. Says Kottelenberg, “One element that resonated with me was the notion that along with a sense of curiosity, there is also a sense of urgency. The questions that faculty and students pursue are pressing matters that deserve our attention.”

One of the presenters at the conference, Iqra Devlani pictured above, reported on her work on seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and sleep with relation to the impacts on student life. “Coming from sunny countries on the other side of the planet, my friends and I found adjusting to Canadian winters a challenge,” she says. “Through my research I was able to understand the different factors that play a role in SAD, and define some protective measures.” The conference provided an opportunity to get helpful feedback on her project and to build confidence in her presentation skills. Says Devlani, “Presenting at the conference helped me academically and personally, and I will always be grateful for the opportunity.”

To learn more about Huron’s Centre for Undergraduate Research Learning and stay aware of upcoming initiatives like this, please visit here.