On April 12-14, 2021, more than 3,400 students from post-secondary institutions around the world participated in the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) to celebrate the work of undergraduate researchers.
This year, ten Carleton students presented at the first-ever virtual event. With so many registrants, the experience was a dynamic learning opportunity.
We are proud to recognize and celebrate the important research being done by our undergraduate students across campus. Please see the complete list of students that presented at this year’s conference and their research topics below.
NCUR 2021 Presentations
- David Clarabut
Understanding the Structural Dynamics of Wind Turbine Blades, an Analytical Approach
Student Presenter: David Clarabut
Faculty Supporter: Dr. Abhijit Sarkar
This project focused on developing a simplified model that can be used to understand the structural dynamics of wind turbine blades. A semi-analytical approach was used to solve the equations of motion in the model we considered, which allowed us to relate observed patterns in the blade’s dynamics back to the equations of motion. A MATLAB function was created which allowed us to generate simulation results for isolated wind turbine blades. Several time-trace results were presented along with an eigenvalue analysis which helped us understand what we should expect to see in simulations. That analysis along with a comparison to the model’s equations of motion were shown to give consistent results to observed patterns in simulations, which showed that wind turbine blade systems like the ones we considered can become structurally unstable. Future improvements are being made in a co-op work term this summer which include making fewer assumptions in the model so it can more closely mimic a commercial wind turbine blade as well as generating simulation results using other methods (namely the finite element method) for further comparison with our function’s output.
- Tobi Kamoru
Numerical Simulations of Aerosol Penetration and Deposition in a Turbulent Pipe Flow
Student Presenter: Tobi Kamoru
Faculty Supporter: Edgar Matida
- Hannah Carton
Wildfire Evacuation Modelling Coupling Traffic and Fire Behaviour
Student Presenter: Hannah Carton
Faculty Supporter: Dr. Ata Khan, and Dr. John Gales
In Canada and around the world, wildfires are increasing in number and severity. Annually, Canada experiences 6,200 wildfires resulting in over 2.7 million hectares burned. Canada often borrows data from other countries with a history of wildfires, however, evacuation data cannot be easily transferred due to differences in climate, vegetation, culture, and community needs. Canadian-specific data is needed to inform the development of evacuation policies and guidelines, as existing and emerging challenges from wildfires increase. The goal of the research discussed in this paper was to couple traffic modelling and fire behaviour using a Canadian case study community.
Current evacuation models do not couple traffic, pedestrian, and/or fire behaviour, which results in the loss of data concerning key interactions and influences that inform decision-making during evacuations. Historical data on fire spread in remote communities was reviewed to determine if fire propagation values could be obtained, however, severe limitations were found in the methodology which decreased its utility for traffic modelling. Various traffic modelling scenarios were developed and will be used to model fire behaviour through closing roads to mimic fire spread. This project will contribute to the international movement to improve wildfire evacuation modelling through coupling traffic, fire and pedestrian behaviour.
- Khadija Baig
Privacy Perceptions of Users of At-home DNA Testing
Student Presenter: Khadija Baig
Faculty Supporters: Reham Mohamed, Anna-Lena Theus, Sonia Chiasson
We conducted an interview study with 27 Canadian users of at-home DNA testing companies to gather their privacy perceptions and mental models of at-home DNA testing companies and their services. We explored users’ expectations and needs in relation to data use, data management, data sharing, control, and regrets. Our analysis uncovered inconsistent, and sometimes contradictory, mental models that generally fell into three categories: those who were uncertain about most of the process, those who felt powerless, and those who are unconcerned about the risks. Participants largely underestimated the implications of sharing their DNA data. Privacy is often not the users’ first priority, and most users admitted to being unaware of the terms they agreed to. They were often unaware of or ignored the privacy impact on family members. We further found that users compare their DNA to other digital data (for example, browser history, location), believe it to be relatively secure, and some evaluated risk based on their country of residence or perceived company location. Overall, users were mostly unaware of the risks and may further increase these risks through their own actions. Not reading the fine print is generally what they regretted most; and most users desired complete transparency and control over their data.
- Kateryna Pashchenko
Education Policy and Democratic Consolidation: the Case of Post-Euromaidan Ukraine
Student Presenter: Kateryna Pashchenko
Faculty Support: Andrea Chandler
This research project studied how Ukraine may be using education reforms as a method of democratic consolidation in the post-Euromaidan period. The Euromaidan Revolution of 2013-2014 signified Ukraine’s commitment to the path of European values and democratic governance, and, ultimately, integration with the European Union (EU). Education plays an essential role in democracy through the promotion of democratic values, skills, and behaviour since these do not emerge by themselves and need to be nurtured. While several scholars studied the process of modernization of post-secondary institutions in Ukraine after the Euromaidan Revolution, a research gap remains when it comes to the results of the education reforms at the secondary school level.
To explore this area, I addressed the following research question: How is Ukraine reforming its secondary education system in the post-Euromaidan period? The following sub-questions guided the study: How successfully are the reforms being implemented on the ground? Do these reforms reflect Euromaidan’s goal of democratization and Europeanization? In this study, I used qualitative research methods of inquiry, including semi-structured individual interviews and government document analysis. I conducted five interviews with the Ministry of Education officials to study which reforms have passed and the intentions behind them, and I interviewed thirty-five secondary school teachers to examine how reforms are being implemented on the ground.
The results of my research indicate that the Ukrainian government is allocating a substantial amount of effort into modernizing its education system. The Ukrainian government is using education reforms as an instrument to create a new generation of Ukrainians who are “innovative and are raised with European values of democracy, tolerance, and inclusivity.” The results of my interviews suggest that cultural legacies from the Soviet Union constitute a significant challenge to the implementation process of reforms.
- Noémie Tangelo
Africa Is My City and My City Is Me: a Content Analysis of Afro Trap Songs Towards a New Understanding of Afropolitanism
Student Presenter: Noémie Tangelo
Faculty Suporter: Dr. Nduka Otiono
A qualitative content analysis was conducted on a sample of 20 Afro Trap songs to identify predominant themes based on how (and why) the names of African cities are recurrently mentioned and interacted with in the lyrics. The songs chosen for analysis were selected from Spotify’s official Afro Trap playlist. These themes inferred may aid in conceptualizing the ideological essentialism of African cities as they pertain to youth cultures and identities within the African diaspora.
Thus, the overall framework that emerged from the lyrics suggests that African city names are used to foster transnational relations, to assert and express feeling about personal identity and to flaunt material realities. In this way, these major African cities become metaphysical spaces—umbilical cords between motherland and diaspora. They are a space in/through which the relationship between diaspora and motherland is maintained, nourished, affirmed, and ascribed. This research expands on the existing scholarship on local iterations of hip hop by describing one of hip hop’s rising non-American counterparts. Further, it introduces African diasporic hip hop to the conversation on Afropolitanism by demonstrating the conceptual potential of positing spatio-materiality as a hallmark of an afropolitan argument.
- Alexandra Schroeder
Virtual Reality Rehabilitation Interventions for Individuals with a Psychotic Disorder: A Systematic Review
Student Presenter: Alexandra Schroeder
Faculty Supporters: Tabassum Rahman, Alexandra Thérond, Bryce Bogie, Hannah Matheson, Dr. Synthia Guimond
I presented a systematic review on the feasibility and efficacy of virtual reality (VR) rehabilitation interventions for people with psychosis. The project examined nine peer-reviewed articles featuring participants with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or another psychotic disorder. The participants received an intervention with a VR component designed to rehabilitate cognitive, social, or vocational skills. We found that all studies that evaluated feasibility showed that VR is feasible and enjoyable for people with psychosis. The preliminary evidence also suggests that VR rehabilitation interventions can increase cognitive, social, and vocational skills in people with psychosis. However, most studies we identified were conducted using small sample sizes with no active control group, so more research in this area is warranted. Nevertheless, VR rehabilitation interventions could present a promising adjunctive therapy for improving recovery in people with psychosis.
- Jaden Smith
Socioemotional Correlates of Understanding Compliance with Privacy Statements
Student Presenter: Jaden Smith
Faculty Supporter: Dr. Stefania Maggi
The presentation was based on undergraduate research by Jaden Smith under the supervision of Dr. Stefania Maggi, Department of Psychology. Background on young people and privacy, reason for current research, research questions, methodology and results were discussed.
The main goal of the research was to assess how the delivery of a privacy statement can impact the decision-making process young people take when sharing their data online and if personality is a factor. Through a survey on SONA, psychology students were asked about their behavior and knowledge regarding online privacy, had to choose the privacy method they would like to see (conventional, child-friendly or video), answer follow up questions about preferred method chosen and finally were asked to complete a short personality questionnaire.
- Caleb Turcotte
Curb Detection in Autonomous Vehicles
Student Presenter: Caleb Turcotte
Faculty Supporter: Dr. Ramy Gohary
In this work, we consider the problem of curb detection using real-time data collected by QNX LIDAR equipment for application in autonomous vehicles. Current curb detection methods rely on data collected by RADAR equipment, which are not sufficiently sensitive to variations in the road surface to detect curbs. As an alternative, in our approach we focus on using LIDAR data. The version of the LIDAR data provided to us by QNX is corrupted by noise and anomalous outliers, rendering curb detection a challenging task.
This data is provided in a point-cloud form which must be pre-processed in order to proceed with curb detection. Towards that end, we began by decomposing the three-dimensional data into two-dimensional slices, which are subsequently sorted into a virtual grid. This grid is superimposed on each slice to create bounding boxes that are more wieldy to analyze. Using these boxes, we used linear regression techniques to evaluate the slope of the road surface within the box. This slope is subsequently used to determine elevated points on the road, which are used to infer the presence of a curb. After a curb has been detected on the virtual grid, the (filtered) points corresponding to the curb are used to update the original three-dimensional data file, which can now be displayed on QNX visualization platforms.
Using RANSAC techniques we then fitted a line to the data to further filter any outliers and create a region for the curb. Preliminary results suggest that our approach is able to detect curbs with high accuracy. In follow-up research, we will extend this work to create confidence regions to provide probabilistic measures for expected curb locations with the goal to provide the autonomous vehicles industry with powerful, reliable, practical, and real-time techniques for detecting curbs and potential obstacles on the road.
- Krysten M. Serack
Assessing the Use of High-resolution Imagery in Measuring Varve Thickness for Time Series Analysis
Student Presenter: Krysten M. Serack
Faculty Supporter: R. Timothy Patterson
Krysten Serack is an Undergraduate student at Carleton University working on an Honors Thesis project in the Patterson Lab studying Crawford Lake, a candidate for the GSSP (Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point) of the newly proposed Epoch the Anthropocene. Krysten’s research is creating novel high-resolution photography and photo analysis methods to produce a timeline within Crawford lake and allow accurate dating of individual varves within the depositional sequence. Serack’s current research aims to improve the analysis of laminated freeze cores for accurate timeline reconstruction and time series analysis through the creation of a new freeze core analysis protocol to allow for accurate core dating.
Influence of climatic trends and cycles on the annual deposition of varves in Crawford Lake, Ontario, Canada
Krysten M. Serack, R. Timothy Patterson, Francine M.G. McCarthy, Carling Walsh, Nawaf A. Nasser.
The Anthropocene Epoch with a basal date of AD 1952 was recently approved and is defined as the beginning of an interval of geologic deposition where profound changes to Earth’s systems driven by human impacts, have left a permanent geological record. The Anthropocene Epoch requires a Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP; or Golden Spike) and nine finalist localities from around the world have been identified, with Crawford Lake located within the protected Crawford Lake Conservation Area, Milton Ontario, being a prime candidate to be picked as the GSSP. A long sedimentary depositional record comprised largely of seasonally deposited laminations (varves) are preserved in Crawford lake, which provide a record of both natural and anthropogenic driven deposition.
Freeze cores are the only coring method suitable for collecting an undisturbed record of laminations deposited through the upper part of the depositional record, due to the high gas content and saturated nature of the sediments, which tends to blow apart when cores are collecting using conventional gravity cores. Freeze Core CRW19-2FT-B2, collected in February 2019, from the deepest part of the lake basin in 23m water depth was analyzed. A novel high-resolution imaging protocol was used to photograph the cores and to stitch the images into one cohesive image using Adobe Photoshop.
The resulting image was used to:
- Identify and characterize specific years of deposition for individual preserved annually deposited varve couplets, which were determined to have been deposited between AD 1496 and 2000
- Accurately measure the thickness of individual varves using pixel counting, which were found to vary between 0.1111 and 9.6667 pixels, with a mean annual thickness 2.134711 pixels; and
- Use the varve thickness data to carry out wavelet and spectral time series analysis to potentially identify cyclic depositional patterns in the depositional record that might be linked to specific climatic drivers that influence deposition in the lake. As the pattern of varve formation in the lake is coherent throughout the entire lake basin, the identification of specific years for each varve analyzed will be a valuable resource for subsequent researchers analyzing cores from the lake as it will permit immediate recognition of specific years, including the base of the Anthropocene.
The time series analysis resulted in identification of cycles with statistically significant periodicities, which correlate well with Quasi biennial Oscillation, El Nino Southern Oscillation, 11-year sunspot cycle and Pacific Decadal Oscillation. This research has not only provided baseline data on the nature of annual deposition in the lake, but the time series analysis results will permit an improved discrimination of natural versus anthropogenic drivers in the post-AD 1952 Anthropocene depositional record.