Five uLethbridge students have upped their research skills this summer thanks to $15,000 in funding from Mitacs. The funding, offered in partnership with member universities, gives undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to participate in a short-term paid research training internship and enhance their skills.

Steve Deutekom (BSc ’20) is working with Dr. John Anvik, in the Department of Mathematics & Computer Science, on a web-based card game that teaches computer programming and cybersecurity concepts. The goal is to provide a fun and accessible way for Canadian workers to learn the basic concepts of programming, understand cybersecurity threats and how to protect themselves.

“I worked on an interesting research project with great people, improved my programming skills and had the opportunity to contribute to an academic paper,” says Deutekom, who’s beginning a master’s in computer science this fall. “It was a valuable experience in my continuing academic journey.”

“Working as an intern in a software development research lab provides undergraduate students a unique opportunity to see how the principles and practices taught in the classroom are used to develop novel solutions to real-world problems,” says Anvik. “Working on the Program Wars project, Steve developed and refined his research skills as he collaborated with graduate students to redesign and re-implement an educational tool from the inside out.”

Other students involved in the program include Elizabeth Trofimenkoff. She’s working in Dr. Marc Roussel’s lab in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry to develop an algorithm to help undergraduates understand the conditions under which the steady-state approximation can be used. The algorithm has the potential to be incorporated into undergraduate physical chemistry courses.

In Dr. David Logue’s lab in the Department of Psychology, Heath Petkau is working on a project to aid in the categorization and understanding of bird vocalization. This research can be applied to understanding the formation of human speech and may also prove useful to neuroscience.

Timothy Hunt, is focusing his project in Dr. Pasquale Bosso’s physics lab on the phenomenological aspects of quantum gravity. His goal is to project the current understanding of physics beyond its present limits.

In the Department of Biological Sciences, Dilini Abeyrama is working with Dr. Theresa Burg on research that will create better conservation and management plans for yellow-nosed albatrosses. The research delves into whether they are separate species and if populations breeding on different islands in an ocean basin are genetically isolated.