URSCA 2018

The Undergraduate Research in Science Conference of Alberta (URSCA) is a celebration of Alberta discovery and innovation at the earliest stage of postsecondary education. Gone are the days when most researchers began their original research at the graduate level. Increasingly, student-focused, research intensive institutions are not only encouraging hands-on research in the laboratory and in the field at the undergraduate level but are also providing a wide range of experiential education opportunities, from independent and applied studies, to co-operative education and work-integrated-learning placements, study abroad programs and groundbreaking, publishable research with faculty mentors. Bright, liberally-educated minds are our future – and they are putting theory into practice in laboratories and in the field across this great province.

The 4th annual Undergraduate Research in Science Conference of Alberta (URSCA) was held April 29-30, 2018 at the University of Lethbridge. Ninety-five abstracts were submitted from eight post-secondary institutions from across Alberta and it is estimated that we had close to 150 people in attendance over the two days. This number included registrants, judges and guests. In addition, many who passed through the main atrium, stopped to review the posters on display.

The conference opened on Sunday night (April 29) with our very own Dr. Ute Kothe speaking about research and citizenship… inspiring the next generation of researchers during a mixer held in the Markin Hall atrium with over 80 people in attendance.

The next day, the formal conference kicked-off and attendees were treated to a keynote address from Dr. David Naylor (University of Lethbridge, Department of Physics & Astronomy) who spoke about Developing the Technology for the Next Generation of Space Exploration Missions”.

Due to the volume of abstracts received, student oral and poster presentations took place concurrently throughout the day. Each presentation was evaluated by two volunteer judges and results were tabulated. The quality of the work presented led to a two-way tie in the Oral Presentation C category, a three-way tie in the Grand Prize Oral Presentation category and one perfect score in the Poster Presentation F/Grand Prize category. Congratulations to all presenters for their outstanding achievements in undergraduate research and their participation in a boundless day of scientific discovery.

Awards for URSCA 2018 were presented as follows:

Oral Presentations

Grand Prizes: Kyla Doherty (MacEwan University), Abhi Aggarwal (University of Alberta) and Zahrah Rampuri (Mount Royal University)

Session A:

  • 1st Place: Jason Chan (Mount Royal University)
  • 2nd Place: Brynne Gourlay (Concordia University of Edmonton)

Session B:

  • 1st Place: Zahrah Rampuri (Mount Royal University)
  • 2nd Place: Miranda Lohues (University of Lethbridge)

Session C:

  • 1st Place: Kyla Doherty (MacEwan University) & Abhi Aggarwal (University of Alberta)
  • 2nd Place: Kate Chua (University of Lethbridge)

Poster Presentations

Grand Prize: Maya DeGrood (University of Lethbridge)

Group A:

  • 1st Place: Melissa Giddy (University of Lethbridge)
  • 2nd Place: Claire Niehaus (University of Lethbridge)

Group B:

  • 1st Place: Kamiko Bressler (University of Lethbridge)
  • 2nd Place: Luke Vanderwekken (The King's University)

Group C:

  • 1st Place: Marrissa Buchan (University of Lethbridge)
  • 2nd Place: Lorelei Baquiran (University of Alberta)

Group D:

  • 1st Place: Kate Chua (University of Lethbridge)
  • 2nd Place: Abhi Aggarwal (University of Alberta)

Group E:

  • 1st Place: Jesse Holbein (University of Lethbridge)
  • 2nd Place: Jonathan Roveredo (Mount Royal University)

Group F:

  • 1st Place: Maya DeGrood (University of Lethbridge)
  • 2nd Place: Keiran Vanden Dungen (University of Lethbridge)

Photos of the URSCA 2018 winners are available on Facebook.


Anne-Sophie Tillault (University of Lethbridge)
Dmytro Yevtushenko (University of Lethbridge)
Elizabeth Schultz (University of Lethbridge)
Florian Dieker (University of Lethbridge)
Heather Prior (The King’s University)
Javid Sadr (University of Lethbridge)
Jeroen Stil (University of Calgary)
John Chik (Mount Royal University)
Laura Chasmer ((University of Lethbridge)
Locke Spencer (University of Lethbridge)
Marc Roussel (University of Lethbridge)
Nehal Thakor (University of Lethbridge)
Orla Aaquist (MacEwan University)
Phil Langill (University of Calgary)
Philip Bonnaventure (University of Lethbridge)
Steve Wiseman (University of Lethbridge)
Trevor Day (Mount Royal University)

Gowling WLG (Grand Prize Awards)
University of Lethbridge, School of Graduate Studies (1st Place Awards)
University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Arts & Science (2nd Place Awards)

University of Lethbridge Organizing Committee
Dr. Matthew Letts
Catharine Reader
Alix Redmond
Amanda Clinton

Thank you to all who supported and encouraged us in the planning and delivery of this conference. Download the Conference Program Here.