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Summer Research Round-Up

Aug 19, 2019
Student researcher Niel Anderson
Student researcher Niel Anderson

While some students have been camping, working, or catching up on sleep since the semester ended, others continue to walk the halls of King’s.

Each year a number of students remain on campus to conduct summer research projects.

Four of this year’s summer research students are Danny Krol (B.Sc. ‘19), Ashley Elgersma (B.Sc. ‘21), McKenzie Tilstra (B.Sc. ’19), and Niel Anderson (B.A. ‘20).

Danny Krol, B.Sc. ‘19
Danny, a chemistry student at King’s, is continuing work he began last summer at the King’s Centre for Visualization is Science (KCVS). Earlier this year Danny assisted the Telus World of Science Edmonton (TWoSE) with developing an air quality curriculum for Alberta grade schools that involved an inexpensive air quality sensor.

The sensor used for this was the PocketLab Air from Myriad Sensors, who Danny is now working with to produce standalone experiments for educators. These experiments include using the sensor to detect forest forest fires; exploring health risks associated with common particulate matter sources and vaping; investigating human breath and carbon dioxide intensity relative to cars and planes; and ocean acidification in connection to rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.

This summer Danny also presented at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) conference in San Francisco, focusing largely on the human breath experiment he developed.

Ashley Elgersma, B.Sc. ‘21
Returning to KCVS for her second summer, Ashley is researching alongside Dr. Melanie Hoffman, Dr. Peter Mahaffy, and Dr. Rob MacDonald.

“The big project we are working on this summer is a major update to a visualization we have called the Carbon Reduction Simulation,” she explains. This visualization allows users to see effects on carbon dioxide emissions and how these emissions, projected for the year 2100, will affect and impact our climate.

In the fall, Ashley will be going to Ottawa to work with supervisor and King’s alumnus Dr. Michael Schuurman at the National Research Council. Here she will be working on projects related to electronic structure theory and x-ray radiation.

McKenzie Tilstra, B.Sc. ‘19
This is McKenzie’s first summer researching at KCVS. Having recently graduated from her chemistry degree at King’s, she is now working on a climate change and solutions communication project. She is continuing work she did for her senior thesis with Dr. Peter Mahaffy and Dr. Melanie Hoffman last year.

“I spent a lot of time researching how to communicate climate change science and solutions to different audiences,” says McKenzie. “This work is all about further developing the Carbon Reduction Simulation and using it to facilitate non-polarizing conversation around climate action, which is really relevant, especially in our own province.”

The Carbon Reduction Simulation is an interactive resource that engages users to see the ways different tangible actions, such as changing electricity sources or decreasing the number of cars globally, can reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. The simulation was developed by KCVS and is being further developed this summer by McKenzie and her co-researchers Ashley Elgersma, Kalley Lasola (B.Sc. '21), and Shawn Ritter (B.Sc. '21).

In July, McKenzie attended the International Student Energy Summit in London, UK to present on KCVS’ work on this project. “I was there with 650 other international students and industry leaders to talk about solutions to the climate crisis. It was an amazing, inspiring opportunity that I’m so grateful for!”

Niel Anderson, B.A. ‘20
Niel is hard at work in the history department this summer, working with Dr. Mark Sandle for his book on human experiences during World War II. His involvement is primarily focused on the German, British, and American bombing campaigns and the psychological effects they had on civilians. Toward these efforts, Niel has read many personal memoirs, diaries, and pieces of correspondence from the war and arranged the material thematically to communicate shared yet diverse experiences with the war.

“I got involved with this work after doing a year-long senior research project with Dr. Sandle. Having done substantial historiographic analysis already, doing research this summer seemed like a natural step,” says Niel.

Niel is also researching with Dr. William Van Arragon for his paper on Montreal architect Frederick G. Todd and his role in the development of Edmonton's parks policy. This research finds Niel compiling old newspaper articles relating to Edmonton's river valley and analyzing parks documents at the provincial archives.

Research plays an important role at King's. Students have a number of different ways to get involved in research opportunities, whether through directed studies, Community Engaged Research, KCVS, or summer research projects.

Learn more and browse through other student research profiles in King’s research database.

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