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The Verna J. Kirkness Program at uOttawa - Part 2

The Kirkness scholars in front of Tabaret Hall.

For part 1 on the Verna J. Kirkness program at uOttawa, click here.

The thirteen Kirkness scholars at the University of Ottawa were mentored by five different professors:

Dr. Jessica Forrest, Department of Biology

 Dr. Adam Shuhendler, Department of Chemistry

 Dr. Jeffrey Keillor, Department of Chemistry

Dr. Jeff Lundeen, Department of Physics

 Dr. Karin Hinzer, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Victoria, Emily, and Amber joined Dr. Jessica Forrest’s team for the week. Dr. Forrest is conducting a long-term study of the timing of flowering and bee activity. The students had the opportunity to travel to Gatineau Park to do field work where they counted flowers and caught bees. They also helped to identify and catalogue different fly and bee specimens.

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Emily, Victoria, and Amber holding various bee and fly specimens.

Tyra, Kelsee, and Grace joined Dr. Adam Shuhendler’s lab for the week. They got to use thin layer chromatography (TLC), a technique used to separate chemical compounds to create a variety of molecules. They also used serial dilution to test fluorescence. The Shuhendler lab is studying TLC and fluorescence as a way to detect concussions, heart disease, and cancer therapy response.

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Grace, Kelsee, and Tyra work with Zach (a graduate student working for Dr. Shuhendler) in the Shuhendler lab. 

In Dr. Jeffrey Keillor's lab, Kiana, Lauren, and Kiana learned how to synthesize and evaluate an anti-cancer enzyme inhibitor.  The Keillor group has discovered an inhibitor that blocks tissue transglutaminase (TG2) activity. TG2 is critical for the spread and survival of cancer stem cells. The students were able to perform one out of six steps of the inhibitor synthesis.

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Kiana, Lauren, adn Kiana in the Keillor lab.

In Dr. Jeff Lundeen’s lab, Kendra and Gillian got to use photons and light to study quantum physics. Some of the experiments they students did involved lasers, mirrors, optical fibres, and polarizers. They also learned about Morse code, which was one of the highlights of the week for Gillian and Kendra.

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Aldo (a graduate student in the Department of Physics), Gillian, and Kendra in front of one of their experiments. 

Jesse and Sandra got to join Dr. Karin Hinzer in the SUNLAB. They measured solar cells with precision instruments and learned about how solar technology can be used in their own communities. Jesse and Sandra also got to spend some time in the uOttawa Makerspace, where they learned about 3D printing.

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Mandy (a graduate student working for Dr. Hinzer), Jesse, and Sandra in the SUNLAB.

At the end of the week, each lab group presented a PowerPoint to the rest of the scholars, as well as their mentors, detailing the experiments and activities they conducted. The students learned a wide range of things throughout the week, and each of them developed a better idea of what it would be like to study Science or Engineering in a university setting.  

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