Summertime Smarti Gras: The Smartest and Sweetest Research Celebration of the Season

Thursday, August 17, 2017 - 3:37am
Carla DeMarco
U of T Mississauga undergraduate students were fêted to honour their efforts over the summer months.

Undergraduate student Marigrace NoronhaExploring options for occupations in science and providing a resource in career planning for university students enrolled in Biology programs were some of the motivations driving Marigrace Noronha’s research, and she had the opportunity to outline her project and processes to an attentive audience at this year’s Smarti Gras, a celebration of undergraduate research at U of T Mississauga.

Noronha, a 4th-year student from the Department of Biology (pictured, right), was one of eight undergraduates who delivered an oral presentation at this year’s event. Her talk, “Careers in Biology,” involved work with alumni from Biology, the Biology department, as well as collaboration with UTM’s Career Centre.

“University students within Biology may not necessarily know of career options that exist outside of healthcare and research,” says Noronha.

“My project and the chance to share my findings at Smarti Gras provided me with an opportunity to increase awareness about possible career options, and shed some insight on what alumni have done to achieve their career.”

The seven other talks featured a range of topics including optimizing a microfluidic device to study long-term cellular dynamics from the Department of Chemical & Physical Sciences, curriculum mapping for the FSL program in Language Studies, investigating the extraction of source code in Math and Computational Sciences, and the social modulation of pain in a mouse model from the Department of Psychology.

UTM’s Vice-Principal, Research, Professor Bryan Stewart kicked off the day’s events with opening remarks that emphasized the value of undergraduates’ participation in the range of scholarly projects on campus.

“One of the things we recognize is that students make huge contributions to science in the labs and to the studies being conducted across social sciences and in the humanities,” says Stewart. “All of these efforts are big contributors to research and to the overall culture at the University of Toronto Mississauga.”

Along with the oral presentations there was an extensive poster exhibition featuring 50 posters in honour of 50 years of research at UTM. The topics included the gamut of research areas, from examining infants’ adaptation to accents in speech (Keren Smith, 3rd-year Psychology), to documenting speech sounds in the Mississauga community (Language Studies; Aimee Jeanne Padillo, 3rd year, Fatima Siddiqui, 4th year, and Laura Hustins, 4th-year), looking at Emerald Ash Borer Tree Removal in Mississauga (Guillaume Perrault, 2nd-year Geography), and the thermal tolerance in a semi-aquatic insect (Julienne Bonoan, 4th-year Biology).

Poster Presentation - Smarti Gras 2017

“The breadth and excellence of the posters and the talks, along with the enthusiasm of the presenters and engagement of the attendees, reiterates that UTM is thriving on the research front,” says Stewart.

“An event like Smarti Gras is an opportunity to showcase the exceptional quality of the work being done by UTM’s undergraduate population, and is a point of inspiration to faculty, staff and students about our research strengths, scholarly pursuits, academic creativity, and overall research-community spirit."

The full program of the day’s events, including all the oral and poster presentations from Smarti Gras, is available on the Office of the V.P., Research (OVPR) website.

Along with the OVPR, the event was co-sponsored by U of T Mississauga 50th Anniversary funds, the Dean’s Office, UTM Library, and UTMAGS.