Festival of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (FURCA) Awards

FURCA celebrates the talents of U of A students, providing a place for the sharing of ideas between students, faculty, and the broader community.

Each year, awards are given in several categories. As all awards are sponsor or donor-funded, the value & number of awards may vary each year depending on funding availability and the pool of eligible presenters.

FURCA 2021 Award Recipients

Outstanding communication

Award Sponsor: Students’ Union, Faculty of Science, Faculty of Arts

101. Language attitudes and perceptions: Evaluating identity among Francophone students 

Presenter: Nicol G. Garzon, Faculty: Arts

1. Development of an Impedance-Based Biosensor, Enhancing the Point-of-Care Diagnostics in Colon Cancer Patients 
Presenter: Payton LeBlanc, Faculty: Science

12. Surgical management of pediatric patients with drug-resistant epilepsy; comparison of pre-operative imaging and post-operative tissue diagnosis 

Presenter: Jonas Szelewicki, Faculty: Medicine & Dentistry

19. Military parents’ experiences of resilience enhancing training: A qualitative analysis 

Presenter: Melina Lee, Faculty: Nursing

24. Anti-VEGF therapy in radiation retinopathy secondary to uveal melanoma 

Presenter: Ojas Srivastava, Faculty: Medicine & Dentistry

63. Analysis of the Genetic Structure of a Snail Symbiont, Across Spatial & Species Divides 

Presenter: Robert X. Lu, Faculty: Science

94. Samosa Politics: Ethnicity, Incorporation and Multiculturalism in Canadian Politics 
Presenter: Harnoor Kochar, Faculty: Arts


Outstanding Creative Activity

Award Sponsor: Faculty of Arts 

98. Indigenous Language Revitalization (Cree) 

Presenter: Maxine Desjarlais, Faculty: Education


Outstanding Early Career research

Award Sponsor: Faculty of Science 

67. Avoiding Ice Damage in High Throughput Cryopreservation of Cells 

Presenter: Parth K. Patel, Faculty: Science


Outstanding Interdisciplinary Research

Award Sponsor: Faculty of Science 

The Neuroregenerative Effects of Intraspinal Microstimulation Following Spinal Cord Injury 

Presenter: Andy Lee, Faculty: Science


Outstanding International Student Researcher

Award Sponsor: University of Alberta International 

71. Expanding the toolkit for the study of Polysialic acid: from genes and proteins to disease 

Presenter: Samantha Rodriguez, Faculty: Science

90. Patriarchal concept of Marriage between 1917-1921 

Presenter: Josiah Kwabena Afriyie, Faculty: Augustana Campus


Outstanding Sustainability Research

Award Sponsor: Sustainability Council 

48. The Heart of Borneo: An insight into the islands complex sustainability issues 

Presenter: Kaila Belovich, Faculty: Science

62. Cow Pee Power 

Presenter: Vidhya Krishnan, Faculty: Science


Award Categories and Information

General Awards

Outstanding Communication
Recognizes students who are best able to communicate the results and impact of their research to an interdisciplinary audience. Note, this award is given out in each category of presentation (e.g. best poster, best oral presentation, etc.). Sponsored by the Students' Union and the Faculty of Science. 

Outstanding Interdisciplinary Research
Recognizes outstanding interdisciplinary research. The interdisciplinary aspects of the project may include (but are not limited to):

  • The student is doing research outside of his/her own discipline
  • The research makes effective use of interdisciplinary methods
  • The outcomes of the research are interdisciplinary in scope

Students must be able to clearly explain the interdisciplinary aspects of their project to the judges. Sponsored by the Faculty of Science.

Special Categories

Outstanding Creative Activity
Recognizes outstanding research in an artistic discipline, which includes one or a combination of: design, creative writing, visual arts (painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, textiles), performing arts (dance, music, theatre), film, video, interdisciplinary arts, media and electronic arts, and new artistic practices. Note that students from any discipline are eligible for this award, provided their work qualifies as a creative activity. Sponsored by the Faculty of Arts.

Outstanding "Early Career" Research
Recognizes a 1st or 2nd-year student for outstanding research undertaken during his or her first year of study. Note: First-year students presenting work completed in high school are also eligible for this award. Sponsored by the Faculty of Science. 

Outstanding International Research
Recognizes outstanding research performed outside of Canada (e.g. international fieldwork, research-abroad experiences, etc.). Sponsored by University of Alberta International. 

Outstanding International Student Researcher
Recognizes outstanding research performed by an international student at the U of A. Sponsored by University of Alberta International. 

Outstanding Sustainability Research
The Sustainability Council is proud to recognize the top undergraduate researchers who are building a better world. The winning projects demonstrate an integrated approach that considers human and environmental factors in the challenges we face and the solutions we need. A panel convened by the Sustainability Council selects the top projects within this field for the award.