Roger S. Smith Winners Showcase Their Findings

Arts students display their summer research at Rutherford South

Isha Thompson - 13 October 2010

Arts undergraduate students who won a 2010 Roger S. Smith Research Award recounted their summer of independence, which allowed them to dig deep into topics that interest them, at the recent opening of a poster exhibition in Rutherford South. Despite the hard work involved, students say their positive experiences made it all worthwhile.

"I really enjoyed it. It was definitely a big test because there w[ere] no deadlines…It was me working quite independently, which was difficult at times, but it was definitely a really good experience," said English major Faye Campbell who presented the findings from her Roger S. Smith research project Consuming Nations: Backpacker Culture and Travel Media.

Campbell and 14 of her peers were awarded the student research award, which included $5,000 and 15 weeks to research a topic of their choice, with the guidance of a faculty supervisor.

The opportunity to analyze travel texts that have a western perspective, such as the popular Lonely Planet series, gave Campbell the chance to understand the implications of backpacker culture, distinctions between the traveler and tourist and what role western image-making plays in warping global perceptions.

"I thought it would be an interesting thing to look at because I know so many people who have gone travelling or feel almost obligated to do-so," explained Campbell, who focused primarily on travel destinations within Asia.

Noor Iqbal, whose project Theologies of the Earth explored the root of the relationship between Judaism and Islam, said she loved the freedom to learn about a topic that she is interested in, without having to abide by a syllabus or a structure of a specific course.

"The very open-endedness to it gives you a different perspective. It allows you to not be focused on a deadline and rather go more in-depth into the research. You can pursue it as much as you want," said Iqbal, who is working towards her BA with a double major in German and history.

The posters that summarize the research many of the students completed over the summer will be on display until the end of October. The exhibition of their findings and the presentations students made on the opening day of the exhibit on October 6 is the perfect opportunity to expose the undergraduates to what they will face if they choose a career as a researcher.

"You have got to be able to find a way of taking months and months of work and be able to present it in ways that are accessible to a whole bunch of people in a relatively short period of time," said the Faculty of Arts Associate Dean of Research AndréPlourde.

Many Roger S. Smith recipients use the unique opportunity to help prepare them for a future in graduate school. Psychology major Adele Courchesne applied for one of the awards in order to get experience, but to also cultivate relationships with her supervisors.

"I was lucky that I had a really close working relationship with my supervisors, "said Courchesne, who is thankful for the guidance and support she received from Associate Professors Christina Gagne and Tom Spalding. "It was really directed, they really helped me out as far as the sort of things I should be doing."

Plourde says he is not only impressed by the hard-work the students put into their projects, but also the commitment shown by the faculty members who volunteer their time to help guide the students.

"It's a real contribution on the part of faculty members in Arts and I am really grateful for all of their time, effort and dedication," says Plourde.

The Roger S. Smith Undergraduate Student Researcher Award is a collaboration between the Faculty of Arts and the Office of the Vice-President (Research). Applications for the 2011 award are now being accepted with a deadline of March 3, 2011.

2010 Award Winners:




Faye Campbell

Stephen Slemon

Consuming Nations: Backpacker Culture and Travel Media

Adele Courchesne

Christina Gagne

Meaning Construction and Opaque Compounds

Charles Crittenden

Sean Gouglas

Community Mapping, Augmented Reality, and Urban Identity

Sarah Dawson

Natasha Hurley

The Queer Child

Emily Dymock

Lianna McTavish

Imaging Culture and Convalescence: Past into Present

Elizabeth Elliott

Anne-Michelle Tessier

L2 phonological proficiency and the attitudes of Alberta French speakers

Niall Fink

Christopher Fletcher

Narratives of Men's Labour Histories in the Territorial North

Iqbal Noor

Andrew Gow

Theologies of the Earth

Jennifer Kentel

Jana Grekul

Family Violence: A Confounding Variable When Dealing with Gangs?

Gianna Krohman-Vacirca

Lin Snelling

The Physical Healer

Hannah McFadden

Kathleen Lowrey

Food Paradigsm Shifts in Alberta: Applying a Sociocultural Perspective

Caeleigh Moffat

David S. Miall

Literary Education: A Study of Student Reading

Pablo Retamozo Landeo

Jana Grekul

Male Youth Gang Members: Pathways, Recruitment, Status and Government Policy

Corey Smith

David Gramit

Transcribing Bach's Organ Works: Issues and Practices

Lulu Yu

Zeb Raft

Studies in the Translation of Chinese Poetry