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  • Ward Summer Student Research Day celebrates C...
  • July 26, 2017

    Ward Summer Student Research Day celebrates Canada’s best and brightest during a full-house awards ceremony

    It was a record-breaking day with over 100 attendees at the 11th annual Ward Summer Student Research Day that celebrated the work of Canada’s best and brightest undergraduate students in childhood disability research. A total of 18 students presented their research to staff, students, clinicians, scientists, and researchers through engaging oral and poster presentations that summarized the impact of their work toward a meaningful and healthy future for all children and their families.

    Amy McPherson, interim vice-president of research and scientist at Holland Bloorview's research institute, gives opening remarks

    “Holland Bloorview’s Ward Summer Student Research Program amazes me every year. The magnitude of the work that our summer students complete in just three months is truly incredible. It was an honour to host this year’s Ward Summer Student Research Day and learn about the research that Canada’s best and brightest students have been conducting, which, no doubt represents the work of the next generation of scientists in childhood disability research. The research of our summer students is impactful, inspiring, meaningful, and a true reflection of a future with no boundaries for children with disabilities and their families. I’m so proud of all of our students and wish them the best in their bright future ahead,” says Dr. Amy McPherson, interim vice-president of research, and scientist at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.

    The awards ceremony kicked off with inspiring presentations from 10 select students who walked the audience through their research and findings. At the end of each presentation, a panel of judges – including family leader Jean Hammond, clinician scientist Shannon Scratch, post-doctoral fellows Yani Hamdani, Teenu Sanjeevan and Larissa Schudlo, and PhD student Karolina Urban  – engaged students in a Q&A about their research. One Ward summer student was awarded for the best presentation based on criteria that included research impact, interest to members of childhood disability clinical and/or research communities, originality, and content/applicability.

    All students had the opportunity to showcase their research via a poster presentation. Poster judges had the difficult task of selecting only three students for the best poster awards.

    Poster Presentations

    The 2017 Ward Summer Student Research Day winners are:

    Best Oral Presentation

    Corinna Smith (Centre for Leadership in Innovation), for her research project entitled Computer-Based Video Analysis of Infant Movements for Early Prediction of Cerebral Palsy

    Best Poster Presentations

    1st place

    Kristen Thompson (Centre for Leadership in Acquired Brain Injury), for her research project entitled Validating a Software for Speech-Motor Control Research

    2nd place (tie)

    Adam Gierlach (Centre for Leadership in Innovation), for his research project entitled ReSourced: Enabling Access to Timely and Quality Services

    Elizabeth Hoskin (Centre for Leadership in Innovation), for her research project entitled Exploring Machine Learning to Allow Kids with Cerebral Palsy to Control Active Video Games with their Hands

    3rd place

    Katrina Darcel (Centre for Leadership in Innovation), for her research project entitled Using Near-Infrared Spectroscopy to Assess Functional Brain Activity During Single and Dual Task Paradigms

    (From L to R) Adam Gierlach, Elizabeth Hoskin, Amy McPherson, Kristen Thompson, Katrina Darcel, and Corinna Smith

    “The Ward Summer Student Research Day was a great opportunity to share my work with the Holland Bloorview community, and learn about the impressive research of the rest of the summer students. All of the presentations were extraordinary, and winning the award was very exciting. My favorite part of the program has been knowing that my work is meaningful, and learning about the strategies that Holland Bloorview’s research institute uses to ensure that research has meaning and impact. I’m grateful for the opportunity to contribute my work and be immersed into the unique environment of Holland Bloorview, and I thank my amazing mentors for their support for the last three months,” says Corinna Smith, third-year student in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Waterloo, and winner of the best presentation.

    Over the course of three months, students in the Ward Summer Student Research Program work with a scientist mentor to advance childhood disability research in the areas of acquired brain injury, applied innovation, child development, and participation and inclusion. Throughout the program, they receive hands-on, applied learning; insight into research ethics and grant writing; individual guidance from scientists; lunch and learns; and knowledge translation opportunities. At the end of the program, students present their research achievements during the Ward Summer Student Research Day awards ceremony.

    “I was completely blown away with the quality of the work presented, and the composure and confidence with which it was presented. The Ward Summer Student Research Program is an incredibly positive experience for all research students, and is a great way to inspire these amazing students to go on and do great things in the world,” says Dr. Nick Reed, clinician scientist, concussion centre, Holland Bloorview.

    Every year, the Ward Summer Student Research Program attracts top talent from across the world. This year, over 1,600 applications were received, and only 18 students selected for a unique interdisciplinary mentorship experience at Holland Bloorview's research institute. The program is made possible through the Ward Family’s generous support.

    Thank you to all Ward students for dedicating your time and energy into conducting meaningful research that will shape a future with no boundaries for children and their families. We look forward to hearing more about your work in the future!

    Ward Summer Student Research Day 2017