2nd Annual Undergraduate Research Conferences

2nd Annual Undergraduate Research Conferences

The Second Annual Undergraduate Research Conferences were held in the period April 11 – 13, 2018 under the theme Celebrating the Power and Potential of Undergraduate Research. The conference at the Turkeyen Campus included two major events (Faculty Discussion on  Undergraduate Research Presentations) whereas the Conference at Tain included one major event (Undergraduate Research Presentations). The conferences  featured a combined total of 96 presentations and were attended by a combined total of 347.

Conference at Turkeyen

The URC 2018 at Turkeyen was held on April 11 and 12, 2018 and it included two events. The first event which was held on April 11, 2018, featured presentations and discussions led by nine faculty members in two consecutive panels and was attended by 53 individuals. The following topics were addressed by the panelists:

Managing Undergraduate Research: A Perspective from the Department of Computer Science
Mr. Lenandlar Singh
Senior Lecturer
Department of Computer Science

Condemned to Silence, Shadow, and Margin: The English-Only War Against New Voices in the Academy
Ms. Charlene Wilkinson
Lecturer II
Guyanese Languages Unit Working Group
Dept. of Language and Cultural Studies

Undergraduate Research in the Arts
Mr. Al Creighton
Director, Confucius Institute
Head of Language and Cultural Studies
Faculty of Education and Humanities

Women in Science and Engineering: A University of Guyana Perspective
Dr. Gyanpriya Maharaj
Coordinator, MSc. Forest Biology
Department of Biology &
Centre for the Study of Biological Diversity

The University of Guyana Library: Addressing the Needs of Undergraduate Research
Ms. Gwyneth George

The Capstone Undergraduate Project: A critical Element in Producing Work-Ready Engineering Graduates at the University of Guyana
Mr. Sherwood Lowe
Lecturer II
Faculty of Technology

Undergraduate Research Challenges in the Social Sciences
Dr. Thomas B. Singh
Senior Lecturer
Department of Economics

Undergraduate Research in Education: Challenges and Opportunities
Mr. Peter Wintz
Head, Research and Graduate Studies

The Quality of Undergraduate Research: The Faculty of Earth and Environmental Sciences experience
Ms. Denise Simmons
Lecturer ll &
Assistant Dean, Faculty of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Ms. Shanomae Rose
Lecturer ll &
Head, Department of Environmental Studies

Research presentations by undergraduates were delivered on April 12, 2018. This event showcased 54 oral presentations and 12 posters, one of which was of artwork (specifically paintings). This event included 12 panels held in three sessions throughout the day with up to 5 simultaneous panels at peak activity. A total of 180 individuals attended the presentation by the undergraduates at Turkeyen.

An important development at this second iteration of the URC is that there was improved representation of that Arts. It was especially encouraging to see the involvement of the visual arts in addition to the language arts. As in the case of the conference at Tain, the Conference at Turkeyen is expected to continue to address the more traditional view of undergraduate research.

Keynote Speaker – Turkeyen


Prof. Maya Trotz.
The Keynote was delivered by Prof. Maya Trotz.

Maya A. Trotz, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of South Florida (USF), Tampa. Dr. Trotz’s research looks at water quality, water source protection, and water provision for sustainable communities through a lens that focuses on the intersection of infrastructure for education and engineered systems. Her research on sustainability strongly emphasizes community engagement and interdisciplinary engineering education with intent to influence the approach of utilities, communities, and curriculum. Her students are currently investigating reef and marine inspired land-based solutions that include green infrastructure for stormwater management and resource recovery for municipal and onsite wastewater in Tampa, Belize and Barbados. Her research also addresses gender and infrastructure and opportunities for sustainable designs and livelihoods. She received the 2014 Award for Outstanding Contribution to Environmental Engineering and Science Education from the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP), partly for her ability to integrate her research with K-12 and university education. Since June 2015 she has been a board member of AEESP and currently serves as its President-Elect. She chairs the Sustainability Collective based in Barbados and serves as the treasurer of Fragments of Hope Corp, a public US based charity that supports Fragments of Hope Ltd. (FoH), a community-based organization located on the Placencia Peninsula, Belize focused on the restoration of coral reef habitats. She served as a member of the University of Guyana Chancellor’s Transformational Task Force in 2016.

Dr. Trotz currently directs a National Research Traineeship program on Systems Training for Research ON Geography-based Coastal Food Energy Water Systems funded through the US National Science Foundation (NSF) with project partners in Belize, Barbados, and the US Virgin Islands. She is part of an EPA center on nutrient management at USF and co-PI on a Partners for International Research and Education (PIRE) grant focused on integrated water and energy systems, in particular for wastewater across socio cultural and geospatial scales. She leads sustainability driven research and education programs for graduate students, undergraduate students, and teachers, funded through the National Science Foundation (NSF), the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Education, the Florida Sea Grant, and the National Fish and Wildlife Fund.

As a Visiting Research Scientist at the Caribbean Science Foundation in Barbados during the 2013 academic year she helped to develop and implement the inaugural Sagicor Visionaries Challenge for high school students in 12 different Caribbean countries. Sponsored by Sagicor, the Caribbean Science Foundation, and the Caribbean Examinations Council this challenge asked students to identify a challenge facing their school and/or community, propose a sustainable and innovative solution and demonstrate how that solution used science, technology, engineering and mathematics. In 2013 she received the inaugural Caribbean Science Foundation award for Distinguished Service.

Dr. Trotz integrates multimedia and social media into her work and produces a series called “Sustainable Lives” featuring Caribbean people who are leading by example on sustainability and AEESP Environmental Engineering & Science Stories featuring professionals from that discipline. She has also produced a series of interviews with her father that discuss the history of sustainability projects in Guyana that were a part of the portfolio of the Institute of Applied Science and Technology (IAST) in the 1980s.

Dr. Trotz graduated from Queen’s College High, received a bachelor’s in chemical engineering with a minor in theater from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and then a master’s and doctorate in environmental engineering from Stanford University. As a Postdoc she taught at the National Technological University in Singapore on behalf of Stanford University.

Conference at Tain (Berbice)

The URC 2018 at Tain was held on April 13, 2018. A total of 17 presentations were made by students with one presentation being a video documentary. The inclusion of a video documentary was an important statement on the breath of academic activities that the University of Guyana and the Office for Undergraduate Research regard as research. The hope is that this makes some inroads in relation to changing the more traditional view of research.

An important development at the Tain Conference is that several secondary schools in Berbice were invited and groups of students and their teachers attended the conference. The conference was attended by 114 individuals which is a marked improvement from the previous year.

Another development at the Tain conference is that there were oral presentations by two students from the Turkeyen campus. This hopefully marked the beginning of sharing of research and conference interaction among students of the two campuses.

Keynote Speaker – Tain
Dr. Bibi Areefa Alladin.
The Keynote was delivered by Dr. Bibi Areefa Alladin.

Bibi Areefa Alladin was born to a family of rice farmers in 1983. She is the third of four siblings and was raised on the West Coast of Berbice in a small village Called Number Three Village. Her primary education was obtained at the Cotton Tree Primary School. Dr. Alladin then attended the New Amsterdam Multilateral School.

Having had no television or Internet access, Dr. Alladin spent most of her childhood outdoors. She went fishing and played War-Break and cricket in the yard. Her holidays and weekends were spent in the rice fields where she played in mud and straw with her siblings and friends. They ate black sage bearings and other weird stuff that “failed to kill them”.

A memorable feature of her time at high school was the boat ride across the Berbice River. This created a lot of spare time which she spent getting her homework done while her friends socialized. She stood out as nerd in their view, but Dr. Alladin just saw it as her using her time.

She met her future husband while preparing for the CSEC examinations. He happened to be in her science stream. It came as a surprise to her family (and to her) that she excelled at CSEC. She was the best graduating science student who earned a distinction in Chemistry; a first for her School. She had no idea then what she wanted to do in the future, but she knew that she had to attend the University of Guyana. Her brother was a student there and this set the precedent that she knew she had to follow. In addition to this, she was told that she would do Pharmacy and so she did.

At University of Guyana, Dr. Alladin lived in the dormitory and learned what life was like after being sheltered by my mother. She graduated with distinction in Pharmacy at the age of 19; the youngest graduate up to that time and went on to practice as a Pharmacist. However, she got bored in that year and stated studying Spanish. She then quit her job in 2004 and started medical school after she was encouraged by Dr. Emanuel Cummings to apply to the University of Guyana.

For Dr. Alladin, medical school had its challenges. She felt like quitting several times. That notwithstanding, she graduated with distinction from the programme and won many awards including the Prime Minister’s Medal for the best graduating student in the School of Medicine.

Dr. Alladin got married during her internship and moved back to Berbice where she worked at the New Amsterdam Hospital. She decided to have a baby and become a housewife. Dr. Alladin describes this as the best year of her life. However, after that year, she started a Paediatric residency program and moved back to Georgetown with her child. She received training in several areas including allergy testing, Pediatric Advanced life support, and clinical teaching. Dr. Alladin graduated from the University of Guyana for the third time in 2015 with a Master’s degree in Pediatrics shortly after the death of my husband.

Dr. Alladin became a lecturer in the School of Medicine at the University of Guyana in 2013 under the guidance of Dr. Madan Rambaran. At the university, she taught several courses including Pediatrics and Pharmacology and Clinical pharmacy. She is now the Principal Tutor for Pediatrics and a lecture in the Post Graduate Pediatrics Program.

Dr. Alladin has done several research pieces and has published a few times. Her work was presented at local and international conferences. She is also a member of the editorial and organizing committee for the Annual Guyana Medical Scientific Conference. Apart from this, Dr. Alladin is actively involved in volunteer work and is a founding member of the Kidney Foundation of Guyana and the Guyana Help the kids Charity among others.

Dr. Bibi Areefa Alladin is a mother, a lecturer, a researcher, a practicing pediatrician and a mentor.