FMS – Undergraduate Research Symposium


Conference Info

Conference Success

We are pleased to announce the FMS Undergraduate Research Conference was a success with a host of talented student researchers showcasing their academic achievements.

We sincerely thank all those that participated and hope to hold the conference again next year.

Here are the winners of the 2022 conference!

Outstanding Poster Presentation Awards

  First place: Rhea Alitawi, Neuroscience — “Developmental and Cognitive Outcomes of Ethanol Exposure during Invertebrate Embryogenesis”

  Second place: Aws Al Jumaily, Computer Science — “Transformer-Based Multi-Objective Reinforcement Learning for Drug Design”

 Third place: Eric He, Physics — “Bound States without Potentials: Localization at Singularities”

Outstanding Poster Design

  George White, Earth Sciences — “Identifying Possible Wrinkle Ridge Exposures in the Walls of Valles Marineris, Mars”

  Lisa Harris, Chemistry — “Utilizing Historical Data to Predict Water Quality Trends of the Wignell Drain in Port Colborne”



FMS Undergraduate Research Conference 

August 10  3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Pond Inlet, Brock University

Welcome to the FMS Undergraduate Research Symposium! This event serves as a vibrant forum for the next generation of scientists at Brock University to present their cutting-edge research, engage in thought-provoking discussions, and build valuable connections. Participants will gain insights into a wide array of scientific fields, promoting a broad understanding of the interconnectedness of scientific research. The goal of this event is to highlight the hard-work and dedication of our undergraduate researchers in the Faculty of Math and Science. Join us for this celebration of undergraduate research and creativity, as we foster a new generation of scientific thinkers ready to shape the future of research.

Registration is FREE.

Attendees: No registration is needed to attend the URS, just bring your curiosity and excitement! Coffee/tea and light snacks will be provided!

Presenters: Any current undergraduate researchers who performed research within the Faculty of Mathematics and Science are eligible to present.

Researchers that have graduated within the last year are also eligible to present their work. Presenters should consult with their research advisor before registering.

Registration is free of charge. Registration closes on 1 July, 2023. You can register at the link above.

Poster Judges: We are actively looking for members of the campus community to help judge and provide feedback to the students on their posters. Poster judges may sign up to judge a single session or both sessions.

A rubric with space for comments will be provided. Any faculty/staff with a scientific background are encouraged to sign up to be a poster judge.

If you have any questions with regarding registration, please contact Assistant Professor Gavin Hester –

Important dates:

Presenter registration closes July 1, 2023.

Poster judges will be accepted on an ongoing basis until a sufficient number has been reached to provide each student at least two poster judges.

Poster Printing Deadline: If the students want their poster printed by Brock’s Printing and Digital Services, it must be submitted by August 1, 2023.

Symposium Date: August 10, 2023 from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the Pond Inlet.

Poster setup time: ALL posters should be mounted by 3 pm on the day of the event.
Group A will be judged between 3 pm and 4 pm
Group B will be judged between 4 pm and 5 pm.
Judge deliberations for awards: 5 to 5:30 pm
Awards Presentation: 5:30 to 6 pm
Location: Pond Inlet
Group A 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Poster #Presenter(s)Department(s)Title
1Justin WimmerNeuroscienceLearning and Memory at a Snail’s Pace
3Marlize RuppleChemistryThe Synthesis and Study of Fe(II) Spin Crossover Complexes as Potential Temperature Probes and PARACEST Agents for Magnetic Resonance Imaging
5Marley McLeanEducationRetesting the Use of Agrominerals on Vegetable Crops
7Kristen RoseMathematics and StatisticsPredicting Professional Hockey Outcomes using Regularized Linear Regression
9Rhea AlitawiNeuroscienceDevelopmental and Cognitive Outcomes of Ethanol Exposure during Invertebrate Embryogenesis
11Robert MorabitoComputer ScienceDebiasing should be Good and Bad: Measuring the Consistency of Debiasing Techniques in Language Models
13Sebastien DuguayPhysics3D Printing Crystal Structures for Education and Outreach
15Jessica SardellaMathematics and StatisticsLearning to use programming as a tool for pure and applied mathematical inquiry: What university math students’ value most from their experience
17Matthew SummervilleBiological SciencesSocial Behaviour of Native and Reintroduced Three-Spined Sticklebacks in Alaskan Lakes
19Nick HolditchPhysicsThe Persistent Homology of a Molecular Dynamic Protein Simulation
Location: Pond Inlet
Group B 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Poster #Presenter(s)Department(s)Title
2Gabriela Valencia ZuñigaPhysicsTime Travel Paradoxes and Entangled Timelines
4Matthew SchweinbenzChemistry, PhysicsDevelopment of Anion Exchange Membranes using Hydroxylated Hexagonal Boron Nitride
6Sam StuddyPhysicsNeutron Spectroscopy of Crystal Field Excitations in Yb2Si2O7
8Aws Al JumailyComputer ScienceTransformer-Based Multi-Objective Reinforcement Learning for Drug Design
10Lisa HarrisChemistryUniversity Math Students Learning to use Programming for Math Inquiries: What Students are Most Proud of and Why
12Samantha BoerkampMathematics and StatisticsUniversity Math Students’ Engaging in Programming-based Math Inquiries: What is Learned
14Eric HePhysicsBound States without Potentials: Localization at Singularities
16George WhiteEarth SciencesIdentifying Possible Wrinkle Ridge Exposures in the Walls of Valles Marineris, Mars
18Kael DoomernikEarth SciencesPetrographic analysis of microbially altered volcanic tuffs


Outstanding Poster Presentation Awards

The Dean of the Faculty of Math and Sciences has generously funded three prizes for outstanding poster presentations (outlined below). These awards will be given to the students who have the best all around poster presentation, including the clarity of explanations, the quality of the poster, and how the student answers questions. The awards will be decided on by a group of judges from the Brock community.

  • First Place for Outstanding Poster Presentation ($200 + certificate)
  • Second Place for Outstanding Poster Presentation ($100 + certificate)
  • Third Place for Outstanding Poster Presentation ($50 + certificate)

Please note: Students must be present at their poster during the designated time to be considered for an award

Outstanding Poster Design Awards

Scion Instruments has graciously agreed to sponsor two $100 awards for outstanding poster design. These awards will be given to the two posters with the best aesthetic design, including having high quality figures, readability, and general visual appeal. This award will be judged by the same group of judges that asses the outstanding poster presentation awards. A representative from Scion Instruments will be at the event, so be sure to check out their table to see what cutting-edge research instrumentation they are offering.

  • Posters should be mounted before 3 pm on the day of the event. Presenters will be placed into one of two sessions. Presenters should plan to be beside their paper for the duration of their session.
    • Session A: 3 pm to 4 pm
    • Session B: 4 pm to 5 pm
  • The poster boards are 4 feet by 4 feet. The recommended poster size is 3 feet by 4 feet (landscape or portrait).
  • Posters can be printed by Brock’s Printing and Digital Services. Students must have their poster submitted to Printing and Digital Services before 1 August to ensure it is printed in time for the symposium. The cost to print a poster is $66, generally paid for from the research advisor’s funding.
  • Presenters are advised to prepare a 3-5 minute presentation introducing their poster to judges and audience.
  • A simple, Brock-themed poster design is available here. Presenters are also welcome to design their own poster design or use a design from another source.
  • The poster rubric used for judging the Outstanding Poster Presentation Award can be found here


A: There is no single rule for what a research poster must include, however, a rough guideline of sections is below.

  1. Title
  2. List of authors and affiliations.
  3. Introduction
  4. Methods
  5. Results
  6. Conclusions
  7. References

Many more extensive guides for making posters are available online. A couple options are suggested below:

McMaster University USRA Poster Pointers:

University of Texas – Austin Guide to Research Posters:

A: I would refer to the online guides referenced in the question regarding how a poster should look, but a few common mistakes are:

  • Image Quality and Format: Generally, a .png or .pdf are the best file types for scientific images. The .pdf is a vector image, so it should maintain quality no matter how closely you observe the image. The .png is a rasterized image, so you should ensure it is of sufficiently high resolution to scale nicely to a poster. If you made the image, something around 750 dpi is generally sufficient. The .png format is recommended over .jpg, as the .png format is much better at preserving the sharp lines and text generally seen in scientific plots.
  • Background Color: If you choose to modify or make your own template, you should avoid using backgrounds with complex images or overly vibrant colors. This can make reading your poster incredibly difficult, particularly for those with issues color vision deficiencies.
  • Text: Your poster should include text to describe your work, but too much text is not visually appealing to the viewer. Generally, your poster should be understandable without the presenter present, but can be greatly improved by the presenter narrating the “story” of the poster.

A: No! It is expected that many students will not have a complete research project done at the time of the Symposium. In fact, presenting work in progress can be a great way to develop new ideas for the next steps in a project and foster collaborations.