Durham College recognizes fresh, new ideas at first-ever Research Day

Students, faculty and staff came together to recognize Durham College’s ongoing research efforts during the college’s first-ever Research Day, which was held at the new Student Services building on March 31.

April 5, 2011

One of the top priorities at Durham College is ensuring student success and what better place to celebrate some great student accomplishments than at the college’s first-ever Research Day.

The event, which was held on March 31 at the new Student Services building at the Oshawa campus, was presented by the Office of Research Services and Innovation to highlight student and faculty applied research collaborations with community and business partners. Don Lovisa, president of Durham College, and Judy Robinson, vice-president, Academic, both used the forum to recognize the college’s faculty, staff and students and thank them for their efforts toward the many research projects currently underway.

“Today is a day of many firsts,” said Robinson. “It’s about celebrating the achievements of our staff, students and faculty.”

The Office of Research Services and Innovation officially opened in November 2009 after becoming a member of the Colleges Ontario Network for Industry Innovation (CONII). Since that time it has received more than $1.2 million in research funding from partners including the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), CONII and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

“We’ve gone from zero to 100 within a year and a half,” said Lovisa. “Nothing excites me more than to see how far we’ve come with our research initiatives.”

Research Day featured 15 breakout sessions designed to showcase several faculty- and student-focused research projects and initiatives including an electronics e-waste recycling program; a pool debris skimmer/extraction device prototype; a thesis on exploring students’ perspectives of classroom activities and behaviours that contribute to their academic success and decision to remain in college; the development of a two-axis, ground-mounted solar tracking system; and much more.

Debbie McKee Demczyk, director of the Office of Research Services and Innovation, believes students are critical to projects and events like Research Day. “Students are a vital and important part of the research and development projects we work on in this office,” she said. “Not only are we providing them with a unique learning experience, we are giving them an opportunity to work directly with local companies and apply their skills to find real-world solutions.”

As part of the day’s agenda, the following students were honoured for their contribution to Durham College as student researchers:

  • Kelly Brooks;
  • Benjamin Burns;
  • Lindsay Collins;
  • Bradley Davies;
  • Linzi Dubeau;
  • Elliotte Fernandes;
  • Keegan Gibbons;
  • Sarah Hawkins;
  • Michelle Lang;
  • Suzanne Leybourne;
  • Giovanni Massimi;
  • Mitchell Owen;
  • Lisa Pittens;
  • Chris Spatola;
  • David Tait;
  • Nicholas Taylor; and
  • Fraser Wicks.

The following faculty members were honoured for their contribution to Durham College as faculty researchers:

  • Rob Braithwaite;
  • Brent Brooks;
  • Maureen Calhoun;
  • Chris Daniel;
  • Peter Hudecki;
  • Steve Knihnisky;
  • Dave MacKay;
  • Greg Moran;
  • Jeff Myers;
  • Anna Rodrigues; and
  • Richard Tidman.

The following individuals were honoured for their contribution to Durham College as members of the college’s Research Advisory Committee (RAC):

  • Chris Daniel;
  • Luiz Fernandes;
  • Matthew Jelavic;
  • Barbara MacCheyne;
  • June MacDonald-Jenkins;
  • Debbie McKee Demczyk;
  • Megan Parker;
  • Judith Spring;
  • Susan Todd; and
  • Elaine Wannamaker.

Looking toward the future, McKee Demczyk says the office is currently finalizing a number of new research projects while continuing to develop and expand its existing partnerships with internal and external organizations and local businesses with a focus on alternative and renewable energy, construction, digital media, environmental technology, health and life sciences and manufacturing and materials.