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COVID-19 Information | RDC shares important information for Winter 2021 Term

Featured Student Research

RDC Student ResearchStudents at Red Deer College engage in applied research and practical learning across our programs. These types of projects are interesting, hands-on and relevant to what students will see in the real world. 

By collaborating with faculty and community partners, students elevate their research and communication skills. By  studying relevant topics of interest to them, students gain applied knowledge that they can transfer to their future goals. 

Depending on the course or program, students may engage in learning with their classmates through community-based or capstone projects, or they may undertake an independent research project with the support of a supervising instructor. 

researchscholarshipoffice [at] rdc [dot] ab [dot] ca (Contact us) if you are a student who is interested in learning more about research at RDC or if you have a project idea. 

Want to see examples of student research? See the featured projects and classes with research opportunities listed below or visit the RDC Digital Repository, which showcases scholarly, research and creative works undertaken by RDC students, faculty and staff. All students, whether current RDC students or high school students, are welcome to attend research-related events to speak with faculty and staff and learn more. 


Featured Student Projects

Agora Student Conference and Journal
The Agora Undergraduate Conference showcases student work completed in Humanities and Social Sciences, Social Work, and Justice Studies classes, bringing together RDC's diverse community in celebration of student excellence. Students have the opportunity to share the results of their coursework with a public audience. 

The 16th Annual Agora Conference (2020) included 76 presentations on topics ranging from psychological and sociological research to argumentative essays on current controversial topics, from analytical assessments of film and literature to creative writing about identity, and from field work that studies some of Red Deer’s most vulnerable populations to inventive applications of social work tenets. Agora joined forces with the School of Creative Arts to offer two inaugural student art exhibitions, showcasing the stellar artwork of 25 students.

Agora brought together a group of five faculty members from various disciplines to discuss “Emerging Technologies and the Human Condition" in an interdisciplinary roundtable. Stephen Brown, PhD (Psychology), Roger Davis, PhD (English), Kate Hickey (Sociology), Kala Striebel, RN (Nursing), and Jeff Wigelsworth, PhD (History) were invited to join two student moderators, Caitlin Clayton (Psychology) and Andrew Hansen (Economics), to discuss unique approaches to this topic. These conference events embrace diversity and solidarity, and they exemplify flexibility in the face of new challenges, qualities more important now than ever before.

The Agora Journal, inaugurated over a decade ago by Heather Marcovitch, PhD (English), publishes outstanding work presented at the Agora Conference. Through the journal, student editors, under faculty supervision, receive applied instruction and experience in building professional relationships with authors, fact-checking, and copyediting. Over the course of the spring and summer months, editors work diligently alongside their conference authors to prepare student papers for publication. The Agora Journal also publishes a sister journal that showcases the work of students who are recipients of RDC's Student Writer Awards. This includes awards for Research Papers, Analytical Papers, and Creative Work, all of which have been adjudicated by a team of RDC faculty. Both of these journals are traditionally printed in beautiful hard copies with original cover art designed by RDC student artists. 

Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Agora Journal committee has opted to move these publications online. You can find both the Agora Conference Proceedings and the Student Writer Awards papers in RDC's new digital repository.


Finding the Answers You've Been Looking For: Help Seeking Behaviours in College Statistics Students

Student researcher: Emily Smith

Faculty supervisors: Stephen Brown, PhD, and Reiko Yeap, PhD 

This study will look into help-seeking behaviour in Red Deer College students taking Statistics as related to their motivation orientation, goal orientation, and self-efficacy. The results of this study will give RDC faculty some insight on help-seeking behaviours and how it may be possible to increase the willingness of students to seek help when they need it. 


Juror Perceptions in Sexual Assault Trials: Rape Myths and Jury Nullification

Student researcher: Victoria Andasol-Purdie

Faculty supervisor: Jamie Prowse-Turner, PhD

The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between victim blaming and rape myths. The relationship will be explored in regards to how these biases may influence decision making and possibly decisions within the legal system. 


Student Transitions, Resiliency, and Mental Health

Student researcher: Ashley Curtis

Faculty supervisors: Anomi Bearden, PhD, and Jamie Prowse-Turner, PhD 

This project investigates student transitions, resiliency, and mental health in post-secondary students using a retrospective data set from the National College Health Assessment survey. Results will provide support for current health-related initiatives, as well as inform future mental health initiatives at Red Deer College. This work is being done in collaboration with internal institutional stakeholders such as RDC’s Library and Student Supports Division as well as the Counselling Centre. 


The Effects of HeartMath on Elementary Students’ HRV, Perceptions of School Kindness, Self-Efficacy, and Emotion-Regulation Skills

Student researcher: Sanne van Oostrom  

Faculty supervisors: Anomi Bearden, PhD, and Stephen Brown, PhD

In collaboration with Red Deer Public Schools and Alberta Health Services (Health Promotion), this project evaluates the effectiveness of a classroom-based HeartMath emotion regulation method in impacting self-efficacy, school climate, and social-emotional skills. Specifically, those in the intervention group practicing the Heart Lock-in method (similar to a Loving-Kindness practice) are expected to increase HRV coherence, improve in academic, emotional, and social self-efficacy, perceive enhanced school connectedness and classroom kindness, and report stronger emotion-regulation skills. Results of the study will be shared with elementary student participants as well as their parents, teachers, and school administrators.


Children's Screen Time, Self-Control and Well-Being: What Do Parents Think? 

Student researcher: Amy Wood 

Faculty supervisor: Reiko Yeap, PhD 

This study explored the relationship between screen time and the well-being of children between 3 and 8 years old. Parents were invited to complete an online survey designed to examine parents’ general concerns as well as their children’s screen time use, psychological well-being, self-control, and other behavioural issues. The results of this study provided insights into present-day concerns regarding screen use. 


A Survey of Microbial Communities Associated with Common Objects on Red Deer College Campus 

Student researchers: Lucy Byron & Sara Sylvestre 

Faculty supervisor: Cyrus Taheri, PhD 

The diversity of culturable microbial communities associated with common objects on Red Deer College campus were analyzed using plate culture on CHROMagar Orientation medium. Seven replicates of ten different objects were swabbed. Operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were constructed based on colony morphology. Over 30,000 colonies were isolated belonging to 64 different OTUs. The relative abundance of OTUs associated with different objects was compared using different statistical analysis tools such as Multi-Response Permutation Procedure (MRPP). 


The Effects of Ginger, Honey, Garlic and Cinnamon Extracts on Microbial Growth  

Student researchers: Jessie Thompson & Amy Jin 

Faculty supervisor: Cyrus Taheri, PhD 

The goal of this research was to study the antimicrobial effects of natural food extracts including ginger, honey, garlic and cinnamon on Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Spread plates of three microbial species on TSA were prepared under aseptic conditions. Food extracts and sterile distilled water (control) were added to 5 mm paper discs placed on agar medium. Plates were incubated at 37 °C and the inhibition zones were measured after 48 h. Garlic showed antimicrobial effect on E. coli and S. aureus but not on S. cerevisiae. Honey and cinnamon showed no antimicrobial effect.  Further research is warranted to better understanding the effects of garlic’s active ingredients on gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria at cellular level. 


Classes with Research Opportunities

BIOL 399 - Biology Research Opportunity Program 

This course provides students with the opportunity to work on research projects under the supervision of Biology faculty members. For example, for the last several years instructors Ryan Butler, Sandra MacDougall, and Sally Stuart have been working with students on a project involving collecting hairs from different bears at the Innisfail Discovery Wildlife Park, sorting them and analyzing them for levels of cortisol. The levels of cortisol are an indirect measurement of stress and, since cortisol can accumulate in the hair, it gives researchers information about long term stress levels in these animals. The project has recently expanded to measure the cortisol levels in the hairs of RDC students as an indirect measurement of stress levels of students at different times in the academic year. 


EDPS 445 – Issues in Middle Years Education  

The purpose of this course is to help students critically examine and develop an understanding of a variety of issues and policies affecting Middle Years education. Students conduct research as a way for them to go deeper with their learning, specifically in an area of contemporary topics that has implications for teachers and students.   

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Email: inquire [at] rdc [dot] ab [dot] ca


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Red Deer, Alberta | T4N 5H5