Meet the First Place and People's Choice winner of the 2023 GRADflix competition

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Each year the University of Waterloo GRADflix competition sees Master’s and PhD students from every discipline participate, creating 60-second videos describing their research and showcasing the amazing ideas and ambitions of our community of graduate researchers. This year, Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs is following up with our 2023 participants. In a series of video interviews, we asked them about their GRADflix experience, what they learned, and what they hope to share with others.

Andrew StellaOur next GRADflix experience belongs to Andrew Stella, a Master of Science student in the Department of Chemical Engineering. His research focuses on synthesizing polymers that can be used to detect the presence of toxic gases. With modern printing technologies, Andrew hopes that the sensors he is working to develop can be woven directly into the material of firefighters’ coats, warning them of colourless and odorless hazards in the air surrounding the site of a fire. With a background working with companies like ExxonMobil, Formlabs, and DuPont, Andrew certainly has the industry experience to help make these practical applications for his research a reality.

With his research video, Robust, wearable sensors for firefighters made using conductive polymers, Andrew won both the First Place and People’s Choice awards in the 2023 GRADflix competition, making him the first ever competitor to do so. In this interview, he shares his motivation for participating in GRADflix, his thoughts on the importance of research communication, and how he used simple props and techniques to create an amazing stop-motion video that captured the attention of both our judges and the wider audience.

If you are working on research with exciting applications or implications, consider sharing it with us! Andrew argues that “we can’t just keep what we’re doing hidden from the world.” There is so much amazing research being done here at Waterloo, and GRADflix is the perfect opportunity to showcase it to the wider community! Check out the GRADflix competition web page for more information about how you can participate, and create your own GRADflix experience!