Senior Honours Projects 2023

Each student in the Knowledge Integration Senior Honours Project (two-term course, INTEG 420 A & B) research and develop a project under the mentorship of a member of the Knowledge Integration Department and in consultation with (or supervised by) faculty in disciplines related to the project (e.g., thesis, design project, or other significant work). The results of this project will be presented as part of a public display appropriate to the disciplinary work, accompanied by written deliverables appropriate to the disciplinary work, and presented as part of a public display.

The students will present summaries of their projects on March 24 at the Knowledge Integration Symposium 2023.

Also, check out: 2022 projects2021 projects | 2020 projects | 2019 projects | 2018 projects | 2017 projects | 2016 projects | 2015 projects | 2014 projects | 2013 projects | 2012 projects

Senior Honours Projects 2023
Student  Title (with link to Abstract)
Alexandra Andratis Developing Lifelong Learners Through Student-Led Opportunities
Ashley Brubacher Recommendations for Nature-Based Social-Emotional Learning in School Settings
Rowan Chang KIndred Spirits: What is Community to KI?
Meghan Dale and Zoe Moore Crisis Averted: Gamifying Climate Change Adaptation
Sam Faulkner Evaluating Speech Intelligibility with Processed Sound
Anya Fieguth How do we Perceive Influences on the Behaviour of Children with ADHD?
Alexander Hannides Reflections on Archival Work: Accessibility, Queerness, and Digitization
Abby Harrington Assessment & Management of Buckthorn (Rhamnus spp) for the University of Waterloo Campus Ecological Restoration Plan
Spiro Jinargyros Optimizing online tools for the professional video game development industry
Genevieve Landry Lines of Fervor: Exploring Poetry as a Hermeneutical Resource Generating Device
Katie Martin Effects of social anxiety and self-schema on the nature, accessibility, and appraisals of positive versus negative social autobiographical memories
Olivia Martin Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS) With Enhanced Recover After Surgery (ERAS) feasibility in a Community Hospital
S. Mather The Impact of the Ontario Health Education Curriculum on Aromantic and Asexual Students
Ian Miedema Collaboration Education: Designing Workshops to Develop Group Work Skills
Jenna Miller Communicating Rocks! Using Museum Design as a Tool to Communicate High Level Earth Science Research
Zoe Oka The Dimensions of Awe: The Use of Manipulative Awe Design in Advertising
Hannah Paolini Recognizing Red Flags: An anti-human trafficking education initiative for youth recreation workers
Sophia Richardson How Does Pizza Grow? Addressing Environmental Food Literacy Gaps in Children Through an Illustrated Book
Quinn Ross The Integration of Restorative Justice into the Canadian Criminal Justice System
Léa Rousseau Effective Collaboration: Psychological Safety and Team Climate 
Imaan Saeed Resistance to Therapy in the BIPOC Community: How Strengthening the Therapeutic Alliance Through Mandatory Cultural Competency Training Can Result in More Effective and Accessible Therapy
Caleb Stanton What do Stealth Video Games have to teach us about the Player Experience?
Steph Tywonek Interdisciplinary Collaboration in Future Cities
Mustapha Zaidi International Climate Justice: How States Define Climate Justice And Implications for International Relations Theory and State Collaboration
KI Student Experiences of Impostor Syndrome on Children of Immigrants in Tech
KI Student untitled project


Developing Lifelong Learners Through Student-Led Opportunities

Alexandra Andratis

Mentor: Christine Barbeau, School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability

Learning is a dynamic process that continues throughout life before, during, and after school. Educational opportunities in Ontario secondary schools must be transformed and rebuilt to support students' brilliance, cultural wealth, and intellectual potential. The Student-Led (SL) learning model provides teachers with a constructivist approach to encourage students in taking ownership of their own learning through collaboration and active participation. It is the responsibility of the educator to facilitate the experience and make the content more varied and pertinent to each individual student. This model provides a structure for opportunities focused on the process of self-reflection, feedback, and multiple opportunities to demonstrate the learning. SL learning opportunities are currently more prominent in the sphere of adult education, in which they appear in varied formats such as independent study courses or thesis-based projects, where the student is deemed old enough, thus mature enough to have the self-discipline and intrinsic motivation to complete a project with the instructional support playing the role of a mentor. By reviewing existing literature and in designing a sample lesson plan, this project contributes to a deeper understanding of the ways that SL learning can be implemented to provide students with equitable opportunities and the necessary skills to become lifelong learners in a rapidly changing world.

By bringing SL learning opportunities to younger audiences, students will develop agency and critical thinking skills, appreciate failure, and celebrate successes as they take ownership of their learning journey. Students will also gain self-awareness, generate internal motivation, and acquire self-regulation skills which are critical to becoming expert learners. Incorporating SL with the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) educational framework improves and optimizes teaching and learning for all, as it ensures that learners can access and participate in meaningful, challenging opportunities by adapting the curriculum to meet the needs of each individual student. The focus of SL is on reflection pieces and the educational journey rather than the result. The project encourages student’s agency to build skills that are important for becoming a lifelong learner, a valuable skill that can help students grow.


Recommendations for Nature-Based Social-Emotional Learning in School Settings

Ashley Brubacher

Mentor: Nancy Rushford, ConnectByNature

Self-regulation and behaviour issues are increasingly identified amongst children, impacting their ability to engage within classroom settings. Evidence suggests that nature-based therapies and social-emotional learning (SEL) are effective modalities for developing self-regulation across cognitive, social, and emotional domains. Occupational Therapists (OTs) are well positioned to integrate nature into practice to promote SEL and self-regulation in children. This study investigates how nature influences children's SEL and development, and how nature can be integrated into educational settings to support children's social-emotional functioning. Design thinking provides a framework to guide qualitative research methods to investigate SEL in nature as a solution to children's behaviour issues through the perspective of the users of these solutions. A literature review regarding nature-based OT practice and SEL in nature examines the benefits and potential barriers of nature-based learning and SEL, semi-structured interviews investigate the current context and barriers regarding SEL and nature-based learning in school settings, and participant observation in nature considers the needs and role of nature in developing a sustainable solution. Evidence is communicated through an infographic that displays the broad benefits of nature on children's holistic health and well-being, and recommendations to guide the integration of nature into school settings as it pertains to SEL.

KIndred Spirits: What is Community to KI?

Rowan Chang

Mentors: Kim Boucher and Mathieu Feagan, Knowledge Integration

Interdisciplinary education is designed to allow students to cultivate a breadth of knowledge by engaging with different communities. Students that emerge from these programs can successfully connect with individuals from different academic and cultural backgrounds, allowing for broader perspectives and increased creativity in problem-solving. However, this experience can result in some students struggling to develop a sense of belonging in a specific academic community which can affect their sense of identity, and could lead to feelings of social isolation. The purpose of this study is to determine what factors contribute to interdisciplinary students' sense of community by examining their experiences of belonging and exclusion.

Seven Knowledge Integration (KI) students across multiple cohorts were interviewed about their interactions with other KI community members, within and outside of the classroom, as well as their interactions with students in other programs. In addition, students were asked about the different types of supports built into the KI program’s infrastructure to determine which contribute to a sense of community, and to assess which supports are underutilized and could be further developed. This study’s findings reveal that students had the most meaningful interactions when they were physically present with their community, and that the primary cause of feelings of isolation was the COVID-19 lockdowns. Interviews also indicate that the KI program lends itself to cultivating an interdisciplinary identity, encouraging students to double down on their involvements with multiple communities to create a vague “KI identity” that students can personalize. This common identity, which is built upon the teachings and philosophies of the program, enables students to form close-knit bonds that transcend classroom interactions and lay a foundation upon which they can then establish their own community. Further research could look at other interdisciplinary degree programs and look for best practices in types of support that contribute to feelings of community.


Crisis Averted: Gamifying Climate Change Adaptation

Meghan Dale and Zoe Moore

Mentor: Johanna Wandel, Geography and Environmental Management

The effects of climate change are beginning to be felt around the world. People need to learn how to adapt to these changes now more than ever. In Canada, we are only starting to feel the effects, but we must learn from what is happening in the other parts of the world that are experiencing the effects more acutely, to understand the risks that are coming. Building the public's understanding of adaptive capacity on climate change is necessary to combat these risks. Adaptive capacity is defined as "the conditions that underpin people's ability to anticipate and respond to change; to recover from and minimize the consequences of change; and to take advantage of new opportunities" (Barnes et al., 2020, pg. 823). An important element of adaptive capacity is people working together to be able to achieve common goals.

The playing of board games allows for interdisciplinary communication and education of climate change issues. Games help people to engage with big issues in a more positive light, with easier to understand language, and with creativity and flexibility. Using our experiences in user-centered design, board game play, and the fundamentals of climate change adaptation, this project educates people on how their decisions impact their adaptive capacity through a platform which encourages teamwork and knowledge acquisition through action.

Our board game teaches game players about how to make the difficult team decisions to build their community's adaptive capacity, in the context of Canadian communities. Throughout the game, players will learn how their communities can use adaptive capacity to overcome climate-related events while building greater adaptive capacity in the present and for the future.


Evaluating Speech Intelligibility with Processed Sound

Sam Faulkner

Mentor: Katherine White, Psychology

With the aging boomer population, hearing loss is quickly becoming a public health challenge that the world is not equipped to face. Recent research suggests that it's not only the social isolation risks that come with untreated hearing loss, but also the resulting brain damage leading to more dementia cases. Technology companies and medical researchers are not teaming up to better understand how artificial intelligence might help filter out noise so the brain doesn't have to. My senior research project bridges academic research with AI innovation to explore the artificial noise removal technology solutions and their effectiveness.

I have partnered with a Danish sound processing company to test their newest noise removal and voice enhancement software. To evaluate whether it becomes easier to hear the newly processed sounds, I created tests that compare words sounding similar to each other to see how well the processor can finetune the outcoming speech. I predict the study participants will find the company's algorithm processing will be more accurate than hearing similar words with lots of background noise. If this is true, the company will have a baseline of how well certain sounds are handled, and this will hopefully translate to improvements in how the sound is filtered to make everyday conversations the best listening experience possible.


How do we Perceive Influences on the Behaviour of Children with ADHD?

Anya Fieguth

Mentor: Richard Eibach, Psychology

Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) is a prevalent neurodevelopmental disorder that is characterized by three common symptoms: disabling inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. ADHD symptoms influence children’s learning, so it is important to consider the ways in which learning environments can be adapted to be inclusive to students with ADHD. Some research has explored the impacts of classroom design on ADHD and other studies have examined education professionals’ perceptions of children with ADHD. The purpose of the present study is to address the research gap where these topics intersect by identifying whether perceptions of children with ADHD differ depending on the quality of their learning environment. This question was explored in a study in which university students read a vignette about a child exhibiting problematic behaviours and two factors were experimentally manipulated: 1) the child was either labeled with ADHD or not, and 2) the classroom was either a low-quality or high-quality learning environment. Participants made a series of judgments designed to assess the extent to which they attributed the child’s problematic behaviours to their internal traits or their external environment. The perceivers’ judgments will be compared to findings from research on the actual impact of environmental factors on children with ADHD to determine the accuracy of people’s perceptions. Preliminary findings show that participants’ expectations regarding the impacts of a classroom environment on behaviour match prior findings in research. This suggests that people may have more accurate perceptions of this topic than was hypothesized.


Reflections on Archival Work: Accessibility, Queerness, and Digitization

Alexander Hannides

Mentor: Katharine Bourgon, Canadian Clay & Glass Gallery

This senior research project explores the intersections of archival work, queer theory, and feminist philosophy through personal reflections on doing archival work at the Anne Roberts Archival Center, housed within the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery. The report begins by showcasing the process of creating an archive and finding-aid for the fonds of Matthias Ostermann, a prominent Canadian ceramist. Then, through an analysis of archival processes, the paper examines how the work of archiving is implicated in the constructions of identity, power, and knowledge production. In particular, the report considers how archives shape our understanding of sexuality, gender, and embodied experiences and how dominant cultural narratives and power structures influence these understandings. Drawing on queer and feminist theories, the paper argues that the archival process is political and that it is essential that archivists critically examine their positions and assumptions about the collections they work with. The report also discusses the need for heightened attention to the accessibility of archives and develops the idea of “archival privileges.” Finally, the report concludes that through digitization and reframing dominant archival processes with a queer theory lens, archives can become more accessible and better assist in mobilizing social change.


Assessment & Management of Buckthorn (Rhamnus spp) for the University of Waterloo Campus Ecological Restoration Plan

Abby Harrington

Mentor: Stephen D. Murphy, School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability

Buckthorn (Rhamnus spp) is an invasive shrub that has spread rapidly over the last 50 years, out-competing native species and altering key ecosystem functions. Buckthorn on the University of Waterloo campus has been found in increasing densities, which is why the species is a concern for management and the focus of research. While it is difficult to mitigate the spread and impacts of buckthorn, effective management (and subsequent ecological restoration) strategies have been proposed, such as the ones found on the Ontario Invasive Species Center or the Winnipeg Parks websites, and these can be modified to fit locations like the University of Waterloo. The first section of this project is conducting a survey of the invasive shrub Buckthorn (Rhamnus spp) in a small woodlot on the University of Waterloo campus. The results provide the context for the current situation regarding different management practices and ecological restoration after management. The second section includes an assessment of different management approaches and related costs ending with some recommendations for possible paths forward. The survey results determined that due to the density of buckthorn in the area, the lot can be classified as a large and well-established invasion, indicating that there would be significant challenges to buckthorn control and management. The patterns of distribution and composition allow insight into how control should be prioritized which is reflected in the recommended actions. The project is intended to link these to the University of Waterloo Sustainability Office and campus ecological management plans. The university does not appear to have a publicly accessible database on buckthorn abundance or impacts on campus or a comprehensive ecological restoration program, though there have been numerous theses and ongoing forest monitoring projects via courses such as ERS 335 and ENVS 469. The data and results from this project aim to be a stepping stone for future students and succeeding work to continue to address this rising issue. A more systematic management strategy has the potential to aid in the implementation of buckthorn management but also be applied to a wider context on campus.


Optimizing online tools for the professional video game development industry

Spiro Jinargyros

Mentor: Neil Randall, English Language and Literature

Everyday tasks that are necessary to further your careers such as networking with like-minded individuals and recruiters and being able to highlight your skills and experiences are troublesome processes in the video game development industry. The research problem I am investigating is how a professional in the video game development industry that has specialised tools and features will benefit the population of video game developers and recruiters. The objectives are to collect data on the population and undertake a rigorous data analysis process, to determine features and tools that are useful for both game developers for finding jobs and recruiters for finding candidates. Data collection and analysis objectives will be reached by creating surveys and hosting interviews. Then I will analyse the data to identify any trends within the respondents answers. Once the data is analyzed and tools/features are developed from the data, we will go back and conduct more interviews to ensure they are actually useful.


Lines of Fervor: Exploring Poetry as a Hermeneutical Resource Generating Device

Genevieve Landry

Mentor: Andrew McMurry, English Language and Literature

This project explores the concept of individuals’ own knowledge, as defined by one’s comprehension and expression of their own experiences, thoughts, and emotions, through poetry in order to demonstrate the genre’s ability to contribute to generating collective hermeneutical resources among both similar and disparate individuals and communities in both a cognitive and expressive capacity.

By way of a self-exploratory poetry writing practice, this work demonstrates the role that poetry can play in hermeneutics, or interpretation, of an individual’s self-knowledge as derived from their various experiences; in this way, the project aims to reveal a pathway to elucidate self-knowledge and express such findings to others. The results of this engagement are presented through a booklet of self-published poetic works, some with accompanying photographs: meant to further the interpretative capacity of the poems for readers, given the powerful interplay that exists between text and images. An accompanying artist’s statement explicitly asserts how the distinctive qualities of the poetic genre assert its ability as a significant device for allowing individuals to make meaning out of their experiences and to share this meaning with others.

Within the artist’s statement, a number of relevant themes are also analyzed in relation to my poetry writing practice, such as discussions of self-possession, uncertainty, and self-esteem, as a way of providing context for my poems, simultaneously revealing growth in self-knowledge within this poetic writing process. Additionally, the artist’s statement dissects my poetic work along more traditional lines: explaining its structure in terms of rhyme, metaphors, and tone amongst others.

Through its presentation and explanation, this project aims to explicitly illustrate the strength of poetry in promoting and increasing greater acceptance and understanding of ourselves and each other, by recognizing and validating the variety of knowledge hidden within the dimensions of the human experience.


Effects of social anxiety and self-schema on the nature, accessibility, and appraisals of positive versus negative social autobiographical memories

Katie Martin

Mentors: David Moscovitch and Sophie Kudryk, Psychology

Individuals with high social anxiety (SA) tend to exhibit a negative memory bias, in which their sense of self is fueled by negative, schema-congruent memories, while the selective encoding and retrieval of such memories is reciprocally fueled by negative self-schemas (Moscovitch et al., in press). Past research has shown that socially anxious individuals tend to recall negative autobiographical memories in greater detail (Moscovitch et al., 2018) and experience greater difficulty remembering information from previously imagined social vignettes with positive outcomes (Romano et al., 2020). Building upon this research, we investigated the effects of SA and self-schemas on the nature, accessibility, and appraisals of positive versus negative autobiographical memories. Participants recruited through Prolific (N = 358) were randomized to one of two conditions in which they were instructed to retrieve and orally narrate a positive or negative autobiographical memory. Participants rated the subjective characteristics of their memories on a number of dimensions, and transcribed memory narratives were coded using an automated software for the number of negative and positive words. In support of hypotheses, findings revealed that when participants recalled a negative memory, individuals who endorsed having stronger negative self-schemas rated their memory as more impactful on their views of self, others, and the world. Conversely, positive memories were rated as more impactful for participants who endorsed stronger positive self-schemas. Results also revealed that negative memories were rated as more impactful for participants higher in trait SA. Findings from three-way interactions between SA, strength of (positive and negative) self-schema, and memory condition on several memory characteristics will also be presented. Together, these results inform our understanding of the interactive influence of self-schemas and SA on autobiographical memory retrieval and appraisal, with potential to guide future research on memory-based therapeutic interventions for SA.

Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS) With Enhanced Recover After Surgery (ERAS) feasibility in a Community Hospital

Olivia Martin

Mentor: Dr. Paul Chiasson, St Mary's General Hospital 

Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) is a new and emerging field in healthcare. ERAS was initially created for colorectal surgeries; however, more surgical fields are adopting ERAS programs as they show faster patient recovery and improved results. Yet, little research has been done on VATS ERAS within university-funded hospitals in Canada and even less so on ERAS programs in community hospitals in Canada.

My research examines ERAS with VATS based in a community hospital. This paper aims to determine whether VATS ERAS is feasible in a community hospital and does it lead to improved outcomes such as length of stay, postoperative complications, and shortened recovery time? This paper uses data from St Mary’s General Hospital’s thoracic surgery floor. Using data from St Mary’s General Hospital, I examine patient recovery to determine whether the program is successful. The paper concludes that VATS ERAS is a feasible program that improves patient outcomes, decreases the length of stay and decreases rates of postoperative complications. The goal of this paper is to inform other healthcare workers about how VATS ERAS can be implemented in their workplace.


The Impact of the Ontario Health Education Curriculum on Aromantic and Asexual Students

S. Mather

Mentor: Crystena Parker-Shandal, Social Development Studies, Renison University College

The Ontario health education curriculum has been subject to many controversies, resulting in significant changes regarding the inclusion of queer and trans topics. Unfortunately, a notable group that is consistently neglected from consideration are  students who identify as aromantic and/or asexual (those who experience little to no sexual and/or romantic attraction, abbreviated as aro/ace). Existing research has examined the presence of topics relevant to aro/ace students in their sexual health classes, though not specifically in Ontario, and none have studied how inadequate sexual education may affect aro/ace students. This study investigates the impact of the current Ontario health curriculum on aro/ace students to determine whether it adequately serves these students or if the curriculum requires revision.

This process involved three different investigative components. Existing literature and public discussion were examined to gather an overview of how aro/ace identities and topics have been represented. The curriculum itself was investigated in order to draw out the relevant information and themes, including underlying assumptions. Finally, three aro/ace former students of the Ontario health curriculum were interviewed to learn about their experiences with sexual education classes and how they were impacted. Throughout these various dimensions of the study, aro/ace students were found to be consistently neglected. Many potentially harmful themes are perpetuated throughout, such as the curriculum blatantly assuming that all students in these health classes will eventually have sex or desire a romantic relationship. This research concludes that aro/ace students are not adequately represented or supported in the Ontario curriculum, conversations surrounding it, or its implementation in the classroom. Some of these students experience harm as a result, and changes are necessary in order to ensure that this damage is not continued with future students.

Collaboration Education: Designing Workshops to Develop Group Work Skills

Ian Miedema

Mentor: Katie Plaisance, Knowledge Integration

Collaboration is a skill widely utilized in many occupations, and yet like any other skill it can be improved through active learning. However, few education programs intentionally set out to help students develop their collaboration skills. Instead, it is assumed that students either already know how to work together or will just figure it out themselves as they go. In order to address this issue, this project examines several key aspects involved in teaching collaboration skills, including communication, group structure, team climate and psychological safety. Through a literature review exploring these key concepts, and a series of small workshop activities designed to develop resources for teaching collaboration skills, my research explores how to transform the university classroom into a place where students can intentionally build collaboration skills. Using an interactive process of getting feedback from test runs, comparing to other workshops and continuing to reflect on the project, the outcome of my research will be several 30 minute workshops developed with and for the Centre for Teaching Excellence at the University of Waterloo, as part of their Student-Led Independently-Created Courses. These workshops fit comfortably within any university class time and are designed such that, with some preparation, any professor should be able to effectively lead the workshop for anywhere from 2 to 50+ students. While the scope of the problem this project addresses cannot be fixed with a few workshops, the project serves as a concrete stepping stone towards improving collaborative skills in education, paving the way for more university courses to include these skills in their curriculum.


Communicating Rocks! Using Museum Design as a Tool to Communicate High Level Earth Science Research

Jenna Miller

Mentor: Corina McDonald, University of Waterloo Earth Sciences Museum

The field of Earth Science is vital to tackling environmental issues yet is facing decreasing enrollment numbers. Museum exhibits to expose younger audiences to the field may be a potential solution, but what constitutes effective Earth Science communication for kids?

This project explores and documents the design process of the creation of a standalone component of a travelling museum exhibit, titled Selenium Secrets. The core content of this work is rooted in Earth Science, using design thinking, a stakeholder survey, and interviews to shape the ideation of prototypes for effective exhibit layout design and didactic text writing. The goal is to incorporate key working principles for effectively communicating high-level Earth Science concepts, such as selenium isotopes, into an exhibit meant for a grade 7 audience. Building on literature about different types of transformative experiences and Bloom's taxonomy, the exhibit topics are intentionally ordered to gain student interest and develop an appropriate knowledge base for introducing more complex research concepts.

The exhibit focuses on mining in Canada and acts as an outreach component of a larger Ontario Research Fund grant shared by the University of Waterloo for mining related research. This exhibit will travel between different university museums, groundwater festivals, and different classrooms across Ontario. My project showcases a layout with completed didactic text, images, and activities, along with instructions on how to physically create the exhibit component. The travelling exhibit is anticipated to impact hundreds of prospective students and inspire others to study in the field of Earth Science.


The Dimensions of Awe: The Use of Manipulative Awe Design in Advertising

Zoe Oka

Mentor: Brianna Wiens, English Language and Literature

Awe is woven into the fabric of the human experience. From the early ages of humanity and culture, we have created paintings, music, religion; awe inspiring, powerful forms of human expression that have the capacity to form connections and shape lives. The overwhelming and inescapable advertising presence in all forms of media today has opened the doors to the manipulation of manufactured awe for capitalist intent.

Through an exploration into the background and culture of the concept of awe, as well as research into media and advertising affect, I hope to express the full power of awe in advertising spaces, demonstrating the importance of the responsible usage of manufactured awe. From the in-depth look into this information and five examples of advertising campaigns that utilize awe, this research-creation project explores the design principles of awe in the context of advertising and applies them to a conceptual project of an ad campaign for a luxury good. This adjoining media component utilizes the design principles to evoke a sense of awe to bring attention to the efficacy of awe in advertising and media spaces. The intention of this determined design framework is to raise awareness about the effects that the attention economy creates in media spaces, specifically how it applies to awe usage in advertising, to promote more conscientious media consumption.


Recognizing Red Flags: An anti-human trafficking education initiative for youth recreation workers

Hannah Paolini

Human trafficking has been described as a form of modern-day slavery. But would you know how to recognize it if it was happening in your community?

Human trafficking, especially trafficking persons in the sex trade, is an extremely lucrative crime, and the 401 corridor in Southern Ontario is a hotspot. The average age of recruitment in Canada is 13 years old, and cases have been increasing yearly since 2010. However, many Canadians are unaware that this crime happens in their hometowns, and have many misconceptions about the perpetrators and victims. As of 2022, Ontario schools are required to have anti-human trafficking protocols in place, including mandatory staff education, but this does not address other individuals in community settings who work with children on a regular basis. There is both a need and an opportunity to expand awareness of this crime.

Recognizing Red Flags explores how youth recreation workers can play a role in combating sex trafficking in our communities through education and empowerment. Inspired by my own work at a youth centre with children aged twelve and up, this project recognizes the knowledge gap that exists in people who have a passion for working with youth, but are unaware of one of the most insidious crimes that youth are vulnerable to. The first step is education about the complex and misunderstood crime of human trafficking, and what it looks like in today's digital landscape. The second step is empowering those who work with youth to create safe spaces where healthy conversations about the issue can occur, and to react appropriately when red flags appear. Ultimately, through focusing on awareness and educating from an intersectional and trauma-informed approach, this project provides an example of how we might build on the anti-trafficking work already being conducted by the federal and provincial government to fight sex trafficking in our communities.


How Does Pizza Grow? Addressing Environmental Food Literacy Gaps in Children Through an Illustrated Book

Sophia Richardson

Mentor: Sharon Kirkpatrick, School of Public Health Sciences

To develop food sustainability strategies, we must understand how food comes from the environment which enhances our understanding of how we are connected to the planet. Cultivating the human-environment connection through story has been shown to be an effective educational method. Stories that have clear narratives, and educational aims, help children to remember what they are learning. Furthermore, stories that use positive and hopeful narratives can inspire sustainability action—something that is sometimes missing from science education. Additionally, many current environmental or food-related children’s stories do not necessarily address the environmental aspects of food literacy. Since children have a central role to play in addressing the climate crisis as they grow older, it is important that from a young age they understand the human-environment connection in relation to food. To help address this gap, I have designed an illustrated book for educating children aged 6-8 about what plants make up a pizza. My project aims to cultivate the human-environment connection and to inspire the reader to think about how we - humans – are connected to the environment through food. This story was created through a detailed literature review regarding food sustainability education, which was the basis for creating a proof-of-concept of the book through an iterative design process. The result is a narrative that is age-appropriate, where children can see a clear and relatable example of how our food, in this case pizza, comes from the environment.


The Integration of Restorative Justice into the Canadian Criminal Justice System

Quinn Ross

Mentor: Michelle Jackett, Peace and Conflict Studies

It is no secret that the current Canadian criminal justice system (CJS) is lacking. Academics criticize its ability to properly address and/or prevent crime, as general confidence in the CJS wanes. Many feel the system not only fails both victims and offenders, but that the process actually furthers harm. Indeed the structural violence vulnerable groups experience within the CJS demonstrates this failure.

In the wake of a greater public awareness of the inefficacy of the CJS, restorative justice (RJ), an alternate justice system that has roots in various Indigenous traditions, has gained increasing support. RJ is a process centred in accountability, and primarily focuses on providing healing and conflict resolution. It aims to meet the needs of both victims and offenders, and is currently being used globally, primarily within youth justice contexts. There is much debate about the future of RJ and whether it can be applied in relation to adult offences, and by extension whether it can, or should, be used to supplement the current CJS in Canada.

Thus, this paper discusses whether the integration of RJ into the adult CJS is an appropriate next step for Canada. It will do so by first examining the differences between restorative, and typical Western justice, then by summarizing the discourse surrounding both: critiques of the compatibility of RJ and the current CJS,  and suggestions as to how to address these concerns. This discourse will be supplemented by the analysis of two case studies of RJ being used in conjunction with the CJS in two different contexts: the current provincial RJ programs operating in Nova Scotia, Canada, and the national use of RJ in New Zealand. This paper provides insight into the benefits and disadvantages of this type of implementation of RJ, and identifies some future areas of focus for Canadian RJ research.


Effective Collaboration: Psychological Safety and Team Climate

Léa Rousseau

Mentors: Chloé St. Amand, School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability, University of Waterloo; and Lina Aragón, Biology, University of Miami

How do we collaborate effectively? Effective collaboration is a hot topic for a reason, it's required in almost every area of work. It is very rare that people will not be collaborating or working with other people in a workplace, household, and most other life circumstances. However, very many people are not collaborating effectively and there are often common issues that arise with collaboration such as communication issues, conflict and unmet expectations. My project presents a workshop lesson plan to help participants understand two key concepts in group collaboration: team climate and psychological safety. Team climate and psychological safety are often confused or lumped together into the same category, when in fact they are two different concepts. Psychological safety is the belief that a person is not going to be humiliated or punished for bringing up mistakes, concerns, questions or ideas. Team climate is a person's perception of their team's values, practices, routines and expectations which are shaped by interpersonal interactions within the team. The workshop was piloted in INTEG 230: The Museum Course: Preparation and Field Trip where second year Knowledge Integration students provided valuable feedback on the workshop design and how it can be ameliorated. This particular course was chosen because these are students engaged in a long term group project and who will be able to use these concepts in their future collaborations. The suggested workshop design builds on feedback from the Centre for Teaching Excellence, and  incorporates previous work from the course INTEG 410: Interdisciplinary Collaboration with Dr. Katie Plaisance in winter 2022.


Resistance to Therapy in the BIPOC Community: How Strengthening the Therapeutic Alliance Through Mandatory Cultural Competency Training Can Result in More Effective and Accessible Therapy

Imaan Saeed

The recent uproars of racial inequality and injustice in North America are causing stress and anxiety for many individuals. With this influx of racial inequality and injustice, members of the Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) community are turning to therapeutic counseling for help.

Unfortunately, many barriers prevent this community from accessing adequate therapy. Cultural barriers include viewing therapy as taboo and unnecessary, while the most prevalent barrier is the lack of therapists with shared lived-experience. With 86% of psychologists within the US being white, members of the BIPOC community do not have access to therapists that understand their unique experiences entirely. Mandatory cultural competency training (CCT) can begin to alleviate this issue. Therapists can be trained to use the mindfulness- and acceptance-based approaches proven to aid culturally diverse clients. When practices like these become mandatory in counseling services, the barrier between therapists and BIPOC clients is lessened.


What do Stealth Video Games have to teach us about the Player Experience?

Caleb Stanton

Mentor: Owen Goss, Milkbag Games

This senior design project explores the key principles and technical skills necessary to construct an enjoyable interactive video game. I investigate what makes a successful game, then  apply my findings to design, program, and playtest a short stealth game. This is an interdisciplinary endeavor, finding innovative ways to blend software design, psychology, graphic design, storytelling and folly mixing to create an experience greater than any one medium, or even the sum of each. This project accomplishes this by first understanding what a game is, why people play them, and how someone can develop the skills necessary to make intentional design choices when creating original games of their own. My emphasis throughout the project centers on the practical applications of game development obtained with a "learning-by-doing" approach. This approach comes with its own share of game design research. This project also includes a reflective component meant to draw on this experience to create a personalized comprehensive skill set for building and developing games, hopefully, one I can use as a career game developer. My end goal is to have a small yet functional video game published to the web, accompanied by a companion journal documenting the successes and failures of my design process. The companion journal will reveal not only technical skills acquired throughout the design process, but also the key insights into what makes a video game enjoyable, and why we play them.


Interdisciplinary Collaboration in Future Cities

Steph Tywonek

Mentors: Matt Feagan, Knowledge Integration and Helen Kerr, Future Cities Initiative

This project explores the value of interdisciplinary collaboration in future cities work. The orientation of future cities as interdisciplinary and problem-solving in nature means that active participation from stakeholders in different disciplines is required. Despite collaboration and interdisciplinarity being mentioned frequently in futures studies, precisely how and why they are important is seldom discussed. In addition, there is often misuse of multi-, inter- and trans- disciplinarity. This lack of distinction creates a barrier to true interdisciplinary collaboration as the full benefits of it are not always being sought or reaped. This paper contributes to closing this gap by investigating the current uses of interdisciplinary collaboration in future cities work and illustrating its importance. The project delivers a teaching module prepared for ENVS310, Future Cities: Integrating Future Thinking into Urban Decisions, at the University of Waterloo. The week-long module introduces students to multi-, inter- and trans-disciplinary collaboration, communicates the benefits of interdisciplinary collaboration in future cities work, and encourages students to think about the numerous things that are crucial to consider in this field.

International Climate Justice: How States Define Climate Justice And Implications for International Relations Theory and State Collaboration

Mustapha Zaidi

Mentor: David Welch, Political Science and the Balsillie School of International Affairs 

Climate change is becoming an increasingly global issue that, the evidence suggests, states are ill-equipped to cohesively tackle internationally. When examining interstate efforts to tackle climate change, questions begin to arise about differing concepts of climate justice from state to state. How do different states in different regional areas such as the Global North and Global South define climate justice? What does current international relations literature have to say about how states conceptualize justice, particularly with respect to climate issues? And what gaps exist in the current literature that can be filled by studying real-world examples of interstate climate collaboration to elucidate a more nuanced conception of climate justice that varies from state to state?

In response to these questions, this paper addresses how different international actors understand the concept of climate justice and why they understand it as they do. In this paper, I operationalize and define state conceptions of justice under the broad umbrellas of liberal, rational, and alternative theories of international relations. I also outline the collective action problem that climate change represents, one that is exacerbated by varying conceptions of climate justice. In this project, I use state behaviour at the 2023 COP27 meetings in Egypt as a comparative case study, vis-a-vis current international relations literature, to identify gaps that a more nuanced view of state conceptions of justice can fill. I also includes a discussion of non-state actors that wield influence on the global stage, such as corporations and supra governmental organizations, and outlines their effect on a particular state’s conception of climate justice. Finally, I return to a critical discussion of current international relations theory and tease out implications for future state collaboration on climate change.

Experiences of Impostor Syndrome on Children of Immigrants in Tech

KI Student

Mentor: Christopher Bennett, Political Science

This project studies the impact of impostor syndrome in high-tech companies. Imposter syndrome is described as the feeling of inadequacy despite success and accomplishments. Children of immigrants often carry this sense of guilt from the generations behind them, an idea to accomplish more and keep pushing. Many factors create the impostor syndrome within them, which is why this paper interviews children of immigrants in high-tech companies and allows their own individual stories to come to light.

The information gleaned from interview subjects and case studies will help inform those who experience impostor syndrome in the tech industry. I will use my results and research to convey the feelings experienced associated with impostor syndrome and how the effects of immigrant guilt can cause individual to doubt themselves and their abilities. A potential outcome will also cover insights on how you can overcome or navigate these experiences of impostor syndrome. It will dive deep into providing advancement for theories of impostor syndrome. The study will shed light on the unheard voices of children of immigrants. Impostor syndrome continues to disadvantage children of immigrants in the tech sector and, for that reason, must be addressed


untitled project

KI Student

Mentor: Veronica Austen, English Language and Literature, St. Jerome's University

This project is a poetry chapbook centred on the themes of the partition of India and Pakistan, patriarchy in the south-Asian Muslim community (including diasporic contexts), women's empowerment, overcoming limiting beliefs, sisterhood, sexual assault, family violence, and other forms of abuse. I set out to produce this collection by committing to habits anchored in my creative process and personal reflection, building on learning from other courses, as well as poetry workshops, audiobooks, published poetry, and observations of poems I've enjoyed by other writers. I also benefitted from discussions with Pamela Mulloy, editor at The New Quarterly, to better understand how writers can reach large and small publishers, literary journals, and agents. Throughout this process, I situate myself among other BIPOC poets, including Rupi Kaur, Fatimah Asghar, and Warsan Shire whose pieces employ similarly accessible language and similar craft decisions, and touch on some of the same themes as my work does and I intend my work to reach similar audiences seeking increased representation for marginalized BIPOC voices, especially the Muslim community, which is largely racialized, Orientalized and underrepresented in media.