Senior Honours Projects 2022

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 presented summaries of their projects on March 25, 2022.

Also, check out: 2021 projects | 2020 projects | 2019 projects | 2018 projects | 2017 projects | 2016 projects | 2015 projects | 2014 projects | 2013 projects | 2012 projects

Senior Honours Projects March 2022
Student Title (with link to Abstract)
Kiera Cappellani Reconciling the Teaching of Global and Local Language Forms Through Curriculum Design
Nicole Castellino and Roya Matsui Talking with Children About Menstruation: A Gender-conscious Toolkit for Parents
Bailey Gardien Envisioning Transitions to A Green Economy: A Case Study of the Steel Industry and Hamilton, Ontario
Claudio Gonzalez Cutting Stock and Workflow Optimization Web Tool for Rebar Manufacturing and Production
Isabelle Lavallee-Gordon Inside Out
Sunny Luo Children of the Digital Age: A Guide to Understanding Today’s Digital Environment through the Lens of Surveillance Capitalism
Eve Martin Tacit Knowledge Transfer: A guide for hiring organizations, cooperative education programs, and cooperative education students

Deirdre McIlroy-Young

Bright, Beige, Both: Creating Gender-Neutral Children's Clothing
KI student Children's Environmental Education

Reconciling the Teaching of Global and Local Language Forms Through Curriculum Design

Kiera Cappellani

Mentor: Julia Williams, English Language Studies, Renison University College

Language is not only important for expression and communication, but also an integral component of an individual’s culture and identity. This is further reflected by the form of language that they employ in everyday life. Based on personal experience, there is often an emphasis on teaching and using materials based on standardized “France French” as opposed to more local Québécois French in Canadian French as a Second Language (FSL) classes. Such devalues the voices and identities of those who wish to pursue and use more local forms of a language, which may in turn decrease learner interest and acquisition. This project intends to explore said tension between teaching global and local forms of a language, particularly French, at both the high school and university level. An evaluation study will be performed with data on French courses being collected through informational interviews. The responses will be evaluated based on a combination of Celce-Murcia’s model of communicative competence and a framework for effective language curriculum design synthesized from previous research. It is anticipated that FSL classes will focus more on global forms of French with some local forms being represented through cultural activities and vocabulary lists. Suggestions will then be made to improve the balance between local and global forms of French in the classroom through interventions in curriculum design. Ultimately, further research and classroom testing with FSL students is required, although the development of more diverse additional language curricula is a crucial first step in promoting the inclusion and celebration of both global and local voices in the classroom

Talking with Children About Menstruation: A Gender-conscious Toolkit for Parents

Nicole Castellino and Roya Matsui

Mentors: A.J. Lowik, Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice, University of British Columbia and Cathy Maser, Transgender Youth Clinic, SickKids Hospital for Sick Children Abstract:

Early menstrual education is a critical contributor to the health and wellbeing of menstruators. Parent involvement in menstrual education is both expected and important given that menarche may occur before puberty is introduced in the Ontario public school curriculum. However, menstrual education is deeply rooted in social stigma and gendered expectations; it is often targeted only at cisgender girls and includes narratives that conflict with the lived experiences of trans and non-binary people, as well as other menstruators who don't identify as girls and women. Further, the predominant framing of menstruation as a sexual health issue, that is primarily connected to discussions of pregnancy, can be both inaccessible for a young audience and a barrier for parents to introduce the topic to their children at an early age.

To promote positive health outcomes and combat menstrual stigma, the present project supports parents in engaging in open menstrual health conversations with their children aged 7-9, regardless of whether parent or child will menstruate over the course of their lives. Using a gender-conscious approach, the toolkit both acknowledges the diversity of genders among menstruators and models inclusive language.

The proposed design solution includes Prompt, a series of games using menstruation-themed cards, and an accompanying parent guide. Prompt encourages familiarity with menstrual concepts, builds vocabulary, and aims to alleviate discomfort or embarrassment by normalizing conversations. Supplementing Prompt, the guide portion builds on the informational foundation of the cards, offers evidence-based advice, promotes opportunities for discussion, and helps parents to customize and adapt Prompt for their unique needs and values. Both will be available on sexual health education websites and can be printed at home.

Envisioning Transitions to A Green Economy: A Case Study of the Steel Industry and Hamilton, Ontario

Bailey Gardien

Mentor: Jeremy Pittman, School of Planning


To combat the effects of climate change, countries have developed their own climate plans and emission targets. To achieve them, cities must confront economic sectors that emit high levels of greenhouse gas (GHG). This can be through investments and transitions within the existing sector or through a persistent shift to green jobs.

Hamilton, Ontario is industrial city known for its steel mills, ArcelorMittal Dofasco and Stelco Inc, with the former being the highest GHG emitting steel facility in Canada with an annual emission rate of 4,784,800 tonnes a year. The industrial sector which the city has relied on economically for years is now in decline and only accounts for 12.9% of the work force.

In recent years, there has been technologic advances in the steelmaking that greatly reduce the amount of GHG emissions. In 2021 the federal government announced a $400 million investment for a new form of steel manufacturing called DRI-EAF which was followed by a $500 million investment from the province of Ontario. The DRI-EAF project, which will become operational in 2028, could reduce GHG emissions by 60% and if it was combined with the use of Green Hydrogen then the entire steel making process could be fossil fuel free.

This Senior Research Project will consider two options for the City of Hamilton; to continue to invest in the steel industry in the hopes of reducing GHG emissions or to invest in the creation of green jobs. An investigation, which will be supported by the input from a city stakeholder, of the viability of a steel industry in a sustainable city will occur while also considering the consequences of deindustrialization.

Cutting Stock and Workflow Optimization Web Tool for Rebar Manufacturing and Production

Claudio Gonzalez

Mentors: Paul Vareille and Eric Martineau, Groupe AGF Inc.


Rebar steel manufacturing and production is a tedious and complex process with various challenges. Due to the diversity of knowledge and experience involved in this process, the problems presented in this field can vary all the way from logistical analysis to keep track of production to defining procedural protocols for the safe operation of manufacturing machinery. One of the critical parts of this system is the cutting and bending of rebar to produce the shape specified in engineering and architectural designs. As raw rebar are straight bars of a given stock length, the cutting part of the process is tedious and slow since it involves a significant amount of mental math and experiential knowledge for operators to cut the steel at minimum cost (time and waste).

Through extensive academic research and user feedback, a web application was developed to streamline this part of the manufacturing process. Using order numbers from the operator, the application queries a company’s database for order details. The tool will then calculate the set of combinations of cut patterns from the raw stock material which will produce the least amount of scrap possible while still fulfilling the specified bar length demands. Each order is solved through a column generation algorithm, calculating a solution for every stock length available at the company as well as the range of minimum bars that can be cut per combination. The results are then scanned, and the solution that produces the least amount of material waste is reported back to the operator

The proposed web tool has potential to add logistical, procedural, and financial value to the manufacturing process of rebar. Once deployed, this application ensures that rebar is manufactured using the least amount of raw material, increasing production margins and the environmental sustainability of this wasteful process.

Inside Out

Isabelle Lavallee-Gordon

Mentor: Cora Cluett, Fine Arts


“We are all Edward Hopper paintings now,” one user tweeted on March 16th, 2020. Included in the tweet was four of Hopper’s most mournful creations; four people, alone, contemplating their solitude.

As we have yoyo’d in and out of lockdowns over the past 2 years, I have developed a weird relationship with solitude and isolation. It was almost as if it changed from season to season. There were days, especially at the beginning, where I actually enjoyed isolation – before the novelty wore off. The real pain set in when I returned to Waterloo to live with my three roommates for our first real term of “zoom university.”

I have spent more time in the same house with the same four people than I could have ever imagined. Some days, my adventure would be from my bedroom in the basement to the kitchen or living room upstairs. I went weeks at a time without leaving the house, especially in the winter. I wanted so badly to leave the house, to have a reason to leave the house, but couldn’t find the motivation.

This series is meant to be a reflection on how I dealt with isolation – remaining trapped in my house was a symptom of my own depression and anxiety, even once restrictions were being lifted. I used acrylic paint and glazing medium to create ghostly images reflecting the inside of my house, contrasted with the main street outside. The audience will have to engage will all of the little details to discern what they are looking at. Are they on the inside looking out, or the outside looking in?

Children of the Digital Age: A Guide to Understanding Today’s Digital Environment through the Lens of Surveillance Capitalism

Sunny Luo

Mentor: Cat Coode, Founder of Binary Tattoo


We have entered an age where the internet is omni-present. Kids are growing up in a rapidly developing digital environment that never existed before this millennium and engaging with online services which increase the risks of anxiety and depression. What are the true effects of this environment on our health, our social networks, and our society? What does it mean to live in the Information Age? We are part of the first generation of humans in history to grow up and live in a digital information society. We are the children of the digital age, and the data is in. We have many challenges ahead of us.

My project, “Children of the Digital Age,” is a handbook which aims to help the audience—teens and young adults struggling with their social media usage, worried or confused parents, and internet users who are curious to learn about the online services they interact with on a regular basis—understand the abusive digital landscape shaped by Big Tech companies such as Facebook and Google, and the effects on personal and societal well-being. The handbook explains surveillance capitalism and the related jargon developed by Dr. Shoshana Zuboff, who first coined the term “surveillance capitalism.” It teaches about surveillance capitalism and its operations, how design is being used to encourage online addiction, the implications of surveillance capitalists’ power to manipulate behavior en masse, and existing ideas on defense against and ways to combat surveillance capitalism, so that viewers may make informed decisions about data privacy.

Tacit Knowledge Transfer: A guide for hiring organizations, cooperative education programs, and cooperative education students

Eve Martin

Mentor: Vince Di Ruzza, Psychology


The University of Waterloo provides cooperative education opportunities through short-term work placements to over 23,000 students annually. Typically, these work placements are four months long. Although co-op placements provide valuable work experience to students, they do not provide sufficient time for in-depth tacit knowledge acquisition.

Tacit knowledge is the “know-how” form of knowledge that is acquired through direct experience over a period of time. Since tacit knowledge is more nuanced and implicit than explicit knowledge, it is difficult to transfer during a traditional onboarding program. As a result, many students finish their four month placement and feel as if they are only beginning to acquire the knowledge they need to flourish in their work environment.

A comprehensive knowledge management literature review was completed to examine how tacit knowledge can be rapidly and effectively acquired within short-term work positions. Informal interviews were also held with staff from Waterloo’s Centre for Career Action to understand the largest barriers for tacit knowledge transfer in the current cooperative education structure, such as a lack of awareness and a lack of knowledge sharing opportunities. The results of the literature review were then applied to provide recommendations and educational resources to the hiring organization, the cooperative education program, and the cooperative education student on how to promote and facilitate tacit knowledge acquisition. Recommendations focus on the interpersonal side of tacit knowledge, such as human interaction, trust, and humility. These are supported by recommendations anchored in the iterative nature of learning, including reflection, imitation, and feedback.

Bright, Beige, Both: Creating Gender-Neutral Children's Clothing

Deirdre McIlroy-Young


My project aims to examine different definitions of gender-neutral clothing for children. There are two large movements when it comes to gender-neutral children's clothing. Both of them include traditionally masculine cuts of clothing, avoiding skirts, pleats, and more, in favour of pants and t-shirts. The older movement is mainly simple and bright colours, free of extra branding or patterns that denote gender. This category allows for easy hand-me-downs between children of any gender and makes putting together outfits simple. The newer category is a result of the rise of influencers who include their children in their internet presence. This category is marked by neutral, more adult colours that match the parent’s aesthetics. As well as these two categories, I am also exploring a third one I have created for this project. My category is a combination of gendered items aimed at both boys and girls put together in one outfit. This clash of gendered items is exploring a less mainstream way to be gender-neutral.

For my project, I am creating different children's outfits that align with these categories, exploring how they could be more neutral—by removing the exclusively masculine cuts—while keeping in mind practicality. I am using both children's clothing from stores (much of which I have altered) and creating pieces myself. For my own garments, I am making functional, comfortable, and durable clothing that is interesting to children, and not something that would be easily found in a store. My focus is on children aged newborn-6 because the concept of gender is not fully solidified until 3-6 in children. I am creating and curating possible ways that children can exist without their presentation being gendered by their garments, showing that doing so still allows for enjoyable, cute, and fun clothing.