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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 17th Annual Conference took place virtually March 19-20, 2021.

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.


Skills Competition – Welding

Student Competitors: Dayton Playford, Ben Rainforth

Faculty Supervisor: Lee Yasinski

Dayton Playford and Ben Rainforth represented RDC at this year’s Skills Alberta Competition in the Welding post-secondary event April 24th and 25th. Dayton won the Gold and Ben brought back the Silver. Both Dayton and Ben are previous 2019 Skills National Welding Gold medalists, Dayton at the post-secondary level and Ben at the secondary level.

Skills Alberta/Canada hosts a platform for trades students at both the post-secondary and secondary levels to display excellence in their area of study.  This platform allows students to compete at the regional, provincial, national and, every second year, world level. It is often compared to the Olympics for trades students.  

RDC student welding  students with projects  student welding

Dayton was able once again to capture Gold at Nationals. His contest projects displayed a high level of excellence in welding, both mild steel and stainless steel structures.  

Dayton is continuing with the development of his skills and is looking forward to capturing the team Canada spot in welding. If he becomes the team Canada representative for welding then he would compete in Worlds Skills in 2022. 

welding project   welding project   welding project


Rape Myths and Jury Nullification: Attributions in Sexual Assault Cases. Poster presented at the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, November 2020.

Student researcher: Victoria Andasol-Purdie

Faculty supervisor: Jamie Prowse Turner, PhD

The study aimed to determine how implicit biases such as the acceptance of rape myths may affect jury nullification. Participants (N=733) from across Canada were given one of four vignettes on sexual assault. Following the distribution of vignettes depicting sexual assault scenarios participants were asked to provide attributions regarding the victim and the perpetrator (using the updated Attribution Questionnaire; Angelone, Mitchell & Grossi 2015), as well as an assessment of their level of rape myth acceptance (using the updated Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance Scale; McMahon & Farmer, 2011). Our first hypothesis, that men and women will display moderate to high rape myth acceptance (RMA), with men displaying higher levels of acceptance, was demonstrated. Also, individuals who have experienced sexual assault victimization displayed lower RMA than individuals with no history of victimization. The final hypothesis that individuals who display higher levels of RMA will also display low levels of blame towards the offender, high levels of victim blaming, low levels of victim credibility and trauma, and a recommendation for a weak punishment for the offender was also shown. The research implies that both the verdicts and the victim’s right to a fair trial may be impacted by implicit biases, as many individuals within society seem to hold these beliefs.


Aluminum-Air Battery (Engineering Technology Program Capstone Project)

Student team: Tyson Bargholz, Jace Healing, Nicholas Moore

Faculty supervisor: Clifford Long

The internal-combustion engine is still the preferred choice of transportation for most automobile owners over the all-electric vehicle. Although the capacity has increased and the charge time has decreased for the lithium-ion battery, it still doesn’t quite compete with the fill-up time and distance achieved from gasoline or diesel burnt in internal-combustion engines. Recently the aluminum-air battery has grabbed the attention of some with the new discovery of a non-toxic solution for producing the battery. It promises to power an electric vehicle for up to 2,400 km on a single charge, and then the battery would be exchanged for a new one, much like a propane bottle exchange. The change-out time is estimated at 90 seconds. Students have been tasked with researching and designing a small scale functioning aluminum-air battery that could be used in place of a 1.5 V AA battery to see if this technology is truly what experts are saying.


CO2 Scrubber (Engineering Technology Program Capstone Project)

Student team: Bhavya Patel, Glenn Dauphinee, Nathan Johnson

Faculty supervisor: Clifford Long

With the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere on the rise (~2 ppm/year) and the concern with it being a greenhouse gas, society has been looking into many ways to combat the contributions of CO2 into the atmosphere. Students have been tasked with researching the current ideas for scrubbing CO2 from the air and designing a CO2 scrubber that can remove a measurable amount (2-5 ppm of the 410 ppm) from the air.


Tool-Free, Floating Solar Panel Roof Mount (Engineering Technology Program Capstone Project)

Student team: Alex Morrison, Ethan Fisher, Dean Lunde, Ken Wright

Faculty supervisor: Craig West

Residential solar panel installation typically involves mounting over existing shingled roofs of varying pitches. Such installations also require the solar panel sub-structure to be physically fastened through the roofing material (a challenge for ceramic roofing tiles), requiring significant time for installers to construct. This project involves the design and prototyping of a solar panel sub-structure that requires no direct fastening to the roof structure, quick solar panel mounting (target = tool-free), mounts to any roof type or pitch in far less time than conventional designs, low cost, wind/snow load stability.


The Effectiveness and Accessibility of Social Programs for Women Experiencing Domestic Violence in Smaller City Environments (Sociology Honours Thesis Project)

Student researcher: Avery Warner

Faculty supervisor: Jones Adjei, PhD

The purpose of this study is to identify whether the existing social programs for women experiencing domestic violence are effective and accessible within a smaller city context. It also seeks to assess the struggles of service providers who work with these women. Participants will speak about their experiences working with women experiencing domestic violence and how their organization approaches these types of situations. Participants will also be asked to speak about the type of awareness that they themselves and their organization do about domestic violence as well as whether they are able to see an impact based on these efforts.


National Identity in Alberta: Similarity, Difference, and Regional Tensions Among Canadians (Sociology Honours Thesis Project)

Student researcher: Sarah Orcutt

Faculty supervisor: Jones Adjei, PhD

The purpose of this study is to explore Albertans’ national, provincial, and regional identities. Participants of this study will be asked to discuss their feelings of belonging and identification to and with the nation, province, and region (Western Canada) in which they live. Participants will also be asked what individuals in each of these territorial categories have in common and/or what might differentiate Albertans from Canadians or Western Canadians from Albertans concerning the content of these identifications. The data obtained from this study will be analysed for important and shared themes among participants and will contribute to existing but limited scholarship concerning Albertans’ identities.


Equine-Assisted Therapy to Reduce Young Offender Recidivism: Can Introducing Indigenous Approaches Increase This Method's Effectiveness? (Sociology Honours Thesis Project)

Student researcher: Shelley St. Germaine

Faculty supervisor: Krista Robson, PhD

 This research project uses an in-depth review of several types of literature to identify the factors that reduce young offenders' recidivism rates. Attention will be placed on locating programs that build upon physical, social life and communication skills, personal growth in behavioral and emotional responses, and the adaptive healing of the young offenders and their spirits.

 There appear to be many valuable elements that Indigenous approaches can teach us, which may add to an equine-assisted therapy program's effectiveness: such as healing the young offenders as a whole person rather than as simple pieces. Therefore, the project will also look at the possible alignment of equine-assisted therapy with Indigenous approaches to rehabilitation.  

A psychologist/EAT facilitator and persons working in the correction system and within local Indigenous communities will be consulted and their assistance with interpreting the scoping review will be sought.


Patient Experience with Virtual Healthcare: A Secondary Data Analysis and Survey Development (Psychology Independent Study Project)

Student researcher: Kassandra Burk

Faculty supervisor: Reiko Yeap, PhD

Virtual care is the way in which patients interact remotely with healthcare professionals. To understand patients’ experiences and perceptions of virtual and in-person care, this two-part study involves secondary data analysis of the COVID-19 Impact Survey conducted by the Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA) and the development of a survey to explore the perceptions and attitudes toward virtual care of patients within the Red Deer and Grand Prairie Primary Care Network.


Positive Aging and Resilience in the Context of Covid-19 (Psychology Independent Study Project)

Student researcher: Chloe Hoppus

Faculty supervisor: Greg Wells, PhD

The purpose of this study is to explore the challenges faced by older individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic. This will include the coping strategies individuals have implemented to cope with these challenges, as well as the effectiveness of the coping strategies used. The objective of this study is to gain insight into positive-coping and resiliency in older adults, particularly in how they help individuals find a sense of meaning and positive growth in the face of adversity.


The Effects of the COVID-19 Global Pandemic on Coping and Well-Being (Psychology Independent Study Project)

Student researcher: Kiara Walter

Faculty supervisor: Anomi Bearden, PhD

The intent of this study is to explore the effects of the social isolation felt during the Covid-19 pandemic on an individual’s ability to cope and their well-being. Participants are invited to complete an online survey designed to measure loneliness, coping, depression, anxiety, and stress, as well as some demographic questions.


Early Prisoner Release Due to COVID-19: What are People’s Opinions, and Can Those Opinions be Changed? (Psychology Independent Study Project)

Student researcher: Kindra Duthie-Woodford

Faculty supervisor: Stephen Brown, PhD

This research aims to examine Canadian's opinions regarding the early release of prisoners due to the COVID-19 pandemic and whether these opinions can be changed via educational intervention. We seek to examine whether these opinions are positive or negative and the sources by which individuals are receiving information on this issue. Additionally, we inspect whether victimization has an influence on these opinions.


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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