CEPS Graduate Student Research Day 2021 (Virtual)

Date and Time


Virtual: Please register for the event in advance.

Join via Teams Live


The College of Engineering and Physical Sciences (CEPS) invites its graduate students from all units to participate in our 2021 Graduate Student Research Day to be held virtually on October 15th, 2021, between 9:00 am and 12:00 pm.

What is Grad Student Research Day?

CEPS’s Graduate Student Research Day is a CV-building and learning opportunity for master’s and PhD students across CEPS’s academic units. It is a chance for students, faculty, staff, alumni, and industry partners to learn about new research being done by our graduate students, which could have exciting applications. This event will provide:

1. Experience for graduate students to present research through virtual, talks in the style of the 3-minute thesis;

2. learning opportunities within and between academic units, and from industry partners/alumni; and

3. graduate student award opportunities

Who can participate?

The following individuals are eligible to present and/or attend:

  • Students who are registered in a CEPS master’s or PhD program at the University of Guelph.

  • CEPS PhD and master’s students who have defended their thesis but have not yet graduated are also eligible to participate.

The following individuals are eligible to attend:

  •  University of Guelph faculty, staff, alumni, and industry partners.

Presentation Format

To suit the online format, presentations will follow the same guidelines as the three-minute thesis competition.


  •  A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description, the slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration).
  •  Presentations are to be given live (not recorded).
  •  No additional electronic media are permitted (e.g. sound and video files).
  •  No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  •  Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  •  Presentations are to be spoken word (eg. no poems, raps or songs).
  •  The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.
  •  Presentations must be based on research that is directly related to the student’s graduate program thesis.
  •  Presenters must agree to be recorded.

Award Opportunities

All presenters will be eligible for awards. We will have two “Best Presentation” awards (1st and 2nd place).

Winners will receive the following cash prizes:

  • Best Presentation, 1st place - $500
  • Best Presentation, 2nd place - $250

Information for All Attendees

Agenda and Activities


Welcome and brief remarks

Associate Dean of Research
3-minute Graduate Student Presentations
Awards committee convenes
Panel Discussion: Emerging from COVID: How CEPS Researchers Pivoted in Response to COVID-19
Panel discussion from CEPS faculty and industry partners
Awards presentation and closing remarks

Associate Dean of Research to present

Panel Discussion

Emerging from COVID: Innovative thinking sparked by COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic hit hard in 2020 and its impacts have been felt through 2021. Throughout the past year and half, we have come to rely on our scientists and engineers in academia and industry to provide innovative solutions to our devastating global problem. 

In 2020 and 2021, researchers and industry partners from the U of G’s College of Engineering and Physical Sciences rapidly stepped up in response to COVID-19, with many individuals pivoting their research to face the COVID challenge head-on. Our researchers collaborated closely with industry, crossed disciplinary boundaries, and even altered their research priorities to address COVID-19. In this panel, CEPS researchers and industry experts will reflect and discuss what enabled them to respond to emerging threats and opportunities, the innovations that resulted, and their contributions to the health and safety of Canadians.

Dr. Daniel Gillis, School of Computer Science (Moderator)
Dr. Gillis has spent the bulk of his career working on multidisciplinary teams with a focus on public health assessment and natural resource management. His research interests span statistics, computer science, biology, pedagogy, and community-engaged scholarship. In a recent publication, Gillis and several colleagues collected more than 60 illustrative examples of collaborative responses to COVID-19, which ranged from research to public health to sourcing personal protective equipment.
Dr. Monica Cojocaru, Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Dr. Cojocaru conducts research that furthers our understanding of the mathematical theory involved in the time-evolution of equilibrium problems, as they are formulated from applications. Cojocaru also examines the applications to and the modelling of population health as pertains to individuals’ behaviour vis-a-vis of vaccination, infectious diseases spread and a populations’ adoption of new norms, be them environmental, health or socio-economically driven. In a recent study, she found that randomly testing students for COVID-19 could help control outbreaks.
Dr. Rozita Dara, School of Computer Science
Dr. Dara’s research explores Big Data analytics, data mining, and data governance, with a focus on applications such as privacy enhancing technologies, social intelligence, and precision agriculture. She is interested in ethical and social implications of artificial intelligence and automated systems. Research teams led by Dara have worked to leveraging social media data to help build early warning systems for future outbreaks of COVID-19.
Dr. Ed McBean, School of Engineering
Dr. McBean’s research is focused primarily on examining the vulnerability of water supply security. He relies upon statistical interpretation of data, AI modeling, fate and transport of chemicals and pathogens in the environment, and risk assessment/management, to determine how water security risks may arise. His work includes examining climate change as applied to water resources phenomena. In 2020/21 McBean became heavily involved in AI modeling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nicole McLellan
McLellan is a process specialist with over 13 years of experience related to public health protection through water treatment in government, academic research, and consulting industries. Her areas of expertise comprise drinking water treatment; regulatory development and compliance; process performance demonstrations; and management of contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) such as disinfection by-products, algae blooms, and novel pathogens. Nicole received her B.Sc. in Honours Biology and M.A.Sc. in Civil Engineering from the University of Waterloo. She is pursuing her Ph.D. to improve the detection of waterborne pathogens and better inform risk assessments for water management decision-making.

How to Register

If you would like to register as a presenter or an attendee, please submit our registration form.


Note: Students should discuss their intention to participate with their advisor and give serious consideration to authorship and intellectual property.

The registration deadline for presenters is Monday, September 20, 2021.

Attendees can register any time before the event (October 15th, 2021).

Presenters must submit final slides by October 13th, 2021 to kmcgooga@uoguelph.ca.

If you have any questions, please email Keriann McGoogan, CEPS Research Communications Officer: kmcgooga@uoguelph.ca.

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