GPRC Innovation and Entrepreneurship Challenge Team Profile: Team #2 (NBDC)

GPRC Innovation and Entrepreneurship Challenge Team Profile: Team #2 (NBDC)

L-R: First-year engineering students Zachary Fournier, Teigan Scott and Caitlin Peebles show off their proposed redesigns for NBDC’s shaker tube.

GPRC’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Challenge is well underway for the seven students who are competing this year.

In this GPRIN-sponsored challenge, teams of students work collaboratively with a business in the community to tackle a professional project or identify solutions to a challenge faced by the business.

The first team is working with the Growing the North business conference to develop a promotional video; the second is working with GPRC’s National Bee Diagnostic Centre to improve the design of a piece of diagnostic equipment.

Introducing Team #2: GPRC National Bee Diagnostic Centre – Shaker Tube

When first-year engineering students Teigan Scott, Zachary Fournier and Caitlin Peebles received their task for the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Challenge, they were excited by the possibilities.

GPRC National Bee Diagnostic Centre (NBDC) asked the students to redesign the tubes in their laboratory benchtop shaker, a piece of equipment used to remove varroa mites (a common honeybee pest) from bees. Bee samples are submerged in ethanol and shaken in shaker tubes to separate the mites from their hosts. Researchers can then evaluate the severity of the infestation by conducting a varroa count. Students were tasked with coming up with some ideas for improving the design of the shaker tube in a way that was cost- and time-effective.

Solving NBDC’s design problem required a solid foundation of knowledge about the shaker mechanism and about the solutions other laboratories had implemented. “I think for me the coolest part has been doing the research and seeing how it’s already being done,” said Peebles. “I like to look at things and see why they do what they do.”

Scott, Fournier and Peebles were surprised by what they found. Even many top-notch research labs did not seem to have sophisticated solutions to the problem the students were facing. The team discovered that many laboratories used simple, homemade contraptions to remove mites, often constructed from disposable coffee cups or peanut butter jars. “One of the tools other researchers have used was literally just a plastic cup with holes poked through the bottom,” said Fournier. “I saw that and thought, ‘I can do better!’”

The team’s design had to be leak- and rust-proof and made from materials that would not react with ethanol. Cost and convenience were key factors in the design process.

After much research and a lengthy trial-and-error process, the team has come up with four potential designs for improvement of the shaker tube. They are now in the midst of creating prototypes using GPRC’s 3D printer.

With competition day approaching fast and a top prize of $3,000 on the line, Team #2 hopes judges will agree their designs are “the bees’ knees”!

 

Teams will have the opportunity to present their challenge solutions on January 22, when a Challenge winner will be announced.

Read about Team #1’s experience here.

Beyond the Classroom: Five Ways Scholarship Happens at GPRC

At GPRC, new knowledge is constantly being created, shared, and exchanged, both inside and outside the classroom.

Our faculty from across all schools and disciplines are often engaged in scholarly activities outside of their ordinary teaching duties. These can include conducting research, creating art or musical compositions, or working with industry to apply existing knowledge in new contexts. The word “scholarship” encompasses the many different types of research and innovative activities that take place at the College.

Scholarship outside the classroom can be one way instructors contribute to their fields, grow as academics, and increase their body of knowledge to pass on to students.

GPRC’s model of scholarship has five areas or ‘realms’. Learn about the realms of scholarship below and meet a few GPRC instructors who exemplify them. Which do you see yourself in?

Application – Applying knowledge to larger social/industrial governance needs; engagement with the broader community for mutual benefit.

GPRC psychology instructor Dr. Connie Korpan applies her research to effect real-world change. Her work falls in the scholarship of application, applying knowledge to larger social governance needs and engaging with the community for mutual benefit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discovery and Creation –Applied research, artistic work, visual art, literature, academic research, invention of a new technology.

For GPRC English instructor Sally Jones, writing, publishing and researching are all part of what it means to be engaged in her field as an informed professor. Her 2015 Research Award from the University of Aberdeen has allowed her to conduct extensive research on 20th century novelist Edith Wharton, whose works are the subject of her PhD dissertation.

 

Integration – Identifying patterns and trends, synthesizing existing information and ideas for new perspectives; interdisciplinary; cross-trades/professions

GPRC electrician instructor Charles Sanderson’s cross-disciplinary research on solar energy efficiency is leading GPRC on the path to becoming carbon neutral. A proponent of sustainable technology as a potential solution to the challenges facing his industry, Sanderson’s search for more efficient solar energy has enabled unique collaborations between trades and academia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice – Increasing personal depth of knowledge and currency in one’s own profession/discipline/trade.

GPRC video production instructor David McGregor’s professional practice in filmmaking informs his teaching in the video production courses he teaches at GPRC. By staying engaged in his field, he brings fresh expertise and an always-evolving knowledge set into the classroom to share with his students.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teaching and Learning – The systematic study of teaching and learning to obtain a deeper understanding of pedagogical theory and practice and to inform new practice.

Dr. Jodi Peebles, Teacher Education North (TEN) instructor at GPRC, is always looking for ways to improve the experience of her students. She is currently conducting research on the role of collaborative inquiry in teacher education, a process in which education students work together to use a systematic and research-based approach to learning and professional development. Dr. Peebles is also looking at ways that parents and educators can better support the learning of gifted children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learn more about research, innovation, and scholarship at GPRC on our website.

Follow GPRC Research and Innovation on Facebook and Twitter to see more faculty scholarship.

GPRC I&E Challenge Team Profile: Team #1 (Growing the North)

(L-R) Elizabeth Vidrih, Holly Thiessen, and Zachary Grinnell meet to discuss their project for the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Challenge.

GPRC’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Challenge is well underway for the seven students who are competing this year.

In this GPRIN-sponsored challenge, teams of students work collaboratively with a business in the community to tackle a professional project or identify solutions to a challenge faced by the business. The first team of four is working with the Growing the North business conference to develop a promotional video; the second, a team of three, is working with GPRC’s National Bee Diagnostic Centre to improve the design of a piece of diagnostic equipment.

Introducing Team #1: Growing the North Promotional Video

GPRC business administration student Elizabeth Vidrih says participating in the challenge hasn’t just enhanced her learning—it has changed the course of her education.

“The challenge inspired me to switch my major from accounting to management,” Vidrih said. She explained that after exploring her creative side and acting in a leadership role on her team, she realized a management major suited her strengths and interests better than the orderly, numbers-governed world of accounting. “Rules are very important in accounting, but I’ve realized that I don’t like to follow the rules,” she laughed. “This project was a great way for me to dip my toes into that world of management.”

Vidrih is working on a promotional video for Growing the North with three of her classmates from GPRC’s Business Administration program. Vidrih, along with teammates Zachary Grinnell, Holly Thiessen and John Wanotch, first developed an interest in Growing the North when they attended the event last year. All four teammates are looking forward to shedding light on what Vidrih called “an extremely beneficial conference.”

Teams did not have to tackle their challenge alone – they were given access to resources and expertise in the community and the College. Vidrih’s team was able to draw from the wisdom of local filmmaker and business owner Len Morissette, who is the founder of CIA Solutions Inc., and from GPRC video production instructor David McGregor. “We had so much support,” said Vidrih. “When we first started, I was worried our team was going to be thrown to the wolves a little bit, but it didn’t feel like that. It was so helpful to have access to all that material, equipment, and expertise. It was amazing. I think I can speak on behalf of my team when I say to our mentors, thank you!

Teams will have the opportunity to present their challenge solutions in January, when a Challenge winner will be announced.

Welcome Visiting Scholar Gina Castro Sanguinetti

Visiting Scholar Gina Castro Sanguinetti

Gina Castro Sanguinetti is bringing her passion for animal health to the GPRC National Bee Diagnostic Centre! We’re excited to welcome Gina to our community all the way from Peru as she assists NBDC researchers with Honey Bee Viruses in the Peace Country, an initiative led by researcher and GPRC instructor Dr. Shauna Henley.

Gina works for the Laboratory of Veterinary Microbiology and Parasitology at the National University of San Marcos, Peru. As a doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM), Gina has worked on several research projects at the University related to animal health of domestic species. Recently, she has expanded her research experience into honey bee health working at the National Institute of Agrarian Innovation, Peru. The focus of Gina’s research was to identify the main viral agents affecting Peruvian honey bees. “In Peru, there are not too many studies at this level,” Gina said. “As a veterinarian interested in animal health, I wanted to introduce this field to the university where I work.”

Gina’s work with honey bees in Peru made her a perfect fit for Dr. Henley’s research project at NBDC. “I can’t wait to learn from everything,” said Gina. “This is a great lab, and it’s growing. I’m happy to be part of it.”

Gina’s position as a visiting scholar with NBDC is part of a larger trend of bee researchers around the world connecting, sharing, and collaborating on major issues with bee health. NBDC maintains several international partnerships and frequently welcomes visiting scholars like Gina, who offer fresh insights and perspectives on our work.

Learn more about NBDC: gprc.me/nbdc

On Challenges and Changes: My Internship at GPRC National Bee Diagnostic Centre

On Challenges and Changes: My Internship at GPRC National Bee Diagnostic Centre

NBDC Research Assistant Candice Coombs

By Candice Coombs, Research Assistant at NBDC.

If someone had told me a year ago I would be in Beaverlodge working with bees today, I would have said, ‘where’s that?!’ followed by a big eye roll of disbelief.

Before I landed my internship at the GPRC National Bee Diagnostic Centre (NBDC), I worked in a flower shop in Calgary. I had recently moved from Wolfville, Nova Scotia as a recent biology grad struggling to find experience. Getting that first job after graduation can be a frustrating, demoralizing process. So I picked a niche I was passionate about—bees—and went for it. In the process of bothering all of Alberta’s beekeeping community for an employment opportunity, I was recommended to apply for an internship at NBDC. To my parents’ astonishment I finally had my foot in the door. So I packed my whole life into my tiny car, fat cat included, and left Calgary for the great white north and for the bees.

My goal in moving to Grande Prairie was to get the lab experience I was desperate for, but I’ve gained so much more in the process. This internship has given me the opportunity to meet beekeepers and attend beekeeping conferences. I’ve had the chance to make connections and meet people I would not have had the chance to before. It has been so interesting gaining knowledge about NBDC’s diagnostic services and how these tests help beekeepers. I’ve learned to follow protocols and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), proper safety measures when dealing with toxic chemicals and just the general ins and outs of a level 2 laboratory. The work I do in the lab is ever changing, so boredom is never a factor in this job. The knowledge at NBDC is expansive – there are always new learning opportunities to jump on.

If I had one takeaway from my internship I would say, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” Go after what you really aspire to do and you will not regret the outcome.

Interested in research opportunities at GPRC? Click to learn more about GPRC student research opportunities or about the National Bee Diagnostic Centre.