Author: Adiki Puplampu

Tag: ELITE Program interns presented on their internship work to-date and enjoyed a day of networking with each other.

Date: August 1st, 2022


On Friday July 8th, 2022, ELITE Program undergraduate interns from across Canada gathered in-person and virtually at the University of Alberta for mid-summer technical presentations and progress reports. All day, interns from disciplines ranging from electrical engineering to biology and business marketing, presented their internship work to date. Despite connection challenges posed by the Rogers outage, over 30 interns shared details about their projects, responsibilities, learning experiences, and future goals.

The day’s presentations were organized into five discipline categories: engineering, robotics and computing science, health and wellness, business and finance, and biological and environmental science. Before diving into the subject groups, the day began with presentations from our Ottawa interns at Carleton University’s Faculty of Engineering and Design. Ridha Allaw, an intern working with Carleton University researcher, Dr. Kamal Hossain, went first discussing his work on alternative pavement designs and roadside amenities to reduce traffic noise pollution. Following the Ottawa interns, in-person presentations from students in engineering internships began.

A small group of three, the engineering students discussed work on problems such as making rollators (walkers with wheels) safer, lighting design in buildings, and the safe operation of liquid pipeline assets. The engineering presentations were followed by students in robotics and computing science internships. Students in this group presented on everything from creating HR chatbots to researching motion-capture systems. After lunch, where students had the opportunity to mingle and network with one another, presentations from students in health and wellness internships began. Many of the students in this group are doing internships in University of Alberta labs like Saeeda Saeed, who is supervised by Dr. Sophie Yohani and Dr. Philomina Okeke-Ihejirika, and discussed her work supporting the creation of a framework for addressing intimate partner violence in Black Canadian communities. Projects such as the one undertaken by Saeeda are part of the ELITE Program’s expansion into internships focused on mental health and wellness.

The next group of presenters in business and finance internships provided a brief departure from the scientifically technical presentations that marked the first half of the day. Presentations from this group demonstrated the diversity of intern hosts involved with the ELITE Program from start-ups like Ruth, a company that produces plant-based disposable menstrual pads, to large corporations such as Enbridge Inc., North America’s largest energy infrastructure company. The largest discipline cohort, students in biological science and environmental science internships, ended the day. Among many  taxonomies for lichen DNA with the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute under the supervision of Dr. Diana Haughland, Toluwatise Ehindero doing research on the gut microbiome in Dr. Dominic Sauvageau’s research group, and Anne Rinna Kouassi-Djan who is working to understand the impact of malaria on pregnant women under the supervision of Dr. Sedami Gnidehou.

Beyond highlighting their daily activities and what they have learned so far, many interns discussed what they hope to learn going into the second half of their internship placements. At the end of August, the students will meet again to present their work to a larger public audience and have the opportunity to discuss if they’ve achieved these goals. In August, the undergraduate students will be joined by their high school peers who began their internships in early July. We look forward to learning more about their work and the work of the high school students at the end of August. Stay tuned to learn more about our undergraduate cohort and the projects they’ve been working hard on!