2023 Capstone Conferences: Biology

From April 17 -18, we celebrated academic excellence at StMU by showcasing the final projects and presentations prepared by our fourth-year students during our 2023 Capstone Conferences. We’re excited to share the results of the hard work of our Biology students.

Biodiversity and Ecosystem Health at St. Mary’s University

Brianna Desrochers

I am in my 5th year at St. Mary’s University. I have written several papers on various aspects of bees, wasps, and ants (Hymenoptera). I have taken courses in ecology, conservation biology, vertebrate zoology, and invertebrate zoology. Invertebrates are an underrated and endlessly fascinating group of organisms.

Shane Fenton

My name is Shane Fenton, I became interested in biology because of a fascination with animals. During my degree I got to explore this interest while also developing an interest in health sciences. I will be graduating at the end of the next year with a Bachelor’s of Science with a major in biology. I am still unsure about what I want to do for a career. I worked with Scott and Brianna to collect and identify invertebrates on St. Mary’s campus for my Sr. Project. With our goal being to generate a baseline for invertebrate biodiversity on campus.

Scott Robertson

My name is Scott Robertson, I love the outdoors, hiking, and the biology behind how the human body works. I will be graduating at the end of the year with a Bachelor’s of Science with a major in biology and a minor in psychology, and I am aiming to become a physiotherapist. For my senior project I worked with Shane and Brianna to collect and identify invertebrates on St. Mary’s campus with a goal to set a baseline for biodiversity for further ecosystem health monitoring using bioindicators.

Thesium ramosum distribution along the Bow River in Calgary

Anna Lizak

Anna is completing her fourth year of her Biology degree, and will be graduating from St. Mary’s University in June. Throughout her studies, Anna has enjoyed studying everything from microbiology in the lab, to ecology out in the field and in Fish Creek Park. Over the summer, Anna worked with her three other teammates to survey the invasive species Thesium ramosum, along the Bow River south of Fish Creek and near boat launches. Her capstone project aimed to better understand T. ramosum’s potential spread by water and human activity. Next year, Anna plans to take a year to do some missionary work. She later plans to continue on to the Bachelor of Education program, in hopes of becoming an elementary teacher.

Ben Edwardson

As a kid I was fascinated with the natural world, I wanted to spend most days exploring the woods near my childhood home or watching nature documentaries. After finishing Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Biology and a minor in Drama, I have to say, I feel like a kid again when I step outside and look at the nature around me. My plan is to have a career working directly with nature and the environmental sciences. If I could spend weeks at a time in the middle of the woods as a career, that would be a perfect fit. I suppose the next best thing would be to put my public speaking skills to better use through public awareness, informing people about the natural world and all the living species in it from the largest of bears to the smallest of mushrooms.

Carina Sprinkhuysen

Once I am through with my electives this fall, I will graduate from the Biology program at St. Mary’s University. I hope to take a short break from my studies to work and to decide on a specific field of biology to pursue in grad school. Over the past four years, I have grown in my appreciation of ecology, and I aim to contribute to Alberta’s natural environment while continuing to learn about conservation and, hopefully, microbiology. Aside from school, I spend my time volunteering, working on various creative projects, and (sometimes) travelling (which I am hoping to do more of in the near future).

Kirrie Ginter

Kirrie is a small business owner, certified master groomer and teacher, pursing continuing education. Over the years she has previously completed two undergraduate degrees in archaeology and education, served 7 years with the Royal Canadian Naval Reserves and found a passion in dogs. In her never-ending quest for knowledge, she began a third undergraduate degree in biology to refresh her brain in the pursuit of a graduate degree.

Identification of Tardigrades from Newfoundland: Genus Doryphoribius being the first to be reported in Canada

Natasha Joseph

Natasha is a Biology Major graduating with a Bachelor of Science. Her biggest strength is patience and understanding, which she demonstrates in her job as a Behaviour Therapist for kids with autism. She has honed many skills during her five years at StMU. The biggest challenge she overcame was time management, learning to be dedicated and focused. The same skills were very important for her senior project which focused on identifying tardigrades under a microscope for hours on end. This project required Natasha to pay attention to detail and broadened her understanding of the microscopic world. Tardigrades may have become her new best friends! Aside from science, Natasha loves listening to music, hitting the gym, travelling and finding new adventures!

Pilot Prairie Restoration at St. Mary’s University

Bri-Anna Zabel

My name is Bri-Anna, and I am a fourth year student graduating with a Bachelor of Science Majoring in Biology and Minoring in Psychology this year. My project was to restore a section of native prairie on the front hill of campus and engage the community through events. I enjoyed coordinating events to increase community interest in the project. I chose this project to gain experience working to coordinate a restoration, have a deeper understanding of the ecosystem around me, and plan events to engage public interest. After I graduate, I hope to pursue higher education and hope to go into research. I am excited to be entering into the Bachelor of Education focused on Secondary Education in Science, where I can pursue my dreams to teach biology. This allows me to share my passion and curiosity about science with other students.

Teale Sargent

I am in my fifth and final year of my studies, graduating with a BSc in Biology and a minor in English. My capstone project focused on returning native prairie plants to a patch of land on the StMU campus. I was drawn to this project because of my interest in plants, and my desire to work on a community-oriented project. I learned a lot while working on my capstone from individual research, but what taught me the most was working with people behind the scenes and at events held as part of the project. After graduation, I intend to spend a year working before
pursuing further education.

Terri Bruneau

I am a fourth year student at StMU, where I am doing a Bachelor of Science with a major in biology. I am an avid birdwatcher who enjoys being out in the field. I chose to take part in the Prairie Restoration Project because of my care for the environment, and hope that we could make the campus a better environment for the many creatures that we share our space with.

Where do Tardigrades Call Home? Abundance and Identification of Tardigrades within Different Soil Depths

Amin Aboultaif

Hello, my name is Amin Aboultaif, and I am graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in Biology, after four years of hard work and dedication. I am also honored to be the first person in my family to graduate from university, and I am grateful for their unwavering support
and encouragement throughout my academic journey. I am thrilled to have achieved this accomplishment, and I am excited to embark on my journey towards becoming a doctor by attending medical school.

During my time as a student, I had the opportunity to work on a senior project that focused on studying a unique and special species being tardigrades. This project was a truly rewarding experience, and I found myself engrossed in learning more about this fascinating species. It was an experience that solidified my passion for biology and reinforced my desire to work in the medical field. Outside of my academic pursuits, I am a big fan of soccer. I enjoy watching games and playing with friends. Travelling is another one of my passions. I love exploring new places, trying new foods, and learning about different cultures. Spending time with my family is also very important to me, and I always cherish the moments we get to spend together, whether it’s traveling to new destinations or just enjoying each other’s company at home.

Cortina Wick

Cortina is graduating from St. Mary’s University with a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Biology and minoring in Sociology. She has always had a passion for learning and has enjoyed growing her knowledge base throughout her degree. Cortina hopes to continue her studies in the healthcare field where she can continue to learn and create a positive impact on her community. Cortina’s capstone project focused on the abundance, distribution, and identification of tardigrades in soil. She enjoyed the process of conducting her own research as well as mastering her microscope skills. Cortina is thankful for all the friendships, her time at St. Mary’s University has brought her and is excited for what the future has in store for her.

The Tardigrade Catalog: A comprehensive and modern Tardigrade identification tool

Stephanie Bates

My name is Stephanie and I’m in my 4th year of my Bachelor of Science majoring in biology. I have always been in love with animals and nature, and I loved getting the opportunity to learn how to help contribute to the preservation of our beautiful natural habitats in my degree. I also learned a lot about different all types of living beings and writing research papers, which will be greatly beneficial towards my future career goal of working at a zoo.