Make connections, grow your skills and promote research at Douglas

By Alison Henwood, Communications Officer, Research and Innovation Office

Did you know that you can support and promote research happening at Douglas College – and get paid for it?

Cassidy Penney, Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching student at Douglas College.
Cassidy Penney promotes science and tech research at Douglas.

Student Research Ambassadors work within their faculties to raise awareness of research, share opportunities and get their fellow students involved.

Our current SRAs, Megan Scott (Health Sciences), Lauren Wittal (Health Sciences), Cassidy Penney (Science and Technology) and Jennifer Browning (Humanities and Social Sciences) share why they applied for the role, what they’ve been up to, and how the experience has enriched their time at Douglas.

A life-changing experience

After taking a Research Methods (SPSC 3256) course, Cassidy, a fourth-year Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching student, was intrigued by the research process.

 “One of my main jobs has been to promote science and tech research at Douglas College through social media,” says Cassidy. “That has involved collecting stories on current projects. It’s so neat to be able to get a glimpse into another field of research through the eyes of the researchers themselves.”

Read more: This Chemistry instructor is turning coffee grounds into biofuel.

Lauren, a third-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing student, was intimidated by the thought of being involved with research, but that’s exactly what led her to become an SRA.

Lauren Wittal, Bachelor of Science in Nursing student at Douglas College.
Lauren Wittal was once intimidated by research, but not anymore.

“I felt research was something only people with a PhD could do,” she says. “I wanted to get a better understanding of research, how it is conducted and, additionally, as a BSN student, I wanted to increase my understanding of research to follow evidence-based practice.”

One of the highlights of being an SRA for Lauren has been supporting a study on the lived experience of nurses during COVID-19.

“This study has been so eye opening.  I have talked with nurses who have been working on the front lines for a year,” she says. “Through virtual focus groups, I’ve heard about their challenges, their strengths, and what has given them hope. Actively participating in research has been a life-changing experience.”

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Jennifer, a second-year Criminology student, was interested in different disciplines and how they informed criminology. 

“I am also a curious person by nature, so I love to know what kinds of questions people are asking and how they are going about finding the answers,” she says.

Jennifer got involved in the first Humanities and Social Sciences Poster Board Event, which involves recruiting and managing presenters, working with faculty, and a lot of organization.

“Even though we are still in the recruitment phase, it’s shaping up to be an exciting event that I hope Douglas students will want to attend.”

Megan, a third-year student in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, got her first taste of being involved with research as a member of the Douglas Student Union’s Health Sciences Journal Club. Since then she has gotten involved in research much as possible.

Being an SRA helps you to engage more with faculty, other students and the College as a whole.

Jennifer Browning, criminology student

“Being in the nursing program, I quickly realized how important it is to be involved in research, as health science rapidly evolves,” she says.

Megan has worked with fellow RA Lauren to create a Health Sciences Research social media presence as well as promote ways to get involved in research at the College. “We created an Instagram page and also post to the Research at Douglas Facebook page,” says Megan.

“We have also been active members of the BSPN Research Interest Group, which is made up of Bachelor of Science in Psychiatric Nursing students and faculty members who come together to share, participate and facilitate research, and we sit in on meetings with the Research and Scholarly Activity Committee, as well as provide support to faculty research projects.”

Read more: This English instructor is telling true tales of dementia through comics.

The best thing you’ll ever do

Lauren says becoming an SRA is the best thing you’ll ever do at Douglas.

“When we get involved, we get so much more out of our education. Not only does it look good on a resume, but the experience of analyzing a journal article or conducting a research study is an amazing learning opportunity.”

Megan Scott, Bachelor of Science in Nursing student at Douglas College.
As she prepares for a career in health sciences, Megan Scott knows the value of actively taking part in research.

“Being an SRA helps you to engage more with faculty, other students and the college as a whole,” adds Jennifer. “I feel a much greater connection to Douglas now, which I didn’t think was possible with everything being online.”

“It is truly amazing how much engaging in research at Douglas has enhanced my educational experience,” Megan says. “I feel so connected with resources throughout various different departments. I am so thankful for this opportunity.”

Want to become a Student Research Ambassador? Visit the Douglas Careers site and keep an eye out for upcoming opportunities at the start of each semester. You can also join our Facebook group, Research at Douglas, to learn more.

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