VIU Students at Beach


Surveying plants in remote BC parks

Submitted by Rachel Stern on October 18, 2023 - 9:47am

Emma Peterson and Lizzy Schafers visited remote BC parks this summer to count and catalogue plants. Their work was part of a biodiversity survey research project overseen by Dr. Jasmine Janes, a VIU Biology Professor.

The summer research experience allowed both students to gain hands-on skills outside a classroom setting. For Lizzy, a Bachelor of Science student majoring in Biology, the experience reinforced her plans to go to grad school and study botany. 

Alum finds forever chemicals in sixgill shark

Submitted by Rachel Stern on August 15, 2023 - 2:08pm

Forever chemicals are in our waterways and oceans. Recent research by VIU alum Misha Zvekic shows they are also turning up in marine life.

Forever chemicalsalso known as Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances or PFAS, are persistent, human-made substances. They’re called forever chemicals because they hardly break down in the environment and could last for decades. These chemicals are commonly found in stain-resistant and water-repellant consumer products as well as some firefighting foams.

Examining mental health supports in the K-12 school system

Submitted by Rachel Stern on August 3, 2023 - 2:45pm

Nova Heartland is investigating mental health supports in educational environments. The Master of Education in Educational Leadership grad’s research focused on K-12 school systems and found there is “unfulfilled potential” when it comes to implementing and scaling up these resources with educational systems.

She conducted the research with the help of a British Columbia Graduate Scholarship, a merit-based scholarship meant to break down barriers to affordable and accessible post-secondary education.

Creating accessible computer science courses

Submitted by Rachel Stern on May 24, 2023 - 12:49pm

Everyone deserves equal access to education, yet barriers remain for some learners.

Amber Thomas ran into challenges when she wanted to take a computer science course at her university in Alberta. The accessibility tools available there would not work for her computer science course because it needed specialized tools. Amber is blind and uses a screen reader to complete her courses. 

Investigating parasite genetics

Submitted by Rachel Stern on March 13, 2023 - 1:17pm

VIU alum Mac Barrera’s undergraduate research was not only published in an international journal, it has also led to new insights about the endangered Vancouver Island marmot.  

“It’s exciting. I feel very proud,” says Mac, who now works as a lab technician in VIU’s Biology department. “Getting an undergrad research paper published in a legitimate, peer-reviewed journal is rare.”

Students share reflections on gender in book

Submitted by Rachel Stern on March 9, 2023 - 10:38am

For the first time at VIU, a sociology class has written and published a book together. 

The students examined gender in their book Gender: Reflections and Intersections – a collaborative project for their Sociology 322 class. The 31 students each contributed two pieces: an academic article and one free-choice contribution that could be creative, such as:

Harnessing the power of the poop loop

Submitted by Rachel Stern on October 20, 2022 - 9:31am

Jenni [pronounced Yenni] Ottilie Keppler says she’s always felt a “personal calling towards the west coast of North America,” and a desire to conduct research in a UNESCO biosphere region.

When she discovered that Vancouver Island University (VIU) had a research institute focusing on projects within the UNESCO-designated Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region (MABR) she reached out to see if she could do a practical research semester.

Inspired by the world around us: Ally Badger

Submitted by Rachel Stern on August 9, 2022 - 9:29am

The living world has fascinated Ally Badger ever since she was a child, and she always knew she wanted to pursue biology.

She graduated this June with a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Biology. Navigating the challenges of the pandemic and the worsening climate crisis over the past few hasn’t been easy, but despite these obstacles Ally received a perfect grade point average.