From researching lakes and streams within the Qu’Appelle Valley in Saskatchewan to teaching Biology 100 and 101 to undergraduate students, these experiences at the University of Regina’s Faculty of Science laid the foundation for success for Nathanael Bergbusch. Varied offerings throughout his master’s programme equipped him with an arsenal of skills that aptly prepared him for PhD studies today.
At the University of Regina, Bergbusch gained countless practical and research design skills. While coordinating the University of Regina’s contribution to the Treaty Four Gathering with colleagues Mel Hart, Heather Dietz, and Pamela Sparvier, he developed a passion for working with local and Indigenous communities. The Treaty Four Gathering is an annual gathering at the Qu’Appelle Valley to reconnect, recognise and honour the spirit and intent of Treaty 4, one of many treaties that ceded Indigenous territory to the federal government.
“During my MSc programme, I completed work on the effect of a wastewater treatment upgrade on streams, using algal biomass and diatoms as markers of ecosystem health,” he shares. “I also sampled lakes and agriculture reservoirs for greenhouse gas emissions, toxic cyanobacteria, invertebrates, nutrients, and bacteria.”
With sustainability high on the global agenda, researchers can play a major role in addressing some of the sustainability challenges that we face today. Bergbusch shares the same passion. “I have started developing a project to examine how to develop a sustainability-based regional aquatic monitoring programme with communities to inform best practices in environmental assessment monitoring,” he said.
He credits the success of his master’s programme and his smooth transition to doctoral candidate to his professors at the Faculty of Science. “They have gone out of their way as mentors, educators, colleagues, and research experts to provide me with the skills and resources I needed to succeed,” he said. “They have spent countless hours working with me to improve my knowledge of freshwater science and statistics, as well as my communication, leadership, and outreach skills. I am truly grateful for them.”
Laying the foundations for students to enjoy a successful science career
At the University of Regina, students are taught and supported to think critically, engage in ethical reasoning, and contribute to society’s betterment. Their academics also make it a point to ensure students feel supported and motivated to excel, as echoed by mathematics PhD candidate Mahsa N. Shirazi.
“Since the first semester, I have had regular weekly meetings with my supervisors. I believe this shows the care and support they have for the students,” shares the Iranian. “While supportive, they also taught me how to become a more independent researcher and how to be more confident in presenting our research results.”
Shirazi’s current research project is centred around using graph theory to answer questions that arise in design theory. “In particular, my main PhD research is on the extensions of the famous Erdős-Ko-Rado theorem to t-intersecting families of perfect matchings in graphs,” she said.
While she relishes the opportunity to engage in original research in mathematics, Shirazi has big plans for her future.
“My long-term goal is to pursue a career in research and teaching in mathematics, specifically in graph theory, matrix theory, and combinatorics. I believe that the projects I mentioned would be an ideal opportunity to continue working in a research field – these are just part of my professional goals,” she explains.
Outside the classroom or laboratory, students have numerous opportunities to engage in experiential learning through fieldwork, internships, performances, and academic exchanges to better prepare them for the future of work.
The University of Regina also boasts a long history of offering co-operative placements. In 1969, they were the first in Western Canada to offer co-operative placements. Today, they offer over 50 Co-operative Education & Internships Programmes within the faculties of Arts, Business Administration, Engineering and Applied Science, and Science. The best part? It pays off. Co-operative education students earn approximately 10 million Canadian dollars in wages per year.
The University of Regina is home to over 400 active researchers, including faculty members, graduate and undergraduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and nine Canada Research Chairs. The Canada Research Chair programme was established in 2000 by the Canadian government to promote research and development excellence in post-secondary educational institutions.
Their researchers undertake projects that place them at the forefront of global change, alongside communities and international partnerships.
The University of Regina also boasts of several accolades, including achieving top rankings among comprehensive universities in international research collaboration by Research InfoSource, a leading source of ranking information on research and development in Canada. Between 2008 and 2012, over 51% of all publications by University of Regina researchers were co-authored with researchers abroad.
In 2014, they received the highest research impact ranking among medium-sized comprehensive universities in Canada by size and number of disciplines in Innovating Life.
In 2020, it was named Research University of the Year in the undergraduate university category by Research Infosource. In 2021, two of the university’s researchers received CA$2.8 million to better understand mitochondria –– tiny powerhouses providing energy to our cells –– to further explore neutrinos –– or elusive subatomic particles that are fundamental and abundant in the universe.
With an almost 79,000-strong alumni body contributing to societies in Saskatchewan and beyond –– it’s clear that immersive research opportunities can lead to outstanding graduate outcomes.
The University of Regina’s unique location bolsters its appeal further. The main and historic College Avenue campus is set on 239-acres in Wascana Centre – one of the largest urban parks in North America that boasts of numerous attractions, from art galleries to gardens and cafés.
To learn more about how the Faculty of Science at the University of Regina can be your launchpad for success, click here.