CivMin represented at UnERD 2023

CivMin students participated in Undergraduate Engineering Research Day 2023 in different roles as organizers and presenters. We asked four students a couple of questions about their experience and research.

Sophie Costantino, Sheen Patel, Oleksandra Boiko, Dana Bou Saab (L to R)

Oleksandra Boiko (Organizer)

Oleksandra Boiko at UnERD 2023 (Photo by Galina Nikitina, CivMin)

Could you introduce yourself? 
My name is Oleksandra Boiko. I am a second-year student in the Civil Engineering program.

What are your responsibilities at this event? 
I’m the Logistics Director for Undergraduate Engineering Research Day (UnERD) 2023. I’m responsible for all the logistics, from the schedule to food. Everything is on me and my team. This is my first year being involved in UnERD.

Why have you decided to do this?
Honestly, I think it is a great opportunity to meet new people, develop my leadership skills and do something new and fun.

Do you participate in any other clubs?
Yes, I’m actually a Mentorship Director on CivClub and the Sustainability Director on the Concrete Canoe Team.

Why do you think CivMin students should participate in this event next year? 
I think it is a great networking event. It’s also a great presenting experience for those who do research. I’m sure it will benefit them in the future. Honestly, It’s just a fun experience.


Sophie Costantino (Presenter)

Sophie Costantino at UnERD 2023 (Photo by Galina Nikitina, CivMin)

Could you introduce yourself?
Hi, my name is Sophie Costantino. I am going into my third year of Civil Engineering at U of T.

What is the research you are presenting today? 
My research is on green roofs. Specifically, I’m examining if adding a plastic drainage layer at the bottom of a green roof will impact the amount of stormwater retention and delay.

Which professor you are working with on this project? 
I’m working with Professor Jennifer Drake. She used to be a professor here in the Civil and Mineral Engineering Department but has moved to another university. I’m working with her [in] hybrid and her graduate students who are still at U of T.

Why have you decided to participate in this event? 
I’ve never participated in something like this before. I thought it would be a good experience to learn what it is like to present a poster and interact with people in the scientific community and the public interested in learning more about the research we’ve done.

Are you planning to do something like this further in your research career? 
In the beginning, I wasn’t too sure if research was something for me, but throughout the summer, I really gained an appreciation for it. I thought research would mostly involve sitting on the computer and doing excel-work, but I was able to spend a lot of time on the green roof, learning from the grad students and working on my own project. Being able to have a hands-on experience really shaped the way I view research.  I still don’t know what I’m going to do in the future, but research is definitely something I want to pursue.


Dana Bou Saab (Presenter)

Dana Bou Saab at UnERD 2023 (Photo by Galina Nikitina, CivMin)

Could you introduce yourself?
Hi, I am Dana Bou Saab,  Civil Engineering Student.

Could you tell me about your research?
It’s an intersection of a couple of different things. Chemistry as a course relies a lot on visualization, but this became a challenge during the pandemic when our traditional model of education was tested, difficult to transition the traditional way of education into hybrid or virtual [education models]. We previously had labs and assignments to help us see things, but these were no longer available during the pandemic. That said, online simulations and demonstrations allow us to see things we cannot see in real life; for example, they are very small etc. My goal was to create a new lecture model adaptable to student needs throughout the different semester times and make our learning model more flexible, with the hope of making our course one-third virtual and two-thirds in-person.

Which professor you are working with on this project?
I’m a summer research fellow working with Professor Jennifer Farmer from the Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry.

Why have you decided to participate in this event?
I thought it was a great opportunity to present what I have and gain some communication and presentation skills. I really wanted to soo other people’s presentations and hear their thoughts on my project.

Are you planning to participate in this event again?
Definitely! I enjoy research and would like to pursue a career in it. If possible, I’d like to do another research fellowship next year in Timber Structures with Professor Aryan Rezaei Rad CivMin next year while also working on my first-year project.


Sheen Patel (Presenter)

Sheen Patel presents at UnERD 2023 (Photo by Galina Nikitina, CivMin)

Could you introduce yourself?
Hi, I’m Sheen Patel. I’m going to my third year; I’m CIV 2T5.

Could you tell me about your research?
I’m working with Professor Doug Hooton on impeding moisture sensors to measure moisture at different depths of concrete. In the concrete flooring industry, sealants are often put down after the concrete is cast. Concrete must meet a certain moisture threshold to ensure the sealant doesn’t destroy it. Generally, you must wait 28 to 30 days. If you can measure the moisture content, you can speed things up, omitting the delay of up to three full days.

Why have you decided to participate in this event?
I decided to participate in UnERD 2023 because I wanted to have more practice presenting and sharing my research.

Are you planning to participate in this event again?
I think so. It is good to see what everyone is working on and get more practice presenting.