Students Present Research at Annual Celebration of Student Scholarship

Around 160 students presented research and creative scholarship at this year’s Celebration of Student Scholarship (COSS).

“There is a lot of hard work that goes into organizing the event, as well as mentoring people through the application process and presentation preparation,” said Dr. Krys Strand, director of Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity (URSCA) and COSS coordinator. “Seeing the variety of student research and creative scholarship presented all in one event and having such a multidisciplinary community feel is one of my favorite aspects of COSS.”

From presentations in Spanish, research on autism in literature, and projects involving zebrafish, to ethnographies about the local community, the scholarship presented during COSS is varied and diverse.

Therese Byankuba ’25 and her research group studied minnows at Concordia’s Long Lake campus. “I enjoyed that we could focus our research on a topic that interested us,” she said about the research process. “While I was quite nervous since it was my first time presenting at COSS, the attendees showed so much curiosity and interest in my group’s research, and I was excited to finally share what we learned.”

Dr. Joseph Whittaker, associate professor of biology, was the mentor for Byankuba and her group. He was awarded the COSS Mentor of the Year.

“Student presenters have the option of nominating their mentor and write about how their mentor has facilitated a positive research or creative scholarship experience,” Strand said. 

This year, students could also opt in to take part in a competition. The projects submitted were reviewed by a jury of judges and submitted to win a $100 prize. Students who took part in the competition also received feedback from the judges. Yvette Umutoniwase ’23 won the Concurrent Session Presentation award for “Culturing Neurons from Zebrafish and Spinal Cord,” and Gabe Hanson ’24 won the Poster session award for “Chemotherapy-Induced Cellular Senescence is Associated with Hallmarks of Cachexia.” 

Joseph Kennedy, instructional designer and academic technologist, served as one of the judges. He was impressed by the caliber of research presented. “Every presentation would have been at home at a professional educational conference,” he said. “Many of the students in the poster and concurrent sessions are performing work that is often completed by graduate students.”


The Celebration of Student Scholarship provides undergraduate students from all disciplines and levels of experience the opportunity to present high-quality research, scholarship, and creative works in a public venue; to connect with alumni; and to explore the intersections of research, vocation, and career preparation. COSS invites students, staff, faculty, alumni, and the broader community to engage with student presenters as they showcase their achievements through research and creative scholarship projects of all types.