Graduate Student Profiles

  • Rajagopal, Harini
    My research explores the ways in which young English language learners, often immigrants and refugees, in elementary school construct and represent meaning through modes such as photography, art, play, conversations, and reading and writing in various contexts. I pay attention to the varied communicative repertoires and identities that surface without depending solely on the children’s competence in English and how these impact their literacies learning. Importantly, I am interested in how these capacities may be valued in classrooms and what opportunities this valuing might offer for teaching and learning. Working collaboratively with the children and the teacher, my research seeks ways to bring multilingual, multimodal approaches to literacies in the classroom through an inquiry project. In the context of the new BC curriculum and bridging to India’s under-resourced English education context, I hope my research contributes to reflective and innovative pedagogy and policies that enable respectful engagement with children’s cultural and linguistic identities.
  • Mahmood, Bushra
    South Asians are at a higher risk of developing cardio-metabolic diseases at a younger age and lower body mass index (BMI), due mainly to genetic predisposition, unhealthy diet and a sedentary lifestyle. Physical inactivity is recognized as an independent risk factor for developing abdominal adiposity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Measurement method has an important impact on the assessed levels of Physical Activity(PA). Self-report methods tend to over or under estimate actual levels of PA. An accurate assessment of PA levels in high risk populations and an understanding of socio-cultural and environmental influences that may influence PA behavior are important for designing effective interventions. My research aims to evaluate PA and its correlates including socio-cultural, religious and environmental factors as guided by the Social Ecological Model (SEM) in South Asians’ in Metro Vancouver.
  • Jolly, Helina
    In the pursuit of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 placing the utmost significance on policies related to women empowerment, indigenous community protection and environmental conservation. Thus, there is a fundamental policy demand to address the limitations in understanding the relationship of tribal women and ecosystem functions. Guided by various social roles, responsibilities, resource access and decision-making rights, there is known to have gendered perceptions and values towards the local ecosystem services. The study aims to: (1) Understand the differences in perceptions of ecosystem services among the indigenous men and women living in Kerala’s biodiverse rural regions. (2) Examine how gendered perceptions influence the valuation of ecosystem services among these communities. Developing an understanding of how vulnerable stakeholders, especially women, view and respond to the challenge of environmental degradation, will help develop equitable and sustainable solutions to ecological crises we face around the world.
  • Bhattacharyya, Barnini
    My research is an intersectional examination of mistreatment, focussing on a specific type of mistreatment that minority group members experience, termed ‘invisibility', characterized by subtle acts of mistreatment that are typically not recognised as explicit or purposeful, such as not being heard in meetings or people forgetting one’s name, but nonetheless render one socially invisible. Traditional scholarship has treated the categories of gender and race as separate and homogenous. But feminists of color have critiqued the use of ‘women’ as representative of all women, since it typically captures the experiences of women who belong to the dominant group. This research attempts to parse out different experiences based on an individual’s membership in different social categories.
  • Choudhary, Neha
    I am working with synthesis of new ligands/ chelators for various medicinally useful metal radioisotopes.
  • Dutta, Abhishek
    Wastewater Treatment is a well explored field where several technologies have come up to recycle and reuse both industrial and domestic water from waste streams, to account for shortage of water in several developed and developing countries. However, the energy required to treat these effluent systems is extremely high and there is also the concern of release of greenhouse gases such as Carbon Dioxide and Methane to the atmosphere which would add to global warming significantly. We propose to use innovative separation techniques, designing membranes with specific surface characteristics which can be used to selectively extract these greenhouse gases which in turn are great sources of energy, making the whole process energy efficient and environmentally friendlier. The use of these membranes can also be extended to extract other biofuels from wastes.
  • Jain, Rajat
    Membrane filtration is an established technology in the field of drinking water treatment. While membranes can treat water to much higher standards than most other available technologies, their operation and maintenance often tends to be a complex and costly process. This hinders their widespread use in remote and small communities. Over the past few years, attempts have been made, mostly in Canada and Switzerland, to develop passive membrane filtration systems which eliminate the complexity of the conventional systems. In these passive systems, gravity, as against conventional pumping, is used to push water through the membranes. Also, simple techniques like passive air sparging, draining, gravitational backwash, etc., are employed as fouling control measures as against the use of pressurized air or chemicals. With favorable results from bench-scale research, we are now testing the technology at pilot scale. A pilot-scale passive membrane filtration plant has been developed and is currently operational in West Vancouver. The system is fed with actual lake water taken from the Eagle Lake near Cypress Mountain. After almost five months of operation, flux values have remained relatively stable in the membrane reactors as they continue to treat water to very high standards. These first results are encouraging. More pilot-scale plants are now being planned for deployment in indigenous communities across BC. It is hoped that long-term results from these pilot-scale plants will conclusively demonstrate the suitability of passive membrane filtration systems to provide high quality potable water to remote and small communities.
  • Zhong, Yaying
    My research explores the implication of Paulo Freire's critical pedagogy on China's non-governmental higher education, within the context of China's transition to democracy.
  • Sarwar, Mirza
    The aim of my research is to develop a next generation flexible transparent tactile interface for human computer interaction that can work even while being physically deformed, a property necessary for a true wearable device. In addition to sensing touch, the device can detect the presence of a hovering finger, a stretch, and a bend. It is highly transparent and is fabricated using a simple and scalable process, and will be widely available and made using low-cost polymer materials. The working principle of the sensor is based on the well-established mutual capacitance technology used in current touch screen devices rendering it easily adaptable. The technology is being further enhanced to detect localized shear for electronic skin application. This would enable robot hands to effectively pick up fragile objects and even provide haptic feedback to surgeons using robotic arms for surgeries.
  • Zhao, Pan
    My research goal is to develop advanced control techniques and apply them to floating offshore wind turbines to reduce energy costs. Wind power has recently become one of the world’s fastest-growing renewable energy sources, and one of the recent trends in the wind energy industry is to place large turbines offshore on deepwater floating platforms. However, ocean waves destabilize these platforms, weakening turbine structures. This increases maintenance costs, reducing turbine lifespans if not addressed. Control techniques play an important role in reducing the cost of wind energy. For floating offshore wind turbines, control measures can be used to actively reduce wave-induced platform motion, helping to lower maintenance costs and extend turbine service life. Since turbine dynamics change with wind speed, (switching) LPV gain-scheduling control has the potential to greatly improve the performance of wind turbine control systems. 

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