“Throughout my first three years of my undergraduate degree I became interested in doing research, especially in the area of cardiovascular physiology. However, having no research experience prior to completing my undergraduate thesis project, I wasn’t completely sure what to expect. Not only was the experience thoroughly enjoyable for me, but I was able to learn about many important aspects of the research process, which prepared me to continue as a MSc student.
For my project, I was supervised by a graduate student in the Vascular Dynamics Laboratory (VDL). My project was part of a training study, and some of my responsibilities included supervising participant training, analyzing the data that were collected, and interpreting the results. I was also given the opportunity to observe graduate students who were working on various projects in the VDL, which helped me to become familiar with the techniques and equipment used in the lab.
I found this course to be a much different type of learning than any of the other courses I had taken at McMaster. In contrast to the majority of my classes which were comprised of lectures and testing, this course was a much more hands-on form of learning and required me to think more independently.”
- 4RR6 Student, 2014/2015
“Completing the research practicum course within the Vascular Dynamics Laboratory (VDL) has enriched my overall knowledge and laboratory skills through a full research experience. I had the opportunity to assist graduate students with data collection from participants, analyze ultrasound images of the carotid artery using sophisticated software, and continued to familiarize myself with research literature pertaining to arterial health by attending journal club discussions.
Over the course of a few months, I have become comfortable working in a laboratory setting and have familiarized myself with the work I was expected to do. The tasks that I have learned to do are very applicable to my future academic and research aspirations as I plan to continue vascular dynamics research by completing a graduate degree.
The knowledge that I have gained about the cardiovascular system and the novel testing methods that the VDL exposed me to, combined with hands-on experience, has made this a truly rewarding experience. In concluding this course, I leave with the confidence to pursue my own research as the guidance and support I was given by my colleagues within the VDL was very helpful.”
- 3RP3 Student, Summer term 2015
“As students, we attend thousands of classes in order to learn a wealth of information that we simply accept as fact; often forgetting that everything we are taught was once discovered through research. Completing an undergraduate thesis in the Vascular Dynamics Laboratory (VDL) was an invaluable experience that truly made me appreciate the research process in a well-rounded and comprehensive way.
Under the supervision of a graduate student, I was exposed to the various stages of the research process. My responsibilities included recruiting participants, assisting with testing sessions, analyzing ultrasound images and arterial stiffness data, and writing up a final thesis manuscript. I was also able to gain experience in knowledge translation by presenting my thesis project at the Ontario Exercise Physiology Conference and the National Undergraduate Research Conference. This experience made me realize that I have a passion for research in cardiovascular physiology, and it prepared me well to continue as a Master’s student in the VDL.”
- 4RR6 Student, 2014/2015