Celebrating Results

The pilot program was the topic of a workshop at the Ontario Cooperative Education Association Spring Conference (April 27 - 29, 2014) and at the Ontario Association of Physics Teachers Conference (May 24, 2014).The best On-Line Research Co-op projects were:

  • profiled in The Journal of Student Science and Technology and distributed to every high school in Ontario;
  • presented at the Ontario Annual Science and Innovation conference to the attention of the national academic community;
  • showcased on Science.gc.ca together with a Young Scientist Blog allowing students to share their experience and ideas with each other and with the general public.

Some of the research projects developed during the program were featured in The Journal of Student Science and Technology:

Journal of Student Science and Technology

Full issue in PDF format.


Student experiences

"From what I’ve experienced, the online research Co-op for high school students is one of the best ways to discover the world of scientific research. This Co-op program is very unique because in normal circumstances, it would be really hard for a high school student to have the opportunity of working so closely and online with a professor. With the help of my mentor/professor Mrs. Scorza, I was able to complete in-depth research on leukemia as well as write my first research article on it. I loved it so much I decided to sign up for a second placement position! I would really like to thank Lauren Sykes, the program director, for this fantastic opportunity." (Tarek Omaiche, Collège catholique Samuel-Genest)

"My name is Jasper Kibzey. I am a grade 11 student at Archbishop Denis O’Connor Catholic High School. Ever since I was young, I have always been interested in the natural world. I marveled at its complexity, I adored its form and I always strived to learn more about it. Upon being given the opportunity to join a Co-Op like this, I jumped at the chance. It allowed me to flex my brain, test the limits of my knowledge and build upon the areas that I lacked in. It also gave me a new direction to take to get to the career of my choice. This was a very fun program. I will never forget it!" (Jasper Kibzey, Archbishop Denis O’Connor Catholic High School)

“Overall, it was an incredibly rewarding experience, full of exhilarating challenges and unforgettable memories that will allow me to progress with confidence in the field of health and wellness.” (Jamaal Stewart, Gary Allen High Secondary School)

“Although [the] Online Research Co-op may be tough, and at times, intimidating, it builds up skills that you wouldn’t normally be able to improve upon. Time management, critical thinking, scientific writing, communication; the list goes on. All of this, in one placement.” (Katherine Lien, Bloor Collegiate)

"The experience of working with the scientists at Scinet makes me feel more determined about my destination in the future. This opportunity of exploring areas of information technology and computer science will help me to advance further in my future studies." (Jackie Ke, Earl Haig Secondary School)

"From my experience in Online Research Coop, I better understand the role of the computer scientist in scientific research. One project in my course I did was to design a parallel processing cellular automation program. This project first led me to think about how it would be possible to simulate cell replication through a program. After I learned about how to design this program, I realized that the same basic design techniques I used for my simple program could be used to simulate much more complicated biological systems too.  I began to think about other kinds of biological phenomena that could be simulated. This is the kind of new thinking this course taught me. Now, I continue to study big data and parallel processing with the same excitement I did while in the Online Research Coop program, with my goal to one day become a computational biologist." (Nikki Sigurdson, Earl Haig Secondary School)

"The Online Research Co-op program was a newly introduced course at Earl Haig S.S. and it has motivated my interests in the STEM field even more. Through Dr. Spence, from SciNet High-performance Computing (HPC), the main topic was super-computing. Although I haven’t had any solid knowledge before hearing this topic, I am grateful that this has changed the way I look at how the researches are done in modern science. …This gave me a big boost in my interests this year, as I have also decided to continue with data mining and analytical sciences." (John Zhong, Earl Haig Secondary School)

"In my grade eleven year, I was given an opportunity to join a research co-op program taught by Dr. Erik Spence that focused primarily on supercomputing. During the course, our computer lab was transformed into an 8 node supercomputer to learn how to parallelize code using module Pypar and Unix. Towards the end of the course, we were assigned a final project; I chose to do it on data mining specific words within old Toronto Sun articles on our 8 node supercomputer. From this experience, I learned the basics of supercomputing and processing big data while gaining insight to the other intriguing fields of computer science such as Artificial Intelligence." (Robert Pan, Earl Haig Secondary School)


Mentor testimonials

"I found the Online Research Co-op to be a rewarding experience. It provided an opportunity to work with a motivated high-school student who did not know about my work. I particularly enjoyed seeing the student grow in knowledge, ability and confidence. The work completed by the student exceeded expectations."

"As an academic administrator, the contact with a bright, enthusiastic student provided real insight into what can be done to stimulate interest in Science."

"I really enjoy passing on knowledge, and thus enthusiastically agreed to mentor a student for the co-op when my thesis supervisor provided me with such an opportunity. I liked the flexibility of the program in the sense that general assignment guidelines were suggested, but ultimately there was plenty of room for creativity."



The organizers would like to thank the following researchers for participating as mentors:

  • Brad Bass (University of Toronto)
  • Juan Beltran (Royal Military College)
  • Habiba Bougherara (Ryerson University)
  • Stephen Brown (University of Guelph)
  • Nikolai Chepelev (Health Canada)
  • Gordon Coleman (Health Canada)
  • Becky Cudmore (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
  • Sara de la Salle (The Royal)
  • Jonathan Dursi (SciNet)
  • Aaron Farnsworth (Health Canada)
  • Sarah Gagliano (CAMH)
  • Lora Giangregorio (University of Waterloo)
  • Sylvain Hallé (Université du Québec à Chicoutimi)
  • Subramanian Karthikeyan (Health Canada)
  • Jaime Llambias-Wolff (York University)
  • Amanda MacFarlane (Health Canada)
  • Dennis McCormac (Ontario Genomic Institute)
  • Terry McMahon (University of Waterloo)
  • Aaron Percival (Defence Research and Development Canada)
  • Alain Plouffe (Natural Resources Canada)
  • Tatiana Scorza (Université du Québec à Montréal)
  • John Seguin
  • Erik Spence (SciNet)
  • Yasir Sultan (Environment Canada)
  • Azam Tayabali (Health Canada)
  • Errol Thomson (Health Canada)
  • Aaron Witham (Environmental Biodetection Products Incorporated)
Date modified: