Transforming Communities through Research: Community-Based Research Celebration Showcases Student-led Projects with Local Partners
The energy was electric as the Trent Community Research Centre (TCRC) hosted its annual Celebration of Community-Based Research. With over 50 Trent students presenting their groundbreaking research projects, the event was a showcase of the incredible impact of research partnerships between students, faculty, and community partners.
"We are thrilled to see the impact of community-based research in action through the impressive achievements of our students and their partnerships with community agencies,” said Kevin Whitmore, director of Careerspace at Trent. “This event showcases the power of collaborative learning and the value of work-integrated opportunities for students to make a positive difference in their community."
The room was abuzz with excitement as students shared their findings with community members, highlighting the power of collaborative learning and work-integrated opportunities. Partnerships with more than 27 community-based agencies such as Five Counties Children's Centre and the Brain Injury Association of Peterborough Region showcased the value of research results that respond to the needs of the community.
These partnerships provide students with opportunities to engage in meaningful work-integrated learning while generating research results that respond to the needs of the community.
Positive impact on the community
One of the many community organizations that partnered with Trent was Peterborough Region’s Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee (HSJCC). This year, students from the Forensics department collaborated with partners to explore the viability of the halfway house model within this region, to review current training for representatives participating in situation tables, and to explore challenges facing our community. Kim Kennelly, Chair of the Regional HSJCC, described her experience working with Trent students as highly motivated and capable, noting the positive impact of their research on the justice sector within the four counties.
The research showcased at the Celebration of Community-Based Research provoked creativity and inspiration to create change, as Kennelly recounted, “the research sparked a sense of community collaboration in the room.” The TCRC’s commitment to identifying alignments between community information needs, student and faculty expertise, and supporting collaboration on research projects, benefits the region’s continued social, cultural, economic, and environmental well-being.
TCRC’s annual Celebration of Community-Based Research recognized the achievements of Trent students, faculty, and community partners in collaborative research that impacts our community positively. The importance of community-based research in bridging the gap between academic knowledge and the practical application of research findings is a testament to Trent’s commitment to providing experiential learning opportunities and promoting community engagement.
Community-based research as a unique learning opportunity
Community-based research projects engage a diverse range of individuals, including students, coordinators, and educators from the beginning to the end. Acknowledging the significance of their participation, two inaugural awards were bestowed this year to honour the efforts of community members and faculty involved in community-based research placements.
Julie Davis, vice-president of External Relations and Development, presented Karie McDougall, special event coordinator at Tecasy Ranch, with the Award for Community Commitment to Student Learning. McDougall spoke of her collaboration with students, highlighting that, “Trent faculty’s expertise combined with the students’ passion is a winning combination. All the students we worked with had a great deal of knowledge in the subject area they were investigating.” This reflects the benefits of combining academic knowledge and hands-on learning experience to produce impactful and relevant research.
Dr. Cathy Bruce, vice-president of Research and Innovation, presented Sociology professor Dr. Deborah White with the Award for Faculty Leadership in Community-Based Research. Professor White emphasized the value of community-based research as a unique and incredibly valuable learning opportunity for both students and instructors. Prof. White also discussed the benefits of working with community organizations to address issues, solve problems, and best meet their goals, stating, “It is very exciting to watch a student learn to navigate the needs of these organizations to produce tangible results that can have such a positive impact.”
The Trent University community recognizes excellence in community-based research projects through several student awards.
The Innovative Presentation Award for Oral Presentation - awarded to Ganga Sivarajan, an Otonabee College student studying Forensic Science, whose research project with HSJCC focused on understanding the knowledge gaps in the local situation table.
The Innovative Presentation Award for Poster Presentation – awarded to Lady Eaton College students Amber Titterton (Sociology) and Julia Beggs (Psychology), whose project aimed to fill the gap in life skills and developmental programming for teenagers with developmental and physical disabilities at the Five Counties Children's Centre.
The Provost Award for Academic Achievement in a Community Setting – Dr. Michael Khan, provost & vice-president, Academic, presented the award to Rachel Dickinson, an Otonabee College student studying Forensic Science, who conducted a research project for the Brain Injury Association of Peterborough to examine how community members can support complex clients through the provision of stable housing.
The Community Impact Award – awarded to Chelsea Reid, an Otonabee College student working towards a dual degree in Biology and Forensic Science, whose project explored the viability of the Community Health Centre model in the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge region.
Posted on March 23, 2023