Now showing items 1-20 of 245

    • Review of Lapse and Reentry Behavior and Its Impact on the Design of Variable Annuities

      Zhao, Siqin
      This project explores the role of Variable Annuities (VAs) and Registered Index-Linked Annuities (RILAs) within contemporary financial planning, emphasizing how they adapt to evolving market conditions. A comprehensive analysis of these products is provided, including their protective mechanisms, pricing models, and risk characteristics, to explain why they effectively meet investor needs. The evolution from traditional annuities to VAs is traced, and the further development of RILAs from VAs is discussed. The study particularly focuses on the behavior of policyholders who often choose to surrender their policies for more favorable options, thereby maximizing their benefits. Through qualitative and quantitative analysis, the paper illustrates how these products respond to market developments.
    • Picture this: Representing Local Discourses of Poverty Reduction through Graphic Notetaking

      Paetkau, James
      Poverty researchers, and in turn the poverty reduction practitioners they inform, often fail to conceptualize poverty as structural, evolving, systematic, complex and above all, political (Harriss 2012). A key aspect of this failure is the tendency to define and measure poverty in primarily economistic terms (Yapa 1996). Objective, economistic constructions of poverty are often depoliticized, as Elwood and Lawson (2018) assert, “to stabilize political-economic orders and power hierarchies” (p. 2). Understandings of poverty that fail to acknowledge its social and political dimensions can lead researchers to focus on questions such as “Why are poor people poor?” (Yapa, 1996). Such questions reinscribe poverty as a normal part of the social order and localize conversations of poverty to the individual. To avoid taking poverty for granted, we need to ask why specific groups of people in specific times, locations, and contexts are experiencing hunger, houselessness, lack of safety, mobility, health care, and barriers to participation in social life. We also need to ask the concomitant question, why do specific groups of people in particular times, locations, and contexts have differential access to material wealth, political legibility, and social value? Taking such a political approach, my research examines discourses of poverty within a local context. Additionally, I examine how engaging in these discourses visually, through the drawing of graphic notes, offers a way to excavate and explore some of the shortcomings and possibilities of poverty politics in Niagara. My research involves drawing a series of graphic notes for ten community consultations organized by the Niagara regional government which aimed to gather community input to inform the region’s process of writing a poverty reduction strategy.
    • From Twentieth Century Socialism to Twenty-First Century Socialism: Experiences of Venezuela’s Bolivarianism 1998-2013

      Badger, Alexandrea
      The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into stark relief the pitfalls of global capitalism as disparities between classes increase and the cycle of crisis continues jeopardizing human well-being across the globe. Seeking alternatives requires investigating the viability of socialism. This project explores how Bolivarian Socialism compares to the key tenets of scientific socialism to analyze the successes and failures of a contemporary socialist revolution. To inform a framework for scientific socialism the key theorists Frederick Engles, Vladimir Lenin, and Rosa Luxembourg are reviewed. Their works offer insight into the tangles of socialist thought as illuminations of Marxism and of social movements. Latin America has a rich history of anti-capitalist, anti-neoliberal, and anti-imperialist social movements that uphold socialist values. To explore how scientific socialism applies in a contemporary setting, the case of Venezuela under then-President Hugo Chavez (1999-2013) and his project of Twenty-First Century Socialism, or more broadly Bolivarian Socialism, is analyzed. Adopting a historical materialist approach supports research that is attendant to local conditions and global impacts. Investigating the case of Venezuela offers insight into the way contemporary socialist social movements arise, the obstacles they face, and the character of their successes. While the rise to power of Chavez and the implementation of his Twenty-First Century Socialism may not meet the requirements for a proletariat led revolution intending to dismantle the state apparatus, the policy changes implemented by the regime and their clear goals of improving human well-being and capacities is worth examining.
    • An Anxiety Toolkit for Educators: A Guide for Working with Students at Risk for Generalized Anxiety Disorder

      Colalillo, Bianca
      Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is one of the most common anxiety disorders and is characterized by excessive anxiety and worry, occurring more days than not, about several events or activities. For children and youth, anxiety disorders, including GAD, are the most frequent mental health problem experienced, which can seriously impair their ability to be successful at school and in their relationships with peers. Additionally, educators have reported having limited access to mental health supports and professional development opportunities tailored at effectively supporting students with mental health issues, such as increased anxiety. Therefore, the purpose of the current research project was to develop a handbook that provided useful and practical information, a set of educational sessions, activities, as well as strategies, and other resources aimed at assisting educators and practitioners with the means to support school-aged children at risk for GAD. With the voluntarily contributions of five educators who have experience supporting children with anxiety, along with the influence of Bandura’s (1986a) social cognitive theory, An Anxiety Toolkit for Educators: A Guide for Working with Students at Risk for Generalized Anxiety Disorder was developed. Once this handbook was complete, the same five educators used an evaluative questionnaire, which further assisted in determining the handbook’s level of effectiveness, practicality, and usefulness in educational settings. Lastly, implications of the present research for both theory and practice, as well as the current project’s limitations and suggestions for further research, were discussed.
    • Edge Communication Efficiency with GNN in the Internet of Vehicles

      Graham, Jessica L.
      Vehicular edge plays a central role in ensuring an effective allocation of resources to provide services and applications. Resource allocation and communication in dynamic vehicular environments face numerous challenges in efficiently managing resources and data sharing, specifically managing the intricate balance of connectivity, storage, energy, computing, and cost of resources. These challenges are also affected by mobility, resulting in the demand for precision in communication range, density, and resource availability. Efficient resource allocation is a critical objective within vehicular networks, and to achieve this, intelligence, prediction, optimization, and incentive modelling are often employed. However, challenges persist, such as sporadic connectivity, transmission delays, and the inherent uncertainty of highly dynamic environments. In response to these challenges, this paper introduces the use of graph neural networks (GNNs) to learn hidden spatial and functional patterns in complex vehicular networks. Combining with clustering-based methodologies. This approach enables the intelligent organization of network nodes, reducing transmission delays and enhancing connectivity in dynamic environments. The resulting framework supports predictions and estimates based on evolving communication and mobility patterns. They are further improving the efficiency of connectivity and communications in vehicular edge networks. Using graph neural networks (GNN) and clustering techniques to address connectivity challenges, reduce transmission latency, and manage the inherent unpredictability of rapidly changing vehicular settings, this study is poised to enhance the delivery of services and applications in vehicular networks. It also lays the foundation for prospective research into resource management.
    • Climate Change Vulnerability Analysis: A Case Study of the Town of Lincoln, Ontarion, Canada

      Pandya, Zeal
      Using a mixed-methods approach, this study examines the Town of Lincoln's vulnerability to climate change. Exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity are evaluated from 2019 to 2022 using quantitative indicators and qualitative insights. The Town's vulnerability index increased from 0.413 to 0.523, according to the quantitative analysis. Notable increases in exposure (from 0.084 to 0.12) and sensitivity (from 0.164 to 0.181) also indicated an increased risk from extreme weather occurrences. Despite this, there is an improvement in adaptive ability, however, not enough to counteract the increasing vulnerabilities. Qualitative data from community surveys emphasize the need for increased community participation and infrastructure resilience by highlighting how the local community views the effects of climate change and the efficacy of current adaption methods. The study's conclusions highlight the urgent need to strengthen the Town’s resilience through focused adaptation initiatives and the need for an integrated strategy that incorporates empirical data and community insights. The present study provides significant contributions to the knowledge of the dynamics of climate vulnerability. It also provides a comprehensive framework for understanding and resolving the issues that the Town is facing. It serves as a foundation for strategic planning and informed decision-making with the goal of enhancing the community's resistance to potential climate hazards.
    • Strategies for Enhancing Community Science: A Sustainability Science Narrative

      Burns, Kassie
      Collaboration is essential to addressing contemporary environmental challenges. Community science offers a unique opportunity to unite academics, practitioners, and the public in fostering environmental stewardship. Currently, environmental practitioners are seeking to maximize community science outcomes. This research study synthesized existing literature on community science to heighten awareness about initiatives and offer recommendation strategies towards enhancing outcomes. Collaboration with the Excellence in Environmental Stewardship Initiative, a partnership between Brock University and Niagara Parks Commission, helped inform the research questions and areas of interest that guided this study in community science. These areas included connections to nature, engagement, environmental education, environmental protection, and organizational capacity, collectively called the dimensions of community science. A content analysis revealed 16 strategies to enhance these dimensions. Connecting individuals to nature in community science was lacking in discussion and should be explored in future research. Overall, this study provides strong examples of strategies that may enhance community science outcomes.
    • Bolivia and Canada, The Politics of Recognition and Differing Approaches to Indigenous Self-Determination

      Brushett, Cameron
      This project asks; to what extent has the Bolivian approach to Indigenous self-government demonstrated an effective policy framework that could be applicable in the Canadian context? This is accomplished through an application of a comprehensive theoretical framework to the analysis of the Canadian and Bolivian approaches to Indigenous self-determination. Several important themes are analyzed including the two Constitutions, political discourse, the historicization of colonialism, the importance of land, and the significance of the Leftist movement. This analysis leads to the realization that Bolivia has proven that the plurinational state is a feasible solution to the colonial homogenous conception of sovereignty. The lessons learned from the Bolivian states approach to Indigenous self-determination can inform decolonial options for the Canadian state.
    • Implementing Single Session Interventions in Educational Settings for Youth and Adolescents Experiencing Anxiety Symptoms

      Capes, Briar
      This study examined the effectiveness of single session interventions for youth and adolescents experiencing anxiety symptoms in educational settings. Conducting a systematic literature review aimed to answer the following question: How effective are SSIs for treating anxiety symptoms in individuals 10 to 18 years of age? There were 14 articles which met the inclusion criteria. The articles yielded some minimal significant outcomes and many trending outcomes that will be useful in conducting future research to better understand the specific role single session interventions play in effectiveness for youth and adolescents experiencing anxiety symptoms.
    • The Sketchbook as a Learning Tool to Support Student Well-Being: Examining the Perspectives and Practices of Visual Art Teachers

      Marshall, Rebecca
      This study explores the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on art education in Ontario, focusing on the sketchbook pedagogies of six secondary Visual Art teachers in the District School Board of Niagara (DSBN). The study investigates whether teachers have modified their sketchbook practices due to the pandemic, and asks for their perspectives on how sketchbooks influence student learning and well-being. Findings indicated that teachers perceived sketchbooks as flexible, holistic, and instrumental to effective art instruction. A majority of teachers noticed an increase in sketchbook use to support student well-being during the pandemic, and many maintained efforts to use sketchbooks this way during the return to in-school instruction. Concerns presented by teachers included a lack of engagement from students when asked to complete practice and planning-based sketchbook tasks, as well as difficulties assessing sketchbooks. Data analysis identified implications for future research regarding sketchbook assessment practices, how to promote student buy-in in light of decreasing motivation, and how to develop purposeful adaptive strategies via sketchbook use for student well-being. The results of this study influenced a companion project in the form of a manual titled: Sketchbooks: A Reference for New Art Educators.
    • Supporting Mental Health Education in Ontario Secondary Schools: A Cross-Curricular Handbook for Ontario Secondary Teachers

      Robinson, Mackenzie
      It has been almost two full years since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic (2019), the effects of which are currently being seen in Ontario today within the education system, with a profound escalation in mental health challenges among children and youth. Educators are noticing an increase in mental health issues brought forward by students, and the increase in mental health issues continues to be at the forefront of conversations held by secondary school teachers because of the pressures they face as role models and caring adults. Teachers, however, have identified they are not comfortable helping students who come forward with mental health issues because they, too, lack mental health literacy; they do not feel equipped with the knowledge and understanding of mental health, and feel ill-prepared because they have not received adequate education, training, or professional development on the topic. Some teachers are also avoiding conversations in classes related to mental health because they are unaware of the available and accessible resources, services, strategies, and tools. To address this gap, the researcher developed a mental health handbook in alignment with the Aligned and Integrated Model (AIM) framework from School Mental Health Ontario (2023) that offers a solution to improve secondary teachers’ readiness in supporting students’ mental health and well-being. Focusing on Tier 1 of AIM, the handbook is designed to improve educators’ mental health literacy through understanding early identification, prevention, and early intervention, ensuring a holistic approach to address the varying mental health needs within the school setting. The handbook is also intended to help educators recognize, respond to, and support students who might be experiencing mental health challenges. Implementing the handbook within secondary schools throughout Ontario might hold the potential to enhance teachers’ confidence and comfortability in assisting students who come forward with mental health concerns and, ultimately, foster an environment where students feel supported and empowered to navigate their mental health challenges with both efficacy and dignity.
    • The Shifting Constitution of Space, Gender, and Mobility in a Context of Social and Infrastructural Change: A Case Study of Swat, Pakistan

      Khan, Idris
      Feminist geographers argue that gender and mobility are co-constituted. However, few studies focus on this relationship empirically, and even fewer in the global South. Against this backdrop, this study aims to analyze the ways in which space, gender, and mobility are mutually constituted in Swat Valley, Pakistan, in a shifting historical context of (a) traditional Pukhtun culture involving a syncretic religion, (b) Islamic fundamentalism and the takeover by the Taliban, and (c) post-Taliban modernization in its various forms, including a new market economy and tourist-based infrastructure development. This study temporally maps these particular spatial, gendered, and mobility changes over a period of time (16th century to present), showing that (a) gendered spatiality in traditional Swat evolved in such a way to constitute culturally designated women’s spaces that allowed them to perform their womanhood and practice their mobilities; (b) more recently, Islamic fundamentalist ideologies fundamentally controlled women’s mobilities to erase them from both public space and certain types of private space that had formerly been accessible to women (e.g., shrines); and (c) modernization and infrastructure development created material sites of mobility that provide spaces for middle-class families to perform their modern gender subjectivities.
    • A Novel DDoS Detection and Multi-Class Classification Method: A Graph Convolutional Network Approach

      Saunders, Braden
      Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) is an attack that overwhelms the cyber critical infrastructure system with malicious packets causing it to become unresponsive, which precludes legitimate users from accessing the target system. This work leverages a deep learning method known as Graph Convolutional Network (GCN) to empower DDoS detection systems. The proposed GCN model consists of three hidden layers, each with 128 neurons. Considering the Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity CIC-IDS 2017 dataset, the proposed model achieves an overall accuracy of 99.95%, along with a value of 99.95% for each of the precision, recall, and F1-score metrics for the binary DDoS classification problem. For the multi-class DDoS classification problem, the model scores an overall accuracy of 98.94% and precision, recall, and F1-score values of over 93% for all classes. These results support the use of the proposed GCN DDoS detection method in practice.
    • Spotting Potential Threats: A Tool to Inform the Proactive Management of Invasive Insects on a Regional Scale

      Isaac, Erin
      Invasive insects present a complex modern global crisis with the potential to have dire consequences. Proactive management is considered the most effective management approach, but conservation managers often face many barriers to engagement. This study introduces a tool for managers to identify invasive insects that hold the potential to expand their range northwards on a regional scale. The tool utilizes community science, horizon scanning, and a mixture of peer-reviewed and grey literature. It is applied using a case study on the potential for Lycorma delicatula, the spotted lanternfly (SLF), to spread to the Niagara Region of Ontario, Canada. The findings affirm that the SLF demonstrates an ability to spread to the Niagara Region due to the proximity of recently established populations, the warming effects of climate change, and viable invasion pathways. The tool demonstrates the potential to be used by managers to identify other range-expanding insects and inform proactive management.
    • A Flood Tale of Two Cities: St. Catharines and London, ON

      Burmy, Anmol
      The world's growing state of climate change has caused natural disasters to increase significantly. Flood disasters have risen in Ontario and require municipalities to implement flood-resilient measures to create a safer environment for their residents. This research follows a mixed methods approach to compare flood resiliency and determine if the Government of Ontario’s Five Flood Resilience Priorities are being implemented in St. Catharines and London. Four findings are highlighted: firstly, neither municipality satisfies the five flood resiliency priorities the provincial government set out. Secondly, St. Catharines is more vulnerable to flood disasters. Thirdly, London’s basement flooding program is executed exceptionally well compared to St. Catharine’s. The latter needs many improvements to create a more flood-resilient community. Lastly, homeowners in each municipality have varying perspectives on where responsibility for flooding lies. These findings show that, while both cities need to work towards improving their flood resiliency, St. Catharines needs additional improvements.
    • Coding as a Literacy Practice in Adult Learning Communities

      Smith, Eleanor
      This study considered how computing courses for adult learners might be customized to effectively address their reasons for learning to read and write computer code. The view of coding as a literacy practice is the key theme in this study. Street’s (2006) ideological model of literacy along with the perspective of computational participation, are theoretical models used to explore coding as a literacy practice (Kafai & Burke, 2017). Through the vehicle of action research, this study focused on analyzing the delivery of an introductory web languages coding course for female immigrants. This study drew from both the student and teacher perspectives. The study used student feedback collected from online class survey questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. The study also incorporated the teacher’s field notes, a course summary report, and the Teaching Perspectives Inventory survey results (Collins & Pratt, 2011). Findings from this study include these areas of insights: 1) students’ views on the benefits of learning coding, 2) the language and communication challenges students faced, and 3) an overview of some effective teaching tools and approaches. Based on these findings, there is a discussion that considered possible issues related to student engagement in learning web language coding. Included are sections on implications for practice and future research.
    • Understanding the Dimensions of Climate Change Misinformation

      Rodenburg, Evan
      Climate change misinformation (CCM) is emerging as one of the most pressing barriers to climate action. Referring to false or inaccurate information about climate change, CCM threatens to cast confusion on both the severity and existence of climate change. As CCM has permeated into mainstream news and social media platforms, it can now reach larger audiences and decrease support for climate change mitigation practices and policies. To combat CCM effectively, more work is needed to understand it as one unified concept. This major research paper focuses on filling this gap by identifying the dimensions of CCM through an inductive content analysis of peer-reviewed literature. Utilizing an inductive approach, five overall dimensions of CCM were synthesized: attributes, psychology, politics, disinformation, and responses. These dimensions establish the necessary foundation to understand CCM as one concept, increase global resiliency to CCM, and develop strategies that focus on eliminating CCM in the future.
    • Bias, Barriers, and Discrimination: Treatment of Indigenous Peoples in Wellness Courts

      Guiho, Maria
      Major Research Paper (MRP) focused on Indigenous knowledge systems compared to Wellness Courts, engaging a critical literature review that integrates insights from professional practice experiences as a Registered Social Worker. As a result, reflexivity was used as a key method in the research and facilitated an in-depth analysis of current literature. This MRP is positioned to contribute to understanding the impact of Wellness Courts concerning the needs and goals of Indigenous communities.
    • STEAM Pedagogy to Promote 21st Century Skills: A Poetry Unit Plan for Grade 9 Ontario English Classrooms

      Sarkar, Samita
      The purpose of this research project was to create a handbook for Ontario-based English teachers interested in incorporating STEAM-based pedagogy (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) to promote students’ 21st century skills. The handbook is a Grade 9 poetry unit plan that meets the curriculum expectations of Ontario’s Grade 9 English course, ENL1W, as well as curriculum expectations in other Ontario Grade 9 courses across the STEAM disciplines. A review of curriculum documents, along with a comprehensive literature review on STEAM pedagogy revealed a gap regarding translating the theory of interdisciplinary integration into practice in secondary subject areas, where courses are typically taught as discrete subjects. Therefore, this handbook was created to address this literature gap by providing high school teachers with a hands-on resource they may use to implement an integrated, STEAM-based unit. The unit plan was reviewed by Ontario English teachers and found to be helpful in both teaching and assessing English, STEAM subjects, and 21st century skills. Future research projects may build on this work by creating similar resources for other grade levels or disciplines, and exploring their impact on teaching and learning experiences.
    • Some Families of Elliptic Curves

      Shah, Sudev
      Elliptic curves, intricate mathematical structures, form a nexus between number theory, alge- braic geometry, and cryptography. This paper offers a thorough exploration of these curves, delving into their foundational properties, historical origins, and diverse applications. Beginning with an introduction to the basics of elliptic curves, including their Weierstrass form, group theory, and fundamental concepts such as the group law and torsion points, the paper traces the historical evolution of elliptic curve theory, recognizing the contributions of mathematicians like Abel, Jacobi, and Weierstrass. The crux of the paper by G. Walsh lies in extending prior research by effectively proving that for sufficiently large values of m, elliptic curves expressed as y^2 = f(x) + m^2, where f(x) is a cubic polynomial splitting over the integers, have a rank of at least 2. This result stands as an effective version of Shioda’s theorem, marking a significant advancement in the field. Moreover, the paper delves into the pivotal role of elliptic curve cryptography (ECC) in modern secure communication systems. ECC provides robust encryption, digital signatures, and key exchange protocols, leveraging the security and efficiency advantages inherent in elliptic curves. The paper emphasizes ECC’s prominence in contemporary cryptography, illustrating its preference in securing digital data transmission. Additionally, the paper explores recent developments, including endeavours to address the Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture. It also highlights the relevance of elliptic curves in solving complex mathematical problems, such as Diophantine equations and Fermat’s Last Theorem, underscoring their broader significance in number theory. In essence, this paper serves as a comprehensive guide to elliptic curves, illuminating their mathematical elegance and practical utility. It underscores their indispensable role in modern cryptography while acknowledging their enduring impact on the realm of mathematics. By unravelling the theoretical intricacies and real-world applications of elliptic curves, this paper invites readers to appreciate the profound interconnection between pure mathematical concepts and their transformative influence on contemporary technology.