The Quest Summer Fellowship Program (QSFP) and the Quest Winter Fellowship Program (QWFP) are experiences in which Quest students take the lead on intellectually substantive projects that require creative and original thought. Fellows are supported by Host Faculty members whom they choose during the application process.

In September, we will be accepting applications for the 2018-2019 Quest Winter Fellowship.

The 2018 Quest Summer Fellowship recipients are Daan de Kruijf, Michael Geuenich, and Samantha Leigh.

The 2017-18 Quest Winter Fellowship recipients were Anika Watson, Jessica Hancock, and Sawyer Plato.

The 2017-18 Winter and 2018 Summer Fellowship recipients, along with other students who conducted research over the summer, will be invited to speak at the Quest Scholarship Conference in November.

This Program is administered by the Research, Scholarship, and Creative Works (RSCW) Committee:


“Most of the time I spent working didn’t really feel like work… I was given the chance to devote all my time and energy to something that I was deeply passionate about, using methods that I had created with the help of an equally passionate mentor.”
– Katie Gerstle, 2015 Quest Summer Fellow

“This project has further inspired me to pursue a career in field research and I have gained experience and skills this summer that I wouldn’t have been able to without this program.”
– Kestrel Kunz, 2015 Quest Summer Fellow






A student is eligible to apply if (s)he:

  • has a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5,
  • has completed at least 4 regular courses taught by Quest faculty (i.e., not independent study or experiential learning)
    by the start of the Fellowship,
  • is not under any disciplinary sanction,
  • is in good financial standing with the university, and
  • has the intent to return to Quest as a student within 1 year of completing the Fellowship.



  • The 2017-18 Quest Winter Fellowship program will take place during three consecutive blocks within the following six blocks: November, December, January, February, March, April.  (For example, one Winter Fellow may choose to complete her Fellowship during the Nov/Dec/Jan blocks, while another Winter Fellow may choose to complete his Fellowship during the Jan/Feb/Mar blocks.)
  • The 2018 Quest Summer Fellowship program will take place during the weeks of the May, June, and July blocks.
  • Winter Fellowships and Summer Fellowships are paid by Quest University Canada.  All Fellows receive the same amount of compensation, as well as housing.
  • The research proposal can be on any topic of the student’s choice; there is no or minimal research funding available for the student; the fellowship is confirmed as soon as you accept.


A complete application consists of:

  • a cover sheet that includes:
  • an unofficial transcript;
  • a project proposal of not more than 3 single-spaced pages (this includes figures but not references, which may be on a fourth page);
  • a personal statement of not more than 1 single-spaced page that describes the student’s academic directions at Quest and explains the relationship of the proposed Fellowship to that direction;
  • a letter of support from the prospective Faculty Host that
  • and a letter of support from one other tutor (e.g. continuing faculty, former faculty, visiting tutor, teaching fellow) who has taught the student in a class during the last 24 months.



  • The cover page must include one of the following statements about Risk Management
    • In the best estimation of myself and my prospective host faculty member, this project does not warrant review by the University Risk Management Committee.
    • My project may require a risk management plan developed in collaboration with the University Risk Management Committee. I have been in touch with this committee, and they have indicated to me that the development of such a plan will not be a barrier to my work should my Fellowship be funded.
    • My project is supported by a risk management plan developed in collaboration with the University Risk Management Committee. Please find a copy of it attached as an appendix.
  • The cover page must also include one of the following statements about approval from the Research Ethics Board (REB)
    • In the best estimation of myself and my prospective host faculty member, this project does not warrant review by the Research Ethics Board.
    • My project requires review by the Research Ethics Board, and that review progress is currently in progress.
    • My project requires review by the Research Ethics Board. Please see the Appendix for their letter approving my proposed work.



Selection of Quest Summer Fellows will prioritize applicants with:

  • complete applications that do not exceed length requirements,
  • transcripts that show academic competence overall and especially in the areas of the proposed work;
  • project proposals that espouse
  • clear statements of academic direction that suggest strong intrinsic motivation to do the work described in the proposal;
  • entirely supportive letters from faculty, especially the Prospective Host; and
  • applications that adhere to the goals of the program as stated in the program details (see link above).

Additionally, the intellectual diversity of the group will be a consideration.



  • Applications are due by 9:00 am on Tuesday, February 13th, 2017.
  • Students are responsible for submitting four items: the cover sheet, the unofficial transcript, the project proposal, and the personal statement.
  • These must be e-mailed as PDF documents to
  • The title of your e-mail must be “QSFP Application: FirstName LastName“.
  • All late or incomplete applications will be rejected.
  • Faculty are responsible for submitting their letters of support directly to the Selection Committee.
  • These must be e-mailed as PDF documents to
  • Accepted applicants will be selected by the end of the third week of the February block.
  • Accepted applicants will be notified immediately and given four days to accept or decline.
  • The Summer Fellows will be announced on the Program website when all offers have been accepted or declined.



Collaborative proposals are welcome so long as they:

  • contain the words “collaborative proposal” in the title,
  • have exactly the same title as the other proposal(s) with which they propose to collaborate,
  • propose work that can stand on its own intellectually, and
  • propose work that will be made stronger by virtue of collaboration with another Fellow.

The selection committee will seek to fund all members of a collaborative proposal together or reject them all together. Funding of collaborative proposals will not be seen as a priority or as something to be avoided by the committee. Two (or more) collaborators funded will be treated as two (or more) separate Fellows for the purposes of the program, thus taking up two (or more) of the available Fellowship spots.



Four of our past Fellows have shared their proposals for your benefit:



Students can make an appointment to meet faculty with their ideas, or can ask faculty if they have research ideas for the student.

2017-18 Program Details



The Fellowship Award consists of.



  • A Summer/Winter Fellow can *not* do an experiential learning during their Fellowship, as these weeks are to be dedicated to research.



Fellows will be responsible for four deliverables:





Faculty Hosts are expected to provide active mentoring of their Fellows during their projects. Hosts will be the primary mentor and contact for help in all things relating to a Fellow’s project. Hosts should be readily and consistently available so that they can serve in this capacity reliably. Two or three suitable faculty may offer to jointly support one Fellow. This is possible where a student project overlaps the expertise of several faculty, and it affords faculty the opportunity to be away for part of the Fellowship period. The co-Hosts should coordinate their schedule to ensure continuous support for the student throughout the entire Fellowship period.

While interacting with his/her Fellow, the Faculty Host should expect to coach the Fellow through every part of the project, including background reading, experimental design, data collection, data analysis and interpretation, report writing and any other activities pertinent to the project. As it seems unwise to expect students to manage their time across a 12-week period, it is incumbent on the Faculty Host to make sure each of these steps proceeds at a reasonable pace so that a quality report can be completed by the end of the Fellowship Period.

Historically, faculty members have been hesitant to support multiple Fellows in any given summer. Therefore, students should contact the potential faculty host well before the application deadline to ensure that the faculty member is willing to support the student’s fellowship application. This is achieved through an informal process that varies among faculty, but often starts by an inquiry from the prospective student. Faculty should decide which student(s) they intend to support far enough in advance to allow prospective students time to find alternate host faculty members and develop new proposals.



The RSCWC will ensure that Program policies described here are followed, and will serve as the Selection Committee to decide the Fellowship recipients.

If students fail to meet the obligations described above, they will be subject to discipline by the RSCWC that might take the form of A) loss of a portion of their stipend, B) loss of their Fellowships (and subsequent eviction from campus housing), or C) other measures as appropriate.

Failure to submit the deliverables by the deadline implies that Fellows will forfeit their end-of-fellowship lump-sum payments.

Despite this disciplinary duty, the RSCWC is meant to be a resource to Fellows, especially insofar as difficulties might arise between Fellows and Host Faculty or between multiple Fellows. The RSCWC exists to ensure a productive and satisfying experience for the students and faculty involved in the Program.


FortisBC Energy Inc., the natural gas supplier for our province, has generously provided a grant to Quest to support Keystone projects pertaining to any one or combination of A) environmental sustainability, B) economic sustainability, or C) First Nations. This will be administered through the Research, Scholarship, and Creative Works Committee (RSCWC).

In the 2016 competition, the following students were awarded grants of approximately $500 each: Maranda Stopol, Jessica O’Sullivan, Holly Bull, and Samantha Leigh.

This page explains the details of this program.

Timeline and Application Workflow

1. Applications due by Monday, 7 November 2016, 5:00 pm.  E-mail the PDF of your application to
2. RSCWC evaluates applications and forwards nominees to FortisBC
3. FortisBC accepts or rejects nominees and notified RSCWC
4. RSCWC makes awards to applicants, hopefully by Friday, 18 November
5. Awardees will be given a few days to accept or decline, ideally by Wednesday, 23 November.


Materials that Comprise a Complete Application

1. A cover sheet with the applicant’s name, applicant’s e-mail address, mentor’s name, name of alternate letter writer (if applicable, see point 5 below), approximate date of Question SPG and names of faculty members in attendance, and title of Keystone.
2. A description of the applicant’s Keystone project. The maximum length of the keystone description is 2 pages. This length limit includes figures but does not include references (i.e., a list of works cited), which may (probably should) appear on a third page.
3. A proposal and budget that describes the applicant’s plans to use A) $500 of funding from the FortisBC Keystone Fund and B) an additional $100-$500 beyond the first $500 you described in part A. The maximum length of the proposal and budget together is 2 pages. This length limit includes figures but does not include references (i.e., a list of works cited), which may (probably should) appear on a third page.
4. A copy the applicant’s Question Plan that has been approved in a Question SPG meeting.
5. A letter of support from the student’s faculty Mentor. If that person’s availability is severely limited (i.e., by sabbatical, family leave, or remote field course), then an alternate faculty member may write the letter in support of this application.


Evaluation Criteria (in order of importance)

1. The logistical and legal feasibility of the work for which funding from the FortisBC Keystone Fund is requested. This includes, but is not limited to, having necessary Quest approvals such as those granted by relevant Quest committees (e.g., Research Ethics Board, Animal Care Committee, Risk Management Committee) as well as simple logistical support like computer or vehicular resources.
2. The extent to which the work supported by the FortisBC Keystone Fund may incur negative publicity for FortisBC. Proposals with a non-negligible risk of bringing unwanted publicity to FortisBC will be rejected.
3. The extent to which the work to be supported by the FortisBC Keystone Fund relates to any or all of A) environmental sustainability, B) economic sustainability, or C) First Nations.
4. The coherence and rigor of the proposal.
5. The additional rigor of the Keystone Project that is enabled by the applicant receiving funding.
6. The relationship of the Keystone Project to the applicant’s Question.
7. The potential for increased connection between the applicant and either or both of A) one or more Quest faculty members or B) other experts in their field.
8. The support of the project from other funding sources such that the grant from the FortisBC Keystone Fund goes farther in combination with other money than it would on its own.



Quest students are eligible to apply if they A) can submit a complete application and B) they have not taken Keystone Block yet. After awardees are chosen, they will generate receipts from their activities and submit them for reimbursement. Receipts are eligible for reimbursement if they A) generally match the budget and description submitted in the proposal and proposed budget, B) were/are generated between 1 August 2016 and 15 May 2017, and C) were/are generated before the completion of the student’s Keystone block.


Awardees will be required to make a public presentation that reports the outcome of the work that was funded by the FortisBC Keystone Fund. For students taking Keystone Block in the spring term of 2017, this will be their Keystone presentation. Other students will be required to give separate presentations. All presentations will be attended by one or more representatives of FortisBC. Additionally, brief final reports will be required in writing from awardees at the end of the 2016-2017 academic year. These must detail how the funding from the FortisBC Keystone Fund was used.


Questions that Might Arise from Potential Applicants

How do I know if my project involves sustainability or First Nations? Those are broad topics!
The RSCWC and the FortisBC representative will not specify which projects best match these broad terms. It is the task of the applicant to make the case for why the proposed work is related to environmental sustainability, economic sustainability, or First Nations and thus is worthy of funding.

I haven’t finished my Question Plan yet, and I haven’t had my Question SPG. Am I eligible to apply?
No. We want Question Plans, not Question Proposals that have not yet been approved in a Question SPG. We suggest you finish your Question Proposal and have a Question SPG.

I don’t have a plan for my Keystone yet, at least not one that’s written out in coherent form. Is this acceptable?
No. Make your plan coherent and then apply.

So, am I applying for $500 or $1000?
It is the intention of the RSCWC to give grants of approximately $500 to 10-14 applicants. However, in the event that your proposal is awesome or that there are not many applicants, we may have extra money to give you. So, in addition to explaining what you would do with the $500, please tell us what you’d do with an additional $100-$500. Think of it as, for example, $500 + $300, not as $800. Applications that ask for values in excess of $500 with no ability to be scaled back to $500 will not be regarded favorably.

What constitutes “severely limited” with regard to my mentor’s availability?
If the availability of your mentor is severely limited, it means that that person is not reachable due to extended travel, family or medical leave, or similar. Merely being busy teaching a class or doing research during a non-teaching block does not constitute severely limited availability. Traveling during one but not both of the October and November blocks does not constitute severely limited availability. We want to hear from your mentor if at all possible.

You have a lot of evaluation criteria! How do I meet all these in a short document?
Yes, there are eight points we’re looking for, but realize that a couple can be addressed in single sentences and others will be completely obvious in a well-written proposal.

I’ve always been interested in First Nations! Is this my chance to get involved with First Nations work in some way?
Perhaps, but perhaps not. Be aware that it’s one thing to study First Nations, but it’s entirely another to interact with members of a First Nation for research of any kind, including your Keystone. Most students who interact with members of a First Nation go through extensive consultation with the Research Ethics Board and the faculty First Nations Committee. If you have not done this and you propose to interact with members of a First Nation, your application is unlikely to be viewed favorably.

This sounds great, but I won’t be taking Keystone this year. Can I still apply?
Yes! Anyone who can complete an application, regardless of when they intend to take Keystone, is welcome to apply. You’ll just give an extra talk in the spring around the time of the Keystone presentations. 

This sounds great, but I’m taking Keystone in December 2016. Can I still apply?
Yes, but beware that only receipts generated before the completion of Keystone block are eligible for reimbursement.

Receipts from August-October are eligible even though I already spent the money?
Yes. If you are seeking funding for money that you have already spent, you’re essentially applying to be reimbursed for a receipt that you already have. This will likely make your application quite straightforward. Please do not include a copy of the receipt in your application; only give it to us once your grant is awarded.

What do you mean when you say expenses must “generally match” those in the proposal and the budget?
Your grant was awarded to you to fund the expenses you described in it. You may not change those expenses at your discretion. However, we respect that scholarly work must change direction from time to time, so you have some limited flexibility regarding what you’ll use your grant money for. For example, if you applied for money to buy a fancy tape measure, and you decide that you need the 10-meter tape measure instead of the 5-meter tape measure, that’s fine. However, if you applied for a tape measure and now would like to buy a plane ticket to attend a conference, that is not acceptable.

Sounds great, but I’m not comfortable fronting the money and waiting for reimbursement.
We can probably work around this buy using a Quest credit card to make your purchases for you. The RSCWC has facilitated this in the past.

Thanks for the information, but I have more questions that you haven’t answered.

Send an e-mail to  The FortisBC Keystone Fund is primarily being administered by Mark Vaughan and Rich Wildman.



• JENEVA BEAIRSTO (CLASS OF 2018), along with Professor Richard Hoshino, published Optimal Pricing for Distance-Based Transit Fares, in the proceedings of the 30th IAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (February 2018).  

• AARON SLOBODIN (CLASS OF 2018, RECIPIENT OF THE 2016 QUEST SUMMER FELLOWSHIP) and WILLIAM BERNOUDY (CLASS OF 2017), along with Professor Richard Hoshino, published An Automated Employee Timetabling System for Small Businesses, in the proceedings of the 30th IAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (February 2018).  

• JULIAN HOCKIN-GRANT (CLASS OF 2015), along with Professor Mai Yasue, published The effectiveness of a permaculture education project in Butula, Kenyain the International Journal of Sustainable Agriculture (in press).

• OLENKA FORDE (CLASS OF 2013), along with Professor Rich Wildman, published Effect of a moderate-size reservoir on transport of trace elements in a watershed, in the journal Lake and Reservoir Management (July 2016).

• ELIJAH CETAS (RECIPIENT OF THE 2015 QUEST SUMMER FELLOWSHIP), along with Professor Mai Yasue, published A systematic review of motivational values and conservation success in and around protected areas, in the journal Conservation Biology (June 2016).  This paper won Elijah the journal’s 2016 “Rising Star” award, for the best student-led paper published in Conservation Biology.

• CALEB RAIBLE-CLARK (CLASS OF 2014, RECIPIENT OF THE 2013 QUEST SUMMER FELLOWSHIP), along with Professor Richard Hoshino, published The Quest Draft: an Automated Course Allocation Algorithm, in the proceedings of the 26th IAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (July 2014).  Caleb and Richard’s paper received the IAAI Deployed Application Award.

• KELLINA HIGGINS (CLASS OF 2011), along with Professor Mai Yasue, published Monitoring Liverworts to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Hydroriparian Buffers, in the journal Environmental Management (January 2014)

• OLENKA FORDE (CLASS OF 2013), along with Professor Rich Wildman, published Management of Water Shortage in the Colorado River Basin: Evaluating Current Policy and the Viability of Interstate Water Trading, in the journal American Water Resources Association (May 2012).




• Aaron Slobodin, Quest student wins scholarship for balancing chronic condition and studies (Squamish Chief, September 2017)

• Alicia Saunders, Look out for the Western Toad (Squamish Chief, August 2017)

• Elijah Cetas, Quest student wins Rising Star Award (Squamish Chief, May 2017)

• Maya Broeke, Quest students probe fate of Howe Sound’s future (Squamish Chief, November 2016)

• Janali Gustafson, Quest student looks at power poses (Squamish Chief, November 2016)

Kyle Martin, Quest device tracks climate change (Squamish Chief, September 2016)

• Ella Van Cleave, Quest student makes ocean doc (Squamish Chief, September 2016)

• Aaron Slobodin, Squamish student optimizes local café (Squamish Chief, July 2016)

• Martin Schuster and Aaron Feicht, Tiny homes surge in popularity (Squamish Chief, April 2016)

• Jonathan Marston, His labour of love: a pond at Quest (Squamish Chief, April 2016)

• Vic Wang, Life of Chinese-Canadians on Film (Squamish Chief, March 2016)

• Michalina Hunter, Imagine a Squamish with abundant fresh food (Squamish Chief, July 2015)


10:20-10:40, Short Break

10:40-11:55, Second Half

  • Cameron Friend, False Equivalencies: Exploring a Geometric Work by Leonhard Euler
  • Aaron Slobodin, Implementing an Optimized Employee Timetabler at the Squamish Integrated Health Clinic
  • Jeneva Beairsto, A Fairer Fare Affair: Optimizing Distance-Based Fares for TransLink
  • Isaac Menninga, Ophthalmology and Nomography: Data-Driven Tools for Cornea Graft Preparation
  • Ali MacKellar, A Lesson in Logistics: Finding a Field Site and Developing a Long-Term Monitoring Program near Pemberton, BC

11:55-12:00, Closing Remarks

The best student presentations from the 2017 Quest Scholarship Conference were invited to give a 30-minute talk on their summer research at the Squamish Public Library on Thursday, December 14, open to all members of the Squamish community.  Congratulations to Sophia Vartanian and Ali MacKellar for this honour!


The Inaugural Quest Scholarship Conference took place on Saturday, November 19, 2016, from 9AM to 1PM in the Multi-Purpose Room (MPR).  The 13 student speakers and 3 faculty speakers appeared in one of four panels, with each panel lasting 60 minutes.  Here was the complete set of abstracts for the 2016 Quest Scholarship Conference.