Access to research, innovation and entrepreneurship opportunities enhances learning experiences for Sheridan students

Newsroom authorby Debbie SilvaJul 10, 2024
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Judith Prades wasn’t entirely sold on the idea of an internship with EDGE, one of Generator at Sheridan’s Research and Entrepreneurship Centres. How would her studies from Sheridan's Bachelor of Community Safety program and her passion for sustainable wellness match with this opportunity?

“When the internship opportunity became available at Sheridan, I didn’t think it was meant for me. I had no idea about the marketing world. But the social entrepreneurship link through EDGE was the connection for me. I was able to approach new experiences with trust and creative freedom. This opportunity has given me so much confidence and set me up for success.”

Bachelor of Community Safety student Judith Prades is pictured with ten members of Sheridan EDGE During her time at the EDGE entrepreneurship hub, Prades (pictured front, third from left, with EDGE staff) worked on various communications and marketing activities including generating digital videos and content for EDGE’s social media accounts and assisting with social entrepreneur recruitment efforts for their Rise program. In addition, she helped support engagement events such as the Afro-Caribbean Business Network’s Legacy Symposium where she interviewed Black entrepreneurs for EDGE’s social media accounts.

It was at the Symposium that Prades connected with Nairobi Vision, a social entrepreneur and participant in EDGE’s Rise program. After the event, Prades was approached by Vision about managing the social media accounts for her company, Elemental Notes. From there, Prades focused her career efforts on the social media path.

A head and shoulders photo of Bachelor of Computer Science student Jerikka Sotelo standing in front of a brick wallJerikka Sotelo’s interests may have been different, but her experience of personal growth is similar. As a fourth-year student in Sheridan’s Bachelor of Computer Science program, she jumped at the chance to work with her Faculty of Applied Science and Technology professor Dr. Khaled Mahmud. Hired as a part-time Machine Learning Data Analyst, Sotelo (pictured, right) worked on a research project with Generator’s Centre for Applied AI that looked at the use of 5G and machine learning techniques for self-driving cars.

During her time as a student researcher, Sotelo explored current applications of machine learning in various industries that tackle predictive maintenance and examined publicly available databases from other research studies. Learning new skills from an expert in the field and making connections for potential employment in the industry were attractive incentives to get involved.

“I wanted to pursue a project that resonated with me, and this one centered on machine learning, a topic I thoroughly enjoyed during my studies. I was eager to explore its applications in real-world problems. Participation in research is a continuous learning process, and seeking clarification or guidance when needed is integral to growth,” said Sotelo.

“Participation in research is a continuous learning process, and seeking clarification or guidance when needed is integral to growth.”

– Bachelor of Computer Science student Jerikka Sotelo

The space to learn new skills, build self-confidence and create strong connections through research, innovation and entrepreneurship (RIE) activities, as shown in Prades and Sotelo’s stories, can be a transformative experience for learners at Sheridan. In addition to deepening problem-solving and critical thinking skills to prepare them for the workforce, these opportunities can spark curiosity and generate motivation for continued learning while at Sheridan and beyond. Add on mentorship with faculty members or research centre staff, and connections with industry and community partners, and there is no shortage of student benefits from engaging in RIE.

Industry and community partners looking to partner on a project also have the opportunity to gain access to talented, highly-skilled students who can help address their research and development needs.

Recently, the Generator Support Office and the Sheridan Co-Curricular Recognition (CCR) program developed a new process to optimize how Sheridan learners are recognized for their participation in research and other experiential learning opportunities. For eligible students, RIE activity is now automatically added to the student’s Sheridan Works Career Catalyst Portfolio, which provides a validated and holistic summary of academic, co-curricular and work-integrated learning experiences, as well as highlighting their skills and competencies gained during their time at Sheridan.

During the Fall 2023 term alone, 58 students received co-curricular recognition for their participation in RIE activities, compared to 35 students over the preceding five years.

Dr. Vicki Mowat, Director of Research for Generator at Sheridan, says that a research, innovation or entrepreneurship experience can help equip students for success in their career. She adds: “What’s also unique about this opportunity for students is that it can spark curiosity and new connections, and it puts them in the driver’s seat when it comes to their learning process. It becomes more about the holistic process and transformational journey for the student, and how research, innovation and entrepreneurship can play a fundamental part in that growth.”

To learn more about research, innovation and entrepreneurship at Sheridan, please visit

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