Expanding Horizons

Expanding Horizons

Expanding Horizons

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Updated: 2 hours 11 min ago

Fourth Annual Career Week Networking Reception

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 15:36
Fourth Annual Career Week Networking Reception

October 16, 2017

Queen’s School of Graduate Studies hosted the fourth annual Career Week Networking Reception on October 13 as part of the 2017 Homecoming celebrations. Alumni and community partners were invited to meet Queen's graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, and share their personal experiences and tips for transitioning from graduate training to career. Kingston's Mayor Bryan Paterson - himself an alumnus of Queen's Graduate Studies - welcomed attendees and shared his own career advice.

Over 100 guests gathered in the beautiful Agnes Etherington Art Centre for this Graduate Studies Homecoming Tradition.

Mayor Bryan Paterson welcomed attendees to the reception

Mayor Paterson mingling with students at the reception

Students networking with David Hyndman ( Assistant Director of Industry Partnerships)



Tags: News

Inaugural Banting-Vanier Lectures

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 14:46
Inaugural Banting-Vanier Lectures

October 16, 2017

Queen’s School of Graduate Studies hosted the inaugural Vanier-Banting lecture series event on October 14 as part of the 2017 Homecoming celebrations. This red carpet event was a preview of some of the best graduate and post-doctoral research at Queen’s, covering a diverse range of subjects from mutated blood cells, cancer-fighting fireflies, and the “pedagogic skills” of the devil in one of Byron’s plays.

The Homecoming event was the beginning of a series to showcase the work of our talented trainees – stay tuned for the next preview in 2018!

Banting Post-Doctoral Fellow Nicolle Domnik presenting her work

Vanier Scholar Taha Azad mingling after the lectures

The persenters (front to back): Emma Peacocke, Sarah Yakimowski, Taha Azad, Jacob Bonafiglia, Elina Cook, and Nicolle Domnik



Tags: News

IRTG: The Brain in Action

Fri, 09/15/2017 - 14:45
IRTG: The Brain in Action

Approximately 50km North-East of Queen’s University campus on Lake Opinicon rests Queen’s University Biological Station, affectionately known as QUBS. Usually home to biology students and their supervisors for the summer, the station allowed an infiltration of nerds of a different kind: neuroscientists. For 6 days, neuroscientists from 5 different universities from Canada and Germany stayed on the grounds as part of their annual program retreat. QUBS offered an intimate, relaxed atmosphere that fostered collaborations, networking, and friendships alike. The annual CREATE International Research Training group (IRTG) Brain in Action retreat alternates between German and Canadian hosts, with labs from Queen’s, Western, and York universities, as well as labs from German Phillips Universität Marburg, and Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen on the other side of the pond. The retreat is typically held at convention centers, where several key-note speakers share their expertise and current research being conducted in their labs, as well as student progress report presentations about their on-going projects. As it was Queen’s year to host of the retreat, Psychology professor Niko Troje and the other local researchers decided to pick QUBS as a venue, showcasing Kingston’s beautiful location at the edge of the Frontenac Arc, with its beautiful nature, lakes, and forests that provide a unique ecological sanctuary for many animal and plant species. Steve Lougheed, director of QUBS, personally guided tours of the facility, its grounds, and explained the rich history of the area. He could even name any bird that was singing by its Latin name. IRTG members learned that QUBS has been in operation for almost 70 years, and that it is one of Canada’s premier scientific field stations which gladly opens its doors to other universities from all over the world, including China, to conduct leading research in fields such as ecology, evolution, conservation, geography, and environmental science in order to provide and inclusive, collaborative environment that Queen’s University prides itself on.

Since it was launched in 2013, the IRTG Brain in Action program has generated more than 50 publications. The program was designed for graduate students, Post-Doctoral fellows, and their supervisors to have the opportunity to collaborate on similar research interests and to provide the ability to learn new techniques from each other.

This year, the retreat featured a full-day workshop on motion capture technology, which was taught at Queen’s Human Mobility Research Centre at Hotel Dieu Hospital. That way, members of the IRTG also had a chance to visit Kingston and explore the Queen’s campus for one day.

The program also offers its graduate students internships in related industries, writing workshops to strengthen literary skills, internet-based seminars, and external speakers from other universities to broaden the knowledge of young scientists and professors alike. It went without saying that all those who attended the retreat were coming out of the week feeling relaxed, accomplished, and with new ideas in hand.

This was my first year attending the annual retreat, as I just joined the IRTG Brain in Action program at the beginning of my PhD in Fall 2016, and as a Queen’s Centre for Neuroscience Studies graduate student, I was proud to promote our program, town, university, and Canada to enthusiastic international visiting students. It is a privilege to be a member of such an elite group of young scientists bent on enhancing our knowledge of action and perception, and to have the opportunity to learn from a vast number of exceedingly expert professors from different backgrounds, and fields. I am positive that my studies will be significantly enhanced by this fantastic program, and that many future collaborations, and friendships will come out of this group.

Julia Morris
PhD student, Munoz Lab
Centre for Neuroscience Studies
Queen’s University

Tags: News

Grad Coordinators Share Their Tips

Fri, 09/15/2017 - 11:55
Grad Coordinators Share Their Tips

This article originally appeared in the Queen’s Gazette.

Friday September 15, 2017
By Phil Gaudreau, Senior Communications Officer

Strong coordinators play an important role in the success of graduate students, and the School of Graduate Studies as a whole. Enhancing networking within graduate programs, bringing new scholars to study at Queen’s, and supporting graduate students with effective communication, advice, and tools are among some of the responsibilities of graduate coordinators.

Annually, the School of Graduate Studies honours two outstanding coordinators for their contributions through the Featured Graduate Coordinators initiative. The 2017 Featured Graduate Coordinators are Joan Almost, Associate Professor and Associate Director (Graduate Nursing Programs); and Andrew Jainchill, Associate Professor and Graduate Chair (History).

“On behalf of the School of Graduate Studies, congratulations and thanks go to Joan and Andrew for their dedication and passion as educators” says Kim McAuley, Associate Dean of the School of Graduate Studies “Their leadership has helped provide a supportive, positive environment for graduate students at Queen’s”.

Learn more about Dr. Almost and Dr. Jainchill’s approach to graduate coordination, and their advice for new graduate coordinators:

Joan Almost

Joan Almost receives a token of appreciation from Dean Brenda Brouwer for her efforts as a graduate coordinator. (University Communications)

“During my time as Associate Director (Graduate Nursing Programs), I have focused on enhancing the student experience and fostering a learning community in the graduate nursing programs. Highlights of my activities include the development of initiatives designed to advance networking among students and faculty, maximize recruitment strategies, clarify academic processes, and strengthen our already strong curriculum.

I oversee five programs (including PhD, Master’s and Diploma) across three universities, and collaborate with a consortium of nine universities to deliver our professional Master’s program. One of my biggest learnings when I started this role was remembering all the subtle differences between programs, and understanding policies and procedures at multiple levels within the university. I have truly appreciated the opportunity to learn more about university administration and the chance to work with great colleagues across the university and within the school. I enjoy being part of a team and working with others who play key roles in running the program, especially the program assistants who are invaluable. The experience and knowledge I have learned while in this role has made me a better teacher, advisor and colleague.

I offer the following advice to prospective Graduate Coordinators: first, attention to detail and knowledge of policies and procedures is essential. Know your academic processes, and follow them. Second, ask lots of questions to clarify situations and to understand policies and processes, even when you think you know the answer. And, finally, know that interpersonal aspects of the role are vital, especially with potential applicants, students, and colleagues.”

Andrew Jainchill

Andrew Jainchill receives a token of appreciation from Associate Dean Marta Straznicky for his efforts as a graduate coordinator. (University Communications)

“In my two years as grad coordinator, I've focused on maintaining History's already strong program while putting a lot of effort into admissions and recruitment. Credit is due to my predecessors, and to Cathy Dickison, for building a strong program and a strong department culture around admissions and recruitment.

The major initiatives I've undertaken include a departmental grant-writing workshop to support students in their applications for external funding. This is meant to build on the one offered by the School of Graduate Studies. Additionally, we’ve revived the department's pattern I MA – a two-year, thesis-based masters of arts. This has proven to be more popular among students than we anticipated. Third, in conjunction with the department chair, we created department-funded research assistant positions to reward graduate coordinators with particularly heavy supervisory loads.

My advice to new graduate coordinators: first, don't try to do everything at once. Choose a couple of projects each year and see them through. Second, remember that a large part of the grad coordinator's role is facilitating communication. Also acknowledge that being a graduate student is stressful. It's important to be supportive while also remaining clear about what can and can't be done. New coordinators should know that admissions and recruitment takes a ton of work on your part, but your colleagues also have to do their part. Finally, build a strong working relationship with the graduate assistant.”

About Featured Graduate Coordinators

The Featured Graduate Coordinator program is an initiative that began in 2015. The goal is to provide support and encourage best practices, especially for those faculty members new to the role of Graduate Coordinator. Coordinators are selected by the School of Graduate Studies, and the role is administrative. The School asks for their advice and tips for other Graduate Coordinators and shares this advice at its annual Graduate Coordinator Orientation meetings.

Tags: News

2017 Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Supervision - Recipients

Thu, 09/14/2017 - 14:33
2017 Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Supervision — Recipients

The School of Graduate Studies is pleased to announce Dr. David Lyon (Sociology) and Dr. Suning Wang (Chemistry), as the recipients of the 2017 Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Supervision. Drs. Lyon and Wang will be recognized at Fall Convocation, 2017, where they will receive the award. Honorary Mention goes to Dr. John Freeman (Education), posthumously, recognized as a gifted supervisor who had a major and lasting impact on his students, both in their personal and professional lives.

The School of Graduate Studies congratulates the winners and thanks them for their leadership, mentorship, and contributions to enriching the academic experience of their graduate students.

David Lyon

Director of the Surveillance Studies Centre and Professor of Sociology and Professor of Law, David Lyon has supervised 28 graduate students to completion, each of whom has benefited from his full commitment and support. His students come from around the world, and the international mix of supervisees highlights his profile as an award-winning, international scholar with tremendous impact. Under his supervision, students enjoy the opportunity to mix with others from different backgrounds, life-experiences, and educational training. Dr. Lyon provides his students with opportunities to meet other international scholars, present at high profile conferences, and feel at home within a global community of researchers. Dr. Lyon is praised by current and past students for challenging them academically as well as helping them grow as individuals. His students value the strong personal and scholarly bonds they have formed with him; while they rely on his expertise and scholarly advice, they also share time in conversation, exploring everything from the simple problems of everyday life to profound philosophical issues. Dr. Lyon’s students have excelled in their academic endeavours, and his students have gone on to successful careers around the world in academic and non-academic settings.            

Suning Wang

Professor of Chemistry at Queen’s since 1996 and currently University Research Chair, Dr. Wang has supervised 13 MSc and 24 PhD students, as well as 18 postdoctoral fellows. The caliber of her supervision and mentorship is evident in the success of her graduate students in winning prestigious academic prizes, fellowships, and their success in faculty positions, and research careers in industrial and government laboratories. Dr. Wang’s students credit her with supporting life-changing personal growth, stemming from her care and concern for each student as an individual. She challenges her students to think critically about science, ask difficult and important questions, ethically communicate scientific findings, and continually grow as researchers. Dr. Wang is always available to her students and helps them stay on track, but she lets them make mistakes so that they gain a sense of ownership over their projects. Beyond encouraging and supporting her students in writing manuscripts for publication, preparing conference presentations, learning new techniques, and interacting with an international community of scholars, she never loses sight of the fact that they are people living complicated lives. Dr. Wang makes an effort to get to know each of her students individually and is deeply invested in their success. She shares her own curiosity and passion for academic research while also respecting and accepting students’ individual ambitions. In the words of one of her students, “it is this combination of personal and professional investment in her students as individuals that makes Dr. Wang a truly exceptional graduate supervisor.”

Tags: News

Laurier story on the Lake Shift

Tue, 09/12/2017 - 15:43
Laurier story on the Lake Shift 

See the story on the Wilfred Laurier University website: PhD students find balance on the Lake Shift

This year, 5 out of the 50 graduate students from 14 Ontario universities at the Lake Shift came from Laurier.  In the Laurier story, they share their experiences and explain the benefits of participating in the Lake Shift. 

For more information about the retreat, see our Lake Shift video or Lake Shift news page. 

Tags: News

Orientation for the new academic year is just around the corner!

Thu, 08/17/2017 - 10:18
Orientation for the new academic year is just around the corner!

Where has summer gone, if you can call it a summer!  Campus is already starting to get a little busier.  There is still loads of construction going on and faculty, staff and grad students going about their business as usual.  But it won’t be long and we will be welcoming our new graduate students (although I know some of you are already here).

So to all new graduate students a big hello from the School of Graduate Studies. For continuing grad students, we hope you have had a productive summer.

With any new academic year comes orientation events to help our new students meet other grad students and become familiar with the layout of campus and Kingston and resources available to them.

A full listing of graduate orientation events can be found on the School of Graduate Studies website.  New students should check with their program office first to see what has been scheduled specifically for their program and then see what other activities you can attend.  Most programs will add some of the general orientation activities into their scheduling.

Looking forward to seeing everyone in September!

Tags: News

The Lake Shift

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 09:00
Let The Lake Shift Begin!

  • Colette cleans house!

  • A friendly volleyball game amoung Lakeshifters.

  • Taking a break indoors to get some work done at the Lake Shift.

  • Ice cream at Chaffey's Lock!

  • A chance to play some card games.

  • Getting some writing done at the Lake Shift.

  • Are you ready to take the Lake Shift?

  • Canoeing on Lake Opinicon.

  • Lakeshifters going for a swim!

  • BOCCE, anyone?

  • Relaxing before dinner.

  • Carol chatting.

  • The shuttle from Kingston arrives!

  • Porter! Hmm, guess we have to find our own cabin.

  • The Lakeshift participants 2017.

The Lake Effect

Catherine Dale

I started the week running late – which is pretty typical for me.  Despite knowing I was on dish duty the first morning of the Lake Shift, I decided to begin my day with a quick bike ride along the Cataraqui Trail….which took a little more time than I had planned.  And so as the first official Lake Shift writing session launched, I was still haphazardly stacking clean dishes in the Queen’s University Biological Station kitchen.  By the time I was finished, all the other Lake Shifters had already settled in with their computers and the constant clacking of computer keys filled the main lodge dining room.

I grabbed my own laptop and began wandering the station, looking for a quiet place to work.  With 50 dissertation-writing graduate students scattered throughout the handful of QUBS buildings, space was at a premium, and it was a challenge to find somewhere where I could write without bumping elbows with my neighbours.

Eventually, I stuck my head into the seminar room on the lower level of the main lodge.  Although the room was large and quiet – with only one other writer in residence – it was also lacking in table space and natural light.  And the ambiance left a lot to be desired: the beady eyes of stuffed, mounted mammals and birds glared back at me from all directions, and old, creased posters detailing QUBS projects from summers past covered virtually every square inch of wall.

However, my tour of the station suggested that the seminar room was my best option.  I carefully moved a stuffed mink to another table, then opened my laptop and began unloading papers into the space I’d cleared.  Looking up, I met the judgemental gaze of a large stuffed beaver, frozen forever with a wood chip between his teeth.  “I’m working,” his entire posture seemed to say, “So why aren’t you?”

Under his watchful eyes, I fired up my computer and grudgingly opened my half-completed chapter.  But as I stared balefully at the screen, silently willing my thesis to write itself, I realized I was having a severe case of déjà vu: I had been in this exact position before.  I dug away at layers of memory until I unearthed the relevant one.  Almost fifteen years ago, I had been sitting at a spot not 12 feet from where I sat now, staring at my computer screen and procrastinating beginning the research for my honours thesis. 

The summer after my third year of undergrad, I was lucky enough to land a job as a field assistant, studying birds at QUBS.  As part of the deal, I got to carry out a small research project of my own and write it up for my fourth year honours thesis.  Although I was initially nervous about taking the job, working at QUBS turned out to be something of a revelation for me. 

When I started the summer, I was very much a city girl.  Some people seem to be naturals at communing with nature, but I quickly discovered that I was not one of them.  From the very first field day, when I showed up to work in sandals only to be confronted by a freak May snowstorm, the job seemed a bit of a mismatch.

And yet, little by little, QUBS won me over.  There is something decidedly magical about waking before dawn and hearing the forest come to life with the dawn chorus, spending your hard-earned downtime floating in a warm lake under a cloudless sky, and ending the night beside the crackle of a campfire, surrounded by the sparks of hundreds of fireflies.  But even more magical, for me, were the people I met at the station.  For the first time since starting undergrad, I felt that I was part of a community – a community of people who shared many of my interests and enthusiasms.  I had always been on the shy side, but at QUBS, I found it easy to talk to people. 

That first summer at QUBS was probably the most important summer of my life.  Not only did I make some good friends, but it opened up an entirely new world to me.  Until that point, I hadn’t really considered going to graduate school – but working in the field that summer, I realized that I had found a path I wanted to stay on.

Fast forward an embarrassing 15 years, and here I was: still on that path, but feeling a bit derailed. I was back at Queen’s, trying to finish what had turned into an epically long PhD, and back at QUBS, hoping that a dissertation boot camp would help me take the last few weary steps towards that goal.

When I arrived at QUBS to begin the Lake Shift, I was not in the best head space.  I was discouraged, cynical and frustrated with my project, with Queen’s, with the academic system in general, and most of all with myself for taking so long to finish.  With some part of my mind, I was looking forward to spending time at QUBS…but the majority of my brain was preoccupied with the stress of my looming deadlines and excruciatingly slow progress. 

When I got to the station, my first thought was that a great deal had changed since I had worked there as an undergraduate.  A huge new library building adorned the main lawn, several new cabins dotted the roads, and virtually every staff member was different.

But it quickly became apparent that some things had remained the same.  The first evening, as dusk fell, we were treated to an amazing display of fireflies, lighting up the night like paparazzi sighting the latest reality television star.  The fleet of indestructible metal canoes still sat patiently by the boathouse, just waiting for someone to slip them into the water and embark on an adventure.  The gooey roasted marshmallows eaten by the flickering campfire light still tasted every bit as good. 

And once again, the most magical part was the people.  There’s no getting around the fact that grad school is often isolating and lonely.  But at QUBS, as we all lingered around the campfire, sharing small parts of our stories, I felt part of a community again.  There was huge relief in being around people struggling with the challenges I was so familiar with – people who understood that some days, just getting a sentence down on paper is an indescribable triumph.

So without me even really noticing, somewhere along the way, QUBS won me over again.  Between the fireflies and the swimming, the campfires and the company, I remembered exactly why it was that I had started down this path…and what it is that I love about what I do.

From the outside, it may look like years of effort (and thousands of dollars of tuition), have brought me only 12 feet from where I started.  But the truth is that the world looks pretty different from this side of the room.  It’s been a long, slow journey, but my time at QUBS helped me realize that I don’t regret a moment of it.

Shifting my writing/thinking

Janna Klostermann
(Carleton University, Ottawa, ON)

I showed up to #thelakeshift writing retreat armed with a list of 37-odd things I could do or should do as a part of my doctoral research. I had a running list of chapters, articles, literature reviews, poems and personal essays to write, revise, rework, rethink, and eventually send off. I had ten or twenty works-in-progress calling my name. I had energy, enthusiasm and ambition, but I lacked a real plan of attack.

On the first night at the Lake Shift, our hosts Colette Steer and Marta Straznicky threw us each a Lake Shift t-shirt and welcomed us to camp. Colette peformed a comedy set, poking fun at herself, poking fun at the camp experience and encouraging us not to take ourselves or our work too seriously. From there, Marta introduced us to the “Slow Professor” movement, encouraging us to slow down, to breathe, and to be gentle on ourselves. She encouraged us not to force it, overdo it or put too much pressure on our work. Listening to them, I was motivated to shelve my running list of ‘could dos’ and ‘should dos,’ to stop jumping from one task to another, and to instead set a few meaningful goals for the week. Without overthinking it, I decided I would:

Show up. Stay present. Stay off the internet during the day. Chip away at a chapter in the morning and a journal article in the afternoon, without jumping from task to task to task.  

On the first morning of work, I settled in at a table in the Main Lodge; a gorgeous lakeside dining room with bottomless coffee, birds chirping at the feeders and grad students plucking at their keyboards. I made a point to sit near a power outlet, and made a point to cover my ears when a fellow student blurted the WiFi password! Then, when the clock struck nine, I charged out of the gates! I wrote with a vengeance, writing a few quick vignettes and drawing energy from others. I was in the zone and in my glory … until 10am when I ran out of steam. An hour into the week-long writing retreat, I ran out of material, momentum and wherewithal. Shoot. I bottomed out, hit a lull, and wondered how I could hang in there for another five full days. Again, shoot.

Rather than jumping ahead to the next thing on my to do list, though, I held myself to my goals. I stayed put and stayed with the tension. I read things over, doodled, and thought about the project and my frustrations with it. I tried not to force it, and tried to be gentle on myself and on the work. Rather than switching to an easier task, I gave the project some breathing space. I gave myself space to be overwhelmed and space to struggle with what I was most wanted to say with my work.

I stayed put, stayed present, and stayed with the trouble. I took up Maggie Berg’s invitation to write as a way to think. I took time to puzzle and process, doodle and daydream. I drafted an outline and a mind-map, and I made connections between different parts of the project. Slowly but surely, I reconnected with the project and with myself. I also connected with others, chatting about our work, swimming, hiking, canoeing and eating cake. I stayed put and stayed present. I happily took the #thelakeshift, shifting my writing and shifting my thinking.

Janna Klostermann (@jannaKlos) is a PhD student in Carleton’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology. She is exploring the social organization of care/disability from the standpoint of care workers reaching their limits.

Lake Shift 2017 Day 5

Quiet cloudy morning, perfect for getting back into the groove of writing. Breakfast is always a good time to check in and see how our Lakeshifters are doing. What energy I get from all of them.  Talk about inspiring. I have loved watching where everyone is writing, in the library, in their cabin, in the dining hall, on the outside tables.

One topic of the day was the “spider” story.  You hear about the “fish” stories of how big a fish you caught.  Well at the Lake Shift it is “did you see that spider?   It was the size of my palm, my hand, no wait a minute it was even bigger than that!” So from a knock on the door at night to ask if the brave Aussie could come and rescue you them from the spider of the century hanging over the beam above them, to the remark from said Aussie “no way, I hate spiders, so you are on your own!” to making do, trying to sleep with one eye open, it made for a great story.  Not a good night sleep, but that was the start of the spider stories for the day.

Day four of writing was amazing.  More goals were getting moved over to the achievements board and even some funny notes were creeping in. Along with the writing was also an opportunity for some of our Lakeshifters to practice speaking to different audiences.  For example, six were interviewed for our radio show Grad Chat, and just as many were interviewed for a video piece.  Some great professional development for them all. A bit of an added bonus.

We got a visit from our (Queen’s) graduate Dean and Faculty of Arts & Science Dean.  They got the opportunity to sit and chat with some of the Lakeshifters and they brought us all chocolate!

The evening was a time for everyone to relax. Some played sport or cards, some went for a final canoe, some went into the pub for a quick drink or icecream, but most of all everyone turned up at the fire.  Lots of chatter, lots of high fives and lots of generally good feeling and sense of accomplishment all around.

Tomorrow is our final day. I probably won’t write much as it is always a sad time.  Our Lake Shift family will be finishing off, packing up and driving home.  To all of you, you have made this a great week.  Best wishes to you all.

The Facts
  • Lots of snake sightings
  • Lots of volleyball played
  • Number of spiders – too many to count now.
  • How many friends made this week – 51

Adam has lost his pocket knife now!

Day 4

We are at the midway point. The day was a little overcast and yes we did get hit with quite a shower. That did not deter our intrepid Lakeshifters though. I saw many going for a run still and many getting quite wet canoeing, but not from falling in the lake. The thing about an overcast day is that it is a great incentive to knuckle down and get some quality work done. Sure you can still go outside, but there is something about cosying up to a good book (but in this case a thesis) putting you head down and just going for it. You can still stare out at the magnificent scenery around you, but the fingers can continue to type as your mind sorts through all those thoughts.

The dining room was a popular choice for writing today and so while they were doing that, I got a chance to interview a few Lakeshifters for our next edition of Grad Chat (4pm Tuesdays on CFRC 101.9FM). That is what is so great about this week. All our students have such interesting research and that gives me plenty of fodder for our radio show, this blog and many a story to tell later.

Now I have found out that our Lakeshifters are quite competitive. We have card playing, bocce, canoe vs walking from Chaffeys Lock back to camp but the best is when each cabin is rostered to do clean up after a meal. The competition has been over how long it takes to complete the task, how efficient they are or as we saw tonight, what other services can be given to you so that you don’t have to take your plate into the kitchen. I am not sure who is winning, but I think that might be another research topic. Plenty of data to collect there.

The Facts
  • Number of deer spotted – a family
  • Number of otter families – 2
  • Number of blue herons – 3
  • Number of ice creams eaten at Chaffeys Lock – at least 11 double scoop (bubblegum, triple chocolate, pralines and cream etc)
  • Number of card games played – 3
  • Number of Grad Chat interviews – 5
  • Number of huge spiders just waiting to drop down on you in the middle of the night – 1 in cabin #12
Day 3

Nothing like a bike ride, run, walk or swim to start the day, and that is exactly what some of our Lakeshifters did this morning. We have been blessed with great weather so far, so why not take advantage of it. That seemed to be the theme for the day as well.

Following breakfast I saw Lakeshifters look for outdoor spots to set up writing. Not that they didn't before, but it seemed like this new species were making their way outside to bask in the sun, re-charge their batteries from the solar rays and get down to writing. I wondered how many goals would be achieved today and it seems like many.

After lunch the Lakeshifters moved from land to water – canoeing, swimming, the odd belly flop, but most of all lots of laughter. Talk about infectious. Nothing like some recreation and downtime to help prepare your mind for the afternoon session. And guess what – it did!

Tonight our workshop was on the “Editing Process” by our Director of Student Academic Success Services, Susan Korba, one of key partners in delivering our Expanding Horizons programs and she is integral on providing support for graduate student writing and learning strategies. The editing process is not an easy one, but equipped with the right strategies like the reverse outline, it can be a productive and more importantly a good way to complete  your work.

Following the session, the camp fire around Earl cottage was lit and the Lakeshifters moved from the safety of the main lodge to the fire to continue the conversations on just about anything including the storytelling of their own writing.

The Facts
  • Number of deer spotted – 1 doe and a very spotty fawn
  • Number of other creatures spotted – it’s a weasel, a muskrat, an otter, a groundhog! Hmm today it is an otter.
  • Number of belly flops – only one that I saw
  • Number of very wet but cool Lakeshifters – 20 at least
  • Number of Lakeshifters first time canoeing – 3 that I know of.
  • Number of cliff jumpers – 3
Day 2

Let the writing begin. Our first day of writing had our Lakeshifters start the day with writing their goal for the day. A simple task you would think but the knack is to write down achievable goals. That’s right, don’t go for the so big a goal that it is totally unattainable. Go for small chunks and reward yourself for getting there. With our guest speaker, Dr Maggie Berg back at the Lake Shift it was again the session to show that reaching too big is not easy. Getting there in small steps is often far more productive and satisfying and then you can reward yourself lavishly – cookies anyone?

That reference is from when Dr Berg asked, ”What do you say to yourself when you sit down to write?”

Allison Kwok (Trent University) replied, “I can do it, I can’t do it, Do it Anyway and then have a cookie.”  Dr Berg’s talk in a nutshell.

By the end of the day, the goals posted for the day had been moved over to the “Achieved” chart. It was great to see the smiles on people’s faces as they did this simple task.  Was it a good day?  Oh yes, it was a great day.

But the Lake Shift is not just about writing, even though that is the main reason everyone is here.  It is also about creating a community of graduate students.  This is what I love so much about these writing retreats, we have mathematicians talking with social scientists, lawyers talking with engineers, health professionals talking with students in the humanities and everyone just getting along.

Today I saw people swimming, canoeing, chatting, playing volleyball, playing bocce, cycling, running, heading out to Cow Island across the newly built boardwalk (thanks Rod), but most of all enjoying the camaraderie and conversation of fellow graduate students.  Did I mention it was a great day?  Yes and it was a great day.

The Facts
  • Mozzie bites – a few more today
  • Bonfires – one fantastically big one
  • Number of marshmallow eaten – whatever was left over from last night
  • Number of achievements – looking good
Day 1

Wow, what do you get when you have 50 students from 14 Ontario Universities at one venue? You get the second annual Lake Shift. A writing retreat for graduate students up at Queen’s University Biological Centre at Lake Opinicon. Yes it was here before we knew it and what a pleasure it was to meet the new group of Lake Shifters.

The day started with an awesome list of who was arriving when and by what mode of transport – train, bus, shuttle and car. Of course no matter how good the schedule is, you can guarantee that something won’t go quite to plan. But never fear, we at the Lake Shift can handle all sorts of adversity and so why not start day 1. Let’s see we had those who thought the Lake was just on the eastern outskirts of Toronto – sorry but let’s try another 3.5-4 hours east of Toronto (must remember to add that to the memo next year).  Then there were those who had connection problems and so missed the bus to Toronto. But that was not going to hold them back, they stated their case in no uncertain terms that they must get to Kingston and the Lake Shift tonight and they did! Then there was the inconvenient road blocks holding up traffic and of course the – I think we are lost!  Where are you I ask?  We are in the jungle!

After settling in, some of the gang went to check out the swimming holes – the beach, the diving dock and the boat dock. There are others of course, but with the water temperature in the early 20s (or so Aaron said), I think these are going to be full of recreational Lakeshifters. 

So as you can see, the Lake Shift is already an event with lots of opportunities and drama.  Don’t worry though, our Lakeshifters are a hardy lot – just make a fire and give them some marshmallows and they are ready for anything.

Tomorrow the writing begins.  They have had their pep talk from Associate Dean Marta Straznicky, their free Lake Shift t-shirt (complements of Queen’s Campus Bookstore) and are settled in to their cabins.  Let’s hope the weather cooperates as I can feel this is going to be a great Lake Shift.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s glimpse of the Lake Shift. Did I forget - #thelakeshift

The Facts
  • Deer sightings – at least 1
  • Mama and baby turkey sightings – 1
  • Number of Lakeshifters lost – 2
  • Number of Lakeshifters not arriving quite at the time they thought they would – just about all of them
  • Number of marshmallows eaten on the first night – hmm at lease the first bag.
  • Number of swimming holes played in to date – 0!

Be sure to Tweet us with any photos using the hashtag #thelakeshift, and follow SGS on twitter at @queensgradstudy

Tags: News

Translating Experience Through Research and Creativity

Mon, 07/17/2017 - 10:22
Kaziwa Salih

PhD candidate, Cultural Studies

Kaziwa Salih

Translating Experience Through Research and Creativity

by Dinah Jansen, July 2017

“Think loudly, share broadly,” Kaziwa Salih beams as she reflects on her greatest passions-her love of learning, and her desire to give voices to the voiceless.

A second-year PhD candidate in Cultural Studies, Salih’s research combines cultural theory and genocide studies to explore interconnections between the everyday culture of ordinary people and state policies.  She also seeks to advance knowledge of power relations within the structures of human behaviour.

Salih’s inspirations are deeply personal.  Born in Iraqi Kurdistan, she witnessed violence during the Kurdish Genocide. She experienced further victimization when she moved to Toronto in 2003 because, as her research makes explicit, cultures of violence are transmitted between generations and across national boundaries.

Her experiences motivate her work ethic: “I’m an intensive worker,” Salih says, noting that her experience occupies most facets of her research and creative work.

Salih’s experiences and passion for research has also found outlets and accolades in creative culture and activism.  She has edited two Kurdish magazines, written 12 fiction and non-fiction books, and she won the Amita Festival Award for Literature in Italy and the Naguib Mahfouz Award for the Novel and Short Story from Egypt’s Nagham Institute.  In 2014, Salih was appointed PEN Writer-in-Residence at George Brown College.

Her interest in Yazidi women captured and enslaved by ISIS in Northern Iraq in 2014 has also found outlets in her numerous presentations, her work with Amnesty International and the Board of the United Nations Association in Canada.  Salih also founded and now chairs the Canada Anti-Genocide Project.

Soon, Salih’s work will take her abroad once more.  This summer, she will go to Paris, France to conduct further research thanks to the David Edney Research Travel Award, which she won through an annual Faculty of Arts and Science competition.

“I’m very busy with research,” Salih remarks, which she admits makes it difficult for her to finish several ongoing fictional works.  But she continues to cultivate that crucial graduate work-life balance.

“Finding a balance is key,” she says, but it’s a challenge Salih is ever keen to accept.

“Academic work can make things too realistic and disconnected from the fictional world.” In her view, experience is best expressed though imagination, not academic theories or methodology.

Salih’s graduate research brings a critical new analytical lens to the scholarship on genocide, but her creative work also give voices to the voiceless. She consistently casts Yazidi women, children, and everyday victimized peoples into her stories in ways that further illuminate Kurdish culture, society, politics, and violence more broadly.

Salih credits the Cultural Studies program for enabling interaction with diverse colleagues working on interdisciplinary topics.

“You learn so much from other people and their perspectives on culture, however one perceives it.”

Indeed, culture has no precise definition, as Salih explains.  “I would describe culture as an umbrella that addresses all the aspects of human life and human nature.”

In this regard, Salih believes we all have different views of culture and we all have unique things to contribute to it.  Culture, “is not only a broad field of study, it is everywhere.”

This is good news for anyone interested in doing research in the Cultural Studies program. “There is a space for you here,” Salih emphatically states, since “all topics and interests can be related to or traced back to culture in some way.”

“What is important,” she suggests, is that students “find their own perspectives, their own approaches, and eventually make their own mark.”

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Responding to Climate Change Scenarios

Fri, 07/14/2017 - 10:15
Carolyn DeLoyde

PhD candidate in Geography

Responding to Climate Change Scenarios

by Natalia Mukhina

July, 2017

Carolyn DeLoyde had no doubt about which university to apply to when pursuing her PhD. “Queen’s offers an exceptional graduate program in geography and the planning field, with a multi-faceted and multi-disciplinary approach to planning. It is a unique one,” explains DeLoyde, an accomplished professional with more than 20 years of experience in planning and area development. She is striving for a long-term career in academia, and a PhD from Queen’s, according to Carolyn, would be the best qualification for her academic path.

Carolyn’s dissertation will explore quantifying ecosystem services to enhance the use of Natural Heritage Systems (NHS) in responding to climate change. Under the supervision of Dr. Warren Mabee, Carolyn will focus on the Region of Halton’s NHS as a case study for her research. The Halton region is part of the Golden Horseshoe, one of the fastest growing areas in all of Canada. Carolyn is well-versed in that area because she acted as the Senior Planner - Ecology and Senior Environmental Planner at the Region of Halton for two Official Plan reviews. It is no surprise then, when she says she feels at home there.

Kingston is another place where Carolyn feels at home. Originally from North Bay, she graduated from Queen’s in 1992 with her Master’s of Planning in the School of Urban and Regional Planning. “I dreamt of taking my love of geography, which is a love of the land, and applying it in a career where I would be able to deal with the land. Queen’s gave me the chance to combine physical geography, human geography, and urban planning as a part of the master’s program,” recalls Carolyn.

“Those courses provided me with such a solid professional background that I have been employed ever since my graduation. I rose very quickly from assistant planner to planner and senior planner, and so did all my classmates. This is all owing to our Queen’s Master’s in Planning.” Carolyn is also an instructor at Nipissing University and loves to see students become engaged in geography and planning and when they say they would like to become a planner.

“It is a wonderful profession that enables you to be outside and inside, with residents and politicians, working with scientists and practitioners. As a planner, you get to meet a variety of people. You always engage with the community and help make the community what it ends up being,” says Carolyn passionately.

Now, as a PhD candidate, Carolyn employs what she took from her career as a planner in the Region of Halton and brings that experience to the higher level of conceptualization. Thinking back on Halton, she speaks gratefully about all the professionals she used to work with there. “We were able to put in place some NHS through an Official Plan review, which is a planning process. We identified areas that are performing various ecological functions, and indicated the level of protection needed to keep those areas on the landscape in perpetuity,” says Carolyn. Most strikingly, such an ecosystem can provide the residents a variety of benefits to react to climate change.

“There is a range of various climate change scenarios that could be happening in terms of, for instance, variations in temperature and rainfall,” explains Carolyn, and adds that municipalities can respond to climate change just by keeping those green areas on the landscape.

Among other research goals, Carolyn intends to define how to manage ecosystem services to optimize the ability of NHS to respond to climate change scenarios. How to improve NHS management to ensure that critical ecosystem services can be delivered on the landscape? And how are ecosystems services currently managed or assessed during the development of NHS? “Climate change is one of the biggest issues facing the planet today. And everyone needs to do their part. Both municipalities and residents can contribute to assisting in responding to climate change.”

Using the case study method as presented in the works by Robert Yin seems to be a perfect way to deal with planning applications and matters. Borrowing such a research strategy, Carolyn will undertake an analysis of the Halton region planning documents and other sources that apply to the Halton region. She will conduct interviews and surveys with NHS stakeholders. “Everything converged there. That what makes Halton such a great case study,” says Carolyn.

When asked about the practical implications of the research, Carolyn shares her ideas about making changes to some institutional mechanisms, such as the Ontario Planning Act, the Environmental Assessment Guidelines and others. She also hopes to write a manual for planners and practitioners that will bridge theory and practice in the field of planning.

Carolyn finds it challenging to make all her ideas manageable and valid in the depth required at the PhD level. Undeterred, she works hard and believes in her special “Queen’s luck”. “I graduated with my master’s during Queen’s 150th anniversary. I even won a lottery to see Prince Charles and Princess Diana come here to celebrate!” she recalls with a smile. “When I got back, I really subscribed to life-long learning. It happened during Queen’s 175th anniversary, and it is definitely a good sign for me.”

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Join The Conversation

Wed, 07/12/2017 - 10:44
Join The Conversation

There is a new and exciting tool for you to promote your scholarship. Announced in the Gazette, Queen’s has signed on as a founding member of The Conversation Canada, a daily independent news and analysis online publication delivering expertise from the academic and research community directly to the public.

The Conversation platform offers explanatory journalism written by researchers – illuminating news with academic expertise and introducing new ideas. Launched in Australia in 2011, 30,000-plus academics from 2,065 institutions worldwide are registered as contributing authors. Canada is the 6th national affiliate of the global network.

Impact and Engagement

Queen’s has joined the The Conversation because it is a proven tool for promotion and knowledge mobilization. For example, the data show that 60 per cent of authors are contacted for media follow up, 14 per cent are contacted for conference presentations, and 16 per cent are contacted to engage in research collaboration. Furthermore, the proprietary state-of-the-art distributed content model and content management system provides real-time analytics for both researchers and member universities.

The Conversation website attracts 4.8M visits per month, and reaches 35M through Creative Commons licensing. Readership includes policymakers, journalists, academics, businesspeople, influencers, students and others in search of informed, fact-based analysis. Over 22,000 media outlets around the world repurpose content from The Conversation, including The Washington Post, Maclean’s, Le Monde, The Guardian, Time Magazine and The Hindu.

The Conversation will increase access of Queen’s researchers to new national and global communications channels and journalism organizations. It will also bring prominence to, and demonstrate the impact of, Queen’s research in a variety of areas – from society and culture, science and technology, to the arts and health studies.

How to get involved

PhD students can write for The Conversation Canada. Master’s candidates can also be published if they are writing as a co-author with a current researcher or academic. To register as an author, you are invited to visit The Conversation website to complete an author profile and pitch you ideas. Researchers can also work with their faculty communications team or the central Queen’s communications team to be connected with an editor.

We encourage you to take advantage of this partnership and to use this tool as an active form of research promotion and knowledge mobilization for your scholarship.

More information can be found on queensu.ca/gazette/media or in the attached “How to write for The Conversation” guide. Should you have any questions about The Conversation model or how to get involved, please do not hesitate to contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives at knoxm@queensu.ca or ext. 79653.

Tags: News

International students offered taste of grad studies at Queen’s

Tue, 07/11/2017 - 09:54
International students offered taste of grad studies at Queen’s

This article originally appeared in the Queen’s Gazette.

Monday July 10, 2017
By Wanda Praamsma, Queen's Gazette Senior Communications Officer

Students from around the globe got a glimpse of life as a graduate student at Queen’s at a recent event held through the School of Graduate Studies (SGS).

Every summer, SGS invites students participating in the Mitacs Globalink international research internships to visit Queen’s and Kingston. During their day-long visit, the undergraduate students – who are spending the summer working on research projects at various Canadian universities (including Queen’s) – take a campus tour, meet with graduate students and professors from various fields, and take a trolley bus tour through Kingston.

“It’s an opportunity for them to learn about research opportunities at Queen’s and the advantages of studying and living in Kingston,” says Kim McAuley, Acting Vice-Provost and Dean, SGS.

Several international students visited Queen's last week, exploring graduate studies options, and touring campus and Kingston (with Kingston Trolley Tours, above). 

“The interns make personal connections with our faculty and current graduate students so they can envision studying as future master’s or PhD students at Queen’s. The interns see that current international graduate students are working on interesting research projects with talented professors. Globalink helps Queen’s attract top international graduate students with external funding from Mitacs.”

For Daniela Iribe Gonzalez, the Queen’s visit was a chance to explore Queen’s research program and see if it would be a good fit for her and her studies in geodetic engineering.

“I’d heard that Queen’s is really good at research. I enjoy the research and I want to do more,” says Ms. Iribe Gonzalez, a student from Mexico who is spending the summer on a Globalink internship at the University of Ottawa. While she hasn’t made any decisions on where she’ll apply to graduate school, she was impressed with what Queen’s offers. “People are very welcoming and the campus is beautiful,” she says.

Jiaqi Chen, from China, is currently a research intern at Queen’s, working with Professor Mark Daymond in Mechanical and Materials Engineering. He’s considering graduate studies in Canada, but has yet to make any firm application decisions.

“I’ve only been here about 10 days. The work I’m doing is different than I expected, but it’s interesting,” he says. “I find Kingston and Queen’s to be a quiet and beautiful place. Life is slower here than in China and the people are very nice. I’ve never been abroad before, and my English is not always great, but so far, I think everyone understands me and they have been helpful."

In total, Queen’s hosted seven Mitacs research interns and 13 undergraduate Globalink students from other universities at the event. Currently, seven Mitacs Graduate Research Fellows study at Queen’s, and this summer, the university is hosting nine undergraduate Globalink research interns. Many of them attended the event as well. More info about the organization’s internships and scholarships is available on their website.

Through existing and developing research collaborations, student mobility programs, and international activities at home, Queen’s continues to expand its global reach and offer students and researchers a diverse and enriching environment that pushes their thinking and offers them opportunities to create a lasting impact on their communities, and the world as a whole. Learn more on the International website.

Tags: News