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A taste of Canadian culture and politics

"Australian students participating in Queen’s Political Studies Summer Institute hold a Canadian flag as they stand in front of Niagara Falls"
Students from Australian National University participating in Queen’s Political Studies Summer Institute (QPSSI) hold a Canadian flag as they visit Niagara Falls. (Supplied Photo)

An innovative program in Canada, Queen’s Political Studies Summer Institute (QPSSI) recently welcomed 10 students from Australian National University (ANU) to participate in a hands-on learning experience, studying the political landscape of Canada.

"Tri-Colour Globe"
Queen's In the World

The program, now in its second year, was developed by Jonathan Rose (Political Studies) and master’s student, Elisha Corbett.

“QPSSI is truly a unique experience because it is the first political studies institute in Canada. It’s also unique compared to other political studies institutes in North America in that its primary learning objective is a hands-on learning experience,” says Ms. Corbett.

The program, which ran this summer from June 30 to July 15, combined a lecture-style education with the benefits of interactive learning through field trips that complemented the material. The students learned about the Canadian political system before being taken on a parliamentary tour of Ottawa, and likewise were versed in Quebec nationalism before visiting Old Montreal. At the completion of the program, students return to their home institution with the equivalent of a Queen’s one term credit in Canadian Politics.

“After doing research on other summer institute programs in Canada, I realized they all lacked the fundamental component of experiencing Canada in a hands-on way,” says Ms. Corbett, “I felt compelled to create a program where Canada’s unique narrative and history could be learned without a textbook.”

The benefits of experiential learning in a cross-cultural capacity are not lost on the student participants.

“Because I have always lived in Australia, as much as I would like to say I’m well versed in the world, my world view is somewhat narrow,” says Kelvin Chen, a first-year political science and philosophy major from ANU and participant in this summer’s QPSSI program. “This program fit well into my university agenda in terms of being able to expand my world view along the lines of my academic and personal growth pursuits.”

“What attracted me most to this program was the cultural experience and knowing that a cross-cultural exchange is the best way to understand a new culture, through immersion,” adds Leah Huang, another ANU participant.

Of particular interest to the students was the first hand contact with Canada’s binational culture.

“As an Australian, it’s very interesting to me that both Canada and Australia are remnants of the British Commonwealth and so I was excited to draw the similarities of our cultures. What surprised me was the strength of the francophone culture in Canada. It was interesting to see the contrast of francophone and anglophone culture in one country. That was a bit of a culture shock,” says Mr. Chen.

“I understand Canada’s French and British colonial differences, but Canada has been federated for 150 years now, so the fact that Quebecers are so patriotic about their French heritage is very unique, I believe,” agrees Ms. Huang.

Ultimately, what Ms. Corbett and her team hope for the program is that the students come away with not just a credit, but a renewed idea of what Canada is and how Canadian politics work.

“I hope that the program challenges their preconceived notions of Canada,” says Emilio Frometa, a master’s student in Queen’s Industrial Relations and a QPSSI staff member. “Although Canada as a whole has its divides, we are blessed to be blanketed on the world stage by a narrative of Canada as a friendly peace-keeping nation. It’s important to really learn about and engage with the institutions of Canada as a unique country and not just a stereotype, and my hope is that the students form their own opinions about Canadian politics and Canada’s role in the world.”

More information on the institute and its programming, is available online.

Internationalization is one of the four pillars of the Queen’s University Strategic Framework 2014–2019. The Comprehensive International Plan was launched in August 2015 to help the university build on its international strengths and direct future internationalization efforts. The plan’s goals include strengthening Queen’s international research engagement and creating more opportunities for student mobility through academic exchange and study-abroad programs. The plan also aims to attract high-quality international students to Queen’s and to increase international educational opportunities on Queen’s campus. Learn more on the International website.

World-class research facility receives funding

SNOLAB receives provincial funding worth $28.8 million.

Today, at Science North, Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Innovation and Science, announced $28.8 million in provincial funding over the next five years to support the operation of the Queen’s-affiliated, SNOLAB, a world-class international facility for deep underground science. The laboratory is located two kilometres underground in the Vale Creighton mine in Sudbury.

"Provincial government and Queen's University representatives announce funding for SNOLAB"
John Fisher, Interim VP (Research), Minister Reza Moridi and SNOLAB director Nigel Smith (Physics) explored the underground laboratory prior to the funding announcement.

“SNOLAB is a world-renowned underground laboratory specializing in neutrino and dark matter physics, and our government is proud to continue supporting this important research,” says Minister Moridi. “Through investments in facilities like SNOLAB, Ontario is paving the way for future discoveries that can add to our understanding of the universe, as well as strengthening our province's competitive edge."

Born out of the Queen’s-led Sudbury Neutrino Observatory – for which Queen’s Professor Arthur McDonald was named the co-recipient of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics – SNOLAB is one of only a handful of underground laboratories worldwide capable of supporting the current and future generations of subatomic and astroparticle physics experiments, seeking to unlock the mysteries of the universe.

The work conducted as part of the SNO collaboration and subsequently at SNOLAB has led to groundbreaking results cementing Canada’s, and Queen’s, reputation as a world leader in the field.  Building on this history of success, Queen’s is home to Gilles Gerbier, the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Particle Astrophysics. SNOLAB continues to attract top-flight scientific collaborations, including the Canadian Particle Astrophysics Research Centre (CPARC).

"SNOLAB neutrino detector"
A researcher works deep underground in Sudbury.

"The provincial support for operations is crucial to Ontario's leadership in high impact fundamental research, the long-term competitiveness of Canada’s research facilities and affiliated universities such as Queen’s,” says John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “The work happening at SNOLAB has, and will continue to have, a real and substantial impact on how we detect and understand the fundamental components of our universe, with a remarkable potential for wide spread impact.”

The funds will be used to employ the 96 staff at SNOLAB and support the operations and maintenance of our world-leading facilities, allowing Canadian researchers and their international partners to undertake world-class research into astroparticle physics, nuclear and particle physics, astronomy, genomics and mining innovation.

“SNOLAB is really delighted to be the recipient of continued operational funding from the Ontario Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science,” says Nigel Smith (Physics), SNOLAB director. “Coupled with support from the federal government and in-kind support from Vale, our mining hosts, the $28.8 million award from the ministry will allow continued operations at SNOLAB over the next five years. This will allow us to attract and support world-leading experiments and researchers to Northern Ontario and maintain Canadian leadership within the global deep underground research community."

For more information on SNOLAB visit the website.

About SNOLAB

SNOLAB is an underground science laboratory specializing in neutrino and dark matter physics. Located two kilometres below the surface in the Vale Creighton Mine located near Sudbury Ontario Canada, SNOLAB is an expansion of the existing facilities constructed for the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) solar neutrino experiment. SNOLAB’s member institutions include Queen’s University, Carleton University, Laurentian University, Université de Montréal and the University of Alberta. Researchers at these institutions are active participants in the SNOLAB research program.

Taking a closer look at who's studying online

Arts and Science Online (ASO) continues to grow at Queen’s, both in terms of courses and enrolment.

"Arts and Science Online Survey Results Graphic"
The second annual survey by Arts and Science Online provides a clearer picture of who is taking Queen's online courses and why. Click on image to enlarge.

Currently offering 125 fully online courses in three academic terms, ASO recently conducted its second annual survey to gain a clearer picture of who is taking these courses and why.

A total of 154 respondents participated in the survey and provided information ranging from age and gender to why they chose online studies at Queen’s .

Among the findings is that the majority of online students are female, making up 78 per cent, while those identifying as gender neutral increased to two per cent. The average age was found to be 33 years old while nearly 60 per cent of respondents were working full time.

The survey also revealed that the two main reasons for the respondents continuing their education through online studies were “to support a career change” at 36 per cent and “to finish or upgrade a degree” at 26 per cent. The results also showed an increase in the number of students who already have post-secondary education to 90 per cent, including 48 per cent with a college diploma, 11 per cent with a bachelor’s degree and six per cent with a master’s degree.

Leading the way in terms of why the students chose Queen’s was the university's reputation for quality.

“We know the profile of our distance students is very different from the profile of our on-campus students. We want to ensure our distance students have a great Queen’s experience,” says Bev King, Assistant Dean (Teaching & Learning) for the Faculty of Arts and Science. “Having two years of data now allows us to better understand our students, and enables us to innovate curriculum, make better marketing decisions, and improve our student services.”

Visit the ASO website to learn more about online learning and the courses available.

Record number of first year students to study at the castle

  • For hundreds of Canadian students this upcoming academic year, this will be home - historic Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex, England.
    For hundreds of Canadian students this upcoming academic year, this will be home - historic Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex, England.
  • Imagine this as your classroom as you study history, arts, or science. The Bader International Study Centre is 'a unique and special place to study and work'.
    Imagine this as your classroom as you study history, arts, or science. The Bader International Study Centre is 'a unique and special place to study and work'.
  • Why learn about historic art through a screen when you can see it in person? Students on a field trip visit the Musée Guimet in Paris.
    Why learn about historic art through a screen when you can see it in person? Students on a field trip visit the Musée Guimet in Paris.

With a new school year soon to begin, there is a renewed sense of enthusiasm and pride for staff and faculty at the Bader International Study Centre (BISC). The incoming class for the 2017-18 academic year is 139 first-year Queen’s students – the largest yet – and, with new Vice Provost and Executive Director Hugh Horton having just started his term, the next year looks to be a significant one in the campus’ history.

“This is a unique and special place to study, and to work, and I am excited to be joining the team at the BISC,” says Dr. Horton. “My first priorities include building on our recent strong enrolment performance, expanding our partnerships locally and with the Kingston campus, and continuing to refine and enhance the unique and personal student experience we have established at this campus. I look forward to building on the progress which has been made in recent years.”

Next year will mark 25 years since Queen’s University alumni Alfred Bader (Sc’45, Arts’46, MSc’47, LLD’86) and Isabel Bader (LLD’07) donated Herstmonceux Castle to Queen’s – now known as the Bader International Study Centre. Since then, the castle has undergone renovations, generated many new partnerships, and established itself as a significant and distinct member of the Canadian higher education landscape.

In addition to providing a home and educational campus to about 250 Canadian university students each year, the BISC is involved in a number of other business ventures year-round and additional revenue-generating plans are in the works to help offset the cost of operating the castle. For example, when not in use by students, the site serves as a centre for academic and business conferences, a venue for festivals, weddings, concerts, plays, workshops, and exhibitions, and as a bed-and-breakfast facility and a tourist attraction for visitors. It was recently named one of the top 10 castles in the UK for a family day out by The Guardian

“The BISC is a key part of Queen’s internationalization strategy, supporting the aims of our strategic framework,” says Teri Shearer, Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion). “Our new programs have been very successful, both in terms of attracting excellent students, and in student outcomes.”

In recent years, programming at the BISC has expanded to include a first-year science program in 2015, and a concurrent education (arts) program in 2016. These two programs join the existing first-year arts program, and an international law program. All programs offer a unique educational experience: small class sizes and close contact with professors, an interdisciplinary and community-oriented environment, and the opportunity for experiential learning activities in an international setting, whether at the castle or in sites across Europe.

“The field studies offered while I was studying art history at the castle were truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, and being lectured in front of the historic paintings I was studying were some of the most amazing academic experiences I have ever had,” Maddi Andrews (Artsci’19) said in a recent news article, reflecting on her experience learning about Claude Monet’s “Water Lillies” series.

To learn more about the BISC, visit queensu.ca/bisc.

A musical tribute to Canada

[Four Seasons of the Canadian Flag, painted by Maxwell Newhouse]
Four Seasons of the Canadian Flag, painted by Maxwell Newhouse.

Over the years, John Burge, composer and professor of composition and theory at the Dan School of Drama and Music, has created several pieces that bring various aspects of the Canadian experience to life.

His latest work pays tribute to Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation and is a joint commission by the National Youth Orchestra of Canada (NYOC), the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra and The Kingston Symphony Orchestra. It is called Four Seasons of the Canadian Flag, and it’s based upon four paintings of the same name created by Maxwell Newhouse in 1975 to mark the 10th anniversary of the Canadian flag.

The original artwork focuses attention on the iconic maple leaf in the centre of the Canadian flag as it progresses through the four seasons: beginning in full summer splendor with the normal rending of the flag; the leaf falling in the autumn canvas; absent in winter; and returning anew in spring as a small sprig.

Not a complex painting perhaps, but the impact is clear.

IN HIS OWN WORDS
For more on the creative process and inspiration behind John Burge’s composition Four Seasons of the Canadian Flag, read his first-hand reflection published in The Conversation.

“It’s such a simple concept,” Dr. Burge says, “but one that resonates deeply with many people who view it for the first time.”

Dr. Burge was tasked with writing two versions of the piece – one for a large Romantic orchestra and another for a smaller orchestra. Written together, Dr. Burge has spent much time over the past two and a half years creating the piece to reflect the artwork and meet the requirements of the commissioners.

Mr. Newhouse has shown complete support for Burge’s musical interpretation of his artwork and even painted two new smaller versions of Four Seasons of the Canadian Flag for Dr. Burge, including one that currently adorns the wall of his office in Harrison-LeCaine Hall. Throughout the music-writing process, actually having the artwork at hand provided many points of inspiration as well as a reminder of the task ahead.

“I don’t think Max intended this, but the subconscious effect of having his artwork in my home and university office meant that every time I looked at the painting, I was reminded that I had to get composing the music even if I really didn’t have time on that particular day to work it,” he says. 

The smaller orchestra piece premiered on May 13 in Saskatoon, while the Kingston performance is set for October 22 at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. The NYOC will perform the larger scoring of the piece three times during its summer tour: July 20 in Stratford; July 23 in Montreal (which will be recorded by CBC for broadcast on a later date); and August 13 in Nanaimo. 

After taking in the premiere performance in Saskatchewan, Dr. Burge feels confident that the message that he found in the painting comes through in the music as well.

“Canada is a big country with lots of nationalities, ethnicities, and Indigenous peoples, and yet in composing this work I was struck with the thought that there are perhaps two things underlying the music that most Canadians can agree upon," he says. "First, there is a strong sense of pride in the maple leaf as a beautiful emblem for our country. Secondly, we seem preoccupied with the weather and, by extension, the changing seasons. Dealing with the environment and making the most of what can be both a harsh and nurturing climate seems a particularly Canadian trait. To have a piece of music that combines the flag with the seasons is, I think, a perfect pairing.”

Dr. John Burge

And while it was a labor of love there were challenges along the way.

Foremost, Dr. Burge explains, is that the piece could not be longer than 20 minutes in order to fit the NYOC’s programming demands. With four movements in the range of five minutes each, he struggled to meet the target and with the deadline just months away he still had too much music. 

Then he had a breakthrough.

“It was around Christmas time, and I still had all the sketches spread out on my piano. I had been playing through the piece for six months, basically finished, and I still had a minute and a half to two minutes extra,” he says. “I just knew that I had to go back and make cuts – an often painstaking process for any artist. The 'eureka' moment occurred when I realized that since summer is the most precious and shortest time that we experience, I had to make it the shortest movement as well. Instead of making little cuts to all four movements I took a big pair of scissors to summer which now clocks in at three minutes and 30 seconds, or even shorter if the conductor and players are really inspired to play quickly. As a result, I could keep the slightly longer movements that remained intact and the entire piece takes just under 20 minutes. If I’m proud of anything it’s that I was able to make the piece stay within the 20-minute goal.”

For more information about the musical creation of Four Seasons of the Canadian Flag, visit John Burge’s website. 

The July 23 Montreal performance at Maison Symphonique will be streamed live and later archived on CBC.

Mean green protein

 'Team Duckweed' features, from left, Alex Stothart, Hana Chaudhury, Gilad Streiner, Santiago Spencer, and Rachel Amirault. These five Queen's students are participating in the Queen's Innovation Connector Summer Initiative, which is helping to kickstart their business. (Supplied Photo)

It’s full of protein and fibre. It’s a leafy green, and a rich source of Vitamin A and B. It’s a hearty plant – you could even say it grows like a weed.

The one remaining question on the mind of Queen’s students Hana Chaudhury (Comm’18), Rachel Amirault (Sc’18), Gilad Streiner (Artsci’17, Sc’17), Alex Stothart (Sc’18), and Santi Spencer (Sc’18) is: would you like to try some duckweed?

“We initially came across duckweed as a commercial opportunity from [an industry trend report] that highlighted alternative, plant-based protein sources,” explains Hana. “After conducting research, we were surprised – and delighted – to find that duckweed as food is a largely untapped market in North America. We saw it as both a great market opportunity, and as a chance to provide a much more sustainable protein alternative with little sacrifice on nutrition and a lower environmental footprint than most plant-based protein alternatives.”

The members of ‘Team Duckweed’ are currently participating in the Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI), a summer-long bootcamp for budding entrepreneurs. They are using the time, and the feedback of QICSI mentors, to validate their market, conduct tests, research their product, and design the system that will eventually help them grow their crop. Hana and the team are grateful for the opportunity they have had through the QICSI program to learn these lessons and develop their business in a safe environment.

A successful expedition to gather duckweed. The next place you see it may be a store shelf near you. (Supplied Photo).

“It’s an unparalleled opportunity for young people interested in entrepreneurship,” says Hana. “We have loved having the feedback from mentors who have worked in this field and have a wealth of knowledge to provide us with, as well as the quality of the speakers and entrepreneurship education the program has provided. We quickly built a strong community with the rest of our cohort, and seeing everyone’s hard work definitely fuels the competitive fire and has pushed us to work harder.”

But, of course, before their business gets off the ground there’s that million dollar question: how does it taste?

“We have tried duckweed in small quantities and, to us, it tasted like nothing,” adds Hana. “Granted, when we taste it in larger quantities we will probably get a better sense of its taste profile. We initially began with the idea of developing a taste neutral nutritional powder that could be added to any meal in small quantities. We are exploring some other options such as incorporating it into a sauce, breads, or another food product, but are still in the process of researching what end-product consumers will gravitate towards most.”

QICSI runs until mid-August, and ‘Team Duckweed’ is one of eight teams participating in this year’s bootcamp. Learn more about QICSI at queensu.ca/innovationcentre

The next superfood? A photo of duckweed harvested by 'Team Duckweed'. (Supplied Photo)

 

Last chance to see New Eyes on the Universe exhibit

The New Eyes on the Universe exhibit – featuring the groundbreaking work of Queen's Professor Emeritus and Nobel Laureate Art McDonald, and his team at SNOLAB – will be on view at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre for one more week, until July 9.

The interactive exhibit highlights the discoveries of the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) project. Dr. McDonald shared the 2015 Nobel Prize in physics for this experiment, which proved that solar neutrinos change their flavour en route to Earth, an important discovery for explaining the nature of matter and the structure of the universe.

Created by SNOLAB with Science North, this touring installation in the Agnes atrium features a special component for the Queen's setting: a real-time cloud chamber that makes visible some of the subatomic particles that continually bombard us.

Admission is free. More information available in the Gazette or on the Agnes website.

Blazing a trail in Aboriginal studies

When it comes to courses in Aboriginal studies at Queen’s University, many of the paths, both past and present, lead to Bob Lovelace (Global Development Studies).

The originator of on-campus, blended and online courses, as well as playing an advisory role in the creation of the new Indigenous Studies Minor, Mr. Lovelace is the founding manager for the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre and, with others, an initiator of the Annual Aboriginal Studies Symposium at Queen’s.

[Bob Lovelace]
Bob Lovelace (Global Development Studies) is the 2016 recipient of the Educational Leadership Award, one of six Principal's Teaching and Learning Awards. (Supplied Photo) 

For playing a leading role in teaching, mentoring, and building the profile of Indigenous issues for more than 20 years, Mr. Lovelace received the 2016 Educational Leadership Award, one of the six Principal’s Teaching and Learning Awards.

In receiving feedback from students for the course he teaches, Mr. Lovelace finds it encouraging to hear that they have not only gained more knowledge about Aboriginal history and culture but about themselves as well.

“The best thing that I hear is that when students take an Aboriginal studies course they are really challenged because this is not like most courses,” he says. “With Aboriginal studies there are a lot of preconceived notions about Aboriginal people. There are a lot of stereotypes about Aboriginal people and their circumstances, and a lot of that is challenged for students. So the best thing that I hear when students take one of these courses is they say ‘You know, I learned a lot about Aboriginal people that I didn’t know, but I also learned a lot about myself and because of that I am actually a better Canadian.’”

During his time at Queen’s, Mr. Lovelace has developed two on-campus courses – Introduction to Aboriginal Studies (DEVS 220) and Topics in Aboriginal Studies (DEVS 221) –  as well as Re-Indigenization of People and Environments (DEVS 480), a highly-innovative experiential course that blends online learning, in-class preparation and land-based pedagogy, involving two weeks of living on the land.

DEVS 220 and DEVS 221 are also required elements for the Indigenous Studies Minor. The commitment and interest he has witnessed in the students taking the minor are encouraging, Mr. Lovelace adds.

“I work with a lot of the students involved in taking the minor and it is something that they really wanted, not just because it’s going to get them ahead in the world but because it says something about their character, says something about their ability to try to understand the world they live in better,” he says. “They’re really diligent and I guess that’s the thing that really impressed me, that the students who take the minor and the courses are really diligent about getting what they can out of it.”

The Principal’s Teaching and Learning Awards, created in 2015, recognize individuals and teams who have shown exceptional innovation and leadership in teaching and learning on campus. The awards are administered by the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL).

The Educational Leadership Award acknowledges and celebrates exemplary educational leadership of a faculty member, staff member or student, demonstrated through initiatives that have a significant and positive impact on teaching and learning at a departmental, faculty, student and/or institutional level.

Nominations for the 2017 award are currently being accepted. All nominations should be sent electronically in PDF form to ctl@queensu.ca no later than Tuesday, Aug. 1, by 4 pm. For more information about the award and the nomination form and process, visit the CTL website.

Two 2017 Queen’s National Scholars announced

Queen's University’s Faculty of Arts and Science will gain two prominent new academics following successful applications to the Queen’s National Scholar (QNS) program.

“The QNS program is designed to enrich teaching and research, especially in newly developing fields of knowledge, and is an important initiative supporting our faculty renewal efforts,” says Benoit-Antoine Bacon, Provost and Vice Principal (Academic). “The Principal and I extend our warmest welcome and congratulations to both Dr. Isabelle St-Amand and Dr. Michael Doxtater, our newest Queen’s National Scholars. Both will contribute significantly to our scholarship in the areas of Indigenous studies and culture, a growing need strongly identified in our Truth and Reconciliation Commission report.”

Isabelle St-Amand is one of two new Queen's National Scholars. She will be joining the French Studies and the Languages, Literatures and Cultures​ departments.

Dr. St-Amand received her PhD in 2012 from the Université du Québec à Montréal. Her thesis investigated the Oka Crisis through the study of lndigenous and non-Indigenous documentary films and narratives, and was published in 2015. She has worked with the leading scholars in migrant literatures on an anthology of critical texts, and a special journal issue on environmental ethics and activism in Indigenous film and literature. Dr. St-Amand has a proven record of working collaboratively with Indigenous organizations to develop her research.

As a QNS in Aboriginal and Migrant Literatures, Dr. St-Amand will fill a critical need in the departments of French Studies and Languages, Literatures and Cultures to enhance the scholarship of Aboriginal Francophone Literature, and will provide a strong link to Aboriginal Anglophone Literature. She brings with her an impressive teaching dossier that includes teaching at three universities, and will contribute significantly to the new graduate program in Transcultural & Linguistics Studies. Dr. St-Amand will start at Queen's in July.

“I am excited about the research and teaching opportunities that are opening for me at Queen’s,” says Dr. St-Amand. “This opportunity aligns perfectly with my area of research, so I could not have dreamed of a better place for continuing my work.”

“On a personal level, I am looking forward to exploring the city of Kingston and the surrounding environment,” she adds. “I love the way the water is present all around the city. I hope to find opportunities to swim, do outdoor activities in the region, and try the beautiful night skating rink at the city hall in the winter.”

Michael Doxtater is one of two new Queen's National Scholars. He will be joining the Languages, Literatures and Cultures and Global Development Studies departments.

Dr. Doxtater is an award-winning documentarian and scholar of international stature. A member of the Haudenosaunee Nation, and fluent in Kanyen'keha (Mohawk), Dr. Doxtater has both a deeply-rooted understanding of traditional oral knowledge and a clearly articulated vision for the future of lndigenous Studies at Queen's. Involved in grassroots organizing around environmental protection, he is highly regarded as an art practitioner, community activist, educator, strategic planner, and administrator. He possesses extensive professional and scholarly experience in addition to his status as a healer and mediator within his own communities. He will be joining the Languages, Literatures and Cultures and the Global Development Studies departments in July.

The university's reputation is part of what attracted Dr. Doxtater to Queen’s.

“When I opened the email and saw it was a posting at Queen's University...It's one of those universities that has a certain place in the higher learning sphere. It is a first-class university,” he says.

His ambition is to develop a Centre of Excellence Dedicated to Aboriginal Recovery (CEDAR) that would place Queen's at the forefront in the growing field of applied, land-based pedagogies.

“Having Queen's be the platform for this initiative makes sense because of the pilot project’s orientation, which is working with the Iroquois community,” he adds. “With their traditional territory stretching from the Montréal area to the Six Nations territory in southern Ontario, we are geographically in the middle.”

In his free time, Dr. Doxtater stays in shape through visits to the gym, daily runs, and Wasáse – a type of tai chi based on Native dance forms. He is working on selling a screenplay he wrote, and plays guitar.

The QNS program was established in 1985. Since then, more than 100 QNS appointments have been made in a wide variety of disciplines, and the appellation of Queen’s National Scholar has become synonymous with academic excellence.

To learn more about the program, click here.

Three students earn DAAD scholarships

For Parisa Abedi Khoozani (MSc’13), by receiving a scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) she will be able to collaborate directly with her project partners at the University of Giessen while also gaining the opportunity to experience a new set of ideas and viewpoints.

[Parisa Abedy Khoozani]
Parisa Abedi Khoozani, a PhD student in the Centre for Neuroscience Studies, is one of three award applicants from Queen’s to receive a scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). (Supplied Photo)

Ms. Abedi Khoozani, a PhD student in the Centre for Neuroscience Studies is one of three award applicants from Queen’s to earn a prestigious study scholarship along with Soren Mellerup, a PhD student in the Department of Chemistry, and Julia Kostin (Artsci’15), who applied after completing her undergraduate degree and is currently pursuing her master’s in sustainable development at Leipzig University.

“Having this level of success, with three Queen’s applicants receiving DAAD scholarships in one year – it’s fantastic, and reflects the excellent caliber of our students,” says Brenda Brouwer, Vice-Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies. “The competition is open to U.S. and Canadian citizens or permanent residents; in other words there’s a lot of competition. A successful applicant demonstrates not only academic excellence, but also leadership potential and a strong plan of study while in Germany. We’re thrilled with the outcome – it’s quite an achievement for these students and for Queen’s.” 

Through the 10-month scholarship Ms. Abedi Khoozani says she will be able to expand and strengthen her collaboration by being able to stay in Germany longer.

Her current research explores how the human brain combines information coming from different sources and how noise can affect this combination process. To expand her understanding, she is aiming to study the effect of noise during obstacle avoidance.

“For me I feel it’s a great opportunity to get more multidisciplinary ideas or different ways of looking at the data, as well as how to interpret it, how to make sense of the underlying mechanisms in the brain,” she says, adding that she will have access to leading researchers as well as various technologies that will allow her to do more advanced modelling. “Honestly, I am very excited because I have an opportunity that I have dreamed about, to have a chance to visit the university, further my research and collaborate with people.”

DAAD is a publicly funded independent organization of higher education institutions in Germany, offering research grants and study scholarships for students with at least a bachelor’s degree to either study or further their research in Germany.

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