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Engineering and Applied Science

Achieving a long-time goal

Queen’s engineering professor delivers prestigious Terzaghi Lecture.

A momentous achievement in a long and distinguished career, Queen’s civil engineering professor R. Kerry Rowe achieved a long-time goal last month when he delivered the Karl Terzaghi Lecture at the invitation of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Geo-Institute.

Dr. Rowe delivered the ASCE Terzaghi Lecture this past March. He described the experience as the achievement of a goal held since his time as a graduate student. (Photo Credit: ASCE/Mark Skalny)

“Ever since I was a graduate student, I felt that being selected to deliver the (British Geotechnical Association’s) Rankine Lecture or the Terzaghi Lecture would signify reaching the peak of the profession,” says Dr. Rowe. “It’s an incredible honour to be selected to present both in the last few years.”

Established in 1963, the lecture is named in honour of Karl von Terzaghi – regarded as the founder of modern scientific soil mechanics. For over two decades, Dr. Rowe has been at the forefront of developing new methods for preventing contaminants from waste disposal and mining sites from affecting surface and groundwater. His work has received countless accolades, including the Killam Prize for Engineering (2004). He has also been elected a Fellow of both the Royal Academy of Engineering (2010) and is the only Canadian civil engineer elected to the Royal Society in the UK. In 2013, the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering honoured him by naming the R. Kerry Rowe Lecture in recognition of his contributions to the formation and development of the discipline of geoenvironmental engineering.

“Dr. Rowe is a pioneer in the field of geosynthetics and has made immeasurable contributions to the development of new technologies and methods to prevent the contamination of water sources by mining and landfill activity,” says Dr. John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “Being invited to deliver this prestigious lecture is indicative of Rowe’s national and international leadership in civil engineering. I wish him my most sincere congratulations.”

While acknowledging that the invitation was a deeply personal honour, Dr. Rowe is quick to highlight the contributions of colleagues as well as past and present graduate students in allowing for the work for which he is most well known.

“Recognitions such as this are not just as a result of my work, but the work of a fantastic set of colleagues that I have at Queen’s and the graduate students I’ve had the privilege of working with over the years,” says Dr. Rowe. “This it’s not just a recognition of me, but of our work together and that a lot of the credit goes to them.”

For more information on the ASCE Karl Terzaghi Lecture, please visit the website.

Engineering an early start

[Queen's Summer Engineering Academy]
Students work on an experiment during last year's Queen's Summer Engineering Academy. For 2017, the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science has introduced a junior program for students entering grades 8 and 9. (Supplied photo)

The Queen’s Summer Engineering Academy (QSEA) is getting bigger and better.

Building on the success of its inaugural camps last year, the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science is offering an expanded program to expose students currently in grades 7 to 12 to the array of possibilities engineering at Queen’s has to offer.

New this year is QSEA Jr., which provides introductory programing for students going into grades 8 and 9 in the fall of 2017. The focus of QSEA Jr. is to introduce students to the basics of engineering design, robotics, and innovation as well as the opportunities available in makerspaces.

Queen’s already has a makerspace in SparQ Studio and more are planned. Makerspaces provide use of equipment and technology that users might otherwise be unable to access such as 3D printers, laser cutters and wide range of electronics, says Scott Compeau, Engineering Outreach Coordinator.

“Through QSEA Course D and QSEA Jr. we are planning to teach students how to use these tools and then apply it in a context where they can solve a problem that is related to something that they have an interest in,” he says. “These are 21st century competencies and skills which are becoming an important topic of discussion in education.”

Mr. Compeau, who has a Master’s degree specializing in Engineering Education with a thesis on high school students’ perception of engineering, adds that the QSEA Jr. program hopefully will act as a feeder or introductory step for the senior QSEA program, which offers a more in-depth and specialized engineering experience.

The QSEA program has also been expanded with two courses running simultaneously during each of the four weeks. Last year’s single course drew a maximum of 24 students each week, however, this year each course is capped at 16 students, allowing for a better student-teacher ratio, Mr. Compeau points out.

Also, each of the courses will explore different disciplines of engineering, such as electrical and computer, mechanical and biomedical engineering, chemical engineering and engineering chemistry, to geological, mining and civil engineering. One course (Course D) will also explore the intersection between engineering, innovation, and entrepreneurship which will be modelled after the successful Queen’s Innovation Connector Summer Initiative (QICSI) program.

QSEA 2016 provided a solid foundation for the programming and this year organizers are looking to build on those successes.

“Among the successes that we heard about through student feedback was that they became a lot more aware and a lot more knowledgeable about various disciplines within engineering and what engineering might be like,” Mr. Compeau says. “Some of the students said they had no idea about the breadth of engineering disciplines and they really enjoyed learning about that. A lot of them, in terms of the hands-on opportunities, really enjoyed doing the practical aspects of engineering in the labs on campus and doing all the experiments. This was an amazing opportunity to showcase the facilities that Queen’s University can offer”

Registration is currently open for both the senior and junior programs.

QSEA is available for four weeks (July 17-21, July 24-28, July 31-Aug. 4, Aug 14-Aug. 18). QSEA Jr. is being hosted for the first three weeks.

Again this year there are commuter and residence options available.

For more information including registration, schedules, and to view videos about the academy, visit the QSEA webpage.

Delivering on the pitch

The Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC) recently handed out a total of $28,000 to six companies that participated in its first-ever regional pitch competition.

“The support of the Dunin and Deshpande Foundations makes it possible to provide this type of financial support to QyourVenture and to support ventures in southeastern Ontario,” says Greg Bavington, Executive Director, Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre.

[Greg Bavington with members of TimberWolf]
TimberWolf Cycles representatives David Timan (Sc'13) and Caitlin Willis (Com'09) receive feedback from Greg Bavington, Executive Director, Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre, during the recent regional pitch competition. (Submitted photo)

DDQIC hosted the regional pitch competition with the goal of supporting early-stage companies based at Queen’s and the surrounding area.

The pitch competition was open to anyone with a business idea who has not already received more than $5,000 in support from DDQIC. The field included several companies from QyourVenutre, an acceleration program which supports Queen’s students who want to take their idea to the next level. QyourVenture accepts companies on a regular basis throughout the school year, giving them access to space and training for their business venture.

The pitch competition was judged by members of the DDQIC Global Network in London, England, who connected via videoconference, along with the DDQIC executive team. Chaired by Heather Christie (Artsci’09), the London branch is supported by 13 Queen’s alumni who come from a variety of different professional and education backgrounds. This branch offers support to DDQIC ventures that want to expand into the UK and the rest of Europe.

The winning ventures at the pitch competition included:

TimberWolf Cycles ($5,000) – The company, founded by David Timan (Sc’13), produces high-performance road bikes made from wood. Using a variety of woods, Mr. Timan has designed a bike that softens road vibration while efficiently delivering power to the road through an exceptionally lightweight frame.

Capteur ($5,000) – A QyourVenture company, Capteur enables building operators and maintenance companies to ensure facilities are always clean and operating according to sustainable environmental practices. Cole MacDonald (Sci’19) and Nathan Mah (MEI’17) founded the cloud-based technology start-up.

Robot Missions ($5,000 plus time in SparQ Studios) – Robot Missions, founded by Erin Kennedy, has developed a 3D-printed robot that collects harmful tiny trash debris from shorelines. The company’s robot workshops enhance STEM education for elementary students by applying robotics to the environment.

Your Mobility Innovations ($4,000) – Founded by Loyalist College students Dylan Houlden and Brett Lyons, the company designs and produces products to improve the lives of people with physical disabilities and the elderly. Mr. Lyon, who was born with cerebral palsy and confined to a wheelchair, had the idea for an adjustable grab bar when he was eight-years-old. The founders are trying to turn that idea into a reality, working with several partners including Queen’s Biomedical Innovations Team, PARTEQ, and Queen’s Business Law Clinic.

Pronura ($4,000) – Pronura plans to commercialize a non-invasive, inexpensive method for testing for multiple neurological diseases at the same time – all with accuracy unseen in any current tests. The test, developed by Dr. Douglas P. Munoz of the Queen’s Eye Movement Laboratory, uses an eye-tracker to detect unique biomarkers associated with multiple neurological diseases. Founders Matthew De Sanctis and Adam Palter met in the Master of Entrepreneurship and Innovation program offered by Smith School of Business.

SŌ Seeds ($3,000 plus in-kind donations from the Department of Chemical Engineering) – The venture aims to disrupt the tree-planting industry by replacing saplings with coated super-seeds. SŌ Seeds was founded by five chemical engineering students as part of their innovation and entrepreneurship course under the mentorship of Jim McLellan, Professor and Academic Director, DDQIC.

SWFT ($2,000) – The start-up focuses on developing portable and wireless charging solutions for festivals, stadiums, transit systems, theme parks, and other venues. The service allows patrons to charge their phones without being tethered to charging stations. Friends Greg Fedele (Com’17) and Anish Sharma (Sc’17) founded the company.

Through a variety of programs, services, and resources, the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre encourages, enables, and supports the innovation activities of students, professors, entrepreneurs, and Canadian companies. More information about the centre is available online.

A passion for harmony

The Innovators, Entrepreneurs, and Collaborators series profiles regional innovations, startups and collaborations that are flourishing and which engage Queen’s faculty, staff and/or students.

[Canarmony]
The tech firm Canarmony has developed a healthcare scheduling tool called MESH. From left: Hassan Nouri, Chief Technology Officer; Dr. Shahram Yousefi, Co-founder, President and CEO; and Ethan Heming, Chief Product Officer. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)

As entrepreneurs go, Shahram Yousefi is a paradox – a “black sheep,” he says. 

Most entrepreneurs seek to strike it rich. First and foremost, the professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Queen’s is looking for solutions to problems. Entrepreneurs are single-minded. Once they have an idea, they clamp on like an angry pit bull, to the exclusion of everything else. He has not one but two seemingly different ideas, both of which he is passionate about. And, in a world where new ideas and products are hailed for their “disruptive” potential, he says that at the root of what he does is “my passion for harmony.”  

Innovation Park is helping him realize it.

Arriving at Queen’s in 2003 (drawn, he says, by the university’s generous policies towards the intellectual property its professors develop and  students who “are strong on the technical but understand the social and business aspects of what they do”), he spent his 2008 sabbatical at Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. 

“It’s a very entrepreneurial school,” he says. “And when I got back I decided I wanted to concentrate more on entrepreneurial projects.” 

To that end he has developed a new entrepreneurial stream within electrical and computer engineering programs dubbed ECE innovation or ECEi. Dr. Yousefi praises Kim Woodhouse, Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, Michael Greenspan, his department head, and Greg Bavington, Executive Director of the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre, for fostering a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. 

Out for a meal with a medical resident friend one evening in 2012 he was shocked when she told him that a young mother and her twins had died because a scheduling mistake meant that a needed specialist was not on duty. 

“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and could not get it out of my head for days,” he says.

Talking to other health care professionals, he learned that medical scheduling was incredibly complicated, but usually done with very simple, and inappropriate, tools like spreadsheets and emails. 

“And communications between the scheduler and the team were very spotty and extremely rudimentary,” Dr. Yousefi says. 

A chief resident of cardiology might spend an entire weekend trying to schedule his or her first-, second- and third-year residents. Add in trying to juggle sick days and holidays and other variables, and there were many possibilities for errors.\

“Because I come from an algorithm background, I knew that these were the hardest problems to deal with in computer science. Difficult but not impossible,” Dr. Yousefi says. “Here was a great chance to create a system that would harmonize doctors’ and other healthcare professionals’ work schedules.” 

He started working on it in 2013, and in 2014 he and his co-founder, Dr. Mohsen Omrani, a medical doctor and neuroscientist, incorporated Canarmony (as in Canadian Harmony – there’s that idea again). 

Yousefi’s solution is a cloud-based scheduling tool called MESH (which combines the initials of the four developers’ first names and says succinctly what the tool does). 

“It meshes staff schedules seamlessly,  at the push of a button,” he says. “You identify whom you need, say so many E.R. nurses and so many residents and with what skills.” 

MESH can even incorporate who wants to work with whom and what shifts they prefer. 

“When the schedule is done, it gets pushed along to everyone in the pool,” he says.

They can access it through iOS and Android mobile apps on their phones, tablets, or via any web browser on any computer. If anything changes, because of sickness or an accident, everybody gets informed in real time. 

“The other thing MESH does is allow people to swap shifts really easily,” Dr. Yousefi says. “Life does not happen on schedule. Just send out a swap request on your phone and someone can take your shift.”

A self-described perfectionist, Yousefi and partners have taken their time developing MESH. Today the company is trialing the app with medical users, including Kingston General Hospital and Hotel Dieu, and plans to launch a new version of the app featuring an “improved Canarmonizer” (as he terms the algorithm) and a “more user-friendly and attractive version of the interface.” Monetization comes next.

“What got us where we are has been the move to Queen’s Innovation Park,” says Dr. Yousefi. “We’ve received lots of help. There are so many examples. We’ve made connections through IRAP and OCE, we’ve had so many networking and learning opportunities in the last six months.

“Not only has it been good for the company as a whole, but our people have benefited individually.” 

With a mission-focused startup like Canarmony, “it is extra important to make sure the team is highly motivated.” Thanks to Canarmony’s involvement in GrindSpaceXL (Innovation Park’s acceleration program for startups that offers them work space and expert advice), “they understood a lot better what we were doing and why. We also worked out where we were not doing things optimally. The amazing team at the Innovation Park harmonized Canarmony even further.”

MESH would be enough to keep most entrepreneurs busy. Not Dr. Yousefi. 

“I teach my students you want to be the sharpest knife – you do one thing and you do it the best. So I am seemingly violating that by launching a second product” called OPTT (for Online Psychotherapy Tool). Many people seek psychotherapy help, but for various reasons – geographic isolation,  personal schedules, cultural or language barriers or  stigma – cannot get it. OPTT lets them access help over the web, connecting them with mental health professionals, and offering tests, cognitive behaviour therapies and exercises, completely confidentially. 

“OPTT creates a clinic-in-the-cloud delivering the latest clinically proven methods of therapy through our proprietary modules,” he says. Still in its early stages, “We want to get hospitals and governments involved. It’s a challenging feat, but I am not here to do something easy.” 

Currently on sabbatical, as well as researching fifth-generation wireless telecommunication systems (5G) at the University of California, Santa Cruz, he is working with his PhD students at Queen’s on mass cloud-based data storage and transmission technologies for high-rate applications such as video. They have one recent U.S. patent filed with one more under review by PARTEQ Innovations (Queen’s commercialization arm) also located at Innovation Park. Dr. Yousefi is also busy “growing a Canarmony subsidiary in the Bay Area, to benefit from, the rich high-tech ecosystem around San Francisco.” 

Dean Woodhouse has also appointed Yousefi faculty liaison to C100, a non-profit association of Canadian business leaders based in the San Francisco Bay Area dedicated to helping Canadian high-tech start-ups and our  next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators. 

“One thing I hear again and again from entrepreneurs and investors is that Canada is the place to be. Toronto, Ottawa, Kingston. They are it. Down here (in the Bay Area), people are not going to offer you the kind of support we have received at Innovation Park, and are still receiving,” Dr. Yousefi says. “So kudos to Janice and the teams at Innovation Park. Deciding to move there has been the single most important decision we have made since Canarmony’s inception."

TRC report brings communities together to change course

  • Janice Hill, Director of Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, speaks with lecturer Nathan Brinklow during Tuesday's event marking the release of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Janice Hill, Director of Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, speaks with lecturer Nathan Brinklow during Tuesday's event marking the release of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Principal Daniel Woolf holds up a copy of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report during Tuesday's event at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Principal Daniel Woolf holds up a copy of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report during Tuesday's event at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Marlene Brant Castellano, Co-Chair of the Aboriginal Council at Queen's University, and Queen's Native Student Association President Lauren Winkler comment on the release of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Marlene Brant Castellano, Co-Chair of the Aboriginal Council at Queen's University, and Queen's Native Student Association President Lauren Winkler comment on the release of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force Co-Chairs Jill Scott, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning), and Mark Green, Professor (Civil Engineering), welcome guests to the event held at Agnes Etherington Art Centre. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force Co-Chairs Jill Scott, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning), and Mark Green, Professor (Civil Engineering), welcome guests to the event held at Agnes Etherington Art Centre. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Members of the Queen's community take part in a Haudenosaunee round dance at the event marking the release of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Members of the Queen's community take part in a Haudenosaunee round dance at the event marking the release of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Members of the Queen's community take part in a Haudenosaunee round dance at the event marking the release of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Members of the Queen's community take part in a Haudenosaunee round dance at the event marking the release of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Members of the Four Directions Women Singers – from left, Laura Maracle, Vanessa McCourt, and Melanie Howard – sing an Anishinaabe honour song during Tuesday's event. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Members of the Four Directions Women Singers – from left, Laura Maracle, Vanessa McCourt, and Melanie Howard – sing an Anishinaabe honour song during Tuesday's event. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Laura Maracle, Aboriginal Cultural Safety Coordinator at Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, speaks with Laurel Claus-Johnson of the Katarokwi Grandmothers Council during Tuesday's event. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Laura Maracle, Aboriginal Cultural Safety Coordinator at Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, speaks with Laurel Claus-Johnson of the Katarokwi Grandmothers Council during Tuesday's event. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)

At a special reception Tuesday night to mark the unveiling of the Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) Task Force final report and recommendations, Principal Daniel Woolf told the crowd of students, staff, faculty, alumni, and local Indigenous community members that, “Today, our communities come together to change course.”

“By taking steps to ensure that Indigenous histories are shared, by recognizing that we can all benefit from Indigenous knowledge, and by creating culturally validating learning environments, we can begin to reduce barriers to education and create a more welcoming, inclusive, and diverse university,” said Principal Woolf.

The special event, held at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, and the TRC report represent a significant milestone for Queen’s and the local Indigenous communities, signalling a broad and sustained effort to build and improve relations, and to effect meaningful institutional change. The recommendations in the report span everything from hiring practices and programming, to research, community outreach, and the creation of Indigenous cultural spaces on campus. (More detailed list of recommendations below.)

Principal Woolf reiterated his commitment to fulfilling the recommendations in the task force’s final report, and to illustrate that commitment, he announced that the university will be creating an Office of Indigenous Initiatives in the coming months – an announcement met by a loud round of applause from the audience.

“This is just one of the task force’s many recommendations that I am committed to implementing across campus, and because I believe that we are stronger together, I welcome the rest of the Queen’s community to join me in that commitment,” he said.

Principal Woolf also stated his commitment to the TRC recommendations in a special Senate meeting on March 7, where he acknowledged “Queen’s own history as an institution that participated in a colonial tradition that caused great harm to Indigenous People.”

‘We are making history’

Bringing together Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members, Tuesday’s event was hosted by TRC Task Force co-chairs Mark Green and Jill Scott and showcased the importance of ceremony – with a traditional Mohawk opening presented by lecturer Nathan Brinklow, presentations by Elder Marlene Brant Castellano and student Lauren Winkler, an Anishinaabe Honour Song performed by the Four Directions Women Singers, and to end the evening, a Haudenosaunee Round Dance, led by performers from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, that brought guests together in a huge circle, hands linked.

“Ceremony reminds us that what we do today is important, impacting the relationships and responsibilities that we carry forward, and woven into our memory as a community,” said Dr. Brant Castellano, a member of the task force, Queen’s alumna, and pioneer and champion of Indigenous rights and education.

“We are making history,” Dr. Brant continued. “In creating the task force, Queen’s has stepped up to ask of itself: What can we do to advance reconciliation? … The task force has brought together voices from the Queen’s community saying: We can do this. We have a responsibility to do this. The report is presented to the principal, who speaks on behalf of the university. In this ceremony, all who are present become witnesses to Queen’s acknowledgement of past errors and commitment to walk together with Indigenous Peoples and others of good mind to restore and maintain a relationship of peace, friendship, and respect.”

“I would like to thank you all here today because by being here, you are showing me that you acknowledge the truths of our past, that you stand in support of these recommendations, and that you will make a commitment to seeing the recommendations through"
​~ Lauren Winkler

Lauren Winkler, student and president of the Queen’s Native Student Association, as well as deputy commissioner of Indigenous affairs for the Alma Mater Society and member of the TRC Task Force, spoke about the experiences of Indigenous students and the challenges and racist encounters they face on Queen’s campus.

"Our education system has failed and is failing to educate our students at the cost of Indigenous students. The university recognizes this – it’s one of the truths in our truth and reconciliation process," said Ms. Winkler, who went on to thank Principal Woolf for his acknowledgements of the history of mistreatment of the Indigenous community and Queen’s role in perpetuating the mistreatment.

"I would like to thank you all here today because by being here, you are showing me that you acknowledge the truths of our past, that you stand in support of these recommendations, and that you will make a commitment to seeing the recommendations through," said Ms. Winkler.

The TRC Task Force’s final report, which includes reproductions of artwork included in the Indigenous art collection at the Agnes, outlines recommendations and timelines for implementation – in particular, the formation of an implementation team that will work with faculties, schools, and shared service units to expedite recommendations. The task force asks for five-year plans from the faculties, schools, and other units to be completed by fall 2017.


Real-world learning, real-world impact

The following article is the second in a monthly series focused on the work by Queen’s and Physical Plant Services to reduce energy consumption by the university.

[Connor Reed]
Connor Reed (Sc’18) is gaining experience in energy management at Physical Plant Services through the Queen’s Undergraduate Internship Program (QUIP). (University Communications)

When Connor Reed (Sc’18) started his internship at Physical Plant Services, he was amazed by how involved energy management is in the day-to-day business of Queen’s University.

Building standards and specifications, utility management, lighting design, utility costs and forecasting, water and mechanical systems. Over the past nine months he has been involved in projects in each of these areas and more. 

“The amount of detail that goes into lighting and lighting design, I heard 10 new terms each day in the first weeks,” he says of one of his first projects. “Lumens and CRIs and efficiencies… it was 100 per cent learning from the beginning and it continues to be every day.”

Mr. Reed is the fourth student to work with the Energy Management team, and the first intern through the Queen’s Undergraduate Internship Program (QUIP), which provides second- and third-year students with a 12-16 month paid work experience at a partner employer.

The students who work with PPS are key contributors to the energy management efforts at Queen’s and gain real-world experiences that they can carry into their future careers.

They are directly involved in the process.

“The students integrate into our team and take on very complex and important projects,” says Nathan Splinter, Energy Manager, adding that the interns enable the university to push bigger projects forward. “The feedback that we’ve received from the students is that they really enjoy the fact that they are working on things that actually develop into real world projects – construction projects, and changes to how the university functions or operates.”

Mr. Reed agrees. He knows how valuable the learning experience is and that he is making a real contribution to the ongoing energy management effort at Queen’s.

“It is a lot easier to do your job and be effective when you know that what you’re doing has impact,” he says.

Over the past nine months, Mr. Reed has been involved in a number of projects, such as the design work and specifications for the installation of new condensate meters in 35 major buildings on campus. Condensate is water that has condensed back into a liquid after steam has given up its energy to heat the building. The new meters can be monitored in real time and will allow PPS to identify leaks and mechanical malfunctions as soon as they occur.

During this past summer he also was involved in the decision-making process for Electricity Demand Response Days when air conditioning is shut down in many buildings on campus to reduce the university’s electricity demand. 

This included analyzing results from previous years to estimate the financial impact of demand reduction during the summer. Mr. Reed and Mr. Splinter both monitored weather conditions and provincial electricity demand forecasts on a daily basis to help decide whether or not to reduce air conditioning loads. Missing a single ‘peak’ day could have a financial impact of $750,000 or more. Mr. Reed was also responsible for communicating the process to internal and external staff and, as a result, developed more effective communications and presentation skills.

Mr. Reed says he has found it very rewarding to be part of a team that is supportive and effective. He is impressed by the professionalism of the people he works with in PPS and campus partners such as Procurement Services.

It’s something that Mr. Splinter has seen with each of the internships.

“The students are contributing and learning from others, gaining hands-on experience as well a new skill set and a broad-based knowledge,” he says. “The internship here gives the students the opportunity to taste a little bit of some different options and different fields and understand potentially a little more what’s out there, and what different jobs entail.”

 

Queen’s researchers awarded $4.5M in Ontario government funding

  • The Honorable Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Innovation and Science, announces that four Queen's researchers would receive a combined $4.5 million in research funding from the Ontario Research Fund – Research Excellence and Research Infrastructure programs. (March 14, 2017. Photo Credit: Garrett Elliott)
    The Honorable Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Innovation and Science, announces that four Queen's researchers would receive a combined $4.5 million in research funding from the Ontario Research Fund – Research Excellence and Research Infrastructure programs. (March 14, 2017. Photo Credit: Garrett Elliott)
  • Sophie Kiwala, MPP for Kingston and the Islands, welcomes the investment of $4.5 million in research funding for four Queen's researchers, and discusses the importance of research and innovation in Kingston. (March 14, 2017. Photo Credit: Garrett Elliott)
    Sophie Kiwala, MPP for Kingston and the Islands, welcomes the investment of $4.5 million in research funding for four Queen's researchers, and discusses the importance of research and innovation in Kingston. (March 14, 2017. Photo Credit: Garrett Elliott)
  • Principal Daniel Woolf discusses how the funding announced by Minister Moridi will assist Queen's researchers in breaking new ground in their respective fields. (March 14, 2017. Photo Credit: Garrett Elliott)
    Principal Daniel Woolf discusses how the funding announced by Minister Moridi will assist Queen's researchers in breaking new ground in their respective fields. (March 14, 2017. Photo Credit: Garrett Elliott)
  • Praveen Jain (Electrical and Computer Engineering) discusses how the funding announced today will help researchers at the Queen’s Centre for Energy and Power Electronics Research (ePOWER) continue to find new methods of producing efficient and environmentally-friendly renewable energy. (March 14, 2017. Photo Credit: Garrett Elliott)
    Praveen Jain (Electrical and Computer Engineering) discusses how the funding announced today will help researchers at the Queen’s Centre for Energy and Power Electronics Research (ePOWER) continue to find new methods of producing efficient and environmentally-friendly renewable energy. (March 14, 2017. Photo Credit: Garrett Elliott)
  • Khadijat Hassan, a master's student conducting research in the ePOWER lab, discusses how the investment will help create new research opportunities for students at Queen's. (March 14, 2017. Photo Credit: Garrett Elliott)
    Khadijat Hassan, a master's student conducting research in the ePOWER lab, discusses how the investment will help create new research opportunities for students at Queen's. (March 14, 2017. Photo Credit: Garrett Elliott)
  • From L-R: Principal Daniel Woolf, Khadijat Hassan, The Honorable Reza Moridi, MPP Sophie Kiwala, Alexander Braun (Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering), Praveen Jain (Electrical and Computer Engineering), and John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). (March 14, 2017. Photo Credit: Garrett Elliott)
    From L-R: Principal Daniel Woolf, Khadijat Hassan, The Honorable Reza Moridi, MPP Sophie Kiwala, Alexander Braun (Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering), Praveen Jain (Electrical and Computer Engineering), and John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). (March 14, 2017. Photo Credit: Garrett Elliott)

The Government of Ontario today announced more than $4.5 million in new infrastructure and research funding for four Queen’s researchers through the Ontario Research Fund – Research Excellence and Research Infrastructure programs. The Honorable Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Innovation and Science, made the announcement today at Queen’s, as part of a $77-million investment in research across the province. The grants will provide funding to support key research programs, as well as the operational and equipment acquisition costs associated with research that is leading-edge and transformative.

“The funding announced today highlights Queen’s record of sustained research excellence and demonstrates how our researchers are working to address crucial issues – such as renewable energy development – facing the province and the public at large,” says Queen’s Principal Daniel Woolf. “We are grateful to the Government of Ontario for its continued investment in research and innovation at Queen’s and across the province.”

A leader in the field of energy and power electronics research, Praveen Jain (Electrical and Computer Engineering), the Canada Research Chair in Power Electronics, has received $4 million from the Ontario Research Fund – Research Excellence to develop small-scale, point-of-use photovoltaic (solar) power systems for residential use. Dr. Jain will lead a team of researchers from four Ontario universities in developing new technology to reduce cost and increase the efficiency, output, and reliability of residential solar systems. Dr. Jain was previously awarded funding from the Ontario Research Fund.

“Our government recognizes the importance of investing in our innovation ecosystem,” says Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Innovation and Science. “We are proud to support the researchers at Queen’s University who are working on transformative research that will help strengthen our province’s competitive edge.”

Geophysicist Alexander Braun (Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering) has received $180,000 to support the acquisition of a superconducting gravimeter – one of only 12 such devices in the world. The device will be used for monitoring fluid migration processes in oil, gas, and water reservoirs, to monitor mass changes in reservoirs, and to help mitigate environmental hazards related to extraction.

Psychology researcher Jason Gallivan (Psychology) has received $150,000 from the fund to support new infrastructure in the Memory, Action, and Perception laboratory (MAPlab). Dr. Gallivan’s research examines how a stroke or other neurological disorder can alter the perceptual, cognitive, and motor-related mechanisms of the brain.

In addition, physicist Ryan Martin (Physics, Engineering Physics, and Astronomy) has received a grant of $250,000 to support the establishment of a world-class facility to develop p-type point contact detectors. These complex detectors are used to more accurately measure interactions with difficult-to-detect particles, such as neutrinos and dark matter.

“Innovative research is essential for future economic growth and I am absolutely thrilled with the investments being made in projects in Kingston and across Ontario,” says Sophie Kiwala, MPP for Kingston and the Islands. “The world-class research being conducted at Queen’s University is an immense source of pride for our region and I am excited and anxious to see the results of this funding. This investment demonstrates Ontario’s commitment to supporting cutting-edge, innovative research that will lead us into the future. Congratulations to all of the Queen’s researchers receiving these competitive awards.”

More information is available on the Ontario Research Fund – Research Excellence and Research Infrastructure Funds websites.

 

Interdisciplinary, innovative, and insightful

[Building Better Together]
A team of engineering and occupational therapy students display their project during the final poster event for the Building Better Together course. The course was created through the Centre for Teaching and Learning’s inaugural Educational Leadership Initiative grant. From left: Robert Diebel (OT), Isaac Freda (Engineering), Akram Ghoudi (Engineering), Katie Fisher (Engineering), Elizabeth Gibson Crowder (OT) and Robyn Bernick (OT). (Supplied photo)

A new course created through the Centre of Teaching and Learning’s first-ever Educational Leadership Initiative grant has helped foster collaboration between students in occupational therapy and engineering in creating assistive devices for actual end users.

The instructional team of Claire Davies (Mechanical and Materials Engineering) and Elizabeth Delarosa (Mechanical and Materials Engineering), and Catherine Donnelly (Rehabilitation Therapy) and Susanne Murphy (Rehabilitation Therapy), developed “Building Better Together: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Teaching and Learning” with the aim of applying the Canadian Interprofessional Health Collaborative’s framework to an academic environment.

Through the course, offered during the 2016 Fall Term, students from occupational therapy and engineering teamed up to create an assistive device for an end user. The teams had to interact and collaborate with each other as well as with a person in need of an assistive device.

The course re-created the interdisciplinary environment many of the students will see in their professional careers.

“I think one of the key elements of this that made it realistic is that we actually had end users there that could respond,” says Ms. Delarosa, a doctoral student in engineering who is also a registered occupational therapist, adding that similar courses often offer simulated end users and case studies. As a result feedback is limited as is the interaction seen in the clinical setting. “In this case we got the end users in the classroom and the students could ask them questions and they could be answered.”

Through earlier studies, the team found that occupational therapists were interested in being more involved with the design process and engineers wanted to be more involved in interacting with the end users. Building Better Together offered both sides the opportunity to collaborate throughout the process.

The results were innovative and insightful.

“One end user said that she was so surprised at how well the students were able to create something from what she said,” says Dr. Davies. “Another one said just from the dialogue or conversation they had with the OT students and the engineering students, they became blurred, they didn’t know who were the occupational therapy students and who were the engineering students. It was interesting to see the relationships that were built too. Not just with the OT and engineering students but in regards to how the users were feeling comfortable to share ‘This is what I need and this is what I want, and how are we going to do this kind of thing?’”

The course was developed to mirror the workplace and provide the students with experiences that can be applied in their future careers. It was also informative for the instructors.

“It was interesting to see it was somewhat structured but when the students and the users got together it kind of unfolded by itself as well,” Ms. Delarosa says. “Certainly the OT students are encouraged to utilize their interview skills and clinical skills, and the engineering students were drawing on their design focus, what might be functional and all that. Interaction developed over time on its own. They didn’t tell the end users what to do and they interacted differently, some quiet, some seeking more guidance and others wanting to be actively involved in the process.”

With the inaugural course complete the instructional team is excited by the results and is looking forward to building upon the foundation that has been created.

“We’ve learned a lot,” Dr. Davies says. “We’ve learned that it can be done. We’ve learned that it takes a lot of time to try to get everyone on a similar page. We realized that it is very important to both disciplines to be better informed about the other discipline.” 

The Educational Leadership Initiative is aimed at supporting Queen’s students, faculty, librarians and staff who want to forge a new educational path. It is one of three grant programs offered by the Centre for Teaching and Learning, along with the Educational Research Grants and Teaching and Learning Enhancement Grants.

“This project and those involved exemplify what the Educational Leadership Initiative is hoping to promote,” says Peter Wolf, Associate Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning) and Director of the Centre for Teaching and Learning. “The educators created a guided learning environment that brings together students across programs to help design solutions to everyday challenges faced by people in the Kingston community. The educators involved are also researching aspects of the course, presenting this model at conferences and engaging colleagues in discussions around this approach.”

The deadline for submission for the 2017 Educational Leadership Initiative grant is June 27.

For more information visit the Centre for Teaching and Learning website.

A mutually beneficial partnership

[Leigh Cameron]
Through the Queen’s University Internship Program (QUIP), Leigh Cameron (Artsic'18) has gained work experience at the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research). (University Communications) 

The Office of the Vice-Principal (Research) has benefitted this year from an extra set of capable hands — namely those of Leigh Cameron (Artsci’18).

“The team I work with has been very supportive and has taught me so much about the research enterprise here at Queen’s,” Ms. Cameron says.

Her role in the office is a paid position through the Queen’s University Internship Program (QUIP). The program provides second- and third-year students with a 12-16 month paid work experience at a partner employer. In this case, the employer is right here on campus.

Kelly Blair-Matuk, Associate Director in the OVPR, explains that their internship position provides students an opportunity to participate in many of the OVPR’s core activities, while also furthering their knowledge and skills that will enhance their understanding of Queen’s, the job market, and of themselves.  

The internships are beneficial for employers as well, she adds.

“A QUIP intern provides us a student perspective on our day-to-day activities that enhances our outcomes and efficiencies, and the youthful energy gives our team a refreshing boost,” Dr. Blair-Matuk says. “Moreover, our own strategic research imperatives encourage the involvement of students, and this doesn’t only mean having more students in labs. It also means including students on the administrative side of the equation.” 

It’s not just the OVPR that’s benefitting from QUIP Interns. 

“This year there are six departments at Queen’s with a QUIP intern on staff. We have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from them regarding the initiative, enthusiasm, and ability to learn exhibited by the interns,” says Internship Coordinator Kristen Eppel. “We are also thrilled to have several more departments that are in the process of hiring interns for the 2017-18 academic year.”

For her part, Ms. Cameron says she became involved in QUIP because she wanted to take the skills she had learned in the classroom and apply them in a workplace setting.

“I have been able to take on some of my own projects and improve my communications and interpersonal skills,” she says. “My experiences in this position have also helped me decide what type of career I want to enter after I graduate.”

The program provides a diverse set of candidates for campus employers and is open to students in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, Faculty of Arts and Science, and School of Computing. 

To learn more about the program or becoming a QUIP employer, visit the Career Services website or contact quip@queensu.ca.

 

$5-million gift supports water research

  • Ross J. Beaty talks about the reasons that he and his family have presented Queen's University with a $5-million gift to support collaborative research and education in the field of freshwater resources during the announcement event Friday at Beamish-Munro Hall. (University Communications)
    Ross J. Beaty talks about the reasons that he and his family have presented Queen's University with a $5-million gift to support collaborative research and education in the field of freshwater resources during the announcement event Friday at Beamish-Munro Hall. (University Communications)
  • Ross and Trisha Beaty look at a plaque that was presented to them following the announcement of a $5-million gift to support collaborative research and education in the field of freshwater resources. (University Communications)
    Ross and Trisha Beaty look at a plaque that was presented to them following the announcement of a $5-million gift to support collaborative research and education in the field of freshwater resources. (University Communications)
  • Provost Benoit-Antoine Bacon welcomes Ross and Trisha Beaty to Queen's University ahead of Friday's announcement of a $5-million gift to support collaborative research and education in the field of freshwater resources. (University Communications)
    Provost Benoit-Antoine Bacon welcomes Ross and Trisha Beaty to Queen's University ahead of Friday's announcement of a $5-million gift to support collaborative research and education in the field of freshwater resources. (University Communications)

Geologist and entrepreneur Ross J. Beaty has provided Queen's University with a $5-million gift to support collaborative research and education in the field of freshwater resources.

In recognition of the gift, the interdisciplinary research initiative has been renamed the Beaty Water Research Centre, which will have a permanent space in the new Queen’s Innovation and Wellness Centre.

“Researchers from across Queen’s are working with partner institutions and organizations to tackle a variety of water-related issues,” Principal Daniel Woolf says. “Mr. Beaty’s donation will support a new home for water research where faculty and students can come together and take the lead in sustaining one of our most precious resources.”

Interdisciplinary teams such as the water research centre at Queen’s are the way of the future. I hope that through my gift, these collaborative activities will grow and thrive, providing researchers with the support they need to give our future generations a world they deserve.

— Ross J. Beaty

The Beaty Water Research Centre includes a core group of Queen’s civil and chemical engineering professors, and their graduate students, who work closely with chemists, microbiologists, experts in genetics, and public health researchers.

“Interdisciplinary teams such as the water research centre at Queen’s are the way of the future,” says Mr. Beaty, the father of two Queen’s graduates. “I hope that through my gift, these collaborative activities will grow and thrive, providing researchers with the support they need to give our future generations a world they deserve.”

The research centre’s laboratories, currently distributed across campus, will eventually move to the new Queen’s Innovation and Wellness Centre. Located in the heart of campus, the Innovation and Wellness Centre will support leading-edge research, innovation programming, and wellness services for students. The Beaty Water Research Centre will be located on the third floor of the Innovation and Wellness Centre and will feature state-of-the-art interdisciplinary research laboratories.

“The Beaty Water Research Centre will bring together an interdisciplinary team to study water. A key focus will be on safe drinking water from small, untreated systems or untreated urban or rural domestic wells. This work has the potential to improve the lives of millions of people around the globe. In Canada, the research directly impacts those living in vulnerable remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples,” says Kimberly Woodhouse, Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. “Thanks to Mr. Beaty’s support, our researchers and students will be better equipped to understand and mitigate the risks to drinking water supplies.”

Mr. Beaty is a geologist and resource company entrepreneur with more than 40 years of experience in the international minerals and renewable energy industries. Mr. Beaty founded and currently serves as chairman of Pan American Silver Corp., and he founded Alterra Power Corp., a renewable energy company. He also serves on the advisory board of the Nature Trust of British Columbia.  

The Beaty Water Research Centre is an interdisciplinary initiative dedicated to furthering research and education around water-related issues, which play a vital role in the physical, social, and economic well-being of Canadians and people around the world. Researchers and students affiliated with the centre are committed to fostering an environment that encourages collaborative research spanning both traditional water-related disciplines, as well as non-traditional and emerging disciplines.

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