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Engineering and Applied Science

$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.

View into student research

Two Queen’s students are competing in a national video competition to highlight their research.

Yuliya Nesterova and Sterling Mitchell are among 40 students from across Canada competing in NSERC’s Science, Action contest, with the aim of getting Canadians excited about science and engineering research through one-minute online videos highlighting their own work.

[Yuliya Nesterova]
Yuliya Nesterova – Lives Of Shapes in Space 

The 25 most-viewed videos as of Tuesday, Feb. 28 will move on to the finals where they will be judged by a panel.  A total of 15 cash prizes will be handed out, including the top prize of $3,500.

A master’s student in algebraic geometry, Ms. Nesterova took an animated approach for her video Lives Of Shapes in Space which describes how she is testing a beta invariant to try and understand its convexity.

To make the video, Ms. Nesterova spent three months drawing the images and then taught herself how to use an open-source animation program.

It has been a beneficial learning experience, she says.

“(The project) made me learn more math. There were two things that didn't end up getting animated that took a week of problem-solving and researching to try and get right, work out how the shapes would look,” she says. “And then it was too difficult to animate, so it got tossed out. But you're always learning something about your topic from unexpected sources.”

[Mitchell Sterling]
Mitchell Sterling – Mistaken Point

In his video Mistaken Point, Mr. Mitchell, a third-year geological engineering student, introduces viewers to the work by Guy Narbonne (Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering) and his research team at the recently-designated UNESCO World Heritage site in Newfoundland.

In making the video, Mr. Mitchell utilized some of the skills he has developed through working at Studio Q.

“As a geological engineer, I believe Dr. Narbonne’s research gives us fascinating insight into the history of our world,” he says. “As Mistaken Point was recently named a UNESCO World Heritage site, I thought it would be a great time to highlight his research.”

First for code

Code, the basic building block for creating computer software, apps and websites, is practically ubiquitous in today's tech-driven world.

Yet the majority of people has little understanding of how it works, much less are able to use it.

[Robert Saunders]
 The Engineering Society Coding Competition is aimed at introducing more students to the world of coding, says Robert Saunders, Director of Information Technology for the Engineering Society. (University Communications)

With the aim of introducing more Queen’s students to coding the Engineering Society is hosting its first coding competition. The two-week event offers up some prizes as well as bragging rights for the top coder but the real goal is to get more students involved in coding, says Robert Saunders (Sc’19), Director of Information Technology for the society.

“The competition’s not really about the prizes. It’s about getting people involved,” says the computer engineering major. “You never know, one student who doesn’t know anything about coding can sign up and fall in love with it. For me, the competition is a way to leverage my position to get people involved in coding.”

The competition is open to all Queen’s students no matter their skill level and utilizes HackerRank, a website where users can practice on coding problems or set up competitions. Those who sign up to compete will face a series of coding questions that they will have to solve to earn points. The competitor with the most points wins. If there is a tie, the winner will be decided on time.

“Technology is so huge now, it’s really important to get involved. Even if you have the most basic skills for coding at least you have some sense of how things work,” says Mr. Saunders, adding that the site can be used as a learning tool. “When you are doing a problem (HackerRank) asks you to write your code but what’s different about it is you’re not just submitting the code to the platform for us to review, it also runs test cases through your code. It shows the user the process of a computer kind of feeding input to your program and getting the desired output, which is nice.”

Competitors do not have to be on Queen’s campus and can use their own computers. Sign up is free but does require a Queen’s email address.

Visit the Engineering Society Coding Competition site for more information or to participate.

Following the competition Mr. Saunders has also organized the Engineering Society Startup Workshop on Feb. 28 from 6-9 pm. The workshop will focus on project management, team communication, user interface and experience design, version control and issue tracking systems. 

Opportunities for international collaboration

Queen's in the World

Applications are open for the International Visitors Program of the Principal’s Development Fund, a program that helps connect Queen’s with academics and institutions around the world by sponsoring visits by international scholars. The program also works to foster connections between Queen’s and its partners within the Matariki Network of Universities.

“This program provides a tremendous opportunity for collaboration and cross-pollination of ideas between the Queen’s community and scholars and universities around the globe,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “I am very pleased to offer this funding as part of our ongoing support for international partnerships and, in particular, alliances with the Matariki Network.”

Last year, Professor Karol Miller from the University of Western Australia visited Queen's through the International Visitors Program of the Principal's Development Fund.

The International Visitors Program includes three application categories, each of which offers grants of up to $3,000. Category one is the open program, which helps to cover the costs of bringing an international scholar to Queen’s for a period of at least three days. 

The other two application categories focus on leveraging Queen’s membership in the Matariki Network of Universities. One of these is an extension of the visiting scholars program, specifically aimed at bringing visitors to Queen’s from the other Matariki universities, which include the University of Western Australia (UWA), Tübingen University, Uppsala University, Dartmouth College, University of Otago, and Durham University. Last year, Professor Karol Miller from UWA visited Queen’s through the program and gave a talk about his research into computational biomechanics at the School of Computing Distinguished Speaker Seminar.

The third application category provides funding to assist Queen’s faculty and staff to travel to Matariki partner institutions to build new collaborations. This seed funding may be used to initiate new academic, research, or administrative initiatives.

Applications for these categories are due to the relevant dean’s office by April 21, 2017. For more information, including program details and application forms, visit the Principal’s website.

Questions about the Principal’s Development Fund may be directed to Csilla Volford, Coordinator, International Projects and Events, in the Office of the Associate Vice-Principal (International).

 

Seeking summer opportunities

[Engineering and Technology Fair]
Students meet up with recruiters during the Engineering and Technology Fair held in Grant Hall. (University Communications)

The Winter Term at Queen’s started just a few weeks ago but it is already time for students to start considering their options for the summer.

“At Queen’s we have a number of helpful resources available for students to gain valuable information and make connections in their search for summer employment” says Cathy Keates, Director of Career Services.

A pair of job fairs will be on campus this week, offering attendees a chance to meet up with a wide range of organizations and recruiters.

The Summer Opportunities Fair will be held in the Queen’s Centre and the ARC Atrium on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 10:30 am-3:30 pm, with 40 organizations setting up booths. At the event, students can also get resume help and career advice from Career Services experts before connecting with potential employers.

The Engineering and Technology Fair will be set up in Grant Hall on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 10:30 am-3:30 pm, with more than 40 organizations in attendance. This fair is geared toward students and organizations with an engineering, computing, or technical focus but also offers a resume clinic, student prep area and career advising for free.

Away from the fairs, Career Services has recently started a series of free summer job workshops to prepare students for the job search, with a focus on skills and experience development.

Drop-in career advising is also available at the Career Services offices (Gordon Hall, third floor), Monday to Thursday 1:30-3:30 pm, no appointment required, where students can ask an advisor any questions they may have about the job search.

Another opportunity available to students looking to stay in Kingston is the Summer Work Experience Program (SWEP), which offers on-campus summer jobs that provide valuable experiences for undergraduates.  Applications are due Feb. 9.

Job seekers can also take their search online through the Summer Jobs webpage, which provides links to a range of resources such as the Ontario Summer Jobs program.

For more information visit the Career Services website.

Remembrance and reflection

  • Students, faculty and staff from the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science take part in the memorial service for the Dec. 6 killings of 14 women at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal.
    Students, faculty and staff from the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science take part in the memorial service for the Dec. 6 killings of 14 women at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal.
  • An image of one of the 14 women killed at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal is shown during the memorial service hosted by the Engineering Society and the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.
    An image of one of the 14 women killed at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal is shown during the memorial service hosted by the Engineering Society and the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.
  • Carol Ann Budd, a graduate of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and a community member of Queen’s Aboriginal Council, speaks during the Dec. 6 memorial.
    Carol Ann Budd, a graduate of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and a community member of Queen’s Aboriginal Council, speaks during the Dec. 6 memorial.
  • Kimberly Woodhouse, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, speaks about her experiences and hopes during the Dec. 6 memorial service at Beamish-Munro Hall
    Kimberly Woodhouse, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, speaks about her experiences and hopes during the Dec. 6 memorial service at Beamish-Munro Hall

The Queen’s community took time on Tuesday to remember the shooting deaths of 14 women at Montreal's l’École Polytechnique in 1989.

Three years after the attack, Dec. 6 was declared Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

In the annual event, hosted by the Engineering Society and the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, 14 women, representing engineering students, staff and faculty, held red roses, lit white candles and read a brief outline of each of the victims.

The gathered crowd also heard from Kimberly Woodhouse, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, and guest speaker Carol Ann Budd (Sc’89), a Queen’s engineering graduate herself and a community member of the Queen’s Aboriginal Council.

Twelve female engineering students, a nurse, and a faculty member were killed in the 1989 attack.

Dec. 6 memorial

The Engineering Society of Queen’s University and the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science invites the Queen's community to join them as they remember those who were killed, injured, and otherwise impacted as a result of the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre.

The implications and ramifications of those horrific events catalyzed ongoing change in Canadian society. They loom especially large over engineering schools and the profession as stark reminder of our individual and communal responsibilities to each other.

Please visit Beamish-Munro Hall on Tuesday, Dec. 6 at 1 pm for the annual Rose Ceremony and remarks on the subject of women in engineering from Dean Kimberly Woodhouse, and Queen’s alumna, Carol-Ann Budd.

All are welcome.

For more information email Breighann Merry.

 

Sounds of the season

Festival of Carols, a 70-year tradition, continues at Grant Hall.

For the 71st year in a row, Grant Hall will be ringing with the sounds of the season.

Since 1945, the Queen’s University Engineering Society has hosted an annual carol service. This year, the tradition continues, with a few tweaks to the program to give it more of a community focus and provide a chance to sing with friends and family.

Preparing to sing their hearts out are: Back row (l to r): Ryan Kwast, Nick Hetherington, Thomas Rautenbach, Sam Mason and front row (l to r): Alex Bennett, Steven Ta, Monet Slinowsky, Claire Dederer 

In 2013, the service, formerly the Carol Service, was renamed the Festival of Carols and the programming was updated to make it more inclusive and diverse. While carols are still sung, organizers now welcome two choirs to perform and, this year, the concert will close with an anthem dedicated to Nelson Mandela.

“Initially the concert was attended by members of the engineering faculty but then alumni starting participating and now it’s open to the community,” says organizer Monet Slinowsky. “The concert has slowly changed over the years, but there will still be singing of traditional carols and readings from the Bible. And there are now other elements that will appeal to everyone.”

Community choirs The Caledonias and All the Queen’s Men will perform and Ms. Slinowsky has also formed a new choir, The Festival of Carols Choir.

“The theme for the concert this year is ‘Love is light in the darkness’, and I think the programming will reflect that,” says Ms. Slinowsky. “It’s a chance for Queen’s and the larger community to get together and just sing. Music is a universal language and we are celebrating that. It’s also a chance to get everyone in the Christmas spirit.”

The concert will take place Sunday, Nov. 27 starting at 7:30 pm in Grant Hall. Admission is free, donations to the food bank are accepted.

A major step forward

Queen’s Research Opportunities Funds help researcher build international team to learn more about how the structures of the foot allow for movement.

Queen’s researcher Michael Rainbow (Mechanical Engineering) is seeking to gain greater insight into the function and design of the human foot. With support from the Queen’s Research Opportunities Funds International Fund, Dr. Rainbow has made great strides in developing collaborations to further this research.

[Michael Rainbow]
Queen's mechanical engineer Michael Rainbow is partnering with researchers around the world to examine the structure of the human foot. Their project is supported by a grant from the Queen's Research Opportunities Fund. (Supplied Photo)

“The human foot is an incredibly complex structure,” says Dr. Rainbow. “Much of what we think we know about how it functions comes from examinations on cadavers. Only recently has technology advanced enough to allow us to track the movement of the bones and activation of the muscles of the foot in real time and in 3D. We’re learning that the foot is far more multifaceted and dynamic than we thought previously.”

In collaboration with researchers from the University of Queensland, INRIA in France, and Brown University, Dr. Rainbow will work to analyze the biomechanics of the arch of the foot, as well as to gain a better understanding of the structures that modulate and control the stiffness of the arch. By analyzing the movement of the individual bones, ligaments and muscles in the foot, in context with full body movement, Dr. Rainbow and his colleagues will advance understanding of the neuromuscular and mechanical function of the foot and its contributions to the human musculoskeletal system.

[Foot Render]
A rendering of the bones and support structures of the foot. By learning more about how these structure allow for movement, Dr. Rainbow and his team can assist the development of more functional prosthetics, as well as rehabilitation or injury prevention techniques. (Supplied Rendering)

“By gaining a better understanding of how the structures of the foot transfer energy during motion, we will be able to design prosthetics that function more like a foot than the current designs,” he explains. “We’ll also be able to better understand what causes common injuries – such as plantar fasciitis – with an eye on prevention and more effective treatment.”

Their research has applications in improving the design of prosthetics that can better mimic the function of the structures of a foot, as well as provide insight for podiatrists and others who study chronic injuries. Finally, by partnering with an array of diverse institutions around the globe, Dr. Rainbow is also strengthening the relationships between the Human Mobility Research Centre at Queen’s and his collaborators in the United States, Australia, and France – something he credits to the QROF.

“The support we’ve received from the Queen’s Research Opportunities Funds has been crucial to forming partnerships with institutions around the globe, and bringing top researchers together for this project,” says Dr. Rainbow.

The inaugural Queen’s Research Opportunities Funds were launched in 2015, and are awarded in four categories – the Research Leaders’ Fund, the International Fund, the Arts Fund and the Post-Doctoral Fund. The funds represent an internal investment in the research enterprise, and provide researchers and scholars financial support to accelerate their programs and research goals.

The deadline to submit a letter of intent for the 2016-2017 competition is December 1, 2016. For more information, please visit the website.

On leading, following and remembering your purpose

Queen’s is reserving its honorary degrees in 2016 for alumni in celebration of the university’s 175th anniversary. Throughout fall convocation, the Gazette will profile the four honorary degree recipients and explore how Queen’s has impacted their life and career.

Andrew Feustel’s (PhD’95) career as a geophysicist has taken him from deep underground mines across North America to over 500 km above the earth as an astronaut servicing the Hubble Space Telescope.

On Nov. 16, he returned to Queen’s to accept an honorary doctorate of science at fall convocation.

[Feustel, Woolf & Leech]
Chancellor Jim Leech, Dr. Andrew Feustel and Principal Daniel Woolf, photographed ahead of the Nov. 16 convocation. (Photo Credit: Bernard Clark)

“While you’re at a university you don’t realize how unique and special that university can be,” says Dr. Feustel.  “Whether you realize it or not while you’re there, those experiences you have, the friends you meet, the colleagues you meet, the professionals you meet, all have a very significant impact on your life.”

In his address to graduates, Dr. Feustel described a training exercise he underwent after becoming an astronaut that exemplified for him the true values of leadership and perseverance, but also the importance of being an effective follower. During a cold weather survival exercise, he attempted to remove a tree stump from the spot the team had chosen as a campsite for the night. Hacking away at the stump for nearly an hour, he had made little progress and was beginning to tire.

Dr. Feustel explained how a simple comment from a subordinate in that trying moment – which could have easily served to demotivate – instead spurred him into taking action.

[Baker, Feustel and Sinclair]
Dr. Feustel (centre) speaks with fellow honorary degree recipients Rob Baker and Gord Sinclair. Drs. Baker and Sinclair received their honorary degrees during the spring 2016 convocation. (Photo Credit: Bernard Clark)

“When I reflect back on what I learned that day, there is one primary lesson about leadership and followership that became apparent,” he says. “A good leader is only as strong as his or her followers. My fellow astronauts knew that, as the leader, I felt a responsibility to clear that stump. He could also sense my fatigue and doubt. As a follower, he knew that the best way to support the leader was to motivate and touch on my obligation to the team. His words did just that.”

Speaking to the graduating class – most of whom were from nursing or other healthcare fields – Dr. Feustel highlighted the important role they will play in serving those in need. He reminded the graduates of their obligation – to themselves and their patients – to carry out their duties to the best of their ability, knowing that the reward for a job well-done “is simply having it done well.”

“You chose a career in healthcare, not for recognition, but because you truly believe it’s important to care for and improve the quality of life for others,” says Dr. Feustel. “So remember that.”

While his career may have taken him away from the city, the country and even off the planet itself, Dr. Feustel says that Queen’s and Kingston will always hold a special place in his life.

“Both of our children were born at Kingston General Hospital, so in a way this is like their home – this is where it all started for us,” he explains. “In fact, I can look back on the events that transpired here that are directly related to me being successful as an astronaut. So you want to continue to nurture those things. I think, as you get older you realize the importance of education and growing those interests and finding a way, some way, to inspire even one person at one of those institutions to go on and do great things because anything’s possible. This is where you can plant those seeds.”

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