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Engineering and Applied Science

Building rockets, boats, and futures

Justin Gordanier engages Aboriginal youth in hands-on STEM activities in new Access to Engineering role.

Justin Gordanier can easily pinpoint the best part of his job.

He started as Aboriginal community engagement coordinator in the Aboriginal Access to Engineering (AAE) program this past spring, and so far he’s already spent many days out in communities working with young children to boost their interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM fields).

“I love to see the students who typically don’t do well in school take the lead when given the chance to do hands-on activities, like making boats out of recyclable materials,” says Mr. Gordanier (B.Ed.’14), who in addition to his Queen’s Education degree, holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Brock University.

Justin Gordanier joined Melanie Howard in the Aboriginal Access to Engineering office this past spring.

“All of a sudden, you see these kids’ confidence soar and they begin to help the others who aren’t as good at the hands-on work. They get to see each others’ strengths and work together. It’s nice to see that shift.”

Mr. Gordanier works alongside AAE Director Melanie Howard and together they’ve developed an outreach program to engage Aboriginal students ages 6-13 in communities throughout Ontario and Quebec. Travelling many days a month, Mr. Gordanier is visiting First Nation day camps throughout the summer, working with the children on science and engineering activities. He spends a few hours at each of the camps every week. Throughout the school year, Mr. Gordanier will be working in First Nation schools and with teachers to help them develop long-term plans to integrate more hands-on STEM learning opportunities in their classrooms.

Queen’s Aboriginal Access to Engineering 
Unique in Eastern Canada, this program aims to increase the number of Aboriginal engineers across the country. It has a dual focus – it offers on-campus support to current Aboriginal students and aims to foster future development of younger generations, by providing resources for students at the elementary and secondary levels to encourage them to stay in school and keep studying math and science. Learn more on the website.

“The activities I do with the kids are fun but educational, and the response so far has been great. They look forward to what’s coming the next week, especially when it’s building rockets or something like that,” he says. “And it’s all collaborative group work, so they are learning to work together, as well as life skills such as patience and perseverance.”

Mr. Gordanier’s work is part of AAE’s broader plan to increase engagement and interest among Aboriginal youth in the STEM fields. They want to get into schools early and build long-term, sustained relationships with both students and educators. “It is well-known that Aboriginal people are underrepresented in post-secondary and this program aims to help change that,” he says.

With his science and education degrees, as well as his Mohawk ancestry, Mr. Gordanier is well-suited for the position. He grew up in Deseronto, Ont., close to the Tyendinaga community, but he says it wasn’t until university that he became really interested in his culture.

“When I went to Brock, this large, diverse community, I saw people from so many different cultures, and it sparked my interest in my own culture and history. During the summer, I worked at a daycare at Tyendinaga, and while I had always wanted to go to medical school, I realized I loved working with kids and that made me go into teaching.”

While supply teaching at Quinte Mohawk School, he met Ms. Howard, who was working on other outreach activities with the community through Queen’s AAE. She told him about the new position in her office, and Mr. Gordanier quickly applied.

“It’s an exciting and rewarding job that allows me to use all of the skills I’ve developed over the years,” he says. “I love watching the kids’ eyes light up while doing the activities I’ve set out for them. We don’t know for sure how it will impact or change their lives, but you can see the excitement and how much they enjoy it.”


Bigger-picture training for industry leaders

New online, interdisciplinary master’s program offers energy and minerals/mining professionals a chance to zoom out, gain new knowledge for complex workplace.

A new interdisciplinary master’s program at Queen’s wants to take professionals already working in the energy and minerals/mining sectors and zoom them out to see the bigger picture.

“The working environment for those in oil and gas, and minerals and mining, has increased in complexity, and leaders in those fields need to have a solid understanding earlier in their careers of all the interconnections playing out,” says Ione Taylor, Executive Director of the program.

The Queen's Master of Earth and Energy Resources Leadership provides professionals with a flexible, mostly online format to allow them to keep working while they complete the degree.

The Master of Earth and Energy Resources Leadership, which is accepting students for the January 2017 start, is an 80 per cent online, 20 per cent residential program that allows professionals to keep working as they complete the degree.

“This is a very exciting program that integrates many different components, from examining the resource life cycle, with its fundamental earth science and engineering aspects, to the economic and business side, and the legal, policy, regulatory and ethical considerations of working in these industries,” says Jean Hutchinson, Professor and Department Head for Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering.

An important facet of the program is its broad range of faculty members and instructors. The program draws from the Faculty of Law, Smith School of Business, Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering, Political Science, and Economics, as well as external industry leaders.

“Many people working in these fields recognize that having an undergraduate degree is not enough going into the future – they need more sophisticated analytical skills, to deal with a changing environment that demands they have an understanding of human rights and environmental issues, on top of earth systems science and business knowledge,” says Dr. Taylor, who came to Queen’s from the petroleum industry and the U.S. Geological Survey to lead, and teach in, the program. “This program will help shape the next generation of leadership in these fields – people who will help Canada and the world move forward in a sustainable way.”

Students can study in the program on a part-time basis and will complete the master’s in 20 months, ideally.

“This program sets a new standard for course design at the graduate level and exemplifies Queen’s mission to provide innovative, interdisciplinary programs that offer students flexibility and both on-campus and online components,” says Jill Scott, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning). “The Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) and its staff have been integral to this program’s launch and in making it a dynamic and fluid learning experience for students.”

The CTL worked with faculty and program staff to take input from an extensive external market survey and shape it into an innovative curriculum, which effectively addresses the skill and competency development needs identified in the survey as priorities for the program. 

In addition, Continuing and Distance Studies in the Faculty of Arts and Science provided instructional designers and developers, who are experts at online and blended delivery programs, to guide faculty in creating the online format for the courses offered in the program.  

For more information, visit the program website or email Dr. Taylor.

Powered by collaboration

Queen’s researcher Jon Pharoah teams up with Mercedes-Benz to solve fuel cell challenges.

When Mercedes-Benz was looking for help to improve its fuel cell manufacturing process, the company turned to Jon Pharoah, an engineering professor at Queen’s with more than 20 years of research experience in this field.

Queen's researcher Jon Pharoah has partnered with Mercedes-Benz to help improve their fuel cell manufacturing process.

“For decades we’ve been researching these devices – how to make them better, how to make them more robust, less costly – and now, there’s a whole new slew of problems when it comes to mass manufacturing,” says Dr. Pharoah, who served as director of the former Queen’s-RMC Fuel Cell Research Centre (FCRC). “When manufacturing fuel cells on a commercial scale, we need to worry about using all the material so that nothing is wasted, that the devices are built to the right tolerances and that they’re made as inexpensive as possible.”

Dr. Pharoah and his team were approached by Mercedes-Benz to help solve an issue faced during mass production of fuel cells. The polymeric material that composes the core of the cell requires water to function, which it draws from the air. When the relative humidity changes, the material can shrink or expand – causing serious quality control issues in a manufacturing setting. Similar to wood used in construction or flooring, the material must be allowed to acclimate before manufacturing. As all of the fuel cell components must be stored and manufactured in a clean room, the manufacturer was looking for ways to shorten the acclimation time and reduce the volume of inventory necessary.

Queen's graduate student Philippe Coté works on fuel cell material at the Mercedes-Benz manufacturing centre in British Columbia. Mr. Coté was one of two graduate students from Queen's to work at the facility under a Mitacs Accelerate grant. Photos courtesy Thomas Maassen and Vincent Nguyen, Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc., Fuel Cell Division 

In a series of experiments, Dr. Pharoah and his team tested means of speeding up the acclimatization process, controlling for a wide range of factors. His team has already sent two mechanical engineering master’s students to the manufacturing facility in British Columbia to test the methods on the polymeric material on a larger scale. These on-site projects were funded though the Accelerate program offered by a Mitacs, a national, not-for-profit organization that supports applied and industrial research by providing funding for research internship programs with private sector organizations across the country.

Dr. Pharoah says the collaboration with Mercedes-Benz presented some interesting challenges and required the researchers to look at issues they had not considered in the past.

“We have really thought about the devices, but more from the perspective of making the best possible widget and not the widget that’s easiest to manufacture. It’s a new focus area and there are many manufacturing issues we need to tackle,” he says. “Ultimately, this is the way we’re going to have clean vehicles. This is an incredibly important area for combatting climate change and it’s nice to be working with a company that’s trying to get these out the door and into the hands of consumers.”

Dr. Pharoah and his team continue to refine their acclimation technique, with a new method showing promise in the manufacturing environment. The lab recently sent another student to the manufacturing centre on a Mitacs Accelerate internship to test the polymeric material being used in actual fuel cells.

“Queen’s is delighted to be working with Mercedes-Benz, and to provide our expertise in fuel cell research to solve pressing issues that stand in the way of commercializing this technology,” says Dr. Steven Liss, Vice-Principal (Research). “By improving how Mercedes-Benz manufactures fuel cells for its vehicles, Dr. Pharoah and his team are helping take a crucial step towards a more environmentally friendly future.”

Queen’s distinguishes itself as one of the leading research-intensive institutions in Canada. The mission is to advance research excellence, leadership and innovation, as well as enhance Queen’s impact at a national and international level. Through undertaking leading-edge research, Queen’s is addressing many of the world’s greatest challenges, and developing innovative ideas and technological advances brought about by discoveries in a variety of disciplines.

Current issue of For the Record

For the Record provides postings of appointment, committee, grant, award, PhD examination and other notices set out by collective agreements and university policies and processes. It is the university’s primary vehicle for sharing this information with our community.

The next issue of For the Record will be published Thursday, Aug. 18. The deadline for submitting information is Tuesday, Aug. 16. For the Record is published bi-weekly throughout the academic year and monthly during the summer.

Submit For the Record information for posting to Communications Officer Wanda Praamsma


Faculty of Health Sciences

Alexander H. (Sandy) Boag – Head, Department of Pathology & Molecular Medicine

Dean Richard Reznick is pleased to announce that Alan Harrison, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), has appointed Alexander H. (Sandy) Boag as Head, Department of Pathology & Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences. This appointment is for a five-year period beginning June 15, 2016.

A graduate of Queen’s in Chemical Engineering, Dr. Boag did a Master's of Applied Science at University of Toronto. He then attended medical school at Queen’s, and a residency in anatomic pathology, also at Queen’s.

Dr. Boag then joined the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine as a faculty member in 1993. He served as service chief for anatomical pathology from 2001 to 2013. Dr. Boag is an active member Cancer Care Ontario, currently serving as pathology lead for the southeast region. He has served as clinical director of the Cytology lab at Kingston General Hospital since 2008.

An active and respected member of his department, Dr. Boag has held numerous committee roles, displaying a penchant for change and improvement. He currently sits on the Departmental Practice Plan Steering Committee, and holds the position of vice-chair of the SEAMO Finance Committee, Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine.

Dr. Boag has been active at all levels of education and training, having served on the residency training committee in pathology, and being a member of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada Anatomical Pathology Examination Board. A pulmonary and urologic pathologist, Dr. Boag’s scholarly work has focused on prostate and lung cancer. As an active member of several research teams, Dr. Boag has been involved in multiple funded research initiatives and scholarly publications.

Other appointments in the Faculty of Health Sciences:

Muhammad Khan, Associate Professor, Psychiatry – May 1, 2016

Tracie Pennimpede, Assistant Professor, Biomedical and Molecular Sciences – May 1, 2016

Amir Elmekkawi, Assistant Professor, Pediatrics – May 1, 2016

Colleen M. Davison, Assistant Professor, Public Health Services – June 1, 2016

Stacy Ridi, Assistant Professor, Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine – June 1, 2016

Christopher Booth, Associate Professor, Oncology – July 1, 2016

Danielle Rumbolt, Assistant Professor, Diagnostic Radiology – July1, 2016

Wiley Chung, Assistant Professor, Surgery, General Surgery – July 1, 2016

Jeff Yach, Assistant Professor, Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery – July 1, 2016

Genevieve Digby, Assistant Professor, Medicine, Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine – July 1, 2016

Cynthia Pruss, Assistant Professor, Biomedical and Molecular Sciences – July 1, 2016

Glenio Mizubuti, Assistant Professor, Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine – July 1, 2016

Anupam Sehgal, Assistant Professor, Pediatrics – July 1, 2016

Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science

New appointments:

Nicolas Hudon, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering – July 1, 2016

Amir Fam, Associate Dean (Research & Graduate Studies) – July 1, 2016

Brian Frank, Associate Dean (Teaching & Learning) – July 1, 2016

Human Resources

Successful Candidates

Job Title: Visitor Services Assistant (USW Local 2010)
Department: Agnes Etherington Art Centre
Competition: 2016-107
Successful Candidate: Kyle Holleran

Job Title: Research Coordinator
Department: Emergency Medicine
Competition: 2016-014 & 2016-R003
Successful Candidate: Nicole O'Callaghan (Critical Care Medicine)

Job Title: Simulation Lab Manager (USW Local 2010)
Department: School of Nursing
Competition: 2016-159
Successful Candidate: Linda Suurdt (School of Nursing)

Job Title: Grants and Special Projects Leader (USW Local 2010)
Department: Pediatrics
Competition: 2016-161
Successful Candidate: Helen Coo (Pediatrics/Public Health Sciences)

Job Title: Senior Development Officer (USW Local 2010)
Department: Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science
Competition: 2016-129
Successful Candidate: WITHDRAWN

Job Title: Plumber Steamfitter (CUPE 229)
Department: Physical Plant Services
Competition: 2016-054
Successful Candidate: WITHDRAWN

Job Title: Senior Web Developer (USW Local 2010)
Department: Education Technology Unit, Faculty of Health Sciences
Competition: 2016-079
Successful Candidate: Eric Howarth (Education Technology Unit)

Job Title: Director, Career Development
Department: Faculty of Law
Competition: 2016-082
Successful Candidate: Julie Banting (Faculty of Law)

Job Title: Procurement Systems Administrator (USW Local 2010)
Department: Strategic Procurement Services
Competition: 2016-131
Successful Candidate: Shamael Malko-Moore

Job Title: Assistant Residence Life Coordinator (USW Local 2010)
Department: Housing and Ancillary Services
Competition: 2016-121
Successful Candidate: Monica Geary

Job Title: Program Materials Administrator (USW Local 2010)
Department: Industrial Relations Centre
Competition: 2016-149
Successful Candidate: Thomas Nickerson (Medical Art & Photography)

Job Title: Chemical Technologist (CUPE 254)
Department: Department of Chemistry
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Department: Undergraduate Medical Education, School of Medicine
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Successful Candidate: Michelle Salamone (Awards)

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Department: Smith School of Business
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Successful Candidate: Matthew Reesor (Smith School of Business)

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Department: Psychiatry
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Department: Advancement Communications and Marketing
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Department: Career Services
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Department: Housing and Ancillary Services
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Successful Candidate: Kathleen Murray

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Department: Smith School of Business
Competition: 2015-316B
Successful Candidate: Sinthu Sivanesan

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Department: Dean's Office, Faculty of Arts and Science
Competition: 2016-092
Successful Candidate: Sarah Chapman (Dean's Office - A&S)

Job Title: Senior Manager, Program and Administration
Department: Queen's University Biological Station
Competition: 2016-R001 & 2016-002
Successful Candidate: Sonia Nobrega (University Research Services)

Job Title: Governance Assistant
Department: University Secretariat
Competition: 2016-102
Successful Candidate: Tracy Brons

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Department: Faculty of Arts & Science, Learning Enhancement and Distance Studies
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Department: Athletics and Recreation
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Job Title: Chemical Technologist (CUPE 254)
Department: Chemical Engineering
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Successful Candidate: Brooke Belfall

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Department: Housing & Ancilary Services
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Job Title: Senior Chemical Technologist (CUPE 254)
Department: Chemical Engineering
Competition: 2016-068
Successful Candidate: Kelly Sedore (Chemical Engineering)

Job Title: Program Manager (USW Local 2010)
Department: Smith School of Business
Competition: 2016-085
Successful Candidate: Hayley Clifton

Job Title: Residence Desk Supervisor
Department: Housing and Ancillary Services
Competition: 2016-081
Successful Candidate: Lindsay Higgs

Job Title: Coordinator, Facility Operations (USW Local 2010)
Department: Athletics and Recreation
Competition: 2016-104
Successful Candidate: Iain Pope

Job Title: Web Developer (USW Local 2010)
Department: Education Technology Unit, Faculty of Health Sciences
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Department: Cultural Studies
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Department: Athletics and Recreation
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Job Title: Senior Data Analyst/Biostatistician
Department: Family Medicine - Centre for Studies in Primary Care
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Successful Candidate: Behrouz Ehsani-Moghaddam

Job Title: Financial Assistant (USW Local 2010)
Department: Smith School of Business
Competition: 2016-100
Successful Candidate: Noémie Hallé-Ducasse

Job Title: Office Assistant (USW Local 2010)
Department: Mechanical and Materials Engineering
Competition: 2016-084
Successful Candidate: Marilyn Oosten (Environmental Health and Safety)

Welcome fellows

Three outstanding post-doctoral fellows have been recruited to Queen’s as a result of the inaugural Queen’s Research Opportunities Funds competition.

The Post-Doctoral Fund, intended to attract competitive post-doctoral candidates to the university and support their research contributions, is part of the suite of internal research awards launched by the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research) in fall 2015.

“My sincere congratulations to the successful recipients of the Post-Doctoral Fund,” says Dr. Steven Liss, Vice-Principal (Research). “As was our intention in developing this opportunity, these funds have drawn leading young scholars to the university and will help to propel their research careers in new and exciting directions. I look forward to seeing the contributions made by these individuals.”

The successful recipients are Reza Nosrati (Chemical Engineering), Jaqueline Raymondi Silva (Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine) and Gregory Whitfield (Political Studies).

“Post-doctoral fellows play an important role in advancing research at Queen’s,” says Dr. Brenda Brouwer, Vice Provost and Dean, School of Graduate Studies. “We are thrilled that three new post-doctoral fellows will take up these awards‎ in the next academic year − they will bring energy and fresh perspective to the research community.”

More information on the post-doctoral fellows:

Reza Nosrati]
Reza Nosrati

Reza Nosrati – Dr. Nosrati is ready to apply his vast academic background in fluid mechanics to Prof. Carlos Escobedo’s research on the applications of micro-technology into cell biology and sensing.

Dr. Nosrati defended his PhD thesis in March 2016 at the University of Toronto, which focused on microfluidics for male infertility treatment. He has published more than 40 papers with 14 of them residing in high-profile scientific journals like Nature Communications. His works, including his groundbreaking discovery of the 2D slither swimming mode of sperm, have been highlighted several times in renowned journals such as Nature Reviews Urology and featured in news sources worldwide including LA Times and Daily Mail.

Dr. Nosrati’s unique skill set will assist Prof. Escobedo in his two research streams: developing and applying microstructures to interact with living cells, and developing sensing technologies for detection of ovarian cancer in early stages. Dr. Nosrati’s experience in creating and developing microstructures will be of particular value to Prof. Escobedo’s current project of designing and testing microtech-based platforms for studying biofilm formation and degradation.

[Jaqueline Raymondi Silva]
Jaqueline Raymondi Silva

Jaqueline Raymondi Silva – Dr. Silva is excited to be joining the Queen’s Department of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine as a post-doctoral fellow this year. Under the supervision of Nader Ghasemlou, Dr. Silva will be able to pursue her passion for research into the impacts of pain in post-herpectic neuralgia, or shingles.

While completing her doctorate at the Universidade de São Paulo, Dr. Silva developed a new model of this disease in the mouse. She will now bring this expertise, along with her background in somatosensory and immunology research, to Dr. Ghasemlou’s team. As part of the Ghasemlou lab, Dr. Silva will study the neuroimmune basis underlying post-herpetic neuralgia using animal models, with a focus on changes to circadian rhythms. Dr. Silva’s experience in this field will be key to carrying out the Ghasemlou lab’s bedside-to-bench-and-back study, allowing her to use her doctoral research in a new academic community.

Dr. Silva will be able to build collaborations with other Queen’s researchers and to mentor new undergraduate and graduate students entering the fields of neuroscience and immunology. The experiences and training she receives at Queen’s will support her in her goal of eventually establishing her own laboratory and research team in Brazil.

[Gregory Whitfield]
Gregory Whitfield

Gregory Whitfield – Beginning in August, Margaret Moore in the Department of Political Studies will see one of her past graduate students return to her as a post-doctoral fellow. Gregory Whitfield completed his master’s degree at Queen’s and successfully defended his PhD at Washington University in St. Louis. His dissertation is about the connection between the theories and methods used in social science research and normative political theories and ethics, but he also has strong academic interests in the study of legal systems and Aboriginal property rights.

He is thrilled to be able to apply his knowledge to Dr. Moore’s SSHRC-funded project on methods of corrective justice, where his fellowship will allow him to research normative theories that contribute to Aboriginal land claims. Considering North America’s origin as a settler nation that has struggled with Aboriginal territory ownership, Dr. Whitfield’s contribution will be very relevant to the current political landscape. Dr. Moore has identified Dr. Whitfield’s analysis as essential to covering all aspects of land rights and necessary self-government after land dispossession in her SSHRC project. Dr. Whitfield will also be able to forge new research relationships with other faculty members throughout his time at Queen’s.

More information on all of the QROF recipients please visit the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)’s website. The 2016-2017 QROF competition will launch in the fall. 

Fuelling success

In an impressive debut at the prestigious Shell Eco-marathon, a team of Queen’s engineers overcame numerous roadblocks to finish tops in its division for most energy-efficient vehicle.

The student team from the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science competed in the hydrogen fuel cell prototype division of the eco-marathon, which brings together teams of university, college and high school students from across North America in a challenge to design, build and drive the most energy-efficient vehicle.

“I think it was the collaboration of the team and the persistence and problem-solving throughout the competition. It would have been easy to say ‘No, that’s it – we can’t fix these problems’ and just enjoy the rest of the competition without competing,” says Matt Swift (Sc’17), technical director for the team. “But nobody had that attitude and everyone wanted to make sure the car was ready to go and that we could compete in the final competition.” 

[Queen's Fuel Cell Team]
The Queen's Fuel Cell Team accepts its prize for placing first in its division for the most energy-efficient vehicle at the Shell Eco-marathon. (Supplied photo)

Previously, the team had competed in the SAE Clean Snowmobile competition, which challenges students to re-engineer an existing snowmobile to reduce emissions and noise, but had not made it past the inspection stage. 

The new competition, however, got off to an auspicious start, says Mr. Swift.

“The first time we went through the inspection, we passed most of the stages right away and then had a few things to fix,” he says, adding that a number of hydrogen leaks were detected in the fuel lines. “So we went back and tried to do the best we could and went for another inspection and ended up getting through, which was really huge to the team, even at that stage.” 

After getting through the checks, the team hit the track.

There was trouble from the start. The vehicle couldn’t make it up an incline at the start of the 0.6-mile track, so it was back to the work area to find a solution. 

I had never been in a leadership position as big as this one and had never managed a team, so I think that was huge for me. Those are really useful skills to bring to the workplace after I finish my studies.
— Matt Swift (Sc'17), Technical Director, Queen's Fuel Cell Team

This is where the team members gained a lot of valuable experience, Mr. Swift explains. They also got some help diagnosing the issue from a coach from another team.  

“It was a lot of troubleshooting and trying to figure out what the actual problem was because we weren’t really sure,” Mr. Swift says. “It was a great problem-solving experience. We needed to get it done and in a short amount of time so we could get other tests done.” 

The team had a total of four runs in the competition – and the second run went smoother. However, as the vehicle neared a larger hill at the end of the course, it came to a halt once again. Then, another complication.

In the rush to get out of the way of other competitors, one of the spindles holding a wheel and its brake snapped off. 

It was a welded piece they had made themselves in McLaughlin Hall, and they didn’t have the tools to repair it. 

Fortunately, they came across a manufacturing shop that was offered free to all competitors. The team told the shop what they needed and provided drawings, as well. 

 “We came back an hour later and they had fixed it. That was huge and it was something we didn’t know we would have the opportunity to have at the competition.” 

With one more chance, the team decided to warm up the fuel cell ahead of time, hoping that would resolve the power issue. It worked. The vehicle completed the 10 laps – 6 miles, almost 10 km – without a hitch.  

Then they waited for the results, which left them “awestruck.” 

QFCT was first in their division – and it wasn’t close. They posted a result of 83.9 miles/m³ hydrogen, and the next best result was in the 60s. 

Like the other design teams supported by the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and the Queen’s University Engineering Society, QFCT allowed Mr. Swift to gain valuable hands-on experience outside the classroom. 

“For me personally, the management side of things was really important. I had never been in a leadership position as big as this one and had never managed a team, so I think that was huge for me,” he says. “Those are really useful skills to bring to the workplace after I finish my studies.” 

Engineering a path to success

Queen’s University Chemical Engineering professor and Queen’s Research Chair in Biochemical and Cell Culture Engineering, Andrew Daugulis, has been named a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

 The Canadian Academy of Engineering allows Canada’s most distinguished engineers the opportunity to provide strategic advice on matters of importance to society. Queen's professor Andrew Daugulis was one of 43 new Fellows elected to the academy today at the academy's Annual General Meeting in Winnipeg, MB.

Election to the academy is one of the highest professional honours accorded to engineers in Canada. Fellows are nominated by existing members based on a track record of distinguished achievements and career-long service to the engineering profession.

“It’s a big honour,” Dr. Daugulis explains. “There are some renowned people in that group such as Bob Beamish, namesake of Beamish Munro Hall, and Mike Lazaridis, who started Research in Motion. It’s humbling to be included in that company.”

Dr. Daugulis’ research focus is industrial biotechnology – using microorganisms and biological systems in a wide range of commercial applications such as biopharmaceuticals or industrial bioprocesses. His research also touches on the field of environmental engineering, which uses biological systems to degrade toxic compounds.

“The biological revolution is now,” he says. “Biological processes are green – they don’t run at high temperatures and pressure. The carbon footprint is really small and the use of renewable resources is significant, so it’s a great place to be right now – using biological systems to do important industrial applications.”

While the academy will formally induct the new fellows at the Annual General Meeting in Winnipeg on June 27, Dr. Daugulis will have to wait until next year’s meeting to receive his plaque due to a prior commitment.

“Because I found out only in April, I unfortunately will not be able to attend,” Dr. Daugulis says. “Our family has had a long-standing family vacation arranged every year going into the long July weekend. As of the date of the meeting I can use the post-nominal letters but I’ll have to wait until next year’s meeting, which I will certainly attend!”

Founded in 1987, the Canadian Academy of Engineering is an independent, self-governing and non-profit organization established to allow Canada’s most distinguished and experienced engineers the opportunity to provide strategic advice on matters of critical importance. Its membership comprises many of the country’s most accomplished engineers, who are elected by their peers in recognition of their dedication to the application of science and engineering principles.

Queen’s to adopt new academic tool

After extensive consultation and discussions among a variety of groups, Queen’s University has decided to acquire a campus-wide licence for Turnitin, an academic tool that will support student learning and faculty development.

“I am pleased that Queen’s is joining other Ontario institutions that have benefitted from Turnitin,” says Jill Scott, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning). “The software, available for the fall 2016 term, will provide numerous learning opportunities for both faculty and students.” While the tool is sometimes understood as plagiarism detection software, Dr. Scott says Queen’s will promote it as a formative and developmental opportunity. “Turnitin will help students gain a deeper understanding of academic citation practices while safeguarding academic integrity.”

“Turnitin will enable Queen’s to adopt an educational approach by encouraging students to check for potential issues before submitting their assignments,” says Peter Wolf, Associate Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning). “In this way, students can learn about ways to ensure they are submitting original work. Over time, supports will be developed for faculty, graduate students and undergraduate students on using Turnitin as an educational tool.”

Representatives from the Office of the Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning), IT Services and the Queen’s University Faculty Association evaluated the software and recommended its adoption across the university. Ten Ontario universities, including the University of Toronto, McMaster, Western and Ryerson, currently hold a licence for Turnitin. Smith School of Business and the School of Kinesiology, Queen’s Economics Department and the Department of Psychology have been using Turnitin under an opt-in arrangement.

“We saw the opportunity to take Turnitin from an opt-in service that only a few on campus were using to a full, campus-wide application. This is another way ITS is looking to improve and bolster the best experience possible for our Queen’s community,” says Bo Wandschneider, Chief Information Officer and Associate Vice-Principal (Information Technology Services).

A dream come true

P. Kim Sturgess fulfills a lifetime goal of earning an honorary degree from Queen’s University.

Queen’s is reserving its honorary degrees in 2016 for alumni in celebration of the university’s 175th anniversary. Throughout spring convocation, The Gazette will profile all 11 honorary degree recipients and explore how Queen’s has impacted their life and career. 

P. Kim Sturgess has a long list of awards to her name, but she has always held out hope of earning one specific honour. Today, the proud Queen’s engineering alumna fulfilled a longtime dream of accepting an honorary degree from her alma mater.

“Earning an honorary degree from Queen’s has been an aspirational goal for me for a long time,” says Ms. Sturgess (SC’77). “The Order of Canada was for family and country, the honorary degree is for me. This is as good as it gets.”

As a girl raised primarily on Prince Edward Island, Ms. Sturgess was interested in engineering from an early age. She visited one big city campus while trying to decide where to pursue her post-secondary education, but that life wasn’t for her. “I walked on to the Queen’s campus, and I knew I was home. Queen’s has always felt like a family to me.”

A key mentor within her Queen’s family was Professor David Atherton (Engineering Physics). Ms. Sturgess said he was her favourite professor during her time and taught her many important lessons including problem solving.

New Queen's honorary degree recipient P, Kim Sturgess (r) poses with Queen's University Dean of Engineering Kimberly Woodhouse. (Photo by Bernard Clark)

Ms. Sturgess graduated from Queen’s with a degree in engineering physics and from Western University with an MBA. She has enjoyed a long and successful career, working as the chief executive officer for a number of technology-based companies. She is also the founder and CEO of Alberta WaterSMART, a services organization committed to improving water management through better technologies and practices.

The list of her awards and honours is extensive. She was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada in 2015, and she received the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal. Queen’s recognized her with the Distinguished Service Award, and the Queen’s University Alumni Association presented her with its highest honour, the Alumni Achievement Award. In 2007, she was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women.

She has also served the Queen’s community in a number of different ways. Most notably, she sat on the Board of Trustees for 12 years. During that time, she chaired the finance committee of the board. “That was how Principal Bill Leggett and I became close. I was a trustee for 12 years and that was a real honour. We worked together and made some tough choices together.”

For the engineering graduates, Ms. Sturgess passed along some savvy life lessons. “I have three key messages for the graduates. One, live where your heart is at. Two, follow your passion and the rest will happen. Three, treasure your Queen’s community, trust in your Queen’s community. She has always been there for me and she will always be there for you.”

Recognizing outstanding research potential

Queen’s welcomes record seven Vanier Scholarship recipients.

Seven Queen’s University students have won the 2016 Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship – surpassing the previous record of six recipients set in 2015 and the most in a single year at Queen’s since the scholarship was launched in 2008.

"Our seven new Vanier Scholars have shown their tremendous research potential,” says Brenda Brouwer, Vice-Provost and Dean, School of Graduate Studies. “These are Canada’s most prestigious awards for doctoral students and will put these young scholars on solid footing for future research success. We are very proud of their accomplishments and grateful that these talented trainees have chosen Queen’s. They will no doubt make significant scholarly contributions and, in so doing, advance our commitment to research excellence.”

Anja-Xiaoxing Cui (Psychology) will focus her research on the mechanisms within the brain that allow for us to understand, appreciate and learn about music. By measuring brain activity in subjects as they listen to unfamiliar music, as well as tracking children’s sense of music over the course of lessons, she aims to learn more about how the brain analyzes and learns new music and how quickly new information can be gained.

Exploring the diverse field of rheology – the study of the flow of complex matter, including liquids and so-called ‘soft solids’ – Peter Gilbert (Chemical Engineering) plans to explore the relationship between molecular structure of polymeric liquids and their rheological properties. His doctoral research aims to predict the behaviour of polymers in various conditions or applications; improving our understanding of how these materials behave during the manufacturing process and leading to more effective processing methods.

Fiona Haxho (Biology) intends to study the cell-signalling mechanisms involved in pancreatic cancer. In particular, her research is focused on a mammalian enzyme called neuraminidase-1 and its role in tumour growth, development and resistance to chemotherapy, amongst other things. Her doctoral research aims to target this enzyme and determine its functional role in models of pancreatic cancer.

Jackie Huberman (Psychology) aims to empirically and comprehensively examine a model of women’s sexual response. Her research will specifically evaluate how women’s mind-body connection with respect to sexual arousal and neural responses – including sexual functioning, sexual schemas, and stress – may impact sexual desire. With the knowledge gained from her dissertation, she hopes to help shift society’s conceptualization of female sexual response to reflect more accurately women’s experiences.

Focusing on the issue of human-lion conflict in Africa, Sandra McCubbin (Geography) will explore the politics of lion conservation in Botswana. Home to approximately 3,200 lions, Botswana is the site of intense human-lion conflict – a significant issue in Africa, especially in the borderlands of parks that often overlap with human settlements. Her research aims to explore the network of actors involved in producing this conflict in an effort to understand the issue better and identity where power structures may be renegotiated to enhance co-existence of humans and lions.

Studying under renowned bullying expert, Dr. Wendy Craig, Laura Lambe (Psychology) aims to explore how bullying affects students who witness the aggressive acts as bystanders or intervene as defenders. Her research will address whether certain types of intervention are associated with more favourable outcomes. She also intends to investigate the social contextual factors that predict how students will use different types of defensive behaviour. By more effectively quantifying the effects of intervention, researchers and policy makers will be able to endorse specific, evidence-based defending behaviours that are beneficial for both youth who are victimized and for youth who are defenders.

Jane Thomson (Law) will focus her doctoral research on instances of progressive legal reform achieved using private law doctrine; a goal more commonly achieved through the application of public law legislation, such as human rights legislation or the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Currently she is looking at the issue of racism or religious intolerance in private wills and what use, if any, a court may make of the common law doctrine of public policy to void a provision in a will that seeks to discriminate against a beneficiary based on race, or promotes racism in some other way.

The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship awards $150,000 over three years to up to 167 doctoral students across Canada every year. It aims to strengthen Canada's ability to attract and retain world-class doctoral students, by supporting students who demonstrate both leadership skills and high standard of scholarly achievement in graduate studies in the social sciences and/or humanities, natural sciences and/or engineering and health. 


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