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Faculty of Arts and Science introduces two new plans

[Politics-Philosophy-Economics Specialization]
The Faculty of Arts and Science is introducing two new plans for the 2017-18 academic year: a Politics-Philosophy-Economics Specialization and a major in Languages, Literatures and Cultures.

Following an already busy year filled with launching new initiatives, an additional two new plans are being introduced by the Faculty of Arts and Science for the 2017-18 academic year, just in time for plan selection for first-year students. The two new plans are a Politics-Philosophy-Economics Specialization and a major in Languages, Literatures and Cultures.

Politics- Philosophy-Economics Specialization
By combining the studies of economics, philosophy and politics, students will be prepared for graduate studies in their area of specialization, law, public service, international development, policy design and analysis, or any career path that calls for strong analytical and communication skills. The plan will approach contemporary social issues and how society responds to these issues by bringing complementary intellectual skills together in analytical and critical ways. The plan is structured as an augmented medial, without sacrificing advanced skills areas of specialization. With more than 50 courses to choose from, students will have flexibility to create a degree path that works for them, with a focus that will stand out in the marketplace.

“The three departments involved are very excited about the students who will be attracted to the new PPE plan,” says Ian Keay, Undergraduate Chair, Department of Economics. “The plan’s focus on analytical rigor, critical thinking and communication, applied to a wide range of social issues, will draw intellectually curious students with a broad set of complementary interests and skills.”

To learn more visit the PPE webpage.

Major in Languages, Literatures and Cultures
A new major for the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures (LLCU), the plan builds upon the breadth of the unit which covers Arabic, Chinese, German, Hebrew, Inuktitut, Italian,

Japanese, Mohawk, Portuguese and Spanish languages and cultures, as well as Linguistics and general/minor plans in Indigenous Studies and World Language Studies. The main aim of the new major is to develop students’ intercultural competency, providing them with an understanding and awareness of cultural diversity grounded in second language acquisition. Its strong interdisciplinary and intercultural approach, together with an international perspective and collaboration with the Queen’s University International Centre (students will concurrently earn an Intercultural Competence Certificate) means that it addresses the issues of today’s world in a unique way. The plan’s goal is to provide students with a set of diverse and flexible core competencies, supporting a solid and practical foundation for a remarkably wide range of post-undergraduate careers, graduate degree options, and professional programs.

“In addition to learning at least two languages, students will take courses from a variety of multi-, cross-, and inter-disciplinary topics,” says Donato Santeramo, Head of the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures.  “These will help students develop an understanding of literary and cultural traditions, and examine the influences of key social, historical, political and artistic developments within varied cultural traditions. The plan is designed to be an excellent platform for study abroad opportunities and for students to gain additional experiential learning.”

To learn more visit the LLCU webpage.

Indspire Award winner embraces personal journey

University often offers young people more than just a degree. For Thomas Dymond, currently a first-year medical student at Queen’s, post-secondary education has been a journey of self-discovery.

“It wasn’t until I got to Memorial University for my undergraduate degree that I started getting to know about my culture. I jumped over that barrier of not being sure how I fit being an Aboriginal person in modern society,” says Mr. Dymond, who recently accepted an Indspire Award, the highest honour the Indigenous community bestows upon its achievers.

[Thomas Dymond]
Indspire recently recognized first-year medical student Thomas Dymond for his significant volunteer work and his advocacy for Indigenous students. 

Mr. Dymond is Mi’kmaq from the Bear River First Nation in Nova Scotia. He lived off reserve growing up and didn’t learn a lot about his Aboriginal culture from his mother and relatives.

“Even though my grandfather didn’t attend a residential school, the system definitely impacted the way he felt he should share knowledge with his children and grandchildren,” Mr. Dymond says. “Given his own background and the racism he experienced, my grandfather never really forced our family to self-identify.”

Despite having minimal affiliation with the culture, Mr. Dymond says he always felt an Aboriginal presence inside of him growing up. When he moved to Newfoundland to attend Memorial University, he started to get more in touch with his Aboriginal identity.

However, as someone with mixed ancestry – his father is white – Mr. Dymond felt he faced another barrier to expressing his Aboriginal identity.

“I wanted to get involved, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to be received. I worried about walking in and being the whitest looking person in the room. I thought about how I was going to be received by other Indigenous students in the room,” he says. “Once I overcame all of that, it just sparked something in me. I wanted to learn more, I wanted to do more, and I wanted to get involved more.”

[Thomas Dymond accepts the Indspire Award]
Thomas Dymond accepted his Indspire Award on March 24 from Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, and Carolyn Bennett, Canada's Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs. (Photo courtesy of Indspire)

Mr. Dymond was elected the Aboriginal student representative on the Student’s Union at Memorial University, a position he held for three years. He advocated for Indigenous students on campus, and also got involved in national campaigns such as Sisters in Spirit, which raises awareness about violence against Aboriginal women and girls, and Education is a Right, which seeks to increase financial support for Indigenous post-secondary students.

Mr. Dymond also got involved with a number of initiatives across the university and in the local community. He co-founded the Wape’k Mui’n drum group and facilitated events such as sharing circles. He sat on the board of the St. John’s Native Friendship Centre for two years as the youth representative. As a member of the board, he voiced the needs and desires of Aboriginal youth in the community, which helped shape planning and policy within the friendship centre.

“I have gone from a level of trying to be educated and to learn more about my culture to this point where people turn to me for knowledge.”
-- Thomas Dymond 

Reflecting on his volunteer and community work, Mr. Dymond can’t pinpoint one activity that he is most proud of.

“I do things because I have a passion and I am driven to do them. Everything along that path has led me to where I am today. All of those experiences have made me who I am,” he says. “I find it interesting that I have gone from a level of trying to be educated and to learn more about my culture to this point where people turn to me for knowledge.”

New beginnings, new challenges

After years of contributing to the university and broader community in St. John’s, Mr. Dymond found himself navigating a new and unfamiliar environment last fall after arriving at Queen’s to pursue his medical degree. When he came to campus for his School of Medicine admission interview, he visited Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre and walked through the building on Barrie Street. Mr. Dymond said he received a warm welcome from the staff at FDASC, which made him feel comfortable going there.

Mr. Dymond admits that there was an adjustment period coming to Queen’s. It took him a while to get comfortable with the other medical students and the Aboriginal community on campus. Furthermore, the demands of medical school meant that he couldn’t attend as many events or get as involved as he had been at Memorial University.

Expanding access to Queen’s for Indigenous youth
The Faculty of Health Sciences has joined with the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science to expand the pool of qualified Indigenous applicants. Learn more about Ann Deer, Indigenous Access and Recruitment Coordinator, on the Queen’s Law website.
Improving access to Queen’s programs for Indigenous youth is one of the recommendations contained in the final report of the Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation Task Force. Read the full report and learn more about task force and its membership.

Over the past few months, though, Mr. Dymond feels he has come out of his shell, opening up about who he is and where he comes from.

“The more comfortable I’ve gotten with the people I am surrounded by now, the new community, the more I’ve been open and able to share my knowledge, understanding, and perspective on a lot of things,” he says. “And that’s really what it’s all about: I have a perspective as one person, and it’s nice that I am being heard.”

Having the opportunity to share that perspective with Aboriginal youth is what excites him the most about the Indspire Award. As part of the honour, Mr. Dymond will visit several different cities across Canada and deliver his message to other Indigenous youth: “stay in school and you can achieve anything you put your mind to.”

“If you had asked me five years ago, I never thought I would have been here. It’s amazing where I have come from and how I got here, and I am excited to share that with other Indigenous youth and let them know they can do what they want in life.”

Visit the Indspire website to learn more about Mr. Dymond and the awards. 

Turning dreams into reality

Three winners have been announced for the Principal’s Dream Courses.

[Principal's Dream Courses]
Laura Murray (English Language and Literature) speaks about her experiences with ENGL 467: Words in Place: Settler and Indigenous Stories of Kingston/Cataraqui, one of the Principal's Dream Courses for 2016-17. (University Communications)

In its second year, the initiative offers Queen’s faculty members the resources to create and teach the courses they’ve always dreamt of. 

Each course will be taught for at least two years with up to $13,000 in funding for teaching materials, field trips and guest speakers. The winners will also receive course development assistance from the Centre for Teaching and Learning.

“The first three Principal’s Dream Courses showed the value of this initiative and I am very much looking forward to what can be accomplished by this current selection of winning proposals,” says Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf. “I am confident each of these courses will provide their students with an exceptional and memorable learning experience.”

Applicants were encouraged to focus their proposed courses on the topics of sustainability, Indigenous identities or Queen’s 175th anniversary using active and inquiry-based learning methods.

The winning courses are:

GPHY 3XX: Indigenous Perspectives on the Environment and Health
Heather Castleden (
Geography and Planning, Public Health Sciences)
This course will explore issues concerning Indigenous peoples’ interconnected relationships with the environment and health. In addition to those relationships, the course will explore relationships between Indigenous and Settler peoples as existing within broad socio-political contexts. Central to the development of an understanding of Indigenous knowledge of environment and health, Indigenous voices must be at the forefront of this learning process. The course is largely a traveling Field School (80 per cent) with some portion being spent in class (20 per cent). The course will review key Canadian legal cases affecting land use, resource access, management, planning, and environmental protection; and explore Indigenous worldviews on health and the interplay human health has with environmental stability. A key focus will be the interconnectedness of environment and health – how the health of the land, water, and air is intimately tied to Indigenous health and well-being.

ENGL 218/003 Introduction to Indigenous Literature in Canada
Heather Macfarlane (
English Language and Literature)
This course will demonstrate the capacity of literature to confront expectations about Indigenous cultures and experience. Using an inquiry-based approach, the course will examine Indigenous novels, traditional stories, poetry, short stories and plays from various time periods, written by Métis, Inuit and First Nations authors. Class visits by renowned Indigenous authors and thinkers will open avenues for meaningful engagement, and demonstrate the importance of literature and aesthetics to educate and mobilize. With a goal of developing a broader understanding of the powerful anti-colonial sentiment at the core of Indigenous cultural production, the course will also consider the texts in the light of Indigenous-authored criticism. Participants will examine textual and theoretical approaches to topics such as colonialism and resistance, storytelling and orality, traditional and contemporary stories, land and language, residential schools and “reconciliation,” sexuality and gender, spirituality, community and nationhood. The course will also consider the role that Indigenous literatures play in shaping both Indigenous and non-Indigenous perceptions of identity.

ASO ASTR 101 Astronomy I: The Solar System
David Hanes (
Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy) and Keren Akiva (Instructional Designer, Arts and Science Online)
This course is a non‐mathematical introduction to the science of astronomy for non‐specialist students. Topics to be covered include the fundamentals of astronomy; the historical development of our understanding of the earth, moon, and solar system, with particular attention to the interpretations associated with various Indigenous cultures; an introduction to the tools and techniques of modern observational astronomy; the nature of the sun; the origin of our solar system; the sustainability and fragility of life on earth; space exploration of Mars, Jupiter, and other planets; the discovery and nature of planets around other stars; and the search for extraterrestrial life. This course is currently offered through Arts and Science Online in the summer term as a 12-week course and funding will allow the removal of an enrolment cap presently set at 95 students. The intention is to deepen the theme of sustainability in ASTR101 and to expand it to include themes of disparate historical interpretations as evidenced in varied cultures, paying particular (but not sole) attention to those of the North American First Nations. This includes creation stories as central and essential parts of the discussion.

Each of the winning courses will first be available in the 2017/18 academic year.

The Principal’s Dream Courses will be offered again in 2018 with increased funding of up to $15,000 per course being awarded.

Learn more about the Principal’s Dream Courses on the Centre for Teaching and Learning’s website.

Thinking about course textbooks

Looking ahead to the next academic year, many instructors are exploring textbook options to find the ones best suited to their course content, tailored to their teaching, and affordable for their students. A new Queen’s working group is exploring how to help.

When and Where
The sessions will be held Monday, April 24 at 3 pm and Tuesday April 25 at 9:30 am and 11:30 am, at the University Club. Each session will last about an hour. To register, please contact Nadia Timperio, indicating your preferred date and time.

The Queen’s Open and Affordable Course Materials Working Group wants to hear from faculty and students as it begins a phase of exploration, including the formulation of pilot projects this spring. The purpose of the group’s work is to support equitable, broad access to learning resources.

Upcoming instructor-oriented discussion groups on April 24 and April 25 are open to faculty across all disciplines, and will provide an opportunity to share experiences, views and ideas, and to help shape forthcoming pilot projects at Queen’s. These discussions will help the working group learn about instructors’ experiences with – and interest in – different types of course materials, particularly open education resources (teaching, learning and research resources that are free of cost to students and which also grant legal permissions for open and fair use). The group welcomes insights on opportunities and challenges associated with these materials – for instructors, students and the creators of various types of teaching materials?

Input gathered at these discussion groups will help inform the design of pilot projects that can test possible approaches, and shape platforms and services that support the use of course materials across the curriculum. As the group develops the pilot project parameters, members are eager to hear about any potential projects instructors have in mind.

Projects across the country are undertaking similar explorations. The BCcampus Open Textbook Project led the way in Canada in the development of open education resources, and eCampus Ontario is now building on that work with the launch of a new virtual Open Textbook Library. Queen’s has an opportunity to collaborate with other institutions in Ontario to provide advice on the design and development of a prototype for an open publishing infrastructure to support this Open Textbook Library.

The Showcase of Teaching and Learning at Queen’s, hosted by the Centre for Teaching and Learning on May 3, will also provide an opportunity to think about these matters: Rosarie Coughlan (Scholarly Publishing Librarian, Queen’s University Library) and Mark Swartz (Copyright Manager at Queen’s) will present on “Building and Integrating Open Educational Resources to Support Your Teaching.”  

The Open and Affordable Course Materials Working Group is chaired by Martha Whitehead, Vice-Provost (Digital Planning) and University Librarian, and reports to the Provost’s Advisory Committee on Teaching and Learning.

University addresses construction noise during exams

The university is working proactively to address construction-related noise to minimize the impact on students who are studying and writing final exams this month.

[Innovation and Wellness Centre architect rendering]
Architect's rendering of the Innovation and Wellness Centre, as seen from Union Street and Division Street. When finished, the building will bring collaborative and experiential learning spaces, state-of-the-art laboratories, and mental health and wellness services together in one convenient location at the heart of campus.

Representatives from Physical Plant Services (PPS), Students Affairs, Residences, and the Office of the University Registrar have met with EllisDon, the construction company overseeing the work underway for the new Innovation and Wellness Centre on Union Street. The contractor is implementing several mitigation actions leading up to and during the exam period to help reduce any impact on exam-writing in surrounding buildings.  

“Construction projects will always result in some noise, which we recognize could be disruptive to students studying or writing exams,” says John Witjes, Associate Vice-Principal (Facilities). “Our goal is to develop solutions that mitigate the disruption, while supporting Queen’s commitment to staying on schedule with this important project, which will bring together experiential learning spaces and health and wellness services in the heart of campus.

“We are working in collaboration with the contractors and university departments and appreciate everyone’s understanding and willingness to help us meet our goals,” Mr. Witjes adds.

Study Spaces Guide
Looking for a place to study besides Stauffer or your room? Check out this list compiled by Queen’s Residences

Beginning this week and continuing through the exam period, contractors will continue breaking and excavating rock – currently the loudest activities on the construction site – starting at 9 am instead of 7 am in recognition of the fact that students are living in the JDUC Residences next door. The contractors are also altering the demolition process to reduce noise throughout the day.

Project-related questions can be sent to Matt Hayes at EllisDon at 343-363-6253. Exam-related questions can be sent to the Exams Office exams@queensu.ca or by calling 613-533-2101. Residence-related questions can be sent to res.news@queensu.ca. Updates are also being sent directly to the students living beside the site. The campus updates section of the Queen’s Gazette website and the Gazette’s Twitter account will also include project updates, as needed. 

Healthy, happy, connected for exam time

[Exam Health]
Students at Queen's are encouraged to eat well, get enough sleep, stay active and remain connected for their own well-being and to be in top form for exams. (University Communications)

The end of term period for many people at Queen’s – faculty, staff, and especially students – is a stressful time. 

Papers are due and final exams, both need to be marked, and after that it’s time to move or take that next life step beyond university.

It can be a lot to handle.

Self-Care video

Video goes viral
A new video posted on the Queen’s University Be Well page on Facebook is providing members of the Queen’s community with a better understanding of self-care during exams.
The video was created by nursing students Hannah Fogel and Jason Basaur for the Practicum in Community Health Promotion (NURS 405) course and focuses on “how do you self-care.” The course provides students with the opportunity to work with a community agency to develop a health promotion initiative after identifying a need.
“Encouraging students to identify activities that help them to feel balanced was the focus of this project,” says Lauren Armstrong, Peer Health Outreach Coordinator, who supervised the students. “The video also helps remind everyone to prioritize their self-care during this busy time of year.”
The video was created with the support of Studio Q and Peer Health Educators.
In just four days the video has been viewed more than 9,000 times along with more than 50 shares and has received more than 100 comments.

Stress management is key and fortunately there are many resources available at Queen’s to help you help yourself or provide extra support when needed. The first step can be identifying the causes of stress. 

“For most students, during this time of year, their goal is to manage their stress levels so that they can keep themselves on track to achieve their academic goals,” says Kate Humphrys, Health Promotion Coordinator at Student Wellness Services. “So one strategy is to identify what is causing the greatest concern and then to seek out the appropriate solution for that particular issue.”

That could mean meeting with a Peer Learning Assistant or attending a workshop at Student Academic Success Services (SASS). It may be as simple as using the Exam Study Schedule from Learning Strategies to help get everything organized or accessing some of the many online resources.

As Ms. Humphrys points out, just as with most things in life, it is important find some sort of balance. But the pressures at this time of year can make that more difficult.

It all starts with taking care of yourself.

“From a health perspective when we look at self-care and stress management during exams we always come back to our key message: be proactive in your efforts to take care of yourself, and remember that effective self-care is individualized – what works for one person doesn’t always work for another,” she explains. “Prioritizing the time to take care of yourself can really help manage stress and can potentially lead to better academic results.” 

This means eating well, getting enough sleep, and taking breaks, both the short breaks – 10 minutes for every hour of study – as well longer breaks to connect with family or go out for a coffee with friends to take your mind off the exam buzz. It also means taking time for physical activity. 

Mental health, physical health and social health form a solid foundation to help manage stress during exam time, Ms. Humphrys says.

“Managing your stress will be easier if you are eating well, sleeping well, getting some activity, and staying connected with others – it’s all connected,” she says “It can seem overwhelming, but often times picking one thing that feels manageable is a good start. Then it’s possible to slow add in other changes, and over time it does get easier.”

For some people, however, self-care may not be enough and Ms. Humphrys encourages students who are feeling very overwhelmed to seek out support through resources such as Counselling Services at Student Wellness Services, the Office of the University Chaplain, the AMS Peer Support Centre, the SGPS Peer Advisor Program, and Student Academic Success Services.  Students can also access support from Career Services, as well at the Queen’s University International Centre and Four Directions Aboriginal Students Centre.

“There are so many people here on campus who support students and every student has access these services,” Ms. Humphrys says. “Sometimes we hear from students that they are unsure. We always encourage students to remember that these services are here for them. They wouldn’t be here if students didn’t use them.”

New this year is #QueensProjectHappy, a positive mental health campaign inspired by Queen’s alumnus Neil Pasricha and the ideas he brings forward in his 2016 book The Happiness Equation.

Throughout the exam period, Health Promotion will be offering tips for social media followers to increase happiness. They will also be distributing Gratitude Journals where students can write down five things they are grateful for over the past week as a reminder that even when times are stressful there is a lot to be happy about.

•   •   •

There is a wide range of support resources available at Queen’s.

If you are a student and want to improve your learning and studying strategies or academic stress coping skills, you can book a Learning Strategies advising appointment by visiting queensu.mywconline.com.

Students who wish to make an appointment with Counselling Services can do so by calling 613-533-6000, ext. 78264. Counsellors are located in various faculty and university buildings across campus: Faculty of Engineering & Applied Science (613-533-3447), Faculty of Education (613-533-2334), School of Graduate Studies (613-533-2136), School of Business (via Commerce Portal), Residence Counsellors (613-533-6000, ext. 78330 or 78034), the School of Medicine (613-533-6000, ext. 78264), and the Outreach Counsellor/Student Advisor in the JDUC (613-533-6000, ext. 78441).

Another resource available for students is Good 2 Talk, a 24/7/365 post-secondary student helpline which offers free, professional and anonymous support. They can be reached at 1-866-925-5454 to talk about any stressful issues students might be experiencing.

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.

Up against the clock

Graduate students shine in final round of Queen’s 3MT competition.

The pressure was on as 11 graduate students took to the stage in the Dupuis Hall Auditorium to compete in the final round of the Queen’s Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition on Thursday, March 30.

Using only one static slide and no props, the students had to present their research to a panel of non-specialist judges.

Neuroscience master's candidate Victoria Donovan delivered a presentation on how the brain responds to trauma. Ms. Donovan won the overall and People's Choice awards and will move on to represent Queen's at the Ontario 3MT.

“Queen’s 3MT is a much-anticipated annual event on campus,” says Brenda Brouwer, Vice-Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies. “Our students put in hours of preparation for their three minutes in front of the judges. The competition helps students hone communication skills – such as making their research accessible and it’s a great way to celebrate the innovative and thought-provoking research our graduate students are conducting across campus.”

A panel of judges, consisting of Principal Daniel Woolf, Chancellor Jim Leech, communications consultant Robert A Wood, CBC reporter JC Kenny, and Denise Cumming, CEO of the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation, graded the competitors on clarity, audience engagement and presentation skills. A long-time supporter of the 3MT competition, CKWS Television host Bill Welychka served as the emcee for the event.

“I have promoted the event on CKWS-TV the past two years and it seems like the coolest thing ever,” said Mr. Welychka. “I love that 3MT combines distilling a complicated subject down to a three minute verbal presentation with dramatic elements, public speaking and engaging the audience. Not an easy undertaking to say the least.”

Victoria Donovan, a master's candidate in neuroscience was named winner and people's choice for her presentation, Lie low, stay alive. Her research is looking at the evolutionary response to traumatic brain injury. Early results provide evidence that high brain shutdown is an evolved reply to trauma – providing clues as to future treatments.

“I've been at Queen's for six and a half years now and have enjoyed every minute of it,” she says. “I’m thrilled to have the chance to represent the university at the provincial championship.”

Ms. Donovan will move on to represent Queen’s at the Ontario 3MT finals on April 12 in Waterloo. The national 3MT winner will be decided through an online vote on videos of the regional champions, conducted on the Canadian Association of Graduate Studies website.

“Competing in the 3MT was one of the highlights of my Masters studies,” says Anastasia Savrova, MSc’17, winner of the 2016 Queen’s 3MT competition. “It was encouraging to hear people were so excited about my research, and this experience has really pushed me to pursue more opportunities where I can get the public more involved in academic research.”

For more information on the Queen’s 3MT competition, or to see video of the finalists' presentations, please visit the website.

All eyes on the Prize

Prize for Excellence in Research recipients to share knowledge with the community.

Grant Hall will play host to some of Queen’s most exciting and innovative researchers as the recipients of the 2016 Prize for Excellence in Research (PER) deliver a series of keynote addresses on Monday, April 3 from 4:30-6:30 p.m in Grant Hall.

The free, public lecture event will see each of the prize recipients present an engaging 10-minute overview of their work. The lectures – delivered with a non-specialist audience in mind – will focus on a wide array of topics, from art history to evolution.

From Top Left, Clockwise: Stephen Vanner (Medicine), Janet Hiebert (Political Studies), James R. Cordy (School of Computing), Myra Hird (School of Environmental Studies), Gauvin Bailey (Art History and Art Conservation), and Virginia Walker (Biology).

“The Prize for Excellence in Research public lectures give members of the Queen’s and Kingston communities the opportunity to learn from researchers who have made unique contributions in a variety of diverse and exciting fields,” says Dr. John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “The six speakers taking part in this year’s lectures are at the leading edge of their respective fields and reflect the strength, depth and breadth of our faculty. I offer my sincerest congratulations to all of this year’s speakers.”

This year’s lecturers are Gauvin Bailey (Art History and Art Conservation), James R. Cordy (School of Computing), Janet Hiebert (Political Studies), Stephen Vanner (Medicine) and Virginia Walker (Biology). In addition, 2015 recipient Myra Hird (School of Environmental Studies) will deliver her lecture along with the 2016 cohort.

The Alfred and Isabel Bader Chair in Southern Baroque Art, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a world-renowned expert in the arts and architecture of early Modern Europe, Latin America and colonial Asia, Dr. Gauvin Bailey’s research examines the art of different regions using multidisciplinary methodologies to pursue the viewpoint of non‐European cultures. He will deliver a presentation titled A Baroque Palace in the Haitian Rainforest.

Dr. James Cordy’s research has led to the development of methods and tools that make the management of today’s large software code bases possible. His work has been used to safely make systematic modifications to large code bases – notably used by Canadian banks to solve the Year 2000 (Y2K) problem – and for identifying trouble spots in other complex programs, such as those behind the development of autonomous vehicles. In his lecture This Means That: Programming by Transformation, Dr. Cordy will dive deeper into the development and management of complex computer programs.

An internationally-celebrated scholar of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Dr. Janet Hiebert is the foremost authority on how bills of rights influence Westminster parliamentary democracy. Her expertise has led to invitations to provide briefs, advice, and expert testimony for governments in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the International Bar Association. Dr. Hiebert will examine the innermost workings of our parliamentary system in her lecture, Can Parliament Protect Rights?

Recognized for his innovative research into the causes of, and treatments for, the pain associated with irritable bowel syndrome, Dr. Stephen Vanner has made a tremendous impact on his field. In his lecture, Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Light and the End of the Tunnel, he will discuss the current state of research in this field, including the work taking place in the Queen’s Gastrointestinal Diseases Research Unit (GIDRU).

A prolific researcher with an international reputation, Dr. Virginia Walker has contributed more than 150 publications to top science journals in her nearly 40-year academic career. With special expertise in understanding the mechanisms of stress resistance, her research includes the full range of biology from cell and molecular biology, physiology, ecology and evolution, and she has worked on mammals, plants, insects and most recently fish. She will deliver a lecture titled Piecing Together a Cold Quilt.

A Queen's National Scholar and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Dr. Myra Hird is a distinguished interdisciplinary scholar with an international reputation for her multifaceted, collaborative investigations into a variety of research areas, including human influence on the environment. Her lecture, Canada’s Waste Flow and our Global Legacy, examines Canada’s place in the global discussions around waste management, conservation and environmental protection.

The event begins at 4:30 pm. It is free and all are welcome to attend. For more information on the Prize for Excellence in Research Public Lectures, please visit the website.


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