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Medves reappointed nursing school director

By Communications Staff

Jennifer Medves has been reappointed as director of the School of Nursing and vice-dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences for a second five-year term, having served in the position since 2009.

“Queen’s School of Nursing achieved the highest level of accreditation possible from the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing during Dr. Medves’ first term, a testament to her leadership skills and desire to deliver the best possible nursing education to students,” says Richard Reznick, Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences. “Dr. Medves is also to be commended for spearheading the master of science in healthcare quality program and leading a province-wide initiative to improve nursing simulation that received a $5.8 million grant from the Ontario government’s Productivity and Innovation Fund.”

[Jennifer Medves]Dr. Jennifer Medves

Dr. Medves remains an active educator in addition to her administrative duties. She teaches in the undergraduate and graduate programs and supervises master’s and doctoral students. Her commitment to advancing nursing education has helped prepare students to provide high quality and safe health care in a multitude of situations and settings.

One of the most productive nursing researchers in Canada, Dr. Medves has held a Career Scientist Award from the Ministry of Health and Long Term-Care in support of her work in rural maternity nursing. Her research program has evolved from a focus on rural maternity care to the wider contexts of nursing in rural health care and interprofessional education.

Dr. Medves serves on Queen’s Senate and on a number of university committees. As a member of the Principal’s Commission on Mental Health, she helped develop the commission’s framework and recommendations. She also serves on local, provincial and federal committees that have the mandate to examine maternity practice and sustain health care for women.

She joined Queen’s School of Nursing as an assistant professor in 2000. She was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor in 2006 before becoming a full professor in 2010.

Dr. Medves is cross-appointed to the Department of Public Health and the School of Rehabilitation Therapy. Visit the Queen’s News Centre website for the complete reappointment notice.
 

Camp shows that math equals fun

[Math Quest]
Math Quest instructors Asia Matthews and Johanna Hansen have a bit of fun with the camp's director Siobhain Broekhoven as they pose for a photo with the sculptures in front of Jeffery Hall at Queen's University.

By Andrew Carroll, Gazette editor

Mathematics is fun.

That’s the message the organizers and instructors at an upcoming math camp for girls want to get across. And they know that it’s true. It’s a big part of their lives.

Math Quest, a four-day camp sponsored by the Canadian Mathematical Society and the Queen’s University Department of Mathematics and Statistics, is aimed at introducing high-school aged participants to the full breadth of mathematics through activities that are fun.

This is not math tutoring. There are no tests involved.

However, participants will surely leave with a greater knowledge of and appreciation for mathematics.

“Math is fun and I think that’s the part sometimes people don’t realize. People who have a bit of math anxiety don’t see that,” says Siobhain Broekhoven, the camp’s director. “Some people think it’s absolutely fun and that’s what this camp is all about.”

Two of those people are Asia Matthews and Johanna Hansen, Ph.D. students at Queen’s, who are instructors at the camp.

In her third year with Math Quest, Ms. Matthews sees the benefits of the camp.

“I wish there was this opportunity when I was in high school to say, ‘Oh look, there’s this thing called number theory which is really interesting and there’s combinatorics where you count things in different ways and there’s algebra which is this very abstract way of seeing groups of things,” she says. “There’s calculus and geometry, where calculus is this idea of how to describe motion and how to predict the future. I didn’t know any of that in high school.”

These aren’t you typical lessons either. Ms. Matthews will be using origami to discuss geometry while Ms. Hansen will approach probability through taking a closer look at Texas Hold’em. Another instructor and Ph.D. student, Carly Rozins, will be introducing the mathematics of nature, such as patterns seen in flowers. Each brings something that is interesting to them and that they hope will be interesting to others.

However, there also is another purpose to the camp which is to address a decrease in the number of girls attending math camps across Canada.

“Looking at the stats, even for the Canadian Mathematical Society camps that run across the country, in 2012 about 30 per cent of the participants were girls and last summer it was 20 per cent and I thought ‘What was going on?’ says Ms. Broekhoven. “We have to ask why are girls not engaged, why are they not signing up for these things? What is it about the activities? Are they too competitive or what is it that is not appealing? Women are a resource we need to utilize and that starts with getting young women engaged."

Research shows activities designed to engage girls are hands-on, project based, have real life applications and include lots of opportunities to work together cooperatively. The presence of female role models is the icing on the cake. I think it’s about time.”

This year’s camp has expanded to offer campers the opportunity to stay in residence. Ms. Broekhoven says this allows the camp further reach but also can introduce local girls to the university experience.

The deadline for bursaries, including one sponsored by the Queen’s University Alumni Association, to assist campers in covering the costs of the camp, has also been extended.

Math Quest runs daily 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from Aug. 11 to 14 on Queen's campus.

For information on the camp or to register, call 613-533-2432 or visit www.mast.queensu.ca/~mathquest

 

Thinking locally, acting globally

Christian Lloyd, Academic Director at the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) at Herstmonceux Castle, England, was recently in Kingston. Craig Leroux, Senior Communications Officer, caught up with him to talk about the student experience at the castle.

Craig Leroux: What brings you to Kingston?

Christian Lloyd: I’m here for the special edition of the Summer Orientation to Academics and Resources (SOAR) that we do for incoming first-year castle students and their parents. Going to university is an adventure, and going to university 3,000 miles away in England for your first year is a really big adventure. SOAR is an opportunity to learn more about what to expect, both academically and socially, and about all the resources available at the castle and Queen’s.

Dr. Christian Lloyd, Academic Director at the Bader International Study Centre

What can students expect from the new first-year program?

We’ve just overhauled our first-year program to help build key skills and prepare students for the rest of their degree and their careers. The centrepiece of the new program is a core course around the theme of “thinking locally, acting globally.” It draws on content from fields like history, drama, sociology, geography and gender studies. In addition to disciplinary knowledge, it is designed to build skills like writing and working effectively in groups, and to introduce students to doing primary research.

Is experiential learning still a big part of the program?

Absolutely. New this year, during the “thinking locally” session, students will explore Brighton, the nearest city to the castle, and create a digital map to explore the themes of identities and boundaries. They will talk to people, observe the local cultures and take sound recordings, photographs, notes, sketches, or whatever they want to contribute. They will then produce an online map with clickable links to their material.

Travel is another important form of experiential learning, and we’ll take students to a number of places in Europe. It’s about building cultural competencies, which is extremely important. Either in person or virtually you are going to be working with people from around the world with quite different backgrounds and assumptions from you.

How do you ensure that travel becomes a learning experience?

Some people think that just by going abroad, wandering around the usual tourist sites, you understand something about another culture. It’s actually in many ways the opposite. You can end up reinforcing your own prejudices about that culture. When our students travel, to Brighton or Paris for example, we always challenge them to talk and engage with people and local cultures.

Some people think that just by going abroad, wandering around the usual tourist sites, you understand something about another culture. It’s actually in many ways the opposite. You can end up reinforcing your own prejudices about that culture.

- Dr. Christian Lloyd, Academic Director at the BISC

We’ll take students to the Eiffel Tower, but we’ll pay attention to what’s going on under the tower. We’ll look at why there are a bunch of guys from North Africa selling trinkets there. Who are these people, and why are they there? What are the interactions between the tourists and ordinary Parisians? We want people to have their eyes open and be active. We want them to think in detail about what they are seeing. They may not understand everything at first, but they can bring back questions instead of conclusions about what they’ve experienced.

Are there other academic changes coming to the castle?

In the past we’ve had many potential science students who want to come to the castle and that was quite difficult because we didn’t offer science courses. And they would have to catch up over the summer or do online courses. So what we have decided to do next fall is to offer a science stream at the castle. Because we don’t have labs at the castle, we’ve partnered with Battle Abbey School, a local private school that has excellent lab facilities. That will allow science students to more easily pick up their studies when they return to Queen’s for the rest of their degree.

Queen's in the World

The Bader International Study Centre is a centrepiece of Queen’s international presence. It offers small class sizes, integrated hands-on experiential learning opportunities, primary research-based projects, and a diverse faculty and student population focused on innovative global learning.

Writing on the water

By Andrew Stokes, Communications Officer

Finishing a doctoral dissertation is a long process of researching, writing and revising, but a new pilot program by the School of Graduate Studies is adding hiking, swimming and canoeing to the mix.

From August 25-28, 34 graduate students will have the opportunity to take part in Dissertation on the Lake, a writing retreat held at Queen’s University Biological Station 30 minutes north of Kingston on Elbow Lake. Students will be housed in the university’s 10 two-bedroom cabins and will spend their days in writing, recreation and cooking with their cabin mates.

Elbow Lake is located 30 minutes north of Kingston. (Photo courtesy of QUBS Outreach Flickr).

“The idea for the program came to me when I visiting one of Elbow Lake’s open houses,” says Sandra den Otter, Associate Dean, School of Graduate Studies. “I was taken aback by its beauty and tranquility and thought it would be an excellent place to convene a writing community. Writing can be a solitary endeavour, and this is an opportunity to change that.”

Days spent at Elbow Lake will be structured around two three-hour writing sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, with interspersed breaks to explore the Station’s grounds and set goals for the next day’s work
“This trip is strongly encouraging a work/life balance. Writing successfully for a long period of time requires incorporating exercise, time with friends, good nutrition, a community and a chance to experience diversity in setting, thought and people,” says den Otter. “Dissertation on the Lake aims to provide all those things.”

Attracting students from a wide variety of disciplines, Dissertation on the Lake is just one of the SGS’ programs for supporting graduate students while they write their theses. It joins the likes of Thesis Persistence, a weekly writing group run by SGS in Stauffer Library and Dissertation Boot Camp, an intensive writing retreat that stresses focus and discipline.

Ian Maness, a PhD candidate who is writing his thesis on the intermingling of history and poetry in Elizabethan England and who will be attending the Dissertation on the Lake program, says he finds getting to write alongside a diverse body of students beneficial for his work.

“Getting to bounce ideas off of writers from other disciplines always proves to make your work better,” he says. “When you have to explain your project to someone who’s totally unfamiliar with your field, you have to distil it down to its core essence, helping you grasp it better.”

Mr. Maness, who is a regular attendee of both Dissertation Boot Camp and Thesis Persistence, says he knows how effective these programs can be.

“When completing your PhD, your thesis is ostensibly your most important project,” he says. “But given its long time frame, other more immediately pressing deadlines, such as publishing and marking, can take priority. Dissertation on the Lake and other programs like it are so useful because they allow you to treat your thesis as your highest priority.”

Those interested in Dissertation on the Lake and other writing supports for graduate students can find more information at the SGS website.

Path to higher education

By Andrew Stokes, Communications Officer

Corey O’Farrell is looking forward to the next time he can bring busloads of students to Queen’s University. As part of Pathways to Education’s student for a day program, more than 100 high school students from Toronto, Ottawa and Kingston came to campus last fall to experience university life. They toured the university, ate lunch at Leonard Hall, listened to a presentation by an upper-year student about life at Queen’s, and participated in a scavenger hunt activity to better learn the campus and school history.

Pathways to Education brings high school students to Queen's to experience university life. (Queen's Communications)

“For many of these students it’s their first time on a college or university campus,” says Mr. O’Farrell, who works in specialty mentoring at Kingston’s Pathways office. “It was great for them to hear from a student who had just recently gone through the application and admissions process. Getting the chance to come to Queen’s and feel the culture and lifestyle is so important — it changes their perspective so that they think they could do it one day too.”

Mr. O’Farrell is quick to express his gratitude for the work Queen’s does. “Getting support from post-secondary institutions is highly important to us,” he says. “Queen’s has been incredible throughout our relationship. We know that they support our students and we are very grateful.”

Campus visits are just one of the ways that Queen’s is supporting Pathways to Education in Kingston and across the country. When making recruitment trips, admissions representatives give presentations at Pathways centres and hold events for their students. Queen’s also offers a $10,000 scholarship, distributed over the course of four years, to all Pathways graduates who come to study at the university and demonstrate financial need and academic achievment.

Created in 2001 to reduce the high school dropout rate of Toronto’s Regent Park neighborhood, Pathways relies on the four pillars of tutoring, mentoring, financial support and advocacy to achieve results. After reducing Regent Park’s dropout rate from 56 per cent to 12 per cent, Pathways expanded to other cities across Canada. A centre serving Kingston was opened in 2010 and has been administering to the city’s northern neighborhoods ever since.

“First generation students, those who are the first in their family to pursue post-secondary education, are one of the university’s priority recruitment groups right now,” says Lara Therrien Boulos, Admission Co-ordinator, who organizes Queen’s interactions with Pathways. “We want to give these students a chance to visit Queen’s and potentially fall in love. By coming to campus, we want them to realize that a university education is well within their reach.”

Those looking to volunteer with Pathways can find more information on their website.

Living and learning together

By Mark Kerr, Senior Communications Officer

A program that allows first-year students with similar interests or values to live together in residences is expanding this year under the direction of a dedicated co-ordinator.

[Molly Raffan, Co-Ordinator of LLC program]Molly Raffan (Ed'09) is the new co-ordinator of Living-Learning Communities, a program that allows first-year students with similar interests or values to live together in residences.

Molly Raffan (Ed’09) recently returned to Queen’s to lead Living-Learning Communities (LLCs), a program she oversaw for five years at Trent University in Peterborough. On the job for just over a month, Ms. Raffan is eager to build on the solid foundation that was created during the program’s inaugural year at Queen’s.

“I really want to grow the program and partner with a variety of people across Queen’s so that the LLCs have more of a presence on campus,” she says. “I really love working with first-year students. LLCs are a great way to exercise my passion for teaching outside of the conventional classroom.”

Students in an LLC share goals and tackle projects and challenges together. Furthermore, students living in these close-knit communities benefit from creative programs and support from their peers, faculty and professionals.

Living-Learning Communities can open doors for students and help them make connections that hopefully last their entire university career.

– Molly Raffan, Co-ordinator, Living-Learning Communities

Ms. Raffan says the LLCs program is just one of the many ways Residence Life eases students’ transition to university.

“It can be unnerving to move on to a residence floor with 60 other people you don’t know. I think LLCs can open doors for students and help them make connections that hopefully last their entire university career,” she says.

Ms. Raffan adds that the LLCs program encourages first-year students to consider their professional aspirations and set academic goals that will help them down that path. The LLCs program connects students with faculty members and representatives from campus resources to support this process.

A Computer Science LLC is new this year, joining Active Living, Leadership, Science and Nursing LLCs. The LLCs program will accommodate 100 first-year students in 2014-15, up from 60 last year.

Faculty and staff who wish to support learning opportunities within the LLC program can contact Ms. Raffan by email.
 

Entrepreneurs helping entrepreneurs

Innovation Park

By Rosie Hales, Communications Officer

Queen’s and Launch Lab are accepting applications for their Innovation Park-based accelerator program GrindSpaceXL, a 12-week program run by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs.

Participants will have the chance to study a core curriculum and follow an individual business development plan to strengthen and position their company to launch its product, grow its markets and sales and find funding.

“Queen’s University is delighted to be working with local and regional partners, Launch Lab, Ontario Centres of Excellence and Invest Ottawa, to support the delivery of GrindSpaceXL Fall 2014,” says Steven Liss, Vice-Principal (Research). “This exciting venture will combine and leverage our strengths with those of our partners, expanding programs and services available to startups in the region and beyond, including those emerging from our own campus.”

Launch Lab supports technology-based companies in Southeastern Ontario and aims to help these companies bring innovative products to the marketplace. Invest Ottawa delivers economic development programs and initiatives for entrepreneurs to the City of Ottawa and its surrounding regions. 

“The GrindSpaceXL program is an example of the innovative and supportive business environment that the city provides to companies ready to strengthen their sales and marketing,” says Jeff Garrah, Chief Executive Officer of the Kingston Economic Development Corporation (KEDCO) and partner to the successful pilot program offered in January 2014. 

This fall’s program begins on Sept. 15 with an emphasis on youth-based companies. Startups that meet the eligibility criteria of the SmartStart Seed Fund offered by the Ontario Centres of Excellence will have the opportunity to qualify for up to $30,000 in matching funding.

GrindSpaceXL participants will receive targeted and intensive entrepreneurship training using relevant, real-world examples and one-on-one mentorship from expert advisors including entrepreneurs-in-residence who will help companies become sales-driven and investor-ready.

PARTEQ Innovations will provide intellectual property and financial expertise to participants, who will also receive introductions to qualified investors and access to various resources including lab and office space at Innovation Park and interactions with Queen’s University.

The program is open to companies commercializing technology-based products or services. To be eligible, applicants must be an incorporated company, headquartered and operating in Canada. 

Interested startups can apply online at www.GrindSpaceXL.com. The application deadline is Aug. 21.

Student builds backyard dream

By Andrew Stokes, Communications Officer

With some scrap wood and a whole lot of ambition, David Chesney (Sc’17) set out four years ago to build a roller-coaster in his parents’ backyard in Thornhill, Ont. His labour of love, which he has dubbed “The Minotaur,” is finally complete, running on 92 feet of track and reaching 12 feet in height.

“I had some extra wood lying around and wanted to see what I could do. I’ve always loved and been fascinated by roller-coasters, so I decided to try to make one,” Chesney says. “I hadn’t taken physics, hadn’t done much math and I hadn’t even used a power tool before, but I started sawing and putting things together. Before I knew it I had a track, but it didn’t really work.”

Chesney tweaked his designs, tinkering away, making his coaster bigger and bigger. At first he enlisted his parents to take him to Home Depot to buy new parts and materials, but eventually he was sourcing steel and lumber to find the best price.

Chesney took on a summer job to help pay for his project. “I was working at Canada’s Wonderland, saving up my money so that I could go home and spend it on my own coaster. It was a funny circle that way.”

After completing his first year of engineering at Queen’s, he brought a wealth of knowledge to bear on his roller-coaster. “I suddenly understood why certain things worked and why others didn’t,” he says with a laugh. “There were principles I was following without knowing why, but the physics I’ve learnt have given me a much deeper understanding of the forces at work. Physics class convinced me to adjust the orientation of the seat to get more potential energy on the hills.”

 

When on campus away from his roller-coaster project, Chesney finds other things to fill his time. He has experimented with computer programming and, during exams, he built an iPhone app. He also likes to spend his free time in SparQ Labs, the first “makerspace” on a Canadian campus where students can work on projects and share resources.

“I’m always coming up with a new project, and SparQ Labs are the one of the best places on campus for people who want to build something,” he says. “It gives me a space to be creative and is a great way to keep my mind busy.”

Hoping for a future in the amusement industry, Chesney decided to make his own experience. “There’s no program anywhere for learning to build rides, but it’s what I want to do with my engineering degree,” he says. “As an engineer I want to make people happy and this seems like a great way to do it.”

'Theatrical conscience' of the Isabel

The concert hall of the Isabel Bader Centre for Performing Arts awaits the grand opening set for September. University Communications/Greg Black

This article is printed in the July edition of the Gazette, which is now available. Copies are avaialble at newsstands around campus. It is the first of a series featuring some of the people and firms behind the planning, design and construction of the Isabel Bader Centre for Performing Arts.

By Andrew Carroll, Gazette editor

It’s a jewel along the shores of Lake Ontario, and David H. Rosenburg knows it.

As the Isabel Bader Centre for Performing Arts nears completion, the vision of what the facility can be is taking full form. While work continues inside, the Isabel’s exterior offers a breathtaking glimpse of the near future.

When Mr. Rosenburg, theatre consultant and managing principal of Theatre Projects, speaks about the Isabel, his excitement is clear.

“I’m very excited about it. Of all the projects I have worked on, it is one of my favourite sites,” Mr. Rosenburg says. “You can’t ask for a better site than on the shore of Lake Ontario.”

But his excitement isn’t strictly about the location of the project; it’s also about its potential for education and performance. He also sees The Isabel as a catalyst for the arts community at Queen’s as well as Kingston.

David Rosenburg of Theatre Projects. Supplied photo

That’s a view that is based on a decades-long connection with the area. While Theatre Projects is based in Connecticut, Mr. Rosenburg and his family have been coming to the Kingston area for around 25 years. He feels the timing for such an education and performing arts facility is just right.

“Having a new building like this is like waking up in the morning and stretching. For the university, it’s going to be like ‘Wow, we can actually stretch here. We can reach our arms out and actually do something we weren’t able to do previously,’” he says. “It’s not unusual for a building like this to open and to have the arts community come rushing in and say ‘let’s find all sorts of ways to use this.’”

Rosenburg and his team have been involved in the project from the beginning stages. As he explains, theatre consultants are one side of the design triangle, along with architects, Snohetta and N45, and acoustician Joe Solway of Arup.

“There is a creative tension between theatre consultant, acoustician and architect that ultimately makes for a better end product for the university” he says. “With these three disciplines striving to get the best outcome possible, it pushes each of us to think outside the box and find innovative solutions.”

As for the role of a theatre consultant, Mr. Rosenburg explains they act as the conduit between those who work in the performance world and those who work in the construction world. The staff of Theatre Projects all come from theatre backgrounds and work with architects, engineers and clients to ensure all the performance requirements end up in the final design.

“We think of ourselves as the theatrical conscience of the project, constantly maintaining diligence over the functionality of the end product so that the building works the day it opens,” he says.

In the case of the Isabel, Mr. Rosenburg says Queen’s knew they wanted a concert hall and that the School of Music, the Department of Drama, the Department of Film and Media, and the Visual Art – Bachelor of Fine Art Program were coming together to create much-needed space. Theatre Projects then took those requirements and turned that information into a vision, determining things such as how big the lobby would be and the size of the bar, the number of dressing rooms, restrooms and the layout for the performing spaces.

“We know what typically goes into a concert hall and we can say, based on seat count, here is what you require, then we actually get into shaping the room with the knowledge of what they want – seats, types of productions, etc. – and then provide the architects a sketch of what is needed,” Mr. Rosenburg says.

“We’re giving them the basis of a starting point so that it works from a sightline standpoint, from a theatrical, rigging and lighting standpoint and that it is as functional as it possibly could be and that it meets the goals of what the end-user is trying to accomplish.”

 andrew.carroll@queensu.ca

Flying the nest with some help from SOAR

For the past three years, thousands of first-year students and their family members have visited campus in July for the Summer Orientation to Academics and Resources (SOAR). The program, which continues this week for engineering, commerce and nursing students, gives participants an additional opportunity to learn about academic expectations, resources, learning strategies and common student transition issues.

Lori Payne and her son Gavin Crowder (Artsci’18) attended SOAR on July 10. Senior Communications Officer Mark Kerr caught up with them at various times during the day to get their reaction to the program and their thoughts about Gavin's upcoming transition to university.

'I have to let my baby go'

[Gavin and Lori sign in]Gavin Crowder and his mother Lori Payne sign in for the Summer Orientation to Academics and Resources at the BioSciences Complex.

Lori Payne is reminded of her son Gavin Crowder’s growing independence soon after they arrive at Summer Orientation to Academics and Resources (SOAR). Wanting to help her son, who is a graduate of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, Lori encourages Gavin to get course selection advice from a current Queen’s student who is also an IB grad.

But Gavin, still adjusting to his surroundings and waking up after an early morning car ride from Ottawa, isn’t ready to interact with the student quite yet.

“He has to do it on his own,” she says with a laugh, resisting the urge to push her son.

For thousands of parents who attend SOAR, the program is one of the first tentative steps toward negotiating new boundaries with their children. The process isn’t always easy, according to Lori.

“I am feeling a little bit of trepidation because I have to let my baby go,” she says. “But there is excitement as well. I want to learn what Queen’s is all about and see it from the inside.”

Similarly, Gavin is eager to learn more about university life during SOAR. He is familiar with Queen’s campus having previously lived in Kingston, but he still wants to attend SOAR to get specific information on topics such as course selection and registration.

“I figured I would come here where I can ask questions and it would clear up a lot of things for me.”

‘Nothing like this when I was going to university’

Gavin Crowder walks from the BioSciences Complex to the resource fair in Ban Righ Hall during the lunch break.

Lori and Gavin wander over to Ban Righ Hall for lunch after the morning sessions. “They were very informative. They kept me awake,” Lori jokes.

Even though the sessions kept her alert, they will help her sleep at night when Gavin is off at university. Hearing about the transition supports and activities offered at Queen’s, Lori is confident Gavin will get involved and not spend all of his time studying in his room or at the library.

With the dining hall lined with information tables representing various university services and student organizations, Lori marvels at the work Queen’s has done to ease the transition for incoming students.

“Thirty years ago there was nothing like this when I went to University of Ottawa and Western,” she says. “I think it’s a great idea. It’s scary when you go that first week and you don’t know anything about the school. To be able to come down and meet people and see the different buildings, that’s fantastic.”

After lunch, Lori and Gavin join a group heading over to Victoria Hall for a look inside residence rooms. Lori notes the size of the rooms but doesn't let it worry her.

“Two people in this room? Yeah, they can do it. They’re young; they will be fine.”

‘Students themselves are the best resources’

Gavin Crowder and Lori Payne take a moment after the SOAR sessions to look over Athletics and Recreation information.

Shortly after SOAR ends, a smile beams across Gavin’s face, replacing the nervous expression he wore just a few hours earlier at the BioSciences Complex.

“I am really glad I came and my mom came too. I think she understands a lot more what’s going to happen next year, which is really good,” he says.

Gavin says he was surprised how open professors were during SOAR. He is also reassured knowing he can get help with essay writing, a self-admitted weakness, through Student Academic Success Services (SASS).

But he is most impressed by a panel discussion with upper-year students, a new addition to SOAR this year.

“Students themselves are the best resources. I got a lot of frank answers about different classes and things you can do to make your life easier in residence and classes.”

SOAR 2014 runs until July 21. Students in Engineering and Applied Science, Nursing, and Commerce can still register.

For Lori, SOAR helped her better understand how she can support her son during the transition to university.

“As I listened to a counsellor, I was thinking, ‘this is a day by day thing.’ Do I have some apprehension? Absolutely. But you reach a point where you know you have taught them well so it’s okay for them to go on, spread their wings, and do their thing.”
 

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