School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

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What is Grad Chat?

A 30 minute radio show featuring one to two graduate students each week.  This is an opportunity for our grad students to showcase their research to the Queen's and Kingston community and how it affects us.  From time to time we will also interview a post-doc or an alum or interview grad students in relation to something topical for the day.

Grad Chat is a collaboration between the School of Graduate Studies and CFRC 101.9FM

How To Sign Up

Just print off and fill in the "Interviewee Form" (70KB).  Return it to Colette in the SGS office at 

Actual interviews are done on Mondays between 10:00am and 12:00pm each week in the CFRC recording rooms.  A schedule will be organised with those who have signed up already.

Opportunities of Grad Chat

  • For grad students to showcase their research to a bigger audience
  • For grad students to practice talking to the media
  • For Queen’s and Kingston to hear about graduate research on campus
  • As a recruitment tool via the podcasts made which will be posted on our website and program websites.
  • For our alumni to talk about what they researched and where they are now to show grad degree employability

Fall 2017 Podcasts

November 14th 2017

Benjamin Tam

Benjamin Tam, MSc. candidate, Particle Astrophysics, supervised by Dr Mark Chen.

Topics: My research occurs at an intersection of physics, chemistry, and engineering as I help with development, commissioning, and operation of the SNO+ experiment.

Overview: Benjamin  talks about Queen's Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNOLAB) and the Canadian Particle Astrophysics Research Centre (CPARC) .  

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November 7th, 2017

Erica Anderson

Erica Anderson, M.ASc candidate in Chemical Engineering (AppliedSustainability), supervised by Dr Brant Peppley.

Research Topic: Gaseous Waste to Energy for PEM fuel cells

Overview of Research: Improving the efficiency of the Ford Fumes to Fuel (FTF) Project in order to help them produce hydrogen from gaseous waste produced in automotive finishing. This involves heterogeneous catalysis work and low-temperature steam reforming. .


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October 31st, 2017

Amy Stephenson

Amy Stephenson, MSc online program in Aging and Health.

The Program: Based around the geriatric population and specific issues they face

Overview of project: I am undertaking a scoping review to assess the effectiveness of post fall rehabilitation and tertiary prevention programs. I feel this is of importance as the impacts of falling to an individual and the healthcare system are dramatic. The majority of research and policies focus on primary fall prevention.  I found there to be a gap in the prevention and rehabilitation strategies in overlooking individuals who have experienced falls.


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October 24th, 2017

Chris Trimmer

Chris Trimmer- Neuroscience, supervised by Dr Farooq Naeem.

Research: The development and testing of a musical Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT-Music) group therapy intervention for individuals with symptoms of serious mental illness

Overview: This Research project looks at testing CBT-Music in a community mental health setting with individuals with symptoms of psychosis, depression and anxiety using a randomized control trial and a pre/post testing protocol. The main outcome of interest is feasibility and the effect on self-report of disability and symptomatology. Presently, my PhD research extends throughout Southern Ontario and I am in the data acquisition phase of my PhD.


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October 17th, 2017 

Hannah Dies

Hannah Dies - Chemical Engineering, supervised by Dr Aristides Docoslis & Dr Carols Escobedo.

Research: SThe development of a surface-enhanced Raman scattering-based chemical sensor using AC electric fields

Overview: My PhD has involved a novel method to build metallic nanostructures for surface-enhanced Raman scattering, a highly sensitive detection method for (bio)chemical sensing. I have mainly been working on a method to do this using a colloidal suspension of nanoparticles, which are organized into nanostructures using an AC electric field. These nanostructures have a very interesting “dendritic” structure, which I’ve found to be quite sensitive and useful for the detection of a variety of chemical analytes (including illicit drugs, pesticides, and toxic food additives).


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October 3rd & 10th, 2017

Korey Pasch

Korey Pasch - Political Studies, supervised by Dr Susanne Soederberg.

Research: Securitization of Hazards and the Governance of Risk: The Emergence and Expansion of Insurance Linked Securities and Catastrophe Bonds

Overview: My research looks principally at the changes that have occurred within the United States, and specifically the states of California and Florida to address disaster risk. Both states are exposed to different kinds of disaster risk, earthquake and hurricane respectively, and in the aftermath of two incredibly damaging events in the early to mid 1990s have lead efforts to improve the financing and transfer of disaster risk.

October 10th, 2017

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October 3rd, 2017

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September 26th, 2017

Nicolle Domnik

Nicolle Domnik- Banting Post-Doctoral Fellow in Medicine, supervised by Dr Denis O'Donnell.

Research: Impact of Sleep on Lung Function in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: Effect of inhaled bronchodilator treatment on symptom severity

Overview: “Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a progressive disease of the lungs with debilitating impact on individuals’ health and quality of life. Combining emphysema and chronic bronchitis, and strongly correlated with smoking/smoke exposure and advancing age, COPD is the 4-5th leading cause of mortality in Canada, accounting for significant morbidity (affects 800,000 individuals annually). COPD patients with advanced stages of disease experience significant airflow limitation, which severely limits basic daily activities of living, such as bathing, walking short distances, or even food preparation. This is largely due to crippling symptoms of breathlessness or air hunger (“dyspnea”), which are often worst first thing in the morning. The basis for these symptoms is poorly understood, and the mechanisms behind morning dyspnea are unknown; however, current pharmacologic therapies are not able to prevent this severe morning dyspnea from occurring. My project consists of two parts. The first will, for the first time, elucidate differences in nocturnal lung function between healthy controls and patients with COPD by thoroughly characterizing their mechanics of breathing before, during, and after sleep. The second will test the effectiveness of a new, twice-daily bronchodilator (‘puffer’) dosing approach in comparison with the current gold-standard of therapy, the foundation of which consists of a daily long-acting bronchodilator. Specifically, I will examine whether a second, evening dose of bronchodilator improves lung function during sleep and, by extension, relieves severe morning dyspnea. Given our ageing Canadian population, the burden of COPD on patients, their families, and the health care system will grow. A better understanding of how COPD impacts on nocturnal lung function, alongside validation of a promising approach to treating morning dyspnea, would provide crucial insight into managing this incapacitating condition.”

To volunteer to help with the study, email Nicolle at

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September 19th, 2017

Interviewee - Emma Peacock

Emma Peacock - Banting Post-Doctoral Fellow in English Literature, supervised by Dr Shelley King.

Research: Romanticism and the University

Overview: What forms our ideas and ideals of a university? A lot of students, professors, voters, and taxpayers have watched movies and read novels set in universities, but not a lot of people have read scholarly histories of universities. I think it’s important to think about the institution that we all work in and love (or have a love/hate relationship with!), and to know what has shaped our expectations of what a university is like and what it’s for.

In the early nineteenth century, universities in the English-speaking world were beginning to undergo a huge transformation, and the literary texts and polemical articles in literary magazines that came out of that were breathtaking. In fact, we’re often still quoting from them today, whether we know it or not!

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September 12th, 2017

Grad Chat logo

CJ the DJ reports back from this years Dissertation on the Lake.

Overview: LIke the Lake Shift, but this event is just for Queen's graduate students. Listen to what it means to them to have the opportunity to concentrate on writing without other distractions.

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September 5th, 2017

Grad Chat logo

CJ the DJ reports back from the School of Graduate Studies Welcome & Resource Fair for new graduate students.

Overview: During the Welcome event, several new graduate students will be interviewed. Listen to what their first impressions are and what they came to Queen's to study.

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Spring/Summer 2017 Podcasts

August 29th, 2017

Interviewees - Olivia Yau

Olivia Yau - M.Sc. candidate in Experimental Medicine (DBMS), supervised by Dr Amer Johri.

Research: The development of an Ultrasound Phantom in Characterizing Atherosclerotic Plaque Vulnerability

Overview: Olivia's research involves ultrasound phantom studies - specifically investigating the human carotid artery and vulnerable plaque. Her work involves building phantom plaques as well as conducting vascular ultrasound studies on her phantoms, looking to use her phantom as a platform in improving current medical imaging diagnostic tools in detecting atherosclerosis.

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August 22nd, 2017

Interviewees - Stephanie Jansson

Stephanie Jonsson - M.A. candidate in Gender Studies, supervised by Dr Scott Morgensen and Dr Trish Salah.

Research: The LGBTQ elders plans for long-term care looking at lived experiences accessing and living in long-term care in Canada

Overview: Stephanie's research examines the displacement of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer (LGBTQ) elders in aged care facilities. Specifically, she is contextualizing the barriers that impact access to care along with examining some of the ways in which life in care is oppressive for LGBTQ elders. Applying an intersectional approach to my analysis allows me to construct how multiple modes of oppression overlap to produce and reproduce systems of inequalities. Stephanie compares and contrasts the lived realities of elders who reside in ALFs in order to explore how LGBTQ people are marginalized by institutional practices that neglect their social, economic, cultural, familial, sexual, and spiritual needs.

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August 15th, 2017

Interviewee - Claire Boteler

Claire Boteler- M.Sc. candidate in Statistics, supervised by Dr David Thomson and Dr Troy Day

Research: Investigating the periodic patterns of influenza mortality using statistical methods, including time series, and spectral analysis techniques.

Overview: Influenza is an infectious disease, and its periodic patterns are commonly modeled focusing on a yearly cycle. However, when looking at influenza in a timespan longer than a generation, perhaps more periodic patterns should be considered. Using statistical methods including times series analysis and multitaper spectral analysis techniques, an investigation of monthly per capita mortality due to Pneumonia & Influenza that occurred in the United States from 1910 to 2016 has shown some interesting periodic trends. The periods found were the yearly cycle, longer periods of 136 year, 14 year, 11 year and 7.5 year, and shorter periods of ½, ¼ and 1/5 of year. Comparison of the results of this data set have been compared to results of other datas showing the number of influenza cases from the US, Australian and Japan, as well as the results from simulated data of the number of infected people in a population (using a stochastic Susceptible-Infected Model)..

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August 8th, 2017

Interviewees - The Lake Shift participants (Part 2)

The Lake Shift featuring Ph.D. students from 14 Ontario Universities

Yvonne Simpson(York University), Madison Bettle(Western University), Paula Karger (University of Toronto)

Overview: The Lake Shift is a thesis writing retreat for doctoral students from Ontario universities. The five day retreat is running from Sunday, July 9th to Friday afternoon, July 14th, at the Queen’s Biology Station on Lake Opinicon (a 50 minute drive north of Kingston). The retreat provides doctoral students with structured time to write, workshops on tips for effective dissertation writing, opportunities to network with other graduate students and all in a beautiful location. The objective of the retreat is to enable doctoral students to make substantial progress in writing their thesis and to develop foundations to maintain that momentum. The fringe benefits of The Lake Shift include swimming, boating, hiking and campfire conversations and make for a balance of the cerebral with the physical and social for a well-rounded experience.

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August 1st, 2017

Interviewee - Wei Yan

Wei Yan- Ph.D. candidate in Education, supervised by Dr Liying Cheng

Research: My MEd study (Queen’s) investigated the key determinants of Chinese students’ academic success indicated by their first semester GPA and credit hours earned in Korean universities, especially the relationship between language proficiency and students’ academic success

Overview: This study specifically focused on three research questions concerning the prediction of Chinese students’ academic success in Korean universities, the additional contribution of Korean and English language proficiency, and the examination of prediction patterns for undergraduate and graduate students.

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July 25th, 2017

Interviewees - Anatomical Sciences

Anatomical Sciences is 10 years old!

Featuring: Dr Leslie MacKenzie, founder of the program and alumni Nicole Ventura & Trevor Robinson

Overview: The Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences at Queen’s University offers a 16 month Master of Science program in Anatomical Sciences. This program is structured around three pillars of competency (content, pedagogy, inquiry) and designed to educate students interested in the art of teaching and designing curricula in the anatomical sciences.

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July 18th, 2017

Interviewees - The Lake Shift participants

The Lake Shift featuring Ph.D. students from 14 Ontario Universities

Francis Masse (York University), Carlie Stransky (Laurentian University), Amanda Hansen (Brock University)

Overview: The Lake Shift is a thesis writing retreat for doctoral students from Ontario universities. The five day retreat is running from Sunday, July 9th to Friday afternoon, July 14th, at the Queen’s Biology Station on Lake Opinicon (a 50 minute drive north of Kingston). The retreat provides doctoral students with structured time to write, workshops on tips for effective dissertation writing, opportunities to network with other graduate students and all in a beautiful location. The objective of the retreat is to enable doctoral students to make substantial progress in writing their thesis and to develop foundations to maintain that momentum. The fringe benefits of The Lake Shift include swimming, boating, hiking and campfire conversations and make for a balance of the cerebral with the physical and social for a well-rounded experience.

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July 11th, 2017

Interviewee - Alissa Droog

Alissa Droog. Masters candidate in Religious Studies, supervised by Dr Richard Ascough

Research: How 19th century women were writing the story of Adam and Eve from Genesis for children in religious literature

Overview: My research started by looking at a variety of secondary source material on women’s writings in the 19th century, on children’s Bibles and religious children’s literature. Then, I started looking at children’s Bible stories. I have been lucky to look at 19th century children’s literature and Bible story collections at Special Collections at Queen’s, the Toronto Public Library, and at Wycliffe College in Toronto. I think I’ve looked at over 60 different publications now, 25 of which actually fit the parameters of my study being that they were produced by British women in the 19th century. My essay is exploratory than it is proving anything. Very little has been written on children’s Bibles and children’s Bible stories, and nothing on this specific topic, so I am trying to explore and then explain just what it was these women were writing about. I also am going to focus on some of the more interesting versions of the story that I have read. For example, Aunt Charlotte’s Bible Stories entirely excludes the role of the serpent, calling him the “evil spirit” and having him become Eve’s master after the fall. IT’s just such an odd version of the story because typically, this type of language is used to describe sin or Adam after the fall. I haven’t quite figured out why she was writing it like that, but its certainly an anomaly. .

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July 4th, 2017

Interviewee - Andrew Sopko

Andrew Sopko- Ph.D. candidate in History, supervised by Dr Jeffrey Brison

Research: The history of Canada’s Cold War civil defence program

Overview: I study the history of Canada’s Cold War civil defence program, which was created to prepare Canadians for the aftermath of a nuclear confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union. .

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June 27th, 2017

Interviewee - Atul Jaiswal

Atul Jaiswal - Ph.D. candidate in Rehabilitation Science, supervised by Dr Heather Aldersey and Dr Marcia Finlayson

Research: Participation of Persons with Deafblindness in India

Overview: Deafblindness is a unique disability with a combination of visual and hearing impairment affecting communication, mobility, and access to information from the outside world. These challenges in communication, accessing information and mobility hinder their functioning and participation making deafblindness one of the most isolating disabilities. The dual sensory loss affects the engagement of persons with deafblindness (PwDb) in the environment and poses difficulty for them in communicating, establishing and maintaining interpersonal relationships with others, which can then result in isolation from society. Through my research, there is a potential to gain insights into their lives to understand their lived experiences of participating in society and develop indicators of participation. These indicators could then inform the services designed for PwDb to prevent their isolation and support their full participation in society.

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June 20th, 2017

Interviewee - Jhordan Layne

Jhordan Layne. Ph.D. candidate in English Language & Literature, supervised by Dr Chris Bongie

Research: Representations of Obeah in Literature

Overview: I read Caribbean colonial and postcolonial literature from the 18th century to today and I pay particular attention to how they represent Afro-Caribbean religion. I look specifically at obeah, a complex of religious-magical traditions commonly practiced throughout the Anglophone Caribbean. It has been prohibited in many parts of the Caribbean since the 18th century during slavery, and it's still prohibited in many Caribbean countries today. My main research questions have to do with religion and religious freedom. What is it that separates belief systems considered religion from those considered superstition? Why are some beliefs are offered protections and freedoms, while others are prohibited and degraded? Literature helps us answer these questions by offering insight into how perceptions of obeah have developed over the course of 300 years. .

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June 6th & 13th, 2017

Interviewee - Rosanna Brown

Rosanna Brown - M.A. in Art History, supervised by Dr Cathleen Hoeniger

Research: The Cultural Effects of Climate Change

Overview: The destruction of culture has long been a topic of interest for art historians, but research often focuses on damage caused by war or natural disasters. Rosanna’s thesis introduces climate change as a new form of cultural destruction, which damages art and architecture both physically and conceptually. By focusing on the prehistoric archaeological site of Chavín de Huantar in Peru, and the Baroque city centre of Dresden in Germany, she investigates how climate change changes the ways we experience and interpret culture on a planet that is quickly deteriorating.

June 6th, 2017 - Part 1

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June 13th, 2017- Part 2

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May 30th, 2017

Interviewee - Nilita Sood

Nilita Sood - M.Sc. in Experimental Medicine, supervised by Dr Diane Lougheed and Dr John T. Fisher

Research: Sensory Mechanical Responses to High-Dose Methacholine in Healthy Normal Subjects

Overview: NIlita is working on determining the baseline bronchodilating response to high-dose methacholine and will compare it to people with asthma and cough.

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May 23rd, 2017

Interviewee - Victoria Donovan

Victoria Donovan - M.Sc. in Neuroscience, supervised by Dr R.D. Andrew

Research: Lie Low Stay Alive!

Overview: Following on from representing Queen's at the Ontario 3MT, Victoria talks about her experiences of the event and her research on the cortical shutdown in the mammalian brain as an evolutionary conserved survival tactic following traumatic brain injury.

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May 16th, 2017- Live

Interviewee - Louis Zatzman

Louis Zatzman- M.A. in History, supervised by Dr Harold Mah

Research: The Paris Commune

Overview: Louis will look at the similarities and differences of how the Commune was represented by authors, poets, politicians, historians, and other writers.  He will also talk about his new podcast titled "Unraveled"

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May 9th, 2017

Interviewee - Sophie Kenny

Sophie Kenny - Ph.D. in Psychology, supervised by Dr Nikolaus Troje

Research: Perceptual Effects of Inconsistency in human animations

Overview: One method of animating human-like avatars in video games and movies is animation retargeting. For this procedure, the motion of a performer is pre-recorded and later used to animate the avatar. In practice, the body shape of the avatar can be very different from the body shape of the original performer. Such animations are called inconsistent, because they are generated from mismatching shape and motion components. However, in day-to-day life, we experience consistent shape and motion information. As a result, our visual system builds up expectations regarding the way a person should look and move. For her thesis, Sophie conducted psychological experiments to look at the perceptual consequences of reducing consistency of animations. Her goal is to understand how inconsistency changes the observer’s perception and to investigate the extent to which it could be a problem for computer animators.

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May 2nd, 2017

Interviewee - Cindy Xing

Cindy Xing - M.Ed in Education, supervised by Dr Benjamin Bolden

Research: International students’ academic acculturation

Overview: My research explored how Chinese students with limited spoken English experienced Canadian university. I used narrative inquiry, a methodology that involves listening to and analyzing stories. I interviewed Chinese students at a mid-sized Canadian university to listen to their study stories in Canada. In addition to the traditional narrative writing, I used music to re-tell the stories. So my thesis also includes digitally-produced musical representations of the students’ experiences.

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