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Gearing up for Homecoming 2015

Campus may be relatively quiet in the summer, but Queen’s University staff, students and alumni are busily preparing for Homecoming 2015. More than 500 alumni and their guests have already registered for the Oct. 23-25 weekend.

[Queen's Homecoming]
Alumni return to Queen's for Homecoming. 

“Alumni look forward to – and begin planning for – Homecoming, and celebrating milestone reunions, years in advance,” says Vice-Principal (Advancement) Tom Harris. “A great deal of preparation and hard work goes into ensuring that their homecoming is memorable.”

Homecoming was reinstated as a traditional one-weekend model last year, and alumni response was overwhelming. Faculties and schools engaged their alumni in meaningful and substantive ways; dozens of classes led fundraising efforts as part of celebrating their reunion, most in support of student assistance. In total, 41 classes raised gifts as part of their reunion – almost a 50 per cent increase from 2013.

“We are very grateful to reunion coordinators and the many, many alumni volunteers who work so hard to support class giving while they plan great activities for their former classmates,” says Vice-Principal Harris.

This year’s festivities include the return of classes ending in ‘5’ and ‘0’, as well as those who graduated before 1965. The classes of 2010 and 1990 will have signature events to celebrate their fifth and 25th reunions, respectively, as will the Tricolour Guard, which includes alumni celebrating reunions of 50 years or more.  

The Homecoming football game will feature the Queen’s Gaels taking on the Laurier Golden Hawks on Oct. 24. In addition, dozens of events are being planned by faculties, schools, departments, and student groups. For the second year, the AMS will host the ReUnion Street Festival, offering students and alumni the opportunity to interact and celebrate Queen’s.

“Homecoming is a unique and special event for Queen’s, and is at its best when it’s a safe and respectful celebration of the Queen’s spirit,” says Vice-Principal Harris. “We’re looking forward to welcoming alumni home.”   

For more information or to register, visit the Homecoming 2015 website

Young entrepreneurs ready to make their pitch

[QICSI Students]
Queen’s Innovation Connector Summer Initiative participant Amy Hamilton constructs her venture’s prototype while teammate Thiago Santarém completes design work. The students are preparing for the pitch competition that will take place on Aug. 20. (University Communications)

The third floor of Beamish-Munro Hall buzzes with activity one morning in early August. Teams of students cram into various meeting rooms, working furiously to prepare for the Queen’s Innovation Connector Summer Initiative (QICSI) pitch competition that will take place on Aug. 20.

[QIC Logo]
Queen's Innovation Connector

“I’m excited,” says Amy Hamilton, one of 39 students participating in this year’s QICSI.

“Excited and freaking out a little bit,” quickly adds her teammate Thiago Santarém. They are two of the four St. Lawrence College students selected to join this year’s cohort that includes Queen’s students across all faculties.

In a small room, Ms. Hamilton puts her seldom-used sewing skills to work on constructing her venture’s prototype while Mr. Santarém busies himself with graphic design work. Elsewhere in the building, the three other members of the venture, known as Scarlet, get marketing advice from a consultant.

Across the hallway in another meeting room, three members of Impulse Biomechanics work independently on their assigned tasks. 

As they take a break from their work, a sense of anticipation mixed with weariness fills the small space dotted with Post-it notes that remind the students what still needs to be done before the pitch competition.

“There’s a bit of stress. If you look down the hallway, we all hope to win money and continue our business after the summer. It’s been really fun to be around so many different people and learn from them, but now it’s more of a competition,” says Kirsten MacMillan, Sc’17. “(The pitch competition has) really worked well for us: we have a deadline on the calendar that we really need to meet and that pushes us to put in the extra hour and make the extra phone call.”

Eight ventures are vying for up to $30,000 as well as bragging rights as the top venture of this year’s QICSI. The program launched in 2012 to teach students about entrepreneurship, innovation and change management. 

Last year’s pitch competition winner, Mosaic Manufacturing, went on to further develop its technology at Innovation Park at Queen’s University as part of QIC Acceleration. 

The venture also won a national pitch competition worth $25,000 in March.

The students can continue to build their ventures even if they don’t win the pitch competition. In fact, more than 25 companies that started as a result of QICSI continue in various stages of technology development and commercialization.

“The pitch competition is just one of many great learning opportunities students receive during the summer initiative program,” says Greg Bavington, Director, QIC. “They get a chance to practice their communication and presentation skills in a high stakes environment while at the same time receiving valuable feedback about their companies from our expert judges.”

Getting exposed to new ideas and knowledge is something several QICSI participants mention when asked what they enjoy about the program.

“We are learning something new every day,” says Hao Chen Sang, Com’17. “What I am learning this summer will really help me start and run my own business. I now know a lot more about the steps I need to take to make a business successful.”

QIC will stream the pitch competition live on its website beginning at 1 pm on Aug. 20. QIC will announce the winner on its Twitter account later that evening.

*    *    * 

The Queen’s Innovation Connector Summer Initiative will conclude on Aug. 20 with a pitch competition where eight teams will vie for up to $30,000 in seed funding. Here are brief descriptions of the eight ventures: 

Iris Technologies
Iris Technologies is addressing the negative health consequences LCD screens cause for individuals who suffer from specific medical conditions or who spend a long period of time working at LCD monitors. The solution that Iris is providing is a substitute screen that causes fewer negative health repercussions by using e-paper technology, which is found in devices such as e-readers.

Impulse Biomechanics
Impulse Biomechanics wants to change the way people with neurological disorders experience the rehabilitation process. The company is creating a pressure sensing insole capable of tracking various gait metrics of individuals in neurorehabilitation programs, allowing physiotherapists to quantitatively follow patient progress and better target rehabilitation to their specific needs. 

Apollo helps everyone to turn their ideas into reality and get funded. Creators can obtain feedback, in-kind support, and idea validation while simultaneously raising startup capital. 

Concierge Connect
Concierge Connect provides free and secure Wi-Fi access to users through a network of hotspots. The company’s service helps businesses manage their Wi-Fi and connect with their customers through a reliable login process. Users have a unique login that allows them to conveniently access all Concierge Connect hotspot locations.

Scarlet Smart Fashion is a brand that combines smart technology, functionality and style to provide simple yet powerful solutions for the busy modern professional.  A major focus of Scarlet is to integrate technology into products to simplify and empower the lifestyles of customers. Scarlet’s brand exemplifies the passion, innovation, quality and beauty that it commits to its designs.

Atria is a mobile application that will pay people to workout. The app uses group accountability and monetary incentives to motivate people to get fit. People can workout on their own, or join group campaigns on the app to raise money for a cause of their choice.

With the global population expected to exceed 9 billion people by 2050, conventional livestock production no longer has the ability to feed the world in an environmentally sustainable way. Gryllies’ solution is to harvest crickets as a future-friendly protein source that can be integrated seamlessly into the traditional North American diet.

LUMOS Energy Strips deliver an innovative solution to an everyday problem: tiredness. Conventional energy solutions are high calorie, high volume, and often high cost. LUMOS has created a thin strip containing naturally-sourced caffeine that dissolves in a person’s mouth for a quick boost equivalent to half a cup of coffee.

Update on renovation work at Macdonald Hall

On Wednesday, Aug. 5, a crew from Christmas Steel began repair work on the interior stairwell that leads from the basement level to the second floor of Lederman Law Library within Macdonald Hall. There will be intermittent noise disruptions and dust resulting from this work in the coming days.

Any questions or concerns regarding this project should be directed to Fixit by phone at extension 77301 or by e-mail.

Construction work ongoing at Beamish-Munro Hall

Beginning on Friday, Aug. 7, Emmons and Mitchell Construction will begin repairing/replacing the elevated terrace at the east entrance to the second floor of Beamish-Munro Hall. Fencing will be erected around the work area for safety purposes and storage of equipment. There may be intermittent noise interruptions associated with the cutting and craning of concrete. Work is expected to be completed on Thursday, Sept. 10.

Other entrances through Beamish-Munro Hall, Goodwin Hall and Dupuis Hall remain open. For more information see the Campus Accessibility Guide.

Any questions or concerns regarding this project should be directed to Fixit by phone at extension 77301 or by e-mail.

Temporary hot water shutdown planned for Nicol Hall

There will be no hot water available in Nicol Hall on Thursday, Aug. 13 between 8 am and 12 pm while repairs are completed to a hot water line. Cold water will remain available for the standpipe system and domestic use (hand washing, flushing toilet, eyewash stations, etc.) while this work is completed.  

Any questions or concerns regarding this planned work should be directed to Fixit by phone at extension 77301 or by e-mail.


A world of experience on the international stage

[Team Walkly]
Team Walkly – Julie Lycklama (Cmp’17), Riley Karson, (Cmp’17), Christopher Thomas (Cmp’17) and Anastasiya Tarnouskaya (Cmp’17) – recently competed in the world final of the Microsoft Imagine Cup. (University Communications)

While they didn’t win the Microsoft Imagine Cup, Team Walkly is returning to Queen’s University having gained valuable experience that will help them reach the next level.

The Canadian representatives at the prestigious international event –  Riley Karson, (Cmp’17), Julie Lycklama (Cmp’17), Anastasiya Tarnouskaya (Cmp’17) and Christopher Thomas (Cmp’17) – created the Walkly app with the aim of providing a safer walking experience for everyone, anywhere, anytime by combining the power of social media and smartphone technology.

Winners or not, Ms. Tarnouskaya says the team had a “fantastic experience” in Seattle and benefited greatly by meeting their peers from around the world and learning from their projects and ideas at the Imagine Cup, an international technology competition that provides teams of students from various areas of study the opportunity to use their creativity to change the way we live, work and play.

Among the key things the foursome learned through the process – having competed at the regional and national levels before making it to the worlds – were being able to adapt to the changing environment quickly, working as a team and being able to handle increasing levels of pressure.

“One of the most important things was learning quickly. We had to learn everything quickly because it was the first competition we had done – from development to just being able to work with each other,” Ms. Tarnouskaya says. “So I think teamwork was a very important aspect of our learning experience because we had to rely on each other. Also being able to deal with deadlines and work under pressure. We wanted to do a good job and make Canada proud.”

With the app, the user chooses a destination through a mapping feature and an estimated time of arrival. The app then tracks the user and lets the user’s trusted network see if they are safely on their way. If the user doesn't get to their destination by the set time, the network is notified and can take action, such as a phone call. If a user arrives on time, the app’s automatic check-in feature will notify the network.

In the finals, the team had to make a 10-minute presentation before the judges as well as a large crowd. The event was livestreamed worldwide.

Ms. Tarnouskaya says that while the team was satisfied with their presentation, a number of others had already brought their product to market, giving them a key advantage when it came to some of the scoring such as usability.

Getting Walkly in app stores for Android and iOS platforms and raising awareness is the next step but the team is also looking to get more Queen’s students competing in similar events.

“Honestly, these competitions are so incredible, they are so much fun and a fantastic learning experience. We really want to inspire other students to get involved in these competitions because Queen’s has so much talent and we want people to be able to use that talent and do great things and get recognized for their capabilities on a world scale,” Ms. Tarnouskaya says, adding that the team is hoping to run presentation workshops based on their experiences. 

Math Quest: A winning formula

[Math Quest]
Camp organizers Siobhain Broekhoven, Carly Rozins and Natalie Corneau are eager for this year's program to begin. (University Communications)












Those who don’t typically associate mathematics with fun and games have likely never attended Math Quest, an all-girls math camp sponsored by the Canadian Mathematical Society and the Queen’s University Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

Starting Monday, Math Quest, a four-day residential program, is where high-school aged young women interested in mathematics come together to learn new and exciting ways of applying mathematical skills.

“I think it’s important to try and reach those kids who enjoy math, or who could enjoy math and really want to be challenged, because I don’t think there’s really anything else like this out there,” says Carly Rozins, a PhD candidate studying evolutionary game theory and one of the camp’s organizers. “It’s an opportunity to meet like-minded girls as well.”

Based on the diversity of programming, Math Quest truly stands alone.

Participants will experience an Amazing Race across campus solving math clues and riddles at each location, program their own Lego robots, and even look at the mathematics of salsa dancing.

The activities are exciting and innovative, as the camp’s staff look for new ways to apply theoretical mathematics across the different branches of the discipline.

“It’s also activity-based, so they’ll have lots of hands-on activities and experiences – it’s all applications of math, so you can see how your classroom knowledge applies,” says Natalie Corneau, one of the camp’s instructors.

Participants have the chance to learn from graduate students, doctors, and “mathemagicians” from all different walks of mathematics – from game theorists, to algebraic experts.

While fostering a deeper love and appreciation for math, the program also serves as an introduction for many to the Queen’s and Kingston communities. This year, participants will take up a block of Leggett Hall, getting a taste of the Queen’s residence experience.

According to camp director Siobhain Broekhoven, it’s the connections and bonds created at camp that make it such a special place to be, and it all starts with a love of mathematics.

“We ask the applicants why they want to come to Math Quest and the top reason is ‘I really love math and I want to know more’. We have girls coming from BC, one from the Sunshine Coast – you can’t come from much farther than that in the country,” she says. “I remember last year, when we were finishing up the camp, we asked if there was anybody who wanted to share their e-mail who wanted to stay in touch with each other – and every single girl did.”

The love of math that each and every instructor and organizer at the camp has is infectious, and the relationships fostered are seamlessly facilitated through engaging mathematical quests.

Math Quest promises to be an exciting opportunity for those who love working with numbers, equations and formulas.

It all adds up.

'Making good things happen'

[Agnes Etherington Art Centre]
The Agnes Etherington Art Centre recently received funding from the City of Kingston as well as through an anonymous gift. (Supplied Photo)

Staff and supporters of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre (‘the Agnes’) are celebrating news that the gallery has been awarded a significant grant and that it is the recipient of an anonymous gift, both of which will directly support its operations and programming.

As well as a $75,000 Operating Grant from the City of Kingston Arts Fund (CKAF), the gallery has been given an anonymous gift through the Community Foundation for Kingston and Area (CFKA).

“It’s a real vote of confidence,” says director Jan Allen. “The CKAF grant is a substantial one within the city’s terms. It not only allows us to accomplish great things – it’s an important piece of the funding puzzle, because we can leverage the city’s support for support from other granting bodies, foundations and other levels of government.” 

As Ms. Allen explains, while Queen’s provides the gallery’s facilities and a portion of its funds, the Agnes is also heavily reliant on outside sources of money, including government grants.

“We are a bit unusual in that we are not just a university gallery,” she explains. “We are also the public art museum for the region, which was, in fact, Agnes Etherington’s intention when she bequeathed her home to the university. She wanted it to be used as both an art centre for Queen’s and for the Kingston community.”

Ms. Allen says that as a result the Agnes, which employs 10 full-time and three part-time staff, as well as a number of students who work in casual positions, serves both the university and Kingston communities equally.

“Attendance is really split between Queen’s and non-Queen’s people,” she explains. “And in fact, that’s an important aspect of our work, because we are a meeting place between the university and all its exciting assets, and a lively community. The Agnes is a real point of integration.” 

The Agnes’ staff are currently preparing for a busy fall season which will include exhibitions of contemporary works by Vancouver-based artist in residence Judy Radul and local artist Ulrich Panzer, Canadian historical works from the Hart House Collection at the University of Toronto, paintings by past winners of The Kingston Prize, and an exhibit of the early work of Ojibwe artist Carl Beam. As well as community programming including artist talks and other public programs, the gallery will introduce its new ArtZone initiative, a free drop-in after-school program for youth.

“Any funding we get is vital because it allows us to do what we do for the community,” says Ms. Allen. “It allows us to make good things happen.”

For more information about the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, visit their website.

Good food, good company

[Old Farm]
Owner Steve France, rear, and employees Ester Romero-Acosta and Jeff Williams, get set to serve up lunch orders at Old Farm, located on Barrie Street, near Queen’s University. (University Communications)

Upstairs in the kitchen at Old Farm Fine Foods on Barrie Street, the staff banter usually centres on two favourite topics: food and films. That suits employee Jeff Williams, who studied film at Sheridan College in Oakville several years ago.

“We just have a gas,” says Mr. Williams, 29, who’s worked at Old Farm – a campus favourite for lunch and groceries – for four years. “Great people, great customers. I feel fulfilled, doing a job I really enjoy and still being able to pursue other things on the side.”

After graduating from Sheridan, Mr. Williams worked in restaurants in Toronto while navigating the competitive film world. He ended up staying in the food business, working in Ottawa as well, before making his way back to Kingston, his hometown.

“Everyone knows good food here, and Nancy (George), with her culinary background, knows a ton. I’m learning a lot,” says Mr. Williams, who has also worked at the restaurant Chez Piggy, as well as 10 years part-time at Classic Video.

Ms. George, a trained chef who ran her own restaurant in British Columbia for seven years, owns Old Farm, along with her husband, Steve France. The store’s name stems from their farm north of Kingston, where they produce hundreds of varieties of heirloom tomatoes, as well as herbs and other vegetables, all as seedlings in the spring.

Old Farm brings in food from dozens of local food suppliers and with Ms. George’s expertise in the kitchen, they feed the surrounding community: students, staff, faculty, and local residents. The store also serves as a pantry service for Ms. George’s catering business.

On weekdays, especially at lunchtime, Old Farm quickly fills up, its small space jammed with regulars ladling soup and ordering grilled sandwiches or slices of pizza, all made in-store. In the warmer months, customers linger on the modest patio and take in the Barrie Street view.

“We are in a really good spot here, on campus and in Sydenham Ward. It’s a great community,” says Mr. France, adding that 95 per cent of the store’s traffic arrives on foot. Open for the past six years, Old Farm sells, on top of lunch fare of sandwiches, soups, pizza, salads and desserts (local ice cream!), an array of local and organic products, including milk, cheese, meat, vegetables and dried goods.

“We have a good crop of regulars – the tech guys from Queen’s come in every morning for coffee,” says Mr. Williams, who plans to make films – comedies – in his spare time, along with promotional videos for Old Farm. “And everyone’s doing cool stuff – for example, I get to hear and see pictures about rocket conventions in Utah – it’s a lot of fun.”

Old Farm Fine Foods, 204 Barrie St., is open seven days a week: Monday-Friday 8:30 am-6:30 pm, and Saturday-Sunday 10 am- 5 pm.


Luce-Kapler to grow community as new dean

Dr. Luce-Kapler looks forward with great excitement to the future of the Faculty of Education at a time of change and renewal.

Rebecca Luce-Kapler was at home and about to leave for a vacation when she received an e-mail from Provost Alan Harrison asking her to call him at her earliest convenience. She called him immediately and was offered the position of dean of Education at Queen’s.

Accepting his offer, she hung up the phone and then ran around the house, looking for her husband.

She remembers yelling one thing: “I GOT THE JOB!”

“I didn’t realize just how much I wanted the job until I got closer to finding out. I’ll never forget how good that felt,” says Dr. Luce-Kapler, who stepped into her new role on July 1.

[Dr. Luce-Kapler]
Rebecca Luce-Kapler took on the role as dean of Education on July 1.

Dr. Luce-Kapler, who lives on a cliff overlooking a lake and who confesses a great love for Kingston, first came to Queen’s with similar feelings of excitement in 1997 to work on language and literacy research and programming within the Faculty of Education.

A B.Ed graduate who pursued her graduate work at the University of Alberta, Dr. Luce-Kapler set out to complete a master’s degree with the intention of returning to teach in the classroom.

During that process, however, she came to realize that she wanted to make a deeper impact on education beyond the traditional school-teacher setting. She ended up staying to complete a PhD in language and literacy education, fostering a love for research and higher education at the same time.

Arriving at Queen’s, she was surprised to find that transitioning between provinces was more difficult than expected.

“When I came to Queen’s, I thought, it’s not going to be that big a transition because it’s still Canada… well it turns out that Alberta and Ontario are kind of different,” she laughs.

Due to the immediate bonds and sense of community that she experienced within her new faculty, however, Dr. Luce-Kapler grew to love her city and her Queen’s community. “I thought I’d stay for a few years and then go back to the prairies, and I never did,” she admits.

She cites the collaborative environment and special relationships she has developed as the primary reason that she never left.

“There’s an intermingling between disciplines and levels here that I found very synergistic,” she says. “I ended up doing research that I never imagined I’d have the chance to do… and I really, really like our students.”

Now at the helm of this community, Dr. Luce-Kapler feels excitement about the myriad of opportunities that lie ahead. Recognizing things will get even more hectic when September rolls around, she has not wasted any time in getting to work.

One such opportunity is the introduction of a new Bachelor of Education program, whose first cohort started at the faculty in May. The provincially mandated changes for B.Ed programs in Ontario have led to the complete restructuring of the faculty’s education program. The Queen’s program now takes 16 months to complete and sees students starting in the spring, rather than in September.

She describes the feedback from students she’s spoken with so far as being positive, and says she is excited to help shape teacher education at Queen’s within a new provincial framework.

“The opportunity to see this program and its students grow, and to continue to grow our community as a whole on a number of different levels – it’s all very exciting,” she says.

When speaking about growth, Dr. Luce-Kapler routinely focuses on the people involved in the process, and the importance of forming meaningful relationships within the faculty.

She speaks, particularly, of her close relationship with former dean Stephen Elliott, who she met soon after arriving to Queen’s. He became one of her first friends and has continued to be a wonderful support system.

[Dr. Luce-Kapler]
In her office, Dr. Luce-Kapler poses with a painting created by former dean, Dr. Stephen Elliott.

The connections she made with her colleagues were fostered in unique ways. When Dr. Luce-Kapler first arrived, she, Dr. Elliott and Dr. Peter Chin (who now serves as Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies), formed a hermeneutic reading group, reading texts from that philosophical perspective.

“I was lonely when I first came – I knew no one here and my entire family was in Alberta. Back in Alberta, I was part of a reading group and I really missed that, so I asked Peter [Chin] who I knew was from the west as well if he wanted to join a hermeneutic reading group, and he said yes. Stephen [Elliott] was walking by, asked us ‘what’s hermeneutics?’, and we said that he’d had to join to find out. So for a year, the three of us had a hermeneutic reading group.”

She explains how when the three of them went on to become the administration team years later, they laughed when thinking back to their earlier experiences together.

A lover of gardening, cooking, and poetry, regularly drafting biographical poetry about women’s experiences in her spare time, Dr. Luce-Kapler is a people-oriented leader who greatly cherishes opportunities to bring individuals together and share experiences. Perhaps most telling is how she describes her colleagues as friends and her faculty at large as a family.

“The Faculty of Education at Queen’s is non-departmentalized, and so it really feels like you’re working in a community together,” she says.

When it comes to her new role, Dr. Luce-Kapler feels like everything has fallen into place in the right way at the right time.

“Things have flowed in a lovely way since I arrived here. I couldn’t be happier to be where I am, and I cannot wait to see where this faculty goes from here.” 


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