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Preparing to pitch

Student entrepreneurs in the Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI) are looking ahead to August’s pitch competition.

  •  [Durabyte team QICSI Queen's]
    The Durabyte team is working to commercialize the research of Queen's professor Shahram Yousefi. They received the opportunity to commercialize the research as part of the 'Foundry' program, which previously produced successful startups RockMass Technologies and Spectra Plasmonics. (University Communications)
  • [Durabyte team QICSI Queen's]
    The full Durabyte team. From L-R: Sophie Labrosse (Comm'19), Sarah Coles (Sc'19), Cameron Rowe (Artsci'19), Alexander Griff (Sc'18), Hanna Tsimafeyeva (Sc'19). (Supplied Photo)
  • [Bryan Patterson QICSI Queen's BizSkills Academy]
    The QICSI teams received a visit from Mayor Bryan Patterson, who met with several of the teams individually and encouraged the students to base their start-ups in Kingston. (University Communications)
  • [SHAD Queen's QICSI Research Stream Isabel Hazan]
    QICSI students also had the opportunity to share their knowledge with high school students enrolled in the SHAD program. Here, Isabel Hazan (Artsci'20) speaks about her business, Research Stream. (University Communications)
  • [SHAD Queen's QICSI BizSkills Academy]
    Two QICSI student panels shared their insights about starting business ventures with the SHAD students, to provide greater insight into the possibilities and challenges that entrepreneurship can entail. (University Communications)

They have been hard at work since May learning about how to launch a business, refining their pitches, and forming teams.

Now, the countdown is on to the annual QICSI Summer Pitch competition – the opportunity for 17 student and community teams to present and try to bring home their share of the up to $100,000 in funding available.

“The pitch competition is the culmination of months of hard work by our students and community entrepreneurs. It marks both the end of the program, and a new beginning by giving teams the chance to win seed funding that will be essential to the growth of their company or non-profit,” says Greg Bavington, Executive Director, Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre.

“The weeks leading up to the pitch competition are critical for teams to build a successful pitch,” he adds. “They have spent much of the program studying a problem and arriving at a feasible solution, but in the coming weeks they will need to test their assumptions about the market and who will be willing to pay for their product, service, or initiative in order to convince the judges.”

There was a new twist to the QICSI program this year. In recent years, two Queen’s student start-ups – Spectra Plasmonics and Rock Mass Technologies – successfully turned Queen’s research into viable commercial businesses through the pilot of what has been called the “Foundry” program. So, QICSI organizers decided this year to formally make commercializing Queen’s research a goal of the summer initiative.

One QICSI team, Durabyte, is attempting to turn a research patent belonging to Shahram Yousefi, of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, into a viable business. Dr. Yousefi’s research uncovered a way to extend the lifetime of flash memory units – the kind you would find in smartphones and other computing devices the world over.

“The proprietary algorithm we’re working with improves the durability of flash-based storage devices by allocating data, which is made of bytes, more efficiently. Putting the words ‘durability’ and ‘byte’ together gave us our name – Durabyte,” explains Hanna Tsimafeyeva (Sc’19). “The algorithm that Dr. Yousefi developed is not only innovative, but it is also solving a very real issue in flash storage. After the presentation we couldn’t stop discussing all the potential we saw in taking this invention to market.”

The 50 student entrepreneurs participating this year have been receiving plenty of support along the way. Speakers, alumni, and even the Mayor of Kingston have been by to encourage the budding businesspeople as they hone their skills and refine their business plans. Another team participating this year is Unicity Studios, the winners of the Mayor’s Innovation Challenge, which aims to create a teaching tool for primary and secondary school computer science teachers through a creativity-enabling software.

To drive home the lessons the students are receiving at QICSI, they are also helping to teach other aspiring entrepreneurs. They recently played host to high school students who are a part of the SHAD program, which aims to educate grade school students about entrepreneurship and opportunities to work on social issues.

“It is an amazing opportunity for our SHAD students to collaborate with Queen’s students who are part of the Queen’s Innovation Centre and who are doing something very similar to what we do in our design engineering challenge,” says Teddy Katz, VP of Communications and Media Relations with SHAD.

If you want a sneak peek at the businesses and businesspeople who could be dominating industry and headlines in the years ahead, you are invited to the 2018 Dunin-Deshpande Summer Pitch Competition. The event will be held at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts beginning at noon on Thurs, Aug 23. It will also be live streamed on the DDQIC’s Facebook page.

Employee and Family Assistance Program provider publishes Q3 edition of Vitality!

[Q3 2018 Vitality]
Read Vitality! online.

As the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) provider for Queen’s University, Homewood Health publishes several newsletters, including the quarterly Vitality!

The newsletter is intended to support key personnel with a wealth of information on the topic presented, which for this edition is How to Support Employees with Children Attending School. As the title suggests, this article is focused on how managers and supervisors can help support employees who have children attending school.

For more information on the Queen’s EFAP, visit the Human Resources website.

For 24-hour EFAP services call 1-800-663-1142 (English) or 1-866-398-9505 (French).

Queen’s welcomes new Vanier Scholars

Four doctoral students earn prestigious national honour.

Four Queen’s University doctoral students have earned Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships designed to help Canadian institutions attract and retain highly qualified doctoral students. The four winners’ areas of study include Indigenous public protest, kidney function, low income populations, and assisted dying.

The scholarships provide each student with $50,000 per year for three years during their doctoral studies. Scholarships are funded by either the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

"Our heartiest congratulations are extended to each of the four recipients of this year’s Vanier award," says Fahim Quadir, Vice-Provost and Dean of the Queen's University School of Graduate Studies. "As Canada’s premier graduate scholarship, the Vanier award recognizes outstanding academic achievements, extraordinary leadership skills, and an unwavering commitment to fostering excellence and innovation in research in service of the global society. The School of Graduate Studies is looking forward to supporting our new Vanier scholars in continuing to pursue cutting-edge research in the disciplinary realms of social and health sciences."

This year’s recipients include:

Miles Howe

Miles Howe (Cultural Studies) - Howe's SSHRC-funded research focuses on analyzing policing tactics in relation to episodes of Indigenous public protest. Specifically, he is exploring how developments in policing theory and crowd theory have influenced Canadian policing practices, and how recent trends in “strategic incapacitation” have impacted the work of police and security agencies in regards to Indigenous public protests.

Christine Moon

Christine Moon (Kinesiology and Health Studies) - Moon’s dissertation project, funded by SSHRC, will explore experiences of racialized Canadians with medical assistance in dying. Her proposed doctoral work will help the public understand what assisted dying means to racialized Canadians and provide a previously unexplored, qualitative, and in-depth look at how they think about, request, or receive assisted dying.

Sarah Sharma

Sarah Sharma (Political Studies) – Sharma’s doctoral research examines how financial and environmental inequalities affect low-income populations in major global cities. Specifically, she is studying informal settlements to understand the economic and environmental threats to attaining safe and secure housing in growing urban centres. Her work is funded by SSHRC.

Mandy Turner

Mandy Turner (Biomedical and Molecular Studies) – Funded by CIHR, Turner’s work combines laboratory research with clinical research in an innovative way to better understand the negative impact of phosphate on blood vessels and the heart, especially in patients with impaired kidney function. Her research team is generating a new clinical test to identify those with phosphate imbalance at an early stage in order to manage these patients and decrease the risk of heart disease in this population.

For more information, visit the website.

Tea Room receives gift for renovations

The Beamish-Munro Hall cafe received a $70,000 gift from the Class of Sc'82 to renovate the space.

  • [Isabel Hazan (Sc'20), Head Manager of The Tea Room, updates the sign. (Photo: Queen's Alumni)]
    Isabel Hazan (Sc'20), Head Manager of The Tea Room, updates the sign. (Photo: Queen's Alumni)
  • [Renovations underway at The Tea Room (Photo: Queen's Alumni).]
    Renovations underway at The Tea Room (Photo: Queen's Alumni).
  • [Ms. Hazan holds up drafted plans for The Tea Room renovations. (Photo: Queen's Alumni)]
    Ms. Hazan holds up drafted plans for The Tea Room renovations. (Photo: Queen's Alumni)

Most members of the Class of Sc’82 have never visited The Tea Room, a student-run, environmentally friendly coffee shop that opened in 2006. It might come as a surprise that members of Sc’82 has announced a class gift of $70,000 to renovate the cafe in Beamish-Munro Hall, but Class President Don MacDiarmid says the gift is about engineering alumni supporting engineering students.

“If The Tea Room is important to students, it is important to my classmates,” says Mr. MacDiarmid.

Sc'82 has established two funds to support current engineering students. One is an endowment for student awards, while the other supports special projects to enhance the undergraduate education of engineering students. The class decided to support The Tea Room after a recommendation from the Dean of Engineering’s office and a presentation from The Tea Room staff.

“We see our endowment as funding the extras that might not be covered by regular faculty spending,” says Mr. MacDiarmid. “The students made a very polished funding request document that I circulated to about 25 members of my class for input. They were universal in their support.”

Sc’82 Reunion Co-ordinator Cathy Ella was on the Engineering Society Board of Directors from 2002 to 2008. She remembers The Tea Room founder Michele Romanow (Sc'07, MBA'08), who now stars on the hit CBC TV show Dragons’ Den, pitching The Tea Room and the board supporting the venture.

“The Tea Room is a great student enterprise and Sc’82 is very pleased to contribute to its success,” says Ms. Ella.

The Tea Room is a socially conscious cafe that proves an environmentally friendly model can be profitable. All of The Tea Room’s products and packaging are 100 per cent compostable and the company plants trees to offset its carbon footprint, achieving carbon neutral status in 2015. It was the first zero-consumer-waste-certified cafe in North America, according to The Tea Room Head Manager Isabel Hazan (Sc’20).

“The Tea Room is a symbol of entrepreneurship within Queen’s,” she says. “Our mission is to make sustainable choices accessible to students. How do we do it? We make a sustainable choice as easy as deciding where to buy your coffee.”

The cafe is entirely run by students from all faculties, with the five managers and 55 staff. This model provides financial support to students during the school year.

The Sc’82 donation will allow The Tea Room to serve more customers by adding an extra cashier station and relocating the side bar to divert the traffic away from the entrance. The renovations will also improve the flow of operations behind the bar, making service more efficient and consistent. With the design changes implemented, the business will be able to keep up with its increasing popularity on campus and The Tea Room’s mission can reach more students at Queen’s. 

“We are humbled by the donation,” says Ms. Hazan. “When we first discovered that the Sc’82 alumni were interested in funding The Tea Room’s renovations, we were extremely excited – it validated our mission of combining environmental responsibility with community education and financial sustainability. The alumni’s generous donation is making it possible for us to reach more customers and serve them optimally while making a positive impact on campus. We are extremely grateful for the class’ enthusiasm about The Tea Room, and we are eager to watch the renovations come to fruition throughout the summer.”

Donations can be made to the various Sc’82 funds through the Give To Queen’s website.

This story was originally published on the Queen's Alumni website.

Duncan McArthur Hall main passenger elevator out of service - July 30

The main passenger elevator (EL1571) in Duncan McArthur Hall will be temporarily out of service on Monday, July 30 between 8:30 am and 3:30 pm (approximate timing) to permit contractors to carry out work in the elevator shaft related to the barrier-free washroom project.

For more information, please contact Fixit by phone at ext. 77301 or by email.

Search for next principal passes critical milestone

Executive search firm has presented a range of highly qualified candidates. 

The search committee charged with recommending the next principal of Queen’s will soon be selecting the top candidates to interview for the position.

Over the past few months, the executive recruiting firm assisting with the search has carried out a national and international outreach campaign, attracting candidates from across Canada and from several international locations.

“We are delighted to share the news that we have had a very strong response to our high profile recruitment efforts,” says Chancellor Jim Leech. “The candidates who have expressed serious interest in the position come from a range of diverse backgrounds with impressive experiences in education and research.” 

Over the summer, the Joint Board-Senate Principal Search Committee will work with the search firm Perrett Laver to reduce this strong field of candidates to a shortlist who will be interviewed in September and October. The committee is working toward recommending a candidate to the Board of Trustees by December.

“Candidates know that good things are happening at Queen’s. The next principal will be joining an ambitious university that is proud to deliver Canada’s definitive university experience, thanks to an unmatched mix of teaching, research, and community,” says Chancellor Leech. “The next principal will be leading an experienced and enthusiastic leadership team that is aiming to deliver more progress on the university’s strategic priorities, including: student experience; faculty renewal; diversity, inclusivity, and reconciliation; enhanced research; internationalization; and ensuring financial sustainability.”

The search for the next principal began in January following Principal Daniel Woolf’s announcement that he would not be seeking a third term. His current term concludes on June 30, 2019.

The Joint Board-Senate Principal Search Committee is composed of nine members of the Board of Trustees and nine members of the Senate and is chaired by the Chancellor. The committee’s membership was recently updated with new student and faculty senator representation. Kanonhsyonne Janice Hill, Director of Indigenous Initiatives, and Stephanie Simpson, Executive Director of the Equity and Human Rights Office, are also committee members serving as advisors.

Overhead crane work scheduled at Grant Hall July 24-27

This crane will be in position at Grant Hall from midday Tues, Jul 24 through Fri, Jul 27.

Emmons and Mitchell Construction, working on behalf of Physical Plant Services, has contracted a crane lift to support ongoing renovations of the Grant Hall Tower. This crane will be in position at Grant Hall from midday Tues, Jul 24 through Fri, Jul 27. The crane span area will be cordoned off for public safety while work is carried out.

For more information, please contact Fixit at ext. 77301 or by email.

Queen's remembers Donna Gallagher

Flags will be lowered on Thursday, July 26, in memory of Donna Gallagher, who died suddenly on Wednesday, July 18. 

[Donna Gallagher]A former professor and member of the School of Physical and Health Education (SPHE) and a decorated coach of the Gaels, Donna was a legendary mentor, coach, and supporter of generations of students and student-athletes over the course of her 27-year career at Queen’s. She remained a cherished friend to countless students and colleagues well after her retirement, and she will be dearly missed.

A Remembrance Reception for friends and family will be held on Thursday, July 26, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the James Reid Reception Centre, 1900 John Counter Blvd., with Words of Remembrance at 7:15 p.m. Full details may be found on the James Reid Funeral Home website.

Arriving at Queen’s in 1969 from Springfield College (BA'63, MSc'69), Miss “G”, as she was fondly known by her students, spent 27 years teaching a variety of academic and practical courses in the School. A passionate advocate of physical activity in the development of healthy children, Donna taught courses in human growth and development, adapted physical education, and games of low organization (GLO). Donna was awarded the Canadian Association of Health and Physical Education Award of Merit in recognition of her excellence in teaching. As the Chair of Undergraduate Studies at the SPHE for 10 years, Donna was known as a fair minded, compassionate advisor to the many hundreds of students who sought out her wise counsel on the way to completing their degrees.

While Donna’s passion for sport saw her coach a variety of sports including field hockey, badminton, volleyball, track and field and softball, it was in volleyball where she made her mark, leading the Gaels women’s volleyball team for 15 years. In 1982-83, her final season, her team was undefeated (a record that stands today) and she was honoured by her peers as the Ontario Women's Interuniversity Athletic Association (OWIAA) Coach of the Year. As a recognized international clinician and author, she took many Queen’s women’s teams on successful European tours and served as a guest coach to national team programs in the U.S. and Japan. She also led the field hockey team to two Women's Intercollegiate Conferences Association (WITCA) Championships. As well, she led the entire Athletics and Recreation program at Queen’s while serving as Acting Director of Athletics and Recreation in 1994. For her leadership and many contributions, Donna was inducted into the Queen’s Coaches Hall of Fame in 2003.

Donna’s enduring gift to Queen’s was that of a consummate educator. In the classroom, on the court, or in her office, she was a positive role model for her students, influencing the lives of many young people. She is remembered for her work ethic, sense of fairness, and drive for excellence which left an indelible mark on many. She remained a cherished friend to countless students and colleagues well after her retirement.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Donna’s memory may be made to the Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre.

Queen's remembers Caroline Lesley Falkner

Flags will be lowered to half-staff on campus on Tues, Jul 24 in memory of Caroline Falkner, who died on Mon, July 16 after a brief illness. Dr. Falkner was an Associate Professor and former Head of the Classics Department.

There is to be a celebration of life on Tues, Jul 24 at St. Georges Cathedral, Kingston, at 2:30 pm.

Visit YourLifeMoments.ca to read the full obituary.


UPDATED: West campus steam line shutdown - morning of Thurs, Jul 26

A shutdown is scheduled for West Campus steam line on Thursday, July 26 between 11 am and 3 pm (approximate timing - timing updated Jul 24) to permit the operating engineers at the Central Heating Plant to complete repairs to this infrastructure.

During the shutdown period, there will be no new steam production for domestic hot water tanks, heating systems, commercial kitchens and steam-reliant equipment within Goodes Hall and all buildings south of Union Street and west of University Avenue on Main Campus as well as the Donald Gordon Centre, Duncan McArthur Hall, Jean Royce Hall and John Orr Tower.

For more information, please contact Fixit by phone at ext. 77301 or by email.


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