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Student Learning Experience

Concurrent music program formally launches

By Meredith Dault, Senior Communications Officer 

A concurrent music program between Queen's University and St. Lawrence College was formally launched this afternoon at a reception that included performances by student musicians. The five-year Bachelor of Music/Music and Digital Media program will allow students to jointly earn qualifications from Queen's and St. Lawrence College. The interdisciplinary program introduces a new partnership between the two institutions. 

Read more about the program on the Queen's News Centre. 



Students aim to form bond with Aboriginal youth

By Mark Kerr, Senior Communications Officer

Twelve Queen’s students will travel to Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation in April to create a partnership with youth in the northern Ontario community.

[Annie Hollis with KI students]Annie Hollis (Artsci'15) meets with youth from the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation during her visit to the community last summer. (Photo credit: Lenny Carpenter, Wawatay News)

“We don’t have an appreciation for the challenges the KI youth face in their everyday lives. We want to make ourselves more aware of that,” says Alex Gasser (Artsci’15), a member of Queen’s Rotaract, the campus club that is organizing the project. “We hope to create a lasting relationship with the youth, something we can expand on and get support from other organizations.”

During the 12-day visit to KI, which is located roughly 580 km north of Thunder Bay, the students will facilitate leadership development among youth, assist with minor restoration projects and engage in a cultural exchange. Mr. Gasser said the Queen’s students will enter into a dialogue with the youth to determine how they can best support their ideas.

The genesis for the project came in 2012 when KI community leaders and youth visited Queen’s and Kingston for the 3rd World Canada film tour. The documentary film follows three siblings as they struggle to survive in substandard living conditions and cope with the suicide of their parents.

Annie Hollis (Artsci’15) attended the screening and was shocked to see those living conditions in Canada. Several months later, she accepted the opportunity to visit the community after KI resident Faith McKay and other youth from the community invited 30 non-Aboriginal Canadians to live on the remote reserve for a week.

“Faith said her main goal was to let people know that her community existed in Canada’s ‘forgotten north’ and they wanted to make friends and connections like anyone else,” says Ms. Hollis. “That really stuck with me and we are working off that sentiment for our project in KI.”

The students are nearing their fundraising goal for the project thanks to the generous support of Rotary Clubs and many individual donors. Porter Airlines has generously offset a significant portion of the travel costs for the students.

More information about the outreach project can be found on the Queen’s Rotaract website.

Music students take on Broadway

By Meredith Dault, Senior Communications Officer

 The Queen's Symphony Orchestra will perform as part of Broadway - Take Two! 

When Elisabeth Santos (BMus ’14) steps out onto the stage at Grant Hall and begins to sing as part of the School of Music’s fundraising concert, Broadway – Take Two, it will be a performance more than a year in the making. All ready to sing in last year’s show, Broadway – Live in Concert, Ms. Santos never got to take to the stage when the February event was cancelled due to bad weather. Organizers were not able to reschedule to the concert due to Grant Hall being solidly booked.

“I am looking forward to getting to finally sing through this show for the audience I know had been looking forward to it last year,” she says, “even though Mother Nature had other plans!”

The two-hour show, which features performances by music and drama students, as well as faculty members, will showcase Broadway melodies from Oklahoma!, Les Misérables, and Annie Get Your Gun, among others. The singers will be accompanied by the Queen’s Symphony Orchestra.

Produced by Bruce Kelly, an opera singer and adjunct lecturer in voice, says cast members audition to participate and are not required to be majoring in drama or music. Those doing solos, however, usually work with their teachers to perfect their performances.

Students ready for the spotlight 

Broadway - Take Two!
Friday, March 21, 2014
7 :30pm at Grant Hall 

• Directed by Gordon Craig • Produced by Bruce Kelly
• $20 general admission
• Tickets available in advance at the Performing Arts Office in the John Deutsch University Centre 
• For ticket information call 613-533-2558

Third year student Jacqui Sirois (Artsci ’15), a drama major and music minor, was also slated to be in last year’s show. She says she is thrilled to be performing in this year’s fundraiser.

“There are some really wonderful singers and musicians taking part in this show,” says Ms. Sirois, who will be performing a song from South Pacific and a duet from The King and I. “They not only bring out the beauty of the music, but they also showcase the incredible musical talent that Queen’s has to offer.”

Ms. Santos, who will be singing a solo from Jesus Christ, Superstar!, a duet from The Phantom of the Opera, and as part of the chorus, says taking part in this year’s performance has given her the opportunity to connect with her musical theatre side.

“I was involved in a lot of musical productions in high school, but since arriving at Queen’s, my repertoire has become mainly classical as I focus on more operatic singing,” she explains.

“This experience has been a nice way to get into another character and have fun singing a lot of upbeat pieces with a strong cast of talented performers.” 

-Elisabeth Santos (BMus '14)

While Ms. Sirois admits she’s a little nervous about Friday’s performance, she says she is looking forward to the moment when the orchestra and singers first come together in Grant Hall.

“That moment always gives me chills,” she says. “It’s such a treat to listen to the orchestra play this music, especially in Grant Hall, because the music just fills the air… I never manage to wipe the grin off my face when I'm listening to the performances.”

For more information, visit the School of Music's website. 



Queen's showcases new nursing simulation equipment

By Anne Craig, Communications Officer

Queen’s School of Nursing is organizing a conference in Toronto to showcase the new clinical simulation equipment that 13 Ontario nursing programs have purchased following a $5.8 million investment from the Ontario government’s Productivity and Innovation Fund (PIF).

 “Blue Sky: Innovations in Patient Safety and Teaching and Learning” is running March 24 and 25 and will focus on enhancing registered nurse job readiness and patient safety outcomes thanks to the new funding.

“We want to produce job ready graduates,” says Jennifer Medves, director of Queen’s School of Nursing and Vice-Dean (Faculty of Health Sciences). “We can expose students to many new experiences, get them to critically think and utilize all of their nursing expertise, and to respond to unusual events with this new equipment. The simulation experience is an important part of their education.”

Queen’s School of Nursing faculty developed the clinical simulation education project in partnership with 12 other university schools of nursing, four colleges, and Ontario’s Simulation Network (SIM-one).  Several universities that received PIF funding will showcase their new clinical simulations at the conference. Queen’s participants will demonstrate new equipment designed to instruct students in ventilator support and respiratory distress. The equipment includes life-like mannequins for students to practice various techniques on.

This is the first time all 13 partner universities with four year degree programs are working together to develop unique education modules. These modules will be put into a large repository for use across the province.

For more information about the conference visit the website.

Students form group to raise concussion awareness

By Mark Kerr, Senior Communications Officer

Students have created a club to raise awareness about concussions and provide support to their peers who are coping with the long-term effects of brain trauma.

“Our goal is to break the stigma that concussions are only an in-the-moment injury. The impact of concussions can go beyond that,” says Stephanie Nanos (Artsci’16), co-president of the Queen’s Concussion Awareness Committee. “We want to act as a support system for people who want to talk about what they have been through.”

[Queen's Concussion Awareness Committee]
Queen's Concussion Awareness Committee members Stephanie Nanos (right) and Sam Farkas hand out information in the Queen's Centre last week.

Ms. Nanos and fellow co-president Julia Hamer (Artsci'15) were spurred into action because of their concussion experiences. Ms. Nanos found her personality changed after suffering a concussion in secondary school. She struggled with her school work, which she dismissed as normal for a teenager juggling competing priorities. In her Grade 12 year, though, she was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, conditions that were eventually linked to her concussion history.

“I did a lot of tests and found that the concussion had permanently changed my biochemistry, impacting my dopamine and serotonin levels,” she says. “All of these things started making sense and it bugged me that these connections were not made until two years later. I had been attributing it all to myself when it had been this internal factor.”

The concussion forced Ms. Nanos to readjust her entire life. Her medical condition derailed her plan to play varsity at Queen’s. She signed up for classroom accommodations through the Disability Services Office and began taking a lighter course load. Her goal of finishing university in four years and heading straight to law school started to crumble.

“That’s scary. It’s not what I planned but I didn’t have any control over it,” she says. “Giving up that control is a big problem for a lot of people and can be a contributing factor to the link between concussions and mental health issues.

“It’s hard especially for athletes because when your sport is taken away from you not by choice, your identity is lost,” she adds. “I came to university and thought I was going to play the sport I love and have this group of friends. I didn’t know who I was.”

The committee aims to develop a support system to help students who are going through similar experiences as Ms. Nanos. She says the service would be like the Peer Support Centre whereby students could meet with trained student volunteers who have experienced a concussion or know someone who has.

The committee is also striving to make connections with varsity athletes because they face a higher risk of concussions. The members have talked with the current and incoming Varsity Leadership Council about the possibility of holding student workshops in the fall. “It might make it easier for student athletes to talk about it after they have heard from someone and put a face to the injury,” Ms. Nanos says.

The committee, which is supported by The Jack Project, has organized its first major event. Kerry Goulet, co-founder of the Stop Concussions Foundation, is the keynote speaker. Sebastian Gorlewski, director of the Peer Support Centre and a former varsity athlete, will speak about the connections between concussions and mental health. Queen’s cyclist Sarah-Louise Ruder will share her story about the ways in which concussions made her re-evaluate her life and ultimately gave her a more positive outlook. Dr. Michael O’Connor, the sports medicine physician who works with Queen’s varsity and club athletes, will also speak at the event.

The event takes place at the Common Ground in the Queen’s Centre on Wednesday, March 19 at 7 pm. More information about the Queen’s Concussion Awareness Committee.


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