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William Leggett receives prestigious lifetime achievement award

Dr. William Leggett.

William Leggett, professor emeritus in the Department of Biology and Queen's 17th principal, has received the H. Ahlstrom Lifetime Achievement Award from the Early Life History Section of the American Fisheries Society for his contributions to the fields of larval fish ecology.

The American Fisheries Society is the biggest association of professional aquatic ecologists in the world, with over 9,000 members worldwide.

"œIt feels good to be singled out by such large group of people who I respect so highly," says Dr. Leggett. "œI didn'™t expect to receive this award so it'™s a big honour and thrill to get it."

Dr. Leggett'™s research focuses on the dynamics of fish populations and his work as a biologist and a leader in education has been recognized nationally and internationally. A membership in the Order of Canada, a fellowship from the Royal Society of Canada, and the Award of Excellence in Fisheries Education are just some of the awards he has received for outstanding contributions to graduate education and marine science.

The Early Life History Section of the American Fisheries Society recognized Dr. Leggett'™s "œexceptional contributions to the understanding of early life history of fishes that has inspired the careers of a number of fisheries scientists worldwide and has led to major progress in fish ecology and studies of recruitment dynamics."

The award was recently presented in Quebec City at the 38th annual Larval Fish Conference held in conjunction with the 144th annual meeting of the American Fisheries Society.

 

Igniting curiosity

First edition of the IGnite: Inspiring Generations through Research short talk series launches Nov. 15 at The Isabel.

First edition of the IGnite: Inspiring Generations through Research short talk series launches Nov. 15 at The Isabel.

The IGnite series will demonstrate that you do not need a PhD to understand a lecture on particle astrophysics. As part of an exciting new research promotion initiative, two Queen’s researchers from completely different fields will discuss, in one hour, some of the universe’s deepest mysteries and greatest miracles.

The IGnite: Inspiring Generations through Research series is a collaboration between the Arthur B. McDonald Canadian Astroparticle Physics Research Institute and the Office of Vice-Principal (University Relations) at Queen’s. While each event will feature two researchers from different fields discussing their projects and research experiences, events will also include interactive demonstrations and poster presentations from students and additional researchers.

Promising fun with an academic twist, the lecture series will launch Thursday, Nov. 15 at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts.

Assistant Professor Ken Clark (Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy)

IGnite aims to showcase the diversity of research happening across campus at Queen’s and beyond,” says Michael Fraser, Vice-Principal (University Relations). “It also offers an opportunity for researchers to actively communicate and share their innovative and ground-breaking work with the public.”

At the inaugural event, Jacalyn Duffin, Professor Emerita (School of Medicine, Faculty of Education, Departments of Philosophy and History), will explore the history of medical miracles, including her role in the canonization of the first Canadian-born saint. Dr. Duffin is the former holder of the Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine and is both a hematologist and a historian, and will be inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2019.

The second speaker, Ken Clark (Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy), will explore the mysteries of dark matter and neutrinos, highlighting his work at SNOLAB in Sudbury and IceCube in Antarctica. Dr. Clark is an assistant professor of particle astrophysics, collaborating closely on experimental projects such as PICO, which uses bubble chambers to search for galactic dark matter.

Professor Emerita Jacalyn Duffin (School of Medicine, Faculty of Education, Departments of Philosophy and History)

Both researchers’ projects reveal aspects of our world that few people ever directly encounter. Dr. Duffin will incorporate insights from her time researching in the Vatican Secret Archives, while Dr. Clark will explain that in order to understand some of the world’s smallest particles, called neutrinos, he has had to travel to some of the deepest and remotest locations on Earth. 

“Research only works by making their results known, not just to other scientists but also to the public. So, it is imperative that we share our findings with those whom support us,” says Tony Noble, Scientific Director of the McDonald Institute. “But more importantly, these public events give researchers an opportunity to inspire future researchers and future policy-makers, and illustrate the importance of research and fundamental science in impacting everyday lives.”

The first event (one of a three-part series for the 2018-2019 academic year) is Thursday, Nov. 15, 7-9:30 pm, at The Isabel. Registration is free on Eventbrite and light refreshments will be served.

For more information on the series, see the McDonald Institute’s website.  

Celebrating undergraduate research

Undergraduate Student Summer Research Fellowships allow students to team up with their supervisor on research or develop a separate project in an area of personal interest.

  • The 2018 cohort of USSRF students.
    Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf and Interim Vice-Principal (Research) Kimberly Woodhouse congratulate the 2018 cohort of USSRF students.
  • Attendees listen to students as they present their USSRF projects.
    A poster display was put up in Stauffer Library to highlight the research completed by participants in the Undergraduate Student Summer Research Fellowships.
  • USSRF student poster projects on display in Stauffer Library
    One of the participants in the USSRF program discusses her poster project on display in Stauffer Library.
  • Economics undergraduate student Juliette Deck
    Economics undergraduate student Juliette Deck shares her experience with the Undergraduate Student Summer Research Fellowships.
  • Electrical engineering undergraduate Dimitri Georgaras
    Electrical engineering undergraduate Dimitri Georgaras discusses his research project during the celebration ceremony.

While summer is often the time for students to head to the cottage or pick up short-term employment, for the recipients of the 2018 Undergraduate Student Summer Research Fellowships (USSRF), the summer months provided an opportunity to engage in discovery-based learning and develop their research skills.

The USSRF provides undergraduate students a unique opportunity to enhance their research skills under the supervision of a faculty member in the fields of the social sciences, humanities, or creative arts. Over a 16-week period, students team up with their supervisor to participate in their research program or they may develop a separate project in an area of personal interest.

Recently, as part of the annual USSRF celebration, hosted by Principal Daniel Woolf and Kimberly Woodhouse, Interim Vice-Principal (Research), the 31 recipients of the 2018 USSRF had a chance to display project posters.  During the event, attendees also heard from two recipients about their own experiences with the program. 

Dimitri Georgaras is an electrical engineering undergraduate supervised by Dr. Matthew Rogalsky (Dan School of Drama & Music). His project “Taming the Ghost in the Machine,” examined electronic feedback as a method of sound synthesis in live electronic music. The purpose-built electronic feedback instrument that Georgaras designed and constructed for this project will now be available to students in the Queen’s Sonic Arts Studio.

"It is not every day you are given the chance to develop and conduct a research project in your area of true passion, especially if that area is as niche as mine. The USSRF has not only given me a summer’s worth of research I am able to look back upon with pride, but has also provided me with the confidence that I will be able to continue to pursue my passion for music and electronics,” says Georgaras.

USSRF also provided economics student Juliette Deck with an opportunity to research the 1997 Quebec Universal Child Care Policy with Dr. Ian Keay (Economics). Her project looked at the case for Canadian universal childcare subsidization by assessing the effects of Quebec’s policy on female after-tax earnings through a difference-in-difference study. Deck hopes that this research will inform current policy debates.

“This experience improved my ability to analyze complex data, collaborate with academic experts, and synthesize information for an academic paper. I plan to apply the skills I have gained both in my pursuit of a law degree, as well as towards my broader career aspirations of solving complex problems using data,” says Deck.   

Since 2011, the USSRF program has provided hundreds of undergraduate students with the unique opportunity to experience the research process first-hand and garner transferable skills.

Research posters from this year’s USSRF students will be on display in Stauffer Library from Oct. 23 to Nov. 2. Applications for the 2019 program are due at 4PM on March 1, 2019.

“Research can be an important part of a rich and rewarding undergraduate experience,” says Kimberly Woodhouse, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “Having research experience at the undergraduate level helps students acquire a foundation of employment-ready skills and prepare for further education.”

For more information, visit the USSRF program website.

Queen’s chemist garners international honour

Cathleen Crudden becomes third Queen’s faculty member to win American Chemical Society award.

Cathleen Crudden headshot
Cathleen Crudden (Chemistry)  has been named the winner of the 2019 Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award in celebration of her outstanding achievements in the field of organic chemistry.

Cathleen Crudden, a professor and researcher in the Department of Chemistry, has been named the winner of the 2019 Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award in celebration of her outstanding achievements in the field of organic chemistry. This recognition of Dr. Crudden’s contributions is especially remarkable, as she is one of only a handful of Canadians to be chosen for this honour in the award’s 32-year history, and the third Queen’s faculty member to win after Andrew Evans in 2017 and Victor Snieckus in 2001.   

“I am grateful for the work from my lab to be recognized by the American Chemical Society with an Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award,” says Dr. Crudden. “It is an honour to have your career recognized in this way, and I hope that it inspires my students at Queen’s and chemistry students across Canada to know that they can make an international impact in this exciting discipline.” 

Dr. Crudden is widely known for innovations in the development of organic chemistry approaches to the preparation of molecules of interest to the pharmaceutical industry. Specifically, her work on the preparation of “chiral” organic compounds using Suzuki-Miyaura cross–coupling chemistry has been lauded as inspirational and revolutionary by researchers in the field.  

In 2014, work from her research group in the field of carbon-based monolayers on metal surfaces garnered international recognition from diverse fields including chemistry, physics, biology, materials engineering and chemical engineering. The outcomes of this work have applications in the medical, automotive, and electronics industries. Experts described this work as “game changing,” “elegant” and “the new gold standard.” 

“Dr. Crudden has been ahead of her time in two distinct areas – stereospecific sp3–sp2 cross-couplings and the use of N-heterocyclic carbenes for surface modification. She has just the right combination of deep understanding of chemical reactivity and appreciation for challenging problems in broader areas of science,” says Jeff Bode, a professor of organic chemistry and head of the Bode Research Group at ETH Zürich in Switzerland. “Nowadays, many groups work on sp3–sp2 cross-couplings, and it was early work from Cathy that really convinced the field that this could be a viable approach to the construction of challenging carbon–carbon bonds.” 

Dr. Crudden has published over 100 papers, many of which have appeared in the highest impact journals in the field, and has won many awards for her innovation and the practical contributions to her field. She is a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair, holds the R.U. Lemieux Award from the Chemical Institute of Canada, and the Carol Tyler Award from the International Precious Metals Institute.  Previously, she has been a Killam Research Fellow, has won the Clara Benson Award, and an NSERC Accelerator Award, among many others. She has also performed leadership roles within Queen’s and nationally, as Principal Investigator of CFI Innovation Fund grants and NSERC CREATE grants, and served as President of the Canadian Society for Chemistry and Chair of the Manufacturing and Strategic Grant panel at NSERC. She is currently the Chair of the NSERC-Chemistry Liaison Committee, which brings a voice of the national chemistry community to the attention of the federal STEM granting agency.  

“Dr. Crudden’s research has pushed the boundaries of organic chemistry, garnering the attention of academics and industry professionals across the globe,” says Kimberly Woodhouse, Queen's Vice-Principal (Research). “My sincere congratulations to her on winning this prestigious honour.” 

Learn more about the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Awards.

Gaining experience in the workplace

At Queen’s, education is always happening inside and outside of classrooms, lecture halls and labs.

Through the Queen’s University Internship Program (QUIP), second- and third-year students can take part in 12 to 16 month experiential learning opportunities with partner employers on campus, in Kingston, and across Canada. The program is part of the university’s focus on growing experiential education opportunities. 

[Hind Mukhtar]
Hind Mukhtar, a fourth-year student in electrical engineering, right, recently completed a 16-month internship at Honeywell Aerospace in Kanata. She took part in the experiential learning opportunity through the Queen’s University Internship Program (QUIP). (Supplied Photo) 

For participating students in the Faculty of Arts and Science, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and in the School of Computing, an internship is an opportunity to build skills through work experience. Interns have completed a range of roles in fields including biotechnology, research and development, geographic information systems, software development, marketing and sales, and project management. 

QUIP continues to grow in popularity with approximately 250 students currently on internships, more than triple the number just a few years ago. 

“There’s growing interest in QUIP because it provides students the opportunity to take what they are learning through their studies and apply it to the workplace,” says Melissa Duggan, QUIP Internship Coordinator. “The internships also give students a chance to return to their studies with renewed energy and a deeper connection to course materials.”

Hind Mukhtar, a fourth-year student in electrical engineering, recently completed a 16-month internship at Honeywell Aerospace in Kanata. She took part in the program with the aim of gaining applicable work experience prior to graduation.

And that’s exactly what she got.

“I learned a lot of technical and professional skills. The technical skills that I gained from my internship will be beneficial while working on my fourth year capstone project. I also got a better idea of the field of work that I would like to pursue after graduation,” Mukhtar says. “Personally, I found this experience very crucial to my undergraduate career. I got a feel of what it’s like to be an engineer. I was able to apply all the concepts that I’m learning in school to real world applications.” 

Kelsey Sleep Jennings has returned for her fourth year in Global Development Studies after working for 12 months as a digital research intern with the Cultural Services Department of the City of Kingston. One of the main projects she was involved in was developing a three dimensional interpretive tour of City Hall. The work involved extensive research and gathering of information as she developed the model over a period of four months. 

Through this work she has not only gained valuable experience but also a better view of what direction her future career path may take.

“I think experiential learning opportunities are incredibly important for post-secondary students. They really give you the chance to break out of the university bubble and experience life and your education far beyond the limits of a classroom setting,” she says. “Without these experiences I think I would still be as lost as to what I wanted to do post-graduation as I was in the summer of 2017. I was able to experience working within a municipal government and really test-drive a career that I was interested in.” 

The internships have also proven positive for employers and the university.

“When we hear from former interns, they all say what a transformative experience it has been,” says Cathy Keates, Director of Queen’s Career Services. “At the same time our partner employers tell us about the contributions Queen’s students have brought to the workplace and the projects they are involved in. When the students return, they bring those skills and enriched perspectives to Queen’s.”

Employers continue to hire from Queen’s to tap into a talented pool of students from a diverse array of programs. The 12-16 month model also allows for a relatively high return on investment in training.

For those students interested in registering for the QUIP program for positions starting in May 2019, information sessions are being held this fall. 

For more information about QUIP and how to hire an intern for a role on campus, visit the Career Services website.

 

Research rooted in success

Queen's University biologist William Plaxton honoured for his work in the field of plant biology.

Queen’s University researcher William Plaxton (Biology) was recently awarded the Canadian Society of Plant Biologists’ Gold Medal, a lifetime achievement award for outstanding published contributions and distinguished service to plant biology in Canada.

Dr. Plaxton joined Queen’s 33 years ago and enjoys an international reputation for his research in understanding the organization and control of plant carbohydrate and phosphorus metabolism.

His work has significant long-term applications to problems in Canadian and worldwide agriculture including modification of oil and protein levels in oilseeds such as canola, optimizing plant-based conversion of carbon dioxide into renewable energy sources, and the development of phosphorus efficient crops – urgently needed to reduce the use of non-renewable, unsustainable, and polluting phosphate fertilizers.

“We have a first-rate team of researchers here in the Department of Biology at Queen’s that have been conducting excellent research in the area of plants and plant biology since the 1960s” says Dr. Plaxton.

In order to achieve the results that he’s had, Dr. Plaxton gives full credit to the students and post-doctoral fellows he has mentored.

“It’s been an honour and privilege to work with the students and post-docs that I have supervised,” he says. “My focus is to help my current students to be successful and to go on to productive careers – just like my students before them. I tell them to keep their eyes open and follow their passion. They need to follow their research and they will be a success.”

He also credits the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and Queen’s Research Chairs program for providing key funding for his research program.

“We are immensely proud of Bill’s accomplishments in plant biology,” says Brian Cumming, Head of Biology. “His expertise in the organization and control of plant metabolism have established him as an international expert, and not surprisingly an integral part of plant research in our department. It is no surprise to me that he has received such a distinguished award.”

Sounds and sights

Matt Rogalsky]
 The Faculty Artist Series starts Sunday, Oct. 14 with the concert ‘Visitations and Revisitations: Matt Rogalsky and Friends’ at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. (Supplied photo)

A highly-versatile composer and sound artist, Matt Rogalsky is well known for his work with a wide range of performers and arts organizations. 

A continuing adjunct assistant professor at the Dan School of Drama and Music, Rogalsky also received one of the first Mayor’s Arts Awards in 2017 for his multifaceted and generous approach to creating music.

[Discipline]
Also being hosted at the Isabel is the sound installation 'Discipline' by composer, sound artist and continuing adjunct assistant professor at the Dan School of Drama and Music Matt Rogalsky. (Supplied photo) 

On Sunday, Oct. 14, Rogalsky leads off the Faculty Artist Series with a concert titled: ‘Visitations and Revisitations: Matt Rogalsky and Friends’ at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, starting at 2:30 pm.

In curating the concert, Rogalsky invited Kingston composers and visual artists, Julia Krolik, Owen Fernley, Robert Mulder and Queen’s Music Professor Emeritus Kristi Allik to take part. The end result is a concert that will stimulate both the eyes and ears, using the surround-sound capabilities of the Isabel Concert Hall to full potential. Violinist, Gisèle Dalbec-Szczesniak, and cellist, Jeff Hamacher, will also be featured performers in compositions that integrate live instruments with electroacoustic music.

“My pieces on the ‘Visitations and Revisitations’ programme continue lines of work that seems to inevitably revolve around explorations and honourings of place, people, and memory,” Rogalsky says about the concert. “Two pieces stem from other lines of research which have been ongoing for some years. All the works combine elements of acoustic and electronic sound, where the electronic sound is often derived from underlying acoustic sources which may be revealed or remain unheard.”

Four of the compositions are accompanied by graphical projections by Krolik and Fernley, which respond to sound in real time.

The Isabel has also provided support in presenting Rogalsky’s sound installation “Discipline” in the Art and Media Lab in conjunction with the concert.  The installation features 12 beautiful electric guitars and is accessible during intermission and after the concert and will remain open to the public Oct. 15-19, from 10 am-4 pm.

Tickets are available from the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts.

Queen’s receives more than $15.5 million for discovery science

The Government of Canada invests $558 million in NSERC’s Discovery Grants programs, including $15.5 million in support of Queen’s researchers.

Chemistry research
 More than 70  faculty and students across disciplines at Queen’s are receiving a combined $15.5 million in discovery research funding from the Government of Canada. (University Communications)

Minister of Science and Sport Kirsty Duncan announced an historic investment of $558 million in discovery research funding on Tuesday, Oct. 9, as part of the Government of Canada’s plan to attract global talent, promote diversity, and fuel discovery and innovation in science.

QUICK FACTS
• The 70+ Queen’s researchers (faculty and students) have been funded through NSERC’s Discovery Grants, Discovery Accelerator Supplements, Research Tools and Instruments Grants, and Discovery Grant Northern Research Supplements, as well as Canada Graduate Scholarships, NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships and Postdoctoral Fellowships
• The $558 million research investment announced Oct. 9 includes $70 million in new funding from Budget 2018. The grants go toward NSERC discovery programs, graduate and postgraduate scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships, and research tools and instruments
• This investment also includes $5.4 million in funding to more than 400 Early Career Researchers in the first year of their Discovery Grants to help them launch their careers
• Investments in science are essential to innovation and to the economic strength of a country

Supported through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s (NSERC) Discovery Grant programs, the funding will provide over 4,000 researchers and students across the country with the means to pursue world-leading scientific work. This includes the more than 70  faculty and students across disciplines at Queen’s whose funding amounts to more than $15.5 million.

“Through this historic investment, Queen’s researchers will have the resources and tools to tackle questions of critical importance to Canada – from food safety to protecting the nation’s coastal waters,” says Kimberly Woodhouse, Interim Vice-Principal (Research).  

According to NSERC, this is the largest investment in research from the funding agency this year and it includes $70 million in new funding announced in Budget 2018. With this investment, the Government of Canada is delivering on its commitment to science by giving more support to researchers and students

“Canada supports science and our talented researchers. Today, we are delivering on our historic investment in research and in the next generation of scientists. These remarkable researchers and students we are celebrating are working to make the world a better place and to secure a brighter future for all Canadians,” says Minister Duncan.

For more information on the Discovery Grants programs, visit the NSERC website.

The Conversation: Sex-ed is crucial to the rights of children

Young people need to get the most comprehensive and contemporary information about relationships and sexual activity.

[Sex-ed in the classroom]
Sex-ed in schools can help teach the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships. (NeONBRAND/Unsplash)

Young people today live in a complex, fast-paced and perpetually connected world and face issues and pressures that were not even anticipated two decades ago.

They need a brand of sex education that is responsive to current realities, behaviours and pressures so they can get the most comprehensive and contemporary information about the issues that they will face and are facing in making decisions about relationships and sexual activity.

Public lecture
Valerie Michaelson and three of her colleagues hosted Your Body. Whose Rules? a public lecture designed to explore the Ontario Health and Physical Education curriculum through the lens of children’s rights, on Wednesday, Oct. 3.
A keynote lecture was given by Rebecca Bromwich, Program Director of the Graduate Diploma in Conflict Resolution in the Department of Law and Legal Studies at Carleton University.
“Rather than having a debate about which adult holds the power, it’s the wellbeing of children that needs to be at the forefront of this discussion,” says Dr. Michaelson.
The main focus of the public lecture was the rights of young people. Dr. Michaelson says that children and youth should be asked to help identify the most pressing issues they face in their lives in relation to the curriculum, and that they have a right to have a say in how, what and when they learn about matters related to their own health and well-being, including learning about their bodies.
“We need to reach children early. It’s critical that even in elementary school we create a culture of consent and also teach children about healthy relationships. This event was not so much about starting a movement as it was drawing from our various disciplinary lenses to contribute to an important conversation that is already going on."

Yet value-laden debates have recently resurfaced on the Ontario Health and Physical Education Curriculum, with attention focused on sex-ed. Political parties with opposing arguments often zoom in on cultural, moral, religious and family values, but for our children and youth, the stakes are much higher.

Research shows that comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) helps young people understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships, and gives them tools to help protect them from violence and non-consensual sexual activity. When a young person has been abused, it helps them know how to get help.

Some of the aims of teaching comprehensive sexuality education are to empower and equip young people to “develop respectful social and sexual relationships,” to “consider how their choices affect their own well-being and that of others” and to help them protect their own rights as well as those of others.

Having relevant and current information is crucial to setting young people on a healthy path for life. It helps them learn to respect their own bodies and emerging sexuality and that of others, and it factors in on decisions around sexual activity.

What’s religion got to do with it?

Religion is sometimes raised as the reason for removing young people from sex-ed. Some religious leaders and parents might say their religion opposes certain teachings about sex. But religious groups are diverse and varied.

Religion is not against sex education. One Australian study shows that religious young people usually say they want to know about sex, even as they also want to maintain the religious values of their families.

Some worry that sex-ed might increase sexual activity among youth. Yet globally, a great many studies show that the provision of accurate CSE is associated with delayed sexual activity – not early. Evidence shows that youth who are taught sex-ed delay sexual activity, and for those who are sexually engaged, it reduces the number of sexual partners and unplanned pregnancies and increases the use of contraception.

Sex-ed is also directly linked with increased levels of autonomy, confidence, emotional well-being and better communication in adolescent relationships. Each young person has to make important decisions about their sexuality and sexual health, or will at some point in the future. Having accurate information is essential to their ability to make these decisions in a way that protects not only their health and well-being, but their dignity.

Equipping young people with sex-ed knowledge is something that many religious leaders and people of faith would argue is core to their beliefs. What can sometimes look like a “public contest” between religion and sex is often narrowly portrayed and reinforces the assumption that religion and sex only exist in tension. This is just not true.

Here in Ontario, many religious leaders have spoken out in support of CSE, including more than 250 United Church clergy. When the revised curriculum was first introduced in 2015, members of the Muslim community in Toronto also spoke out in support of it.

Rabea Murtaza, one of the founders of Muslims for Ontario’s Health and Physical Education Curriculum, said: “Curriculum is an opportunity for Muslim families to have mutual, two-way dialogue about values, relationships, marriage and sexuality.”

These voices, and more, see sex-ed not as an attack on anyone’s religion, culture or values, but as evidence-based lessons that complement the unique values of each family and community.

[Sex-ed in Ontario schools]
Sex-ed can equip and empower young people to make healthy and safe choices about their sexuality for themselves and for others. (Simeon Jacobson/Unsplash)

Barriers to sexual health

Internationally, overcoming barriers to contemporary, comprehensive sexuality education is a strategic and growing priority. One of the targets of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals is to have CSE available for all children.

Globally, advocates argue for things that we may take for granted in Canada: that adolescents must have their bodies respected, and must be able to make their own decisions around choice of partner, and whether and when to be sexually active, marry or have children.

Worldwide, adolescents face significant barriers in these areas.At least 23 million girls aged 15 to 19 have an unmet need for modern contraception, which is largely due to the social stigma associated with sexuality education and any discussion of premarital sex. The leading cause of death in this age group is related to unsafe abortions and pregnancy complications..

Ignoring the rights of children

This highly political battle has been centred on which group of adults has the power to determine the information that children will hear. Setting up discussions about what children should learn in school as a battle between various “authorities” misses a fundamental aspect of what is at stake: the health, sexuality, involvement, self-expression and rights of our youth.

International treaty obligations, Canadian constitutional rights under the Charter, and human rights legislation do not explicitly mention sex-ed curriculum. However, it is a matter of law, both domestically and under international treaty obligations, specifically those outlined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, that children are persons with rights to make choices for themselves.

Ultimately, when we are talking about bodily autonomy, health and consent, it is not the rights, beliefs or values of adults in authority, but the power of youths themselves to make informed decisions about, and protect, their own bodies, that should be the focus of education.

Children and youth are no one’s property. They own their own bodies and have legal rights to information, freedom of expression, identity and autonomy.

We need to stop using health education as a political tool deployed in the interests of winning elections and focus instead on the interests of the next generation.

_______________________________________

Valerie Michaelson is a post-doctoral fellow at the School of Religion and Department of Public Health Sciences at Queen's. Colleen M. Davison is an assistant professor of Global Public Health at Queen’s.  Pamela Dickey Young is a professor of Religious Studies and acting director, Queen’s School of Religion.

This article was originally published on The Conversation, which provides news and views from the academic and research community. Queen’s University is a founding partner. Queen's researchers, faculty, and students are regular contributors.

The Conversation is seeking new academic contributors. Researchers wishing to write articles should contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives, at knoxm@queensu.ca

Beauty of research resonates on campus

  • Art of Research photo exhibit
    Photos from the Art of Research contest are featured in a travelling, pop-up photo exhibit currently being held on the first floor of Stauffer Library.
  • Art of Research building banner
    New building banners highlighting Queen's research were recently placed on prominent buildings, including Stauffer Library and Grant Hall.
  • Art of Research light post pennants
    A series of four pennants, featuring photos from the Art of Research contest, adorn the light posts along University Avenue.

Every day impactful, cutting-edge research is being conducted at Queen’s and the university wants everyone to know about it.

Enter a new multi-faceted campaign on campus aimed at promoting and celebrating the groundbreaking work of the university’s researchers.

“Research is core to the foundation of Queen’s as an institution, yet much of the work takes place where it isn’t easily accessible to the public – in labs, archives, and in the field,” says Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives. “While many of our research promotion initiatives are aimed at external stakeholders, the goal of this campaign is to showcase the breadth and impact of our research to the Queen’s and Kingston communities, while at the same time adding a little more beauty to campus.”

CELEBRATIONS
Other building banners and light pole pennants around campus are highlighting a pair of celebrations – the 50th anniversary of the Faculty of Education and the 125th anniversary of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

At the heart of Queen’s, building banners celebrating award-winning research don Grant Hall and Stauffer library. Pole pennants have also been installed on the light posts along University Avenue, featuring images from the Art of Research photo contest. Each year the popular photo contest provides faculty, students, alumni, and staff the opportunity to showcase their research, scholarly, and artistic work. It also provides many amazing photos.

Together, the new banners cover a wide array of research – from arts and humanities to physics to cancer and health sciences to biodiversity and climate change.

The first image, Santa Fina, was taken by Una D’Elia, a faculty member in the Department of Art History and Art Conservation, at Musei Civici in San Gimignano, Italy. The striking image shows a marble bust of a saint by sculptor Pietro Torrigiani, a competitor of Michelangelo.

The second image, Leaving Home, features a spheroid of cancer cells embedded in a 3D protein matrix as seen through a microscope. Taken by Eric  Lian, a PhD  student in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, individual cells can be seen radiating away on all sides.

The third image, Razorbill, was captured by Brody Crosby, a Master’s student in the Department of Biology during fieldwork on seabirds in Witless Bay, Nfld. Mistakenly assuming the approaching researchers were its parents, the razorbill chick is captured as it begs for a meal.

The fourth image is a rendition of the universe, and captures the work of researchers elucidating the fundamental building blocks of the universe, shedding light on things we cannot see.

The Art of Research is also being featured in a travelling, pop-up photo exhibit currently being held on the first floor of Stauffer Library. Offering a large selection of photos from the last three years of the contest, the exhibit highlights the diversity of research happening across campus.

The photo exhibit will subsequently be on display in Grant Hall for Homecoming, Oct. 19-21, and then in the Lederman Law Library, Oct. 22-Nov. 5.

The exhibit is also available to campus partners throughout the year for events and display purposes.

For more information on research at Queen’s or the Art of Research photo contest, visit the website.

A member of the prestigious U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities, Queen’s has a long history of unmistakable discovery and innovation that has shaped our knowledge and helped address some of the world’s deepest mysteries and most pressing questions

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