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An opportunity to build bridges, strengthen ties

Lisa Guenther, Queen’s National Scholar in Political Philosophy and Critical Prison Studies
Lisa Guenther, the Queen’s National Scholar in Political Philosophy and Critical Prison Studies, is cross-appointed to the Department of Philosophy and the Graduate Program in Cultural Studies. (University Communications)

Lisa Guenther’s academic career has taken her around the world. Now, the Queen’s National Scholar program has brought her back home to Canada.

Arriving as a joint appointment in the Department of Philosophy and the Graduate Program in Cultural Studies this winter term, Dr. Guenther is the Queen’s National Scholar in Political Philosophy and Critical Prison Studies. Established in 1985, the objective of the QNS program is to attract outstanding early and mid-career professors to Queen’s to “enrich teaching and research in newly-developing fields of knowledge as well as traditional disciplines.” 

Dr. Guenther’s research, she explains, is at the intersection of phenomenology, political philosophy, and critical prison studies, with further specializations in feminism and philosophy of race.

Her career path is just as varied – from New Zealand, to the United States, and a brief stop in Australia. Each place, Dr. Guenther says, has had a significant influence on her research.

After completing her PhD from the University of Toronto – having written her dissertation at an isolated cabin in the Yukon – her first academic position took her to New Zealand where she taught for nearly five years at the University of Auckland. 

Moving halfway around the world was a massive change, but it also provided an opportunity to immerse herself in something new, yet familiar. She was intrigued that the Indigenous Maori culture and language is far more integrated into the mainstream than it is in Canada. 

“Moving to Aotearoa New Zealand was a huge shift, but it was a really exciting place to live and I am really thankful for that opportunity. It challenged me to think about issues and questions I might not have encountered if I stayed on a more narrow academic track within Canada,” she says. “Seeing how Indigenous ways of being and knowing shape the university, the public school system, and national politics there was incredible. It opened my eyes to different forms of settler colonialism and different pathways to decolonization.”

At the same time she also made connections with a number of feminist philosophers in Australia, which also influenced her areas of specialization.

While she enjoyed her time at the University of Auckland, Dr. Guenther felt a need to be closer to home and accepted an assistant professorship at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. The next decade would be formative years for her career.  

Very quickly Dr. Guenther recognized that the communities surrounding her – the university, her neighbourhood, the city of Nashville – were clearly segregated based upon race and class. She began to read and research about the legacy of slavery and urban space.

In the midst of trying to come to grips with what she was witnessing, political activist and scholar Angela Davis arrived at the Department of Philosophy for a month-long seminar on slavery which Dr. Guenther audited. Davis began the seminar by explaining that the 13th Amendment abolishes slavery except for those duly convicted of committing a crime. 

“To this day slavery is not formally abolished for people in prison,” Dr. Guenther says. “Learning this changed the direction of my research and my life in many ways. I started thinking and writing about prisons, mass incarceration, solitary confinement, and in particular the effect of extreme isolation on people’s capacity to think clearly and to perceive the world around them. This resonated for me as a phenomenologist because it raised questions about the nature of perception, experience and consciousness. Why is it that when we are deprived of a regular experience of sharing a space with other people that we don’t just get lonely or bored but we actually, in many cases, lose the capacity to keep track of one’s boundaries of one’s self?”

As she explored further, Dr. Guenther says she felt she needed to be in contact and accountable to those in prison. As a result she started volunteering in prisons in Nashville and eventually set up and facilitated a discussion group for men on death row. Initially the focus of the discussion was on philosophy but broadened to collective inquiry on themes such as restorative justice, radical pedagogy, and friendship. 

However, once again she was feeling the call to return to Canada and the Queen’s National Scholar program provided the opportunity.

At Queen’s she is bringing all the experience she has gained outside of Canada and will apply this lens to her homeland. 

“On a personal level I have wanted to come back and live in Canada for many years. But also in a philosophical sense and in a political way it’s really important to me to grapple with the history that made me who I am,” she says. “So seeking to understand the way that colonial power and carceral power work together in Canada is also part of my own process of becoming accountable for my own position within those networks in power.”

As a Queen’s National Scholar, Dr. Guenther sees an opportunity to build bridges and to strengthen the ties that are already established between Queen’s, community groups, and community members who are affected by prisons. She also hopes to help strengthen the network of scholars and activists working on these issues. 

For more on the Queen’s National Scholar program, visit the QNS page on the website of the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research).

 

Introducing our new faculty members: Felicia Magpantay

Queen’s has committed to hiring 200 new faculty members over the next five years. Meet Felicia Magpantay, one of the new members of our community.

Felicia Magpantay is one of the 41 new faculty members hired in 2017-18 as part of Principal Daniel Woolf's faculty renewal plans. The Principal's five-year plan will see 200 new faculty members hired over the next five years, which will mean approximately 10 net new faculty hires per year.

This profile is the first in a series which will highlight these new faculty members, like Dr. Magpantay, who have recently joined the Queen's community. She sat down with the Gazette to talk about her experience so far and how she made it to Queen’s.

[Felicia Magpantay]
Felicia Magpantay joined Queen's in the summer of 2017 as an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. (Supplied Photo)

Fast facts about Dr. Magpantay

  Department: Mathematics and Statistics

  Hometown: Metro Manila, Philippines

  Research area: Delay differential equation and mathematical biology

  Recent books Dr. Magpantay has enjoyed: Ordinary Light by Tracy K. Smith, and The Return by Hisham Matar

  Favourite quote:Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay hindi makararating sa kanyang paroroonan.” “He who does not look back at where he came from will never get to where he is going.”

  Dr. Magpantay's webpage

Tell us a little about yourself and why you decided to get into teaching.
I grew up in the Philippines. Before I came to Canada my only experiences abroad were traveling to Bali and Taipei for the International Physics Olympiad. Meeting so many people from around the world encouraged me to dream about going abroad for my university degree.
I didn’t really think it would happen, but I applied to schools in Canada and received an international scholarship to attend Trent University. I majored in math and physics and eventually decided to go to graduate school in applied math. I went to Western for my masters and McGill for my doctorate. I did a one-year post-doc at York, and two years at the University of Michigan. I accepted my first faculty position at the University of Manitoba in 2015, then moved to Queen’s in 2017. I really enjoyed being in Winnipeg, but Queen’s was overall a better place for me for many reasons including personal reasons.
My father is a retired physics professor in the Philippines. He grew up in a squatter’s area, the 11th of 11 children. His parents did not complete much schooling, but they always understood the value of education. He was able to go to school on science scholarships and eventually completed his PhD at Purdue University. He went back to serve as a professor in the Philippines in the 1980s.
Tell us a bit about your research.
My PhD dissertation was on delay differential equations and numerical analysis. While completing my postdocs, I started working on mathematical biology – basically using mathematical tools to study biological problems.
My current research looks at how diseases spread in a population. This helps us find ways to explain how control efforts, such as mass vaccination with different types of vaccines, can have different ramifications for the population.

Right now I’m still more comfortable teaching smaller classes where I can use the blackboard, and check in with the students during a lecture to make sure they understand – working at their pace, going through the theorems, and using a lot of examples.

Dr. Magpantay writes on a blackboard in Jeffery Hall
Dr. Magpantay writes on a blackboard in Jeffery Hall. (University Communications)
What is your proudest accomplishment so far?
Getting here! When I became a professor in Manitoba, a friend wrote an article celebrating my hiring. It is not very common for Filipinos to become professors.
A common joke is that Filipino parents all want their kids to go into something stable, such as nursing. Many Filipinos also come to Canada through the Live-In Caregiver program. Both of those professions are very honorable and provide important services to society. But there are lots of different jobs out there and so, while I was reluctant to be featured as a ‘role model’ in that article, I recognized the importance of showing people that Filipinos can have a whole variety of careers, including academia.
Dr. Magpantay writes on a blackboard in Jeffrey Hall. (University Communications)
Dr. Magpantay writes on a blackboard in Jeffery Hall. (University Communications)
Tell us about your teaching style.
In the fall term, I was assigned to teach a calculus class of more than 600 students. That was by far the largest class I had ever taught and it was quite a challenge. I think it will be an asset to learn how to teach such big classes and how to manage that many students. I am still learning.
Right now I’m still more comfortable teaching smaller classes where I can use the blackboard, and check in with the students during a lecture to make sure they understand – working at their pace, going through the theorems, and using a lot of examples.
Anything you do to unwind?
I used to dance salsa and I haven’t since moving to Kingston – there was too much to do and it takes me a while to adjust to a new place. I also used to dance tango and ballet recreationally. Hopefully once I am more settled in I can resume that in the future.
What do you feel most grateful for?
I come from the Philippines, which is still a developing country, and my whole family is still there. I was lucky to be born into a middle-class family who supported me and taught me to value my education early.
I am lucky to be here – most people in the Philippines would not have the chance to pursue the path I did.

Faculty Renewal

Principal Daniel Woolf has identified faculty renewal as a high priority for reinvestment by the university in support of the academic mission. The five-year renewal plan will see 200 new faculty hired, which nearly doubles the hiring pace of the past six years and will result in approximately 10 net new hires per year.

Faculty renewal supports Queen’s commitment to diversity and inclusion by giving the university the opportunity to seek proactively representation from equity-seeking groups such as women, people with disabilities, Indigenous Peoples, and visible minorities. It will also build on Queen’s current areas of research strength.

To learn more about the Principal’s faculty renewal plans, read this Gazette article. Stay tuned for additional new faculty profiles in the Gazette.

UPDATE: New Eyes on the Universe exhibit extended

UPDATE:

The “New Eyes on the Universe” exhibit, currently being hosted at the Visitor Centre of the Canadian Particle Astrophysics Research Centre, located in Stirling Hall, has been extended until March 29.

* * *

The SNOLAB exhibit “New Eyes on the Universe” has returned to Queen’s and this time it is being hosted by CPARC at Stirling Hall.

The exhibit, which debuted July 1, 2016 at Canada House in London before touring across Canada, features 40 panels the discoveries of the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO), the recognition of this work with a Nobel Prize in Physics in 2015 for SNO Director Arthur McDonald, and the facilities and experiments of SNOLAB.

Video kiosks let visitors explore themes and offer a virtual tour of SNOLAB. A life-size “Virtual Art” presents information from Dr. McDonald about the work of SNO and SNOLAB and his perspective on the future. A diffusion cloud chamber also allows the public to see particle tracts in real time, making the invisible visible.

The awarding of the Nobel Prize to Arthur McDonald and Japanese physicist Takaaki Kajita is featured through images from Nobel Week in Stockholm and a display of the Nobel Medal, citation and artwork. Exhibit artifacts include unique detector components developed especially for SNO, as well as a scale model of the SNO detector.

The exhibit is open to the public Monday to Friday, 9:30 am to 4:30 pm, at the CPARC Visitor Centre, Stirling Hall, Room 302, until Friday, Feb. 23. Admission is free. For information on tour bookings, contact Nathalie Ouellette at 613-533-6000 ext. 74781.

Concert honours Marjan Mozetich’s career

Special event at the Isabel will feature works by the retiring faculty member who is one of the most performed composers in Canadian classical music.

After 27 years as a continuing adjunct lecturer in theory and composition at Queen’s, Marjan Mozetich is retiring.

Marjan Mozetich
A special concert at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, the second in the Faculty Concert Series, will recognize the work of Marjan Mozetich. (University Communications)

Long a valued resource and respected educator at the Dan School of Drama and Music, Mozetich is also one of the most performed composers in Canadian classical music and a Juno Award winner.

In recognition of all he has given his colleagues and students, a special concert of his music is being held at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts on Sunday, Jan. 21.  The event is the second in the 2017-18 Faculty Artist Series.

While his music has been performed countless times by musicians around the world, the significance of the upcoming concert isn’t lost on Mozetich.

“It’s quite an honour to have a whole concert dedicated to my music,” he says. “Normally you don’t get that kind of thing. The school didn’t have to do a whole event just on my work. It’s a tremendous honour.”

Faculty performers presenting some of his most expressive chamber music and songs include: violinists Gisèle Dalbec-Szczesniak and Karma Tomm; cellist Wolf Tormann; mezzo-soprano Colleen Renihan; and pianists Julia Brook, Adrienne Shannon and Cynthia Tormann. A string orchestra, conducted by Gordon Craig, will perform Mazetich’s Postcards from the Sky, and his Bassoon Concerto, featuring Katie Legere as soloist.

For his colleagues the event will be bittersweet – an opportunity to perform some of his most recognized pieces but with the knowledge that he will soon be moving on.

“The great thing about being a composer is that your music can go on to be performed long after you hang-up the teaching gloves. Thankfully Marjan has a large body of music that he continues to add to so I am sure his pieces will be programmed on many future concerts,” says John Burge, Professor of Theory and Composition at the Dan School. “What will be missed though, is the gentle guidance and nurturing that he has provided to our senior composition students each year. Earlier this fall I was copied on an email from one of his former students who had just received her Doctorate in Composition from the University of British Columbia and she stressed how much his teaching has inspired her through all her subsequent studies. We have been lucky to have him on faculty.”

While he is retiring from the university Mozetich will continue to compose. He currently has commissions for the National Arts Centre Orchestra and the Kingston Symphony Orchestra.

The concert starts at 2:30 pm.

This concert is now SOLD OUT. Please note that the next Faculty Artist Series concert is the Isabel String Quartet on Sunday, Feb. 25, at 2:30 pm.

Research hits the airwaves

“Blind Date with Knowledge” will air on CFRC.

Do you ever wonder what drives a researcher’s curiosity? What was the spark that led them to discovery? Beginning on January 31 at 5:30 pm, you can listen in and hear these types of questions answered directly by scholars themselves.

CFRC, the Queen’s radio station, 101.9fm,  is launching a bi-weekly radio show called “Blind Date with Knowledge.” The show seeks to demystify scholarly research and personalize the research process through discussions with various Queen’s faculty members.

“Blind Date with Knowledge” is one way Queen’s is increasing its efforts to promote the importance of research conducted by faculty and students. The show is a collaboration between CFRC, the Office of the Vice-Principal (University Relations), and the show host, Barry Kaplan. Kaplan is a member of the Kingston community, and his passion for spreading knowledge about research at Queen’s is palpable.

“There is a lot of interesting and consequential knowledge being created, in a huge range of subjects, by an array of Queen’s researchers,” says Kaplan. “This show is a small but important platform for knowledge-sharing about research, as spoken about by the researchers themselves, to get a little more visibility and traction with everyday people.”

The quirky name “Blind Date with Knowledge” is based on the premise that research isn’t predictable. Like a blind date, research is about taking risks and being prepared for failure and success.

Each episode will feature scholars from different disciplines sharing their stories about what it’s really like to do research. With so many different research projects being conducted by Queen’s faculty, “Blind Date with Knowledge” provides a small glimpse into the pioneering work of these scholars.

Laura Murray
Dr. Laura Murray (Photo Credit: Barry Kaplan)

Dr. Laura Murray (English Language and Literature) will be featured in the first episode of the show, discussing how she has used archival research and oral history as a tool to uncover some of Kingston’s lesser-known history.

“Talking to non-specialists about academic research isn’t always that easy – but it’s hugely important and rewarding,” says Murray. “I’m glad Queen’s is encouraging it. My 15 minutes with Barry went extremely quickly and I enjoyed the challenge!”

John McGarry
Dr. John McGarry (Photo Credit: Barry Kaplan)

Dr. John McGarry (Political Studies) will also appear in the first episode. As an expert in conflict resolution, Dr. McGarry will explain the forces that can lead to the beginning of civil conflict, focusing on Northern Ireland.

“It is great for Queen’s to have a radio show that does not just showcase research, but shows the positive impact that research can have on people’s lives,” he says. “People are often curious about how my research begins and the form it takes, and participating in the show is a way to share this with everyday people.”

CFRC also hosts the weekly radio show "Grad Chat", which is a platform for Queen's graduate students to share their research with both the Queen's and greater Kingston community. The show airs on Tuesdays at 4pm, and past episodes can be listened on the School of Graduate Studies website.

After airing, all episodes of "Blind Date with Knowledge" will be available online on the CFRC website. If you have questions about the radio show, please contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives.

The schedule for the first five episodes of "Blind Date with Knowledge" is available now. The schedule is subject to change.

 

Episode

Air Date

Researchers

1

Jan. 31, 2018

Laura Murray (English Language and Literature) and John McGarry (Political Studies)

2

February 14, 2018

Lynda Colgan (Education) and Adrian Baranchuk (Medicine)

3

February 28, 2018

Patricia Smithen (Art History and Art Conservation) and John Smol (Biology)

4

March 14, 2018

Leela Viswanathan (Geography and Planning) and Gregory Jerkiewicz (Chemistry)

5

March 28, 2018

Alana Butler (Education) and Antonio Nicaso (Languages, Literatures and Cultures)

Faculty members recognized with Mayor's Arts Awards

Three Queen’s faculty members were among those recognized in the inaugural Mayor’s Arts Awards.

Professors Armand Garnet Ruffo (English; Languages, Literatures and Cultures) and Matt Rogalsky (Dan School of Drama and Music) received Creator Awards while the Limestone Arts Legacy Award recognized David Kemp, the former head of the Department of Drama at Queen’s, who passed away in April.

The Mayor’s Arts Awards, administered by the City of Kingston in collaboration with the Kingston Arts Council (KAC), celebrate artistic achievement and recognize extraordinary contributions in and to the arts, while at the same time enhancing the cultural vitality and civic identity of Kingston.

Creator Awards
The Creator Award recognizes living artists, artistic collectives, or arts organizations. The award honours artistic merit and/or innovation that advances the arts in the city, contributes to the development of the art form and expresses the cultural vitality of Kingston.

Armand Garnet RuffoArmand Garnet Ruffo
An Anishinaabe scholar, filmmaker, writer and poet, Mr. Ruffo is the Queen’s National Scholar in Indigenous Literature and teaches creative writing and Indigenous literature. He has received numerous awards for his writing and filmmaking. He has published five books, including the biography Norval Morrisseau: Man Changing into Thunderbird, on the innovative and controversial Ojibway painter, and a poetry collection, The Thunderbird Poems, inspired by Morrisseau’s work. Mr. Ruffo has also written three plays and has written, directed and produced a short film and a feature film.

“The recognition that Armand’s work has received and his ongoing support of other artists and the literary community, inspire other creators, particularly Indigenous artists,” reads the city’s release announcing the award winners.

Matt RogalskyMatt Rogalsky
Matt Rogalsky is an assistant professor in theory and composition at the Dan School of Drama and Music with areas of research including histories, reconstructions and new performances of late 20th century electronic and experimental music.

Mr. Rogalsky has composed, created and performed locally and across North America and Europe. A founding member of the band The Gertrudes, he is also involved with the Tone Deaf Festival of Experimental Sound and numerous smaller performance series such as Musical Chairs and is a key member of the board of Kingston’s Skeleton Park Arts Festival.

“Talented and widely respected, Matt provides his technical and artistic expertise and encouragement to an enormous range of art activities in Kingston, spanning visual and performance art, storytelling, classical to experimental music, film and theatre,” reads the city’s release.

Limestone Arts Legacy Award
The Limestone Arts Legacy Award recognizes individuals from the past whose sustained and substantial contributions have built the artistic vitality of the city, nurturing and enabling forms of creation, participation, presentation and enjoyment, whose leadership has inspired others, and whose influence has been felt in the region and beyond.

David KempDavid Kemp
David Kemp was a professor and the former head of the Department of Drama at Queen’s, and was cross-appointed to the Faculty of Education, where he served as associate dean. Mr. Kemp was an accomplished playwright, theatre artist and educator who advocated for theatre education for all ages. He was very active within the local arts community, serving as artistic director of the Frontenac Children’s Teachers Theatre Company, which performed children’s theatre at local schools, and co-founded the Artists in Community Education program (ACE).

“In co-founding the Artists in Community Education program (ACE), which provides practicing artists with the teaching tools they needed to pursue classroom, community outreach and arts leadership careers, he has inspired successive generations of youth while integrating artistic practices in all disciplines with community life, making Kingston a leading centre for arts education,” the city says in its release.

Visit the City of Kingston website for video profiles and more information about the 2017 Mayor’s Arts Awards.

Queen’s faculty members named among most influential Hispanic Canadians

Two Queen’s faculty members were recently named among TD Bank's 10 most influential Hispanic Canadians by the Hispanic Business Alliance in cooperation with the Canadian Hispanic Congress.

Receiving the awards were Rosa Bruno-Jofré, Professor of History of Education and former dean of the Faculty of Education, and Carlos Prado, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Philosophy.

The awards recognize Hispanic Canadians who demonstrate influence in education, achievements, volunteerism and/or entrepreneurship.

Rosa Bruno-Jofré

Rosa Bruno-JofreArriving in Canada from Argentina in 1977 with a degree from Universidad Nacional del Sur, Dr. Rosa Bruno-Jofré was appointed Associate Dean of Education at the University of Manitoba (1996-2000) and then Dean of Education at Queen’s University (2000-2010), while building an influential international research program that, today, is at the forefront of thought on educational theory and history of education.

Dr. Bruno-Jofré has authored and co-authored numerous books that have also been translated into French, Spanish, and Chinese. She is co-founding senior editor of Encounters in Theory and History of Education since 2000. She has been recently a keynote at Cambridge University for a special celebration of the 100th anniversary of John Dewey’s Democracy and Education.

She is recognized by colleagues for her academic brilliance, entrepreneurial initiative, and tireless passion.

Carlos Gonzales Prado

Carlos PradoA native of Guatemala, Dr. Carlos Prado immigrated to Canada in 1965. After completing his PhD in 1970, he began his career in teaching, research, and service in philosophy at Queen’s University.

In 2013, Dr. Prado was named Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the nation’s highest recognition for achievements in arts and humanities. Dr. Prado is author or co-author of 15 books and editor of four anthologies. He continues to have an extraordinary impact in the fields of medical ethics and epistemology (the theory of knowledge). Also, his research on French philosopher Michel Foucault has built bridges between Anglo-American analytical philosophy and Continental European philosophy.

Dr. Prado has mentored numerous undergraduate and graduate students and junior colleagues at Queen’s and in the broader international philosophy community. He is also the sponsor of the annual “Prado Philosophy Prize” for the best PhD thesis in philosophy and the “Prado Music Prize” at Queen’s.

For more information about the award visit the website

Gerald Jacob Joseph Tulchinsky: 1933-2017

Gerald Jacob Joseph Tulchinsky
Professor Emeritus Gerald Tulchinsky

Gerald Jacob Joseph Tulchinsky, Professor Emeritus in the Department of History, passed away on Wednesday, Dec. 13. He was 84.

Professor Tulchinsky arrived at Queen’s in 1966 and taught history until 1999. After his retirement he served as director of Jewish Studies at Queen’s.

He was a much loved and respected member of the Department of History, and of the Queen’s community, and will be greatly missed by many.

Professor Tulchinsky’s funeral took place Thursday, Dec. 14 at Beth Israel Congregation in Kingston.

His obituary is available online. Former colleague Peter Campbell (History) also wrote a memorial tribute.

Connecting women veterans through mentorship

Transition from a career in the military to civilian life can be difficult. In Canada, women veterans have fewer gender-specific resources available than male veterans.

From left to right: Stéphanie Bélanger, Co-Scientific Director of the Canadian Institute for Military Veterans Health Research; Stéfanie von Hlatky, Director of the Centre for International and Defence Policy (CIDP); and Meaghan Shoemaker, PhD student with the CIDP have collaborated to create an engaging workshop for Canadian women veterans.
From left to right: Stéphanie Bélanger, Co-Scientific Director of the Canadian Institute for Military Veterans Health Research; Stéfanie von Hlatky, Director of the Centre for International and Defence Policy (CIDP); and Meaghan Shoemaker, PhD student with the CIDP have collaborated to create an engaging workshop for Canadian women veterans.

“The veteran population has changed a lot with the increase of women in the military. We have to adapt our policies and programs to reflect changing demographics in the Canadian veteran population,” says Stéfanie von Hlatky, Director of the Centre for International and Defence Policy (CIDP). “There’s a community of female veterans that is sometimes forgotten in the provision of veteran services. What we wanted to see is how the female veteran experience differs from men in order to create a mentorship program which is tailored to women who are transitioning from military to civilian life.”

The Gender Dimension of Veteran Re-integration Workshop, spearheaded by Meaghan Shoemaker, PhD student and head of the Gender Lab in the CIDP with support from Dr. von Hlatky, aims to address that gap in May 2018.

Dr. von Hlatky and Ms. Shoemaker coordinated the pilot workshop last year to connect women veterans beginning their transition into civilian life with resources, job skills, and mentors. They received funding from the Department of National Defence and work with veteran groups to coordinate resources and spread the word about the workshop. They’re also working closely with the Canadian Institute for Military Veteran Health Research, located at Queen’s, to connect with provincial and national partners.

“There are a lot of personal and professional challenges that these women can face when transitioning, including issues such as family dynamics and care responsibilities, transitioning military skills to private sector jobs, and discriminatory hiring, to name a few,” says Ms. Shoemaker. “Creating programs like ours, which is breaking new ground in gender-based analysis in the military, is important to do now, to accommodate more female veterans in the future.”

The upcoming workshop will last two days; one day focused on emerging academic research on gender-based analysis in the military, and the second focused on workforce training, personal development sessions, and mentor pairing for women veterans.

Ms. Shoemaker hopes to double the number of participants in the mentorship portion this year over last year’s pilot workshop. Both mentors and mentees will share their struggles, successes, and tips for handling the challenges of transitioning from military life.

Both Dr. von Hlatky and Ms. Shoemaker want the workshop to continue as a yearly event, and spread to more cities across the country so that they can connect more women veterans together.

If you or someone you know would be interested in participating as a mentor or mentee for the women's veteran mentorship program, please contact Ms. Shoemaker at ERACIDP@gmail.com

To learn more about the upcoming workshop, visit the CIDP event page.

Creating a sense of belonging

Students' project seeks to broaden the discussion around diversity and inclusivity at Queen’s.

"Student Diversity Project"
Queen's first-year students Sara Drimmer and Nicole Osayande present the Student Diversity Project at a Fall Preview event in November. (Supplied Photo)

First-year computing student Nicole Osayande (Artsci’21) has only been on campus a few months, but she has already launched a diversity project with her peers, and created a video speaking to inclusivity at Queen’s that is now being shared online with prospective and current students.

“There is literally something for everyone at Queen’s, but some future students may not have that mindset. I can relate, as I, too, came to Queen’s thinking I was going to be outcast as 'the only black girl,’ she says. "I will admit that it’s an easy assumption to make, but that has been far from my personal experience. I wanted to start an initiative to tell prospective students why they should come to Queen’s. I’m all about conversations that allow people to share ideas, because, well, Queen’s can only become more inclusive and diverse, as our spectra of students becomes more varied.”

Ms. Osayande, who attended high school in Toronto, mobilized some of her friends to form the Student Diversity Project. One the group’s first creations is a video that reflects the strength and breadth of the campus community.

“Diversity is about people of colour, it’s about LGBTQ, it’s about introverts and extroverts, it’s about students without families and different upbringings, it’s not a linear construct,” she says. “We need to stop putting our school in a box.”

She approached Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs Ann Tierney at an event for major admission award recipients to talk about the project. Ms. Tierney watched the video, and invited Ms. Osayande and her peers to set up a booth at Undergraduate Admission and Recruitment’s November Fall Preview events on campus to show the video, and talk to prospective students and families.

“I have been so impressed by Nicole’s initiative and committment, and we are thrilled to collaborate with the Student Diversity Project as part of our ongoing outreach to all prospective students,” says Ms. Tierney. “We recognize the importance of student voices in promoting an inclusive campus environment with a sense of belonging.”

The video is now posted to Queen’s Undergraduate Admission website. At Fall Preview, the group also gave out information about campus support services, including Student Academic Success Services, peer tutoring, and study groups, and the group created a poster showcasing many of the clubs at Queen’s that reflect diverse interests and experiences.

The Student Diversity Project’s next steps are to set up a Facebook page, and work with current students to help them articulate their experiences and perspectives about diversity and inclusivity at Queen’s.

“We want to ask them: ‘On a broad level: what to say, and how to say it? What bugs you about things people say about the Queen’s community? Is it the approach, is it the question? How do we help you moving forward?’,” says Ms. Osayande. “We want to help more people start conversations and encourage positive change.”

Watch the Student Diversity Project video.

 

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