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Challenging today's youth

Queen’s-based PREVNet hosting virtual town hall to empower youth to change the culture of bullying.

PREVNet scientific co-director Wendy Craig is hosting a Youth Town Hall in Ottawa on Wednesday that will also be live on Facebook.

Canadian youth are being challenged to support youth who are being bullied and create solutions for bullying.

Queen’s University researcher Wendy Craig, York University researcher Debra Pepler, and the Queen’s-based Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network (PREVNet) are hosting a Youth Town Hall to promote discussion around the prevention of bullying. The event will feature virtual and live components on what healthy relationships look like, and how they can be supported. This event is the culmination of PREVNet's Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada’s Partnership Award, and anyone interested in issues of bullying prevention, wellness and the importance of healthy relationships is encouraged to participate.

The virtual town hall runs Wednesday, Nov. 15 starting at 4:30 pm. Members of the public are encouraged to join the conversation online on Facebook. PREVNet's National Youth Advisory Commitee will also officially launch its public education campaign, #Spreadkindness, about the importance of healthy relationships.

Get Involved
The virtual town hall runs Wednesday, Nov. 15 starting at 4:30 pm. Members of the public are encouraged to join the conversation online on Facebook.

Dr. Craig explains over 100 youth have been invited to the event at the Canadian Museum of History in Ottawa. The event will be moderated by Senator Marc Gold. For 10 years Senator Gold was the chair of ENSEMBLE for the respect of diversity, a not-for-profit organization that works with youth to build a more open and inclusive society.

“It’s absolutely critical that youth lead bullying prevention initiatives and that adults stand behind them,” says PREVNet Co-Director Dr. Craig, one of Canada’s leading bullying prevention advocates. “In 85 per cent of bullying episodes there are other youth there and if they step in within 10 seconds, the bullying stops. Empowering youth to take charge is important and hearing their voices is important.”

PREVNet is Canada’s authority on research and resources for bullying prevention, with a network of 130 leading Canadian research scientists and 60 national youth-serving organizations.

Dr. Debra Pepler, PREVNet’s Scientific Co-Director, outlines a number of challenges that will be addressed at the conference:

  • Canada ranks poorly – 25th of 28 rich countries on the quality of children’s relationships with their parents and peers
  • Canada also ranks poorly on rates of bullying and victimization
  • Bullying leads to genetic changes that result in depression
  • Research shows that the impact of victimization can last over 40 years
  • Involvement in bullying lays the foundation for dating aggression, intimate partner violence, child maltreatment, and workplace bullying
  • Despite 50 per cent reduction in rate of bullying in the past 10 years in Canada, there are still 2 million Canadian school-aged children directly impacted by bullying

“What we are doing is starting to work but there is still work to do,” says Dr. Craig. “This town hall is a unique opportunity to motivate and inspire youth to get involved.”

Five Queen's professors renewed as Canada Research Chairs

Canada Research Chairs program advances the nation’s position as a leader in discovery and innovation.

One of the country’s highest research honours, the Canada Research Chairs program advances the nation’s position as a leader in discovery and innovation and, recently, five Queen’s faculty members were renewed at both Tier 1 and Tier 2 levels. Tier 1 Chairs are recognized by their peers as world leaders in their respective fields, while Tier 2 Chairs are recognized as emerging leaders in their research areas. Queen’s is home to over 40 Canada Research Chairs.

“The Canada Research Chairs Program continues to enlist and retain our country’s best and brightest researchers,” says John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “Here at Queen’s we are very proud to have five of our most accomplished researchers renewed as chairs, as it speaks to our institution’s pursuit of excellence and leadership across a variety of disciplines.”

Developed in 2000, each year the CRC program invests up to $300 million to attract and retain some of the world's most accomplished and promising minds. Queen’s will receive $200,000 per year over seven years for each Tier 1 Chair and $100,000 per year over five years for each Tier 2 Chair.

Queen’s renewed CRCs are:

Pascale Champagne (Civil Engineering) has been renewed as a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Bioresource Engineering. A number of Canadian policies have increased incentives for renewable energy generation, bioproduct recovery, and environmentally sustainable approaches to manage water, waste and renewable resources. Dr. Champagne’s research aims to enhance our fundamental understanding of how to lessen environmental impacts of technologies associated with this effort, as well as to use ‘green chemistry’ to establish a future supply of sustainable bio-based energy, fuel material and chemical products.

Will Kymlicka (Philosophy) has been renewed as a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Political Philosophy. Citizenship is often described as tracking social membership but, according to Dr. Kymlicka, many members of society are denied full citizenship based on their linguistic or cognitive capacities. His research will explore new concepts of inclusive citizenship that seek to enable the voices and participation of all members.

Warren Mabee (Geography and Planning) has been renewed as a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Renewable Energy Development and Implementation. Dr. Mabee evaluates new renewable energy technologies in terms of their economic, social, and environmental performance, and seeks to create tools to link national and regional energy modeling with local initiatives. Ultimately, his research supports increased renewable energy use across Canada.

Morten Nielsen (Economics) has been renewed as a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Time Series Econometrics. Dr. Nielsen’s research develops new and improved statistical methods for analyzing time-series data. Such methods are widely used in applied macro-economics, financial economics,
and many other fields.

R. Kerry Rowe (Civil Engineering) has been renewed as a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering. The prevention of groundwater contamination at landfill and mining sites is a critical environmental issue. Dr. Rowe’s research will combine modeling and experimental data to investigate long-term performance of various landfill liner systems, and provide new guidelines for the design of anti-contamination systems for future landfills and mining operations.

For more information on Queen’s CRC holders and the program, visit the website.

Forecasting an innovative partnership

A new agreement will see Queen’s become the research and development hub for The PRS Group, a leading firm specializing in quantitative analysis-based risk forecasts

Take a scan of the daily news and you will find a world in motion with each day bringing new developments and new challenges. Trying to weigh all that happens in a day and make a prediction – about whether a particular investment makes sense, or whether a country has become more or less safe – is difficult. Yet, at the same time, technological advances are offering analysts new opportunities to refine and strengthen their predictions, and there is a strong demand for accurate, reliable estimates.

This is why The PRS Group, a leading firm that specializes in quantitative analysis-based risk forecasts, is looking to harness artificial intelligence to augment its products, and PRS wants to partner with Queen’s to help make it happen. Queen’s and The PRS Group recently announced the signing of a five-year Memorandum of Understanding. Under this agreement, Queen’s and PRS will jointly form an Artificial Intelligence Initiative that will harness the strengths of Queen’s, create opportunities for both graduate students and faculty members, and set in motion the development and commercialization of highly sophisticated analytical tools.

“The PRS Group | Queen’s University Artificial Intelligence Initiative unites two innovative partners in support of cutting-edge research and student learning,” says John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research) at Queen’s. “This collaboration with The PRS Group will provide faculty and graduate students with valuable opportunities to engage in hands-on learning and research with numerous organizations. Additionally, this partnership establishes Queen’s as the research and development hub for the company, growing our research reputation. I want to thank our Office of Partnerships & Innovation for their efforts in establishing this relationship.”

The PRS Group logo. The tagline reads "Est. 1979 - Challenging Borders, Challenging Risk." (Supplied Photo)

Under this agreement, the company, which is based in Syracuse, New York, will leverage the expertise of Queen’s faculty and graduate students through research contracts and internships, and the expertise and resources of the Centre for Advanced Computing (CAC) to broaden and deepen the company’s analytical capabilities. The PRS Group will also promote its collaboration with Queen’s to attract joint research and service contracts from its roster of international clients, including the world’s largest institutional investors, central banks, sovereign wealth funds, multinational corporations, and leading academic institutions.

“Our agreement with Queen’s University establishes The PRS Group as the only quant-driven political risk firm that combines four decades of independently back-tested proprietary risk data with sophisticated algorithms and artificial intelligence”, says Christopher McKee (PhD’94), CEO of The PRS Group. “Our initial work with the Centre for Advanced Computing at Queen’s has delivered very insightful analyses, and attracted significant global interest.”

The Cognitive Development Hub of the CAC and PRS hope to work together to find ways artificial intelligence could be used to identify risk factors faster and more accurately, thus providing PRS and its clients with insights to help direct future investments. The Queen’s Economics Department (QED) is also interested in engaging with The PRS Group in the future, and more Queen’s departments may take advantage of this collaboration down the line.

“Several faculty members have interest in empirical cross-country, economic and political issues and use-related data, others are engaged in work on financial risk management and regulation, and several faculty and students are focused on developing new methods for analyzing time-series and cross-sectional data,” says Huw Lloyd-Ellis, head of QED. “We look forward to the opportunities still to come through this new collaboration.”

To learn more about The PRS Group, visit www.prsgroup.com

A scientific success

Post-doctoral fellow Kelly Suschinsky is one of only five Canadian women honoured with a research award from L’Oréal and UNESCO.

Kelly Suschinsky, a post-doctoral fellow at Queen's University, has been awarded one of the top awards in Canada for women working in the scientific research field. Dr. Suschinsky has been awarded a L’Oréal-UNESCO 2017 Excellence in Research Fellowship, awarded to support major post-doctoral research projects undertaken by young Canadians.

A post-doctoral fellow working in the Sexuality and Gender Laboratory (SAGE), Dr. Suschinsky’s research focuses on relationships between sexual desire and arousal.

Kelly Suschinsky has earned a L'Oreal-UNESCO 2017 Excellent in Research Fellowship.

“A lot of past research has focused on men’s sexual arousal and desire and suggested desire was spontaneous,” says Dr. Suschinsky (Psychology). “What we are finding by studying women is that desire for women isn’t necessarily spontaneous. It tends to be triggered or cued by sexual arousal.”

The $20,000 in funding will allow Dr. Suschinsky to start a new research project in the SAGE Laboratory at Queen’s.

“It will allow me to conduct a new study around the relationships between sexual desire, arousal, and goals in women,” says Dr. Suschinsky. “We know women who have higher desire tend to engage in sex for different reasons than other women. We want to uncover why.”

Since 1998, the L’Oréal Corporate Foundation and UNESCO have been committed to increase the number of women working in scientific research. Since the program began, it has supported more than 2,700 women from 115 countries, including Elizabeth H. Blackburn and Ada Yonath, who went on to win a Nobel Prize.

Dr. Suschinsky talks about the challenge facing women researchers, specifically working in scientific research.

“Women in 2017 still encounter challenges when they are in a scientific field," she says. "We tend to go to school for long periods of time and the careers we chose tend to be fairly demanding. It’s difficult to determine if you want to start a family and to balance those commitments with continuing a research program. Sometimes it is difficult to find a balance between those two competing interests.”

The award was presented by Liette Vasseur, President of the Natural, Social and Human Sciences Sectoral Commission of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO.

“Tonight, we honor women of science, because the L'Oréal Foundation and UNESCO have a conviction that is also obvious: the world needs science and science needs women, because women of science have the power to change the world,” says Frank Kollmar, President and CEO of L’Oréal Canada. “These five young researchers represent the future of scientific excellence in Canada and the advancement of our society.”

Bringing dark matter to light

The Canadian Particle Astrophysics Research Centre hosted two events celebrating International Dark Matter Day.

  • Engineers Sean Crawford and Jacob Morrisson display a model of a NEWS-G sphere they built.
    Engineers Sean Crawford and Jacob Morrisson display a model of a NEWS-G sphere they built.
  • Large crowds gather in the foyer of Stirling Hall to check out the Dark Matter Day live demos and get some treats.
    Large crowds gather in the foyer of Stirling Hall to check out the Dark Matter Day live demos and get some treats.
  • PhD candidate Matthew Chequers explains how astronomers are simulating the structure of dark matter in the universe using high-powered computing clusters
    PhD candidate Matthew Chequers explains how astronomers are simulating the structure of dark matter in the universe using high-powered computing clusters
  • The in-house speaker, CPARC's own Joseph Bramante, explains the link between dark matter, neutron stars, and heavy elements to a packed house at Stirling Hall.
    The in-house speaker, CPARC's own Joseph Bramante, explains the link between dark matter, neutron stars, and heavy elements to a packed house at Stirling Hall.
  • MSc candidate Joseph McLaughlin performs the ceremonial dumping of the liquid nitrogen to close the night's events.
    MSc candidate Joseph McLaughlin performs the ceremonial dumping of the liquid nitrogen to close the night's events.
  • MSc candidate Joe McLaughlin explains how the DEAP-3600 experiment will use liquid argon to detect dark matter particles.
    MSc candidate Joe McLaughlin explains how the DEAP-3600 experiment will use liquid argon to detect dark matter particles.

There are still many puzzles in our universe to be solved, but few are quite as puzzling as dark matter.

The invisible matter does not glow or absorb light, yet it makes up about 85 per cent of all matter in the universe. Luckily, astronomers and physicists from all over Canada are on the case.

The Canadian Particle Astrophysics Research Centre and Queen's University, in collaboration with the Dunlap Institute at the University of Toronto, hosted its first public event on Oct. 23 to celebrate International Dark Matter Day. The talk began with an inspiring message from newly-appointed Governor General Julie Payette, and the event itself featured several astronomers and physicists performing cutting-edge research on the subject of dark matter. The event also had live demos by Queen's astronomers and experimental physicists taking part in the SNOLAB collaboration’s search for dark matter.

More than 200 people attended the public event and learned about astronomical proof of the existence of dark matter, how to perform alchemy with dark matter and neutron stars, the reseachers at SNOLAB trying to detect dark matter, and other scientists who are trying to create dark matter.

In addition to the public talk, CPARC hosted a workshop for high school students on October 30 to continue the Dark Matter Day celebrations. Led by Nathalie Ouellette, CPARC Education and Outreach Officer, 31 Grade 10 to 12 students received a primer on dark matter based on materials created by the Perimeter Institute. They also had the chance to interact with Queen's researchers who are actively trying to solve the puzzle of dark matter. The workshop concluded with an exciting display of a 14-inch telescope.

Queen’s has a strong tradition of research excellence in the field of particle astrophysics with its researchers garnering many awards, including the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics and the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. In 2016, Queen’s received an investment of $63.7M from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) to support the creation of the CPARC. The centre aims to strengthen partnerships between Queen’s and other Canadian universities, attract top talent and build on Canada’s position as a leader in this field.

For more information on Dark Matter Day or the Canadian Particle Astrophysics Research Centre, visit their website

Queen’s remembers student Leah Battista

Queen’s regrets to inform the community of the death of student Leah Battista (Artsci'19). Leah, who passed away suddenly on Saturday, Nov. 4, was in her third year of studies at Queen’s.

"Leah Battista"
Leah Battista (Artsci'19) passed away on Saturday, Nov. 4.

Majoring in global development studies, with a minor in Spanish, Leah had completed her first year of studies at the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) at Herstmonceux Castle in England.  She was also working towards a Certificate in Business and was included in the Dean’s Honour List for both first and second year.

“On behalf of the Queen’s community, I want to extend my deepest sympathies to Leah’s family and friends. Our thoughts are with them at this time,” says Principal Daniel Woolf.

The family has requested that their privacy be respected at this time. Information regarding a celebration of life will be posted when available. Flags on campus will be lowered in Leah’s memory.

Anyone in need of support is encouraged to contact: Interfaith Chaplain Kate Johnson, chaplain@queensu.ca, 613-533-2186; and/or Student Wellness Services, counselling.services@queensu.ca, 613-533-6000 ext. 78264; or Good2Talk, Ontario’s 24-hour post-secondary student helpline: 1-866-925-5454. After hours, students are encouraged to contact Campus Security at 613-533-6080.

Chaplain and counselling services will also be available on Wednesday, Nov. 8 from 11:30 am-1 pm in the Sutherland Room, second floor JDUC, for those who wish to drop in.

Fostering sustainable social change

Queen’s graduates working in Tanzania and Kenya recommend the OceanPath Fellowship to community-minded graduating students.

Two Queen’s University graduates, who each received $25,000 in funding from the OceanPath Fellowship, are now busy pursuing community-focused experiential projects in East Africa.

New Queen’s alumni Hanna Chidwick (left) and Nabeela Jivraj (right) have both received the OceanPath Fellowship. (Supplied Photo)
New Queen’s alumni Hanna Chidwick (left) and Nabeela Jivraj (right) have both received the OceanPath Fellowship. (Supplied Photo)

Hanna Chidwick (Artsci’17) and Nabeela Jivraj (Artsci’17), are two of this year's OceanPath Fellows, and are currently in Tanzania and Kenya, respectively. 

The year-long OceanPath Fellowship, coordinated by the Coady Institute, offers community-focused experiential learning opportunities to up to 12 graduating students every year from Queen’s, as well as three other universities. New graduates have the chance to bring new ideas to, and work closely with, communities to foster sustainable and positive social change – both within Canada, and around the world.

Ms. Chidwick’s project in Moshi, Tanzania – located at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro – is a partnership with the Pamoja Tunaweza Women’s Centre, a local health clinic, to build health support for elderly people.

“Because elderly people in Moshi are living longer, there are more chronic diseases such as diabetes that many have to deal with,” says Ms. Chidwick.

A view of Mount Kilimanjaro from the main road in Moshi, Tanzania. (Photo credit: Hanna Chidwick)
A view of Mount Kilimanjaro from the main road in Moshi, Tanzania. (Photo by Hanna Chidwick)

Ms. Chidwick arrived in September and is working on building peer-to-peer social supports to help seniors who may feel isolated due to taking care of family, physical immobility or lack of finances to access healthcare or social support.

“So far, the clinic staff and I have consulted with many of the elderly people in the Rau neighbourhood, along with the local chairman," she says. "It’s been interesting to see the changes in the project because of our direct engagement with the elderly so far. Building partnerships and fostering relationships with people to create a foundation for community support is key to sustainability and success. The support offered through the fellowship has been invaluable. I look forward to building on the strengths of the Moshi community by connecting directly with people and working towards a real impact.”

Staff of the Pamoja Tunaweza Women’s Centre. Left to right, back: Lillian (nurse/pharmacist), Jackson (doctor), Dorothea (staff), Leonce (nurse) and Ms. Chidwick. Left to right, front: Msechu (driver), Hilda (nurse) and Azylina (staff). (Photo credit: Hanna Chidwick)
Staff of the Pamoja Tunaweza Women’s Centre. Left to right, back: Lillian (nurse/pharmacist), Jackson (doctor), Dorothea (staff), Leonce (nurse) and Ms. Chidwick. Left to right, front: Msechu (driver), Hilda (nurse) and Azylina (staff). (Photo by Hanna Chidwick)

Meanwhile in Mikei, Kenya, Ms. Jivraj’s project is centred on the provision of access to water, sanitation and hygiene, working in partnership with Rieko Kenya, a locally-based organization run by members of the community.

The Mikei community has just begun the process of mobilizing resources to drill a deep well to serve the whole area. Since she arrived in Kenya in late September, Ms. Jivraj has been working on improving educational programs for the community until funding for more safe water sources is secured.

“The education piece will be important to drive behavioural change once additional infrastructure is available,” says Ms. Jivraj.  

The unique political situation in Kenya has put many projects on pause during the election re-run period, including action on her project. Nonetheless, Ms. Jivraj says that having the chance to connect with and learn from community members, people doing similar projects, and witnessing the practicalities of projects operating during the election period has been a valuable learning experience. 

Ms. Jivraj poses with members and volunteers of Rieko Kenya. From left to right, back: Claire, Duncan (Rieko Kenya Program Officer), Jacquelin Kabaka, Edward Kabaka (Founder and Executive Director, Rieko Kenya), Edward’s children Ashley, Desma and Mavis, Fred Kabaka (Community Volunteer), Maddie. Front left to right: Nabeela Jivraj, Cosmas (Rieko Kenya), Isaiah. (Photo credit: Nabeela Jivraj)
Ms. Jivraj poses with members and volunteers of Rieko Kenya. From left to right, back: Claire, Duncan (Rieko Kenya Program Officer), Jacquelin Kabaka, Edward Kabaka (Founder and Executive Director, Rieko Kenya), Edward’s children Ashley, Desma and Mavis, Fred Kabaka (Community Volunteer), Maddie. Front left to right: Nabeela Jivraj, Cosmas (Rieko Kenya), Isaiah. (Photo courtesy Nabeela Jivraj)

The next deadline for 2018-19 applications to the Fellowship is Nov. 16. Both Ms. Chidwick and Ms. Jivraj highly recommend the experience and are grateful for support from their professors in the Queen’s Department of Global Development Studies, particularly Paritosh Kumar.

“This experience has reinforced the importance of experiential learning,” says Ms. Chidwick. “I would encourage students with a passion for learning and working in partnership with a community to reach out to their professors and apply.”

“As a Life Sciences student, having the opportunity to work in a practical setting during my degree was both unique and formative. I’ve also learned a lot about myself during the process,” says Ms. Jivraj. “I’d definitely recommend the fellowship to students from any discipline who have a passion for working with people, and are up for a challenge!”

Students interested in applying for the fellowship can contact Queen’s Oceanpath Advisor, Katie Fizzell in Queen’s Career Services.

A call to end corporal punishment

Community forum creates document calling for an end to physical punishment by parents.

A new Christian Theological Statement issued last Friday calls on the federal government to repeal Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada.

The statement was written and issued by a group of scholars, policy makers, Christian church leaders and general public who recently met at Queen’s University in support of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Call to Action #6 in regards to physical punishment by parents to correct a child’s behavior.

"Children's health painting"Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada provides a legal defense for the use of physical punishment by parents and people standing in the place of parents.

“Because the TRC’s Call to Action #6 is to repeal the law that allows for the corporal punishment of children, I thought that maybe if we got Indigenous leaders, public health researchers, church leaders, Christian theologians and other stakeholders in the same room, we could address this in a multidimensional way, which would be more powerful than working on it on our own,” says co-organizer Valerie Michaelson (Public Health Sciences and School of Religion). “What happened was remarkable, and every participant embraced the urgency of responding to this call to action. This is by far the most important project I’ve ever been involved in.”

William Morrow (School of Religion) addressed the concern of some Christian groups who see repeal of Section 43 of the Criminal Code as one that compromises their interpretation of the Bible.

“The history of scriptural interpretation shows that even quite conservative communities have the means for moving past the literal implications of certain biblical passages when the circumstances warrant,” says Dr. Morrow. “The major issue is to convince them of the sizeable dangers that accompany the corporal punishment of children, no matter how mild.”

The result of this was the gathering last week and the creation of the statement which include six recommendations:

  1. We call upon Christian churches to petition our government to ensure the full protection of children, including the repeal of section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada.
  2. We call upon Christian churches to recognize the deep societal wounds that remain as a result of colonialism, and to actively address the on-going, disproportionate physical, spiritual and emotional harm experienced by Indigenous children and youth.
  3. We call upon Christian churches to increase awareness in our communities of the impact of violence, including physical punishment, in homes, families, institutions and communities.
  4. We call upon all Christian churches to endorse the Joint Statement on Physical Punishment of Children and Youth.
  5. We call upon all leaders and educators in Christian communities to be active in the protection of children.
  6. We call upon all Christians to work together in continuing to develop healthy, effective and non-violent approaches to discipline in raising children and youth.

“This statement is a major moment for the churches,” says Right Reverend Mark MacDonald, National Indigenous Bishop, Anglican Church of Canada. “Advocating reconciliation and child protection, the statement makes a progressive and positive contribution to both.  In that, it is prophetic and urgent.”

The statement also acknowledged the damage caused to First Nations, Inuit and Metis children by residential schools.

“Corporal punishment was a primary means of control and source of suffering in the Indian Residential Schools,” says Joan Durrant (University of Manitoba). “It was used to silence children, destroy their languages, and enforce their submission to many indignities and acts of violence.  At this forum, a group of Christian leaders, theologians, and other members of Christian communities responded to the TRC’s Call to Action #6 by proclaiming their support for the repeal of Section 43 of the Criminal Code.”

For more information or to read the paper, visit the website.

Essay earns global writing award

When Eden Gelgoot completed her final term paper for the course Conservation Principles: Cultural Heritage Preservation (ARTH 404), she knew that it was a solid work, involving many long hours of effort, from preliminary research to writing to editing. 

"Eden Gelgoot's final term paper selected as Global Winner in the Art History & Theory category of the Undergraduate Awards."
Eden Gelgoot' final term paper for the course Conservation Principles: Cultural Heritage Preservation (ARTH 404) has been selected as Global Winner in the Art History & Theory category of the Undergraduate Awards. (Submitted photo)

Happy with the final product she decided to submit it to the Undergraduate Awards, an international competition that recognize undergraduate research. This year there were nearly 6,500 submissions from 299 institutions in 47 countries.

Weeks passed and she thought little more of the competition.

Tricolour Globe
Queen's In the World

She went on to graduate from Queen’s with a BSc (Honours) with a major in life sciences and a minor in art history. She completed an internship at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore where she participated in clinical shadowing, did promotional work for the Academy of Clinical Excellence, and worked on a project that uses paintings to promote a humanistic approach to health care delivery. During the summer, she worked as a head counsellor at a residential summer camp in Algonquin Park. 

Then, in September, Ms. Gelgoot was notified that her essay, The role of the UNESCO World Heritage List in the commemoration of World War II, was judged the Global Winner in the Art History & Theory category. As a result she has been invited, all expenses paid, to present her work in Dublin, Ireland at the UA Global Summit in November. The essay also will be published in The Undergraduate Journal.

“I am excited to travel to Ireland to present my work and to meet people from schools all around the world. I really didn’t think anything would come from it so I was pretty shocked when I heard the news,” she says. “It has given me a boost of confidence in my own abilities in terms of writing and creating a work of original research.”

Ms. Gelgoot had taken a course in second year, Culture and Conflict, with Cathleen Hoeniger (Art History and Art Conservation) which eventually led her to enroll in Conservation Principles in her fourth year.

“The reason I took this second course with Dr. Hoeniger is that it offered the intersection between the arts and sciences that I was looking for,” she says. “The field of art conservation offers the potential to combine my interests in terms of the technical aspects of art conservation and of the art historical components as well.”

During the course, students look into aspects of cultural heritage preservation and conservation through discussions, readings and presentations, with a focus on the development of UNESCO and the World Heritage List. The course culminated in a research project that required students to examine two cultural heritage sites on the World Heritage List.

It was her initial interest in Auschwitz that led her to investigate the role of the World Heritage List in the commemoration of the Second World War.

“Coming from a Jewish background I was interested in Auschwitz,” she says, adding that UNESCO itself was developed as a response to the Second World War. “I was interested in not only looking at the Holocaust but also the Hiroshima bombing and how the World Heritage List helps to commemorate the injustices that happened and to further the memories of these events."

The work of other Queen’s students was highly commended, meaning their research was recognized as being in the top 10 per cent of their category:

  • Evelyna Ekoko-Kay (Literature)
  • Caela Fenton (Literature)
  • Sari Ohsada (Social Sciences: Anthropology & Cultural Studies)
  • Vinyas Harish (Social Sciences: Sociology & Social Policy)

International partnership celebrates first graduate

Matthias Hermann (MSc’17) poses with his invention – a device which detects cadmium in drinking water. (University Communications)
Matthias Hermann (MSc’17) poses with his invention – a device which detects cadmium in drinking water. (University Communications)

A quick glance at Matthias Hermann’s resume shows he’s not afraid of the occasional international adventure.

Since beginning his bachelor’s degree in Chemistry in his native Germany in 2011, Mr. Hermann (MSc’17) has conducted short-term research projects in China and Australia, as well as his home country. Recently, he added Canada to the list after completing a dual degree master’s program in Chemistry – a partnership between Queen’s University and Universität Stuttgart.

“I planned on spending some time abroad as part of my master’s, and when I heard about this program I knew it would be a good fit,” says Mr. Hermann (Sc’17). “I wanted a longer term abroad, exposure to a different academic and cultural environment, and a chance to improve my English. Through this program I got all of that – plus I graduated with two master’s degrees.”

Mr. Hermann recently successfully completed his thesis defense, earning his Queen’s Masters of Science in Chemistry and becoming the first graduate of the dual degree program. At the same time, he earned his Master’s of Chemistry degree through his home university in Germany as part of this two-year partnership program. Mr. Hermann’s thesis revolved around a device to detect cadmium in drinking water in a way that is portable, easy-to-use, and affordable.

Mr. Hermann had to adjust to differences in the Canadian higher education system – at Stuttgart, for example, master’s theses don’t require a defense. Adding to the pressure, representatives from both Queen’s and Stuttgart were present for his defense.

During the visit by Stuttgart, their Dean of Chemistry, Cosima Stubenrauch, held an information session for Queen’s students about the dual master’s degree program.

“About a dozen students attended, and when I asked them to raise their hands if they thought this was something they might want to do every one of them raised their hand,” says Hans-Peter Loock, head of Queen’s Chemistry department. “We are hoping to increase our international footprint, and agreements like these help our students gain a wider variety of experiences in high performing environments.”

Before the visit by Stuttgart representatives, Cally Li (Artsci’17) had already made up her mind. She started in the MSc degree program at Queen’s this fall, and will be heading to Germany in 2018.

“I was looking for a way to stay at Queen’s one more year, but I was also looking for a way to move on and try something new next year,” says Ms. Li. “I am looking forward to the opportunity to build some international connections and try something new. I have heard a lot of good things about Stuttgart’s labs and their standard of work.”

Students from Stuttgart are also emailing Dr. Loock to learn about life in Kingston. Dr. Loock says, ideally, they would like to see multiple students from Stuttgart studying at Queen’s and vice versa each year.

“Successful research groups must be internationally networked – it’s part of doing science,” Dr. Loock says. “Setting up these agreements takes effort and buy-in, but exchanging students with a top German university like Stuttgart allows our graduate students to get the best of both worlds. And, as I discovered when I was an international student in Canada: you stay at a place long enough and sometimes it becomes home.”

Perhaps that will be Mr. Hermann’s experience, as he recently decided to complete his PhD in Chemistry at Queen’s. 

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