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Outdoor play keeps the doctor away

Turn off the TV, grab the kids and send them outside for some playtime.

That’s the main message Ian Janssen (Kinesiology and Health Studies) will deliver on April 13 at the second annual Queen’s University Heart and Stroke Foundation Lecture Series.

Researcher Ian Janssen is encouraging children to get outside and play. -Lars Hagberg

“My talk will provide an overview of why physical activity and outdoor active play are vital for a child’s health,” he says. “I will also discuss the barriers to getting children outside more, including fears that outdoor play is dangerous, and a lack of recognition that unstructured activities, like play, are important for healthy growth and development.”

Dr.  Janssen, the Canada Research Chair in Physical Activity and Obesity, focuses his research on giving children the best start for a long and healthy life. During his lecture, Dr. Janssen will also discuss new research that he is undertaking thanks to generous funding from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.

Queen’s University Heart and Stroke Foundation Lecture Series
Monday, April 13, 4:30 pm
Queen’s Medicine Building (15 Arch St.) in the Britton Smith Foundation Lecture Hall.
Free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

“As part of this study we are developing a new technique to measure active play in an objective way.  This technique relies on motion sensors to measure physical activity and global positioning system loggers to measure where the children are when they are getting their activity,” he says. “Using this new technique we will be able to assess, for the first time, how much active play children get and the places they get this play.”

The annual lecture series highlights Queen’s researchers receiving funding from the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Using research grants from the foundation, Dr. Janssen and his team are addressing a number of health issues. They are working to understand more about the sedentary behaviours children should avoid, the types of physical activity children need for good health, and the features of a child’s physical and social environment that promote physical activity and healthy eating.

Scottish scholarship sends students to St. Andrews

Emma Sawatzky (Artsci’15) had always wanted to study at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. She was drawn to the school’s strong reputation for international relations and her Scottish grandparents had always told her about the country they’d emigrated from.

Emma Sawatzky hopes to pursue a graduate degree in international relations. 

“I grew up hearing their stories, their histories and all about their love of Scotland,” Ms. Sawatzky says. When she heard about the Canadian Robert Tyre Jones, Jr. Scholarship, she jumped at the chance to apply and, after being accepted with three other Queen’s students, went on exchange to St. Andrews for the 2013-14 academic year.

Named for the 20th century American golf pro, the scholarship supports students from select Canadian universities to go on exchange to St. Andrews, offering them $6,000 to help fund their travel and tuition costs. Queen’s began taking part in the scholarship in 1996, extending offers to students with excellent academic achievement who are strongly committed to the university community. To qualify, students have to write a letter explaining their desire to go to St. Andrews and comparing their life to that of the late Mr. Jones.

Not just a golfing star, Mr. Jones was a man of many talents. He had a wide range of academic interests and held degrees in English literature, mechanical engineering and law. Later in life he combined his skills to found and help design Augusta National Golf Club, the home of the annual Masters Tournament.

“You have to work a little harder to get there, so it makes the exchange that much more special,” says Ms. Sawatzky. “Without the scholarship, I wouldn’t have been able to manage going to St. Andrews.”

The exchange was a welcome shift.

“It was a definite jump moving overseas, but I was so excited. It was one of the best decisions I made here at Queen’s,” she says. “People sometimes feel afraid to go on exchange because they’re worried what will happen when they come back, but when I returned, it was like I’d never disconnected.”

Since getting back to Queen’s, Ms. Sawatzky has been putting her international experience to good use. She volunteers at the International Programs Office, helping students decide if and where they should pursue exchange opportunities. She’s also a regular at the International Centre’s English language conversation group, where volunteers help students improve their grammar and pronunciation.

To top it all off, she’s served this year as the director of Queen’s Model United Nations Club, recruiting members and organizing a conference for students from across Canada and the US.

When she graduates this April, Ms. Sawatzky plans to pursue a graduate degree in international relations, specializing in conflict mediation and arbitration.

“Seeing different parts of the world has encouraged me to overcome barriers and find commonalities to solve problems,” she says. “I thrive in that kind of environment.”        

The Canadian Robert T. Jones, Jr. Scholarship Foundation supports student exchanges from Queen’s University and Western University to the University of St. Andrews. The Foundation was established thanks to the support of its founder Roger N. Thompson and others, who admired the timeless sportsmanship and character of Robert Jones. 

Computing students flex creative muscles

  • [Spencer Delaney]
    Spencer Delaney, who will begin his studies in the School of Computing this fall, travelled from Brockville to attend the Creative Computing event. He had the opportunity to try a project developed by current students Liam Collins, Stefan Eylott and John Ledale.
  • [Music orb]
    Fourth-year student Tom Henbest (left) checks out the sound orb project developed by Kevin Laporte, Artsci'17, (right) and Amanda Baker.
  • [Alice Volinksi and Derek Sanders]
    Alice Volinski, Artsci'18, and Derek Sanders, Cmp'17, participate in the sound art project "Wave Walk" developed by Rui Jie Wang, Maddie Peters and Emma Irwin, students in the Computing and the Creative Arts course (COCA201).
  • [Joseph Landy]
    Joseph Landy, Cmp'18, tests a game where all of the interaction occurs through natural and intuitive hand gestures. Students Mallory Ketcheson, Bernard Cheng and Jordan van der Kroon developed the game titled "Corgi Defense."

“That’s really neat” was a common refrain overheard in the Biosciences Complex on April 1 as undergraduate and graduate students showcased their work at the annual Creative Computing: Art, Games, Research event hosted by Queen’s School of Computing.

The hands-on demonstrations, presentations and posters spanned a variety of topics including game design and technology, computing and the creative arts, human-computer interaction, and more. 

Queen's remembers Carley Allison

Members of the Queen’s community are remembering first-year student Carley Allison, whose brave fight against throat cancer ended on March 31. She lived in Watts Hall on campus.

[Carley Allison]
Carley Allison

Ms. Allison captured the public’s attention in March 2013 after she posted a video to YouTube of her singing a One Direction song while breathing through a breathing tube. She went to sing the national anthem twice at Toronto Maple Leaf hockey games and appear at several cancer fundraising events in Toronto.

Through her blog and music, Ms. Allison was able to share her journey and raise awareness and money for the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto where she received treatment.

Ms. Allison was diagnosed with a cancerous tumour outside her trachea in February 2013. She underwent tracheal surgery and chemotherapy treatments that helped push the cancer into remission.

In August 2014, a few days before she arrived on Queen’s campus, she was diagnosed with clear cell sarcoma in her lungs. She continued to take courses online after she returned to Toronto for treatments.

Flags on campus are lowered in memory of Ms. Allison.

Anyone in need of support is encouraged to contact Health, Counselling and Disability Services at 613-533-6000 ext.78264 and/or University Chaplain Kate Johnson at 613-533-2186. After hours, students are encouraged to contact Campus Security at 613-533-6080 or the Good2Talk post-secondary student helpline at 866-925-5454.

Tracking the elusive eel

Queen’s University researcher Colleen Burliuk is diving deep into the world of the endangered American eel, in hopes of unravelling the mystery of its life.

Working with Queen’s researcher and supervisor John Casselman (Biology), Ms. Burliuk has been tracking the eels living in the St. Lawrence River to learn more about their little-known winter habitat requirements as part of the research that will be used in her graduate program.

Colleen Burliuk holds the elusive and mysterious American eel that is now listed as endangered.

“The American eel population has been in decline for a while,” explains Ms. Burliuk, who is conducting winter fieldwork for her graduate studies. “They are mysterious creatures and nothing is really known about their winter habitat. This research can help us learn more about eels and improve their habitat to increase the population.”

Last fall, Ms. Burliuk implanted small radio-acoustic transmitters into six American eels. She used that technology to track their movements in the river over the winter months. Though the data is preliminary at this point, she will continue to gather data this spring and add another dozen eels to her current tracking project.

Stabilizing and increasing the American eel population is important for a number of reasons. “These eels are a very ancient fish with large cultural significance. If abundant, they would control such invasive populations as gobies and keep the river ecosystem balanced.”

Along with gaining new knowledge into the local eel population, Ms. Burliuk hopes to spawn new interest in the American eel in the younger generation. She herself didn’t become interested in the eel until she joined Dr. Casselman’s lab. Now she is giving presentations to early grade school classes and asking them to pass their new knowledge along to others.

Policy series celebrates inaugural director's legacy

As the inaugural director of Queen’s School of Policy Studies (SPS), Tom Courchene strived to bring together the academic and professional policy communities through the school’s programs, conferences and lectures.

Queen's School of Policy Studies has developed a speakers series to honour Tom Courchene, the school's inaugural director and a distinguished member of the Canadian public policy community.

SPS has recognized the former director’s enduring legacy by establishing the Tom Courchene Distinguished Speakers Series. The Hon. Justice Murray Sinclair, commissioner and chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC), will give the first lecture in the series this Friday at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts.

The speaker series is supported by the Margie and Tom Courchene Endowment Fund. It was established in 1999 with an initial gift by the Courchenes. Since that time, generous donations from Dr. Courchene’s colleagues at Queen’s and across the country have supplemented the fund.

“This speaker series will provide our students, and the Queen’s community more broadly, with a bridge between academics and policy-makers,” says Kim Nossal, Director, Queen’s School of Policy Studies. “This series will encourage an on-going discussion on critical issues, in particular Indigenous policy and governance, a policy field Tom has been increasingly engaged with in recent years.”

The Tom Courchene Distinguished Speakers Series
“What do we do about the legacy of Indian Residential Schools?”
The Hon. Justice Murray Sinclair, Commissioner and Chair, Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
Friday, March 27, 11:45-1:15 pm, Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts (390 King St. West) Transportation available More information

Dr. Courchene came to Queen’s in 1988 as the Stauffer-Dunning Chair in Public Policy and the first director of the new School of Policy Studies. From 1991 until his retirement in 2012, he held the Jarislowsky-Deutsch Professorship in Economics and Financial Policy at Queen’s, where he was a member of the Department of Economics, the School of Policy Studies and the Faculty of Law.

Dr. Courchene has written more than 300 articles and authored or edited 60 books. The recipient of many awards and accolades, Dr. Courchene is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and an Officer of the Order of Canada. 

Justice Sinclair was Manitoba’s first Aboriginal judge and the second Aboriginal judge in Canada. He has received numerous honours for his work in the field of Aboriginal justice. Justice Sinclair chairs the TRC, which was established in 2007 with a mandate to inform all Canadians about the 150-year history residential schools, and guide and inspire a process of reconciliation and renewed relationships based on mutual understanding and respect.

Testimony on the Hill

Dr. Christian Leuprecht

Queen’s professor Christian Leuprecht testified yesterday on two different bills before Parliament.

Dr. Leuprecht spoke to the Senate of Canada’s Standing Committee on National Security and Defence about Bill-C44 and later that day to the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on National Security about Bill C-51. He is one of just 48 witnesses who have been called to testify on Bill C-51.

“As an academic, I was honoured to be called to testify at both a Senate and a House Committee on the same day, and on bills as controversial as these,” says Dr. Leuprecht, an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Political Studies and School of Policy Studies.

Bill C-44 is an act to amend the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) Act to give greater protection to CSIS human sources and to more effectively investigate threats to the security of Canada. Bill C-51, an anti-terrorism bill, would authorize government institutions to share information that could undermine the security of Canada and amend the Criminal Code with respect to terrorist activity or a terrorism offence.

As an academic, I was honoured to be called to testify at both a Senate and a House Committee on the same day, and on bills as controversial as these.
- Dr. Christian Leuprecht

“In general, I’m sympathetic to the strategy and the ends of both bills and so I expressed support for the broad rationale and the gaps they fill,” says Dr. Leuprecht. “I stressed the way Bill C-51 actually makes good on Canada’s obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1373, 1624, and 2195 on preventing radicalization leading to politically motivated violent extremism, prohibiting incitement of terrorist violence and recruitment for such purposes, disrupting financial support for terrorism and foreign terrorist fighters, interdicting travel by foreign terrorist fighters.  I also made concrete proposals to make the review process of intelligence activities more robust and effective.”

First, in regards to both Bill C-44 and Bill C-51, Dr. Leuprecht proposed that the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) be able to follow CSIS intelligence throughout federal agencies to ensure that intelligence is handled in accordance with the law and the Constitution. Second, he pointed out that CSIS is already the most reviewed security intelligence service in the world but suggested enhancing SIRC’s effectiveness by adopting the UK model of a separate parliamentary committee composed of select Members of Parliament, including the opposition, who have been security-cleared to be briefed by SIRC as well as the Commissioner of the Communications Security Establishment (CSE).  

Dr. Leuprecht recently laid out his position in two editorials published in the Globe and Mail: “Will Bill C-51 protect or imperil Canadians?” And “Done right, C-51 can balance freedom and security.”

Follow these links to hear Dr. Leuprecht’s testimony on Bill C-44 and Bill C-51.

As well as being a professor at Queen’s, Dr. Leuprecht is a Fellow at the Centre for International and Defence Policy and the Institute for Intergovernmental Relations. Dr. Leuprecht is also the associate dean at the Faculty of Arts at the Royal Military College of Canada and a professor in the Department of Political Science.

Internships now available to ArtSci students

Students in the Faculty of Arts and Science will have the opportunity to get job experience before graduating with the creation of the Arts and Science Internship Program.

Students in the Faculty of Arts and Science will now be able to apply for 12- or 16-month internships. (University Communications)

The program, which was approved by University Senate at their Feb 24th meeting, will allow students to develop professional skills and gain exposure to a field of work while still enrolled at Queen’s.

The new internship program is modeled on the Queen’s University Internship Program (QUIP), which has been available to students in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and the School of Computing. QUIP has students enrol in career-related workshops and coaching sessions which are then followed by a 12- or 16-month paid internship opportunity at a company related to their field of study. Internships typically happen after their third year of undergraduate study and, if successfully completed, students receive a professional designation on their diploma.

“When we hear from our former interns who’ve taken part in QUIP, they all say what a transformative experience it’s been,” says Cathy Keates, Director of Queen’s Career Services. “They develop skills, build their networks and have great success taking the things they’ve learnt on campus and bringing them to the workplace, and vice versa. We see an enormous amount of career development over that year.” 

During the internship, participating students undergo a number of evaluations by their employer and are given performance feedback. Upon completion of the internship, they must write a self-reflection document, reviewing their experience and what they learned from their foray into the working world. 

Adam Grotsky, (ArtSci’15) President of the Arts and Science Undergraduate Society, strongly believes in the benefits of internships. Establishing Arts and Science internships were a major component of his election platform when he campaigned for his position. He aided in the development of the Arts and Science Internship Program and wrote a letter of support for its creation.

“This is an opportunity for students to develop tangible skills that will help them in the workforce,” he says. “There’s a big difference between learning in classroom and in the workplace, and to have that experience while still doing a degree is a huge advantage.” 

The internship program will be open to students in the Faculty of Arts and Science beginning in September 2015. More information can be found at Career Services’ website.

US-Cuba relations at turning point

[Esteban Morales and Karen Dubinsky]
Esteban Morales Dominguez, a professor from the University of Havana, visited Queen’s University as part of an exchange program. Karen Dubinsky is one of the professors involved in the course, DEVS 305 – Cuban Culture and Society, that plays a central role in the exchange. (University Communications)
Queen's in the World

While the road to normalization of ties between the United States and Cuba will be long and complicated, the fact that the process has started is a positive development for both countries says a leading expert in US-Cuba relations.

Esteban Morales Dominguez, a professor from the University of Havana, visited Queen’s University recently as part of an annual exchange between the two schools. The focus of his studies is race relations within Cuba and international relations, particularly US-Cuba relations.

Following 18 months of secret negotiations, President Barack Obama and President Raul Castro announced on Dec. 17, that their governments are working toward normalizing relations, bringing an end to 55 years of confrontation and embargo.

While Dr. Morales points out there remains a lot of work to be done, he believes that both countries will benefit from a return to normal relations.

“I think the two countries cannot stop the possibility of this opportunity to resume relations. (After) 55 years this really can be very good, not only for Cuba but also for the people of the United States,” he says. “But we think the necessity of the process of normalization is not only a necessity for Cuba but for the US as well, because the US lost, during all this time, (many opportunities for) commerce with Cuba, many possibilities for investment with Cuba. Cuba has many things to give to the United States and I think the interchange between Cuba and the United States can be very good for the two countries.”

Dr. Morales says the first step on this road will be the reopening of embassies in Havana and Washington, D.C., a process that is already well underway.

The steps that follow won’t be so easy, however.

Dr. Morales says that for Cuba there are a number of major obstacles that need to be resolved, first and foremost of which is the economic embargo of the island country. Throughout his two terms, President Obama has shown a willingness to ease some of the economic restrictions, but the ultimate decision on the blockade lies with Congress. That, Dr. Morales says, makes it more difficult as both the Democrats and Republicans have powerful groups that oppose easing the embargo.

Other important issues for Cuba is its inclusion on a list of terrorist countries, restrictive immigration policies and the continuing US control of Guantanamo Bay.

Difficult issues, certainly, but not impossible to resolve, he says.

Hope, however, lies in the long shared history of the countries. Separated by a mere 90 miles, Cuba and the United States are intrinsically linked, whether in conflict or friendship. That’s part of the reason the American efforts to isolate the country didn’t work.

“I think there is a very important connection. When the policy of the United States was to isolate Cuba it resulted in the isolation of the United States,” Dr. Morales says. “At the same time really the United States could not isolate Cuba. Not only internationally but also inside the United States there was a very big impact, a very big influence of Cuba. (Over) the years the Cuban-American community became, from the beginning very aggressive, to today where it has many connections with Cuba. There are many families in both countries as well.”

Despite the complexities, Dr. Morales has hope for the future and sees many mutually beneficial opportunities including tourism, investment, and collaboration in areas such as medicine and science.

Dr. Morales’ visit was sponsored by the Principal’s Development Fund. The Queen’s University-University of Havana Exchange was initiated in 2008. Each year, 30 students travel to Cuba as part of the DEVS 305 Cuban Society and Culture course and a visiting scholar from the University of Havana is brought to Queen’s to give lectures and aid the learning expereience.

When research goes pop

Dr. Robert Morrison

At the intersection of academic research and popular culture comes the resurrection of a long dead opium eater.

The opium eater in question is the 19th century English essayist Thomas De Quincey, known for his autobiography Confessions of an English Opium-Eater. De Quincey also happens to be Queen’s professor Robert Morrison’s academic raison d’être and the subject of novelist David Morrell’s two latest books.

Dr. Morrell, an emeritus professor of English at the University of Iowa, turns back the clock to Victorian England in his book Murder as a Fine Art (2013) to write about De Quincey as the suspect in a gruesome murder case. In his newest book, Inspector of the Dead (2015), Morrell follows De Quincey as he races to halt an assassination attempt on Queen Victoria.

The timing was perfect as when Dr. Morrell was beginning research for his De Quincey-inspired novel, Dr. Morrison was releasing his biography of De Quincey, The English Opium-Eater.

After Dr. Morrison offered his research expertise to Dr. Morrell to ensure the historical accuracy of the novels, both of Dr. Morrell’s books were co-dedicated to Dr. Morrison. Now, the burgeoning interest in De Quincey as a result of the novels means Dr. Morrison’s research, his biography and a new edition of De Quincey’s finest essays forthcoming with Oxford University Press, are reaching an ever-widening audience.  

“The relationship between my scholarship and David’s fiction is a very good example of the ways in which academic research can reach out to and eventually shape popular culture,” says Dr. Morrison, a professor in the Department of English. “Research in the humanities matters because it deepens our understanding of the past, and often triggers imaginative and fictive engagements that inform the present and future. Society, for example, has been struggling for a long time with the issue of addiction. From different angles, David and I try to reveal the history and impact of that struggle.”

While the two have never actually met in person, emails back and forth for the last four years have kept their academic affiliation a prime example of how scholarly research can aid in the development of pop culture, and how pop culture frequently capitalizes on information and insights brought forward by scholarly research in the Humanities.

“When I was researching for these novels I had access to a variety of materials, but nothing compares to the kind of information Robert was able to provide me with,” says Dr. Morrell, whose debut novel First Blood saw the introduction of the action hero John Rambo. “To me, Rob comes across as the kind of professor that every student should want to spend hours with.”

Both Dr. Morrison and Dr. Morrell are big proponents when it comes to the importance of an education in the humanities or liberal arts.

“A humanities or liberal arts education is something of an education in cultural survival. We’re teaching an open, creative and vital approach to culture so that we’re not sleepwalking through life but instead engaging with the world around us and moving forward,” says Dr. Morrell.

Inspector of the Dead will be released on March 24, 2015. For more information on Robert Morrison’s research, please follow this link.

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