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McNutt an 'inspiration' – in research, activism & spirit

Overcoming physical challenges, James McNutt receives second master’s degree, his fourth degree overall.

“The power of language,” James McNutt says, is the thread looping its way through all of his work.

To explain, he quotes English poet John Milton: “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”

James McNutt (M.Ed.'16) celebrates after successfully defending his master's thesis this spring. Mr. McNutt has been active on campus regarding accessibility issues, and he won the Steve Cutway Accessibility Award this past year. (Supplied photo)

“I think he’s saying that just by thinking, you make it so. I would argue it’s beyond thinking – it’s writing, and putting it into language,” says Mr. McNutt (M.Ed.’16). “That’s what creates impressions and meaning.”

Creating impressions and meaning through the written word has been a big focus of the Queen’s scholar’s life. Mr. McNutt, who has cerebral palsy and has worked through significant physical challenges during his lifetime, successfully defended his second master’s thesis this spring. The Education degree delving into the curriculum of the Queen’s medical school between 1880 and 1910, is his third Queen’s degree, and his fourth degree overall (he has a master’s in history from the University of Toronto).

And not only is he intent on creating meaningful written works himself, but he’s always curious about what various different written materials contain and how they inform those reading them.

“I love the late 19th to early 20th century. It’s my favourite period, because they still have the old ideals but they are learning how to be modern,” says Mr. McNutt. “I love looking at the old publications and the way they used language. The Victorians really knew how to write a sentence.”

A novel approach to studying university history

For his most recent master’s, supervised by Theodore Christou (Education) and Jacalyn Duffin (History of Medicine), Mr. McNutt studied medical teaching at Queen’s by looking at the textbooks of the time. “I used the textbooks as a surrogate for curriculum, because from 1880-1910, there are no notes and syllabi to look at. I did look at a few diaries, but there are not many.”

It’s a novel approach, as far as he knows, to studying university life and teaching. “When looking at the history of a university, the focus is usually on the facilities and buildings, and the financials. There’s a little about the professors, but the histories usually don’t talk about what was taught. It’s hard to get at what was taught,” says Mr. McNutt.

Specifically, in this thesis, Mr. McNutt wanted to examine how science and gender played into the curriculum at that time. Queen’s had opened a women’s medical college in 1883 after disgruntled male students forced women out of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, Kingston, an early incarnation of Queen's Faculty of Medicine. The women’s college closed in 1894 due to insufficient enrolment and women were not admitted again to Queen’s medical studies until 1943. Mr. McNutt, in his research, compared the textbooks of the women’s college with the ones used strictly by male students.

“The only tentative conclusion I was able to make was that the women’s textbooks, in general, were longer and more detailed than the men’s books,” says Mr. McNutt. “In my thesis, I speculate that the instructors may have wanted to place more emphasis on the textbooks, rather than in-class instruction. I was able to find a diary from a female student, who wrote that her instructor only provided 15 minutes of in-class lecture.”

On the science side, he looked at innovation and technological changes – the X-ray, in particular, and its limitations – at that time. He discussed his findings on uses of the X-ray at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences in Calgary earlier this month.

“I was very successful with the science part, and not so much the gender question,” he explains. “For the gender part, I would need more eyewitness accounts of how they were taught. That was a challenge for me, because I had to let the literature tell me what it wanted to tell me, instead of looking for what I wanted.”

An inspiration to the Queen’s community

Milton’s quote about making a heaven of hell, and a hell of heaven, is undoubtedly a philosophy that permeates Mr. McNutt’s entire life.

“James is an inspiration to all of us – the entire Queen’s community of faculty, staff and students,” says Dr. Duffin. “Over the last two years, he has bravely contended with illness. The fact that he worked through that and got on with it to produce an excellent thesis – and one about the history of Queen’s at that – is an incredible achievement.”

Duncan McDowall, University Historian  and Adjunct Professor (History), sat on Mr. McNutt’s examination committee, and echoes Dr. Duffin’s comments.

“Mr. McNutt is an impressive person. He goes beyond all expectations. He writes very well, and produced a very good thesis,” says Dr. McDowall. “In addition, he has a tremendous spirit, and confronts any and every challenge head-on.”

In addition to his studies, Mr. McNutt has worked hard on accessibility issues on campus. This past year, he was awarded the Steve Cutway Accessibility Award for his “Accessibility Audit,” a project that used video to share and bring to light accessibility challenges on campus.

“I’ve been really grateful to be recognized. My hope now is that it motivates people to act and continue making change,” he says.

And what’s next for Mr. McNutt?

He is taking a break, especially after much preparation for the conference in Calgary. But, indeed, he is “shopping around for PhDs.”

Queen’s to adopt new academic tool

After extensive consultation and discussions among a variety of groups, Queen’s University has decided to acquire a campus-wide licence for Turnitin, an academic tool that will support student learning and faculty development.

“I am pleased that Queen’s is joining other Ontario institutions that have benefitted from Turnitin,” says Jill Scott, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning). “The software, available for the fall 2016 term, will provide numerous learning opportunities for both faculty and students.” While the tool is sometimes understood as plagiarism detection software, Dr. Scott says Queen’s will promote it as a formative and developmental opportunity. “Turnitin will help students gain a deeper understanding of academic citation practices while safeguarding academic integrity.”

“Turnitin will enable Queen’s to adopt an educational approach by encouraging students to check for potential issues before submitting their assignments,” says Peter Wolf, Associate Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning). “In this way, students can learn about ways to ensure they are submitting original work. Over time, supports will be developed for faculty, graduate students and undergraduate students on using Turnitin as an educational tool.”

Representatives from the Office of the Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning), IT Services and the Queen’s University Faculty Association evaluated the software and recommended its adoption across the university. Ten Ontario universities, including the University of Toronto, McMaster, Western and Ryerson, currently hold a licence for Turnitin. Smith School of Business and the School of Kinesiology, Queen’s Economics Department and the Department of Psychology have been using Turnitin under an opt-in arrangement.

“We saw the opportunity to take Turnitin from an opt-in service that only a few on campus were using to a full, campus-wide application. This is another way ITS is looking to improve and bolster the best experience possible for our Queen’s community,” says Bo Wandschneider, Chief Information Officer and Associate Vice-Principal (Information Technology Services).

Strengthening self-image

Part two in a series on innovative approaches to teaching and learning.

Each year, students in the Faculty of Education’s FOCI 291 course are tasked with designing community development projects aimed at providing support to students at-risk due to challenges outside of the classroom – such as physical or mental illness or family circumstances. For Jessica Longchamps (Ed’16), this project created an opportunity to address the issue of body image and self-esteem in students and young adults.

Jessica Longchamps (Ed’16), created a workshop to address the issue of body image and self-esteem in students and young adults as part of her Teaching At-risk Adolescents and Young Adults program focus course. (Supplied Photo)

“Body image is something I identify as being much like mental wellness – everyone has a body image, whether it is positive or negative depends on the person and their own experiences,” says Ms. Longchamps. “A lot of people think of body image as only being something we’re concerned about at a young age but it is something that affects us at any age.”

As part of this course, teacher candidates are tasked with developing programs to improve their students' success academically, behaviourally and socially by providing life skills training, extra-curricular activities or by filling gaps in existing school programs. The course comprises one half of the Faculty of Education’s At-Risk Adolescents and Young Adults concentration – one of a number of concentrations in the Bachelor of Education program which allows interested candidates the opportunity to specialize in a particular aspect of teaching.

For her project, Ms. Longchamps designed a workshop for teachers, fellow candidates and members of the public to learn more about how to recognize signs that a student may be facing body image, eating disorders or self-esteem challenges, as well as means to offer support and connect them with specialists. In addition, she developed a program which connects students who are at-risk of developing eating disorders or have self-esteem or body image issues with a local support group in her hometown of Ottawa.

Ms. Longchamps says the motivation behind the project was to assist those who struggle with self-image challenges. The general lack of information about body image disorders, as well as the lingering public perception that self-esteem and positive self-image are a “choice,” further motivated her to do more to educate the public.

“I’ve noticed, in my peers and family, that when people don’t take the time to address their body image concerns that they had from their adolescent years, it translates up with them,” explains Ms. Longchamps. “I think that, collectively, we are each other’s best weapons in terms of supporting one another and building each other up.”

A second workshop is planned for this summer in Kingston. Ms. Longchamps is open to the idea of continuing to expand the workshop series to a wider audience, should demand exist, but says the lessons she has learned from designing the program will stay with her into her own classroom.

“Obviously, it’s important to teach curriculum,” says Ms. Longchamps. “However, if our students are struggling with mental or physical wellness, then they’re not able to learn to the best of their abilities.”

Math conference returns to birthplace

As the Canadian Mathematics Educators Study Group (CMESG) marks its 40th annual conference it is returning to where it all began – Queen’s University.

The event is being co-chaired by Jamie Pyper (Education) and Peter Taylor (Mathematics and Statistics), one of the founding fathers of the group back in 1977.

Peter Taylor (Mathematics and Statistics) is the co-chair of the Canadian Mathematics Educators Study Group, along with Jamie Pyper (Education). (University Communications)

For Dr. Taylor it has been interesting to see how the conference has grown and changed over the years, with the original 30 attendees now over 150 from a diverse range of backgrounds, including graduate students. The conference is more interactive and discussion oriented, utilizing working groups rather than large lectures and presentations.

Dr. Taylor will lead the way in taking an alternative approach at the conference. He is giving one of the four plenary talks during the conference, but it will be anything but traditional. “Instead of giving a talk I’m going to try something more like dramatic storytelling, and I’m going to be getting a critical piece of help along the way,” he says. “That fits with what the conference is trying to do now – find a new way to move forward. Everyone talks about the curriculum of the 21st century. We need to do something different and to do that you need to try different things. So, it’s in that innovative sense that I’m doing this. That’s really important for me.”

The CMESG’s first conference was held at Queen’s in 1977 in response to a Science Council of Canada report that said there were fundamental problems with the way math was being taught in our schools. While teaching methods have changed in the four decades since, Dr. Taylor says that many of the problems continue today.

“It’s interesting that these problems, or updated versions of them, have become increasingly important. You can see it in the media about how kids are taught and what they are learning, are they getting the right skills. There’s more public awareness and energy in this debate than ever,” he says. “It’s even become somewhat urgent. We’ve got to get this right. The world is entering into a new kind of culture, and our kids have to be ready for it.”

“Innovation is key,” he says, “and education within the STEM disciplines plays a vital role. Recent studies show that early education in areas such as spatial reasoning and coding has a positive effect.”

“We are recognizing increasingly through research, and much of this is Canadian, early intervention of some of these mathematical ideas is critical,” Dr. Taylor says. “What you do with kids at the pre-school, kindergarten and Grade 1 stage, can make an enormous difference at Grade 6.”

The 40th CMESG starts Friday, June 3 and continue to Tuesday, June 7 with most events being held at the BioSciences Complex. More information can be found at cmesg.org.

Delegation from Guangdong visits Queen's

A delegation from Guangdong University of Foreign Studies (GDUFS), led by President Zhong Weihe, front, third from left, visited Queen’s University on Tuesday, to meet with their Queen’s counterparts. (University Communications)

A delegation from Guangdong University of Foreign Studies (GDUFS) visited Queen’s University on Tuesday, to meet with their Queen’s counterparts.

Queen's In the World

The delegation, headed by President Zhong Weihe, met with representatives of the Faculty of Education and the Faculty of Arts and Science to explore areas of cooperation between Queen’s and GDUFS, including research collaboration and student and faculty mobility.

Currently, the university, located in southern China, has a Memorandum of Understanding and Graduate Student Exchange Agreement with the Faculty of Education.

The delegation also toured Queen’s campus as well as the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts.

In photo, front from left: Cai Hong, Director of International Office, GDUFS; Hugh Horton, Associate Dean (International), Faculty of Arts and Science; Zhong Weihe, President, GDUFS; Rebecca Luce-Kapler, Dean, Faculty of Education; and Liying Cheng, Teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language, Faculty of Education. Middle row: Zhao Junfeng, Dean of School of Interpreting and Translation Studies; Zhiyao Zhang, Director, China Liaison Office; Barbara Yates, Associate Director, International, Office of the Associate Vice-Principal (International); Craig Walker, Director, Dan School of Drama and Music; Robin Cox, Director, School of English, Faculty of Education; and Jenny Corlett, Associate Director (International Initiatives), Faculty of Arts and Science. Back row: Wang Weiqiang, Associate Professor, School of English for International Business, GDUFS, and Visiting Scholar at Queen’s; Xie Wenxin, Director of Human Resources Division, GDUFS; Donato Santeramo, Head, Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures; and Don Klinger, Associate Dean Graduate Studies & Research, Faculty of Education.

Queen’s launched its Comprehensive International Plan in August 2015 to support its internationalization efforts. The plan’s goals include strengthening Queen’s international research engagement and creating more opportunities for student mobility through programs like academic exchange programs. The plan also aims to attract high-quality international students to Queen’s and to increase international educational opportunities on the Queen’s campus.

Creating space for art

  • Kristyn Watterworth, artist-in-residence for educational technology firm Desire2Learn (D2L), talks about her art piece after it was unveiled at Duncan McArthur Hall. The three-panel piece was created specifically for the Faculty of Education following a request from Dean Rebecca Luce-Kapler and Don Klinger, Associate Dean Graduate Studies and Research.
    Kristyn Watterworth, artist-in-residence for educational technology firm Desire2Learn (D2L), talks about her art piece after it was unveiled at Duncan McArthur Hall.
  • Dean Rebecca Luce-Kapler speaks during the unveiling of the piece of art created for the Faculty of Education following a request Dean Luce-Kapler and Don Klinger, Associate Dean Graduate Studies and Research.
    Dean Rebecca Luce-Kapler speaks after unveiling the piece of art created for the Faculty of Education following a request Dean Luce-Kapler and Don Klinger, Associate Dean Graduate Studies and Research.
  • Desire2Learn (D2L) CEO John Baker speaks at Duncan McArthur Hall after donating an art piece by artist-in-residence Kristyn Watterworth.
    Desire2Learn (D2L) CEO John Baker speaks at Duncan McArthur Hall after donating an art piece by artist-in-residence Kristyn Watterworth.
  • A three-panel artwork, created for the Faculty of Education following a request from Dean Rebecca Luce-Kapler and Don Klinger, Associate Dean Graduate Studies and Research, is unveiled at Duncan McArthur hall.
    A three-panel artwork, created for the Faculty of Education following a request from Dean Rebecca Luce-Kapler and Don Klinger, Associate Dean Graduate Studies and Research, is unveiled at Duncan McArthur Hall.

When a post-secondary institution and company work together it doesn’t always have to only be about business.

There is room for conversation, for sharing and, clearly, for art.

The Faculty of Education recently unveiled a new piece of art that was created specifically for it by educational technology firm Desire2Learn (D2L). The three-panel painting, created by D2L’s artist-in-residence Kristyn Watterworth, is now mounted prominently at the centre of Duncan McArthur Hall where it can be viewed by practically anyone who enters the building.

As Rebecca Luce-Kapler, Dean of the Faculty of Education, explains, the art piece got its start when Don Klinger, Associate Dean Graduate Studies and Research, found out about Ms. Watterworth. He then pitched the idea to D2L CEO John Baker who was happy to comply.

“Don Klinger and I brought him down and showed him the space, and at that time our Aboriginal garden was in full growth,” Dr. Luce-Kapler explains adding that Mr. Baker took photos of the garden as well as the proposed wall space. “You could see there was that sense of different kinds of education – that old brick wall and here’s this garden growing outside. So I think this piece captures that sense of all the dimensions of education.”

Once she saw the space she would be working with, Ms. Watterworth says she realized that she could create a large three-panel piece. The theme of past, present and future lined up well and she started creating the paintings, which draw on influences of abstract expressionism and futurism.

With the first panel she says she tried to create the dynamic of what education looked like in the past, where “knowledge was passed between people, always one-on-one, very central.” The image is dark and has a circular feel to it but remains static.

For the present, Ms. Watterworth says there’s still a darkness, and “it’s very structured, very compartmentalized. While there is movement it remains distinctive.” 

The last panel presents a more hopeful vision, incorporating the shift in technology where “learning will be global” and more far-reaching.

“I tried to create that movement within that piece,” she says. “It’s really lit up and there are different changes in perspective and lighting. It feels more like glass than the others. They are very tactile and the last one is more smooth, flat and easy – and enlightened.”

Located on Student Street within Duncan McArthur Hall, the painting also highlights the role that art can play in a working and learning environment, says Alan Wilkinson, Assistant to the Associate Dean Undergraduate Studies, who has played a role in arranging many of the art pieces in the building.

“I think that art in institutions offers the people who work in that environment opportunities for reflection. They improve the work environment. They improve the learning environment by giving you moments to pause and look into something and draw meaning out,” he says. “That creates a dialogue and it can recur over and over. In addition, certain works of art speak to people very individually and very powerfully and that work of art can be a touchstone from one day to another, one week to another and it can provide a valuable support for what a student is doing within the building and what faculty members do as well.

When research meets practice

An upcoming education conference being hosted by Queen’s University is bringing together teachers and education researchers from across the country with the aim of fostering collaboration on assessment for learning.

Chris DeLuca (Education), centre, takes part in one of the many discussion groups at the 2015 Canadian Assessment for Learning Network (CAfLN) Conference and Symposium. This year's event is being hosted at Queen's University. (CAfLN Photo)

The third annual Canadian Assessment for Learning Network (CAfLN) Conference and Symposium is being hosted at Queen’s on May 13-14 under the banner of Moving Forward: Assessment for Learning in Policy, Research & Practice.

The goal of the conference, explains Chris DeLuca (Education), is to create permanent links between the research and theory from the academic side with the practice of the educators in the elementary, secondary and tertiary levels.

“The conference is really about bringing people together because what we see in the teacher world, for professional learning, is that educators are doing a lot of professional education on their own or in their schools. But this is an opportunity where teachers can talk to teachers from across districts, across regions, across provinces and also then have a conversation with researchers,” says Dr. DeLuca, an associate professor of Classroom Assessment in the Faculty of Education. “It’s emphasizing assessment to be used in very positive ways – classroom-level assessment and how teachers grade and do test and performance assessments with their students – how they can do that in a more productive, generative and supportive way for students.”

The event is expected to draw approximately 200 educators, assessment researchers and policy leaders from across the country, including some 100 local educators. After the conference, it is hoped that the participants will maintain the connections they have made and share what they have learned with their colleagues.

Previous conferences have already yielded positive results.

“This is a real opportunity to work with practitioners and establish networks for them to continue their learning,” Dr. DeLuca says. “We’re hoping to continue to build the CAfLN and have teachers really connect with one another and establish greater connections to support their efforts at positive assessment in schools and classrooms.”

Visit the Faculty of Education’s website to learn more about the CAfLN conference.

Promoting science to young Canadians

NSERC funds engineering outreach to Aboriginal students, Science Rendezvous event. 

Two Queen’s University projects will promote engineering and mathematics to young Canadians – including Aboriginal students – with support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

“Both of these programs deserve applause for their work fostering an interest in and instilling a passion for engineering and mathematics in youth,” says Steven Liss, Vice-Principal (Research). “Congratulations to both the Aboriginal Access to Engineering program and Dr. Colgan on their continued efforts and leadership to champion STEM education.”

Melanie Howard, Director of Aboriginal Access to Engineering (AAE).

Aboriginal Access to Engineering (AAE) within the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science has received $228,900 over three years from the NSERC PromoScience program. The outreach initiatives of AAE aim to get more Aboriginal youth excited about science and mathematics and encourage them to consider engineering as a potential career path.

“We are thrilled that NSERC has recognized the opportunities and potential that Aboriginal Access to Engineering opens up for Indigenous youth,” says AAE Director Melanie Howard (Artsci’95, Ed’98). “We look forward to engaging more frequently with Indigenous youth through culturally relevant and exciting STEM enrichment experiences, and inspiring youth in Indigenous communities to see themselves as future engineers.”

One of only three undergraduate support programs for Aboriginal engineering students in Canada, AAE is also the only program with a corresponding K-12 outreach component. AAE sets up interactive displays at various community events throughout the summer, engaging youth through storytelling, games and activities to help them learn about the importance of engineering within an Indigenous context.

The program also works extensively with teachers and schools in First Nations to inspire linkages between culture and technology in the elementary science curriculum. Aboriginal youth also have opportunities to visit Queen’s each year and learn more about engineering through in-person meetings.

AAE will use the funding from PromoScience to extend its long-term, reciprocal relationships with proximate Indigenous communities and to strengthen the quality of its outreach and educational efforts.

"I thought, ‘that sounds like so much fun!’"

- Lynda Colgan (Education) on the Mathematics Midway

Lynda Colgan (Education) received PromoScience program funding from NSERC to host the Mathematics Midway at Science Rendezvous Kingston.

Lynda Colgan (Education) is spearheading the other Queen’s project that received NSERC funding. With the $20,000 PromoScience grant, Dr. Colgan is bringing the Mathematics Midway to this year’s Science Rendezvous Kingston. The attraction features mathematics-related puzzles and games.

“Two years ago, I was fortunate enough to place a student for a practicum at the Museum of Mathematics in New York City,” Dr. Colgan says. “As part of a street festival in Manhattan, they ran a Math Midway, which was an opportunity to play games with math and experience the more artistic, whimsical side of math. I thought, ‘that sounds like so much fun!’”

The highlight of the Mathematics Midway at Science Rendezvous Kingston will be the square-wheeled tricycles. Participants will have the opportunity to ride these seemingly impossible vehicles along a specially designed roadway while learning about the math behind what makes them work.

NSERC's PromoScience Program offers financial support for organizations working with young Canadians to promote an understanding of science and engineering (including mathematics and technology). For more information on the PromoScience program, please visit the website.

Celebrating a historic decade of philanthropy

Funds donated during the Initiative Campaign have furthered the university’s top priorities in teaching, research and athletics and recreation.

Queen’s University is celebrating the success of the Initiative Campaign, the most ambitious fundraising campaign in its 175-year history, which concluded on April 30, 2016. Thanks to the collective dedication and generosity of volunteers and donors, more than $640 million has been donated to Queen’s University during the 10-year Initiative Campaign, surpassing the $500 million goal set at the beginning of the campaign in 2006.

Queen's Bands enter during the Initiative Campaign launch event held inside Grant Hall in October 2012. Queen's is celebrating the successful conclusion of the Initiative Campaign, the most ambitious fundraising campaign in the university's 175-year history. (University Communications) 

“This is a proud moment in Queen’s history. The university is enormously grateful to all of our volunteers and donors who recognize the value of a Queen’s education, and have invested in making one of Canada’s top universities even better,” says Daniel Woolf, Queen’s Principal and Vice Chancellor.  

More than 60,000 individual donors, including 35,000 alumni, contributed to the campaign since it was launched in 2006. Funds donated during the Initiative Campaign have furthered the university’s top priorities in teaching, research and athletics and recreation.

Over $85 million has been used to support student assistance programs, including the creation of 473 new student awards and 22 new chairs and professorships. Campuses and facilities at Queen’s have already improved greatly as a result of donations during the Initiative Campaign with further investments to be made in a number of priority areas.

“I would like to extend my most sincere gratitude to the volunteers, donors, alumni and supporters who have contributed to the Initiative Campaign over the past 10 years,” says Gord Nixon, Chair of the Initiative Campaign. “Their efforts have contributed greatly to the campaign, and the excitement and momentum that inspires others to make the same commitment to Queen’s.”

Campuses and facilities at Queen’s have improved greatly as a result of donations during the Initiative Campaign. These investments support the university’s programs and its people, including experiences beyond the classroom that enable the Queen’s community to make a significant impact on society as an informed citizenry, nationally and internationally.

In addition to the funds raised, support from the three levels of government provided an additional $94 million that was not included in the Initiative Campaign total. Queen’s partnered with the federal and provincial governments to build Queen’s School of Medicine, and received support from the federal, provincial and municipal governments to bring the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts to fruition. This support was essential in making these projects possible and the university is enormously grateful for these investments.

More than $115 million has been committed in future estate gifts against the university’s parallel goal of $100 million, which is counted outside of the Initiative Campaign total.

Down to a science

The sixth annual Science Rendezvous Kingston promises to be bigger and better than ever

Square-wheeled tricycles, birds of prey, a quarantine tent and robots in action.

Those are just a few examples of the 60 science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) stations that are part of this year’s Science Rendezvous Kingston at the Rogers K-Rock Centre on Saturday, May 7

The free event features 20 Queen’s University departments, 12 from the Royal Military College of Canada, two from St. Lawrence College and a large number of citizen science groups. The event runs from 10 am to 3 pm and the first 2,000 families will receive a take-home booklet filled with science experiments.

“The idea of Science Rendezvous is to increase and stimulate interest in the STEM subjects,” says lead organizer Lynda Colgan (Education). “The event has just gotten bigger and bigger over the years. We are expecting more than 4,000 people from the greater Kingston community to attend and it is possible only because of the hard work, dedication and enthusiasm of more than 350 volunteers who year after year prepare engaging and educational activities for people of all ages.”

Each year, the diversity of the exhibits changes and grows and this year is no different. A highlight this year is a presentation by Nobel Laureate Arthur McDonald. His talk, entitled The Sudbury Neutrino Observatory: Observing Massive Neutrinos from the Sun, will start at noon.

Other unique events include:

  • A Chemistry Magic Show — 10:30 am and 1:30 pm by Dr. Philip Jessop (Chemistry) and his team of graduate students 
  • Birds of Prey — 11 am and 2 pm Canadian Raptor Conservancy
  • Lasers: From nanotech to epic movies — 11:30 am by Dr. James Fraser (Physics)
  • The Kingston Police Force Canine Unit — 1 pm
  • Will Sanderson, Arctic and Antarctic expedition member — 2:30 pm

“This year we are bringing in a quarantine tent as our public service type display,” says Dr. Colgan. “People can visit the tent where there are medical students in period costumes made up to look like they have different diseases such as smallpox, measles and polio. They can describe the disease including symptoms and cures. They also talk about why vaccines are important.” The Quarantine Tent is funded in part by the Faculty of Health Sciences at Queen’s.

Dr. Colgan adds another highlight of Science Rendezvous Kingston will be the three square-wheeled tricycles that ride smoothly along on their inverted catenary roadway. The tricycles were designed and constructed by 18 first-year applied science students, the third consecutive year for such a collaboration between the Education Community Outreach Centre and the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering).

“After all, everyone believes bicycles and tricycles must have round wheels. The wow of operational square-wheeled vehicles will attract a lot of attention,” she says.


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