Queen's Gazette | Queen's University

Search form

Engineering and Applied Science

Queen’s rises to the World’s Challenge Challenge

A team of Queen’s students will compete this summer at a social enterprise competition hosted at Western University.

[James Hantho, Karina Bland, and Mitch Sadler of ClimaCube]
James Hantho (Comm'18), Karina Bland (Sc'18), and Mitch Sadler (Sc'18) celebrate their win at the local World's Challenge Challenge competition. The international finals take place in June in London, ON. (Supplied Photo)

Hot off the heels of their win at the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC) Winter Pitch Competition, ClimaCube will represent Queen’s at an international competition designed to tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems.

The World’s Challenge Challenge (WCC) is a competition started at Western University in 2014, and expanded to include other institutions last year. The mission of the competition is to bring together students from a wide range of institutions, cultures, and continents to create potential solutions to significant global issues. Past winners include a team from Dalhousie University who planned to 3D print prosthetics in developing countries from recycled materials, and a team from The Netherlands who created a knapsack to help Indonesian anglers keep their catches cold. There are four prizes up for grabs this year, including a grand prize of $30,000.

Queen’s recently held a local competition, supported by the DDQIC, aimed at selecting a team to represent Queen’s at the WCC. Galvin Niu (Sc’19) and Jacob Riha (Sc’18) ran the local competition, which concluded this past weekend.

ClimaCube includes James Hantho (Comm'18), Leigh-Ann McKnight (Sc'18), Karina Bland (Sc'18), and Mitch Sadler (Sc'18). The team is developing portable cold storage units to maintain the quality of items such as samples or vaccinations and extend the cold lifetime (or 'cold chain') as they are in transit.

As the winning team, ClimaCube earns the right to represent Queen’s at the WCC and their costs to attend the conference will be picked up by the DDQIC.

ClimaCube is also being sponsored to attend the MassChallenge Awards with DDQIC in October 2018, which is the grand finale to the MassChallenge accelerator program in Boston. On past trips, DDQIC has taken students to lectures at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), visited local incubators, and networked with the startup community at MassChallenge – all opportunities that ClimaCube may receive this fall.

“We are all very excited about this next step in our venture’s journey,” says Ms. Bland. “Competing at The World’s Challenge Challenge at Western University in June has further motivated our team to speed up our prototyping process, which we think can greatly contribute to our success in the competition. Additionally, as Queen’s students we are excited to compete against our rival Western University.”

Members of the Queen’s and Kingston communities served as judges for the local competition, including Dirk Rodenburg, a lecturer and educational consultant; Pavel Graymason, Executive Director of Sustainable Kingston; and Chloe Beisheim of the DDQIC.

"I have judged a few of these competitions at Queen's, and it is always a refreshing and exciting experience," says Mr. Graymason. "I believe innovation is implementation, and in that respect these students are way ahead of some seasoned professionals - they have big ideas and they make them happen. All the ideas presented were great and demonstrated significant creativity and it is an honour to support them."

When scoring the proposals, judges followed criteria set by WCC organizers which looks at the strength of the proposal’s argument, its financials and feasibility, potential partners, some recognition of the origins of the problem, and three other categories.

Four teams applied to represent Queen’s at the WCC this year, and the DDQIC hopes to attract even more competitors in the future. Two runner-up teams will receive a one-year membership to SparQ Studios, a makerspace on campus designed to help these entrepreneurs further develop their ideas.

The World’s Challenge Challenge international finals take place June 3 to 8 in London, Ont. For more information, visit www.worldschallengechallenge.com

New Vice-Principal (Advancement) and Interim Vice-Principal (Research) appointed

Karen Bertrand and Kimberly Woodhouse to begin appointments on July 1, 2018.

Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf announced two senior appointments today following unanimous approval by the Board of Trustees.

Karen Bertrand
Karen Bertrand (Artsci’94) has been appointed as the next Vice-Principal (Advancement). 

Karen Bertrand (Artsci’94) will serve as Vice-Principal (Advancement), succeeding Tom Harris who will be stepping down from the role he has held since 2010.

“I am delighted to welcome Karen Bertrand to Queen’s and look forward to the expertise and enthusiasm she will bring to this important role,” says Principal Woolf. “She has an incredible track record of success in post-secondary fundraising and she is well placed to work closely with our alumni, donors, and friends to ensure Queen’s remains a premier destination for students and faculty across Canada and internationally.”

Ms. Bertrand joins Queen’s from the University of Guelph where she has worked in progressively senior positions. Beginning in 2012, Ms. Bertrand led a team that successfully raised $200 million in the BetterPlanet Project campaign. In 2014, she was appointed as Associate Vice-President, Major Gift Advancement, overseeing teams for major gift fundraising, stewardship and donor relations, prospect management, and financial services. Prior to her time at Guelph, she was with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario for 11 years

“I am thrilled to be joining Queen’s University at this exciting time,” says Ms. Bertrand. “As a proud alumna of Queen’s I know the passion people feel for their alma mater and I look forward to working collaboratively to build upon the extraordinary success of the recent Initiative Campaign, and inspire life-long relationships with and unprecedented support from alumni, benefactors, and volunteers."

Ms. Bertrand says her advancement career is rooted in her experience at Queen’s as an undergraduate. In addition to serving on several senate committees as a student and being an active member of the Queen’s International Affairs Association and the Queen’s Model United Nations – serving as Secretary-General in her fourth year – she worked in the advancement call centre during her first year on campus. As a first-generation university graduate, she also benefited from student scholarships created by the extraordinary generosity of private donors.

Ms. Bertrand will begin her continuing appointment as Vice-Principal (Advancement) on July 1, 2018.

Principal Woolf also announced today that Kimberly Woodhouse has accepted a two-year appointment as Interim Vice-Principal (Research), succeeding John Fisher who has been in the  position since March 1, 2017.

Kim Woodhouse
Kimberly Woodhouse has been appointed as the next  Interim Vice-Principal (Research). 

Dr. Woodhouse is currently a professor in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, after serving as dean of that faculty for two five-year terms from June 2007 to 2017.

“The Vice-Principal (Research) is one of the university’s most important positions and I am delighted Dr. Woodhouse has agreed to take on this challenge,” says Principal Woolf. “Thanks to her experience in her previous position, Dr. Woodhouse will provide leadership that ensures the highest standards of scholarship and interdisciplinary collaboration.”

Dr. Woodhouse’s appointment begins on July 1, 2018. She will work with the Principal and the Board of Trustees to define the broader research portfolio and clarify the growing relationship between research and innovation at Queen’s and the resources that will support it. Once this work is complete, the university will be in a better position to recruit for this critical vice-principal role and set the chosen candidate up for success.

“There is a growing recognition of the important role played by research and innovation on the national stage,” says Dr. Woodhouse. “I am excited to continue the work undertaken by Dr. Fisher to help Queen’s accelerate our performance in research and to help create an even stronger research culture across the campus, one that also embraces innovation.”

Dr. Woodhouse is a professional engineer, holds several patents, and co-founded a biotechnology company. In addition to her academic background, Dr. Woodhouse has almost a decade of experience in private sector manufacturing and experience with the granting councils, in particular the National Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), chair of a Canadian Institutes for Health Research grants panel, and the Ontario Research Fund Advisory Board. She has also received numerous awards, including the Premier’s Research Excellence Award and the Professional Engineers Ontario Engineering Medal. She is a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

“I look forward to welcoming both Karen and Kim to their new positions at Queen’s. Both are proven leaders and innovators in their fields who will help us in our efforts to deliver an outstanding student learning experience in a comprehensive research-intensive environment,” says Principal Woolf. ”At the same time, I’d like to thank John Fisher for his excellent work over the past year in, among other things, guiding the development of the next Strategic Research Plan. And I am very grateful to Tom Harris for eight and a half years of outstanding leadership of our Advancement operations, including his leadership of our successful Initiative Campaign”.

The Queen’s Board of Trustees approved both the appointments of Ms. Bertrand and Dr. Woodhouse in a special meeting on March 29, 2018.

Six budding businesses boosted

A pitch competition organized by the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre resulted in cash for some innovative ideas. 

The ClimaCube team, from L-R: James Hantho (Comm'18), Leigh-Ann McKnight (Sc'18), Karina Bland (Sc'18), and Mitch Sadler (Sc'18). (University Communications)
The ClimaCube team, from L-R: James Hantho (Comm'18), Leigh-Ann McKnight (Sc'18), Karina Bland (Sc'18), and Mitch Sadler (Sc'18). (University Communications)

Queen’s students are applying their skills to tackle global challenges both small and large – from better Lyme disease testing to ensuring protection of medical samples while in transit.

These are just a couple of the ideas that were on display at a recent pitch competition organized by the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC). The centre invited student entrepreneurs to present their ideas for a chance to win funding, and potentially to enter the Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI) bootcamp beginning in May.

“The pitches were excellent, and there was quite a remarkable diversity of technologies and ideas,” says Anton Toutov (Sc’11), chair of the Los Angeles node of the Queen’s Innovation Centre Global Network and one of the event’s judges. “These businesses were primarily in the idea stage, but the thought process and care was quite good and the quality was high. I want to congratulate all those who pitched.”

Ten teams sought funding in the competition, and in the end six of them will each be receiving between four and five thousand dollars in seed money. ClimaCube, a team which is developing portable cold storage units to maintain the quality of items such as samples or vaccinations and extend the cold lifetime (or 'cold chain') as they are in transit, was one of the successful competitors.

Successful pitches:
eBridges - A multi-vendor e-commerce platform that provides small businesses and independent merchants in developing countries with direct access to the global marketplace. Received $5,000.
Lymelight Genetech - Developing a diagnostic to provide reliable, accessible, and affordable Lyme disease testing. Received $5,000.
BearCloud Games - A digital game studio specializing in mobile and virtual reality games. Received $4,000.
ClimaCube - Developing portable cold storage units to extend the quality of products as they are in transit, such as samples or vaccinations. Received $4,000.
Leash Technologies - A small device that will alert you if you have left your phone behind at home or any public place. Received $4,000.
Sicana - A text message encyclopedia that allows students in countries with limited internet access the ability to text basic search questions and receive an answer. Received $4,000.

The ClimaCube team recently returned from a social enterprise competition in Dubai known as the Hult Prize. The team gained great experience going through that process, which helped prepare them to pitch at the QICSI competition. Both presentations were great learning experiences, says Karina Bland (Sc’18).

“This presentation was a fantastic experience for us, as the judges were highly engaged and provided helpful feedback,” says Ms. Bland, one of the team members behind ClimaCube. “We appreciated the fact that the QICSI presentations were short and there was a longer question period, which allowed us to clarify some aspects of our product. With this funding, we aim to produce a prototype of our portable active cooling system.”

Ms. Bland says, thanks to this win, she and her three co-founders will all be participating in the competitive QICSI bootcamp this summer – providing them a further leg up as they develop their business.

“As I come from a technical background, I am excited to learn a lot about business and benefit from the experience of the QICSI mentors,” she says.

The QICSI bootcamp runs from May to August and features intensive instruction designed to help student entrepreneurs build stronger businesses. The program ends with a pitch competition where the start-ups bring their best pitches to try and earn seed funding. Forty-seven students will be attending this year’s bootcamp after competing in the spring and fall pitch competitions. One team is also attending QICSI after winning the Kingston Mayor’s Innovation Challenge.

Other funded pitches at the spring competition include eBridges, Lymelight Genetech, BearCloud Games, Leash Technologies, and Sicana. For these six, and for the four who did not receive funding this time, Dr. Toutov has the same advice.

“Win or lose, successful or unsuccessful in this competition, the network available to these entrepreneurs is amazing,” he says. “Talk to people within the Queen’s community to get connected to others in your field to avoid landmines and de-risk your business. Don't hesitate to make those connections.”

For more news from the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre, visit queensu.ca/innovationcentre/newsandevents

Engineering support for international students

The Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science (FEAS) welcomes Mofi Badmos to the Student Services Team this month as its first international student experience associate.

 [Mofi Badmos, International Student Experience Associate, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science]
Mofi Badmos is the first international student experience associate for the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. 

“I feel like it’s very progressive of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science to provide this unique position dedicated to international students,” says Badmos. “With my lived experience as a former international student, I look forward to providing valuable support to the students and the faculty.”

Badmos will be developing and providing transitional and ongoing support services specifically to international and/or racialized engineering students here at Queen’s. For now, though, Badmos encourages students to connect with her by email or to visit her in student services in Beamish-Munro Hall Rm. 300.

“There’s never too much support, and I’m here to support,” says Badmos. “If students are just looking for someone they can talk to, someone who can help answer questions, someone to make them feel comfortable on campus, a friend in the community, that’s what I’m here for. I’m hoping to create a sense of community for international engineering students within the faculty.”  

Badmos previously worked at the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC) as an International Programs Assistant. She holds a Bachelor’s in Forensic Psychology and a Master’s in Immigration and Settlement Studies.

This article was first published on the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science website.

Alumnus astronaut safely arrives at International Space Station

[Expedition 55 blasts off]
Drew Feustel and the rest of the Expedition 55 crew launch from Kazahkstan on Wednesday afternoon for a two day journey to the International Space Station. (Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

 

March 23, 2018 update: Drew Feustel and the crew of Expedition 55 have arrived at the International Space Station (ISS). The Soyuz MS-08 spacecraft docked onto the ISS at 3:43 pm EST after a two day journey from Earth. This was a flawless docking executed by the teams, according to the NASA live feed. Check out footage of the ISS capturing the Soyuz MS-08 below, and other details about the mission, and Dr. Feustel’s many connections to his alma mater.
 

March 21, 2018 update: Drew Feustel and the crew of Expedition 55 have safely launched into low-Earth orbit and are en route to the International Space Station. They will arrive at the ISS on Friday, March 23, at 3:41 pm EST. Check out the photos below of the launch and the Queen's viewing party, hosted by the Department of Geological Science and Geological Engineering.

  • [Expedition 55 crew prepare for launch]
    Expedition 55 flight engineer Drew Feustel of NASA, top, flight engineer Ricky Arnold of NASA, middle, and Soyuz Commander Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos, bottom, wave farewell prior to boarding the Soyuz MS-08 spacecraft for launch, Wednesday, March 21, 2018 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)
  • [Astronauts keep track of vital systems during launch]
    The Expedition 55 crew keep track of the ship's vital systems during launch. (Photo credit: NASA live feed)
  • [Department of Geological Science and Geological Engineering hosts launch viewing party]
    Students from the Department of Geological Science and Geological Engineering watch the launch of Expedition 55. (University Communications)
  • [Students watch the launch]
    Geological Science and Geological Engineering students got to witness Drew Feustel, an alumnus of their program, launch into low-orbit over Earth. (University Communications)
  • [Alex Braun shows students model shuttle]
    Alex Braun (Geophysics) shows Geological Science and Geological Engineering students a model of the shuttle, with a scale replica astronaut to show the immense size of the spaceship. (University Communications)
  • [Closeup of spaceship and lander model]
    A closeup of the model ship and lander that Alex Braun (Geophysics) brought to demonstrate the scale of the spaceship. (University Communications)

Blasting off to the International Space Station

On Wednesday, Drew Feustel (PhD’95, DSc’16) left Earth and began his journey into orbit as the next Canadian to live and work aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The Queen’s alumnus and astronaut is the Flight Engineer for Expedition 55 and will stay on the ISS for six months, taking over as Commander of the ISS in June for Expedition 56.

“We’re excited for Dr. Feustel’s third mission to space, on an expedition overseeing hundreds of experiments over six months,” says John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “From astroparticle physics to clean tech, many of the tests he and his team will perform will contribute to research here on Earth and align with many areas of research excellence here at Queen’s.  We wish him the best for his expedition.” 

Students will get the chance to ask Dr. Feustel questions during a Queen’s-hosted Education Downlink event, Ask an Astronaut, on April 6. More details about this special event will be available soon.

Dr. Feustel’s journey to Queen’s and beyond

Dr. Feustel grew up in Michigan, and came to Kingston to complete a PhD in Geological Sciences at Queen’s in the nineties. He and his wife Indira, a speech-language pathologist from Ontario, met while both were studying at Purdue University. Dr. Feustel attained his Canadian citizenship while in Kingston, and moved to Houston after his PhD to pursue a career in geoscience. Their children, Ari and Aden, were born in Kingston and the family is still closely connected to the area through family and friends.

Dr. Feustel dreamt of becoming an astronaut since childhood, and became interested in the opportunity after watching the Canadian Space Agency’s (CSA) astronaut search in 1992. He then reached out to Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield while in Houston who encouraged him to pursue his dream. Dr. Feustel applied to become an astronaut with NASA in 2000, and was selected on his first try. Expedition 55 will be his third mission to space.

Back on Earth, Dr. Feustel enjoys auto restoration, car and motorcycle racing, guitar, tennis, and water and snow skiing. It’s still unknown if he’ll bring any of his favourite hobbies with him to the ISS.

About the mission

At least two spacewalks are planned during the mission. Some of the planned experiments during Expedition 55 include:

  • studying thunder and lightning to learn more about the role of severe thunderstorms in Earth’s atmosphere and climate,
  • studying materials, coatings, and components in the harsh environment of space,
  • testing microgravity’s impact on bone marrow, and
  • simulating gravity aboard the ISS and testing on samples such as fruit flies, flatworms, plants, fish, cells, and protein crystals.

An alumni connection through music

Dr. Feustel has another connection with Queen’s: Rob Baker (Artsci’86), lead guitarist with The Tragically Hip.

“About 12 years ago, we were touring in the States and had an upcoming gig in Houston, and we got the call from Drew Feustel, asking if we’d be interested in having a tour of NASA’s facilities,” says Mr. Baker. “It was out of the blue to us, but we grew up in a certain time when the Apollo missions were front and centre in our childhoods growing up, so we were all excited to check it out. We rode the shuttle simulator, got to ask questions and saw them training in this gigantic pool, got a tour of the space arm – it was fantastic, and Drew was amazing with us.”

The two bonded over a shared love for music, and have stayed close friends since.

“He was in a band with a bunch of astronauts at NASA, playing in the same bar that we were. He said they played the greatest hits of the sixties, seventies, and the Tragically Hip,” says Mr. Baker. “I think he gets excited around musicians, but we get pretty excited around an astronaut.”

Mr. Baker wished his friend well on the voyage, and couldn’t wait to hear about everything he’ll get up to on the ISS.

“He’s not just a Canadian in space – he’ll be the Commander of the space station. He’s the king of space! It’s special, and a great connection for Queen’s.”

[Drew Feustel]
Dr. Feustel listens to a reporter’s question during the crew’s final day of qualification exams for Expedition 55 on Feb. 21, 2018, in Star City, Russia.
(Photo credit: Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center/Andrey Shelepin and Irina Spektor)
[Drew Feustel with googles]
The Virtual Reality Laboratory at Johnson Space Center is an immersive training facility that provides real time graphics and motion simulators integrated with a tendon-driven robotic device to provide the kinesthetic sensation of the mass and inertia characteristics of any large object being handled.

Follow the journey

Keep this page bookmarked for updates as the launch approaches, and read more at:

Follow Dr. Feustel’s journey on social media:

[Drew Feustel]
Drew is picured here at the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, an astronaut training facility located near the Johnson Space Center. Its main feature is a large indoor pool in which astronauts can perform extravehicular activity (EVA).

 

Provincial funding to strengthen Queen’s research teams

The Ontario government announces funding to support new Queen’s research teams and laboratory operations.

A total of 17 Queen’s researchers are receiving a combined $2,942,914 in funding from the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Research Fund – Research Infrastructure programs and Early Researcher Awards – efforts designed to bolster the capacity of research teams and laboratories.

“Today’s funding announcement speaks not only to the ongoing research excellence demonstrated by our faculty, but also to the future potential their work holds in addressing exciting challenges in Ontario,” says John Fisher, Vice-Principal (Research), Queen’s University. “On behalf of the university, I would like to thank the Government of Ontario for continuing to support the growth of research capacity and innovation at Queen’s, and at institutions across the province.”

Three of the winning faculty members received Early Researcher Awards, providing up to $140,000 to support the creation and operation of new research teams. This funding is used to hire personnel to assist in research experiments, including undergraduates, graduate students, technicians, associates, and others.

Additionally, 14 researchers were awarded support through the ORF Small Infrastructure Fund which helps cover the cost of acquiring or renewing research equipment, specimens, computer software, and other operational technology for laboratories.

“Innovative research is essential for future economic growth and I am thrilled with the investments being made in projects in Kingston and across Ontario,” says Sophie Kiwala, MPP for Kingston and the Islands. “The world-class research being conducted at Queen’s University is an immense source of pride for myself and our region and I look forward to seeing the results of this funding.”

ORF - Early Researcher Award recipients:

Frances Bonier (Biology) – $140,000
Carlos Escobedo (Chemical Engineering) -- $140,000
Madhuri Koti (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) – $140,000

ORF - Small Infrastructure Fund recipients:

Janet Dancey (Canadian Cancer Trials Group), David LeBrun (Pathology and Molecular Medicine), Lois Shepherd (Pathology and Molecular Medicine) – $197,065
Claire Davies (Mechanical and Materials Engineering) – $125,000
Peter Davies (Biochemistry), John Allingham (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) – $100,192
Amer Johri (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) – $120,000
Lysa Lomax (Medicine) – $139,914
Susan Lord (Film and Media), Dylan Robinson (Art History; Cultural Studies), Rosaleen Hill (Art History and Art Conservation) – $400,000
Jacqueline Monaghan (Biology) – $125,641
Lois Mulligan (Queen’s Cancer Research Institute), Andrew Craig (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences), Peter Greer (Pathology and Molecular Medicine)  – $124,040
Diane Orihel (Biology/School of Environmental Studies) – $167,602
Michael Rainbow (Mechanical and Materials Engineering) – $400,000
David Rival (Mechanical and Materials Engineering) – $76,520
R. Kerry Rowe (Civil Engineering) – $316,000
Graeme Smith (Obstetrics and Gynecology), Amer Johri (Medicine) – $63,540
Zhongwen Yao (Mechanical and Materials Engineering) – $167,400

More information is available on the Ontario Research Fund – Early Researcher Awards and Research Infrastructure Funds websites.

Investing in innovative ideas

Teams of Queen’s and St. Lawrence College students will be receiving internships and other supports to implement their city-building ideas.

Mayor Bryan Paterson (MA’01, PhD’07) poses with Gurraj Ahluwalia, Nick Kuhl, Anna Geladi, and Mac Fitzgerald, members of a winning team from the Master of Planning program. The team pitched a winter cycling network that includes a pilot project for a two-way bike lane along Johnson Street. (Supplied Photo)
Mayor Bryan Paterson (MA’01, PhD’07) poses with Gurraj Ahluwalia, Nick Kuhl, Anna Geladi, and Mac Fitzgerald, members of a winning team from the Master of Planning program. The team pitched a winter cycling network that includes a pilot project for a two-way bike lane along Johnson Street. (Supplied Photo)

The City of Kingston will be investing in projects to potentially make it easier to get around town, and make it easier to find out what’s going on.

On Friday, the winners of the first Mayor’s Innovation Challenge were announced. This new competition was designed to garner innovative ideas which could address local challenges. Postsecondary students from across Kingston were invited to submit proposals and pitch before a panel of judges for the chance to win support for their ideas.  

“We saw wonderfully creative and innovative ideas come forward through this inaugural Mayor’s Innovation Challenge and I am looking forward to seeing the winning ideas come to life through the internships awarded,” says Mayor Bryan Paterson (MA’01, PhD’07). “We have so much talent in our community and I am proud this challenge has allowed us to showcase and harness this talent to address challenges we face while supporting and launching the careers of youth in Kingston.” 

A team of four Master of Planning students took away the top prize through their proposal for a pilot project to develop a multi-seasonal cycling network. The student team, including Anna Geladi, Nick Kuhl, Mac Fitzgerald and Gurraj Ahluwalia, will receive internships with the City, a $10,000 budget and support from City staff to help implement their project.

“The four of us came together to take on the Mayor’s Challenge because of our shared passion for active transportation,” says Mr. Fitzgerald. “It is both exciting and validating to have won the competition, knowing how much work we put into our proposal and that our ideas resonated with the judges and the City. We are all looking forward to seeing some of our suggestions come to fruition this summer and eager to become even more involved with active transportation planning in Kingston through our internship.”

Two proposals, each focused on enhancing local attractions and learning opportunities for youth through event applications, tied to win the Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI) internship sponsored by the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC). During the pitches, it became clear that there were strong synergies and complementary strengths between the two groups, and the judging panel encouraged them to merge and join the QICSI program as a team of four.

These teams, consisting of Queen’s students Skyler McArthur-O’Blenes (Artsci’19) and William Medeiros (Sc’18) and St. Lawrence College students Mark Mathieu and Brandon Crausen, will receive $7,000 stipends per team member for the summer and $4,000 in seed capital for their ideas.

“I'm incredibly excited to have the opportunity and the resources to realize an idea that just a few months ago was nothing more than brainstorming over paper plates of pad thai,” says Mr. Medeiros. “I'm incredibly appreciative to the judges for recognizing the synergy between the original teams and proposing a merger. I think we'll do great work together.”

James McLellan, Academic Director for the DDQIC, was one of the judges and says there was a palpable dynamic of excitement and sense of purpose in council chambers during the pitches.

“I’m very pleased and excited to be working with the City of Kingston on these social innovation projects,” says James McLellan, Academic Director for the DDQIC. “As a “townie” myself, I am impressed and grateful for the commitment that Mayor Patterson has shown to advancing innovation and entrepreneurship in the Kingston region, and I’m excited to see the close collaboration with the City of Kingston growing.”

The Mayor’s Innovation Challenge was made possible through partnership and collaboration with Bell Canada, Queen’s Centre for Advanced Computing, the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre, the Queen’s Centre for Social Impact, Royal Military College, and St. Lawrence College.

Queen’s Engineering Outreach team teaching digital skills

The program has received new CanCode funding to support visits to local schools and First Nations communities.

Kingston and the Islands MP Mark Gerretsen and local grade school students try their hand at some robotics experiments in the Queen's Tinker Trailer. (University Communications)
Kingston and the Islands MP Mark Gerretsen and local grade school students try their hand at some robotics experiments in the Queen's Tech n' Tinker Trailer, a mobile education unit operated by the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. (University Communications)

Local youth and schools will continue to benefit from technology workshops offered through Queen’s thanks to a recent federal government funding announcement.

Actua, a Canadian charity focused on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education among youth, was the organization that received the largest amount of funding under CanCode, an initiative of the Canadian Ministry of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development. As a member of the Actua network, Queen’s Engineering Outreach will receive $230,000 over the next 18 months.

On hand to celebrate the funding announcement were representatives from Actua, and Kingston and the Islands MP Mark Gerretsen.

“CanCode is our Government’s down payment on Canada’s future. This program will help ensure more young Canadians, of all backgrounds, have the right skills for the jobs of the future. Coding and digital literacy will be the bedrock of future jobs and further study in high-demand STEM fields,” says Mr. Gerretsen.

Representatives from Rideau Heights Public School and Queen's Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science celebrate funding which will allow Queen's to continue to visit schools like Rideau Heights and offer science, technology, engineering, and math programming. (University Communications)
Representatives from Rideau Heights Public School, Actua, and Queen's Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science celebrate the CanCode funding announcement. This funding will allow Queen's to continue to visit schools like Rideau Heights and offer science, technology, engineering, and math programming. (University Communications)

The funds will be used to provide free workshops to grade school students to help them build their digital skills, and expose them to technologies such as coding and robotics. The workshops are offered multiple times per week across the greater Kingston area, and the funding will support programming through to the summer of 2019.

“On behalf of Queen’s, we thank Actua and the federal government for this funding, which will benefit thousands of students in our area,” says Scott Compeau, Outreach Lead with the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

“This funding will allow us to continue to partner not only with local schools but also with First Nations communities to engage students in science, technology, engineering, and math-related learning activities,” says Melanie Howard, Director of Aboriginal Access to Engineering.

The Queen’s Engineering Outreach team recently won the “Experience Award: Indigenous Youth in STEM” from Actua. For more information on the Aboriginal Access to Engineering program at Queen’s, visit www.aboriginalaccess.ca

Building understanding of nature’s power at water’s edge

Ryan Mulligan, Assistant Professor in Civil Engineering
Queen’s civil engineering professor Ryan Mulligan is a coastal engineer who specializes in waves, storms, and changes to shorelines. (University Communications) 

The 2017 hurricane season is one for the record books. A seemingly relentless line of storms tore, one after another, across the Caribbean and into the Gulf Coast. Seventeen of them were strong enough to be named, with the strongest – Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Nate – conspiring to inflict an estimated 350 deaths and some $400 billion in property damage.

“Climate change is driving sea level rise that will directly impact coastal areas,” says Ryan Mulligan, Assistant Professor in Civil Engineering. “But the oceans are also getting warmer and it’s the heat energy in them that drives the intensity and frequency of tropical cyclones. The warmer the ocean, the more fuel hurricanes have, the farther north they can go, the longer in the year they can last, and the more intense they can be.”

Dr. Mulligan is a coastal engineer who specializes in waves, storms and changes to shorelines. He works closely with Queen’s civil engineering professor Andy Take to study tsunamis generated by landslides, and Queen’s civil engineering professor Leon Boegman to study wave and water level effects on Lake Ontario. Dr. Mulligan also recently earned a grant from the US Office of Naval Research to study waves and sediment movement at a US Army Corps of Engineers site in North Carolina. He plans to continue all that work, and investigate the future effects of hurricanes on coastlines.

“I’m interested in the physics of the situation, how waves behave, and everything we do as engineers is driven by a societal need,” he says. “Hurricanes can destroy roads and pipelines, knock buildings into the ocean, and scour through barrier islands that separate bodies of salt and fresh water. All this can cost lives and billions in property damage and economic loss, not just in the Caribbean and the U.S. but in the Atlantic provinces, Quebec, and Ontario, too.”

So, what does Dr. Mulligan plan to do to help prepare for more frequent and intense storms in the future?

“The first thing we should do, and the direction I’m going, is more research into potential impacts,” he says. “We’re using new computer models to predict outcomes in a particular area from stronger and stronger storms. We explore hypothetical scenarios and develop mitigation strategies after validating computer models using data we gather during real-world storms.” 

As those computer models become more and more reliable, engineers and planners will have more information to help inform decisions about emergency preparedness and where to – and where not to – build buildings and infrastructure. It’s research that will help people to adapt more quickly and safely to the coming realities of climate change.

Mulligan also mentors or co-mentors a group of graduate students who work on various projects, including Queen’s PhD candidates Gemma Bullard and Ramy Marmoush, and master’s candidates Alexander Rey and Fatemeh Gholamimahyari. He also works with undergraduate research students and will be looking to recruit more graduate students in the fall.

“My previous students work at Baird and other consulting firms in Canada, the U.S. and the UK,” says Mulligan. “All my grad students who have finished have gone on to careers as coastal engineers. That means there’s a need for that kind of training. The students who come into our civil engineering program and decide to do research in coastal engineering wind up getting specialized jobs in the field they want and our society needs, which is a great thing.”

This article was first published on the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science website.

Bringing Queen’s engineering students together

The Innovation and Wellness Centre will be home to a range of engineering facilities, including labs, teaching studios, and a common room.

Engineering and Applied Science students will be spending a lot of time in the Innovation and Wellness Centre (IWC) when it opens next academic year.

The Innovation and Wellness Centre will feature a common lounge for undergraduate mechanical and materials engineering students, something that they have not had before. (Supplied Photo)
The Innovation and Wellness Centre will feature a common lounge for undergraduate mechanical and materials engineering students, something that they have not had before. (Supplied Photo)

The new facility will bring together several mechanical and materials engineering program areas on campus into one new and modern space. It will also add new resources for undergraduate engineering students.

“This leading-edge facility will uniquely bring together innovative undergraduate teaching facilities, world-leading research facilities, and innovation programming in one space,” says Kevin Deluzio, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. “New undergraduate teaching and design studios, interdisciplinary research clusters, and flexible innovation space within the IWC will bring together professors, undergraduate, and graduate students in a way that builds community and fosters new ideas.”

The engineering facilities will be located on the second and third floors of the IWC. The second floor will feature an interdisciplinary mechatronics laboratory where mechanical and electrical engineers will be able to work together, an undergraduate common room, a rapid prototyping lab, and three engineering teaching studios. Rather than individual seating, the studios emphasize collaboration by grouping students in tables of four to eight. Each studio will accommodate about 80 students, and the walls can be moved to create one large studio.

On the third floor, you will find the IWC’s research labs. The Beaty Water Research Centre will include four wet labs, where chemical and civil engineering students and faculty will handle hazardous materials and conduct research. The facility will bring together water researchers from across the university, supporting 40 graduate students and 12 faculty members.

The Beaty Water Research Centre will be located on the third floor, featuring labs and meeting space. (Supplied Photo)
The Beaty Water Research Centre will be located on the third floor, featuring labs and meeting space. (Supplied Photo)

The third floor will also include brand new labs dedicated to studying human-machine collaboration. A dozen faculty members will be based out of this space, along with up to 40 graduate students. The Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science is currently recruiting five new academics specializing in disciplines such as machine learning, data mining, and smart prosthetics, aligning with the Principal’s faculty renewal plans.  

What's in the IWC?
A holistic view of wellness
A home for innovation
● Learn more on the Innovation and Wellness Centre website

“This focus on human-machine collaboration will provide an opportunity for Queen’s Engineering and Applied Science to lead the country in this increasingly important field,” says Brian Surgenor, a professor in the Mechanical and Materials Engineering department who is helping to coordinate the design of the IWC’s engineering space. “Coupled with the renovated spaces for our undergraduate students, the IWC will provide a significant enhancement to the student experience and our Faculty’s research leadership.”

The creation of the IWC was made possible through $55 million in philanthropic support, with a significant portion donated by Queen’s engineering alumni. In addition, the federal and Ontario governments contributed a combined total of nearly $22 million to this facility.

To learn more about the Innovation and Wellness Centre, visit the centre’s website. The centre is scheduled to open in Fall 2018.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Engineering and Applied Science