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Engineering and Applied Science

Student outreach draws women to STEM

Queen’s Engineering student volunteers participate in a wide range of community outreach and partnership initiatives throughout the year. 

[Robogals outreach with young girls]
Robogals Operations Manager, Heather Litwiller (Sc’18), works with outreach program participants on programming EV3 Robots.(Supplied Photo)

The Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science (FEAS) dedicates significant resources to initiatives designed specifically to meet and engage community, industry, and alumni partners.

But not every community outreach initiative from Queen’s Engineering is driven by the faculty.

Many initiatives, under the umbrella of the Engineering Society of Queen’s University (EngSoc), have deep community, industry, and alumni connections. These are projects conceived, planned, and executed almost entirely by volunteer students.

One issue on which engineering students are working to affect positive change in the wider world is the gender imbalance in STEM fields, particularly in engineering. There are more students and faculty who are women in Queen’s Engineering than ever before and more are coming every year. Still, only a little more than 30 per cent of first-year students are women, and women account for only about 13 per cent of licensed engineers in Canada. It’s a complicated issue but getting girls and young women interested in STEM fields early is one of the keys to moving those numbers closer to parity.

Queen’s Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) is a student club that, among other things, runs youth outreach programs on campus and in primary and secondary schools around Kingston. The club’s activities are specifically designed to get girls interested in STEM before they start making decisions about what to do after high school. It’s all about making opportunities for young people to see women as role models, not only for girls, but for boys, teachers, faculty, and for one another.

[QWiSE]
Queen’s WiSE Coordinator Kenzie Spence (Sc’20), and Queen’s WiSE President Beatrice Kaiser (Sc’18) are two of the more than 100 Queen’s WiSE volunteers. (University Communications)

“We received an email from a parent whose child attended one of our school outreach programs,” says Queen’s WiSE President, Beatrice Kaiser (Sc’18). “Her daughter decided after our program that she wants to become a scientist. That’s impactful on me. It’s just so exciting when you hear kids say, ‘I want to be an engineer. I want to be scientist.’”

The Queen’s chapter of Robogals is another growing student outreach program. It’s one of more than 30 Robogals chapters around the world that aim to inspire young women into STEM fields through exposure to robotics. Here at Queen’s, Robogals hosts a series of fun workshops in which local kids learn some robotics basics, just as first-year Queen’s Engineering students do, with Lego EV3 robots. Some of the workshops are all-girls but many are co-educational.

“I was lucky that my parents encouraged me to pursue STEM early on,” says Queen’s Robogals Operations Manager, Heather Litwiller (Sc’18). “But when I was in high school one of the reasons girls chose not to go into computing or physics was because they’re kind of isolating, solitary pursuits. You have to work on them by sitting at a desk by yourself. I love Robogals because it’s social. We give groups of girls robots and laptops and they’re chatting, laughing, working together. STEM becomes a way for them to make friends while at the same time seeing future career options.”

Both WiSE and Robogals liaise regularly with STEM education professionals in FEAS’ full-time youth outreach operation, Connections.

“There’s a lot of new collaboration with Queen’s Engineering Outreach Lead, Scott Compeau,” Kaiser says. “We share school contacts, support, equipment, and information, and we work together to ensure our programs don’t overlap to the point of redundancy.”

In the end, the students of WiSE and Robogals are working to tear down barriers to entry in STEM fields, not to create new ones or to foment division. Perhaps the best outcome will be that gender becomes irrelevant to academic or aspirational potential in STEM.

“Our main mission is to get more women involved in STEM,” says Queen’s Robogals President, Madeline MacLean (Sc’18). “We don’t exclude boys. We have guys on our executive every year and it’s important for guys to be welcome here. It’s almost a solidarity thing.

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

Virtual exhibit examines the digital future

Showcasing innovative Queen's technology projects that could change the way we live.

Close-up of hands using computer (courtesy of Glenn Cartens Peters, Unsplash)

Last fall, experts and audience members gathered at Queen’s University to discuss the future of research, knowledge sharing, and the student learning experience in the digital age at the first-ever Principal’s Symposium.

Hosted by Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf, and emceed by CBC Radio’s Nora Young, the symposium examined advances in artificial intelligence, data analytics, and data governance, as well as how ongoing digital transformation is influencing post-secondary students, Indigenous communities, and people in developed and developing countries.

“The speakers and panelists at our symposium shared a broad and detailed picture of how digital innovation is reshaping learning and discovery both here in Canada and abroad,” says Principal Woolf. “With their insights in mind, as well as those being revealed by researchers and students at Queen’s, we can build upon our institution’s digital framework and take advantage of the opportunities future technologies will surely present.”

The symposium also marked the launch of a supporting virtual exhibit – Imagining Our Digital Future – to highlight digital planning initiatives currently underway at Queen’s and in the Kingston community.

“For decades, Queen’s faculty and students have been leveraging technologies to advance learning and research,” says Principal Woolf. “Technological innovation will continue to change how we live, so our ongoing exploration of this new frontier is not only important, but essential to the future of knowledge, truth, and healthy societal progress. Sharing our ideas and efforts across disciplines will help us stay concerted in our efforts to create an open, inclusive, collaborative, and innovative digital future.”

The virtual exhibit features over 40 digital technology projects happening at Queen’s and in Kingston that have the potential to impact our daily lives, and create previously unimaginable learning and research opportunities across the disciplines – with plans to showcase new projects on an ongoing basis.

Currently, featured projects include everything from “smart” surgical instruments that will help doctors more efficiently remove cancerous tumours and state-of-the-art camera technology used for analyzing human movement, to online database technology used to help preserve Indigenous heritage and art or reunite communities with their history. There are also projects focused on augmented reality and VR simulators, ambient and artificial intelligence, astroparticle physics research, archaeology, surveillance, and more.

Faculty, staff, students, and Kingston community members engaged in interesting digital initiatives are welcomed to submit their project for possible inclusion in the virtual exhibit. Contact the virtual exhibit curators using the online form.

Ignition Week to celebrate new innovation space at Mitchell Hall

Entrepreneurship event marks opening of the Rose Innovation Hub.

SparQ Studios Makerspace inside the Rose Innovation Hub
The Dunin-Deshpande Queen's Innovation Centre's SparQ Studios Makerspace inside the new Rose Innovation Hub.

The Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC) will celebrate the opening of the Rose Innovation Hub at Mitchell Hall with the first-ever Ignition Week – five days of activities for the Queen’s and Kingston community members interested in entrepreneurship and innovation.

“This new facility in Mitchell Hall will allow the DDQIC to strengthen the university’s support of student design and experiential-learning, and foster ideas with incubation and acceleration opportunities,” says Tom Harris, Interim Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). “Exploring the entrepreneurial spirit at Ignition Week will be a fitting way to celebrate the Rose Innovation Hub’s opening, as it captures the essence of our greater pursuit: ideas, innovation, and invention.”

Running Jan. 14-18, Ignition Week’s program will feature sessions on e-commerce, innovation and invention, social entrepreneurship, and more. Established entrepreneurs, including many from start-ups founded by past and present Queen’s students, will also be on hand for lectures, panel discussions, and networking and recruitment sessions.

“Developing an entrepreneurial mindset is critical to getting the most out of higher education,” says Greg Bavington, Executive Director of DDQIC, and Special Advisor to the Provost on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “In today’s rapidly changing markets, with evolving realities around steady and predictable careers, an entrepreneurial education can help students apply their knowledge and skill sets in new ways, to better understand and solve real-world problems, and to value teamwork, risk and resilience.”

Ignition Week events will take place throughout the Rose Innovation Hub facilities to showcase its new spaces, including the event commons, 10 new group rooms for early-stage innovators, the LinQLab workshop space with modern multimedia capabilities, and the SparQ Studios makerspace – equipped with 3D scanners, 3D printers, laser cutting, wood and metal working, and more.

“From fundraising and planning to construction project management, the Queen’s community worked for years to make a home for innovation on campus a reality,” says Mr. Bavington. “Throughout this process, we have seen a pent-up energy and demand among entrepreneurs at Queen’s to put the Rose Innovation Hub to work supporting ventures that go beyond campus to create a societal impact. We’re excited to now be able to welcome students, staff, faculty, and the Kingston community into just such a space.”

As part of Mitchell Hall, DDQIC will now be housed alongside a number of campus services and initiatives at Queen’s, enhancing potential for new collaborations, connections, and opportunities. Located at the corner of Union and Division streets on the former site of the Physical Education Centre, Mitchell Hall was made possible through over $50 million in philanthropic support. The federal and Ontario governments also contributed $22 million to the project.

Learn more about Mitchell Hall and all of its current and future tenants, on the website. The building’s formal opening ceremonies will be held on March 30.

An inside look at Mitchell Hall

Kingston and the Islands MP Mark Gerretsen visits campus for a tour of Mitchell Hall.

  • John Witjes (Associate Vice Principal (Facilities)) points out architectural details inside Mitchell Hall to MP Mark Gerretsen.
    John Witjes (Associate Vice Principal (Facilities)) points out architectural details inside Mitchell Hall to MP Mark Gerretsen.
  • Kevin Deluzio (Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Sciences) shows MP Mark Gerretsen one of the Active Learning Classrooms on the second floor of Mitchell Hall.
    Kevin Deluzio (Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Sciences) shows MP Mark Gerretsen one of the Active Learning Classrooms on the second floor of Mitchell Hall.
  • The original brickwork of the Physical Education Centre facade, as seen from the second floor of Mitchell Hall.
    The original brickwork of the Physical Education Centre facade, as seen from the second floor of Mitchell Hall.
  • MP Gerretsen views the Mitchell Hall Commons from a second floor workspace. The Commons provides a new campus event space - for guest speakers and other events.
    MP Gerretsen views the Mitchell Hall Commons from a second floor workspace. The Commons provides a new campus event space - for guest speakers and other events.
  • MP Gerretsen and AVP John Witjes discuss the restoration of the exposed brick behind the building's facade. The stone face of the original Physical Education Centre was restored and incorporated into the new facility's design
    MP Gerretsen and AVP John Witjes discuss the restoration of the exposed brick behind the building's facade. The stone face of the original Physical Education Centre was restored and incorporated into the new facility's design
  • MP Gerretsen, Mark Green (Professor and Vice-Dean, FEAS) and Ann Tierney (Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs) discuss the mixture of new wellness and research facilities inside Mitchell Hall.
    MP Gerretsen, Mark Green (Professor and Vice-Dean, FEAS) and Ann Tierney (Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs) discuss the mixture of new wellness and research facilities inside Mitchell Hall.

Kingston and the Islands Member of Parliament, Mark Gerretsen (Artsci'06), visited campus on Friday, Dec. 7 for a tour of the newly-opened Mitchell Hall. Accompanied by Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs Ann Tierney, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science Kevin Deluzio, Professor and Vice Dean (Graduate Studies and Recruitment) Mark Green, and  Associate Vice Principal (Facilities) John Witjes, Gerretsen toured the building's active learning classrooms, the revitalized Bartlett Gym, the new home of Student Wellness Services, and the third floor laboratory spaces.

Mitchell Hall opened to students on Monday, Dec. 3. Over the months of December and January, more facilities will open their doors, including the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC), Faith and Spiritual Life, and Student Community Relations, which are all moving from the John Deutsch University Centre (JDUC) to Mitchell Hall, as well as the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC). A grand opening ceremony is scheduled for Spring 2019.

Mr. Gerretsen last toured Mitchell Hall (then named the Innovation and Wellness Centre) in late 2017 – early in the facility's construction. In October 2016, the Government of Canada invested $31 million in two Queen's campus projects – including Mitchell Hall – through the Postsecondary Institutions Strategic Infrastructure Fund.

Engineers keep memories alive

Debut of choral piece helps mark National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

  • Placng a rose in the vase
    An engineering student places a rose in a vase after reading a brief outline of one of the victims of the Dec. 6, 1989 killings of 14 women at l’École Polytechnique. (University Communications)
  • Rose and Candle ceremony
    A group of 13 engineering students and a staff member represented the 14 victims of the Dec. 6, 1989 killings of 14 women at l’École Polytechnique during Friday's memorial ceremony. (University Communications)
  • Choir Performance
    EngChoir debuts the choral piece "Chrysalides", co-written by fourth-year engineering student and EngChoir Director Monet Slinowsky, right. (University Communications)
  • Lynann Clapham
    Professor and Associate Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science Lynann Clapham talks about her own experiences as an engineer, a field often dominated by men. (University Communications)
  • Tiffanie Bankosky
    Tiffanie Bankosky, a fourth-year engineering student and ceremony organizer, speaks during the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. (University Communications)

In a solemn ceremony on Thursday, the Queen’s community remembered the 14 women killed at Montreal’s l’École Polytechnique on Dec. 6 1989.

During the annual event, organized and hosted by the Engineering Society of Queen’s University, 13 female engineering students and one staff member held red roses, lit white candles, and read a brief outline of each of the victims.

A new addition to the ceremony was the EngChoir’s debut performance of the choral piece Chrysalides, co-written by fourth-year engineering student and EngChoir Director Monet Slinowsky. Read this Gazette article for more about the creation of the piece.

The event was attended by dozens of Queen’s community members, including students, faculty, staff, and administration members.

Twelve female engineering students, a nurse, and a faculty member were killed in the 1989 massacre. Three years after the attack, Dec. 6 was declared the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

A fitting tribute

Queen's EngChoir debuts new choral piece commemorating victims of École Polytechnique massacre.

[EngChoir]
The EngChoir will debut a new choral piece at the National Day of Action to Prevent Violence Against Women. (Supplied Photo)

In a special tribute, the Queen's University EngChoir is debuting a new choral piece at the National Day of Action to Prevent Violence Against Women. The memorial on Dec. 6 commemorates the 14 lives lost at the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre. Of the women who died that day, 12 were engineering students.

Fourth-year engineering student and EngChoir Director of Performance Monet Slinowsky worked with Canadian composer David W. Roe and Canadian poet Grace Butler Difalco to write the choral piece Chrysalides. For Slinowsky, the song has very deep meaning.

“It represents the women that died during the massacre as the pupa in a cocoon just before it emerges as a beautiful butterfly,” she explains. “These women will never have the chance to spread their wings to become butterflies. The chance was stolen from them.”

Slinowsky met Dr. Roe through a Facebook community for choir leaders. The retired high school music teacher whose compositions have been performed across North America contacted her and asked if he could compose a song for the event. He also suggested he could collaborate with Difalco as he had worked with her in the past.

Difalco is the author of three books of poetry and her one poem Keepers of the Light was set to music and performed for Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip during their 1997 visit to Newfoundland.

“When I first heard it, I thought it was beautiful and it has really resonated with the choir,” Slinowsky says. “We’ve been working hard to learn the piece and everyone has been very motivated. We are now putting on the final touches.”

The public is welcome at the memorial service Thursday, Dec. 6 starting at 1 pm in Beamish-Munro Hall.

Bridging the gap between science and art

A lab affiliated with the Beaty Water Research Centre participated in a creative collaboration with Art the Science.

[Mumford Research Group and artist Owen Fernley]
Artist Owen Fernley participated in a residency at the lab of Kevin Mumford, a professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and a researcher affiliated with the Beaty Water Research Centre. From left: Matan Freedman, Owen Fernley, Nick Pease, Kevin Mumford, Caroline Wisheart, and Cole Van De Ven. (Supplied Photo)

A recent creative collaboration at a lab affiliated with the Beaty Water Research Centre is showing that when art meets science, good things happen.

Beaty Water Research CentreEarlier this year, Kevin Mumford, an associate professor and researcher in the Department of Civil Engineering, hosted artist, geophysicist, and Queen’s alumnus Owen Fernley (Sc’01) at his environmental engineering lab. The residency was made possible through a partnership with Art the Science (ATS), a non-profit organization founded by Queen’s alumnus Julia Krolik (MSc ’14) that facilitates artist residencies in science research spaces.

The goal of the residency is to give artists the opportunity to explore and expand their practice while immersed in a research environment while, at the same time, providing scientists with an innovative outlet for sharing their research with the public. The second phase of the program engages the public through physical and online exhibitions.

“I’m always interested in creative solutions to problems. A chance to have an artist work alongside researchers in my lab sounded like an excellent opportunity to tap into a different creative perspective,” Dr. Mumford says. “It was also an opportunity to talk to an artist about how the results of science and engineering research, even the process of science and engineering research, could be better communicated to people outside of the lab and outside of the discipline.”

Fernley specializes in creative coding, where computer programming is used as a medium for artistic and creative purposes.  

During his residency, Fernley had to quickly gain an understanding of the lab’s various research projects. Dr. Mumford’s research is focused on the fate of hazardous chemicals when they are discharged into the environment, particularly subsurface environments such as soil and groundwater, as well as the development and optimizing of clean-up technologies. The group’s research projects include physical models for liquids and gases moving through porous media and computer models that describe those processes and apply them to new situations.

Fernley interacted with lab members asking questions and engaging in discussions. He then absorbed the knowledge he gained and experimented with ways he could incorporate what he learned into his artwork. He became most inspired by the negative pore space between sand grains.

“In the lab we observed gas as it flowed through packed sand, leaving behind intricate branching pathways. I learned at the residency that when spherical shapes are packed together, the space between is constructed from only six known configurations. Combining them together, you get these unique pathways between the sand,” he says. “Of course, the shape of each sand grain, the viscosity of the gas, and the shifting of the grains all change the paths further, but I wanted to explore what the negative space means and how it could be approximated through creative coding.”

Pre- and post-residency interviews, including a daily artist video diary, were completed as part of the evaluation process led by Art the Science’s Program Evaluation Officer Catherine Lau, to better understand the value of the scientist-artist collaboration. A report summarizing evaluation findings is available on Art the Science’s website.

For Dr. Mumford the residency made it clear that an artist can contribute to the research environment, particularly by offering a new perspective for scientists and encouraging creative thinking in the lab. He hopes this residency would stimulate discussion and creative ideas, thereby fostering better problem solving.

“The entire experience was really interesting and really positive. I especially liked listening to Owen get excited about what he was seeing in the lab, how he was piecing it together, and what aspects of the work were jumping out at him artistically,” he says. “I’m very excited to see what he will create based on this experience with us.”

In addition to valuable discussions, Fernley’s presence prompted conversations with researchers outside the lab who were curious to learn about this interdisciplinary collaboration.

Fernley is currently working on the final artwork, titled Between the Sand, which will be presented at Art the Science’s digital exhibition launch on Feb. 27. This event will feature a panel discussion (including Krolik, Fernley, Dr. Mumford, and his graduate students) and mark the digital release of the research-based artwork into Art the Science’s Polyfield Gallery.

In addition, an interactive installation of Between the Sand, which places the audience inside the experiment, will occur at Science Rendezvous on May 11, in Kingston. 

A national honour

Three Queen’s faculty members now invested as Officers of the Order of Canada.

  • Kerry Rowe promoted to Officer of the Order of Canada
    Kerry Rowe, a professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and former Vice-Principal (Research), is congratulated by Governor General Julie Payette upon being invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada. (Photo by Sgt. Johanie Maheu, Rideau Hall. © OSGG, 2018)
  • Elizabeth Eisenhauer promoted to Officer of the Order of Canada
    Professor Emerita Elizabeth Eisenhauer, the former director of the Canadian Cancer Trials Group, shakes hands with Governor General Julie Payette after being invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada. (Photo by Sgt. Johanie Maheu, Rideau Hall. © OSGG, 2018)
  • Paul Armstrong promoted to Officer of the Order of Canada
    Governor General Julie Payette congratulates Paul Armstrong, an adjunct professor in the School of Medicine, after he was invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada. (Photo by Sgt. Johanie Maheu, Rideau Hall. © OSGG, 2018)

The Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, has recognized three Queen’s faculty members for their outstanding contributions to the country. Announced as recipients in January 2018, both Elizabeth Eisenhauer and R. Kerry Rowe were invested as Officers of the Order of Canada this month in Ottawa, while Paul Armstrong received the honour in September.

The Order of Canada is one of the country’s highest civilian honours and it recognizes those who make extraordinary contributions to the nation as exemplified in its motto Desiderantes Meliorem Patriam – “They desire a better country.” Since its creation in 1967, about 7,000 people have received the honour.

According to the Office of the Governor General, the Queen’s faculty members are recipients for the following reasons:

Elizabeth Ann Eisenhauer, O.C. (MD’76, Professor Emerita, Department of Oncology, former Director, NCIC Clinical Trials Group Investigational New Drug Program)

“Elizabeth Eisenhauer is an international leader in clinical cancer research. Professor emerita at Queen’s University and former director of the NCIC Clinical Trials Group Investigational New Drug Program, she has played an influential role in helping shape cancer treatment through key advancements in clinical trials. Notably, she led the design of criteria to evaluate the response of tumours to therapy, and evaluated numerous new drugs now used routinely in cancer treatment. Renowned for her experience and expertise, she has served on numerous international professional and institutional committees, benefiting oncology research worldwide.”

R. Kerry Rowe, O.C. (Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, former Vice-Principal (Research))

“Kerry Rowe is a passionate leader in the safeguarding of Canada’s natural resources. A professor at Queen’s University and a pioneer in geoenvironmental engineering, he is responsible for many of the designs, techniques and materials now used to manage waste disposal in the developed world. His seminal research on landfills has led to critical advancements in protecting land and water from contamination. Renowned for his dedication to the advancement of this field, he has served at the helm of numerous professional societies and institutional committees.”

Paul W. Armstrong, O.C. (Arts’63, MD’66 – Adjunct Professor, Queen’s School of Medicine)

“Paul Armstrong is a pioneering investigative and clinical cardiologist whose work in acute cardiac care has had global reach. A professor at the University of Alberta, he has conducted transformative research in the treatment of acute heart attacks and was instrumental in implementing this pre-hospital treatment in Alberta’s ambulances, which is credited with increasing patient survival rates. He is also recognized for his leadership in health care institutions, including as founding president of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and as director of the Canadian VIGOUR Centre, an international enterprise that conducts global-scale clinical trials in cardiovascular medicine.

For more information on other Order of Canada recipients with Queen’s connections see the Queen's Gazette and the Governor General's website.   

Transforming Grant Hall into Casino Royale

  • Engineering students transform Grant Hall into Casino Royale for the Science Formal.
    Students from the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science are busy transforming Grant Hall into Casino Royale for the annual Science Formal fundraiser.
  • Engineering students work on structure
    Dozens of volunteer workers put many hours in planning and constructing the centrepiece structure for the Science Formal in Grant Hall.
  • Painting the structure
    An engineering student works at painting the centrepiece structure for the Science Formal. Tours are available on Saturday from noon to 3 pm.

Grant Hall has temporarily been turned into a construction site and by Saturday morning the venerable campus venue will be transformed into scene worthy of the Las Vegas Strip.

An annual fundraiser for the United Way of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox, and Addington, the Science Formal returns for a 116th edition on Saturday, Nov. 3. Grant Hall has literally been abuzz for the past few days as students from the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science have been hard at work planning, preparing, and building the decorations, including the extravagant centerpiece structure.

This year’s theme is ‘Casino Royale.’

While the project is focused on creating an atmosphere for the celebration, it is also an opportunity for engineering students to put their education to work and pick up some new skills.

"Construction Chair Shawn Kollaard has designed almost entirely the structure that’s being built,” says Stephen Boyd (Sc’19), Science Formal Convener.” That involves doing point loads, gravity loads, lateral design and much more. Many of our construction managers have done small scope projects but have never worked on anything of this scale, so they learned how to read CAD drawings, specifically how to build a structure like this and how to meet every specification to make sure the structure goes up, meets building codes, fire code, and every other stringent code that we have to follow so that we can have people on the structure.”

The project also has been a good learning experience in managing teams and fostering collaboration among the dozens of volunteer workers, Boyd adds.

Ahead of the celebration, Grant Hall will be opened to the public for tours on Saturday, from Noon to 3 pm. Entry is by donation in support of the United Way KFLA.

For more information about the Queen’s Science Formal, visit scienceformal.ca

Gaining experience in the workplace

At Queen’s, education is always happening inside and outside of classrooms, lecture halls and labs.

Through the Queen’s University Internship Program (QUIP), second- and third-year students can take part in 12 to 16 month experiential learning opportunities with partner employers on campus, in Kingston, and across Canada. The program is part of the university’s focus on growing experiential education opportunities. 

[Hind Mukhtar]
Hind Mukhtar, a fourth-year student in electrical engineering, right, recently completed a 16-month internship at Honeywell Aerospace in Kanata. She took part in the experiential learning opportunity through the Queen’s University Internship Program (QUIP). (Supplied Photo) 

For participating students in the Faculty of Arts and Science, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and in the School of Computing, an internship is an opportunity to build skills through work experience. Interns have completed a range of roles in fields including biotechnology, research and development, geographic information systems, software development, marketing and sales, and project management. 

QUIP continues to grow in popularity with approximately 250 students currently on internships, more than triple the number just a few years ago. 

“There’s growing interest in QUIP because it provides students the opportunity to take what they are learning through their studies and apply it to the workplace,” says Melissa Duggan, QUIP Internship Coordinator. “The internships also give students a chance to return to their studies with renewed energy and a deeper connection to course materials.”

Hind Mukhtar, a fourth-year student in electrical engineering, recently completed a 16-month internship at Honeywell Aerospace in Kanata. She took part in the program with the aim of gaining applicable work experience prior to graduation.

And that’s exactly what she got.

“I learned a lot of technical and professional skills. The technical skills that I gained from my internship will be beneficial while working on my fourth year capstone project. I also got a better idea of the field of work that I would like to pursue after graduation,” Mukhtar says. “Personally, I found this experience very crucial to my undergraduate career. I got a feel of what it’s like to be an engineer. I was able to apply all the concepts that I’m learning in school to real world applications.” 

Kelsey Sleep Jennings has returned for her fourth year in Global Development Studies after working for 12 months as a digital research intern with the Cultural Services Department of the City of Kingston. One of the main projects she was involved in was developing a three dimensional interpretive tour of City Hall. The work involved extensive research and gathering of information as she developed the model over a period of four months. 

Through this work she has not only gained valuable experience but also a better view of what direction her future career path may take.

“I think experiential learning opportunities are incredibly important for post-secondary students. They really give you the chance to break out of the university bubble and experience life and your education far beyond the limits of a classroom setting,” she says. “Without these experiences I think I would still be as lost as to what I wanted to do post-graduation as I was in the summer of 2017. I was able to experience working within a municipal government and really test-drive a career that I was interested in.” 

The internships have also proven positive for employers and the university.

“When we hear from former interns, they all say what a transformative experience it has been,” says Cathy Keates, Director of Queen’s Career Services. “At the same time our partner employers tell us about the contributions Queen’s students have brought to the workplace and the projects they are involved in. When the students return, they bring those skills and enriched perspectives to Queen’s.”

Employers continue to hire from Queen’s to tap into a talented pool of students from a diverse array of programs. The 12-16 month model also allows for a relatively high return on investment in training.

For those students interested in registering for the QUIP program for positions starting in May 2019, information sessions are being held this fall. 

For more information about QUIP and how to hire an intern for a role on campus, visit the Career Services website.

 

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