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    Engineering and Applied Science

    Students in engineering, medicine benefit from bursary

    Wasim Hassan’s (Sc’68) journey to Queen’s University and on to an illustrious engineering career began in India, where he was born, continued in Pakistan, where his family fled after the partition of India, and culminated with his education in Canada. The stabilizing force behind his career path was his mother, so Mr. Hassan chose to honour her by establishing the Qamar Jehan Hassan Bursary to aid female students studying engineering or medicine.

    “My mother grew up in a time and place where it was difficult for women to get an education, something she felt was so important,” says Mr. Hassan. “She suffered terribly during the partition of India and Pakistan, and I wanted to pay tribute to her.”

    [Wasim Hassan]
    Since 2002, 13 female students have received a bursary established by Wasim Hassan and his wife Helen. (Supplied photo)Caption

    Mr. Hassan came to Queen’s in 1965, on the advice and encouragement of his sister-in-law who had recently completed her degree at Queen’s. He received an engineering degree at Queen’s and began a master’s degree in physics but chose instead to go into industry in order to pay off the mounting student loans. Having had his choices restricted by student loans is one of the motivations behind the bursary.

    His first job after Queen’s was with Ontario Hydro where he stayed for 14 years. He then moved to the provincial Ministry of Energy, followed by a position with the Municipal Electric Association, until 2000. He retired at age 52 and became a consultant. During the 1990s, Mr. Hassan also served on the OMERS Board of Directors, an Order-in-Council appointment by the Ontario government, and was chairman of its Investment Committee.

    In 1975, he married Helen, a PhD (Comparative Literature) candidate from the University of Toronto. They have three daughters, Alia, Aisha and Anisah. All three are Queen’s graduates as are a number of Mr. Hassan’s nieces and nephews. Thirteen family members have attended Queen’s, with at least one attending each year since 1984.

    In “retirement”, the Hassans split their time between their homes in Oakville and in Cody, Wyoming, where they manage Helen’s family ranch.

    Mr. Hassan speaks fondly of his time at Queen’s noting how much it has changed since he graduated in 1968.

    “Leonard Hall didn’t allow women when I was there, now everything is co-ed,” he exclaims.

    He believes, however, that the academic excellence that was expected of him remains a pillar of a Queen’s education.

    The Qamar Jehan Hassan Bursary was established in May 2002 and is awarded on the basis of financial need to full-time female students in their third or fourth year of studies in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science or the School of Medicine. To date, 13 students have received the bursary.

    Student assistance is a priority of the $500-million Initiative Campaign and to date, benefactors have given more than $70 million for this purpose.

    GeoEngineering Centre's work making a ‘real impact’

    [Dr. Kerry Rowe]
    Kerry Rowe and his colleagues at the GeoEngineering Centre are studying the use and performance of geosynthetics and geomembranes, such as those used to prevent the escape of contaminants from landfills. (University Communications)

    For Kerry Rowe, a fellow of the world’s oldest and most prestigious scientific society (the Royal Society based in London UK, 1660), and his colleagues in the GeoEngineering Centre, winning awards for their research is nice. However, the real reward, says the professor in the Department of Civil Engineering, is knowing that the work they are doing is having a lasting impact on people’s lives and the environment.

    “While we write papers and win awards, really the most important aspect, at least to me, is the fact that people are using it,” says Dr. Rowe, the Canada Research Chair in geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering. “It’s affecting regulations around the world. Regulators are using it. Manufacturers are using it. Designers are using it. Manufacturers are using our research as a basis for improving their products. We find something’s not working so well and the manufacturer is going to find a way to make it work better.

    “That’s the real impact of our work. It’s actually being used to protect the environment.”

    Dr. Rowe’s area of study is focused on the use and performance of geosynthetics and geomembranes such as those used to prevent the escape of contaminants from landfills.

    His most recent award, picked up earlier this year, was for the best paper published in 2013 in Geosynthetics International, published by the Institution of Civil Engineers in the UK and considered one of the top journals in the field.  The paper, which examines methods of increasing how long a plastic geomembrane used in the bottom liner of a landfill will last, was co-authored by Dr. Rowe, Fady Abdelaal, and Richard Brachman, all of Queen’s.

    Dr. Rowe also won the award in 2013 for an article written with Melissa Chappel, Dr. Brachman and Andrew Take. That team then won the International Geosynthetics Society Award and Gold Medal for “outstanding contribution to the understanding of wrinkling in geomembranes” for their pioneering work on this topic.

    Dr. Rowe says he was drawn to the field by Love Canal, an environmental disaster in the 1970s where a neighbourhood was built adhacent to a toxic waste dump in Niagara Falls, NY. While many things have improved around landfills in the decades that have followed, one of the biggest issues he’s found is that many of the design guidelines were developed in the late 1980s and 1990s when very little was known about geomembranes and geosynthetics.

    The GeoEngineering Centre is changing that.

    “What we’ve been doing over the past 20 years is really coming to understand the long-term performance of these materials, because they need to last for many, many decades to centuries, depending on the size of the facility, to provide protection,” he says. “We are, I think it’s fair to say, the world leaders in doing that. We’re interested in the long-term performance through accelerated tests but also field testing. We have field test sites literally from the Arctic to the Antarctic.”

    These are some extreme conditions but geosynthetics and geomembranes often face extreme stresses, increasingly in the mining industry for waste materials and tailings. Some of these mining applications are over 200 metres in height, says Dr. Rowe. They are utterly massive.

    “The vast majority of geosynthetics are now sold in the mining industry,” he says. “We are working on heap leach pads and the selection of appropriate geomembranes because they are being used, but no one, until we started doing it, was doing the research.”

    The research is informing designers and helping manufacturers create new products with better performing characteristics.

    “It’s protection of the health and safety of the environment that is the motivation for our work. What we are trying to do is prevent Love Canal-type situations from arising,” he says. “We’ve got a fantastic group of people, in terms of faculty and really tremendous post-docs and graduate students that we have working on this.”

    Students test ideas at Startup Summit

    • [Queen's Startup Summit]
      Teams of student participants work on a project during the Queen's Startup Summit, which was held Jan. 30-Feb. 1.
    • [Queen's Startup Summit]
      Student participants discuss the details of their project during the Queen's Startup Summit, which was held Jan. 30-Feb. 1.
    • [Queen's Startup Summit]
      Participating students were divided into separate groups during the Queen's Startup Summit, which was held Jan. 30-Feb. 1.
    • [Queen's Startup Summit]
      Student participants discuss the details of their project during the Queen's Startup Summit, which was held Jan. 30-Feb. 1.
    • [Queen's Startup Summit]
      Teams of student participants work on a project during the Queen's Startup Summit, which was held Jan. 30-Feb. 1.

    Undergraduates with an entrepreneurial spirit are gathering on campus this weekend for the Queen’s Startup Summit (QSS). The summit, which runs from Jan. 30-Feb. 1, brings together developers, designers and product managers who are given just two days to build a startup company and pitch their idea to a panel of judges. At stake is a cash prize to help make their idea a reality.

    Klaudia Litwiniuk (Artsci ’15) and QSS co-chair, has been involved with the summit’s executive team since it began in 2013. She says that the intense environment serves as great learning experience for the student-delegates.

    “They’re getting opportunities to network with industry professionals and other students while testing out an idea and seeing how other people react to it,” she says. “Delegates are learning the ins and outs of team dynamics and getting a taste of what larger conferences are like.”  

    After pitching prospective products to the group, delegates vote on their favorites and form teams around the ideas they think have the most potential. After that, it’s two busy days spent making a business model, marketing plan and a prototype of their product. Working out of Goodes Hall, the teams have access to a group of mentors who have volunteered their time to offer guidance and advice to the students. Once time is up, they have 15 minutes to pitch their company to the judges and respond to critiques and questions.

    Though many of the companies created for QSS don’t continue into the future, Ms. Litwiniuk says the benefits are in the experience and through meeting other students. Among QSS’s nearly 90 delegates, 30 are from universities other than Queen’s. 

    “This is more about developing skills than finding a permanent career path,” she says. “That’s why we open the competition to students from first to fourth-year, from all over, we think everyone can make a contribution and learn something.”

    Queen’s Innovation Connector is a founding partner and sponsor of the event which is meant to give students a brief foray into the life of an entrepreneur, along with its rewards, challenges, successes and failures. It’s just one part of an innovation network that includes seminar series, SparQ Labs and the Queen’s Summer Innovation Initiative.  

    More information and the eventual results of the event can be found on its website.

    Good vibrations

     Dr. Alexander Braun.

    Analyzing the vibrations of the Earth – or seismic data processing – is a skill some students in the Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering can add to their resumés thanks to two major software donations valued at $171 million by the donor companies.

    Fifty software licences for SeisSpace/Promax and Decision Space will help train undergraduate students in seismic data processing, interpretation and integration of geological, geophysical and geospatial information. Another 40 licences for VISTA – seismic data processing software – will help develop student skills in advance of their career.

    Michael de Souza, Andrew Verok and Andrew LeRiche, all Sc'15, collaborate using the new software.  

    Seismic data provides information on the Earth’s structure and seismic exploration is the most important tool leading to discoveries of oil and gas reserves.

    “We’re so pleased to be able to offer experience and training with this software to our students,” says Alexander Braun, a professor in the Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering responsible for reaching out and acquiring the donations. 

    Chris Boucher, Sc'14, uses the software to analyze seismic reflection data.. 

    The software is currently installed in the department’s undergraduate computer lab, Rose lab and the newly developed High Performance Computing Geophysics Lab. Courses such as Advanced Applied Geophysics, Geophysics Field School, and Exploration Seismology will all make use of the technology.

    “Both software packages are cutting-edge systems used by major oil and gas corporations as well as natural resources companies. By exposing our students to industry leading software allows them to not only develop their technical skills, but also to promote their future careers in the geosciences sector,” says Dr. Braun.

    Licences for SeisSpace/Promax and Decision Space were donated by Halliburton/Landmark. The licences for the VISTA software were donated by Schlumberger.

    Loran Scholars recognized by Queen’s

    [Loran Scholars]
    Queen's University recognized its Loran Scholars at a special event on Monday. This year's scholars are: front, from left, Emma Clark (Artsci’18) and  Jena Hudson (Artsci’18); back, from left, Sean Davidson (Com’18), Callen Hageman (Sc’18), Terry Zhang (Com’18) and Kit Dashwood (Sc’18). (Photo supplied by Loran Scholars Foundation)

    A group of exceptional Queen’s University students were recognized Monday with a special reception that highlighted their activities.

    Queen’s Loran Scholars gathered along with supporters, mentors and representatives from the university and the Loran Scholars Foundation.

    Only 30 students nationwide each year are selected to receive the multi-year scholarship and of the most recent group, six are attending Queen’s for their first year of studies. Overall, Queen’s has 22 scholars covering such programs as Arts and Science, Commerce and Engineering.

    More than a scholarship, the students create a bond with the foundation, the university and each other says Devon Jackson (Artsci’15) who spoke at the event.

    “It is at Queen’s that we find and nurture our communities and it is through Loran that we are pushed to improve them,” he says. “While there is certainly merit in alone-time, Queen’s and Loran ingrain it in our mindset from the first September that this is the beginning of four years of partnership, not only with them, but with the people you will meet at the university. Both institutions support us, root for us, and challenge us.”

    Thousands of students apply each year and scholars are based on a mix of academic achievement, extracurricular activity and leadership potential. The program provides students with a tuition waiver and a living stipend.

    Loran Scholars also receive personal and professional development opportunities, participating in enterprise-related summer employment, a professional development experience (often an international volunteer experience) and an opportunity in a public policy environment.

    The program also connects the students with a mentor for the duration of their undergraduate studies. The mentors are generally individuals who are influential in communities, government or various disciplines.

    For more on the Loran Scholars Foundation, go to loranscholar.ca


    QSII company brought back to life with a kickstart

    [Northwood Sunglass Co.]
    Stephen Turliuk of Northwood Sunglass Co. sports a pair of the company's sunglasses made from wood and hemp fibre. The company got its start through the Queen's Summer Innovation Initiative in 2013. (Supplied Photo)

    A company that got its start through Queen’s Summer Innovation Initiative (QSII) is looking to get a crowd-funding boost.

    Northwood Sunglass Co., which makes sunglasses from local wood, stone and hemp fibre, has launched a campaign through online crowdsourcing site Kickstarter.

    These glasses are sleek and fashionable, and make a statement.

    That statement, for Northwood, is sustainability.

    As Mitchell Purcell, BSc’13, explains, the wood used to make the glasses comes from sustainably-harvested forests in Ontario and Quebec and is provided from the cut-offs at a skateboard manufacturer. The frames are reinforced with hemp fibre, which makes them extremely durable.

    Reclaimed, repurposed adds up to less waste.

    While there are other wood sunglasses available, many feature exotic hardwoods and can be costly, both for the wallet and the environment.

    “That’s not really the market we are going for,” Mr. Purcell says. “We are going for people who care about the planet. The idea of wooden glasses is something that is sustainable. You don’t want to be cutting down a tree that takes 300 years to grow and is going extinct in some rainforest.”

    After exploring other avenues upon completion of the QSII program, Mr. Purcell and teammate Stephen Turliuk, BSc’13, resurrected Northwood earlier this year. They credit QSII with providing them with the tools they need to start their own business.

    “I love the program,” Mr. Purcell says. “Coming from an engineering background I didn’t have a ton of actual business knowledge. I may have been entrepreneurial but I sort of was stumbling around when I was doing it. It was really nice to get some concrete information from people who have done it before and studied this. Also, the independence you have after the first two weeks was really, really great. They basically said ‘Get in your groups and the rest of the summer is what you make it.’”

    Another key element of QSII is the weekly meetings where the various groups present their products and get feedback from the other members of the program. Mr. Purcell said it helped him learn the value of a team structure in entrepreneurship.

     “It was just really nice how you could really see how a team can benefit the business,” he says. “You are able to split up different tasks to people and we were able to get way more accomplished than on our own.”

    Ahead of the launch, Northwood has focused on raising their profile primarily through social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. Already there are many followers eagerly awaiting a chance to buy their own pair of Northwoods. If all goes well with the Kickstarter campaign, they will get their chance in January.

    For more on QSII and the Queen’s Innovation Connector go to queensinnovation.ca/

    Engineering Faculty launches new site

    With an array of videos featuring work done at their many research centres and facilities, the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science’s new website is answering a question at the forefront of student minds. WhyGradStudies? aims to provide prospective graduate students with the information they need to make an informed decision about pursuing their graduate studies at Queen’s.

    WhyGradStudies? provides information to prospective students about graduate study at Queen's.

    “Our goal is to encourage prospective students to think about engineering graduate studies at Queen’s,” says Brian Surgenor, Vice-Dean (Research and Graduate Studies) in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. “ Whether it’s an MEng to further career goals, or an MASc to explore an interest in research, or a PhD to pursue the highest degree in the profession, we want them to see that we have the programs, the facilities and the faculty that can fulfill their needs, whatever they may be. “

    The site interviews students working towards their master’s and doctoral degrees and has them speak about the importance of their work and their time at Queen’s. Among its other features are videos, created by the faculty’s media squad, about the benefits of living in Kingston and a search tool to find supervisors in particular areas of research interest. The site’s launch is part of an overall recruitment campaign, with print advertising in student newspapers, search engine optimization and direct online advertising.  

    “Graduate school is great because you’re allowed to explore the topics that really interested you during your undergraduate,” says Joanne Hui, a PhD candidate in Electrical Engineering, in one of the site’s videos. “It gives you the skills to write technical papers that can get published in journals, attend international conferences to expand your horizons and your networks.”

    Queen's remembers shooting victims on 25th anniversary

    • Dec. 6 Memorial Service 2014
      Engineering students take part in the Dec. 6 Memorial Service on Friday at the Integrated Learning Centre in Beamish-Munro Hall. (University Communications)
    • Dec. 6 Memorial Service 2014
      Engineering students take part in the Dec. 6 Memorial Service on Friday at the Integrated Learning Centre in Beamish-Munro Hall. (University Communications)
    • Dec. 6 Memorial Service 2014
      Emily Townshend, the organizer of Friday's Dec. 6 Memorial Service, speaks during the event at the Integrated Learning Centre in Beamish-Munro Hall. (University Communications)
    • Dec. 6 Memorial Service 2014
      Kimberly Woodhouse, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, speaks at the Dec. 6 Memorial Service held Friday in Beamish-Munro Hall. (University Communications)
    • Dec. 6 Memorial Service 2014
      Queen's Principal Daniel Woolf speaks during the Dec. 6 Memorial Service held Friday in Beamish-Munro Hall. (University Communications)
    • Dec. 6 Memorial Service 2014
      Annette Bergeron, past president of Professional Engineers Ontario, speaks during the Dec. 6 Memorial Service held Friday in Beamish-Munro Hall. (University Communications)

    In a ceremony filled with emotion and remembrance, the Queen’s community held a memorial on Friday to mark the 25th anniversary of the shooting deaths of 14 women at l’École Polytechnique in Montreal.

    In the annual event, 14 female engineering students, staff and faculty held red roses, lit white candles and read a brief outline of each of the victims.

    Organized by fourth-year student Emily Townshend, the gathered crowd listened to speeches from Kimberly Woodhouse, Dean of Engineering and Applied Science, Annette Bergeron, past president of Professional Engineers Ontario, Principal Daniel Woolf as well as Ms. Townshend.

    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 Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

    The event was held a day early as Dec. 6 falls on a Saturday.

    25 years of remembrance

    Members of the Queen’s community will gather in the atrium at Beamish-Munro Hall on Friday afternoon to remember the 14 women who died in the l’École Polytechnique shooting 25 years ago.

    [White Ribbon Campaign]
    The aim of the White Ribbon Campaign is to remember the events of Dec. 6, 1989 at l’École Polytechnique.

    Twelve female engineering students, a nurse, and a female faculty member were killed in the 1989 massacre.

    Three years after the attack, Dec. 6 was declared Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. The annual event, hosted by the Engineering Society of Queen’s University, will start at 1 pm.

    Organization of the Queen’s memorial is being led by Emily Townshend, a fourth-year engineering student.

    “Fourteen women were slaughtered because of their gender, because someone felt that being female made them expendable. I believe they did not die in vain,” says Ms. Townshend. “Every year that passes makes us a little bit more complacent, a little bit more inclined to forget. I refuse to let that happen. I demand better, in the memory of the 12 women who were denied an iron ring, in the memory of the 14 women who were denied a future, for those of us who still have a chance."

    The memorial will feature a rose ceremony with students, staff and faculty representing the 14 victims, Principal Daniel Woolf will be in attendance and speeches will be given by Dr. Kimberly Woodhouse, Dean of Engineering and Applied Science at Queen’s and Annette Bergeron, past president of Professional Engineers Ontario.

    This year’s event is being held a day early as Dec. 6 is a Saturday.

    Fostering the giving spirit of Giving Tuesday

    With the holiday shopping season upon us, a movement now adopted by Queen’s University is aiming to prove that it is better to give than to receive.

    Giving Tuesday is a self-declared movement of charitable giving and volunteering that opens the season of giving the day after the consumer-frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

    This year, for the first time, several Queen’s faculties and schools are taking part in Giving Tuesday. Each faculty or school has its own specific initiatives, but the central purpose is to request philanthropic gifts to support students.

    The Faculty of Arts and Science is focusing on Dean Susan Mumm’s highest priority: increasing the number of admission scholarships.

    This year’s goal is to offer Admission Scholarships of $2,000 to all qualified students.

    “We ask that you join us to support our goal in any amount possible,” says Dean Mumm.

    From small gifts to funding a scholarship yourself, the campaign is determined to make scholarships happen.

    The new Admission Scholarships for the Arts will attract exceptional students to Queen’s, grow the caliber of the Arts and Science student body, and offer students new opportunities that would otherwise not be possible.

    Queen’s School of Business is asking for gifts to support four separate funds for students. Donations to the Commerce Legacy Fund for Student Health and Wellness support student health and wellness initiatives like seminars, workshops and increasing the availability of individual counselling.

    Donations are also encouraged to the QSB Commerce Bursary Fund, MBA Scholarships Endowment Fund, and the Dean’s Innovation Fund. Each of these funds provides assistance to students in financial need and helps recruit the brightest students.

    QSB has a few twists to Giving Tuesday. First, all individual donations between $1,000 and $25,000 will be matched by the Dean’s Matching Fund. Also, any gifts in this same range from QSB alumni who graduated since 1994 – typically identified as “young alumni” – will be ‎doubled.

    The Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science is using Giving Tuesday as a way of highlighting the 10th anniversary of the Integrated Learning Centre and raising funds for the Dean’s Excellence Fund. Students are calling attention to the Centre, as home to the Engineering Society, Engineering Student Lounge and Tea Room, as a hub for student experience and learning.

    The Faculty of Health Sciences is asking benefactors to support Giving Tuesday through gifts to its three Schools.

    The Rehabilitation Therapy Student Experience Fund helps students cover their expenses while they learn away from Queen’s on placements. The Nursing 75th Anniversary Fund supports a variety of causes including bursaries, scholarships, equipment, and professorships. Finally, the Medical School Excellence Fund supports new educational initiatives, simulation and clinical learning, research and provides student support.


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