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Internationalization

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.

Bringing international experts to Queen’s

The Principal’s Development Fund (PDF) is open for applications, with some changes over last year.

The Fund supports Queen’s faculty by providing funding for international academic opportunities. The three categories in previous years have been restructured into two. Applicants can request up to $3,000 to assist in travel expenses for either category.

[Dr. Shoshana Zuboff gives a lecture on surveillance capitalism (Photo: Surveillance Studies Centre)]
Dr. Shoshana Zuboff gives a public lecture on surveillance capitalism. (Photo: Surveillance Studies Centre)

Category one supports faculty in bringing renown international scholars from around the world, including from the Matariki Network of Universities (MNU), to visit Queen’s.

Category two supports faculty to travel internationally to share their research and collaborate with MNU institutions. The MNU includes University of Western Australia (Australia), Tübingen University (Germany), University of Otago (New Zealand), Uppsala University (Sweden), Durham University (United Kingdom), and Dartmouth College (United States).

David Lyon (Sociology and Surveillance Studies Centre) has taken advantage of the PDF to bring acclaimed and innovative international scholars to campus. He recently invited Shoshana Zuboff, professor emerita of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, to Queen’s to collaborate with a multidisciplinary project on big data surveillance.

“Dr. Zuboff has been an important pioneer in surveillance studies. She spoke about surveillance capitalism – how it works today, at the heart of the wealthiest corporations on earth,” says Dr. Lyon. “She gave a seminar at the Smith School of Business, and she has a wonderful pedagogical style. She also gave an undergraduate lecture, a public lecture, and private sessions with graduate students. It was very stimulating and worthwhile – she’s a thoughtful, provocative, wise, and incredible scholar who speaks from the heart, and I felt gratified that we chose her to come to Queen’s.”

[Margaret Murphy with the Health Quality Research Collaborative (Photo: Lenora Duhn)]
Margaret Murphy (seated), the Principal’s Development Fund visiting scholar from Ireland, pictured with the Queen’s Health Quality (HQ) program leads, and members of the HQ Research Collaborative at the inaugural Queen’s Health Quality Research Forum.

Elizabeth VanDenKerkhof (Nursing) and Lenora Duhn (Nursing), members of the Health Quality (HQ) Research Collaborative team at Queen’s, together with other faculty members and local practice partners, applied for PDF funding to bring Margaret Murphy, External Lead, Patients for Patient Safety with the World Health Organization to Queen’s. Dr. VanDenKerkhof and other HQ faculty were inspired to invite Mrs. Murphy to Queen’s after hearing her speak at the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) in England during a HQ program elective.

During her visit to Queen’s, Mrs. Murphy was the keynote speaker for the inaugural Queen’s HQ Research Forum, and participated in meetings, luncheons, teaching rounds, and a number of presentations for researchers, educators, administrators, local patient advisors, students, and the public.

“The opportunity to provide a new, expert perspective and different way of thinking was a huge gift to the students, faculty, and clinicians,” says Dr. Duhn. “Mrs. Murphy left her mark on all of us, and emphasized some key points as educators/researchers/practitioners about leading with ‘head, heart, and hand’ when working in health care.”

Will Kymlicka (Philosophy) and Alice Hovorka (Geography and Planning) used the PDF to invite Helena Pedersen, senior lecturer at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and expert in critical animal studies, to campus last fall.

[Dr. Pedersen gives a lecture on human-animal relations in research (Photo: Animals in Philosophy, Politics, Law, and Ethics)]
Dr. Helena Pedersen deliver a public lecture entitled “Posthumanist Education: Rethinking Human-Animal Relations in Teaching and Learning” (Photo: Animals in Philosophy, Politics, Law, and Ethics)

“We were delighted with the flexibility that the Fund offered us, not only to hold a public lecture and class visits, but also to organize a workshop with Dr. Pedersen about how to integrate animal studies more fully into the curriculum,” says Dr. Kymlicka. “Many of us at Queen’s are exploring how we can incorporate the importance of human-animal relations into our teaching. Dr. Pedersen’s visit was a great opportunity to share experiences and insights, and also discuss future possibilities with one of the world’s leading scholars in this exciting new field.”

Category one applications are due by April 23, 2018, and category two applications are accepted on a rolling basis. You can find more details about the funding process and rules here.

Innovation bootcamp goes global

The Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre is working with the Bader International Study Centre to bring entrepreneurship to the castle.

Study space at the BISC. (Photo by Lucy Carnaghan)
Study space at the Bader International Study Centre. Soon, budding entrepreneurs will be able to access co-working space and other resources as a new entrepreneurship program launches at the castle. (Photo by Lucy Carnaghan)

A group of Queen’s students will be taking a trip to the past this fall to prepare themselves for their future.

The Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC) is expanding its annual summer entrepreneurship bootcamp to the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) for the first time starting this year.

“It has never been more important for entrepreneurs to look beyond our borders for opportunities,” says Greg Bavington (Sc’85), Executive Director of the DDQIC. “Many Canadian undergraduate students have not had the benefit of an international experience necessary to be successful in entrepreneurship abroad. The i²TRM program is intended to give them that experience and gain a historical and international context for innovation and entrepreneurship in London, the cradle of the industrial economy.”

The i²TRM (International Innovation Term) program at the BISC is designed for upper-year students in any faculty who are looking to deepen their knowledge of entrepreneurship and eventually start their own businesses.

It is anticipated this new offering at the BISC will attract up to 20 students to the U.K. in its first year.

Students who are accepted into this pilot program will spend time in Kingston with the Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI) program in August, and kick-start their entrepreneurial ambitions at the castle in September. They will complete a one-week business bootcamp at Queen’s campus and then travel to the BISC.

To help prepare them to launch their own businesses, the students will take up to three entrepreneurship and innovation courses at the BISC. The program will launch with a one-week intensive bootcamp on main campus at the end of August, followed by travel to England where students will join Castle Orientation, then continue their bootcamp for another week. The courses will be taught over a one-week intensive period by Mr. Bavington, as well as the DDQIC’s Academic Director James McLellan and Associate Professor Sidneyeve Matrix.

"This program is ideal for students with an interest in innovation and entrepreneurship in an international context,” noted Dr. McLellan. "In addition to developing a foundation in entrepreneurship and starting their own business ventures, students will have an opportunity to visit and learn from major centres of creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship in the UK through formal and self-curated field trips. Students will also receive valuable mentoring and insights from members of the London node in DDQIC’s Global Network, who will be providing guest lectures and feedback to student ventures.”

Once they land at the castle, the students will have the balance of the term to try to launch their business. During this time, the students will be networking, taking field trips to London and other parts of the European Union, and benefit from guest lectures and mentorship from the London node of the DDQIC’s global network.

The term will conclude with a final pitch competition, with the winners receiving seed funding to give their business some additional support.

To help the new offering get off to a strong start, the BISC is looking to add co-working space and a makerspace on the castle grounds. This would offer the budding entrepreneurs more space for meetings and the resources to help build and test their product prototypes. Hugh Horton, Executive Director of the BISC, says he hopes to have these new spaces ready for the fall.

“This new offering combines cutting-edge training and skills with the strengths of our historic environment and tight-knit campus community, as well as access to Queen’s alumni network in the U.K.,” says Dr. Horton. “The entrepreneurship courses and resources will broaden the range of programming available to students and offer a unique and valuable learning experience.”

The DDQIC is planning to host an information session this spring to answer questions and attract entrepreneurial students to the program. For dates and more information, please contact innovation.centre@queensu.ca

To learn more about the i²TRM program, visit the BISC website.

Think DIFF-erently

DIFF – the Diversity & Inclusion Film Festival – will take you from Australia, to Uganda, to China, and Egypt – all without leaving Queen’s.

A new film festival at Queen’s will bring the Queen’s community together for reflections and celebrations of people from all over the world.

The Diversity and Inclusion Film Festival (DIFF), which runs from March 20 to March 28 – is being hosted by the Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS), the Queen’s University International Centre, and Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, among others.

Atul Jaiswal, International Commissioner for the SGPS and doctoral candidate in Rehabilitation Science, says the goal of the festival is to strengthen the connections between the domestic and international students.

“We intend to use movies as a tool to showcase the culture unique to the specific region and how people could appreciate each other’s culture and start accepting and including everyone,” he says.

A promotional image for "Bran Nue Dae", a film about an Aboriginal Australian teenager which will be shown at the Diversity & Inclusion Film Festival. (Supplied Photo)
A promotional image for Bran Nue Dae. The film, which is about an Aboriginal Australian teenager named Willie, will be shown at the Diversity & Inclusion Film Festival. (Supplied Photo)

The festival will feature five different films – each representing different areas of the world. The first up, Bran Nue Dae, is about the coming of age of an Aboriginal Australian teenager.

Other films to be examined include Queen of Katwe, about a Ugandan girl who becomes a Woman Candidate Master in chess, on Wednesday, March 21; About Elly, a murder mystery involving several Iranian couples on vacation, on Friday, March 23; Confucius, a biographical film about the legendary philosopher, on Tuesday, March 27; and Cairo Drive, a film about navigating traffic in Egypt set against the backdrop of the 2011 revolution, on Wednesday, March 28.

Each film screening will be accompanied by a panel discussion led by students’ facilitators from the same region to engage the Queen's community and build cultural understanding. The festival will conclude with the screening of Cairo Drive and a Jeopardy! event all about world cultures.

“We believe that this event may start the conversations around the importance of each culture that the students from different parts of the world bring on campus,” says Mr. Jaiswal. “One cannot appreciate the beauty of a rainbow until one understands the importance of each colour in making the rainbow possible. Similarly, on campus, once we start appreciating other person’s culture, we would be more respectful and accepting towards them and then the doors would be more open to share and learn from each other.”

For more information on the festival, please visit the SGPS Facebook page.

International at Home makes a splash

  • Students, staff, and faculty mix at a reception before the concert. (Photo: University Communications)
    Students, staff, and faculty mix at a reception before the concert. (Photo: University Communications)
  • Lawrence Cherney (left), Artistic Director of Water Passion After St. Matthew, shared his insight with Queen’s students before the performance began. (Photo: University Communications)
    Lawrence Cherney (left), Artistic Director of Water Passion After St. Matthew, shared his insight with Queen’s students before the performance began. (Photo: University Communications)
  • The stage was set with seventeen large water bowls, which were used throughout the performance as a symbol of transition. (Photo: University Communications)
    The stage was set with seventeen large water bowls, which were used throughout the performance as a symbol of transition. (Photo: University Communications)
  • Lawrence Cherney, Artistic Director of Water Passion After St. Matthew, introduces the concert before the performance begins. (Photo: University Communications)
    Lawrence Cherney, Artistic Director of Water Passion After St. Matthew, introduces the concert before the performance begins. (Photo: University Communications)
  • Soundstreams Canada, conducted by David Fallis , takes to the stage for their multicultural performance of Water Passion After St. Matthew. (Photo: University Communications)
    Soundstreams Canada, conducted by David Fallis , takes to the stage for their multicultural performance of Water Passion After St. Matthew. (Photo: University Communications)

An expert mixture of sound, performance, and water artistry earned a standing ovation at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts during the March International at Home concert.

Soundstreams Canada presented Water Passion After St. Matthew, a dramatic reimagining of Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion composed by Tan Dun, a renowned Chinese composer and conductor. The concert wove Chinese contemporary classical strings, Peking Opera, Mongolian overtone singing, and water to create a soundscape in a powerful performance of the biblical text.

The four-part yearly concert series is a collaboration between the Office of the Associate Vice-Principal (International) and the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. The series brings domestic and international students together with the wider Kingston community to bridge intercultural differences and create a sense of community through music. Departments and units across the university sponsored tickets for distribution across campus, matched by the Isabel.

“The cross-cultural context of the performance was a perfect complement to the mission of the International at Home series by celebrating a mixture of cultures together,” says Kathy O’Brien, Associate Vice-Principal (International). “My office was honoured to make this performance more accessible for students at Queen’s to immerse themselves in international cultures and connect.”

Check out the photos of the reception and concert above, and keep up with more performances at the Isabel on their events page.

The world around us

Ana Sofijanic, a graduate student from South Africa, selected as the overall winner of the 10th annual QUIC Photo Contest.

  • OVERALL WINNER – Ana Sofijanic, Master’s in Civil Engineering – Shade over a Warm Heart. Taken in Abyaneh, Iran.
    OVERALL WINNER – Ana Sofijanic, Master’s in Civil Engineering – Shade over a Warm Heart. Taken in Abyaneh, Iran.
  • LANDSCAPE AND NATURE WINNER – Emilia Ciobanu, ConEd’18 – Beetle’s Juice. Taken in Grenoble, France.
    LANDSCAPE AND NATURE WINNER – Emilia Ciobanu, ConEd’18 – Beetle’s Juice. Taken in Grenoble, France.
  • PEOPLE AND CULTURE – Julien Roger, exchange from ESSEC Business School – People conditioned by their device vs. genuine people. Taken in Paris, France.
    PEOPLE AND CULTURE – Julien Roger, exchange from ESSEC Business School – People conditioned by their device vs. genuine people. Taken in Paris, France.
  • CRITICAL GLOBAL ISSUES WINNER – Sifeng Lu – Exchange from Shanghai University of Finance and Economics  – Coca-Cola. Taken in San Miguel, Mexico
    CRITICAL GLOBAL ISSUES WINNER – Sifeng Lu – Exchange from Shanghai University of Finance and Economics – Coca-Cola. Taken in San Miguel, Mexico
  • HOME AWAY FROM HOME – Shirley Wong – Artsci’18, international student – Under the same sky as home. Taken in Kingston.
    HOME AWAY FROM HOME – Shirley Wong – Artsci’18, international student – Under the same sky as home. Taken in Kingston.

A growing number of Queen’s students participate in global learning opportunities through Queen’s exchanges. At the same time, the number of students coming to Queen’s from around the world is increasing every year. 

Through the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC) Photo Contest this diverse group of students has the opportunity to share some of their amazing experiences. Now in its 10th year the annual contest continues to draw images from around the world, across Canada, as well as here on campus. Each year, close to 150 students submit their photos to the contest.

This year’s winning photo, as selected by a panel of judges, was submitted by Ana Sofijanic, an international graduate student from South Africa (Master’s in Civil Engineering), taken during a trip to Iran. The image captures an Abyanaki woman as she escapes the midday sun, sitting in the shade of the old red clay houses that make up the village of Abyaneh.

“I thoroughly enjoy photography because it requires me to be aware of my environment and have an eye for subtle details and beauties that I would usually overlook. I think QUIC has provided a really cool platform for students to share their talents and get a glimpse into each other’s worlds through photography,” Ms. Sofijanic says. “I’m overjoyed that the judges saw something special in my photo and chose me as the overall winner, especially considering the beautiful photographs that were submitted by other students. I would like to thank the QUIC team for this award, because it has given me confidence and enthusiasm to keep taking photos, and most importantly, share them with others.”

The contest features four categories – People and Culture; Landscape and Nature; Home Away From Home; Critical Global Issues.

This year’s category winners are:

  • People and Culture – Julien Roger – Exchange from ESSEC Business School – People conditioned by their device vs. genuine people
  • Landscape and Nature – Emilia Ciobanu – ConEd’18, was on exchange in Grenoble, France – Beetle’s Juice
  • Home Away From Home – Shirley Wong – Artsci’18, international student – Under the same sky as home
  • Critical Global Issues – Sifeng Lu – Exchange from Shanghai University of Finance and Economics – Coca-Cola

“It is a delight to review the amazing student stories and photographs each year,” says Hanna Stanbury, Programs Coordinator, QUIC. “Our students have such an incredible international experience and knowledge. QUIC is proud to provide this opportunity for students to share with our community to remind us of the diversity at Queen’s.”

A special display of the photos is being hosted at the QUIC in the John Deutsch University Centre, starting Wednesday, March 7 at 4:30 pm. 

See more submissions online.

Queen’s family medicine residents participate in unique Falkland Islands rotation

One Queen's family medicine resident will be heading 11,000 kilometres south for a year to help citizens of a remote Commonwealth territory. 

Katherine Soucie, a second-year post-graduate family medicine resident (PGY2), assesses patient Norma Edwards in clinic at the King Edward Memorial VII Hospital (KEMH) in Stanley, the Falkland Islands. (Supplied Photo)
Katherine Soucie, a second-year post-graduate family medicine resident (PGY2), assesses patient Norma Edwards in clinic at the King Edward Memorial VII Hospital (KEMH) in Stanley, the Falkland Islands. (Supplied Photo)

One of the strengths of Queen’s Family Medicine residents is their ability to work almost anywhere. As a part of their two-year residency, these family doctors spend six months of training in a community setting, and at least two of those months are spent in a rural setting.

So, when a remote British overseas territory off the coast of South America found itself in need of medical professionals, a Queen’s alumnus knew exactly where the Falkland Islands’ government could find help.

“Thanks to a connection made by Andrew Pipe (Meds’74) of the Ottawa Heart Institute, Queen’s Family Medicine residents have been taking on placements in the Falkland Islands in recent years as part of a strategy to help the territory meet their need for well-trained family doctors,” says Geoffrey Hodgetts, Enhanced Skills Program Director, Rural Skills Program Coordinator and Kingston Residency Site Director in the School of Medicine.

While the Falklands previously relied on British and foreign-trained physicians, it has been more difficult to attract doctors with the necessary skills to work in a remote setting such as the small island nation, located to the east of South America’s Patagonia coast. Additionally, providing medical care to the population – which is divided up across several islands – requires medical experts who can work in the field with limited equipment.

Queen’s University family medicine residents stay at “Canada House”, which is a typical Falkland Islands house. These accommodations were given the name when the Queen’s University residency program began several years ago. The location is ideally situated near the hospital. (Supplied Photo)
Queen’s University family medicine residents stay at “Canada House”, which is a typical Falkland Islands house. These accommodations were given the name when the Queen’s University residency program began several years ago. The location is ideally situated near the hospital. (Supplied Photo)
Why the Falkland Islands?
● The Falkland Islands are a remotely located British territory with just 3,400 citizens, making it a distinctive environment to gain practical medicine training.
● Providing health care on the islands can be costly as more critically ill patients may require air evacuation to a hospital, and accessing more advanced care can be a challenge.
● Queen’s Family Medicine residents come well prepared for these challenges through their rural and community training.
● The demanding environment helps residents master their skills and meet the requirements of their residency.

Since forming the agreement, approximately six Queen’s family medicine residents per year have headed to the Falkland Islands with one or two residents making the trip at a time. During their rotations, residents work under the direction of the Falkland’s Chief Medical Officer, Rebecca Edwards, and her delegates. 

“We are privileged to work with these skilled, knowledgeable, and experienced young doctors,” says Dr. Edwards. “I am always extremely impressed with the ability of these residents to travel across the globe, to a new country and unknown hospital where medical practices might be unfamiliar, and be able to just get on with the job at hand. The residents seem unfazed by the changes, meeting each new challenge with focus and dedication and asking appropriate questions when needed.”

This rotation gives residents an opportunity to experience the Falkland Islands, and assess their interest in the territory’s available enhanced training scholarship. The scholarship offers a post-graduate third-year training position provided the resident stays for a one-year return of service. Most importantly, it helps the island nation potentially recruit physicians to help meet their needs longer term. 

Belle Song (Meds’15), a Queen’s family medicine graduate, is the first to take advantage of the Falkland Islands’ training scholarship. Dr. Song is currently completing her enhanced rural skills training. When she completes her training later this year, she will work at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital in the Falkland Islands.

She is already familiar with this setting, as Dr. Song was one of the earliest Queen’s family medicine residents to complete a two-month rotation in the Falkland Islands in 2016.

"From the moment I arrived, I felt that I was a part of the Falklands community. Some of the nurses, pharmacists, radiation techs, and physiotherapists have become close personal friends, and even residents of the island were incredibly welcoming,” she says. “I am certain that this year in the Falklands will help me become a stronger and more confident rural generalist, developing skills that will be useful when I come back to Canada. I've always believed that you can't learn and grow without pushing yourself outside your comfort zone.”

Dr. Geoffrey Hodgetts and Dr. Rebecca Edwards discuss her assessment of a Queen's family medicine resident. Dr. Hodgetts is part of a Queen's delegation currently visiting the Islands. (Supplied Photo)
Dr. Geoffrey Hodgetts and Dr. Rebecca Edwards discuss her assessment of a Queen's family medicine resident during a visit by a Queen's delegation. (Supplied Photo)

While rural medical training is an expectation among Canadian family medicine post-graduate medical programs, Queen’s Department of Family Medicine has had a long tradition of preparing family physicians for practice in various rural and remote settings.

“I know that the residents enjoy their time with us as we have received great feedback, and this is definitely a two-way relationship,” Dr. Edwards adds. “The constant flow of keen, intelligent, up-to-date young doctors that we get to work with and mentor provide our team with fresh and valuable perspectives on clinical scenarios.”

To learn more about the Falkland Islands scholarship for Family Medicine residents, visit the Department of Family Medicine’s website.

Gaining real-world, international experience

  • Student team for International Planning Project course (SURP 827)
    Led by Ajay Agarwal (School of Urban and Regional Planning), this year’s group of students traveling to India as part of International Planning Project Course (SURP 827), was the largest yet at 12.
  • Villagers taking collaborate with International Planning Project course (SURP 827)
    Women from one of the villages in the greenbelt surrounding Auroville draw pictures in an effort to overcome the language barrier with the student planners.
  • Student team for  International Planning Project course (SURP 827)
    Ajay Agarwal (School of Urban and Regional Planning), front, second from left, led a team of 12 students as they took on a planning project for the city of Auroville, India.
  • Villagers taking collaborate with International Planning Project course (SURP 827)
    Students meet with officials from Auroville. The team was tasked with creating a growth management framework for the greenbelt surrounding the intentionally-planned community.

The School of Urban and Regional Planning’s International Planning Project course (SURP 827) is a learning experience like no other.

Each year, Ajay Agarwal has taken a group of planning students from Queen’s to the Indian city of Auroville, where, in a period of just two weeks, they are tasked with creating a project report of professional quality that can be used by the community.

For the students who take part in the course, it is an opportunity to be part of a consulting team while gaining real-world and international experience at the same time.

It is also an exercise in resilience, adaptability and resourcefulness, all vital tools for future planners, Dr. Agarwal points out.

This year the team was tasked with creating a growth management framework for the greenbelt surrounding the intentionally-planned community. There are a number of villages within the protected area and their population growth and development has placed increasing pressures on the greenbelt.

“The concern is that if that development is left unchecked the very purpose of the greenbelt will be lost,” Dr. Agarwal says. “So the people of Auroville wanted us to suggest ways to ensure that any development that takes place inside the greenbelt is in harmony – and harmony being the key word – with Auroville’s vision for the future.”

Starting the course in September, the student team has three months to conduct research, collect information and make initial contacts before heading to India in early December.

Once the 12-member team was assembled in Auroville, Dr. Agarwal quickly put them to work. Several students only had time to take a shower before taking part in the initial presentation.

It was a tough schedule for sure but a realistic one when it comes to consulting and planning for an international client. Time, as the students learned, is at a premium.

The first week was mostly dedicated to conducting interviews with stakeholders and gathering information, points out Meghan Robidoux, who acted as the project manager for the team. With data gathered from 19 interviews and two focus groups, they quickly learned that much of the earlier research was not really applicable. Nothing can substitute for direct engagement and interaction, they found out. Thankfully they were prepared for such an outcome.

“At the end of our first week we sat down and kind of redefined the scope of our project based on all the information we collected and the feedback from that initial presentation,” she says. “So much changes once you get there. We knew that from the beginning that would be the case. Ajay prepared us very well. We knew that was going to happen and that was okay.”

The team also quickly learned that working in India is very different from Canada. The culture is very different and communicating can be difficult. Internet connectivity is spotty and they initially had no working cellphones.

Yet they were able to find solutions – resilience, adaptability and resourcefulness.

“We went old school,” Dr. Agarwal says. “We had a giant poster on the wall with a timetable and Post-Its with everybody’s name on it. So everybody, including me, was supposed to keep checking the schedule throughout the day. It kept changing every hour.”

The team quickly determined that working together was the only way to succeed.

“This was a large group, so that was a challenge at times, trying to make sure that we were using everyone to the best of their ability and taking advantage of so many people’s assets and skill sets,” Ms. Robidoux says. “In so many ways it was great because we had such a talented team. I feel strongly that every member really contributed in important ways to the project. So managing the team wasn’t a problem in that sense, it was more of making sure that everyone had the opportunity to share their opinion and group meetings took a long time.”

As a member of that team Jennifer Smyth found the international course to be the experience she was looking for and she is certain that it will help her now and in the future.

“One of the major planning lessons that I’ve taken away from this is learning in a foreign context. I know for some team members it was a challenge to go to this place where they have beliefs that we couldn’t necessarily understand or agree with. But as a planner acknowledging those beliefs was so important,” she says. “Just planning for a project with so many unknowns was a huge learning experience, maintaining an objective stance among so many varying perspectives and finding balance. I think this experience really helped us learn how

Now in its sixth year, Dr. Agarwal has seen the course grow in popularity and become one of SURP’s key learning experiences. Both Ms. Smyth and Ms. Robidoux were drawn to Queen’s specifically because of the international opportunity offered through SURP 827. With 12 participants, this year’s group was the largest to travel to India.

For his work in creating and continuing the course Dr. Agarwal received the 2016 International Education Innovation Award, which recognizes excellence in the internationalization of curriculum in programs or courses. It is one of the six Principal’s Teaching and Learning Awards.

For more information about the course or to obtain a copy of the full project report, contact Dr. Agarwal.

Researching rock and roll at the BISC

An English castle, Jimi Hendrix, and a dive into sixties counterculture; all in a day’s work for one Undergraduate Student Summer Research Fellow.

The images of a sunny English castle and sixties rock and roll may not normally spring to mind when thinking about undergraduate research, but for Jena Hudson (ArtSci’18), it was the setting and theme of her summer research project.

Ms. Hudson spent 12 weeks at the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) in East Sussex through the Undergraduate Student Summer Research Fellowship (USSRF). She assisted Dr. Christian Lloyd, Academic Director at the BISC, with researching his second book on Jimi Hendrix, of whom he is a leading expert.

“Hendrix spent the most important time of his career in London, so being in England for this research was perfect,” says Ms. Hudson. “Being able to access primary resources, and conduct interviews with people in London who were actually there in the sixties, was such an incredible experience.”

From left to right: Doug Kaye, former neighbour of guitarist legend Jimi Hendrix, Dr. Christopher Lloyd, Academic Director of the Bader International Student Centre, and Jena Hudson (ArtSci’18), USSRF fellow, sit on Jimi Hendrix’s bed in his former apartment while conducting a research interview.
From left to right: Doug Kaye, former neighbour of guitarist legend Jimi Hendrix, Dr. Christian Lloyd, Academic Director of the BISC, and Jena Hudson (ArtSci’18), USSRF fellow, sit on Jimi Hendrix’s bed in his former apartment while conducting a research interview.

For Ms. Hudson, the most exciting part of the summer was conducting an interview with a man who knew Hendrix, in Hendrix’s apartment.

“The apartment is now part of the Handel & Hendrix in London Museum,” says Ms. Hudson. “It was recreated to look as it did when he lived there. The man we interviewed, Doug Kaye, worked in the restaurant underneath the apartment, and that’s how he and Hendrix got to know each other. Getting to interview him in that space, with audio playing around us from recordings from the sixties, was surreal.”

Ms. Hudson also researched issues in the counterculture that Hendrix was part of in London in the sixties. Hendrix spent the most important time of his musical career in London, and the final years of his life there before his death at the age of 27.

“I looked at how sexism, racism, and consumerism existed within that idealized time period,” says Ms. Hudson. “There are reviews in IT, an underground newspaper that was a pioneer at the time, which describe Hendrix as ‘the wild man of Borneo’, based on his race. In Hendrix’s life, he gave interviews that show he had some sexist views towards women. Even though the hippie culture at the time had an image of anti-consumerism, they were kind of a wasteful bunch, buying very cheap clothes and throwing them away.”

One of the unique ways for Queen’s students to engage in research, the USSRF is a paid fellowship available to continuing undergraduate students in the social sciences, humanities, and creative arts interested in developing research skills under the guidance of an eligible faculty researcher. It also provides meaningful opportunities to engage in discovery-based learning and to develop research and presentation skills. Students on main campus work with their supervisor to develop a project, while students going to the BISC select a project from those offered by faculty.

To learn more about the USSRF, visit the Queen’s University Research Services website. The application deadline for the 2018 summer program is March 9, 2018.

Brainy international research collaboration receives renewed funding

The German Research Foundation has funded “The Brain in Action” for another four and a half years.

An international research collaboration uniting two German universities and three Canadian universities, including Queen’s, will continue its important work studying how perception and action interact and how they are processed by the human brain.

Renewed funding from the German Research Foundation means the International Research Training Group "The Brain in Action" project will carry on with its work for another four and a half years. Funding from the foundation was set to end in April 2018.

The main goal of this research training group is to deepen our understanding of the neural systems and processes that underlie perception and action in everyday living – for instance, how the brain processes the sensory and motor signals involved in reaching for a cup of coffee and the feeling involved in touching it.

Annually, the graduate students and faculty involved in "The Brain in Action" attend a retreat at the Queen's University Biological Station. (Supplied Photo)
Annually, the graduate students and faculty involved in "The Brain in Action" attend a retreat at the Queen's University Biological Station. (Supplied Photo)

At Queen’s, the project unites faculty members Gunnar Blohm and Doug Munoz of the Biomedical and Molecular Sciences department with Nikolaus Troje of the Psychology department. The three are currently supervising seven Queen’s PhD candidates, and co-supervising several German doctoral students at the Philipps-Universität Marburg and Justus Liebig Universität Giessen. York and Western Universities are the other two Canadian institutions involved in the research group.

“We are grateful for the renewed funding, which confirms the value of our work and in the relationships being formed between our students, institutions, and countries” says Dr. Blohm. “Merging the distinct academic cultures of the two countries has been a valuable learning and networking experience for our students. I am sure that many collaborative initiatives will continue to happen long after they graduate.”

Nikolaus Troje explores virtual reality while PhD candidate Christoph Lenk monitors his progress. (University Communications)
Nikolaus Troje explores virtual reality while PhD candidate Christoph Lenk monitors his progress in the Queen's Biomotion Lab. (University Communications)

The two German universities boast 25 PhD candidates and 12 faculty members working on the project. As part of their studies, the students spend several months learning in Canada.

“I really appreciate the welcoming and helping Canadian culture. My colleagues at work and my housemates have helped me to feel comfortable in the first weeks,” says Christoph Lenk, one of the German students currently studying in Canada. “My master’s studies in biomechanics, motor control, motion analysis, and perception led to an interest in perception in virtual reality. I am glad that I can exchange experiences with other young researchers in Canada and in Germany on this field of research.”

The aim of research training groups such as this one is to prepare PhD candidates for careers outside academia by bolstering their transferrable skills. So far, many of the graduates have gone on to work in the science or high tech fields. Parisa Abedi Khoozani, an international Queen’s PhD candidate who is working on the project, is hoping to teach science in Canada once she graduates.

Queen's PhD candidate Sia Eftekharifar speaks with Christoph Lenk about his work in the Queen's Biomotion Lab. (University Communications)
Queen's PhD candidate Sia Eftekharifar speaks with Mr. Lenk about his work in the Queen's Biomotion Lab. (University Communications)

“I am currently in Germany on my second visit as part of this research group, working with another collaborator who is also researching computer neuroscience,” says Ms. Khoozani. “The exposure to different fields and different areas of research has been interesting and beneficial. This opportunity has been as much about the learning as it has been about forming connections, and I hope to continue collaborating with my German colleagues in the future.”

In addition to the German Research Foundation funding, the “Brain in Action” research training group is supported by a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) CREATE grant.

Learn more about this international research training group on the School of Graduate Studies’ website.

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