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Internationalization

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.

An international spotlight on undergraduate research

(From left to right) Richard Ascough, Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning) at the Faculty of Arts and Science,  with global winner Eden Gelgoot and highly commended entrant Sari Ohsada at the Undergraduate Awards in Dublin, Ireland in November 2017. (Submitted photo)
(From left to right) Richard Ascough, Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning) at the Faculty of Arts and Science, with global winner Eden Gelgoot and highly commended entrant Sari Ohsada at the Undergraduate Awards in Dublin, Ireland in November 2017. (Submitted photo)

Undergraduate students across Queen’s who receive top marks on their research papers are now invited to submit them to the Undergraduate Awards 2018 program, a prestigious international competition.

The awards, presented each year at the Undergraduate Awards Global Summit in Dublin, Ireland, celebrate undergraduate research from students across all disciplines and around the world. Global winners from each category receive a medal at the ceremony, and the top 10 percent of applicants in each category receive the designation of highly commended entrant. Last year, the program received nearly 6,500 submissions from 299 institutions in 47 countries.

Students can submit up to three research papers, each A grade or equivalent. There are 25 categories, ranging from art history to engineering to life sciences. Each category has different criteria for submission, depending on the nature of the discipline.

Global and highly commended winners will be eligible to spend four days in Dublin for the Global Summit, providing opportunities to meet renowned researchers from around the world, present findings in “three minute thesis” presentations, and explore the historic city of Dublin. Global winner research papers will be published in the Undergraduate Journal to display the high level of undergraduate research being produced.

Eden Gelgoot (Artsi’17) was the global winner for the 2017 Art History and Theory category. Her essay focused on the role of the UNESCO World Heritage List in the commemoration of the Second World War, based on her final term paper for the course Conservation Principals: Cultural Heritage Preservation.

“I am very grateful for the recognition I received from the Undergraduate Awards,” says Ms. Gelgoot. “It has provided me with the opportunity to present research that I am passionate about to an international audience, to publish my work, to travel to Dublin, to learn about the work being done globally in diverse areas of research, and to build an international network of friends. I would highly recommend that undergraduate students at Queen’s consider submitting their work. The work has already been done and the submission process is simple, so why not take a chance at having your work recognized and winning an opportunity of a lifetime?”

Sari Ohsada (Artsci’19) was one of the highly commended entrants with her submission for the 2017 Social Sciences: Anthropology & Cultural Studies category. Her essay explored how to facilitate smoother adaption and resettlement for Syrian refugees who escaped a combination of drought in 2006 and civil war starting in 2011. She originally wrote the essay for the course Cross-cultural Research Methods.

“Being part of the Undergraduate Awards Global Summit 2017 in Dublin was one of the most enriching experiences of my life. Meeting 130 undergraduate students from across the world reminded me that there are numerous disciplines and different approaches to conducting well-thought research,” says Ms. Ohsada. “At the same time, I was also amazed by the interdisciplinary nature of our research topics, as they often linked with each other and related to more than one category.”

Other highly commended entrants from Queen’s last year included:

  • Caela Fenton in the Literature category for her essay on oral tradition in Visions of an Inuk by Anthony Apakark Thrasher,
  • Vinyas Harish in the Social Sciences: Sociology & Social Policy category for his essay on social issues with the implementation of telemedicine, and
  • Evelyna Ekoko-Kay in the Literature category for her two essays, one on the concepts of diasporic identity, multicultural policy, and Indigenous erasure in What We All Long For by Dionne Brand and the other on gender and exile in old English elegies.

To learn more about the Undergraduate Awards and how to submit your undergraduate work, visit their website. Submissions close by June 12, 2018. Graduates of 2017 or students who will graduate in 2018 or 2019 are encouraged to apply.

Stephanie Simpson named next equity and human rights head

The current Director of the Queen's Human Rights Office will assume leadership of both the Equity and Human Rights Offices in February.

Stephanie Simpson (Artsci’95, Ed’97, MEd’11) has been named the Executive Director (Human Rights and Equity Offices) and University Advisor on Equity and Human Rights effective Feb. 1.

Stephanie Simpson (Artsci’95, Ed’97, MEd’11). (University Communications)
Stephanie Simpson (Artsci’95, Ed’97, MEd’11). (University Communications)

“Stephanie has been a leader on equity, diversity, and inclusivity at Queen’s for many years, and her appointment reflects the important role she plays in the Queen’s community,” says Teri Shearer, Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion). “She brings deep knowledge, experience, and commitment to this new position, and her appointment will be a significant gain for the cause of creating a more welcoming Queen’s.”

In this role, Ms. Simpson will lead the Equity and Human Rights Offices and will continue to play a key role in fostering both competence and legislative compliance around matters such as inclusivity, diversity, accessibility, human rights, and equity on campus.

“I have always had a passion for issues of social justice and I have committed to strengthening my knowledge and skillset in order to bring my best to this work,” says Ms. Simpson. “There is a sense of renewed energy and purpose on campus in relation to equity right now. I’m very much looking forward to the role the Equity and Human Rights Offices will play in supporting the vision for inclusion clearly articulated in our formal reports, and by community members.”

She will also provide guidance to senior administration, governance bodies, and units on achieving equity within the institution’s strategic priorities. As a member of the Office of the Provost team, Ms. Simpson will work in concert with the Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion) in developing initiatives that support the creation of a welcoming campus in collaboration with equity-seeking communities. 

Ms. Simpson has been a member of the Human Rights Office since 1996, starting in the portfolios of anti-racism advisor and education coordinator and increasing in responsibility since. She was most recently the office’s director.

“I want to acknowledge the contributions of Equity Office staff, Human Rights Office staff, and community members I’ve been fortunate to work with over so many years,” she says. “The accomplishment of which I feel we can be most proud is an approach to institutional change work that is respectful and appreciative while also being challenging. Being viewed by community members and colleagues as a trusted resource is our first priority, so we know when we’ve achieved this we have done our job well.”

Ms. Simpson has also supported inclusivity and equity efforts in the Kingston community through her roles with the Black Inmates and Friends group; her consultation and education services efforts with organizations such as Interval House, Limestone District School Board and Kingston General Hospital; and her role on the Kingston Immigration Partnership Operations Committee where she represents Queen’s.

Welcoming winter exchange students

  • International students wrap up a chilly tour of campus, led by the Queen's University International Center (QUIC), at Summerhill on Wednesday, Jan. 3. (University Communications)
    International students wrap up a chilly tour of campus, led by the Queen's University International Center (QUIC), at Summerhill on Wednesday, Jan. 3. (University Communications)
  • Newly-arrived exchange students watch a video during the orientation day on Thursday, Jan. 4 at Dunning Hall. (University Communications)
    Newly-arrived exchange students watch a video during the orientation day on Thursday, Jan. 4 at Dunning Hall. (University Communications)
  • International exchange students learn about the resources available to them during their time at Queen's during the orientation session. (University Communications)
    International exchange students learn about the resources available to them during their time at Queen's during the orientation session. (University Communications)
  • In what has become an annual tradition, exchange students who arrive for the winter term received Queen's mittens and scarves during the orientation session. (University Communications)
    In what has become an annual tradition, exchange students who arrive for the winter term received Queen's mittens and scarves during the orientation session. (University Communications)
  • Oshaen Swartz, a fifth-year Concurrent Education student at Queen's, provides some advice for exchange students based on her own experience through an exchange to France. (University Communications)
    Oshaen Swartz, a fifth-year Concurrent Education student at Queen's, provides some advice for exchange students based on her own experience through an exchange to France. (University Communications)

A new year, new university, and new country. Over 200 international exchange students have arrived for the winter term, and they have had a week of welcoming events to help get settled on campus.

These exchange students come from all over the world, including China, Sweden, Australia, Chile, and dozens of other countries, to study in almost every faculty.

The highlight of the week was the Exchange Student Orientation on Thursday, Jan. 4. The students received their tri-colour mittens and scarves to help them adjust to the cold, learned about the support available from the university and their respective faculties, and listened to representatives from the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC), the International Programs Office, and the Division of Student Affairs.

Students also learned about the Queen’s Winter Coat Exchange, and how to make the most of their time on exchange from a fifth-year Queen’s student.

Other events throughout the week facilitated by the QUIC included games night, tours of the Athletics & Recreation Centre and campus student services, a flu shot clinic, and an information session on how to stay healthy and warm during the upcoming winter months.

Events continue throughout the winter semester, including reading and writing workshops facilitated by the Student Academic Success Services (SASS), and QUIC’s English peer conversation groups, a ramen night social, immigration information sessions, a bus trip to Ottawa, and intercultural awareness training. Find out more about these events on the QUIC events page.

Making friends for the holidays

  • The Queen's University International Centre (QUIC) hosted its annual holiday tea on Tuesday, Dec. 19 at its location in the John Deutsch University Centre (JDUC).
    The Queen's University International Centre (QUIC) hosted its annual holiday tea on Tuesday, Dec. 19 at its location in the John Deutsch University Centre (JDUC).
  • International students and staff of the Queen's University International Centre (QUIC) gathered for the annual holiday tea on Tuesday, Dec. 19.
    International students and staff of the Queen's University International Centre (QUIC) gathered for the annual holiday tea on Tuesday, Dec. 19.

Students, staff, and faculty who are planning to stay in the Kingston area over the holidays gathered at the Queen's International Centre (QUIC) on Tuesday, Dec. 19 for the annual holiday tea.

This social get-together gives individuals a chance to meet each other, and make plans with friends, new and old, to connect over the holidays.

Visit the QUIC website to learn more about the resources, programming, and opportunities available at Queen's.

Queen’s alumna wins prestigious Schwarzman Scholarship

Heather Evans (Com’16), a member of the winning team from the 2014 Queen's Innovation Centre Summer Initiative, will study for a year at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

Heather Evans (Com’16), a member of the winning team from the 2014 Queen's Innovation Centre Summer Initiative, will study for a year at Tsinghua University in Beijing.
Heather Evans (Com’16), a member of the winning team from the 2014 Queen's Innovation Centre Summer Initiative, recently received a Schwarzman Scholarship and will study for a year at Tsinghua University in Beijing. (Supplied Photo) 

Heather Evans (Com’16) thrives in stressful situations. When she was a commerce student at Queen’s, she successfully juggled schoolwork with launching a 3D printing company, Mosaic Manufacturing, with four other students. She and her cofounders were recognized as the top venture in the 2014 Queen's Innovation Centre Summer Initiative winning $40,000.

She beat long odds and is preparing for another heavy workload as she prepares to head to China next year after receiving a prestigious scholarship.

Ms. Evans is one of 142 people selected from a field of more than 4,000 applicants from across the globe to receive a Schwarzman Scholarship. Inspired by the Rhodes Scholarships, Stephen A. Schwarzman, CEO of the private equity firm The Blackstone Group, founded the program three years ago with an aim to promote international understanding. Mr. Schwarzman personally contributed more than $100 million to the program and is leading a fundraising campaign to raise an additional $500 million.

“It was the best feeling in the world. I cannot wait to move to Beijing,” Ms. Evans says. “I think it will be one of the most interesting, intense, and craziest things I have ever done. The scholarship is extremely generous, so I have the freedom to stop working, pause my life and move to China for 11 months.”

Ms. Evans still has a small stake in Mosaic Manufacturing but is no longer involved in its day-to-day operations. Upon graduation from Queen’s, Ms. Evans launched a second startup through Canada’s Next36 and now works for the Government of Ontario in technology strategy and was very involved in launch of Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence.

Ms. Evans and the other Schwarzman scholars will live and study together for a one-year Master’s Degree program at Tsinghua University in Beijing, one of the top universities in China. All expenses are covered by the scholarship. 

She feels her year in China, which starts in August 2018, will be an amazing opportunity to learn about one of the world’s most powerful economies. That’s an important lesson for any entrepreneur.

“The Chinese culture and economy is completely foreign to me as someone who has grown up in Canada,” says Ms. Evans, who was born and raised in Kingston. “Living in Beijing seems like one of the best ways to have a better understanding of how China operates.

When she started at Queen’s she didn’t feel like an entrepreneur. She is grateful that Greg Bavington (Sc’85), Executive Director of the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC), and Jim McLellan (Sc’81, PhD’90), Academic Director of the DDQIC, convinced her to take part in the Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative and helped teach her the tools to succeed in business.

“Heather is smart and a hard worker. These are the kind of people we look for at the Dunin-Deshpande Centre – people who have drive and curiosity,” says Mr. Bavington. “This is what makes successful entrepreneurs. I know she will do well in China.”

Queen’s School of English turns 75

  • Maple syrup party favours greet guests as they enter the event.
    Maple syrup party favours greet guests as they enter the event.
  • Guests take a trip around the world at the Agnes and learn the culture, food and traditions of countries such as Japan, China, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia.
    Guests take a trip around the world at the Agnes and learn the culture, food and traditions of countries such as Japan, China, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia.
  • Queen’s School of English students share a morsel of Japanese culture with food and facts.
    Queen’s School of English students share a morsel of Japanese culture with food and facts.
  • Principal Woolf welcomes guests to the anniversary event, and shares a short history of the Queen’s School of English.
    Principal Woolf welcomes guests to the anniversary event, and shares a short history of the Queen’s School of English.
  • Queen’s School of English students prepare for the anniversary event.
    Queen’s School of English students prepare for the anniversary event.

The Queen’s School of English gave guests a taste of international flavour during their 75th anniversary event.

The school welcomes students from around the world to learn English language skills and prepare them for undergraduate and graduate studies. Students in the Volunteering in the Kingston Community course at the school created internationally themed booths in the Agnes Etherington Art Centre on Monday, Dec. 4.

“The booths were a visual and taste tour of the world,” said Kate Fazackerley, Student Services and Events Assistant with the school. “Guests got to see their names written in Arabic, Japanese, and Chinese, learn about their Chinese zodiac sign, answer trivia facts, and eat foods from the regions, such as tofu, kimchi, Arabian coffee, green tea, pocky sticks and mochi balls.”

Speakers at the event included Vern “Mishiikenh” Altiman, cultural counsellor with Four Directions; Principal Daniel Woolf; Rebecca Luce-Kapler, Dean of the Faculty of Education; Jim Neill, Deputy Mayor of Kingston; two alumni of the School of English, and one current student with the school.

Originally founded in 1941, a handful of students from Quebec would come to the Queen’s school to learn English over the summer. Since then, the school has grown to upwards of 500 students, who study in short-term and long-term intensive English language courses over a full year.

“The School of English is growing, so this anniversary is a great opportunity to invite people to see what we’ve been up to since our last celebration five years ago,” said Amie Pilgrim, instructor with the school. “I think it’s also valuable in supporting students, to connect them with the community they’re living in.”

“I think the most interesting thing about the school is the diversity,” said Angel Guo, a current student with the school from China who wants to study Film and Media at Queen’s when she graduates. “It’s the first time that the international students meet students from other countries, in one class. We can find friends, and improve our English skills.”

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