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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.”

World Link program wraps for semester with focus on inclusivity

Fall workshops support social and academic cultural transition and connects students from around the world  

A series of workshops and social events designed to help international students adapt to their new life at Queen’s has wrapped up for the semester.

Students gather in the Queen’s University International Centre for a presentation on diversity hosted by Stephanie Simpson, Director, Human Rights Office. (Supplied Photo)
Students gather in the Queen’s University International Centre for a presentation on diversity hosted by Stephanie Simpson, Director, Human Rights Office. (Supplied Photo) 

The World Link program’s final event, held last week, focused on culture, identity, and inclusivity. Stephanie Simpson, Director of the Human Rights Office, led the session, and talked about how identity may be interpreted in Canada while providing tips and resources for navigating difficult circumstances.

The program is facilitated by the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC) and is delivered in partnership with Student Wellness Services, the Student Experience Office, and the Human Rights Office. It will be offered again in the winter term.

The World Link program was enhanced this year to focus on intercultural communication skills and competencies, resiliency, and the appreciation of diverse cultures. The events are co-led by students fostering peer-to-peer engagement and learning.  

QUIC Director Jyoti Kotecha says undergraduate, graduate, and exchange students in all years and programs, both international and domestic, are invited to participate. All events are drop-in and registration is not required.

“The World Link discussions and activities help students develop skills, ease cultural transitions, and enhance knowledge and perspectives,” she says. “It is great to see students leave the sessions feeling empowered and confident in their ability to successfully bridge cultural differences, and to feel better prepared to fully engage in student life at Queen’s.”  

Jing Wang (Con.Ed’18) is a teacher candidate in concurrent education who volunteers with World Link. She grew up in Toronto, went to high school in Shanghai, and spent a semester on exchange in Germany.

"The workshops and events that the World Link program hold help both domestic and international students learn from and support one another. And so, while our events are designed to promote intercultural awareness, they are also an opportunity to make new friends, and we have been pleased to see many returning attendees at our events and workshops. Having the social support from other peers can make a big difference in one's transition into another country and also enrich one's university experience in general," she says.

For more information on World Link or other Queen’s events, visit QUIC’s website.

Helping international students thrive

Dr. Arunima Khanna, Cross-Cultural Advisor, shares the challenges and rewards of her work in supporting and offering counselling to international students.
Dr. Arunima Khanna, Cross-Cultural Advisor, shares the challenges and rewards of her work in supporting and offering counselling to international students. (University Communications)

The Gazette talked with Arunima Khanna, Cross-Cultural Advisor with Student Wellness Services, as part of our coverage of International Education Week. Dr. Khanna provides counselling services to the 2,496 international undergraduate and graduate students studying at Queen’s, who come from 108 countries. Her work focuses on helping international students to navigate and adjust to campus life, as well as connecting them with resources and counselling for a range of personal and interpersonal issues that have an impact on physical and and mental health.

What type of support does cross-cultural counselling offer international students?

Our first point of contact with students is to participate in the orientation that is offered to degree seeking and exchange international students. Our message is that studying abroad can be both exciting and rewarding, but also challenging, sometimes stressful and overwhelming. The important thing for them to know is that there are resources and people that they can approach for help and support. Our aim is to put a face to our service, and to normalize seeking help and hopefully to reduce stigma.

After that, students are welcome to ask us for one-on-one counselling if they are having difficulties or if they have concerns about their environment and so on.  Sometimes these concerns are adjustment issues that pass with time, but sometimes more serious or pre-existing mental health issues can emerge. I always try to contextualize international student concerns within their social-cultural environment, by trying to understand how privilege, social and classroom dynamics, and their social experience impacts their mental well-being. Being away from your usual sources of support, experiences of exclusion or marginalization, and micro aggressions can cause an impact on mental health.

We also provide workshops to staff and faculty on multi-cultural competencies, and identifying the unique needs and issues of a diverse student population. I think “adjustment” has to be a two way process; it is not just about international students adjusting to Queen’s; the system has to adjust to the changing demographics of the student population as well.

We also try to advocate on behalf of our international students based on issues that we are seeing, the trends, what we think will be helpful for students to have a positive experience, and what is important to prevent mental health difficulties.

What sparked your interest in this field?

I am very interested in the social determinants of mental health and wellness. When I was training to be a psychologist, I noticed that these were often a missing piece in our interventions; the social-cultural contexts in which distress or issues were occurring were not being given full attention. I noticed that we needed to address not just the presenting issue, but also the contexts in which it is occurring. That is what got me interested in this work.

I firmly believe in using a strengths based, multicultural, equity, and social justice lens in my counselling and advocacy work. I also feel that if Canadian universities are actively recruiting international students, we really need to provide equitable learning environments, as well as culturally competent and meaningful services to our students.

How does your work feed into International Education efforts at Queen’s?

I hope that the work that we do provides support to international students to be well and really thrive during their time here.

As counsellors, we also have the privilege of hearing personal stories from students – their experiences, what are their struggles, disappointments, and successes. I think this information is important to share with senior administration and other decision makers when they design programs, equitable classrooms, support services, etc.

What needs to be addressed to see fewer mental health issues in the international student population?

First, helping students adapt to the academic culture. Academic difficulties cause vulnerability and it can be the beginning of distress. Students are spending a lot of money to come here, they have important academic and career goals that are important to them, so feeling that their goals are in jeopardy can erode their sense of wellbeing. I think that investing in providing early informational and academic support is very important. More TAs and time with TAs will also be helpful.

The second piece is helping students to achieve a sense of connection and community. Being part of a community, establishing a sense of belonging, and connectedness is critical to both academic success and student wellness. As a university, we need to encourage our population to cross demographic boundaries and connect with each other. Many of the undergraduate international students that I have seen say that they feel invisible and often excluded on this campus which is a problem.

What’s the biggest challenge in your role?

The biggest challenge for me is how to help international students who are feeling isolated and marginalized – how to help them build community and make connections. Facilitating a more integrated student body is a challenge. Right now we have pockets of different ethnic groups – I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, we do need to be with people who are similar to us – but we also need to cross those demographic boundaries and to connect as a cohesive community.  We have been working with the Peer Support Centre, who have shown a lot of interest in fostering multicultural competency, to see what the student body can do to encourage a more inclusive student community. I do feel that these efforts need to come from students to be truly meaningful and successful.

I think as a university, our awareness of these issues of diversity, inclusion and equity awareness is growing. But, how do you encourage students to cross those demographic boundaries?

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your work?

The most rewarding aspect is working with this wonderful and diverse group of students. I have learned so much from them! Being present with a student in their moment of need or self-doubt, and helping them connect with their strengths is so rewarding. Helping them name what is going on for them in terms of the environment when they are blaming themselves, changing these attributions is so important. To intervene, to be of service and be part of their journey of claiming space and building a sense of belonging, achieving their personal and academic goals is very rewarding.

What can people around campus do be more inclusive of students going through intercultural adjustment?

We all create the climate at Queen’s and so we bear the responsibility of creating an inclusive and equitable campus. We should try to create opportunities to bring diverse people together and demonstrate the importance of connection. We can work at learning about the experiences of international students not just by attending workshops, but actually applying what we have learned. But most importantly, we can connect at an individual level, be a welcoming and supportive student body and campus, and learn from each other.

We don’t necessarily need to leave Canada to learn about other people and places, we can do it right here on campus. Globalization has to begin right here, in our day-to day interactions!

Sharing international experiences

Queen’s is looking for students to share their learning experiences abroad as part of a new government campaign.

International education in Canada (2016 CBIE statistics)
● Seven in 10 mobile students agree that their experience abroad influenced their career choice
● France is the most common destination for Canadian students headed abroad, attracting 14 per cent. The U.K. came second with nine per cent, and the US with eight.
● Eighty percent of students report financial barriers as the biggest challenge to heading abroad during their studies.
● Business is the top field of study for outbound students, followed by engineering.

Whether it’s a short trip or a semester abroad, the Canadian Bureau of International Education (CBIE) wants to hear from students about how their learning took them beyond borders.

The government-funded group, of which Queen’s is a member, has launched a new social media campaign encouraging students to talk about their international learning experiences. The goal of #LearningAbroad is to persuade students to talk about what they are learning during their trips, and to share best practices among member organizations.

To date, over 791 social media stories and images have been posted and shared as part of the campaign.

“We know international learning opportunities are enriching both for the students personally and for their careers,” says Laura Esford, International Programs Manager. “For students who haven’t yet spent time learning abroad, hearing from another student about their experience can become a point of entry for that student.”

According to CBIE’s research, the main ways institutions share information about international opportunities include brochures and web pages, but these methods tend to only reach students who are already interested in studying abroad. This is why CBIE aims to tap into the enthusiasm and expertise of students who are participating and remind them about the importance of talking about their trips online.

Queen’s has a significant number of students participating in international learning opportunities each year. For example, Engineering students often participate in short-term international internships, while many Commerce program students participate in a term abroad during their third-year studies. Lexie Wright (Artsci’19) chose to spend a few months in Taiwan as part of her Linguistics degree, and says it is among the best decisions she has ever made.

Lexie Wright (Artsci'19) took a trip to Taiwan as part of her Linguistics degree, seeing sights such as the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall. (Supplied Photo)
Lexie Wright (Artsci'19) took a trip to Taiwan as part of her Linguistics degree, seeing sights such as the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall. (Supplied Photo)

“From the beautiful temples scattered across the island to the crystal clear waters of Sun Moon Lake to the generosity of the locals, studying internationally has taught me the importance of breaking free from the constricting walls of comfort zones and narrow-mindedness in pursuit of happiness and understanding,” she says. “My experience abroad has allowed me to reach previously undiscovered goals, along with a new level of self-understanding and the specific type of confidence that only comes with successfully ordering a cup of coffee in Mandarin with no mistakes for the first time. I know that the values I have developed will stay with me for the rest of my life.”

In the coming days, the International Programs Office (IPO) team will be reaching out to equip the Faculties and the students with the information they need to feed into CBIE’s campaign.

To learn more about the #LearningAbroad campaign, visit CBIE’s website.

To learn more about International Education Week at Queen’s, which takes place Mon Nov 13 to Fri Nov 17, visit the Queen’s University International Centre’s website.

Infographic supplied by Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE)
Infographic supplied by Canadian Bureau for International Education. For an accessible version, or to download a copy, visit CBIE's website.

 

International initiatives boost Queen's into top tier for global engagement

Queen's selected out of 237 institutions as finalist for internationalization award.

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) has recognized Queen’s University as a finalist for its Institutional Award for Global Learning, Research and Engagement at its recent annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

Queen’s was selected as one of the final four competitors for the award out of 237 APLU member institutions, alongside Michigan State University, the University of Washington, and the University of Calgary – the latter of which garnered the top prize.

“We have made remarkable progress since the launch of our first-ever Comprehensive International Plan in 2015,” says Benoit-Antoine Bacon, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). “To be recognized by the APLU as one of North America’s leaders in global outreach speaks to the strength of our strategy and of our academic community, as well as to the development of a real international culture at Queen’s. We should be very proud of the international impact our efforts have had over such a short time.”

Queen’s emerged as a front-runner because of its broad range of internationalization initiatives designed to position the university as a world leader in multi-national research collaboration, global recruitment, and cross-cultural learning opportunities both abroad and at home.

“Deepening our institution’s relationship with the international community is and will continue to be invaluable to the success of our faculty and students,” says Kathy O’Brien, Associate Vice-Principal (International). “Impactful discovery is increased when researchers are able to collaborate with teams from around the world, and access to international opportunities help students open up new doors for learning and employment.”

The APLU also recognized Queen’s as a top contender for notable academic accomplishments like Arthur McDonald’s Nobel Prize-winning work in physics, and its 10-year, $24 million grant from the Mastercard Foundation’s Scholars Program to develop Ethiopia’s first occupational therapy program in partnership with the University of Gondar.

“As an institution, we must continually seek new and innovative approaches to internationalization,” says O’Brien. “Supporting student and faculty international mobility, engaging our global alumni in meaningful ways, and creating a vibrant and inclusive environment on campus and at the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) are important ways Queen’s can stand out on the global stage.”

The APLU is a research, policy, and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of public universities in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Every year, member campuses enroll 4.9 million undergraduates and 1.3 million graduate students, award 1.2 million degrees, employ 1.2 million faculty and staff, and conduct $43.9 billion in university-based research.

Global entrepreneurship network expands to Shanghai

The Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre’s Global Network program helps budding entrepreneurs find their feet in the economic capitals of the world.

Greg Bavington, Executive Director of the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre, presents in Shanghai. (Supplied Photo)

Freshly minted Queen’s entrepreneurs looking to get their start in Asia now have some additional support.

The Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC)’s Global Network, a group of alumni and senior business leaders around the world, has added a network node in Shanghai. The node marks the fifth link in the Global Network, and the first in Asia.

“A node in Shanghai is the next logical step for us, and will be a boost to our ability to support entrepreneurship and innovation activities at Queen’s and beyond,” says Greg Bavington (Sc’85), Executive Director of the DDQIC. “Our growing network will help entrepreneurs emerging from our program solidify their manufacturing strategy and tap into one of the world’s largest markets.”

Joining Queen’s in Shanghai for the announcement of the node was Iris Technologies, a startup launched by Colin Harding (Com’17) and Conor Ross (Sc’16). The company is focused on solving the problem those with a concussion, migraine, or eyestrain often have when using computers. The company is in the midst of implementing a manufacturing strategy for the region.

“As a technology company looking to grow sales and expand its manufacturing capabilities, doing business in Asia is almost a necessity,” says Mr. Ross. “It is my hope that this Global Network node will help hardware startups tackle their biggest challenge – bringing a high-quality product to market – and to achieve this faster and with better products. We are grateful for the support of the DDQIC team and their efforts to support entrepreneurs like us.”

The Queen’s China Liaison Office, located in Shanghai, and the department of Alumni Relations are supporting the recruitment of the first volunteer members of this new node. The China Liaison office was founded in 2007 and its existence underscores the importance of the country to Queen’s global ambitions, says Associate Vice-Principal (International) Kathy O’Brien.

“Building relationships in China is a priority for Queen’s,” says Ms. O’Brien. “The university sent 47 students on exchanges to China in 2016-2017, and has almost 300 identified alumni in mainland China. The Shanghai node of the Global Network is an exciting opportunity to engage our strong and committed Queen’s alumni community in building Queen’s-China connections, and to leverage and recognize their talents by making them an integral partner to what we are doing.”

The DDQIC, Alumni Relations, and Office of the Associate Vice-Principal (International) are seeking Shanghai-based alumni, business leaders, and other supporters who are willing to volunteer their time advising and assisting Queen’s student entrepreneurs. In addition to supporting alumni entrepreneurs as they seek to build connections globally, the network also helps review the pitches of student entrepreneurs who are a part of the Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative program.

Those interested in participating in the Global Network program or learning more about it should visit the DDQIC’s website.

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