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Student Learning Experience

Dreams of reconciliation

Among the Principal’s Dream Courses funded last year, two courses were specifically focused on sharing Indigenous knowledge.

For one group of students, their semester-long dive into Indigenous culture is nearing an end – while another class gets set to begin its journey this summer.

[Lee Maracle]
Lee Maracle, an early Indigenous feminist, activist, and writer, speaks to the ENGL218 class. (University Communications)

Heather Macfarlane, Assistant Adjunct Professor in the Department of English, has just recently completed the first offering of ENGL218: Introduction to Indigenous Literature in Canada. The course examined Indigenous novels, traditional stories, poetry, short stories and plays from various time periods, written by Métis, Inuit and First Nations authors.

“My goal was to provide the students with insight into Indigenous cultures that they might not otherwise have,” she says. “Students love to have answers but I wanted to open things up for them, and show them how much there was to learn about Indigenous Peoples in Canada. I want to get them asking questions, with the goal that they ended up with more questions than when they started.”

Texts for ENGL218 – Introduction to Indigenous Literature
● Dimaline, Cherie. The Marrow Thieves.
● Halfe, Louise. Burning in this Midnight Dream.
● Maracle, Lee. Sojourner’s Truth and Other Stories.
● Moses, Daniel David. Almighty Voice and his Wife.
● Robertson, David Alexander. Betty: the Helen Betty Osborne Story.
● Ruffo, Armand Garnet. Norval Morrisseau: Man Changing into Thunderbird.
● Van Camp, Richard. The Lesser Blessed.

In addition to reading the stories, the class of 54 students also welcomed a number of the authors to campus for weekly guest lectures. To engage them in these talks, Dr. Macfarlane had the class conduct traditional greetings, introduce the authors, and prepare thoughtful questions in advance.

The speakers included Onangaate, a knowledge keeper from the Kingston Indigenous community; Lee Maracle, an early Indigenous feminist, activist, and writer; and two authors from Queen’s including Daniel David Moses of the Drama department and Armand Ruffo of the English department. The final speaker was Louise Halfe, who shared poems about her experiences as a student at a residential school.

Of particular interest to the students was Cherie Dimaline, winner of the 2017 Governor General's Award for English-language children's literature. Ms. Dimaline was the author of dystopian post-apocalyptic book The Marrow Thieves.

Dr. Macfarlane’s course will be offered again this fall, potentially with changes to the author lineup. The talks are being video recorded, and Dr. Macfarlane hopes to use the recordings with future offerings of the course if it becomes a permanent addition to the department’s course lineup.

“I am thankful for the Principal’s Dream Course funding, as I would not have been able to bring the authors in otherwise,” she says. “I am hopeful the fall intake will be even more popular than this term’s offering.”

[Students walk along a rocky trail]
Indigenous community members lead students on a nature walk. (Supplied Photo)

In June, another Dream Course will get underway as Heather Castleden begins her first offering of GPHY309: Indigenous Perspectives on the Environment and Health. This field school is an opportunity to meet with Indigenous peoples to learn directly from them about their interconnected relationships with the land, environmental management, and human health.

“This is based on a field school I used to offer at Dalhousie University, and builds on many of the same relationships I developed when I was working out in Mi’kma’ki (Nova Scotia),” says Dr. Castleden, who is the Canada Research Chair in Reconciling Relations for Health, Environments, and Communities. “There seems to be a lot of excitement from the students - that Queen’s is finally offering something like this.”

As part of the three-week course, students will spend two weeks in Mi’kma’ki meeting with members of several Mi'kmaw First Nations.

[Google Maps screenshot of the students' route through Nova Scotia]
Dr. Castleden's students will be on the road for 14 hours as they meet with Indigenous communities across Nova Scotia. (Google Maps)

Their travels will take them to, for example, Pictou Landing, an Indigenous community that has been heavily affected by a local pulp and paper mill; to Unama’ki (Cape Breton), where they will learn about two-eyed seeing from the Elder who originated the principle. of embracing the best of both Indigenous and Western knowledge systems.They will meet with other Indigenous knowledge-holders that apply this principle to interpreting the local archaeological history and geological formations.

If time permits, they’ll also participate in a cultural camp in Bear River on the western side of Nova Scotia.

Along the way, they will connect with the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs, visit the site of a centralized residential school, go eel fishing at night (if the weather cooperates), and participate in land-based learning activities. The students have also been invited to a pow wow. The focus is on experiential learning with many in-person meetings and engaging in ceremony when invited to do so by Mi’kmaw hosts.

“This field school is meant to challenge the students emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually,” says Dr. Castleden. “When they get back to Kingston, the students will each have the opportunity to reflect on their experience by preparing short video stories, which will be showcased at a special open event on June 15.”

When the course is offered for a second time next year, Dr. Castleden says she may take the field school out to the west coast where she has other established relationships instead – though she is also keen to eventually develop local relationships so students can experience something similar in southeastern Ontario.

[Principal's Dream Course logo]
The logo for the Principal's Dream Courses program. (Supplied Photo)

Each year, the Principal’s Office funds a number of courses through the Principal’s Dream Course program. Interested faculty should submit proposals tied to key themes, such as sustainability, Indigenous knowledge, and diversity and inclusion, and successful proposals are granted up to $15,000 in one-time funding to offer the course for at least two iterations.

The Principal’s Dream Course program is administered by the Centre for Teaching and Learning – learn more about it on the CTL’s website. The 2018/19 recipients will be announced in the near future.

Building teacher networks across borders

A group of teacher-candidates travels to Africa in support of 1 Million Teachers, a startup created by a Queen's alumnus.

[1 Million Teachers host workshop in Abidjan, Cote D'Ivore]
A group of Queen's teacher-candidates visited the Iqrah International Model Kiddies College in Abidjan, Cote D'Ivoire as part of the collaboration with 1 Million Teachers, a startup created by Queen's alumnus Hakeem Subair. (Supplied Photo) 

The Faculty of Education has partnered with a startup, created by a Queen’s alumnus, that is providing support for teachers in countries where in-class and educational resources are lacking.

1 Million Teachers is the brainchild of Hakeem Subair, a graduate of the Master of Innovation and Entrepreneurship program at Smith School of Business. The organization’s goal is to help attract, train, and retain 1 million teachers, as well as develop the capacity to train more, in developing countries through its online platform. Utilizing reward-based training, the program aims to transform teachers into life-long learners who are engaged and motivated – positively impacting the future of millions of children around the world.

A number of faculty members from across Queen’s are involved in the advisory team while a group of 13 final year teacher candidates from the Faculty of Education recently traveled to Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire to deliver workshops and engage with teachers interested in the program.

Collaboration and relationship-building is a key theme.

“We’re not going there and saying ‘this is what you need to know.’ That’s not our approach,” says Jane Chin (Education), who traveled with the group and is a member of the 1MT advisory board. “The teacher-candidates are excited because the whole point is to go sit with these teachers, who are their colleagues, and say ‘What do we have in common and how do we support each other?’ They’re really excited to have the opportunity to learn from other teachers.”

All but one of the teacher candidates is in the Educators Abroad focus track of the teacher education program.

As with any project, there is a lot of work that must be done first in creating the structure and connections, as well as the online content for the program.

“All of the teacher candidates involved expressed an interest in teaching overseas or cross-cultural teaching and they have to do a three-week alternative practicum as part of our program,” says Dr. Chin. “This group has worked really hard and has put together 10 modules to be used and sent out through 1 Million Teachers. That is a lot of content.”

The support, both online and on the ground, has helped build a strong foundation for 1 Million Teachers while also providing valuable experience for the teacher candidates, says Mr. Subair.

“The modules are high-quality work,” he says. “The (teacher candidates) are involved in every aspect of the process – the writing, the audio and the editing of the graphics as well.” 

In Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, the Queen’s group will lead a number of workshops while fostering the creation of professional learning communities for attendees, a key element for 1MT.

“We will get the dialogue going – here are some of the things we are thinking about in Canada, here’s some things we think about in relation to the new ideas about teaching, getting students to ask good questions, how do you do it, kind of sharing – but then the ultimate goal is to facilitate these teachers connecting to one another,” says Dr. Chin. “We want them to know that they do not have a lot of resources but we do. You communicate with one another, support one another and we’ll support you.”

Having grown up in Nigeria, Mr. Subair knows the monumental task facing teachers in sub-Saharan Africa and other locations all too well. In many countries there is little funding or resources provided to teachers. As a result, for many families there is a stigma toward pursuing teaching as a career. Still, he points out, there are those who remain passionate about teaching and educating the next generation.

Through 1MT, these teachers can get the support they need. There’s also a longer-term goal of improving the situation for teachers overall, Mr. Subair adds.

“This is the community. The idea is all the teachers using the platform are part of the community. Imagine having someone like Professor Chin and someone is asking a really technical question about teaching and she’s able to respond,” he says. “There’s an advocacy piece as well. We are engaging with governments and we want to be able to strongly advocate for teachers with governments to change policy such as increasing remuneration.”

To learn more about the program, visit the 1 Million Teachers website.

A healthy approach to the Three Minute Thesis

  • Priyanka Gogna, a master’s student in epidemiology
    Priyanka Gogna, a master’s student in epidemiology, receives the top prize of $1,000 from Brenda Brouwer, Vice-Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies, for winning the Queen’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition. (Photo by Greg Black)
  • Dhruv Bisario, a master’s student in astrophysics and astronomy
    Dhruv Bisario, a master’s student in astrophysics and astronomy, was selected as runner-up for his talk on “Accretion in Old Galaxies - A Piece of the Puzzle.” (Photo by Greg Black)
  • Shannon Neville, a master's students in biomedical engineering
    Shannon Neville, a master's students in biomedical engineering, makes her presentation at the Three Minute Thesis competition on Wednesday, March 28. (Photo by Greg Black)
  • Three Minute Thesis competitors and judges
    The Queen's Three Minute Thesis brought together graduate students from across the university who were competing for the title before a panel of non-specialist judges. (Photo by Greg Black)

Priyanka Gogna, a master’s student in epidemiology, is this year’s winner of the Queen’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition.

Using only one static slide and no props, the graduate student competitors must present their research to a panel of non-specialist judges within a maximum time of 180 seconds.

In her presentation “When prevention could be the cure,” Ms. Gogna, spoke about how prevention is perhaps the best approach when dealing with disease rather than always looking for a cure.

Ms. Gogna, who is supervised by Will King (Public Health Sciences), also won the People’s Choice Award through a vote by audience members.

Dhruv Bisario, a master’s student in astrophysics and astronomy was runner-up with his talk on “Accretion in Old Galaxies - A Piece of the Puzzle.”

Ms. Gogna will now represent Queen’s at the Ontario 3MT on April 19 at York University. 

“For the Queen’s 3MT our students put in hours of preparation for their three minutes in front of the judges,” says Brenda Brouwer, Vice-Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies. “The competition helps students hone communication skills while at the same time making their research accessible and it’s a great way to celebrate the innovative and thought-provoking research our graduate students are conducting across campus.”

The 3MT is a communications competition for graduate students. Developed in Australia by the University of Queensland in 2008, it has expanded to a series of competitions held at universities around the globe. In 2012, Queen’s held the first 3MT competition in Ontario and since then, Queen’s students have consistently excelled at both provincial and national competitions.

Six budding businesses boosted

A pitch competition organized by the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre resulted in cash for some innovative ideas. 

The ClimaCube team, from L-R: James Hantho (Comm'18), Leigh-Ann McKnight (Sc'18), Karina Bland (Sc'18), and Mitch Sadler (Sc'18). (University Communications)
The ClimaCube team, from L-R: James Hantho (Comm'18), Leigh-Ann McKnight (Sc'18), Karina Bland (Sc'18), and Mitch Sadler (Sc'18). (University Communications)

Queen’s students are applying their skills to tackle global challenges both small and large – from better Lyme disease testing to ensuring protection of medical samples while in transit.

These are just a couple of the ideas that were on display at a recent pitch competition organized by the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC). The centre invited student entrepreneurs to present their ideas for a chance to win funding, and potentially to enter the Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI) bootcamp beginning in May.

“The pitches were excellent, and there was quite a remarkable diversity of technologies and ideas,” says Anton Toutov (Sc’11), chair of the Los Angeles node of the Queen’s Innovation Centre Global Network and one of the event’s judges. “These businesses were primarily in the idea stage, but the thought process and care was quite good and the quality was high. I want to congratulate all those who pitched.”

Ten teams sought funding in the competition, and in the end six of them will each be receiving between four and five thousand dollars in seed money. ClimaCube, a team which is developing portable cold storage units to maintain the quality of items such as samples or vaccinations and extend the cold lifetime (or 'cold chain') as they are in transit, was one of the successful competitors.

Successful pitches:
eBridges - A multi-vendor e-commerce platform that provides small businesses and independent merchants in developing countries with direct access to the global marketplace. Received $5,000.
Lymelight Genetech - Developing a diagnostic to provide reliable, accessible, and affordable Lyme disease testing. Received $5,000.
BearCloud Games - A digital game studio specializing in mobile and virtual reality games. Received $4,000.
ClimaCube - Developing portable cold storage units to extend the quality of products as they are in transit, such as samples or vaccinations. Received $4,000.
Leash Technologies - A small device that will alert you if you have left your phone behind at home or any public place. Received $4,000.
Sicana - A text message encyclopedia that allows students in countries with limited internet access the ability to text basic search questions and receive an answer. Received $4,000.

The ClimaCube team recently returned from a social enterprise competition in Dubai known as the Hult Prize. The team gained great experience going through that process, which helped prepare them to pitch at the QICSI competition. Both presentations were great learning experiences, says Karina Bland (Sc’18).

“This presentation was a fantastic experience for us, as the judges were highly engaged and provided helpful feedback,” says Ms. Bland, one of the team members behind ClimaCube. “We appreciated the fact that the QICSI presentations were short and there was a longer question period, which allowed us to clarify some aspects of our product. With this funding, we aim to produce a prototype of our portable active cooling system.”

Ms. Bland says, thanks to this win, she and her three co-founders will all be participating in the competitive QICSI bootcamp this summer – providing them a further leg up as they develop their business.

“As I come from a technical background, I am excited to learn a lot about business and benefit from the experience of the QICSI mentors,” she says.

The QICSI bootcamp runs from May to August and features intensive instruction designed to help student entrepreneurs build stronger businesses. The program ends with a pitch competition where the start-ups bring their best pitches to try and earn seed funding. Forty-seven students will be attending this year’s bootcamp after competing in the spring and fall pitch competitions. One team is also attending QICSI after winning the Kingston Mayor’s Innovation Challenge.

Other funded pitches at the spring competition include eBridges, Lymelight Genetech, BearCloud Games, Leash Technologies, and Sicana. For these six, and for the four who did not receive funding this time, Dr. Toutov has the same advice.

“Win or lose, successful or unsuccessful in this competition, the network available to these entrepreneurs is amazing,” he says. “Talk to people within the Queen’s community to get connected to others in your field to avoid landmines and de-risk your business. Don't hesitate to make those connections.”

For more news from the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre, visit queensu.ca/innovationcentre/newsandevents

Students answer the prime minister’s reconciliation challenge

A joint class of Arts and Science students examined the relationship between Indigenous Peoples and settler communities through a social justice exposition.

  • Penny Cornwall (Artsci’18) speaks with Madeline Heinke (Artsci'18) in front of their team's exhibit, Maanamaji'o. The word means "the community (or the person) is sick." (University Communications)
    Penny Cornwall (Artsci’18) speaks with Madeline Heinke (Artsci'18) in front of their team's exhibit, Maanamaji'o. The word means "the community (or the person) is sick." (University Communications)
  • The Maanamaji'o exhibit includes items gathered from Pikangikum. The First Nations community has "an alarmingly high suicide rate", says Ms. Cornwall. (University Communications)
    The Maanamaji'o exhibit includes items gathered from Pikangikum. The First Nations community has "an alarmingly high suicide rate", says Ms. Cornwall. (University Communications)
  • Other topics explored by the joint class include "The Monstrous Other" in pop culture - demonstrating unfair portrayals of, among others, Indigenous Peoples. (University Communications)
    Other topics explored by the joint class include "The Monstrous Other" in pop culture - demonstrating unfair portrayals of, among others, Indigenous Peoples. (University Communications)
  • Mishiikenh (Vernon Altiman) of Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre performs an honour song to open the expo. (University Communications)
    Mishiikenh (Vernon Altiman) of Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre performs an honour song to open the expo. (University Communications)
  • Thohahoken (Michael Doxtater) and student Cosimo Morin (Artsci'18) lead the joint class in an Indigenous song the class rehearsed in anticipation of the event. (University Communications)
    Thohahoken (Michael Doxtater) and student Cosimo Morin (Artsci'18) lead the joint class in an Indigenous song the class rehearsed in anticipation of the event. (University Communications)

Students in a Global Development Studies course and a Languages, Literatures, and Cultures course have come together to spark a dialogue around the issues identified in the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report.

Under the guidance of Thohahoken (Michael Doxtater), Queen's National Scholar in Indigenous Studies: Land- and Language-Based Pedagogies and Practices, the students have organized the “Treaty Peoples Social Justice Expo”, a poster fair in Stirling Hall. The event was aimed at increasing awareness of Indigenous Peoples issues and honour their cultures and languages. The idea to host a poster fair was Dr. Doxtater’s, as a way to foster his students’ learning while also providing them an opportunity to find topics that relate to their interests.

“The aim was to engage these young people in the prime minister’s challenge to ‘move towards a nation-to-nation relationship based on recognition, rights, respect, cooperation, and partnership’,” says Dr. Doxtater. “I am proud of the students’ efforts, and pleased that we were able to engage two distinct classes in this multidisciplinary look at contemporary Indigenous issues.”

To help create a respectful and inclusive environment, Wednesday’s event opened with greetings from Elder Mishiikenh (Vernon Altiman) of Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre. Then, guests were welcome to explore the room and learn about 13 topics related to the well-being of Indigenous Peoples.

“The poster fair included examinations of issues such as environmental resistance and the impact of development on Indigenous health, incarceration of Indigenous peoples, and even portrayals of Indigenous Peoples in sports,” says Penny Cornwall (Artsci’18), one of the organizers. “My team’s project, Maanamanji’o, focused on suicide and mental health in Pikangikum First Nation – a community with an alarmingly high suicide rate.”

Ms. Cornwall notes one of her peers has a personal connection to the Pikangikum community, and this student’s passion led the team to explore that topic.

Dr. Doxtater was hired in 2017 as part of the Principal’s faculty renewal efforts. He is a Queen’s National Scholar cross-appointed to the Departments of Global Development Studies and Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. Learn more about Dr. Doxtater here.

Introducing our new faculty members: Anne Duffy

Anne Duffy (Psychiatry) is a new member of the Faculty of Health Sciences.

This profile is part of a series highlighting some of the new faculty members who have recently joined the Queen's community as part of the principal's faculty renewal plans, which will see 200 new faculty members hired over the next five years.

Anne Duffy (Psychiatry) sat down with the Gazette to talk about her experience so far. Dr. Duffy is a clinician-researcher who is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to continue a two-decades-long study of young people at familial risk of developing mood disorders.

In addition to research, she sees students in psychiatry consultation at Student Wellness Services and helps with some of the clinical teaching for undergraduate medical students and psychiatry residents (graduate level and specialty level). Dr. Duffy is also the current vice president of research for the International Society of Bipolar Disorders.

Anne Duffy (Psychiatry) is a new member of the Faculty of Health Sciences. (University Communications)
Anne Duffy (Psychiatry) is a new member of the Faculty of Health Sciences. (University Communications)

Fast facts about Dr. Duffy

  Department: Psychiatry

  Hometown: Toronto

  Alma mater: University of Victoria (neuropsychology), University of Calgary (medicine), University of Ottawa (psychiatry residency)

  Research area: Youth mental health

  Unwinds with: Spin classes, yoga, down-hill skiing, and laughter

  Dr. Duffy's website

What made you decide to make the move to Kingston?
I have had a two decades-long research project with families living between Ottawa and Toronto. Queen's is geographically well-suited to support this study and the Department of Psychiatry has provided protected time for me to dedicate to this work. With these advantages, I can consolidate my effort with these families and really move this world-renowned research forward.
In addition, Queen’s Faculty of Health Sciences and Department of Psychiatry have made student mental health a priority. I am well-placed to help advance research and best practice to improve the health and academic outcomes for students. So, I thought the position at Queen’s was a good fit and an exciting opportunity.
Tell us about this two-decades-long research project.
During residency training in Ottawa, in my research elective, I worked with faculty in the Department of Psychiatry who were conducting genetic studies in families trying to identify the genetic underpinnings of recurrent major depression and bipolar disorder.
Genetic studies were focused on adults who had already progressed through the risk period. Yet, as a training adolescent psychiatrist, my interest was in describing the early developmental course and onset of illness. Questions arose in my mind including: Are there any early antecedents and precursors we could pick up before the full-blown illness develops?
This was the start of the Canadian ‘high-risk study’ – a first in the field for research of children of bipolar parents. Bipolar disorder is a highly-heritable form of recurrent mood disorder with a high suicide risk.
When the study started, 22 years ago, I thought I would be staying in Ottawa for a year or two and then head back out west, where I completed medical school. I ended up staying and developing the research further as it was so fascinating and informative.
The project has been a huge success in terms of offering a collaborative multidisciplinary training platform for new, young researchers and graduate students. As a physician, the research has taught us a lot about how to recognize these illnesses earlier on.
It has also generated a whole other set of research questions. So, we have just been funded again for an additional five years of peer-reviewed, competitive funding.
We are still interested in looking at epigenetic markers – which is the idea that we are born with our genes, and the function of our genes changes over time and with exposure. We are also working with people in public health, epidemiology, and mathematics to do modelling work so we can mitigate and target the risk exposures in these at-risk kids.
I regularly go abroad to talk about this Canadian grassroots study. It has been really well-received and addressed a number of unknowns and controversies in the field.
So what’s the next step?
I have just led a successful CIHR Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research grant – the first of its kind to my knowledge in student mental health at Queen’s. It involves a number of faculty and trainees across departments including Psychology, Public Health Sciences, and Student Wellness Services. The grant received matching funds from the Rossy Family Foundation, and it will be conducted in collaboration with my colleagues in the Department of Psychiatry at Oxford University.
This study will examine how we can support students to be academically successful, while also establishing a healthy lifestyle and maintaining their mental health. We are looking to answer why some first-year students flourish while others do not – that’s a huge question. I have spent two decades looking at risk for illness – now I am moving into resiliency, risk mitigation, and student health.

It has been a great way to start at Queen’s. It has allowed me to meet my colleagues across disciplines and to work with them, and to really pioneer student mental health research which can be informed by the more specific psychiatric research that I have been doing.

-Dr. Anne Duffy on a new research project starting this fall
What got you interested in the topic of mental health in children? In youth?
I had applied to train in pediatrics as a specialist originally, but I was terrible in my pediatrics rotations because I was an asthmatic and always getting sick, which would exacerbate my breathing troubles. Yet, being an asthmatic is what originally got me interested in medicine in the first place.
I also found it difficult to do procedures on children – like stitching them up or cutting them open. What I was good at, however, was talking with children and families, so I decided to go into adolescent psychiatry.
Very little was known at the time about the early signs and symptoms of psychiatric illness in children, and so it was a wide-open field for clinical research. It was a perfect marriage of interest, opportunity, and skill set.
To me, adolescence is the most interesting period of time in development. There is so much changing at such a rapid rate. Plus, if you can get in there and help young people, you set them on a trajectory for lifelong happiness and success.


When she is doing her clinical work, Dr. Duffy shares an office in the Student Wellness Services building. (University Communications)
When she is doing her clinical work, Dr. Duffy shares an office in the Student Wellness Services building. (University Communications)
What do you find most rewarding about your work?
I love helping people. That is why you get into helping professions. Even if I am tired, I am happy to be here because a student is going to come through the door who is distressed, and I can potentially make a difference for that student.
I also have the opportunity to train and mentor fantastic students. Graduate students across disciplines are so stimulating and make the work so much better than it would be if I was doing it on my own. It’s a huge privilege to be practicing medicine and to be in part of the university campus. I have always been incredibly grateful for that opportunity.
Your resume suggests you like to travel. Any places you want to see in particular?
You might know by my name that I have an Irish background. My father was Irish but he grew up in Scotland. I grew up knowing my Scottish family, but I have never actually been to Ireland or learned about my own Irish roots.
I would also really like to go to Iceland. My husband and I are big outdoor sports enthusiasts. We would love to go skiing and hiking there, and see the volcanoes. We had fantastic neighbours from Iceland and loved hearing their stories about life in their homeland.
Anything you hope to see and do in and around Kingston this summer?
I am getting a fat tire bike this summer to do some more cycling around town with the family. I am a spin class addict. I love cardio – it's a great stress reliever, helps with mood and well-being and reduces many health risks.
Meet other new faculty members
Kristy Timmons
Felicia Magpantay
My son is in his first year in the arts program at Queen’s. He is also a newly-recruited kicker and punter for the Gaels men’s football team and he loves the training and conditioning program.
My daughter recently graduated with a Master of Arts in English and is applying to Queen’s Law School. My husband is a past Queen’s student and supports us all in our individual pursuits – especially in striking a good work-life balance. So it seems Queen’s is central to our family life.

Faculty Renewal

Principal Daniel Woolf has identified faculty renewal as a high priority for reinvestment by the university in support of the academic mission. The five-year renewal plan will see 200 new faculty hired, which nearly doubles the hiring pace of the past six years.

Faculty renewal supports Queen’s commitment to diversity and inclusion by giving the university the opportunity to seek, proactively, representation from equity-seeking groups such as women, people with disabilities, Indigenous Peoples, and racialized individuals. It will also build on Queen’s current areas of research strength.

To learn more about the Principal’s faculty renewal plans, read this Gazette article. Stay tuned for additional new faculty profiles in the Gazette.

Enabling students to pursue their dreams

  • Schulich Leaders meet Provost Bacon
    Queen’s Schulich Leaders speak with Benoit-Antoine Bacon, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), about what the prestigious national scholarships have enabled them to accomplish, during a breakfast meeting at Richardson Hall.
  • Schulich Leaders meet Provost Bacon
    Laure Halabi talks about her experience as a Schulich Leader at Queen's as fellow Schulich Leaders listen, including, from left, Sandra Smeltzer, Johann Sapim, and Clifford Lerebours.
  • Schulich Leaders meet Provost Bacon
    Benoit-Antoine Bacon, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), listens as Sandra Smeltzer talks about what she has gained through her Schulich Leader Scholarship, along with fellow Queen's Schulich Leaders Ryley Molloy and Jamie Lee Freeston.

For many of the Schulich Leader Scholarship recipients, attending Queen’s University would have been unlikely without the support provided by Canadian business leader and philanthropist Seymour Schulich.

Recently, Queen’s Schulich Leaders had the opportunity to speak with Benoit-Antoine Bacon, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), through an organized breakfast meeting at Richardson Hall. During the meeting, students spoke about how the scholarships have enabled them to pursue their preferred areas of studies at Queen’s as well as their experiences as recipients of the prestigious awards. They also had the opportunity to find out more about the provost and what his role as a senior administrator entails.

For Jacob Meadus, a first-year student in the Faculty of Arts and Science, the scholarship has given him the opportunity to pursue studies in astrophysics.

“I wouldn’t have been able to come to Queen’s in the first place without this scholarship,” says Mr. Meadus, one of four 2018 Queen’s Schulich Leaders. “I come from a town in Newfoundland and Labrador, so that meant applying for scholarships and bursaries to help fund my education outside the province or go to the local university which, unfortunately, doesn’t have the program that I wanted to study. So that wasn’t looking very good for me. Fortunately, I received a Schulich Leadership Scholarship and it has enabled me to pursue my dreams.”

Created in 2011 by Seymour Schulich, the annual nationally-competitive scholarship program encourages high school graduates to embrace STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) in their future careers. The awards provide financial support to winners over four years of study.

“The Queen’s Schulich Leaders form an incredibly talented group and it was such a pleasure to meet them,” says Dr. Bacon. “Thanks to the support of the Schulich Foundation these outstanding students have chosen come to Queen’s where they will contribute to our community of scholars and will benefit from the transformative student learning experience the university offers.”

This year, there were over 1,300 Schulich Leader nominees from across Canada vying for 50 scholarships, valued at up to $100,000 each. Since inception, 270 students have received this scholarship.

For more information on the scholarships and full profiles of the Queen’s recipients visit the Schulich Leaders website.

A lesson in leadership

Commerce student Vanessa Lin spends a day with Purolator's John Ferguson through CEOx1Day program.

Vanessa Lin and John Ferguson of Purolator
Through the CEOx1Day program, Vanessa Lin (Com'19) spent a day of learning with Purolator CEO John Ferguson as well as other company executives. (Supplied Photo)

When Vanessa Lin (Com’19) was selected to take part in the CEOx1Day program, she knew she was in for a unique experience.

What she didn’t know was how much access she would be given to Purolator President and Chief Executive Officer John Ferguson.

As a result of the in-person connection, Ms. Lin gained valuable insight into what it takes to lead a Canadian company with more than 10,000 employees.

Run by talent management firm Odgers Berndtson, CEOx1Day connects students with industry leaders for in-person learning opportunities.

When she heard about the program, Ms. Lin knew she had to apply.

“I was drawn to it because it is such a unique opportunity,” she says. “When else would you get the chance to learn from someone with such a high-level scope? It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see that kind of role firsthand.”

After applying online Ms. Lin underwent a rigorous, multi-stage assessment and interview process. In the end she was one of 18 post-secondary students from across Canada selected for the job-shadowing program.

Ms. Lin arrived at Purolator on Friday, Feb. 23 and started her day with a tour of the massive shipping facility in Mississauga. Throughout the day she met with a number of executives, including Mr. Ferguson, learning about the company and their roles.

What impressed Ms. Lin the most was the opportunity to observe Mr. Ferguson’s leadership style through a series of meetings, including a straight-talk session with employees.

“He takes a very collaborative approach,” Ms. Lin says. “Even though he leads, he also really values everyone else’s contributions. You can tell he really embodies diversity characteristics and understands that a team is better when there is diversity and everyone works together.  Seeing that and then seeing how transparent he is with people in all positions throughout the company – that consistent approach really resonated with me. That is the kind of leader I want to be as well.”

In her third year of studies at Smith School of Business, Ms. Lin is busy outside the classroom through extra-curricular activities and also volunteers in the Kingston community with Girls Inc. and the Algonquin and Lakeshore District School Board. This fall semester she completed a study exchange at the University of Economics, Prague.

Looking to her own career path there is no definite end goal, she says, but she is clear on her approach.

“I will be working hard and doing something I love,” she says. “It’s about making an impact wherever that turns out to be.”

Alumnus astronaut safely arrives at International Space Station

[Expedition 55 blasts off]
Drew Feustel and the rest of the Expedition 55 crew launch from Kazahkstan on Wednesday afternoon for a two day journey to the International Space Station. (Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)


March 23, 2018 update: Drew Feustel and the crew of Expedition 55 have arrived at the International Space Station (ISS). The Soyuz MS-08 spacecraft docked onto the ISS at 3:43 pm EST after a two day journey from Earth. This was a flawless docking executed by the teams, according to the NASA live feed. Check out footage of the ISS capturing the Soyuz MS-08 below, and other details about the mission, and Dr. Feustel’s many connections to his alma mater.

March 21, 2018 update: Drew Feustel and the crew of Expedition 55 have safely launched into low-Earth orbit and are en route to the International Space Station. They will arrive at the ISS on Friday, March 23, at 3:41 pm EST. Check out the photos below of the launch and the Queen's viewing party, hosted by the Department of Geological Science and Geological Engineering.

  • [Expedition 55 crew prepare for launch]
    Expedition 55 flight engineer Drew Feustel of NASA, top, flight engineer Ricky Arnold of NASA, middle, and Soyuz Commander Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos, bottom, wave farewell prior to boarding the Soyuz MS-08 spacecraft for launch, Wednesday, March 21, 2018 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)
  • [Astronauts keep track of vital systems during launch]
    The Expedition 55 crew keep track of the ship's vital systems during launch. (Photo credit: NASA live feed)
  • [Department of Geological Science and Geological Engineering hosts launch viewing party]
    Students from the Department of Geological Science and Geological Engineering watch the launch of Expedition 55. (University Communications)
  • [Students watch the launch]
    Geological Science and Geological Engineering students got to witness Drew Feustel, an alumnus of their program, launch into low-orbit over Earth. (University Communications)
  • [Alex Braun shows students model shuttle]
    Alex Braun (Geophysics) shows Geological Science and Geological Engineering students a model of the shuttle, with a scale replica astronaut to show the immense size of the spaceship. (University Communications)
  • [Closeup of spaceship and lander model]
    A closeup of the model ship and lander that Alex Braun (Geophysics) brought to demonstrate the scale of the spaceship. (University Communications)

Blasting off to the International Space Station

On Wednesday, Drew Feustel (PhD’95, DSc’16) left Earth and began his journey into orbit as the next Canadian to live and work aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The Queen’s alumnus and astronaut is the Flight Engineer for Expedition 55 and will stay on the ISS for six months, taking over as Commander of the ISS in June for Expedition 56.

“We’re excited for Dr. Feustel’s third mission to space, on an expedition overseeing hundreds of experiments over six months,” says John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “From astroparticle physics to clean tech, many of the tests he and his team will perform will contribute to research here on Earth and align with many areas of research excellence here at Queen’s.  We wish him the best for his expedition.” 

Students will get the chance to ask Dr. Feustel questions during a Queen’s-hosted Education Downlink event, Ask an Astronaut, on April 6. More details about this special event will be available soon.

Dr. Feustel’s journey to Queen’s and beyond

Dr. Feustel grew up in Michigan, and came to Kingston to complete a PhD in Geological Sciences at Queen’s in the nineties. He and his wife Indira, a speech-language pathologist from Ontario, met while both were studying at Purdue University. Dr. Feustel attained his Canadian citizenship while in Kingston, and moved to Houston after his PhD to pursue a career in geoscience. Their children, Ari and Aden, were born in Kingston and the family is still closely connected to the area through family and friends.

Dr. Feustel dreamt of becoming an astronaut since childhood, and became interested in the opportunity after watching the Canadian Space Agency’s (CSA) astronaut search in 1992. He then reached out to Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield while in Houston who encouraged him to pursue his dream. Dr. Feustel applied to become an astronaut with NASA in 2000, and was selected on his first try. Expedition 55 will be his third mission to space.

Back on Earth, Dr. Feustel enjoys auto restoration, car and motorcycle racing, guitar, tennis, and water and snow skiing. It’s still unknown if he’ll bring any of his favourite hobbies with him to the ISS.

About the mission

At least two spacewalks are planned during the mission. Some of the planned experiments during Expedition 55 include:

  • studying thunder and lightning to learn more about the role of severe thunderstorms in Earth’s atmosphere and climate,
  • studying materials, coatings, and components in the harsh environment of space,
  • testing microgravity’s impact on bone marrow, and
  • simulating gravity aboard the ISS and testing on samples such as fruit flies, flatworms, plants, fish, cells, and protein crystals.

An alumni connection through music

Dr. Feustel has another connection with Queen’s: Rob Baker (Artsci’86), lead guitarist with The Tragically Hip.

“About 12 years ago, we were touring in the States and had an upcoming gig in Houston, and we got the call from Drew Feustel, asking if we’d be interested in having a tour of NASA’s facilities,” says Mr. Baker. “It was out of the blue to us, but we grew up in a certain time when the Apollo missions were front and centre in our childhoods growing up, so we were all excited to check it out. We rode the shuttle simulator, got to ask questions and saw them training in this gigantic pool, got a tour of the space arm – it was fantastic, and Drew was amazing with us.”

The two bonded over a shared love for music, and have stayed close friends since.

“He was in a band with a bunch of astronauts at NASA, playing in the same bar that we were. He said they played the greatest hits of the sixties, seventies, and the Tragically Hip,” says Mr. Baker. “I think he gets excited around musicians, but we get pretty excited around an astronaut.”

Mr. Baker wished his friend well on the voyage, and couldn’t wait to hear about everything he’ll get up to on the ISS.

“He’s not just a Canadian in space – he’ll be the Commander of the space station. He’s the king of space! It’s special, and a great connection for Queen’s.”

[Drew Feustel]
Dr. Feustel listens to a reporter’s question during the crew’s final day of qualification exams for Expedition 55 on Feb. 21, 2018, in Star City, Russia.
(Photo credit: Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center/Andrey Shelepin and Irina Spektor)
[Drew Feustel with googles]
The Virtual Reality Laboratory at Johnson Space Center is an immersive training facility that provides real time graphics and motion simulators integrated with a tendon-driven robotic device to provide the kinesthetic sensation of the mass and inertia characteristics of any large object being handled.

Follow the journey

Keep this page bookmarked for updates as the launch approaches, and read more at:

Follow Dr. Feustel’s journey on social media:

[Drew Feustel]
Drew is picured here at the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, an astronaut training facility located near the Johnson Space Center. Its main feature is a large indoor pool in which astronauts can perform extravehicular activity (EVA).


Indigenous art collection grows with generous donation

The Agnes Etherington Art Centre has received a gift of Inuit prints and a bequest from Margaret McGowan (Artsci’78) and her husband.

Mattiusie Manakudluk (QC 1911-Puvirnituq QC 1968), In Summer They Went Camping, In Winter They Went for Seals, 1968, stonecut on paper, 27/30.  Gift of Margaret McGowan Artsci’78, 2017 (60-003.18). (Photo by Bernard Clark)
Mattiusie Manakudluk (QC 1911-Puvirnituq QC 1968), In Summer They Went Camping, In Winter They Went for Seals, 1968, stonecut on paper, 27/30.  Gift of Margaret McGowan Artsci’78, 2017 (60-003.18). (Photo by Bernard Clark)

The Agnes Etherington Art Centre has received a donation of 23 stone-cut and stencil prints from alumna Margaret McGowan (Artsci’78). Ms. McGowan and her husband have also sponsored a research studentship, and these gifts complement bequests that the couple had previously established.

“As a student at Queen’s, I visited the Agnes regularly to see the exhibits and to enjoy the peace and beauty of the original house,” she says. “Recently, a more immediate opportunity to make a gift presented itself. For years I collected early Inuit prints from Puvirnituq on the east coast of Hudson Bay in northern Québec. I offered the collection of 23 prints to Queen’s, and Professor Norman Vorano was enthusiastic about adding them to the Agnes’s collection. He suggested the prints would offer possibilities for programming, exhibitions, and academic and community-based research.”

The prints span the first decades of printmaking in the Puvirnituq community, from 1961 to 1989. Consisting of 23 works on paper, the donation provides a representative overview of the emergence of printmaking in this community. The prints focus on depictions of birds and animals, show hunting scenes, and life at camp, with a few of the illustrations representing stories from the oral history of the Inuit culture.

In addition to this gift, Ms. McGowan and her husband are supporting a research studentship specific to Indigenous art and with a priority focus on Inuit art. The Research Studentship in Indigenous Art will provide opportunities for Queen’s students to further their studies in art history, art conservation, or Indigenous studies; enable research into the prints of Puvirnituq; and benefit the collections and programs at the Agnes.

To be eligible for the studentship, interested students must submit their applications to the Agnes Etherington Art Centre and a committee will decide on the recipient. The studentship will be granted on the basis of demonstrated knowledge, interest, and experience in the relevant disciplines, and the candidate's potential to contribute to the field.

Dr. Vorano, a Queen's National Scholar and Curator of Indigenous Art with the Agnes, says this donation is an excellent complement to the art centre’s existing Inuit graphic arts and resources.

“The McGowan donation will help Queen’s foster and support innovative student research, and enhance the experiential learning possibilities in the gallery and beyond,” says Dr. Vorano. “This donation will help us present a more comprehensive and comparative history of Arctic printmaking, and through the research studentship will also help attract Indigenous students and support a diverse array of graduate and upper-year undergraduate research.”

In addition to furthering scholarship on campus, these new art pieces and the studentship will support Queen’s in its reconciliation efforts. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission task force report called on the university to, among other things, raise awareness of the complex histories of Indigenous Peoples, and to enhance the visibility of Indigenous communities at Queen’s.

The donation
● Twenty-three stone-cut and stencil prints from Puvirnituq, an Inuit community in northern Québec. This donation was provided by Margaret McGowan.

● Ms. McGowan and her husband have also established the Research Studentship in Indigenous Art – an active research studentship focused on Indigenous art with a preference on Inuit art. This is in addition to a research studentship the couple had previously established as part of an estate gift.

● Also as part of the estate gift, a program will be created to provide bursaries for elementary and high school students participating in public and art education programs at the Agnes.

The donations also build on past commitments that Ms. McGowan and her husband have made to the Agnes. The couple had previously established two bequests which will establish a second research studentship, and will create a bursary program that will provide full or partial bursaries for elementary and high school students participating in public and art education programming presented by the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. 

“I am tremendously grateful to Ms. McGowan and her husband for this generous gift of art, which enables us to better reflect the complex expression of Inuit culture, and for such thoughtful support for related research,” says Jan Allen, Director of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. “We look forward to sharing new insights and to presenting these extraordinary prints for all to enjoy, as part of the expanding presence of Indigenous culture on campus and across the wider community.”

A selection of the Puvirnituq prints will be displayed at the Agnes in the spring and summer 2019.

The timing of this donation is also significant, as it comes just as the Master of Art Conservation program announced a $632,000 grant over five years from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The grant will be used to develop conservation research and online courses with a focus on Indigenous material culture.

For more information on art exhibits at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, visit agnes.queensu.ca.


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