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Queen’s Reads book for 2018-19 unveiled

This year’s Queen’s Reads book will take the university community on a trip down the 401. 

[Queen's Reads University book Catherine Hernandez Scarborough]
Volunteers prepare copies of Scarborough for distribution during the Queen's Reads campaign. (University Communications)

This year’s Queen’s Reads book will take the university community to a place that may be familiar for some, and may challenge students, faculty, and staff to look at it through different eyes.

Scarborough by Catherine Hernandez tells the interconnected stories of members of a culturally diverse Scarborough neighbourhood, including recent immigrants, Indigenous Peoples, single parents, and children.

Queen’s Reads is an annual common reading program which seeks to engage the university community in dialogue. Every year, a selection committee comprising students, staff, and faculty members aims to choose a book by a Canadian author which covers themes that are part of ongoing conversations on campus, will engage students, and are topical in the broader Canadian context. Last year, the committee chose The Break by Indigenous author Katherena Vermette.

After evaluating a number of options, Scarborough was chosen as this year’s book. With the selection made, the Student Experience Office in the Division of Student Affairs coordinates the year-long programming. And Woo Kim, Manager of the Student Experience Office, says they have a lot planned.

“We encourage everyone to take advantage of these opportunities, even if you've only read a page - part of the campaign is about reading the book, and part of it is engaging on the topics and themes,” says Ms. Kim.

The Student Experience Office will be giving away 5,000 copies of the book to students, faculty, and staff, with the majority of copies being distributed in the first weeks of the fall term.

In addition, the team has plenty of activities planned throughout the year. There is a documentary screening and panel discussion planned for the fall, an author event with Ms. Hernandez in November, and discussion groups taking place throughout the fall and winter.

There will also be designated ‘Reading Nooks’ – physical locations across campus where the university community will be encouraged to read together – and regular blog posts on the Student Experience Office website from members of the Queen’s community writing about the book, the topics and themes, and their love of reading.

And if you cannot make it to the groups or events, you can always organize your own – like one group of staff did as part of last year’s program.

In addition to her book’s selection for this year’s edition of the Queen’s Reads program, Ms. Hernandez will also be the Writer-in-Residence for the Department of English for the fall term, focusing on creative writing. The residency is funded through the Queen’s Research Opportunities Funds - Arts Fund – Visiting Artist in Residence, as well as the Canada Council for the Arts.

[Catherine Hernandez]
Catherine Hernandez, author of Scarborough, will be the Writer-in-Residence for the Department of English this fall. (Supplied Photo) 

As part of this residency, she will be working on her next novel, Crosshairs, and organizing workshops and healing circles around LGBTQ2s and racialized communities at Queen's University, and within the larger Kingston community.

"Crosshairs is a difficult novel to write because it means engaging in difficult discussions around race, religion, and identity,” she says. “With the support of Queen's, I look forward to digging deeper into the questions, 'What price do we pay by being passive in the face of white supremacy? And what price do we pay for fighting back?'"

There will be a welcome event for Ms. Hernandez on September 21 at 2:30 pm in Watson Hall Room 517, which the Queen’s community and general public are welcome to attend.

Those seeking a copy of Scarborough should keep an eye out for the Queen’s Reads booth at the ASUS Sidewalk Sale, Queen’s in the Park, and pop-up shops at Union and University (U&U) events during Orientation Week.

The book will also be available to students at the AMS offices and the Student Experience Office in the John Deutsch University Centre, Stauffer Library, Duncan McArthur Hall, residences, and the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre. In addition, distance education advisors will be mailing free copies of the book to their students.

Some advanced copies have been distributed to offices on campus; staff and faculty are encouraged to share these copies within their offices.

Anyone requiring an accessible format copy of the book is asked to contact the Adaptive Technology Centre at adaptive.technology.centre@queensu.ca.

Learn more about Queen’s Reads on the Student Experience Office website.

Introducing our new faculty members: Lindsay Fitzpatrick

Lindsay Fitzpatrick is a faculty member in the department of Chemical Engineering.

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

Lindsay Fitzpatrick (Chemical Engineering) sat down with the Gazette to talk about her experience so far. Dr. Fitzpatrick is an assistant professor.

[Queen's University Lindsay Fitzpatrick Engineering]
Lindsay Fitzpatrick is a faculty member in the department of Chemical Engineering. (University Communications)
Fast Facts about Dr. Fitzpatrick

Department: Chemical Engineering

Hometown: Timmins, Ont.

Alma mater: Georgia Institute of Technology (Post-doctorate), University of Toronto (chemical engineering doctorate) 

Research area: Biomedical and biomaterials engineering

Hobbies include: Cycling, triathlon, soccer, volleyball

Dr. Fitzpatrick’s web bio
How did you decide to become an engineer?

In high school, I really enjoyed calculus and science courses, like physics, chemistry and biology. Engineering seemed like the best fit for my interests, and I liked that I would have a professional degree at the end.

I started out in general engineering at McMaster and it just so happened that the first year they offered their chemical engineering and biosciences degree was the year that I was choosing my discipline. I was really interested in health sciences and how cells worked, so the chemical engineering approach to biomedical engineering seemed like a good fit and I decided to apply. I have loved it ever since I started.

The summer after my second year, I was lucky to start working in Heather Sheardown’s biomaterials lab at McMaster as a summer student and continued from there.

I have always been a bit oblivious to the ‘expectations’ or stereotypes placed on women, so I never saw going into a field like engineering as a boundary for me. My parents were always supportive of me doing whatever I wanted, and I didn’t know any engineers, so I had no idea that it was a field that girls typically didn’t go into. If I had, it probably would have just encouraged me further; I don’t really like being told that I can’t do something. I also had great role models in high school; all my calculus and science teachers (except physics) were women.

[Queen's University Lindsay Fitzpatrick Engineering]
Dr. Fitzpatrick maintains two labs - one in the Biosciences Complex (pictured), and one at the Kingston General Hospital. (University Communications)
Why did you decide to teach?

I have always enjoyed teaching and learning, and it is very rewarding to teach bright and enthusiastic students like the ones we have here at Queen’s. Working with our graduate and undergraduate students helps keep me motivated and enthusiastic as well.

It also forces you to stay on top of your game and stay current with information that is a bit outside of your specific research discipline. Now that I have a few years under my belt, I have also really enjoyed watching my former students and trainees mature and go on to do such exciting things. 

How are you enjoying being at Queen’s?

Queen’s has been a wonderful environment for a new professor and I have had a great experience so far. Starting out as an assistant professor is a pretty exciting but also daunting experience; there’s just so much you don’t know from teaching your first class to hiring your first student and setting up a lab. I’ve been very fortunate that my department is quite supportive and full of people who are there to help and want you to succeed.

I have been at Queen’s for just over four years now, although I’ve just come back from a maternity leave. My husband and I have really enjoyed living in Kingston – it has such a vibrant downtown, it is affordable, and is just a lovely place to live. Now that we have a baby, we are also recognizing all the benefits that Kingston offers for young families too.

What will you be teaching this academic year?

This fall, I am teaching a course I have not taught before – CHEE 452: Transport Phenomenon in Biological Systems. It is a fourth-year core course for our Bioengineering - Biochemical, Biomedical, Bioenvironmental Sub-plan (also known as CHE2) students.

The course gives our upper-year students the opportunity to apply their transport phenomenon knowledge – how mass, energy (heat), and momentum is transported within systems – to biological systems. We look at things like gas exchange in the lungs and in tissues, and pulsatile blood flow in compliant blood vessels.

We are actually applying some of the concepts from my masters by modeling how oxygen diffuses through tissues and is taken up by cells. This limits how large you can make tissue engineered constructs. We will be applying these concepts later in the term, understanding how the transport phenomena can impact the design of engineered tissues and how our bodies have developed vascular networks to overcome these types of diffusional limitations.

In the winter term, I will be teaching CHEE 340: Introduction to Biomedical Engineering. It is a precursor to the transport phenomenon course. This is a really fun class to teach, and my students really enjoy it too.

The course introduces students to the different aspects of human anatomy and physiology, and then we apply different types of engineering concepts to them. This course focuses on everything from transport phenomenon and fluid dynamics all the way to biomaterials and their applications to tissue engineering and stem cells. It is a survey course for that highlights different areas of biomedical engineering you can enter into through a degree in engineering.

Tell us a bit about your research.

My research focus is at the intersection of immunology and biomaterials research. We study how the cells of our immune system recognize and respond to implanted materials, like those you would use to construct a glucose sensor, pacemaker, or drug delivery system, and develop strategies for controlling the host response.

When any material is implanted, the cells of our immune system recognize that the material is foreign and tries to remove it through an inflammatory response called the foreign body reaction. This term describes a series of events that ultimately results in the implant being encased in abnormal fibrous tissue, sort like a scar forming around the implant.

For some applications this isn’t an issue, but many emerging biomedical technologies, like insulin infusion, glucose sensors, and neurostimulation probes rely on integration with healthy, normal tissue. Fibrous encapsulation of an implant, and the inflammatory response that precedes it, can limit the lifespan of devices, or cause them to fail prematurely.

We recently published our first paper in this area, which was really exciting. In it, we showed that when a material is implanted, danger signals that are released from damaged tissue and cells can adsorb on the material surface and activate responding immune cells via a receptor called Toll-like receptor 2.

By inhibiting this receptor’s signaling pathway, we were able to reduce the cells’ inflammatory response. However, this was all done using cells cultured in our lab, so we need to do more research to determine if this pathway plays a critical role in the foreign body reaction in living organism.

My second research stream is a bit more out there in terms of biomaterials research. We are looking at developing a new model system for looking at material cell interactions that uses zebrafish embryos as a model organism. By taking advantage of the optical transparency of zebrafish and reporter strains that have fluorescently-tagged cells or proteins, we can watch cell-material interactions in real time using fluorescence microscopy. However, zebrafish are really small, so we’re having to figure out how to implant materials in them in a reproducible and predictable way.

The idea is that we could then screen lots of different materials to give us a better fundamental understanding of what types of material properties trigger different types of responses, resulting in better material design.

It sounds like your work marries many different disciplines.
My training has allowed me to bridge different areas, primarily immunology and materials science. I am trying to build more collaborations with polymer scientists and immunologists here at Queen’s and eventually clinicians who work with patient populations that use implanted biomedical devices, like glucose sensors. 
What do you do for fun?

My husband’s family has a cottage near Bancroft, so we try to get up there as much as possible in the summer.

We all enjoy cycling and I was just getting into triathlons when got pregnant with my first child, which put a stop to that for now…although my husband just did his first half-ironman, so my daughter and I are becoming avid triathlon fans.

In the winter, I love to snowboard and cross-country ski. I used to play soccer and volleyball, but don’t seem to have the time anymore. Mostly, my free time is dedicated to playing with my daughter, Norah. She’s just turned one and is a wonderful and busy little girl!

I’m a total bookworm too. I grew up on The Lord of the Rings, so I have a definite a soft spot for epic fantasy sagas like Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson, and have just been reading The Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay. It’s a bit a guilty pleasure.

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, launched in 2017, will see 200 new faculty hired, which nearly doubles the hiring pace of the previous 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.

Orientation changes encourage inclusivity

Several recommendations of the Undergraduate Orientation Review Working Group have been completed in time for Orientation 2018.

[Queen's University Orientation students]
The Undergraduate Orientation Review was a recommendation of the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion (PICRDI) final report, and was launched last August. The working group's final report was issued in Spring of 2017. (Photo by Garrett Elliot)

First-year students participating in Orientation Week activities this fall will benefit from a number of changes designed to make the experience more inclusive. These changes stem from a report which focused on creating a more welcoming orientation experience for new students.

“Our campus is at its best when everyone is engaged, respected, and feels valued – and creating that environment starts with events like undergraduate orientation,” says Teri Shearer, Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion). “We continue to work with our AMS and faculty partners to implement these important recommendations, and we look forward to hearing from students about their experiences with orientation this fall.”

The Undergraduate Orientation Review Working Group issued its report this past spring. It made 20 recommendations to be completed by the university and the Alma Mater Society (AMS) by fall of 2019. Forming this working group was a recommendation of the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion (PICRDI).

A number of recommendations are currently underway, including the development of equity, diversity, and inclusivity training modules for orientation leaders; the implementation of an all-student event during orientation; more formalized collaborations between the Division of Student Affairs and the AMS; updates to the Orientation website; and the formation of a Deans Working Group.

“It is so important that our new students start their University experience knowing that we are all excited to have them as members of the Queen’s and Kingston communities and that they belong here,” says Corinna Fitzgerald, Assistant Dean (Student Life and Learning), Student Affairs. “We have been really encouraged by the collaborative spirit from all campus and community partners including the AMS, faculty groups and administrators, in this year’s planning.”  

Additional recommendations will be fulfilled following the completion of Orientation Week 2018, such as enhancements to a survey to better analyze whether the orientation experience met key organizational goals.

“Our student-run Orientation Week is an amazing opportunity for upper-years to engage with incoming students to provide them with a positive introduction to Queen’s,” says Munro Watters, Vice-Principal, University Affairs with the Alma Mater Society. “We want to continue doing all that we can to provide an inclusive environment for our new students and are very excited to see what we can accomplish in collaboration with the University!”

The schedule for Orientation Week 2018 is also changing to accommodate the introduction of a fall-term break. Following Residence Move-in Day on Saturday, Sept. 1, University Orientation activities will be held on Sunday, Sept. 2. Faculty Orientation will take place September 3, 4, and 5. Undergraduate fall term classes will start on Thursday, Sept. 6 and 7, followed by more Faculty Orientation activities on Saturday, Sept. 8. University Orientation will continue on Sunday, Sept. 9. 

To see the Undergraduate Orientation Review Working Group final report, visit the Principal’s website.

For more information on Orientation Week 2018, visit queensu.ca/orientation.  

Moving Move-In Day

As Queen’s prepares to welcome new students, there are a number of changes for students and the community to be aware of.

Saturday, Sept. 1 will be an exciting and busy day in Kingston, as over 4,500 first-year students move into their new homes in Queen’s University Residences. This is a change from previous years when move-in was Sunday. The change is designed to help accommodate the introduction of a new Fall Term Break for students.

How can I help Move-in 2018 be successful?

• Visit the Residence website to familiarize yourself with the plan for Move-in Day.

• In order to keep routes clear for Sept. 1, the roads around residence buildings will be closed during the evening of Aug. 31. Please keep this in mind if you are working an overnight shift that evening or are on campus for any other reason.

• Kingston Transit is providing a complimentary adult transit pass for all parking permit pass holders for Saturday, Sept. 1, as all campus parking lots will be in use that day for orientation. Please contact Donna Stover at stoverd@queensu.ca to request a pass by Wednesday, Aug. 29.

• Please be patient and try to assist lost students, supporters, or other guests who may be visiting campus for the first time.

Move-In Day is a big part of the transition to university life for incoming students. Over 95 percent of first-year students choose to live in residence, and the activities planned for Move-In Day help ensure a welcoming experience for students and their families and supports. To make these activities happen, hundreds of volunteers will be on hand to help with everything from providing directions, to helping to move luggage, to answering student and family questions.

Along with moving in their belongings, students participate in their first residence community meeting, eat dinner together, and take part in a welcome celebration with all first-year students.

With so many students arriving on campus and using the downtown streets around Queen’s, it is critical that the Move-In Day process is carefully coordinated. A working group of representatives from the university, the City of Kingston, and Kingston Police have been meeting for months to carefully plan out traffic flow, transit routes, and communications to all stakeholders. In keeping with previous years, there will be road closures, parking restrictions, and other traffic changes around campus leading up to and during Move-in Day.

“We are excited to welcome new and returning students to Queen’s and to Kingston,” says Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs. “We are working closely with our partners to make the residence move-in process as efficient as possible and to minimize any disruptions to the Kingston community.”

There have been some changes to the Orientation Week schedule to accommodate a two-day Fall Term Break in October. These changes stemmed from the recommendations of the Fall Term Break Task Force, which was formed by Senate and issued its final report in 2017.

Following Move-In Day on Saturday, Sept. 1, and University Orientation activities, including the Gaels football home opener on Sunday Sept. 2. Faculty orientation activities run Monday through Wednesday. Classes start on Thursday, Sept. 6, and orientation activities will continue with faculty events on Sept. 8, and campus events on Sunday, Sept. 9.

The new move-in date and the orientation week schedule have been communicated to students, city partners, campus neighbours, and the broader Kingston community.

For the most up-to-date information on Move-in Day, visit the Queen’s Residence website, and for information about orientation activities, visit the university’s Orientation website.

Move-In Day Logistics

In keeping with previous years, there will be road closures, parking restrictions, and other traffic changes around campus leading up to and during Move-in Day. These include:

Overnight Parking Restrictions (beginning at 6 pm on Friday, Aug. 31):

  • Albert Street between Union to King.
  • Stuart Street between University and Albert.
  • Bader Lane (also closed to non-Move-In Day traffic).
  • Collingwood Street between Union and King (local traffic only).

Roads scheduled for closure* at 7 am on Saturday, Sept. 1 include:
*Access will be available for residents. Street parking will not be permitted.

  • Arch Street at Union Street.
  • George Street at Stuart Street.
  • O’Kill Street at George Street.
  • Queen’s Crescent between Beverley Street and Collingwood.
  • Beverley Street between Union and King.

Streets designated one-way for Saturday, Sept. 1:

  • Albert Street, southbound between Queen’s Crescent and King Street.
  • Queen’s Crescent, westbound from Albert to Collingwood Street.
  • Bader Lane, westbound.
  • Stuart Street, westbound between University Avenue and Albert Street.
  • St. Lawrence Avenue, southbound from Stuart Street to King Street.
  • Collingwood Street, southbound from Union Street to King Street.
  • O'Kill Street, eastbound from George Street to Barrie Street.
  • University Ave, southbound from Union to Stuart Street.

Queen’s Law Clinics keep growing

Increasing number of experiential learning opportunities benefits both students in the Faculty of Law and the Kingston community.

The five Queen’s Law Clinics currently offer students in the Faculty of Law a total of 218 experiential learning opportunities each year. This growth means there are 46 per cent more credit, volunteering, summer, and articling opportunities than there were in 2014.

[Queen's Law Clinics]
The Queen's Family Law Clinic assists self-representing Family Court litigants by completing their documents, helping them negotiate the Family Court process and referring them to other family justice resources. (Photo by Greg Black)

The clinics provide legal services in business law, family law, elder law, poverty law and prison law. Student caseworkers and volunteers work under the supervision of the directors and review counsel to meet the needs of clients who would otherwise have difficulty affording legal advice.

Since 2015, the clinics have operated out of the same building in downtown Kingston and Karla McGrath has served as executive director since 2017.

“Like all good roommates, we do our own thing but we also find ways to share resources, realize efficiencies, and explore what each other has to offer,” says McGrath, who is also the director of the Family Law Clinic.

The biggest growth has been in the Queen’s Elder Law Clinic (QELC), the first clinic of its kind in Canada. The clinic, formed in 2010, had eight credit students in 2014; this fall, 16 student caseworkers mentored by three student leaders will help seniors in southeastern Ontario with a variety of issues related to aging, including files like elder discrimination, abuse and neglect, while also gaining skills which apply to other areas of the law, including planning wills and powers of attorney.

“The aging demographic is no secret. For the first time ever, Canada’s senior population is larger than the number of children in this country. So all services for seniors are in high demand,” explains Blair Hicks, director of the QELC. “Past student caseworkers have been diligent and creative in finding ways to alert the community to our service. Those efforts, and word-of-mouth from satisfied clients, have meant that the number of applicants continues to rise each year.”

Hicks says that the expansion of QELC will mean an even greater opportunity for Queen's Law students to have an impact in the community.

“With additional student caseworkers, QELC can now serve more low-income clients in a shorter time,” she says.

Hicks, a Kingston estate planning practitioner, began as a part-time review counsel before becoming the clinic’s director on a part-time basis in April 2017. As part of the clinic’s expansion, her position is now full-time. 

The Queen’s Family Law Clinic (QFLC) opened with eight caseworkers and in 2018-19 and Violet Levin (Law’20) will be one of 12 student caseworkers at the clinic. Since June 2016, QFLC students have helped 245 people to navigate the family justice system, including completing more than 750 court forms relating to divorce, support, custody, and access.

Levin believes that “the best way to learn is to actually apply yourself in the field and experience itself is not something you can learn out of a textbook.”

Hicks agrees.

“For the law school student body as a whole, every additional academic or summer position increases the number of students who will graduate with a clinical experience under their belt – something that is greatly valued by potential employers and students alike,” she says.

The Queen’s Business Law Clinic has continued to expand each year to the point where the number of student positions has more than doubled in four years. Clinic Director Morgan Jarvis (Law’10) cites student demand, that couldn’t have been met without generous alumni support, for the growth.

This fall, four second- and third-year students at the Queen’s Prison Law Clinic will pilot a new advanced clinical course. The prison law clinic is unique to Queen’s, enabling students to assist inmates in one of seven institutions in the Kingston area.

“This new course will provide an opportunity to develop advanced advocacy and litigation skills through intensive involvement in the test-case litigation practice carried on by the Queen’s Prison Law Clinic and by having carriage of more complex prison law files,” explains Kathy Ferreira (Law’01), the clinic director.

Queen’s Legal Aid, the longest-running clinic, continues to offer the most student positions: 100 in total. 

Queen’s Law Clinics can expand because of continuing support from Legal Aid Ontario, the Law Foundation of Ontario, Pro Bono Students Canada, the Class of Law’81 Clinical Programs Fund, the United Way, and alumni and industry sponsors.

Leading, including, and transforming

Twelve students spent the weekend in training to prepare for fall orientation. 

[Queen's AMS Ramna Safeer Myriam-Morenike Djossou]
Myriam-Morenike Djossou (Artsci’18) and Ramna Safeer (Artsci'18) are among those involved in delivering some key inclusivity training to student Orientation leaders this fall. (University Communications)

A dozen Queen’s students are now ready to train 1,300 of their peers on the effective ways to create an inclusive environment during orientation.

These 12 students were selected and trained as ‘peer facilitators’, a new role created to help improve the experience of this year’s orientation.

In this role, they will be responsible for delivering a 90-minute workshop to orientation leaders in August called Leading, Including and Transforming (LIT). The training was jointly developed by the Division of Student Affairs and the Equity and Human Rights Office.

Enhancing student leadership training for orientation was a recommendation of the Undergraduate Orientation Review Working Group – and that review of Orientation Week stemmed from a recommendation of the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion (PICRDI).

“This initiative will help us strengthen the student transition experience by creating a common understanding of what a respectful and welcoming and accessible Orientation program would look like for a diversity of students. It will help to foster, for all members of the incoming class, a sense of belonging at Queen’s,” says Corinna Fitzgerald, Assistant Dean, Student Life and Learning. "We are proud of the inclusive living and learning environment here at Queen’s, and we are committed to continuous improvement through initiatives such as this one.”

The agenda for the two-day training session included learning the presentation, practicing the presentation, a session on presentation skills, and a session for facilitators on self-care delivered by the Cultural Counsellor. Having students serve as facilitators was a deliberate choice, according to organizers.

Coordinating the weekend session was Ramna Safeer (Artsci’18), Student Life Assistant with Student Affairs and past Social Issues Commissioner for the Alma Mater Society.

“I thought it was a great opportunity for student leaders to learn tangible skills for dealing with difficult conversations in contexts that are specific to them,” she says. “With my own experience, I am really passionate about the fact that all students are leaders in some capacity, which means every student should feel like they are agents in making their environments more inclusive and accessible. I feel honoured to be a part of an exciting new initiative that furthers the conversations about accessible, hands-on equity training that we're having right now.”

Myriam-Morenike Djossou (Artsci’18), one of the facilitators, believes delivering this training will help Orientation leaders understand the opportunity they have to help build an environment at Queen’s that is welcoming for everyone.

“Even though Queen’s is a big institution, and sometimes it can be hard to see how each of us, as individuals, have the ability to influence what happens on campus, there are in fact many ways through which we can shape the Queen’s experience and culture,” she says. “By reflecting and thinking critically on the activities we engage in, and what we witness, by knowing how to safely intervene when it is necessary, and by fostering inclusiveness in our daily lives, we have that ability to make a difference. It may not always be on a large scale, but that may make an important difference for one student, and that is already a win.”

The 1,300 orientation leaders will be trained on Thursday, Aug. 30 just ahead of Orientation Week.

Preparing to pitch

Student entrepreneurs in the Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI) are looking ahead to August’s pitch competition.

  •  [Durabyte team QICSI Queen's]
    The Durabyte team is working to commercialize the research of Queen's professor Shahram Yousefi. They received the opportunity to commercialize the research as part of the 'Foundry' program, which previously produced successful startups RockMass Technologies and Spectra Plasmonics. (University Communications)
  • [Durabyte team QICSI Queen's]
    The full Durabyte team. From L-R: Sophie Labrosse (Comm'19), Sarah Coles (Sc'19), Cameron Rowe (Artsci'19), Alexander Griff (Sc'18), Hanna Tsimafeyeva (Sc'19). (Supplied Photo)
  • [Bryan Patterson QICSI Queen's BizSkills Academy]
    The QICSI teams received a visit from Mayor Bryan Patterson, who met with several of the teams individually and encouraged the students to base their start-ups in Kingston. (University Communications)
  • [SHAD Queen's QICSI Research Stream Isabel Hazan]
    QICSI students also had the opportunity to share their knowledge with high school students enrolled in the SHAD program. Here, Isabel Hazan (Artsci'20) speaks about her business, Research Stream. (University Communications)
  • [SHAD Queen's QICSI BizSkills Academy]
    Two QICSI student panels shared their insights about starting business ventures with the SHAD students, to provide greater insight into the possibilities and challenges that entrepreneurship can entail. (University Communications)

They have been hard at work since May learning about how to launch a business, refining their pitches, and forming teams.

Now, the countdown is on to the annual QICSI Summer Pitch competition – the opportunity for 17 student and community teams to present and try to bring home their share of the up to $100,000 in funding available.

“The pitch competition is the culmination of months of hard work by our students and community entrepreneurs. It marks both the end of the program, and a new beginning by giving teams the chance to win seed funding that will be essential to the growth of their company or non-profit,” says Greg Bavington, Executive Director, Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre.

“The weeks leading up to the pitch competition are critical for teams to build a successful pitch,” he adds. “They have spent much of the program studying a problem and arriving at a feasible solution, but in the coming weeks they will need to test their assumptions about the market and who will be willing to pay for their product, service, or initiative in order to convince the judges.”

There was a new twist to the QICSI program this year. In recent years, two Queen’s student start-ups – Spectra Plasmonics and Rock Mass Technologies – successfully turned Queen’s research into viable commercial businesses through the pilot of what has been called the “Foundry” program. So, QICSI organizers decided this year to formally make commercializing Queen’s research a goal of the summer initiative.

One QICSI team, Durabyte, is attempting to turn a research patent belonging to Shahram Yousefi, of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, into a viable business. Dr. Yousefi’s research uncovered a way to extend the lifetime of flash memory units – the kind you would find in smartphones and other computing devices the world over.

“The proprietary algorithm we’re working with improves the durability of flash-based storage devices by allocating data, which is made of bytes, more efficiently. Putting the words ‘durability’ and ‘byte’ together gave us our name – Durabyte,” explains Hanna Tsimafeyeva (Sc’19). “The algorithm that Dr. Yousefi developed is not only innovative, but it is also solving a very real issue in flash storage. After the presentation we couldn’t stop discussing all the potential we saw in taking this invention to market.”

The 50 student entrepreneurs participating this year have been receiving plenty of support along the way. Speakers, alumni, and even the Mayor of Kingston have been by to encourage the budding businesspeople as they hone their skills and refine their business plans. Another team participating this year is Unicity Studios, the winners of the Mayor’s Innovation Challenge, which aims to create a teaching tool for primary and secondary school computer science teachers through a creativity-enabling software.

To drive home the lessons the students are receiving at QICSI, they are also helping to teach other aspiring entrepreneurs. They recently played host to high school students who are a part of the SHAD program, which aims to educate grade school students about entrepreneurship and opportunities to work on social issues.

“It is an amazing opportunity for our SHAD students to collaborate with Queen’s students who are part of the Queen’s Innovation Centre and who are doing something very similar to what we do in our design engineering challenge,” says Teddy Katz, VP of Communications and Media Relations with SHAD.

If you want a sneak peek at the businesses and businesspeople who could be dominating industry and headlines in the years ahead, you are invited to the 2018 Dunin-Deshpande Summer Pitch Competition. The event will be held at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts beginning at noon on Thurs, Aug 23. It will also be live streamed on the DDQIC’s Facebook page.

Queen’s welcomes new Vanier Scholars

Four doctoral students earn prestigious national honour.

Four Queen’s University doctoral students have earned Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships designed to help Canadian institutions attract and retain highly qualified doctoral students. The four winners’ areas of study include Indigenous public protest, kidney function, low income populations, and assisted dying.

The scholarships provide each student with $50,000 per year for three years during their doctoral studies. Scholarships are funded by either the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

"Our heartiest congratulations are extended to each of the four recipients of this year’s Vanier award," says Fahim Quadir, Vice-Provost and Dean of the Queen's University School of Graduate Studies. "As Canada’s premier graduate scholarship, the Vanier award recognizes outstanding academic achievements, extraordinary leadership skills, and an unwavering commitment to fostering excellence and innovation in research in service of the global society. The School of Graduate Studies is looking forward to supporting our new Vanier scholars in continuing to pursue cutting-edge research in the disciplinary realms of social and health sciences."

This year’s recipients include:

Miles Howe

Miles Howe (Cultural Studies) - Howe's SSHRC-funded research focuses on analyzing policing tactics in relation to episodes of Indigenous public protest. Specifically, he is exploring how developments in policing theory and crowd theory have influenced Canadian policing practices, and how recent trends in “strategic incapacitation” have impacted the work of police and security agencies in regards to Indigenous public protests.

Christine Moon

Christine Moon (Kinesiology and Health Studies) - Moon’s dissertation project, funded by SSHRC, will explore experiences of racialized Canadians with medical assistance in dying. Her proposed doctoral work will help the public understand what assisted dying means to racialized Canadians and provide a previously unexplored, qualitative, and in-depth look at how they think about, request, or receive assisted dying.

Sarah Sharma

Sarah Sharma (Political Studies) – Sharma’s doctoral research examines how financial and environmental inequalities affect low-income populations in major global cities. Specifically, she is studying informal settlements to understand the economic and environmental threats to attaining safe and secure housing in growing urban centres. Her work is funded by SSHRC.

Mandy Turner

Mandy Turner (Biomedical and Molecular Studies) – Funded by CIHR, Turner’s work combines laboratory research with clinical research in an innovative way to better understand the negative impact of phosphate on blood vessels and the heart, especially in patients with impaired kidney function. Her research team is generating a new clinical test to identify those with phosphate imbalance at an early stage in order to manage these patients and decrease the risk of heart disease in this population.

For more information, visit the website.

A life-changing experience

A new bench near Summerhill has been dedicated to an engineering alumnus who credited Queen's with helping him pursue his dreams.

[Howie Toda]
Howie (Hisao) Toda (BSc’52). (Supplied Photo)

Howie (Hisao) Toda (BSc’52) was always grateful to Queen’s for helping to change his life.

Mr. Toda, who passed away in December 2017, overcame a challenging childhood that saw his family imprisoned in a Japanese internment camp. After graduating from Queen’s with an engineering degree, he got married, had four children, and went on to a long career at Ontario Hydro.

“Queen’s did not judge him by his family heritage or by who his parents were, but only by his capabilities and potential,” his son, Brian Toda, told family gathered at Summerhill for his father’s memorial bench dedication held in June. “Queen’s allowed him to pursue his dream and become an electrical engineer. [This bench dedication] is so meaningful because Queen’s represents a momentous inflection point in Dad’s life. He had two different lives – one before Queen’s and one after.”

Although Mr. Toda never returned after graduation, Brian said his father spoke fondly of his time at Queen’s. His family felt that dedicating a bench on campus was a fitting tribute and a way to bring him back to the school that changed his life.

Mr. Toda was one of three children in his family who grew up in New Westminster, B.C. His Japanese parents ran a successful boarding house and his childhood was fairly typical. Everything changed after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Mr. Toda and his family were labeled enemy aliens by the government and stripped of their rights. In February 1942, their family home and car were confiscated and they were moved to an abandoned mining hotel. Howie’s father was forced to work on the Crowsnest Highway.

After the war, the family was expelled from British Columbia and they relocated to Ontario, where Mr. Toda and his parents found work as labourers on a farm near Chatham.

Despite these challenges, Mr. Toda worked hard to finish high school, was accepted to Queen’s, and found jobs to help pay for tuition while studying.

While the Canadian government treated him like an enemy of the state, Queen’s welcomed him.

Mr. Brian Toda said his father’s stories about Queen’s didn’t include discrimination. They were typical student stories such as playing pranks, volunteering at campus radio station CFRC, and working part-time at the campus arena. Some professors and classmates were veterans who fought against Japan in the Second World War, yet Mr. Toda always felt like he was treated the same as other students. 

After graduation, Mr. Toda had a long and successful career in Toronto as an engineer in a variety of increasingly senior roles with Ontario Hydro. While there, he met his wife, Mariko, who worked as a secretary in a nearby office building. Together, they had four children and eventually welcomed four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren into their family. He worked hard to make sure his kids had the type of happy childhood he did not get to enjoy.

“In our wildest dreams, we could not imagine being forced from our comfortable, secure house and have everything taken away,” said Mr. Brian Toda. “Growing up, his stories of his time before Queen’s were like exaggerations to me. It has only been as I’ve grown up, gone to school, and raised a family that I’ve come to understand what a heroic effort it was for Dad to make life seem so normal for all of us.”

Visit the Alumni website to learn more about opportunities to honour loved ones through bench and tree dedications. 

[Queen's Summerhill bench Howie Toda]
A new bench located near Summerhill is dedicated to Howie (Hisao) Toda (BSc’52). (Supplied Photo)

This story originally appeared on the Queen's University Alumni website.

Creating the future workforce

NSERC’s CREATE Program supports Queen’s researchers in student training.

Two Queen’s University researchers are leading groups that have been awarded a combined $3.3 million in funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) as part of their Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) Program to provide innovative training to students in the areas of photonics, and water sustainability.

The CREATE program will provide groups led by Queen’s associate professors James Fraser (Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy) and Stephen Brown (Chemistry) with support for the training of teams of highly qualified students through the development of innovative training programs, and facilitate the transition of new researchers from trainees to productive employees in the Canadian workforce.

“The CREATE program highlights the often inextricable link between research and student training,” says Jim Banting, Acting Vice-Principal (Research). “Impressively, Queen’s secured two of 18 CREATE grants distributed nationwide, and we look forward to seeing the unique and transferable learning and training opportunities presented to the undergraduates and graduate students who participate in the MAPS and LEADERS projects.”

Dr. Fraser will receive $1,649,185 over six years for his CREATE – Materials for Advanced Photonics and Sensing (CREATE-MAPS) project, which will provide 42 graduate students and 22 undergraduate students with comprehensive training designed to help them compete in a photonics industry that has been experiencing unprecedented international growth. Demand for photonic materials and their manufacturing – including novel light sources, optical sensors, and more – has grown from a $2.5 billion global industry in 2011, to a $10.9 billion industry in 2017.

Dr. Brown has been awarded $1,650,000 over six years for his Leaders in water and watershed sustainability (The LEADERS Project), which will bring 44 graduate students and 24 undergraduate students to the forefront of water research through interdisciplinary approaches to developing water-related science and policy. The project will ensure students develop the broad base of skills required of contemporary water professionals – including working with environmental samples and data, liaising with stakeholders and presenting expert information clearly, and working with sustainability programs and environmental assessments. Industry experts are predicting a five per cent annual growth in the $2 billion environmental consulting and services sector, with a demand for 500,000 new employees in the sector.

The NSERC CREATE grants were announced by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, at the Université de Sherbrooke in Sherbrooke, Québec on July 16.

For more information on the program and for a full list of recipients, please visit the NSERC website.


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