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Fellowships profile new generation of Indigenous scholars

The Faculty of Arts and Science has launched a Pre-Doctoral Fellowship program to recognize outstanding scholarship among Indigenous PhD candidates.

The Faculty of Arts and Science has launched a new Pre-Doctoral Fellowship for Indigenous Students. Those wishing to learn more should attend an upcoming Feb 15 webinar. (Supplied Photo)
The Faculty of Arts and Science has launched a new Pre-Doctoral Fellowship for Indigenous Students. Those wishing to learn more should attend an upcoming Feb 15 webinar. (Supplied Photo)

A new program aims to bring some of Canada’s most promising Indigenous doctoral candidates to Queen’s for a year to further their learning, and allow Queen’s to learn from them.

A prestigious Pre-Doctoral Fellowship program, one of the first of its kind in Canada, has been created as a way of recognizing up and coming Indigenous scholars and enhancing their academic profile. The Faculty of Arts and Science is offering four spaces in this Fellowship program, which provides the recipients with a $34,000 annual stipend, teaching wages, and funds for research and conferences.

“We are proud of our continuing dedication to life-long learning and reconciliation efforts, and of the many academic and personal successes of our Indigenous students, faculty, staff and alumni,” says Lynda Jessup, Associate Dean (Graduate Studies and Research) with the Faculty of Arts and Science. “After working with Erin Sutherland (PhD’16), an Indigenous student who had received a pre-doctoral fellowship at another university, I was inspired to develop this program as a way of supporting culturally relevant learning opportunities both for Queen’s and for Indigenous students.”

To be eligible, students must have Indigenous heritage, must be enrolled in a doctorate program at another Canadian university, and must relocate to Kingston for the year. During the year, the PhD candidate would teach a course within the Faculty of Arts and Science, which would help Indigenize some of Queen’s curriculum, and they would engage with local Indigenous peoples and communities.

The candidates would also have the chance to broaden their scholarly network by working with Queen’s faculty members and researchers, thereby improving their career opportunities. Most importantly, the Fellowship would support the successful completion of their doctoral studies.

“The pre-doctoral fellowship I received gave me time, space, and support to finish my dissertation, and it gave me a new community to share my ideas with, to learn from, to be with,” says Dr. Sutherland. “The community helped me to develop ideas which ended up being central to my dissertation. Specifically, my time spent with community – both at the University and outside of it – supported my learning and discussion of Indigenous methodologies. Most importantly, it better prepared me to deal with change and how to work in and adapt to a new academic and community environment.”

Applications are being accepted to this pilot program until Sunday, Apr. 1. A webinar is planned for Thursday, Feb. 15 to share more information about the program with potential applicants. For more information on this new program, visit the Faculty of Arts and Science’s website.

Building understanding of nature’s power at water’s edge

Ryan Mulligan, Assistant Professor in Civil Engineering
Queen’s civil engineering professor Ryan Mulligan is a coastal engineer who specializes in waves, storms, and changes to shorelines. (University Communications) 

The 2017 hurricane season is one for the record books. A seemingly relentless line of storms tore, one after another, across the Caribbean and into the Gulf Coast. Seventeen of them were strong enough to be named, with the strongest – Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Nate – conspiring to inflict an estimated 350 deaths and some $400 billion in property damage.

“Climate change is driving sea level rise that will directly impact coastal areas,” says Ryan Mulligan, Assistant Professor in Civil Engineering. “But the oceans are also getting warmer and it’s the heat energy in them that drives the intensity and frequency of tropical cyclones. The warmer the ocean, the more fuel hurricanes have, the farther north they can go, the longer in the year they can last, and the more intense they can be.”

Dr. Mulligan is a coastal engineer who specializes in waves, storms and changes to shorelines. He works closely with Queen’s civil engineering professor Andy Take to study tsunamis generated by landslides, and Queen’s civil engineering professor Leon Boegman to study wave and water level effects on Lake Ontario. Dr. Mulligan also recently earned a grant from the US Office of Naval Research to study waves and sediment movement at a US Army Corps of Engineers site in North Carolina. He plans to continue all that work, and investigate the future effects of hurricanes on coastlines.

“I’m interested in the physics of the situation, how waves behave, and everything we do as engineers is driven by a societal need,” he says. “Hurricanes can destroy roads and pipelines, knock buildings into the ocean, and scour through barrier islands that separate bodies of salt and fresh water. All this can cost lives and billions in property damage and economic loss, not just in the Caribbean and the U.S. but in the Atlantic provinces, Quebec, and Ontario, too.”

So, what does Dr. Mulligan plan to do to help prepare for more frequent and intense storms in the future?

“The first thing we should do, and the direction I’m going, is more research into potential impacts,” he says. “We’re using new computer models to predict outcomes in a particular area from stronger and stronger storms. We explore hypothetical scenarios and develop mitigation strategies after validating computer models using data we gather during real-world storms.” 

As those computer models become more and more reliable, engineers and planners will have more information to help inform decisions about emergency preparedness and where to – and where not to – build buildings and infrastructure. It’s research that will help people to adapt more quickly and safely to the coming realities of climate change.

Mulligan also mentors or co-mentors a group of graduate students who work on various projects, including Queen’s PhD candidates Gemma Bullard and Ramy Marmoush, and master’s candidates Alexander Rey and Fatemeh Gholamimahyari. He also works with undergraduate research students and will be looking to recruit more graduate students in the fall.

“My previous students work at Baird and other consulting firms in Canada, the U.S. and the UK,” says Mulligan. “All my grad students who have finished have gone on to careers as coastal engineers. That means there’s a need for that kind of training. The students who come into our civil engineering program and decide to do research in coastal engineering wind up getting specialized jobs in the field they want and our society needs, which is a great thing.”

This article was first published on the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science website.

Bringing Queen’s engineering students together

The Innovation and Wellness Centre will be home to a range of engineering facilities, including labs, teaching studios, and a common room.

Engineering and Applied Science students will be spending a lot of time in the Innovation and Wellness Centre (IWC) when it opens next academic year.

The Innovation and Wellness Centre will feature a common lounge for undergraduate mechanical and materials engineering students, something that they have not had before. (Supplied Photo)
The Innovation and Wellness Centre will feature a common lounge for undergraduate mechanical and materials engineering students, something that they have not had before. (Supplied Photo)

The new facility will bring together several mechanical and materials engineering program areas on campus into one new and modern space. It will also add new resources for undergraduate engineering students.

“This leading-edge facility will uniquely bring together innovative undergraduate teaching facilities, world-leading research facilities, and innovation programming in one space,” says Kevin Deluzio, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. “New undergraduate teaching and design studios, interdisciplinary research clusters, and flexible innovation space within the IWC will bring together professors, undergraduate, and graduate students in a way that builds community and fosters new ideas.”

The engineering facilities will be located on the second and third floors of the IWC. The second floor will feature an interdisciplinary mechatronics laboratory where mechanical and electrical engineers will be able to work together, an undergraduate common room, a rapid prototyping lab, and three engineering teaching studios. Rather than individual seating, the studios emphasize collaboration by grouping students in tables of four to eight. Each studio will accommodate about 80 students, and the walls can be moved to create one large studio.

On the third floor, you will find the IWC’s research labs. The Beaty Water Research Centre will include four wet labs, where chemical and civil engineering students and faculty will handle hazardous materials and conduct research. The facility will bring together water researchers from across the university, supporting 40 graduate students and 12 faculty members.

The Beaty Water Research Centre will be located on the third floor, featuring labs and meeting space. (Supplied Photo)
The Beaty Water Research Centre will be located on the third floor, featuring labs and meeting space. (Supplied Photo)

The third floor will also include brand new labs dedicated to studying human-machine collaboration. A dozen faculty members will be based out of this space, along with up to 40 graduate students. The Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science is currently recruiting five new academics specializing in disciplines such as machine learning, data mining, and smart prosthetics, aligning with the Principal’s faculty renewal plans.  

What's in the IWC?
A holistic view of wellness
A home for innovation
● Learn more on the Innovation and Wellness Centre website

“This focus on human-machine collaboration will provide an opportunity for Queen’s Engineering and Applied Science to lead the country in this increasingly important field,” says Brian Surgenor, a professor in the Mechanical and Materials Engineering department who is helping to coordinate the design of the IWC’s engineering space. “Coupled with the renovated spaces for our undergraduate students, the IWC will provide a significant enhancement to the student experience and our Faculty’s research leadership.”

The creation of the IWC was made possible through $55 million in philanthropic support, with a significant portion donated by Queen’s engineering alumni. In addition, the federal and Ontario governments contributed a combined total of nearly $22 million to this facility.

To learn more about the Innovation and Wellness Centre, visit the centre’s website. The centre is scheduled to open in Fall 2018.

An opportunity to build bridges, strengthen ties

Lisa Guenther, Queen’s National Scholar in Political Philosophy and Critical Prison Studies
Lisa Guenther, the Queen’s National Scholar in Political Philosophy and Critical Prison Studies, is cross-appointed to the Department of Philosophy and the Graduate Program in Cultural Studies. (University Communications)

Lisa Guenther’s academic career has taken her around the world. Now, the Queen’s National Scholar program has brought her back home to Canada.

Arriving as a joint appointment in the Department of Philosophy and the Graduate Program in Cultural Studies this winter term, Dr. Guenther is the Queen’s National Scholar in Political Philosophy and Critical Prison Studies. Established in 1985, the objective of the QNS program is to attract outstanding early and mid-career professors to Queen’s to “enrich teaching and research in newly-developing fields of knowledge as well as traditional disciplines.” 

Dr. Guenther’s research, she explains, is at the intersection of phenomenology, political philosophy, and critical prison studies, with further specializations in feminism and philosophy of race.

Her career path is just as varied – from New Zealand, to the United States, and a brief stop in Australia. Each place, Dr. Guenther says, has had a significant influence on her research.

After completing her PhD from the University of Toronto – having written her dissertation at an isolated cabin in the Yukon – her first academic position took her to New Zealand where she taught for nearly five years at the University of Auckland. 

Moving halfway around the world was a massive change, but it also provided an opportunity to immerse herself in something new, yet familiar. She was intrigued that the Indigenous Maori culture and language is far more integrated into the mainstream than it is in Canada. 

“Moving to Aotearoa New Zealand was a huge shift, but it was a really exciting place to live and I am really thankful for that opportunity. It challenged me to think about issues and questions I might not have encountered if I stayed on a more narrow academic track within Canada,” she says. “Seeing how Indigenous ways of being and knowing shape the university, the public school system, and national politics there was incredible. It opened my eyes to different forms of settler colonialism and different pathways to decolonization.”

At the same time she also made connections with a number of feminist philosophers in Australia, which also influenced her areas of specialization.

While she enjoyed her time at the University of Auckland, Dr. Guenther felt a need to be closer to home and accepted an assistant professorship at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. The next decade would be formative years for her career.  

Very quickly Dr. Guenther recognized that the communities surrounding her – the university, her neighbourhood, the city of Nashville – were clearly segregated based upon race and class. She began to read and research about the legacy of slavery and urban space.

In the midst of trying to come to grips with what she was witnessing, political activist and scholar Angela Davis arrived at the Department of Philosophy for a month-long seminar on slavery which Dr. Guenther audited. Davis began the seminar by explaining that the 13th Amendment abolishes slavery except for those duly convicted of committing a crime. 

“To this day slavery is not formally abolished for people in prison,” Dr. Guenther says. “Learning this changed the direction of my research and my life in many ways. I started thinking and writing about prisons, mass incarceration, solitary confinement, and in particular the effect of extreme isolation on people’s capacity to think clearly and to perceive the world around them. This resonated for me as a phenomenologist because it raised questions about the nature of perception, experience and consciousness. Why is it that when we are deprived of a regular experience of sharing a space with other people that we don’t just get lonely or bored but we actually, in many cases, lose the capacity to keep track of one’s boundaries of one’s self?”

As she explored further, Dr. Guenther says she felt she needed to be in contact and accountable to those in prison. As a result she started volunteering in prisons in Nashville and eventually set up and facilitated a discussion group for men on death row. Initially the focus of the discussion was on philosophy but broadened to collective inquiry on themes such as restorative justice, radical pedagogy, and friendship. 

However, once again she was feeling the call to return to Canada and the Queen’s National Scholar program provided the opportunity.

At Queen’s she is bringing all the experience she has gained outside of Canada and will apply this lens to her homeland. 

“On a personal level I have wanted to come back and live in Canada for many years. But also in a philosophical sense and in a political way it’s really important to me to grapple with the history that made me who I am,” she says. “So seeking to understand the way that colonial power and carceral power work together in Canada is also part of my own process of becoming accountable for my own position within those networks in power.”

As a Queen’s National Scholar, Dr. Guenther sees an opportunity to build bridges and to strengthen the ties that are already established between Queen’s, community groups, and community members who are affected by prisons. She also hopes to help strengthen the network of scholars and activists working on these issues. 

For more on the Queen’s National Scholar program, visit the QNS page on the website of the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research).

 

Brainy international research collaboration receives renewed funding

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Introducing our new faculty members: Felicia Magpantay

Queen’s has committed to hiring 200 new faculty members over the next five years. Meet Felicia Magpantay, one of the new members of our community.

Felicia Magpantay is one of the 41 new faculty members hired in 2017-18 as part of Principal Daniel Woolf's faculty renewal plans. The Principal's five-year plan will see 200 new faculty members hired over the next five years, which will mean approximately 10 net new faculty hires per year.

This profile is the first in a series which will highlight these new faculty members, like Dr. Magpantay, who have recently joined the Queen's community. She sat down with the Gazette to talk about her experience so far and how she made it to Queen’s.

[Felicia Magpantay]
Felicia Magpantay joined Queen's in the summer of 2017 as an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. (Supplied Photo)

Fast facts about Dr. Magpantay

  Department: Mathematics and Statistics

  Hometown: Metro Manila, Philippines

  Research area: Delay differential equation and mathematical biology

  Recent books Dr. Magpantay has enjoyed: Ordinary Light by Tracy K. Smith, and The Return by Hisham Matar

  Favourite quote:Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay hindi makararating sa kanyang paroroonan.” “He who does not look back at where he came from will never get to where he is going.”

  Dr. Magpantay's webpage

Tell us a little about yourself and why you decided to get into teaching.
I grew up in the Philippines. Before I came to Canada my only experiences abroad were traveling to Bali and Taipei for the International Physics Olympiad. Meeting so many people from around the world encouraged me to dream about going abroad for my university degree.
I didn’t really think it would happen, but I applied to schools in Canada and received an international scholarship to attend Trent University. I majored in math and physics and eventually decided to go to graduate school in applied math. I went to Western for my masters and McGill for my doctorate. I did a one-year post-doc at York, and two years at the University of Michigan. I accepted my first faculty position at the University of Manitoba in 2015, then moved to Queen’s in 2017. I really enjoyed being in Winnipeg, but Queen’s was overall a better place for me for many reasons including personal reasons.
My father is a retired physics professor in the Philippines. He grew up in a squatter’s area, the 11th of 11 children. His parents did not complete much schooling, but they always understood the value of education. He was able to go to school on science scholarships and eventually completed his PhD at Purdue University. He went back to serve as a professor in the Philippines in the 1980s.
Tell us a bit about your research.
My PhD dissertation was on delay differential equations and numerical analysis. While completing my postdocs, I started working on mathematical biology – basically using mathematical tools to study biological problems.
My current research looks at how diseases spread in a population. This helps us find ways to explain how control efforts, such as mass vaccination with different types of vaccines, can have different ramifications for the population.

Right now I’m still more comfortable teaching smaller classes where I can use the blackboard, and check in with the students during a lecture to make sure they understand – working at their pace, going through the theorems, and using a lot of examples.

Dr. Magpantay writes on a blackboard in Jeffery Hall
Dr. Magpantay writes on a blackboard in Jeffery Hall. (University Communications)
What is your proudest accomplishment so far?
Getting here! When I became a professor in Manitoba, a friend wrote an article celebrating my hiring. It is not very common for Filipinos to become professors.
A common joke is that Filipino parents all want their kids to go into something stable, such as nursing. Many Filipinos also come to Canada through the Live-In Caregiver program. Both of those professions are very honorable and provide important services to society. But there are lots of different jobs out there and so, while I was reluctant to be featured as a ‘role model’ in that article, I recognized the importance of showing people that Filipinos can have a whole variety of careers, including academia.
Dr. Magpantay writes on a blackboard in Jeffrey Hall. (University Communications)
Dr. Magpantay writes on a blackboard in Jeffery Hall. (University Communications)
Tell us about your teaching style.
In the fall term, I was assigned to teach a calculus class of more than 600 students. That was by far the largest class I had ever taught and it was quite a challenge. I think it will be an asset to learn how to teach such big classes and how to manage that many students. I am still learning.
Right now I’m still more comfortable teaching smaller classes where I can use the blackboard, and check in with the students during a lecture to make sure they understand – working at their pace, going through the theorems, and using a lot of examples.
Anything you do to unwind?
I used to dance salsa and I haven’t since moving to Kingston – there was too much to do and it takes me a while to adjust to a new place. I also used to dance tango and ballet recreationally. Hopefully once I am more settled in I can resume that in the future.
What do you feel most grateful for?
I come from the Philippines, which is still a developing country, and my whole family is still there. I was lucky to be born into a middle-class family who supported me and taught me to value my education early.
I am lucky to be here – most people in the Philippines would not have the chance to pursue the path I did.

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 and will result in approximately 10 net new hires per year.

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 visible minorities. 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.

Queen’s supported startup goes international

Laser Depth Dynamics, founded by Paul Webster (Sc'06, PhD'13) and Roger Bowes (Sc’92) in 2012, has been acquired by a leading developer of high-performance fibre lasers and amplifiers.

Welding is an important manufacturing process across many sectors of today’s global economy – from automotive, to aerospace, medical, and consumer goods. When working on products like cars or pacemakers, where lives could be on the line, it’s important that every component is built as intended. This can be a challenge when spending an extra second per part makes a difference to the bottom line.

The Laser Depth Dynamics team, including chief technical officer and co-founder Paul Webster (Sc'06, PhD'13) (third from the left in the front row).
The Laser Depth Dynamics team, including chief technical officer and co-founder Paul Webster (Sc'06, PhD'13) (third from the left in the front row). (University Communications)

Enter Paul Webster (Sc'06, PhD'13) and Roger Bowes (Sc’92). In 2012, the pair worked with Queen’s to found Laser Depth Dynamics (LDD) and commercialize a technology Dr. Webster co-developed with associate professor James Fraser, who teaches physics. The technology, called inline coherent imaging (ICI), allows for direct measurement of weld penetration depth for laser welding. This is done using a near-infrared measurement beam to ensure high quality in real-time.

“The story of our company is one of bringing the right elements together to create success,” says Dr. Webster, LDD’s chief technology officer and co-founder. “We combined the support of a leading university with strong industry connections and the right intellectual property policies and technology transfer capabilities to create an impactful product which reduces waste for companies and improves product quality for consumers.”

Recently, the Kingston-based company was purchased by IPG Photonics Corporation, the world leader in high-performance fibre lasers and amplifiers. The company aims to incorporate LDD’s technology into its laser welding solutions to drive adoption of this advanced technology throughout manufacturing of metal parts. Becoming part of a bigger, international organization will mean even more global exposure for LDD’s products.

“LDD’s weld monitoring systems and accessories significantly enhance IPG’s portfolio of industry-leading beam delivery products and laser welding solutions,” said Felix Stukalin, IPG’s senior vice president of North American operations. “LDD’s ability to monitor weld quality in real time and ensure process consistency is increasingly important within automated production environments.”

Laser Depth Dynamics was initially formed with support from Dr. Webster’s thesis supervisor, Dr. Fraser; the Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy; and PARTEQ Innovations, the university’s technology transfer organization that is now part of the Queen’s Office of Partnerships and Innovation. IPG Photonics was also involved from the early days, supplying equipment for the research and in helping LDD find early market potential.

John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research) says success stories like Laser Depth Dynamics demonstrate the value of the research that is conducted at Queen’s.

“This is an example of a research idea, identified and advanced by a student and professor, funded by research grants, and, with support from the university’s technology transfer team, was patented, spun-off as a business, and was successfully commercialized,” says Dr. Fisher. “This story showcases the innovation ecosystem at work here at Queen’s, the important role our Office of Partnerships and Innovation plays in fostering economic growth, and how critical the support of the Ontario government is for our innovation programs. We congratulate the Laser Depth Dynamics team on this exciting news as they become part of a global leader in its field.”

With the purchase, Laser Depth Dynamics will become IPG Photonics (Canada), and will remain in its existing Kingston office location on Railway Street. About half of its employees are Queen’s graduates, and Dr. Webster suggests they may add more Queen’s talent in the future.

IPG Photonics is a global company and the leading developer and manufacturer of high-performance fiber lasers and amplifiers for diverse applications in numerous markets. To learn more about IPG’s purchase of LDD, visit www.ipgphotonics.com

Research hits the airwaves

“Blind Date with Knowledge” will air on CFRC.

Do you ever wonder what drives a researcher’s curiosity? What was the spark that led them to discovery? Beginning on January 31 at 5:30 pm, you can listen in and hear these types of questions answered directly by scholars themselves.

CFRC, the Queen’s radio station, 101.9fm,  is launching a bi-weekly radio show called “Blind Date with Knowledge.” The show seeks to demystify scholarly research and personalize the research process through discussions with various Queen’s faculty members.

“Blind Date with Knowledge” is one way Queen’s is increasing its efforts to promote the importance of research conducted by faculty and students. The show is a collaboration between CFRC, the Office of the Vice-Principal (University Relations), and the show host, Barry Kaplan. Kaplan is a member of the Kingston community, and his passion for spreading knowledge about research at Queen’s is palpable.

“There is a lot of interesting and consequential knowledge being created, in a huge range of subjects, by an array of Queen’s researchers,” says Kaplan. “This show is a small but important platform for knowledge-sharing about research, as spoken about by the researchers themselves, to get a little more visibility and traction with everyday people.”

The quirky name “Blind Date with Knowledge” is based on the premise that research isn’t predictable. Like a blind date, research is about taking risks and being prepared for failure and success.

Each episode will feature scholars from different disciplines sharing their stories about what it’s really like to do research. With so many different research projects being conducted by Queen’s faculty, “Blind Date with Knowledge” provides a small glimpse into the pioneering work of these scholars.

Laura Murray
Dr. Laura Murray (Photo Credit: Barry Kaplan)

Dr. Laura Murray (English Language and Literature) will be featured in the first episode of the show, discussing how she has used archival research and oral history as a tool to uncover some of Kingston’s lesser-known history.

“Talking to non-specialists about academic research isn’t always that easy – but it’s hugely important and rewarding,” says Murray. “I’m glad Queen’s is encouraging it. My 15 minutes with Barry went extremely quickly and I enjoyed the challenge!”

John McGarry
Dr. John McGarry (Photo Credit: Barry Kaplan)

Dr. John McGarry (Political Studies) will also appear in the first episode. As an expert in conflict resolution, Dr. McGarry will explain the forces that can lead to the beginning of civil conflict, focusing on Northern Ireland.

“It is great for Queen’s to have a radio show that does not just showcase research, but shows the positive impact that research can have on people’s lives,” he says. “People are often curious about how my research begins and the form it takes, and participating in the show is a way to share this with everyday people.”

CFRC also hosts the weekly radio show "Grad Chat", which is a platform for Queen's graduate students to share their research with both the Queen's and greater Kingston community. The show airs on Tuesdays at 4pm, and past episodes can be listened on the School of Graduate Studies website.

After airing, all episodes of "Blind Date with Knowledge" will be available online on the CFRC website. If you have questions about the radio show, please contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives.

The schedule for the first five episodes of "Blind Date with Knowledge" is available now. The schedule is subject to change.

 

Episode

Air Date

Researchers

1

Jan. 31, 2018

Laura Murray (English Language and Literature) and John McGarry (Political Studies)

2

February 14, 2018

Lynda Colgan (Education) and Adrian Baranchuk (Medicine)

3

February 28, 2018

Patricia Smithen (Art History and Art Conservation) and John Smol (Biology)

4

March 14, 2018

Leela Viswanathan (Geography and Planning) and Gregory Jerkiewicz (Chemistry)

5

March 28, 2018

Alana Butler (Education) and Antonio Nicaso (Languages, Literatures and Cultures)

Karen Rudie named IEEE fellow

Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the School of Computing recognized by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Karen Rudie, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and cross-appointed to the School of Computing at Queen's, has been named as a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) for her “contributions to the supervisory control theory of discrete event systems.”

Karen Rudie
Karen Rudie, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and cross-appointed to the School of Computing, has been named a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). (University Communications)

As a result, Dr. Rudie joins a very small group of women to receive the honour. As of 2017, there were fewer than 400 women listed among some 10,000 IEEE fellows worldwide. 

“I’m a member of the IEEE Control Systems Society,” says Dr. Rudie. “There are only 26 IEEE Control Systems Society fellows in the world who are women and I’m the only one from Canada.”

New fellows are nominated by their professional peers. IEEE fellowship signifies collegial approval and validation of a researcher’s complete body of work.

“Professor Rudie is the world’s authority on decentralized control of discrete-event systems," writes IEEE Control Systems Society President Edwin Chong. “The IEEE Control Systems Society is proud of her contributions and happily celebrates her elevation to the rank of IEEE fellow. The number of IEEE members being elevated to the rank of fellow is fewer than one in a thousand.”

Dr. Rudie will be recognized at an awards ceremony in Miami in December.

The IEEE is a professional association for advancing technology for humanity. Through its 400,000-plus members in 160 countries, the association is an authority on a wide variety of areas including aerospace systems, computers and telecommunications, biomedical engineering, electric power, and consumer electronics.

Dedicated to the advancement of technology, the IEEE publishes about 30 per cent of the world’s literature in the electrical and electronics engineering and computer science fields, and has developed more than 1,300 active industry standards.

A home for innovation

The Innovation and Wellness Centre will provide innovators and entrepreneurs on campus with something they have been lacking. 

When helping student entrepreneurs get their start, one common piece of advice is to start small and lean. Once you have proven the model for your new business, then you can take on liabilities like leasing your own office space. 

Innovation leaders at Queen’s have practiced what they preached, and are now getting ready to reap the rewards when the Innovation and Wellness Centre (IWC) opens its doors next fall. 

The Innovation Hub will feature an event space for programming and student-led conferences.
The Innovation Hub will feature an event space for programming and student-led conferences. (Rendering)

“The IWC will bring our innovation resources on campus out of the bootstrapping phase,” says Benoit-Antoine Bacon, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). “The facility will provide a focal point for innovation and entrepreneurship activities at Queen’s, and forge important cross-campus connections across our programs.” 

Located within the IWC, the Innovation Hub will unite some existing resources and programs and add a few new ones. It will include an event space, touch down tables for easy collaboration, and a maker space – a well-equipped work space where student entrepreneurs can create, experiment, and refine their ideas. Students helped shape the final design of the Hub. 

“We work with 2,000 students a year, and I expect that number will double in the next couple of years,” says Greg Bavington (Sc’85), Executive Director, Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC). “The Innovation Hub will play a key role in supporting existing demand and future growth for innovation on campus.” 

Once it opens, the DDQIC is planning to expand its programming, with a focus on social enterprise – creating more organizations with a mission to both make money and do social good.  

Most importantly, the IWC will give the DDQIC the one thing they have been lacking: common space. 

“We toured other schools when making decisions on what needed to be in our Innovation Hub, and we found that Queen’s did a pretty good job at supporting innovation on campus,” says Mr. Bavington. “The final box we had to tick was to gather it all under one roof, allowing students to scale their business in a straightforward way without leaving campus.” 

The belief is that having everything located side-by-side will not only boost collaboration, it will also increase the visibility of innovation resources and programs. For example, students led 13 conferences and events linked to innovation this year and it was a challenge for each group to find space.  

“Locating the Innovation Hub within a multi-function building like the IWC is a strategic choice – one which is meant to show that everyone is welcome,” he says. “It can take many different people and different skillsets to make a successful business. We’re hoping to bend and weld the academic disciplines to get the sparks flying.” 

The Innovation Hub will not merely connect students to resources on campus – it is expected to build the links between the campus, Innovation Park, and the community. While the Hub will focus on current students, Innovation Park offers a “long runway” as students graduate and look to grow their businesses. Likewise, the Hub will complement what Innovation Park does in supporting community entrepreneurs in southeastern Ontario. 

The creation of the IWC was made possible through $55 million in philanthropic support, including $40 million to revitalize the facility. In addition, the federal and Ontario governments contributed a combined total of nearly $22 million to this facility. 

To learn more about the Innovation and Wellness Centre, visit queensu.ca/connect/innovationandwellness.

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