On July 20th- 22nd, the Network on Persistent, Emerging, and Organic PoLlution in the Environment (PEOPLE Network) and The LEaders in wAter anD watERshed Sustainability (the LEADERS Program) co-hosted their second annual LEADERS & PEOPLE Virtual Symposium: Environmental Research and Career Training for Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP). The symposium was co-chaired by LEADERS program director, Dr. Stephen Brown, an Associate Professor in the School of Environmental Studies and the Department of Chemistry at Queen’s University, and the PEOPLE Network director Dr. Bing Chen, Professor & Head of the Department of Civil Engineering, Memorial University of Newfoundland. The planning and the organization of the event was led by Research Coordinators Sophie Felleiter (LEADERS) and Dr. Weiyun Lin (PEOPLE ).

This year’s symposium attracted over 100 participants and the keynote speaker was Dr. Jayadev Raju a federal Research Scientist in Health Canada’s Regulatory Toxicology Research Division. He spoke to the audience about "Food toxicology – A vital interphase of biology and chemistry research influencing food chemical safety and regulation." A former LEADERS student, Jeffrey Cederwall from the department of Biology also presented a PhD seminar on "The good, the bad, and the green: Phytoplankton and microbial responses to experimental diluted bitumen spills in a freshwater lake."

In response to feedback from last years symposium, the organizers arranged for a number of opportunities for HQP to receive training and advice related to the pursuit of different careers. Attendees had the opportunity to attend two interactive workshops, "Distinctive Ideas, of Value, Put to Practice: Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Impact in Water and the Environment" presented by Dr. James McLellan of the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre, and "Seeking and Securing Opportunities" by Carli Fink of Queen's University Career Services. HQP also attended interactive Career Panels, "Explore your best career fit – things you want to know about different sectors" featuring representatives from different sectors including Industry (Dr. Vanessa Mann of Teck Resources Limited), Academia (Dr. Leila Harris of UBC), Government (Dr. Charles Greer of the National Research Council), and Non-Government Organizations (Mike Dakin of Cataraqui Conservation Authority). 

One key feature of the symposium, is that it gave a chance for graduate students at participating institutions to shine, including Memorial University, McMaster, the University of British Columbia, Dalhousie University, the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC), and more. These students – including 16 from Queen’s University – gave 56 presentations across the three-day event, divided into seven streams:

  • Toxicology and Ecotoxicology 
  • Water and Wastewater 
  • Environmental Impact and Community Health from A Global Perspective
  • Microbial Remediation
  • Monitoring & Fate of Contaminants
  • Oil Pollution, Response & Treatment and
  • Microbiology and AMR 

Presentations were judged, and winners announced at the end of the second day: Anbareen Farooq of RMC winning the LEADERS stream with David Patch (RMC) as runner-up. Qiao Kang (Memorial) won the PEOPLE stream with Emma Wells (Memorial University) as runner-up.

Dr. Bing Chen, Director of the PEOPLE Network welcomes attendees to the 2021 LEADERS & PEOPLE Symposium

Figure 1. Dr. Bing Chen, Director of the PEOPLE Network welcomes attendees to the 2021 LEADERS & PEOPLE Symposium. 

Keynote Speaker Dr. Jayadev Raju, Research Scientist, Health Canada

Figure 2. Keynote Speaker Dr. Jayadev Raju, Research Scientist, Regulatory Toxicology Research Division, Bureau of Chemical Safety, Food Directorate, Health Products and Food Branch, Health Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Jeffrey Cederwall, PhD Seminar, Department of Biology, Queen’s University

Figure 3. Jeffrey Cederwall, PhD Seminar, Department of Biology, Queen’s University

Workshop on "Seeking and Securing Opportunities" from Carli Fink, Career Counsellor, Career Services, Queen’s University

Figure 4. Workshop on "Seeking and Securing Opportunities" from Carli Fink, Career Counsellor, Career Services, Queen’s University

Workshop on "Distinctive Ideas, of Value, Put to Practice: Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Impact in Water and the Environment" from Dr. James McLellan of the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre.

Figure 5. Workshop on "Distinctive Ideas, of Value, Put to Practice: Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Impact in Water and the Environment" from Dr. James McLellan of the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre.

Figure 6. LEADERS 1st place presentation winner, Anbareen Farooq

Figure 6. LEADERS 1st place presentation winner, Anbareen Farooq (PhD Candidate, Royal Military College of Canada), "Fate of silver nanomaterials in treatment wetland mesocosms."

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