School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

A reception to thank our Tri-Agency award winners.

By Sharday Mosurinjohn
March 2015

Crowd at the reception

Two weeks ago on Wednesday February 25th was the annual Tri-Council Award reception where Masters and PhD students (and added this year, Post-doctoral fellows) and their proud supervisors gathered together to celebrate the accomplishment of bringing in this prestigious external funding. The Tri-Council Agencies comprise the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). These councils, which are accountable to Parliament through the Minister of Industry and Minister of Health, respectively, are the major public funders of graduate, postdoctoral, and faculty research in the country.

A number of Deans were on hand to offer congratulations and remarks in honour of the diverse group of students from disciplines across the university. Vice-Provost and Dean Brenda Brouwer expressed her pride for the strong track record of Queen’s students whose applications are accepted every year, acknowledging the immense value of this contribution to Queen’s as one of Canada’s leading research intensive universities.

For this event the BioSciences atrium was transformed with a jazz trio (Kendall & Kings) onstage and fabric draped tables interspersed amidst the indoor trees, whose display of green foliage was even more startling on a bitterly cold, snowy night. Servers passed hors d’oeuvres among nearly 180 guests, many of whom were obligingly smiling for photos, getting used to being the public faces of research that is ultimately for the public good.

For many, seeing a lab mate, classmate, or officemate at the reception was the first they had ever heard of a colleague’s win, the tacit rules of politeness often discouraging students from sharing their happy news with peers. Brought together on this evening, it became an opportunity to delve deeper into conversations about the work that occasioned their presence there, with a blue skies curiosity unfettered by the exigencies of getting down to so many brass tacks in the diverse sites of research across campus.

Unsurprisingly, remarked Colette Steer, Manager Recruitment & Events at the School of Graduate Studies, many faces were familiar, if not to each other, then to the staff and academic administrators who were hosting. It may be no coincidence that many of these same students were those who have participated in SGS research activities like 3MT (Three Minute Thesis Competition – starts today!), Dissertation Boot Camp (and spin-offs like Dissertation on the Lake, and Thesis Persistence 101), professional development through the Center for Teaching and Learning (notably, SGS 901: Teaching and Learning in Higher Education), and volunteer and casual labour for the SGS.  

Attendees left with a pin reading “Create an Impact,” with the SGS’s signature icon of Newton’s cradle. The image was a fitting symbol for the work of knowledge creation that is never done, and the phrase a fitting description for the goals of each and everyone. 

Groups enjoy the evening