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A scientific success

Post-doctoral fellow Kelly Suschinsky is one of only five Canadian women honoured with a research award from L’Oréal and UNESCO.

Kelly Suschinsky, a post-doctoral fellow at Queen's University, has been awarded one of the top awards in Canada for women working in the scientific research field. Dr. Suschinsky has been awarded a L’Oréal-UNESCO 2017 Excellence in Research Fellowship, awarded to support major post-doctoral research projects undertaken by young Canadians.

A post-doctoral fellow working in the Sexuality and Gender Laboratory (SAGE), Dr. Suschinsky’s research focuses on relationships between sexual desire and arousal.

Kelly Suschinsky has earned a L'Oreal-UNESCO 2017 Excellent in Research Fellowship.

“A lot of past research has focused on men’s sexual arousal and desire and suggested desire was spontaneous,” says Dr. Suschinsky (Psychology). “What we are finding by studying women is that desire for women isn’t necessarily spontaneous. It tends to be triggered or cued by sexual arousal.”

The $20,000 in funding will allow Dr. Suschinsky to start a new research project in the SAGE Laboratory at Queen’s.

“It will allow me to conduct a new study around the relationships between sexual desire, arousal, and goals in women,” says Dr. Suschinsky. “We know women who have higher desire tend to engage in sex for different reasons than other women. We want to uncover why.”

Since 1998, the L’Oréal Corporate Foundation and UNESCO have been committed to increase the number of women working in scientific research. Since the program began, it has supported more than 2,700 women from 115 countries, including Elizabeth H. Blackburn and Ada Yonath, who went on to win a Nobel Prize.

Dr. Suschinsky talks about the challenge facing women researchers, specifically working in scientific research.

“Women in 2017 still encounter challenges when they are in a scientific field," she says. "We tend to go to school for long periods of time and the careers we chose tend to be fairly demanding. It’s difficult to determine if you want to start a family and to balance those commitments with continuing a research program. Sometimes it is difficult to find a balance between those two competing interests.”

The award was presented by Liette Vasseur, President of the Natural, Social and Human Sciences Sectoral Commission of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO.

“Tonight, we honor women of science, because the L'Oréal Foundation and UNESCO have a conviction that is also obvious: the world needs science and science needs women, because women of science have the power to change the world,” says Frank Kollmar, President and CEO of L’Oréal Canada. “These five young researchers represent the future of scientific excellence in Canada and the advancement of our society.”

Bringing dark matter to light

The Canadian Particle Astrophysics Research Centre hosted two events celebrating International Dark Matter Day.

  • Engineers Sean Crawford and Jacob Morrisson display a model of a NEWS-G sphere they built.
    Engineers Sean Crawford and Jacob Morrisson display a model of a NEWS-G sphere they built.
  • Large crowds gather in the foyer of Stirling Hall to check out the Dark Matter Day live demos and get some treats.
    Large crowds gather in the foyer of Stirling Hall to check out the Dark Matter Day live demos and get some treats.
  • PhD candidate Matthew Chequers explains how astronomers are simulating the structure of dark matter in the universe using high-powered computing clusters
    PhD candidate Matthew Chequers explains how astronomers are simulating the structure of dark matter in the universe using high-powered computing clusters
  • The in-house speaker, CPARC's own Joseph Bramante, explains the link between dark matter, neutron stars, and heavy elements to a packed house at Stirling Hall.
    The in-house speaker, CPARC's own Joseph Bramante, explains the link between dark matter, neutron stars, and heavy elements to a packed house at Stirling Hall.
  • MSc candidate Joseph McLaughlin performs the ceremonial dumping of the liquid nitrogen to close the night's events.
    MSc candidate Joseph McLaughlin performs the ceremonial dumping of the liquid nitrogen to close the night's events.
  • MSc candidate Joe McLaughlin explains how the DEAP-3600 experiment will use liquid argon to detect dark matter particles.
    MSc candidate Joe McLaughlin explains how the DEAP-3600 experiment will use liquid argon to detect dark matter particles.

There are still many puzzles in our universe to be solved, but few are quite as puzzling as dark matter.

The invisible matter does not glow or absorb light, yet it makes up about 85 per cent of all matter in the universe. Luckily, astronomers and physicists from all over Canada are on the case.

The Canadian Particle Astrophysics Research Centre and Queen's University, in collaboration with the Dunlap Institute at the University of Toronto, hosted its first public event on Oct. 23 to celebrate International Dark Matter Day. The talk began with an inspiring message from newly-appointed Governor General Julie Payette, and the event itself featured several astronomers and physicists performing cutting-edge research on the subject of dark matter. The event also had live demos by Queen's astronomers and experimental physicists taking part in the SNOLAB collaboration’s search for dark matter.

More than 200 people attended the public event and learned about astronomical proof of the existence of dark matter, how to perform alchemy with dark matter and neutron stars, the reseachers at SNOLAB trying to detect dark matter, and other scientists who are trying to create dark matter.

In addition to the public talk, CPARC hosted a workshop for high school students on October 30 to continue the Dark Matter Day celebrations. Led by Nathalie Ouellette, CPARC Education and Outreach Officer, 31 Grade 10 to 12 students received a primer on dark matter based on materials created by the Perimeter Institute. They also had the chance to interact with Queen's researchers who are actively trying to solve the puzzle of dark matter. The workshop concluded with an exciting display of a 14-inch telescope.

Queen’s has a strong tradition of research excellence in the field of particle astrophysics with its researchers garnering many awards, including the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics and the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. In 2016, Queen’s received an investment of $63.7M from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) to support the creation of the CPARC. The centre aims to strengthen partnerships between Queen’s and other Canadian universities, attract top talent and build on Canada’s position as a leader in this field.

For more information on Dark Matter Day or the Canadian Particle Astrophysics Research Centre, visit their website

Queen’s remembers student Leah Battista

Queen’s regrets to inform the community of the death of student Leah Battista (Artsci'19). Leah, who passed away suddenly on Saturday, Nov. 4, was in her third year of studies at Queen’s.

"Leah Battista"
Leah Battista (Artsci'19) passed away on Saturday, Nov. 4.

Majoring in global development studies, with a minor in Spanish, Leah had completed her first year of studies at the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) at Herstmonceux Castle in England.  She was also working towards a Certificate in Business and was included in the Dean’s Honour List for both first and second year.

“On behalf of the Queen’s community, I want to extend my deepest sympathies to Leah’s family and friends. Our thoughts are with them at this time,” says Principal Daniel Woolf.

The family has requested that their privacy be respected at this time. Information regarding a celebration of life will be posted when available. Flags on campus will be lowered in Leah’s memory.

Anyone in need of support is encouraged to contact: Interfaith Chaplain Kate Johnson, chaplain@queensu.ca, 613-533-2186; and/or Student Wellness Services, counselling.services@queensu.ca, 613-533-6000 ext. 78264; or Good2Talk, Ontario’s 24-hour post-secondary student helpline: 1-866-925-5454. After hours, students are encouraged to contact Campus Security at 613-533-6080.

Chaplain and counselling services will also be available on Wednesday, Nov. 8 from 11:30 am-1 pm in the Sutherland Room, second floor JDUC, for those who wish to drop in.

Fostering sustainable social change

Queen’s graduates working in Tanzania and Kenya recommend the OceanPath Fellowship to community-minded graduating students.

Two Queen’s University graduates, who each received $25,000 in funding from the OceanPath Fellowship, are now busy pursuing community-focused experiential projects in East Africa.

New Queen’s alumni Hanna Chidwick (left) and Nabeela Jivraj (right) have both received the OceanPath Fellowship. (Supplied Photo)
New Queen’s alumni Hanna Chidwick (left) and Nabeela Jivraj (right) have both received the OceanPath Fellowship. (Supplied Photo)

Hanna Chidwick (Artsci’17) and Nabeela Jivraj (Artsci’17), are two of this year's OceanPath Fellows, and are currently in Tanzania and Kenya, respectively. 

The year-long OceanPath Fellowship, coordinated by the Coady Institute, offers community-focused experiential learning opportunities to up to 12 graduating students every year from Queen’s, as well as three other universities. New graduates have the chance to bring new ideas to, and work closely with, communities to foster sustainable and positive social change – both within Canada, and around the world.

Ms. Chidwick’s project in Moshi, Tanzania – located at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro – is a partnership with the Pamoja Tunaweza Women’s Centre, a local health clinic, to build health support for elderly people.

“Because elderly people in Moshi are living longer, there are more chronic diseases such as diabetes that many have to deal with,” says Ms. Chidwick.

A view of Mount Kilimanjaro from the main road in Moshi, Tanzania. (Photo credit: Hanna Chidwick)
A view of Mount Kilimanjaro from the main road in Moshi, Tanzania. (Photo by Hanna Chidwick)

Ms. Chidwick arrived in September and is working on building peer-to-peer social supports to help seniors who may feel isolated due to taking care of family, physical immobility or lack of finances to access healthcare or social support.

“So far, the clinic staff and I have consulted with many of the elderly people in the Rau neighbourhood, along with the local chairman," she says. "It’s been interesting to see the changes in the project because of our direct engagement with the elderly so far. Building partnerships and fostering relationships with people to create a foundation for community support is key to sustainability and success. The support offered through the fellowship has been invaluable. I look forward to building on the strengths of the Moshi community by connecting directly with people and working towards a real impact.”

Staff of the Pamoja Tunaweza Women’s Centre. Left to right, back: Lillian (nurse/pharmacist), Jackson (doctor), Dorothea (staff), Leonce (nurse) and Ms. Chidwick. Left to right, front: Msechu (driver), Hilda (nurse) and Azylina (staff). (Photo credit: Hanna Chidwick)
Staff of the Pamoja Tunaweza Women’s Centre. Left to right, back: Lillian (nurse/pharmacist), Jackson (doctor), Dorothea (staff), Leonce (nurse) and Ms. Chidwick. Left to right, front: Msechu (driver), Hilda (nurse) and Azylina (staff). (Photo by Hanna Chidwick)

Meanwhile in Mikei, Kenya, Ms. Jivraj’s project is centred on the provision of access to water, sanitation and hygiene, working in partnership with Rieko Kenya, a locally-based organization run by members of the community.

The Mikei community has just begun the process of mobilizing resources to drill a deep well to serve the whole area. Since she arrived in Kenya in late September, Ms. Jivraj has been working on improving educational programs for the community until funding for more safe water sources is secured.

“The education piece will be important to drive behavioural change once additional infrastructure is available,” says Ms. Jivraj.  

The unique political situation in Kenya has put many projects on pause during the election re-run period, including action on her project. Nonetheless, Ms. Jivraj says that having the chance to connect with and learn from community members, people doing similar projects, and witnessing the practicalities of projects operating during the election period has been a valuable learning experience. 

Ms. Jivraj poses with members and volunteers of Rieko Kenya. From left to right, back: Claire, Duncan (Rieko Kenya Program Officer), Jacquelin Kabaka, Edward Kabaka (Founder and Executive Director, Rieko Kenya), Edward’s children Ashley, Desma and Mavis, Fred Kabaka (Community Volunteer), Maddie. Front left to right: Nabeela Jivraj, Cosmas (Rieko Kenya), Isaiah. (Photo credit: Nabeela Jivraj)
Ms. Jivraj poses with members and volunteers of Rieko Kenya. From left to right, back: Claire, Duncan (Rieko Kenya Program Officer), Jacquelin Kabaka, Edward Kabaka (Founder and Executive Director, Rieko Kenya), Edward’s children Ashley, Desma and Mavis, Fred Kabaka (Community Volunteer), Maddie. Front left to right: Nabeela Jivraj, Cosmas (Rieko Kenya), Isaiah. (Photo courtesy Nabeela Jivraj)

The next deadline for 2018-19 applications to the Fellowship is Nov. 16. Both Ms. Chidwick and Ms. Jivraj highly recommend the experience and are grateful for support from their professors in the Queen’s Department of Global Development Studies, particularly Paritosh Kumar.

“This experience has reinforced the importance of experiential learning,” says Ms. Chidwick. “I would encourage students with a passion for learning and working in partnership with a community to reach out to their professors and apply.”

“As a Life Sciences student, having the opportunity to work in a practical setting during my degree was both unique and formative. I’ve also learned a lot about myself during the process,” says Ms. Jivraj. “I’d definitely recommend the fellowship to students from any discipline who have a passion for working with people, and are up for a challenge!”

Students interested in applying for the fellowship can contact Queen’s Oceanpath Advisor, Katie Fizzell in Queen’s Career Services.

A call to end corporal punishment

Community forum creates document calling for an end to physical punishment by parents.

A new Christian Theological Statement issued last Friday calls on the federal government to repeal Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada.

The statement was written and issued by a group of scholars, policy makers, Christian church leaders and general public who recently met at Queen’s University in support of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Call to Action #6 in regards to physical punishment by parents to correct a child’s behavior.

"Children's health painting"Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada provides a legal defense for the use of physical punishment by parents and people standing in the place of parents.

“Because the TRC’s Call to Action #6 is to repeal the law that allows for the corporal punishment of children, I thought that maybe if we got Indigenous leaders, public health researchers, church leaders, Christian theologians and other stakeholders in the same room, we could address this in a multidimensional way, which would be more powerful than working on it on our own,” says co-organizer Valerie Michaelson (Public Health Sciences and School of Religion). “What happened was remarkable, and every participant embraced the urgency of responding to this call to action. This is by far the most important project I’ve ever been involved in.”

William Morrow (School of Religion) addressed the concern of some Christian groups who see repeal of Section 43 of the Criminal Code as one that compromises their interpretation of the Bible.

“The history of scriptural interpretation shows that even quite conservative communities have the means for moving past the literal implications of certain biblical passages when the circumstances warrant,” says Dr. Morrow. “The major issue is to convince them of the sizeable dangers that accompany the corporal punishment of children, no matter how mild.”

The result of this was the gathering last week and the creation of the statement which include six recommendations:

  1. We call upon Christian churches to petition our government to ensure the full protection of children, including the repeal of section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada.
  2. We call upon Christian churches to recognize the deep societal wounds that remain as a result of colonialism, and to actively address the on-going, disproportionate physical, spiritual and emotional harm experienced by Indigenous children and youth.
  3. We call upon Christian churches to increase awareness in our communities of the impact of violence, including physical punishment, in homes, families, institutions and communities.
  4. We call upon all Christian churches to endorse the Joint Statement on Physical Punishment of Children and Youth.
  5. We call upon all leaders and educators in Christian communities to be active in the protection of children.
  6. We call upon all Christians to work together in continuing to develop healthy, effective and non-violent approaches to discipline in raising children and youth.

“This statement is a major moment for the churches,” says Right Reverend Mark MacDonald, National Indigenous Bishop, Anglican Church of Canada. “Advocating reconciliation and child protection, the statement makes a progressive and positive contribution to both.  In that, it is prophetic and urgent.”

The statement also acknowledged the damage caused to First Nations, Inuit and Metis children by residential schools.

“Corporal punishment was a primary means of control and source of suffering in the Indian Residential Schools,” says Joan Durrant (University of Manitoba). “It was used to silence children, destroy their languages, and enforce their submission to many indignities and acts of violence.  At this forum, a group of Christian leaders, theologians, and other members of Christian communities responded to the TRC’s Call to Action #6 by proclaiming their support for the repeal of Section 43 of the Criminal Code.”

For more information or to read the paper, visit the website.

Essay earns global writing award

When Eden Gelgoot completed her final term paper for the course Conservation Principles: Cultural Heritage Preservation (ARTH 404), she knew that it was a solid work, involving many long hours of effort, from preliminary research to writing to editing. 

"Eden Gelgoot's final term paper selected as Global Winner in the Art History & Theory category of the Undergraduate Awards."
Eden Gelgoot' final term paper for the course Conservation Principles: Cultural Heritage Preservation (ARTH 404) has been selected as Global Winner in the Art History & Theory category of the Undergraduate Awards. (Submitted photo)

Happy with the final product she decided to submit it to the Undergraduate Awards, an international competition that recognize undergraduate research. This year there were nearly 6,500 submissions from 299 institutions in 47 countries.

Weeks passed and she thought little more of the competition.

Tricolour Globe
Queen's In the World

She went on to graduate from Queen’s with a BSc (Honours) with a major in life sciences and a minor in art history. She completed an internship at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore where she participated in clinical shadowing, did promotional work for the Academy of Clinical Excellence, and worked on a project that uses paintings to promote a humanistic approach to health care delivery. During the summer, she worked as a head counsellor at a residential summer camp in Algonquin Park. 

Then, in September, Ms. Gelgoot was notified that her essay, The role of the UNESCO World Heritage List in the commemoration of World War II, was judged the Global Winner in the Art History & Theory category. As a result she has been invited, all expenses paid, to present her work in Dublin, Ireland at the UA Global Summit in November. The essay also will be published in The Undergraduate Journal.

“I am excited to travel to Ireland to present my work and to meet people from schools all around the world. I really didn’t think anything would come from it so I was pretty shocked when I heard the news,” she says. “It has given me a boost of confidence in my own abilities in terms of writing and creating a work of original research.”

Ms. Gelgoot had taken a course in second year, Culture and Conflict, with Cathleen Hoeniger (Art History and Art Conservation) which eventually led her to enroll in Conservation Principles in her fourth year.

“The reason I took this second course with Dr. Hoeniger is that it offered the intersection between the arts and sciences that I was looking for,” she says. “The field of art conservation offers the potential to combine my interests in terms of the technical aspects of art conservation and of the art historical components as well.”

During the course, students look into aspects of cultural heritage preservation and conservation through discussions, readings and presentations, with a focus on the development of UNESCO and the World Heritage List. The course culminated in a research project that required students to examine two cultural heritage sites on the World Heritage List.

It was her initial interest in Auschwitz that led her to investigate the role of the World Heritage List in the commemoration of the Second World War.

“Coming from a Jewish background I was interested in Auschwitz,” she says, adding that UNESCO itself was developed as a response to the Second World War. “I was interested in not only looking at the Holocaust but also the Hiroshima bombing and how the World Heritage List helps to commemorate the injustices that happened and to further the memories of these events."

The work of other Queen’s students was highly commended, meaning their research was recognized as being in the top 10 per cent of their category:

  • Evelyna Ekoko-Kay (Literature)
  • Caela Fenton (Literature)
  • Sari Ohsada (Social Sciences: Anthropology & Cultural Studies)
  • Vinyas Harish (Social Sciences: Sociology & Social Policy)

International partnership celebrates first graduate

Matthias Hermann (MSc’17) poses with his invention – a device which detects cadmium in drinking water. (University Communications)
Matthias Hermann (MSc’17) poses with his invention – a device which detects cadmium in drinking water. (University Communications)

A quick glance at Matthias Hermann’s resume shows he’s not afraid of the occasional international adventure.

Since beginning his bachelor’s degree in Chemistry in his native Germany in 2011, Mr. Hermann (MSc’17) has conducted short-term research projects in China and Australia, as well as his home country. Recently, he added Canada to the list after completing a dual degree master’s program in Chemistry – a partnership between Queen’s University and Universität Stuttgart.

“I planned on spending some time abroad as part of my master’s, and when I heard about this program I knew it would be a good fit,” says Mr. Hermann (Sc’17). “I wanted a longer term abroad, exposure to a different academic and cultural environment, and a chance to improve my English. Through this program I got all of that – plus I graduated with two master’s degrees.”

Mr. Hermann recently successfully completed his thesis defense, earning his Queen’s Masters of Science in Chemistry and becoming the first graduate of the dual degree program. At the same time, he earned his Master’s of Chemistry degree through his home university in Germany as part of this two-year partnership program. Mr. Hermann’s thesis revolved around a device to detect cadmium in drinking water in a way that is portable, easy-to-use, and affordable.

Mr. Hermann had to adjust to differences in the Canadian higher education system – at Stuttgart, for example, master’s theses don’t require a defense. Adding to the pressure, representatives from both Queen’s and Stuttgart were present for his defense.

During the visit by Stuttgart, their Dean of Chemistry, Cosima Stubenrauch, held an information session for Queen’s students about the dual master’s degree program.

“About a dozen students attended, and when I asked them to raise their hands if they thought this was something they might want to do every one of them raised their hand,” says Hans-Peter Loock, head of Queen’s Chemistry department. “We are hoping to increase our international footprint, and agreements like these help our students gain a wider variety of experiences in high performing environments.”

Before the visit by Stuttgart representatives, Cally Li (Artsci’17) had already made up her mind. She started in the MSc degree program at Queen’s this fall, and will be heading to Germany in 2018.

“I was looking for a way to stay at Queen’s one more year, but I was also looking for a way to move on and try something new next year,” says Ms. Li. “I am looking forward to the opportunity to build some international connections and try something new. I have heard a lot of good things about Stuttgart’s labs and their standard of work.”

Students from Stuttgart are also emailing Dr. Loock to learn about life in Kingston. Dr. Loock says, ideally, they would like to see multiple students from Stuttgart studying at Queen’s and vice versa each year.

“Successful research groups must be internationally networked – it’s part of doing science,” Dr. Loock says. “Setting up these agreements takes effort and buy-in, but exchanging students with a top German university like Stuttgart allows our graduate students to get the best of both worlds. And, as I discovered when I was an international student in Canada: you stay at a place long enough and sometimes it becomes home.”

Perhaps that will be Mr. Hermann’s experience, as he recently decided to complete his PhD in Chemistry at Queen’s. 

Keeping up The Conversation

It’s a simple, but powerful, formula. Take one part leading academic research, add a dash of journalistic flair, and mix in a robust digital presence. It is this winning recipe that has earned The Conversation, an academic journalism website, the participation of thousands of researchers worldwide, and captured the attention of millions of citizens interested in news with a healthy dose of academic rigour.

The Conversation
Queen's is a founding member of the Canadian national affiliate of The Conversation and, since its launch earlier this year, 33 articles by Queen's experts have been published.   

After a successful soft launch this summer, the Canadian national affiliate of The Conversation is running at full steam, having published hundreds of researchers’ articles, including a number from Queen’s. The university is a founding member of the national news platform.

“Our participation in The Conversation relays the importance and impact of disseminating and promoting the leading-edge research and scholarship happening at Queen’s University,” says Michael Fraser, Vice-Principal (University Relations). “The Conversation is a powerful tool for community engagement and is already bolstering the efforts of our researchers to share their expertise and build profile.”

Over the course of the summer, over two dozen Queen’s academics contributed to The Conversation, sparking dialogue about the business of marijuana, how to improve the skills of tomorrow’s doctors, , recruiting more women to join the military, how to prevent irregular heartbeats, the meaning of The Tragically Hip’s lyrics, and more. These faculty and graduate students suggested topics, wrote columns, and submitted them to The Conversation. From there, professional journalists helped edit the articles to ensure consistency and clarity.

The Conversation’s unique model puts the researchers in the driver’s seat when sharing their expertise,” says Benoit-Antoine Bacon, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). “It is increasingly important that we convey the impact of our research and ideas beyond the academy, and we believe tools such as The Conversation are filling that gap in a powerful way.”

THE STATS

The 33 articles published to date by Queen’s experts have garnered a combined 167,000 reads and 166 comments on The Conversation’s website. One of the most popular, and possibly most controversial, pieces was an article by David Maslove, Clinician Scientist with the Department of Medicine and Critical Care Program, about the need to regulate journalism in the same way his profession is regulated.

“Working with The Conversation’s editorial team was great, with turnaround times between drafts that were much faster than what I’m used to in traditional academic publishing,” says Dr. Maslove. “It was really gratifying to see the piece we created reach a wider audience and stimulate debate.”

Another notable Queen’s submission included Sarita Srivastava’s (Sociology) “I wanna be white!’ Can we change race? – a piece analyzing a recent controversy on transracialism. Dr. Srivastava’s piece led to an invitation for her to speak during a symposium on the matter held at the University of Alberta.

Sarita Srivastava
Sarita Srivastava

“Writing for The Conversation has been a wonderful opportunity to reach a wider audience and to comment on current events as they are happening,” says Dr. Srivastava. “Their editor was extremely skilled in working with me to write in a more journalistic style, while maintaining scholarly content. Within days of my article’s publication, I was invited to speak at an upcoming symposium on the same topic.”

Once the articles are posted to The Conversation’s website, they are shared with a large network of Canadian and international media organizations through a “Republish” feature and posting via The Canadian Press Wire service. The work of Queen’s academics has gone on to be featured in major North American newspapers such as The Washington Post, CNN, CBS News and The National Post, magazines like Scientific American, and national dailies as far away as Australia, where The Conversation was originally founded.

“In our first three months of publication, content from The Conversation Canada has been viewed almost two million times. Combining academic expertise with journalistic storytelling means we are reaching a wide audience across Canada and around the world at a time when the public is thirsting for reliable, fact-based information,” says Scott White, editor-in-chief of The Conversation Canada. “We're very pleased that Queen's has been with us from the very beginning, including a Day One story, as well as important articles on the country's health care system and the beauty of song lyrics, to name just a few.”

The Conversation is regularly seeking new academic contributors. Researchers wishing to write articles should contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives, at knoxm@queensu.ca

Students hard at work supporting causes

Students gather in the Athletic and Recreation Complex for the annual Shine Day. (Supplied Photo)
Students gather in the Athletic and Recreation Complex for the annual Shine Day. (Supplied Photo)

It may be early into the new academic year but Queen’s students are already hard at work in the classroom and in the community.

”We are proud of the work that so many students are doing to improve their communities,” says Palmer Lockridge (Artsci'17), the Alma Mater Society’s Vice-President (University Affairs). “Queen’s students have a long and proud tradition of volunteerism and leading the way on fundraising and community involvement. They recognize that they are members of a broader community while at Queen’s and have a responsibility to contribute meaningfully.”

Soon after the new group of students arrived for the fall term, garishly attired engineering students fanned out into the broader Kingston area selling chocolate covered nuts in partnership with four local Rotary Clubs. This year’s “Go Nuts” fundraiser brought in $20,000 in support of a number of local charities.

The engineering students were also busy in late September with their annual “Fix’n’Clean” volunteering effort. About 360 students gave up their time to help Kingston residents in need of assistance over a weekend in September. In total, the group helped 70 members of the community with some yard work, painting, organizing, and cleaning, and they plan to do it again this winter.

"Through my position within EngSoc I have the unique opportunity of witnessing the full breadth of the events we organize to do our part in giving back,” says Jordan Pernari (Sc'19), Director of Community Outreach with the Engineering Society. “Whether it was by raising over $4,000 during our Terry Fox Run, having over 100 people join the Canadian Blood Service’s stem cell database, or doubling the number of volunteers participating in Fix’n’Clean this year from last year, our students’ kindness truly knows no bounds. I’m amazed by the overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic response we’ve seen so far."

Also in September, the Shinerama Campaign at Queen’s got underway as part of national university-based campaigns supporting cystic fibrosis research. The campaign includes the annual Sidewalk Sale; Shine Day, which formally introduces first-years to the campaign; and a tour of the town. Campaign organizer Leah Slater (Artsci’18) with the Arts and Science Undergraduate Society says it has been a ‘successful year’ and announced a total of $96,817.34 on October 29.

One recently concluded student campaign was organized by the MBA student Charity Gala Team. Their campaign runs through the spring and summer culminates in a gala event at the end of August. This year’s campaign, in support of St. Vincent de Paul Society Kingston, raised over $20,000 – far exceeding the campaign goal of $15,000.

“It was a really positive experience and I joked that I would love to come back next year and participate again,” says Elizabeth Pratt (MBA’18), who chaired the campaign. “One of the reasons this year’s campaign was so successful is that we were able to bring the community into the campaign and drive more attendance from outside Queen’s. I hope future classes keeps building on that reputation.”

Many other clubs and groups on campus are getting organized for their charitable and community activities in the year ahead. MEDLIFE Queen’s is one group you can expect to hear from this semester, as President Rachael Allen (Artsci’18) says the club has seven fundraising events planned in the next few months. Proceeds from their campaign will support the MEDLIFE Project Fund, which is used to supply mobile clinics with medical supplies and resources for preventative medicine and medical treatment as well as development projects. The club also recruits and prepares student volunteers to head out on service trips to countries like Peru, Ecuador, Tanzania, and India.

Queen’s is also home to the only university chapter of Helping Haiti. The club works to build awareness and fundraise in support of their mother organization, with proceeds supporting first aid training, women’s self-defense and empowerment classes, a medical clinic, and the construction of community resources such as a water tower and community centre in disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Haiti’s capital. Co-President Devyn Willis (Artsci’18) say, among their fundraising plans, the club will host workshops called “Tammy Talks” – discussions by the founder of Helping Haiti on her work and experience.

You will also start to see the Room to Read Queen’s Chapter kick into high gear in November as part of their annual ‘Literacy Awareness Week’. The club is affiliated with the international not-for-profit which focuses on literacy and gender equality in education in many developing countries. Co-Chairs Crista Leung (Con.Ed’18) and Kathleen Waterston (Artsci’19) say you can expect to see Room to Read’s literacy awareness campaign around campus, including posters and sales. Their biggest fundraiser takes place in January in Stauffer Library, as club members camp out as part of their “Live-in-for-Literacy” initiative.

For a full listing of clubs at Queen’s, including the many charitable clubs and their fundraising and volunteering efforts, visit myams.org/clubs-directory.  

From trash to treasure

  • Julia Fast-Grass (Artsci'20) imagines a forest without trees. (University Communications)
    Julia Fast-Grass (Artsci'20) imagines a forest without trees. (University Communications)
  • Neve Scullino (Artsci'20) brings the smoky skies to life. (University Communications)
    Neve Scullino (Artsci'20) brings the smoky skies to life. (University Communications)
  • Sara Swedberg (Artsci'20) spells out the message of their art - that we must all do our part. (University Communications)
    Sara Swedberg (Artsci'20) spells out the message of their art - that we must all do our part. (University Communications)
  • The team works together to highlight the pollution in their painted ocean. (University Communications)
    The team works together to highlight the pollution in their painted ocean. (University Communications)

It is not an obvious place you pause to look but a dumpster on campus may catch your eye this week. The garbage disposal, belonging to waste hauling company Green for Life, has been painted by a few Queen’s students seeking to remind the community about the importance of reducing the amount of waste they produce.

“We wanted the dumpster to be pretty and something people would enjoy looking at, but that would also cause them to think critically,” says Sarah Swedberg (Artsci’20), one of the artists. “Our goal was that the scenes would look like cheery depictions of life on earth, but that upon second glance show the state of our environment. Although the sad reality can seem ominous, there is hope because a lot of people making change adds up.”

“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it” is painted in large letters on one side of the dumpster. The other sides show scenes of smoke-filled air, garbage-filled water, and stumps where trees once stood. Ms. Swedberg, Neve Scullino (Artsci’20), and Julia Fast-Grass (Artsci’20) painted the dumpster this past weekend. The three students earned the right to put their artistic skills to this important cause by submitting the winning proposal to a Sustainability Week contest organized by Physical Plant Services.

With the students’ work complete, the beautified dumpster will now be placed in high profile area on campus to engage the community about the importance of environmentalism and their role in contributing to campus sustainability.

“An underlying theme of Waste Reduction Week at Queen’s is the idea that we all have a responsibility to the environment and that, by working together, we can have a more positive impact,” says Donna Janiec, Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration). “In keeping with that spirit, this year’s activities include students, staff, our sustainability office, and our waste hauling vendor Green for Life working together towards a goal of a more sustainable campus. I want to thank them all for making this week of reflection and education possible.”

At the same time that the Queen’s community is being challenged, through the art project, with this stark environmental reality, new tools are being unveiled to help put those sustainability ideas into practice.

“Waste diversion is a significant component of the Queen’s Policy on the Environment, and our obligations under the Waste Free Ontario Act,” says Llynwen Osborne, Recycling Coordinator with Physical Plant Services and one of the contest organizers. “We’re excited to use this week, building on what we achieved during September’s Sustainability Week, to help the Queen’s community think about how they can do their part to reduce waste both in their personal lives and here at Queen’s.”

One of the new tools available to help Queen’s employees is a website you can use to help you find supplies that other departments are getting rid of, or post your own unwanted furniture, office supplies, and equipment. Recycle@Queen’s was launched by the Sustainability Office within Physical Plant Services and developed by Stephen Hunt and Paul Hiles of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. Since its launch, 71 items have been listed across campus.

“My personal observation is that Queen’s shouldn’t have to buy another filing cabinet ever based on the number that are available internally for free,” says Mr. Hunt, the Director of Information Technology for the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. “I’m very interested in promoting the re-use of furniture and equipment on campus as it reduces overall costs for the university, reduces the carbon footprint of equipment being shuffled between offices and storage and back again, and reduces the amount of stuff going to landfill. We all want to work together, but too often the information needed isn’t available easily and widely; I hope the Recycle@Queen’s program will change that.”

To learn more about waste reduction and other sustainability initiatives, visit the Sustainability Office website.

  • This dumpster has been painted to remind the Queen's community about the importance of waste reduction and environmental protection. (University Communications)
    This dumpster has been painted to remind the Queen's community about the importance of waste reduction and environmental protection. (University Communications)
  • The front and left side of the dumpster show scenes of polluted skies and water. (University Communications)
    The front and left side of the dumpster show scenes of polluted skies and water. (University Communications)
  • The quote on the side reads, “The greatest threat to our planet is our belief that someone else will save it”. (University Communications)
    The quote on the side reads, “The greatest threat to our planet is our belief that someone else will save it”. (University Communications)
  • From the call to action, the viewer is brought full circle to the scene of a forest which has been clear cut. (University Communications)
    From the call to action, the viewer is brought full circle to the scene of a forest which has been clear cut. (University Communications)

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