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Delivering on the pitch

The Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC) recently handed out a total of $28,000 to six companies that participated in its first-ever regional pitch competition.

“The support of the Dunin and Deshpande Foundations makes it possible to provide this type of financial support to QyourVenture and to support ventures in southeastern Ontario,” says Greg Bavington, Executive Director, Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre.

[Greg Bavington with members of TimberWolf]
TimberWolf Cycles representatives David Timan (Sc'13) and Caitlin Willis (Com'09) receive feedback from Greg Bavington, Executive Director, Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre, during the recent regional pitch competition. (Submitted photo)

DDQIC hosted the regional pitch competition with the goal of supporting early-stage companies based at Queen’s and the surrounding area.

The pitch competition was open to anyone with a business idea who has not already received more than $5,000 in support from DDQIC. The field included several companies from QyourVenutre, an acceleration program which supports Queen’s students who want to take their idea to the next level. QyourVenture accepts companies on a regular basis throughout the school year, giving them access to space and training for their business venture.

The pitch competition was judged by members of the DDQIC Global Network in London, England, who connected via videoconference, along with the DDQIC executive team. Chaired by Heather Christie (Artsci’09), the London branch is supported by 13 Queen’s alumni who come from a variety of different professional and education backgrounds. This branch offers support to DDQIC ventures that want to expand into the UK and the rest of Europe.

The winning ventures at the pitch competition included:

TimberWolf Cycles ($5,000) – The company, founded by David Timan (Sc’13), produces high-performance road bikes made from wood. Using a variety of woods, Mr. Timan has designed a bike that softens road vibration while efficiently delivering power to the road through an exceptionally lightweight frame.

Capteur ($5,000) – A QyourVenture company, Capteur enables building operators and maintenance companies to ensure facilities are always clean and operating according to sustainable environmental practices. Cole MacDonald (Sci’19) and Nathan Mah (MEI’17) founded the cloud-based technology start-up.

Robot Missions ($5,000 plus time in SparQ Studios) – Robot Missions, founded by Erin Kennedy, has developed a 3D-printed robot that collects harmful tiny trash debris from shorelines. The company’s robot workshops enhance STEM education for elementary students by applying robotics to the environment.

Your Mobility Innovations ($4,000) – Founded by Loyalist College students Dylan Houlden and Brett Lyons, the company designs and produces products to improve the lives of people with physical disabilities and the elderly. Mr. Lyon, who was born with cerebral palsy and confined to a wheelchair, had the idea for an adjustable grab bar when he was eight-years-old. The founders are trying to turn that idea into a reality, working with several partners including Queen’s Biomedical Innovations Team, PARTEQ, and Queen’s Business Law Clinic.

Pronura ($4,000) – Pronura plans to commercialize a non-invasive, inexpensive method for testing for multiple neurological diseases at the same time – all with accuracy unseen in any current tests. The test, developed by Dr. Douglas P. Munoz of the Queen’s Eye Movement Laboratory, uses an eye-tracker to detect unique biomarkers associated with multiple neurological diseases. Founders Matthew De Sanctis and Adam Palter met in the Master of Entrepreneurship and Innovation program offered by Smith School of Business.

SŌ Seeds ($3,000 plus in-kind donations from the Department of Chemical Engineering) – The venture aims to disrupt the tree-planting industry by replacing saplings with coated super-seeds. SŌ Seeds was founded by five chemical engineering students as part of their innovation and entrepreneurship course under the mentorship of Jim McLellan, Professor and Academic Director, DDQIC.

SWFT ($2,000) – The start-up focuses on developing portable and wireless charging solutions for festivals, stadiums, transit systems, theme parks, and other venues. The service allows patrons to charge their phones without being tethered to charging stations. Friends Greg Fedele (Com’17) and Anish Sharma (Sc’17) founded the company.

Through a variety of programs, services, and resources, the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre encourages, enables, and supports the innovation activities of students, professors, entrepreneurs, and Canadian companies. More information about the centre is available online.

Up against the clock

Graduate students shine in final round of Queen’s 3MT competition.

The pressure was on as 11 graduate students took to the stage in the Dupuis Hall Auditorium to compete in the final round of the Queen’s Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition on Thursday, March 30.

Using only one static slide and no props, the students had to present their research to a panel of non-specialist judges.

Neuroscience master's candidate Victoria Donovan delivered a presentation on how the brain responds to trauma. Ms. Donovan won the overall and People's Choice awards and will move on to represent Queen's at the Ontario 3MT.

“Queen’s 3MT is a much-anticipated annual event on campus,” says Brenda Brouwer, Vice-Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies. “Our students put in hours of preparation for their three minutes in front of the judges. The competition helps students hone communication skills – such as making their research accessible and it’s a great way to celebrate the innovative and thought-provoking research our graduate students are conducting across campus.”

A panel of judges, consisting of Principal Daniel Woolf, Chancellor Jim Leech, communications consultant Robert A Wood, CBC reporter JC Kenny, and Denise Cumming, CEO of the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation, graded the competitors on clarity, audience engagement and presentation skills. A long-time supporter of the 3MT competition, CKWS Television host Bill Welychka served as the emcee for the event.

“I have promoted the event on CKWS-TV the past two years and it seems like the coolest thing ever,” said Mr. Welychka. “I love that 3MT combines distilling a complicated subject down to a three minute verbal presentation with dramatic elements, public speaking and engaging the audience. Not an easy undertaking to say the least.”

Victoria Donovan, a master's candidate in neuroscience was named winner and people's choice for her presentation, Lie low, stay alive. Her research is looking at the evolutionary response to traumatic brain injury. Early results provide evidence that high brain shutdown is an evolved reply to trauma – providing clues as to future treatments.

“I've been at Queen's for six and a half years now and have enjoyed every minute of it,” she says. “I’m thrilled to have the chance to represent the university at the provincial championship.”

Ms. Donovan will move on to represent Queen’s at the Ontario 3MT finals on April 12 in Waterloo. The national 3MT winner will be decided through an online vote on videos of the regional champions, conducted on the Canadian Association of Graduate Studies website.

“Competing in the 3MT was one of the highlights of my Masters studies,” says Anastasia Savrova, MSc’17, winner of the 2016 Queen’s 3MT competition. “It was encouraging to hear people were so excited about my research, and this experience has really pushed me to pursue more opportunities where I can get the public more involved in academic research.”

For more information on the Queen’s 3MT competition, or to see video of the finalists' presentations, please visit the website.

2+2 program gives Chinese students best of both worlds

Queen's in the World

Peiwen Li and Ying Chen agree that it’s great to have the best of both worlds – studying both at their home university, Tongji University in Shanghai, and here at Queen’s – through a 2+2 program between the two institutions that began in the fall of 2015.

“We get to experience both universities, receive degrees from both universities, and spend a long period of time in another country,” says Ms. Li, who, along with Ms. Chen and three others from Tongji, will graduate from the program this spring. “It is really useful to be here long enough to learn more about the culture and learn the language fully.”

Peiwen Li and Ying Chen will graduate this spring from the 2+2 program offered through Tongji University in Shanghai and Queen’s. Both will continue with graduate work at Queen’s this fall. (University Communications)

Students enrolled in the 2+2 program first spend two years at Tongji’s College of Environmental Science and Engineering and then, two years in Queen’s School of Environmental Studies. Upon graduation, they are awarded a degree from both universities.

“It has been a really good experience that has broadened our horizons,” says Ms. Chen, who has most enjoyed the field work at the Queen’s University Biology Station (QUBS) and an international field course in Mexico offered by Professor Stephen Lougheed, as well as a field course offered through Trent University in Hong Kong and Taiwan. “It’s been interesting to see the differences in the two education systems and the ways of teaching and learning. Knowing both academic worlds will likely help us with our work in the future.”

Ms. Chen and Ms. Li say the focus at Tongji was more on engineering, while at Queen’s, courses have centred on the social sciences. At Queen’s, they’ve had more flexibility in the courses they can choose, and they’ve enjoyed the longer summer break, which gave them the opportunity to seek out different experiences and spend time thinking about future possibilities (in China, students typically only have about two months off). They both have really appreciated the support from faculty members and teaching assistants, who have understood the challenges associated with studying in a second language and were able to direct them to resources across campus, such as the Writing Centre.

“The Tongji 2+2 program offers exciting opportunities for Chinese students joining us at Queen’s and it enriches teaching and learning experiences for all Queen’s students, staff and faculty who benefit from exposure to diverse and global perspectives,” says Alice Hovorka, Director, School of Environmental Studies. “Ultimately, such international programs promote cross-cultural understandings between our respective institutions and contexts.”

Ms. Li spent last summer working with Dr. Lougheed in a lab on campus – performing DNA extraction from fish samples – through the Summer Work Experience Program (SWEP), which she says was an excellent way to gain exposure to lab work. She also visited QUBS several times throughout the summer to attend seminars and the field station’s annual open house – all valuable experiences for Ms. Li.

“The Tongji 2+2 program offers exciting opportunities for Chinese students joining us at Queen’s and it enriches teaching and learning experiences for all Queen’s students, staff and faculty who benefit from exposure to diverse and global perspectives”
~ Alice Hovorka, Director, School of Environmental Studies

Also in her first year at Queen’s, Ms. Li received the Charles Baillie Environmental Studies Scholarship, awarded on the basis of excellence to students entering fourth year of any undergraduate degree program in the School of Environmental Studies.

“It was an honour to receive the award. It felt very encouraging,” says Ms. Li, who will continue with graduate work at Queen’s, beginning a PhD next fall with Dr. Lougheed studying Arctic ecosystems. Ms. Chen will also be staying at Queen’s and working on a master’s degree with Dr. Lougheed – but while Ms. Li loves the detailed focus of lab work, Ms. Chen loves being outside and in the field. Her graduate work will focus on frog phenology – looking at how different biological factors and cycles, such as temperature and humidity, affect their behaviour.

Four other Tongji students are currently enrolled in the first year of the two-year program and will complete their degrees in 2018.

The 2+2 program is one of several collaborations between Queen’s and Tongji University. In 2013, Queen’s and Tongji established the Sino-Canada Network for Environment and Sustainable Development, which provides a platform for research collaboration between faculty members at both institutions, and opportunities for exchange and training. In 2015, Queen’s began collaborating with Tongji on the International Research Laboratory of Yangtze River Ecology, or Intelab-Yangtze.

Internationalization in one of the four pillars of the Queen’s University Strategic Framework 2014–2019. The Comprehensive International Plan was launched in August 2015 to help the university build on its international strengths and direct future internationalization efforts. The plan’s goals include strengthening Queen’s international research engagement and creating more opportunities for student mobility through academic exchange and study-abroad programs. The plan also aims to attract high-quality international students to Queen’s and to increase international educational opportunities on Queen’s campus. China is a region of focus within the plan. For more information on the Queen’s-China Connection and Queen’s international program overall, visit the International website.

 

All eyes on the Prize

Prize for Excellence in Research recipients to share knowledge with the community.

Grant Hall will play host to some of Queen’s most exciting and innovative researchers as the recipients of the 2016 Prize for Excellence in Research (PER) deliver a series of keynote addresses on Monday, April 3 from 4:30-6:30 p.m in Grant Hall.

The free, public lecture event will see each of the prize recipients present an engaging 10-minute overview of their work. The lectures – delivered with a non-specialist audience in mind – will focus on a wide array of topics, from art history to evolution.

From Top Left, Clockwise: Stephen Vanner (Medicine), Janet Hiebert (Political Studies), James R. Cordy (School of Computing), Myra Hird (School of Environmental Studies), Gauvin Bailey (Art History and Art Conservation), and Virginia Walker (Biology).

“The Prize for Excellence in Research public lectures give members of the Queen’s and Kingston communities the opportunity to learn from researchers who have made unique contributions in a variety of diverse and exciting fields,” says Dr. John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “The six speakers taking part in this year’s lectures are at the leading edge of their respective fields and reflect the strength, depth and breadth of our faculty. I offer my sincerest congratulations to all of this year’s speakers.”

This year’s lecturers are Gauvin Bailey (Art History and Art Conservation), James R. Cordy (School of Computing), Janet Hiebert (Political Studies), Stephen Vanner (Medicine) and Virginia Walker (Biology). In addition, 2015 recipient Myra Hird (School of Environmental Studies) will deliver her lecture along with the 2016 cohort.

The Alfred and Isabel Bader Chair in Southern Baroque Art, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a world-renowned expert in the arts and architecture of early Modern Europe, Latin America and colonial Asia, Dr. Gauvin Bailey’s research examines the art of different regions using multidisciplinary methodologies to pursue the viewpoint of non‐European cultures. He will deliver a presentation titled A Baroque Palace in the Haitian Rainforest.

Dr. James Cordy’s research has led to the development of methods and tools that make the management of today’s large software code bases possible. His work has been used to safely make systematic modifications to large code bases – notably used by Canadian banks to solve the Year 2000 (Y2K) problem – and for identifying trouble spots in other complex programs, such as those behind the development of autonomous vehicles. In his lecture This Means That: Programming by Transformation, Dr. Cordy will dive deeper into the development and management of complex computer programs.

An internationally-celebrated scholar of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Dr. Janet Hiebert is the foremost authority on how bills of rights influence Westminster parliamentary democracy. Her expertise has led to invitations to provide briefs, advice, and expert testimony for governments in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the International Bar Association. Dr. Hiebert will examine the innermost workings of our parliamentary system in her lecture, Can Parliament Protect Rights?

Recognized for his innovative research into the causes of, and treatments for, the pain associated with irritable bowel syndrome, Dr. Stephen Vanner has made a tremendous impact on his field. In his lecture, Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Light and the End of the Tunnel, he will discuss the current state of research in this field, including the work taking place in the Queen’s Gastrointestinal Diseases Research Unit (GIDRU).

A prolific researcher with an international reputation, Dr. Virginia Walker has contributed more than 150 publications to top science journals in her nearly 40-year academic career. With special expertise in understanding the mechanisms of stress resistance, her research includes the full range of biology from cell and molecular biology, physiology, ecology and evolution, and she has worked on mammals, plants, insects and most recently fish. She will deliver a lecture titled Piecing Together a Cold Quilt.

A Queen's National Scholar and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Dr. Myra Hird is a distinguished interdisciplinary scholar with an international reputation for her multifaceted, collaborative investigations into a variety of research areas, including human influence on the environment. Her lecture, Canada’s Waste Flow and our Global Legacy, examines Canada’s place in the global discussions around waste management, conservation and environmental protection.

The event begins at 4:30 pm. It is free and all are welcome to attend. For more information on the Prize for Excellence in Research Public Lectures, please visit the website.

A taste of Canadian history

New exhibit examining unique cookbooks explores Canadian history.

Queen’s University history professor Steven Maynard has cooked up a unique exhibit that examines the social history of Canada. Using cookbooks found in the Jordan Rare Books and Special Collections in Douglas Library, a group of Professor Maynard’s students brought history to life using the rare tomes.

From vintage Jello cookbooks popular in the 1920s to Jewish and Mennonite recipe books from the mid-20th century to the oldest cookbook in Canada published in Kingston in 1831, The Taste of the Library is a new exhibit researched and curated by students.

Learning about Canadian history in this unique project are (l to r): Ashley Anderson, Jack Wilson and Jessie Cook.

“The collection at Queen’s is very extensive,” says Jack Wilson (ArtSci’18). “It made doing the research necessary very easy.”

The idea behind the project was to explore interesting themes in regards to food and what stories cookbooks tell.  Themes include cooking on a budget, preparing meals before there were grocery stores and food trends through the decades.

“We looked at local cookbooks published by community groups, to books that were widely published, to books published by large companies. We looked at one cookbook that had an advertisement on every other page,” says Ashley Anderson (ArtSci’19).

Mr. Wilson added it was also interesting to learn about rationing during the wars as the cookbooks during that time were very basic. Studying a cookbook from 1899, he adds the focus of that book was sustaining the family - nothing more exotic than that.

“We also got to see other ways that recipes changes, including how they were written,” says Jessie Cooke (ArtSci’19). “Early books told more of a story without listing specific ingredients as they took for granted women already knew how to cook. Later cookbooks really focused on exact measurements and making the food perfect.”

Another student in the class loaned to the exhibit her grandmother’s Mennonite cookbook. Those recipes showed more of the cultural history of Canada, as did a number of Indigenous cookbooks contained in the collection.

“These books explained a lot about Canada’s history and also how the Canadian family has changed since the mid-1800s,” says Professor Maynard. “My approach to teaching is giving history a public face and I think this year’s projects achieved that and more. Now students can bring their work to the public so others can also learn something new.

The exhibit opens Thursday, March 30 at 3 pm and is located on the second floor of Douglas Library.

Cultural communicator

[Telmary]
Cuban hip-hop artist Telmary visited Queen’s March 5-11 as part of a continuing exchange with the University of Havana and took part in talks, classes and performances. The visit was supported by the International Visitors Program of the Principal's Development Fund. (University Communications)

Having lived in Canada for a period of seven years, Cuban hip-hop/rap artist Telmary has gained valuable insight into the cultures of both countries.

During her March 5-11 visit as part of a continuing exchange with the University of Havana, Telmary shared her experiences and music with the Queen’s community through a series of talks and performances.

A foundational figure in Cuban rap, Telmary describes herself first as a communicator, a journalist using an alternative medium. All of her work begins as writing and then is shared through her music.

It’s the connection with the audience she is looking for.

“Everything that I write ends up in a song eventually. That’s what I do,” she says. “But I can’t say that just to write makes me completely satisfied, happy. My special moment is when I am on stage. More than being a recording artist I prefer to be on stage. I like to perform, I like to express in front of the audience, and my goal is to find two eyes that are connected to me and get the message.”

During her time in Canada she found that she was able to connect with audiences – the music overcame the barriers of language and geography she says.

While she enjoyed her time in Toronto, lacking a support network here Telmary returned to her homeland to give birth to her daughter. That reconnection with Cuba provided a new spark for her artistic career and she decided to stay.

“I decided to come back to Cuba and I thought it was for a short period at the beginning and then I discovered that I really needed to stay because my muse actually woke up when I came back,” she says. A new album soon followed.

Music holds a significant place in the Cuban culture Telmary explains and the focus is more on the art form itself rather than celebrity.

“You are a full-time musician in Cuba. Everybody respects you and you have an audience that is honest, that is demanding and educated,” she says. “If you do something over there and people don’t like it, they are not afraid to tell you. That is my thermometer.”

Telmary’s visit is part of a continuing exchange in support of the Global Development Studies (DEVS) course “Cuban Culture and Society.” Through the course a group of up to 40 Queen’s students also travels to Cuba as part of the collaboration with the University of Havana.

Karen Dubinsky (Global Development Studies), one of the course’s instructors along with Susan Lord (Film Studies), has been an admirer of Telmary’s for years and has seen her connect with students as a visitor to the course. 

“I see in Telmary the same quality that I see in Carlos Varela (the first artist to participate in the exchange) and that is this ability to communicate daily life and daily truths in a way that is both beautiful, poetic but also educational – educational for me as well as an outsider who is always trying to figure out what is going on in this society that is not my own,” Dr. Dubinsky says. “It is a joy to watch someone who has artistic performance training but who also has the sensibility of a teacher who knows how to communicate that when she’s talking to students. And the students love her.”

Telmary’s visit was supported by the International Visitors Program of the Principal’s Development Fund.

Awarding a commitment to outreach

Queen’s professor receives award for outstanding efforts in sharing earth science with Canadians.

In recognition of his research and public outreach, Queen’s paleontologist Guy Narbonne (Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering) has received the E.R.Ward Neale Medal from the Geological Association of Canada.

In recognition of his research and public outreach, Dr. Guy Narbonne has been awarded the E.R.Ward Neale Medal from the Geological Association of Canada. (Supplied Photo) 

“I feel tremendously honoured to be recognized by the Association with this award,” says Dr. Narbonne. “Just as the research isn’t done until you’ve written the publication, the research also isn’t done until you’ve told all the stakeholders what they got out of it. We went from almost no one having ever heard of Mistaken Point, to paleontologists around the world knowing about it, to designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a stamp issued by Canada Post to celebrate this UNESCO designation. This shows the kind of level of recognition that we’re getting by conducting rigorous research, sharing it with the public and showing why it matters.”

Over the course of his more than 30-year career, Dr. Narbonne has dedicated his efforts to both high-impact research and sharing his findings with the public. His research has been profiled in a number of television documentaries - including BBC’s Snowball Earth, a documentary series on the geology of Canada in The Nature of Things narrated by David Suzuki, and First Life narrated by Sir David Attenborough. Dr. Narbonne also played a leading role in Mistaken Point receiving World Heritage Site designation by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

“Dr. Narbonne’s research has made a tremendous impact on our understanding of early life on Earth, and his outreach efforts have brought the geological sciences into the mainstream Canadian consciousness,” says John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “I wish Dr. Narbonne my sincere congratulations for this well-deserved national recognition.”

Mistaken Point shows “when life got big,” and provides a fossil record of the appearance of large multicellular creatures 570 million years ago after nearly three billion years of microbial evolution. Volcanic eruptions 580 million years ago preserved surfaces covered with the fossils of the thousands of the soft-bodied creatures that were covered by beds of volcanic ash on the deep sea floor.

When Dr. Narbonne began his work at Mistaken Point in 1998, none of its abundant fossils had been formally named. It took nearly 12 years of research to bring the scientific understanding of the site up to the level necessary for UNESCO to consider naming Mistaken Point a World Heritage Site.

During this time, Dr. Narbonne produced over 30 scientific papers on Mistaken Point and related fossils – several of which were published in high-profile journals such as Science and Nature. Dr. Narbonne credits many factors for the success of the Mistaken Point project, including the ability to take a long-term approach to his research, and the support of the Queen’s Research Chair.

“There probably would not be a UNESCO World Heritage site at Mistaken Point without the QRC,” says Dr. Narbonne. “I’m deeply grateful to those who set up the program and am grateful for them selecting me. An awful lot of great things came out of their investment and their faith in me.”

Dr. Narbonne will formally receive the medal at the GAC-MAC annual conference, taking place May 15-17 in Kingston, Ontario.

The Neale Medal, named after Canadian geoscientist E.R. Ward Neale, is awarded annually to a researcher in recognition of sustained outstanding efforts in sharing earth science with Canadians – including through public lectures, media, and other forms of public outreach.

For more information, please visit the website.

Prepared to premiere

[Kento Stratford]
Kento Stratford’s choir and piano arrangement of a hymn originally created by former professor Bill Barnes for Queen’s sesquicentennial in 1991, will premiere Friday at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. (University Communications)

This Friday night, Kento Stratford, a second-year music student, will see a major project performed for the first time on the stage of the concert hall at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts.

As the opening number of the Dan School of Drama and Music’s year-end choir and orchestra concert, Mr. Stratford’s choir and piano arrangement of a hymn that was originally created by former professor Bill Barnes for Queen’s sesquicentennial in 1991 will be premiered.

The piece has five verses and will be performed by a 120-person choir. It was a massive undertaking, says Mr. Stratford. But now, after five months of hard, detailed work, he’s ready to see his creation come to life.

“Hearing it in the Isabel recital hall… the acoustics are so good,” Mr. Stratford says. “Just having my piece played, it’s something I’ve dreamt about, actually. I’m definitely excited to hear it in person.”

The opportunity arose from a meeting with music professor and award-winning composer John Burge to discuss one of Mr. Stratford’s composition assignments. At the end of the meeting Dr. Burge asked Mr. Stratford if he was interested in arranging the sesquicentennial piece as part of the continuing celebrations of Queen’s 175th anniversary.

“It was a ‘in the right place at the right time’ sort of thing,” Mr. Stratford explains. “I said yes, it’s such a great opportunity. Where else would you get that opportunity?”

Through the work Mr. Stratford has gained valuable compositional experience, which will help him as he continues his studies and into his future career.

“Kento has produced a marvelous piece that added greatly to the original words and music,” says Dr. Burge. “Kento possesses a very clear understanding of harmony and counterpoint and this experience has given him a firm foundation upon which to build as he develops his own compositional craft and creativity. Full credit and thanks also goes to Darrell Bryan, conductor of the Queen’s Choral Ensemble, for his support in bringing everything together.”

The Queen's Symphony Orchestra and Choral Ensemble’s year-end concert, featuring Carl Jenkins' The Armed Man, is being held at the Isabel on Friday, March 24 at 7:30 pm. Tickets$15 adults; $7 students/seniors – are available online, by phone at 613-533-2424, or at the door.

TRC report brings communities together to change course

  • Janice Hill, Director of Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, speaks with lecturer Nathan Brinklow during Tuesday's event marking the release of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Janice Hill, Director of Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, speaks with lecturer Nathan Brinklow during Tuesday's event marking the release of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Principal Daniel Woolf holds up a copy of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report during Tuesday's event at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Principal Daniel Woolf holds up a copy of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report during Tuesday's event at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Marlene Brant Castellano, Co-Chair of the Aboriginal Council at Queen's University, and Queen's Native Student Association President Lauren Winkler comment on the release of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Marlene Brant Castellano, Co-Chair of the Aboriginal Council at Queen's University, and Queen's Native Student Association President Lauren Winkler comment on the release of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force Co-Chairs Jill Scott, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning), and Mark Green, Professor (Civil Engineering), welcome guests to the event held at Agnes Etherington Art Centre. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force Co-Chairs Jill Scott, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning), and Mark Green, Professor (Civil Engineering), welcome guests to the event held at Agnes Etherington Art Centre. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Members of the Queen's community take part in a Haudenosaunee round dance at the event marking the release of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Members of the Queen's community take part in a Haudenosaunee round dance at the event marking the release of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Members of the Queen's community take part in a Haudenosaunee round dance at the event marking the release of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Members of the Queen's community take part in a Haudenosaunee round dance at the event marking the release of the Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Members of the Four Directions Women Singers – from left, Laura Maracle, Vanessa McCourt, and Melanie Howard – sing an Anishinaabe honour song during Tuesday's event. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Members of the Four Directions Women Singers – from left, Laura Maracle, Vanessa McCourt, and Melanie Howard – sing an Anishinaabe honour song during Tuesday's event. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Laura Maracle, Aboriginal Cultural Safety Coordinator at Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, speaks with Laurel Claus-Johnson of the Katarokwi Grandmothers Council during Tuesday's event. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Laura Maracle, Aboriginal Cultural Safety Coordinator at Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, speaks with Laurel Claus-Johnson of the Katarokwi Grandmothers Council during Tuesday's event. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)

At a special reception Tuesday night to mark the unveiling of the Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) Task Force final report and recommendations, Principal Daniel Woolf told the crowd of students, staff, faculty, alumni, and local Indigenous community members that, “Today, our communities come together to change course.”

“By taking steps to ensure that Indigenous histories are shared, by recognizing that we can all benefit from Indigenous knowledge, and by creating culturally validating learning environments, we can begin to reduce barriers to education and create a more welcoming, inclusive, and diverse university,” said Principal Woolf.

The special event, held at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, and the TRC report represent a significant milestone for Queen’s and the local Indigenous communities, signalling a broad and sustained effort to build and improve relations, and to effect meaningful institutional change. The recommendations in the report span everything from hiring practices and programming, to research, community outreach, and the creation of Indigenous cultural spaces on campus. (More detailed list of recommendations below.)

Principal Woolf reiterated his commitment to fulfilling the recommendations in the task force’s final report, and to illustrate that commitment, he announced that the university will be creating an Office of Indigenous Initiatives in the coming months – an announcement met by a loud round of applause from the audience.

“This is just one of the task force’s many recommendations that I am committed to implementing across campus, and because I believe that we are stronger together, I welcome the rest of the Queen’s community to join me in that commitment,” he said.

Principal Woolf also stated his commitment to the TRC recommendations in a special Senate meeting on March 7, where he acknowledged “Queen’s own history as an institution that participated in a colonial tradition that caused great harm to Indigenous People.”

‘We are making history’

Bringing together Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members, Tuesday’s event was hosted by TRC Task Force co-chairs Mark Green and Jill Scott and showcased the importance of ceremony – with a traditional Mohawk opening presented by lecturer Nathan Brinklow, presentations by Elder Marlene Brant Castellano and student Lauren Winkler, an Anishinaabe Honour Song performed by the Four Directions Women Singers, and to end the evening, a Haudenosaunee Round Dance, led by performers from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, that brought guests together in a huge circle, hands linked.

“Ceremony reminds us that what we do today is important, impacting the relationships and responsibilities that we carry forward, and woven into our memory as a community,” said Dr. Brant Castellano, a member of the task force, Queen’s alumna, and pioneer and champion of Indigenous rights and education.

“We are making history,” Dr. Brant continued. “In creating the task force, Queen’s has stepped up to ask of itself: What can we do to advance reconciliation? … The task force has brought together voices from the Queen’s community saying: We can do this. We have a responsibility to do this. The report is presented to the principal, who speaks on behalf of the university. In this ceremony, all who are present become witnesses to Queen’s acknowledgement of past errors and commitment to walk together with Indigenous Peoples and others of good mind to restore and maintain a relationship of peace, friendship, and respect.”

“I would like to thank you all here today because by being here, you are showing me that you acknowledge the truths of our past, that you stand in support of these recommendations, and that you will make a commitment to seeing the recommendations through"
​~ Lauren Winkler

Lauren Winkler, student and president of the Queen’s Native Student Association, as well as deputy commissioner of Indigenous affairs for the Alma Mater Society and member of the TRC Task Force, spoke about the experiences of Indigenous students and the challenges and racist encounters they face on Queen’s campus.

"Our education system has failed and is failing to educate our students at the cost of Indigenous students. The university recognizes this – it’s one of the truths in our truth and reconciliation process," said Ms. Winkler, who went on to thank Principal Woolf for his acknowledgements of the history of mistreatment of the Indigenous community and Queen’s role in perpetuating the mistreatment.

"I would like to thank you all here today because by being here, you are showing me that you acknowledge the truths of our past, that you stand in support of these recommendations, and that you will make a commitment to seeing the recommendations through," said Ms. Winkler.

The TRC Task Force’s final report, which includes reproductions of artwork included in the Indigenous art collection at the Agnes, outlines recommendations and timelines for implementation – in particular, the formation of an implementation team that will work with faculties, schools, and shared service units to expedite recommendations. The task force asks for five-year plans from the faculties, schools, and other units to be completed by fall 2017.


An ambassador of Canadian science

Stephen Lougheed (Biology) has received the Science Ambassador Award from Partners in Research (PIR). The award recognizes an outstanding Canadian researcher for their body of work over a period of time, their contributions to the field of science, and their promotion of this research to the Canadian public.

“I really like the challenge of articulating what we do in our lab or in the field for a general audience” said Dr. Lougheed. “Moreover, making publically-funded university research accessible and intelligible is incredibly important.”

Queen's biology professor Dr. Stephen Lougheed has received the PIR Science Ambassador Award, in recognition of his contributions to the field of conservation biology as well as his dedication to community outreach and knowledge dissemination. (Supplied Photo)

Dr. Lougheed’s research has made significant contributions to our understanding of how historical climate change, shifts in vegetation, mountain uplift and fluctuating sea levels during the Pliocene and Pleistocene epochs (from 5.3 million to 11,700 years ago) affected the diversification of species in North and Latin America. He has authored more than 100 refereed journal articles and book contributions, and his work on biogeography and evolutionary genetics have been cited more than 3500 times. In December 2016, Dr. Lougheed and his northern and university collaborators received a $9.2 million grant for a project combining leading-edge genomics and Indigenous traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) to develop a non-invasive means of tracking polar bear responses to environmental change.

“Dr. Lougheed is a leading scientist in the field of conservation biology, who has demonstrated both a dedication to fundamental research and to disseminating information to the public at large,” says John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “This award is a wonderful acknowledgment of Dr. Lougheed’s accomplishments and a testament to the excellence of Queen’s researchers and faculty.”

In addition to his research and teaching responsibilities, Dr. Lougheed has made outreach and public engagement a focus of his career. Since associating with the Queen’s University Biological Station (QUBS) in 1994, he has taught over 45 field courses at QUBS and at other locales spanning four continents. He became the station director in 2012, and with his dedicated staff he has dramatically increased the station’s public outreach activities through public lecture series, programming for school and community groups, augmented on-line resources, and a camp for youth.

“Some of my most cherished moments at QUBS have been showing young people a creature like a ratsnake or musk turtle or giant water bug, and talking about their unique ecologies,” stated Dr. Lougheed, “or talking with school groups about how we might contribute to the conservation of one of our many species at risk.”

PIR is a registered Canadian charity founded in 1988 to help Canadians understand the significance, accomplishments and promise of biomedical research in advancing health and medicine. Since its genesis, PIR has broadened its scope to encompass science, technology, engineering and mathematics as fields of discovery and study for Canadian students.

Dr. Lougheed will receive the award at the Partners in Research National Awards Ceremony, held in Ottawa in May.

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