Bridget Way-Brackenbury, a fourth year StFX human kinetics student from Kingston, ON, has been selected for the 2020-21 cohort of the Pathy Foundation Fellowship. She will work in Antigonish, NS, with X-Project to educate and train a team of Afro-Nova Scotian and Mi’kmaq youth to create physical literacy programming for other youth in their own communities.
X-Project is a student-run society that offers group educational assistance, recreational opportunities, and youth leadership training for Afro-Nova Scotian and Mi’kmaq youth. Ms. Way-Brackenbury’s project will utilize a youth-centered model and culturally relevant practices already in operation at X-Project with a greater aim to reduce inequities in health and education.
Her initiative is expected to expand the practices and connections developed by X-Project and support physical and health literacy and leadership with youth in rural Nova Scotian communities. This project has the power to create physical literacy programming that focuses on creating a culture of empowerment and support through youth-adult partnerships, peer relationships, community connections and experiential learning.
The Pathy Foundation Fellowship provides community-focused experiential learning opportunities for graduating students to become active and effective change-makers, bringing new ideas and working closely with communities to foster sustainable and positive social change in Canada and around the world.
The Board of Governors of St. Francis Xavier University is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Andrew Hakin as the University’s 19th President and Vice-Chancellor.
Dr. Hakin comes to StFX from the University of Lethbridge where he began as a faculty member in 1989 and has served as Provost and Vice President (Academic) since 2007. During his tenure, Dr. Hakin led the strategy to redefine the University of Lethbridge as a destination university with a strong focus on undergraduate and graduate student experience, leading to important advances in academic programming and significant growth in enrolment, both domestic and international. A champion of diversity and inclusion, he has been recognized for his contributions to education within Indigenous communities.
His selection as President and Vice-Chancellor resulted from a search that was supported by Odgers Berndtson, an internationally-renowned executive search firm.
“StFX’s Board of Governors and the Presidential Search Committee led a thorough and comprehensive process to identify the right leader who exemplifies the values of academic excellence, community engagement and visionary leadership – values that are core to who we are at StFX,” said Mike Boyd, Chair of the Presidential Selection Committee, and of the StFX Board of Governors.
“Dr. Hakin personifies these values, and understands the heritage and close community relationships that continue to make StFX such a strong university. He is a highly experienced and proven leader with an impressive record of improving the student experience, building academic programs and services, and increasing enrolment. Under Andy’s leadership, we will further strengthen StFX’s commitment to academic excellence.”
“I am incredibly honoured to step into this exciting role at one of Canada’s strongest and proudest undergraduate universities,” said Dr. Hakin. “StFX has an exceptional tradition of academic excellence and community partnership, and I’m looking forward to building on these strengths as President and Vice-Chancellor. My wife Linda and I are excited for our move to Antigonish and Canada’s beautiful east coast.”
Dr. Hakin holds a PhD in chemistry from the University of Leicester, in the UK. He has held a number of leadership roles before becoming Provost and Vice-President (Academic), including President of the University of Lethbridge faculty association, Chair of the University’s Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, and Associate Vice-President (Academic.) He was awarded the University of Lethbridge’s Distinguished Teacher Award in 2000, the Stig Sunnor Memorial Award for research achievement, awarded by the International Calorimetry Conference in 2003, and is a member and graduate of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Dr. Hakin and his wife Linda are the parents of Abbey, an elementary school teacher in Calgary, and Callum, a fourth-year student in the Dhillon School of Business at the University of Lethbridge.
Dr. Hakin joins StFX during a period of tremendous momentum as the university experiences continued growth in student enrolment in each of its core faculties – Arts, Sciences, Business and Education. Most recently, the university celebrated the grand opening of the Brian Mulroney Institute of Government and Mulroney Hall, for which $100 million was raised to develop Canada’s leading undergraduate program in public policy and governance, create unique research opportunities, and introduce state-of-the-art academic facilities for students and faculty.
Dr. Kevin B. Wamsley will continue serving as Interim President until Dr. Hakin assumes his duties as President and Vice-Chancellor on July 1, 2020. At that time, Dr. Wamsley will resume his role as StFX’s Academic Vice President and Provost.
“Kevin accepted the task of Interim President without hesitation and fulfilled the role tremendously well, advancing a number of important initiatives and garnering many accolades from the StFX community,” said Mr. Boyd. “I am grateful that he will continue as Interim President until Dr. Hakin begins his tenure, and that going forward he will continue to play a critical role on our senior management team as Academic Vice President and Provost. On behalf of the entire StFX community, I would like to thank Kevin for his leadership this year.”
A group of StFX students and immersion leaders are poised to commence Immersion Service Learning placements that range from visiting important WWII and Holocaust sites in Europe to working in a cloud forest community in Ecuador.
Twenty eight students will travel over the February Reading Week break to Poland and Germany, Ecuador, and Peru while a further 20 students will travel to Belize, L’Arche Ottawa and Europe in late April or May.
StFX Service Learning has facilitated immersion experiences for the past 25 years, providing students with opportunities to grow as global citizens. Immersion connects academic theory with real world experience through hands-on learning alongside different cultural communities in national and international locations.
Fourth year biology student Emma Dwyer will take part in the Peru experience where participants will journey into the Andes to work with Nexos Comunitarios, a non-profit organization working with isolated communities, building human and social capital to achieve sustainable solutions.
“I am most looking forward to learning about the culture in Peru and the community's history. I am excited to work with the children there and hopefully make fast friends with the community. I am also extremely excited to visit the world heritage site, Machu Picchu.”
This is Ms. Dwyer’s third Immersion Service Learning trip. She participated in the Belize trip in her second year and the Germany and Poland experience in her third year.
“I am a science student, but I am also very interested in global history, culture and language. Service Learning has given me the opportunity to learn about these things in the real world outside of my degree here at StFX. Even as a science student, I have been able to apply my Immersion Service Learning experiences to many of my classes,” she says.
“I feel this program has made me a better student and a better global citizen. I believe that it is important to learn about the world and the best way to do it is through immersion learning.”
“As a development studies professor, and someone passionate about equitable and sustainable development, I’m very excited to take StFX students to Ecuador this year,” says StFX development studies professor Dr. Kim Burnett, Immersion leader for the group that will travel to the Ecuadorian cloud forest.
“Students will get to see firsthand the rich insights and knowledge located within communities in the Global South to advance sustainable and equitable development. Our trip will expose students to many important development projects, including integrated agricultural production systems that rely on local agricultural knowledge and sustainable production methods, the impacts of eco-tourism on rural communities, and to the intricacies of the natural environment in Ecuador’s Cloud Forest, and the importance of biodiversity to thriving ecosystems.
“I’m most excited for the fact that most of the students who I will be travelling with do not come from development studies. I’m excited to witness their experiences in the Global South, and the things they learn about the complexities of development and the centrality of empowering communities in developing countries to generate social, economic and ecological change. And for the students I’ve worked with from development studies, I feel fortunate to be a part of their own educational growth as they experience the “realities” of development for the first time. I know this experience will be transformative for all the students involved, and for me as well.”
Additionally, Immersion Service Learning experiences will see students bearing witness to history in Germany and Poland; learning about natural resources and community development in Belize; and in Ottawa, joining a bilingual L’Arche community, sharing daily life and activities with developmentally disabled adults.
Also this May, a group of StFX students will be joined by students from the Maple League schools, to participate in the three credit course “the Holocaust and Now.” Students will spend an immersive two weeks in Germany, Poland and Prague participating in unique immersive learning experiences.
For more information on Service Learning, please visit the website http://www2.mystfx.ca/service-learning/
David MacNaughton, former Canadian Ambassador to the United States, will deliver the keynote address in this year’s Allan J. MacEachen Annual Lecture Series in Politics at StFX.
Mr. MacNaughton will deliver a talk entitled, “Difficult Choices for Canada in a Chaotic World,” at the event, which takes place Thursday, Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m. at StFX’s Schwartz Auditorium. All are welcome to attend.
This annual lecture series was established in 1996 through the generous support of friends and associates of the late Hon. Allan J. MacEachen.
Over the years, speakers at the MacEachen Lecture have included four former Canadian prime ministers, the Rt. Hon. Paul Martin, the Rt. Hon. Joe Clark, the Rt. Hon. John Turner, and the Rt. Hon. Jean Chretien, as well as a number of distinguished academics, politicians, journalists and a justice of the Supreme Court. Past speakers have also included Linden MacIntyre, Preston Manning, the Hon. Bob Rae, the Hon. Frank McKenna, Dalton Camp, Senator Jerry Grafstein, the Hon. Roy Romanow, Dr. Margaret MacMillan, Dr. Jennifer Welsh, the Hon. Flora MacDonald, Senator Lowell Murray, the Hon. Dr. Donald J. Johnston, Allan Gregg and the Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin.
David MacNaughton was recently appointed President of Palantir Canada. He will head up the Canadian operations of Palantir Technologies, the Silicon Valley-based data integration and analytics software giant. Prior to joining Palantir Canada, Mr. MacNaughton was Canada’s Ambassador to the United States. He presented his credentials to President Barack Obama on March 3, 2016. In the 1980s, Mr. MacNaughton transformed the public affairs industry by building an organization that comprised government relations, public opinion research and public relations. After selling his business in 1989, Mr. MacNaughton became president of Canada’s largest government and public relations firm and subsequently North American president of the world’s largest public relations firm. From 1995 until 2003, Mr. MacNaughton was President of Strathshore Financial and was an advisor to one of Canada’s leading investment banks. Mr. MacNaughton’s public sector experience includes work at both the federal and provincial levels, including as advisor to the Minister at the Departments of Transport, Industry and Foreign Affairs. He was principal secretary to the Premier of Ontario from 2003 to 2005 and the chairman of StrategyCorp from 2005 until his appointment. Active in community affairs, Mr. MacNaughton has served on the boards of the North York General Hospital, the Stratford Festival, the National Ski Academy, TV Ontario, the Toronto French School and the Toronto International Film Festival.
StFX human nutrition students will have access to new scholarships and bursaries thanks to the generosity of Sodexo Canada.
Sodexo, the campus food provider at StFX, has established the Sodexo Canada Scholarship, two individual scholarships of $5,000 to be awarded annually, as well as the Kevin Fraser Memorial Bursary, in memory of the late Kevin Fraser, former Sodexo general manager at StFX, which will see five bursaries of $1,000 each presented annually.
“Sodexo and StFX realize the importance of diet in healthy living and we want to be part of developing students who can help in this goal moving forward,” says Tim Hierlihy, general manager, Sodexo Campus Food Services.
“Kevin Fraser did a lot for students on the campus and in his community who were less fortunate and we wanted to honour his legacy in creating bursaries for students in financial need to honour his legacy,” he says.
“Our hope is by taking some of the financial pressure off of students and families, we can enable greater success in university, helping deserving students who want to graduate with their degree and give back to using the skills they have developed,” says Bob Hale, director, Ancillary Service.
Mr. Hierlihy says Sodexo and the Human Nutrition Department have had a relationship for many years, with Sodexo supporting the department either through helping a student to attend the Canadian Association of Food Professionals annual conference, food donations for the lab or working with the department in securing an intern or co-op student. The department also uses My Kitchen in Morrison Hall for sessions on healthy cooking.
Department of Human Nutrition senior lab instructor Brenda Hanlon says the department has always had a reciprocated relationship with the campus food service provider. She says this relationship grew under Mr. Fraser. “Students in the Foodservice course tour all Sodexo facilities on campus, Kevin and Tim have been guest lecturers in the Foodservice class, Chef Mike Pollock has used the food labs for food competitions, and visiting chefs have been guest lecturers for the HNU Seminar Series.”
She says both she and retired human nutrition faculty member Fran Haley have sat on Foodservice advisory groups and Ms. Hanlon has judged food competitions at meal hall, and student service learning projects have included consumer satisfaction surveys and waste audits. As well, Ms. Haley, Ms. Hanlon and Mr. Fraser were all members of the Canadian Association of Foodservice Professional (CAFP)-Northumberland Branch, providing mentorship to the StFX student CAFP branch.
Sodexo regularly hosts interns from the Integrated Dietetic Internship (IDI) Program for food service management practicum experiences, and is very supportive of the IDI sport dietetic interns working with StFX athletes on campus, says Laura Reid, dietetic educator, Human Nutrition Department.
The Sodexo Canada Scholarship will include one $5,000 non-renewable entrance scholarship presented annually to the top-ranked incoming first year student in the Human Nutrition Department, and one $5,000 non-renewable scholarship to a third or fourth year human nutrition student from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick or Prince Edward Island who shows professional and academic promise and a commitment and interest in working in the food service industry.
The Kevin Fraser Memorial Bursary, established in memory of the late Kevin Fraser, who loved his time at StFX and contributed behind the scenes to many students’ success, will be awarded annually to any first or second year student from Nova Scotia enrolled full-time in the Human Nutrition Department. Five bursaries of $1,000 each will be presented each year. The award is based upon financial need.
The StFX Department of Athletics honoured its 2018-19 U SPORTS Academic All-Canadians Feb. 10th, at their annual celebratory breakfast. This year, there were 91 Academic All-Canadians, those student-athletes who have achieved an 80 per cent average or above while consuming a year of eligibility competing for a varsity team. The number was the second highest ever. Last year’s 96 is the all-time high.
“This celebration of excellence in the classroom is a major highlight of our year,” comments StFX Director of Athletics & Recreation Leo MacPherson. “The opportunity to celebrate the synergies between academics and athletics is important to all of us. The ongoing support provided by our senior administration and our faculty members was also acknowledged and very much appreciated.”
Out of the possible 275 eligible student-athletes who consumed U SPORTS eligibility by participating on a varsity team at StFX during the 2018-19 season, 33 per cent achieved Academic All-Canadian status, including 39 male and 52 female student-athletes. The X-Women soccer team had the highest percentage of any StFX team with 58 per cent of their team members earning the distinction.
There were 34 first-time Academic All-Canadians, 31 student-athletes who received the honour for the second time in their career, and 14 who were three-time Academic All-Canadians. Nine student-athletes earned the distinction of being a U SPORTS Academic All-Canadians for four years, while an impressive three student-athletes were five-time Academic All-Canadians, including Elise Brennan, Chloe Brennan and Liam Elbourne – all soccer athletes. In addition, Elbourne was honoured as one of eight elite national U SPORTS Top 8 Academic All-Canadians, receiving commendation from the General Governor of Canada earlier this year.
The Athletic Director’s awards for academic achievement, presented to the top StFX male and female academic student-athletes, were Amy Graham from the X-Women hockey team who received the award for the second consecutive year, along with Liam Elbourne, a three-time winner.
The 2018-19 Academic All-Canadians were honoured at a celebratory breakfast at the McKenna Centre where they received a certificate from U SPORTS along with a gift from the Department of Athletics. All student-athletes were encouraged to invite a faculty member to accompany them to the breakfast. The breakfast bookended StFX Athletics annual Faculty Appreciation Week.
The complete list of 2018-19 StFX Academic All-Canadians is as follows:
Michael Adetola, Football Joanna Alphonso, Rugby
Mackenzie Bell, Rugby Dylan Bell, Football
Melanie Belong, Soccer Alison Blanchard, Rugby
Emma Boudreau, Track & Field Erin Brennan, Track & Field
Chloe Brennan, Soccer Elise Brennan, Soccer
Sarah Bruce, Soccer Carly Burrows, Hockey
Tane Caubo, Soccer Santino Centorame, Hockey
Paige Chisholm, Cross Country Josie Chisholm, Hockey
Benoit Cormier, Football Lane Cormier, Hockey
Olivia Crewe, Track & Field Marcus Cuomo, Hockey
Olivia Czipf, Soccer Olivia DeMerchant, Rugby
Aidan Doherty, Cross Country Liam Elbourne, Soccer
Hannah Ellis, Rugby Kelsey Ellis, Soccer
Jeremy Fagnan, Football Isaac Fagnan, Football
Allie Flower, Track & Field Megan Frost, Soccer
Claudia Fulton, Rugby Sam Gan, Football
Alley Goodreau, Hockey Brianna Gottschall, Basketball
Megan Graham, Track & Field Amy Graham, Hockey
Alexandra Hamilton, Rugby Liam Harrigan, Soccer
Rachel Hawkins, Soccer Joshua Henderson, Curling
Jane Hergett, Cross Country Ben Herringer, Soccer
A.J. Hewish, Soccer Sarah Hoerig, Rugby
Aaron Hoyles, Hockey Liam Hyland, Football
Matt Jemmett, Football Zoe Johnston, Cross Country
Jack Kennedy, Soccer Catherine Kennedy, Soccer
Adrian Kinney, Track & Field Emma Kuzmyk, Soccer
Justin Laforest, Hockey Taylor Leger, Track & Field
Lauren Liem, Cross Country Emma Logan, Curling
Travis Loov, Football Cole MacDonald, Hockey
Lauren MacFadyen, Curling Katie MacIntosh, Basketball
Paul MacLellan, Cross Country Patrick Marlow, Cross Country
Hana Marmura, Cross Country Jamie McCarron, Basketball
Therese McCurdy, Curling Cassidy McEwan, Hockey
Mac Murray, Soccer Matt Needham, Hockey
Alex Neuffer, Cross Country Brooke Noseworthy, Hockey
Patrick O’Brien, Curling Jordan Rao, Soccer
Angus Rawling, Cross Country Ashley Robson, Cross Country
Amy Rowe, Soccer Paytan Ruiz, Soccer
Lydia Schurman, Hockey Emily Sinclair, Rugby
Sam Studnicka, Hockey Madison Suart, Rugby
Catherine Thompson, Cross Country Patti-Anne Tracey, Hockey
Mark Tremaine, Hockey Chloe Walker, Track & Field
Katie Walsh, Soccer Carleigh Walters, Rugby
William Warren, Soccer Bailey Wasdal, Football
Jamie White, Basketball Larissa White, Soccer
Alex Yakimenko, Football
For two third year honours StFX physics students, attending the Canadian Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics held in Toronto in January was a terrific learning opportunity.
“Attending the conference was a very inspiring experience. It was amazing for us to see so many successful female scientists represented and meet female undergraduate colleagues,” say Claire MacDougall, an honours physics student from Halifax, NS, and chair of the Canadian Association of Physicists Student Advisory Council, and Catherine Boisvert a joint physics and math honours student from Montreal, QC, who is also president of the StFX Physics Society.
“We learned about the issues facing women, minorities and the LGBTQ+ community in this male dominated field, which will be extremely useful for both of us in our work with student advocacy. We also were exposed to career options outside of academia, which is not often something we learn about.”
Ms. MacDougall also presented her research, “Determination of Radiative Efficiency and Global Warming Potential of Several HFC’s and HFE’s” at the conference held at the University of Toronto.
The duo say they are the only two female students in their program, and that Physics Department chair Dr. Peter Marzlin and the rest of the physics faculty encouraged them to attend this national conference and provided them with the funding and support they needed to attend.
“The conference was a very supportive environment and validated some of our negative experiences as female students but more importantly shed light on the strengths and perspectives we bring as women to the field of physics,” they said.
StFX’s Service Learning Program recently welcomed one of its partners to campus, Maricarmen Valdivieso. the founder and director of Nexos Comunitarios in Pero, who was visiting with university partners in Canada and the U.S.
While at StFX, she met with Immersion Service Learning staff, toured campus and had an opportunity to meet with past program participants as well as the StFX group that will be travelling to Peru in two weeks.
StFX Gerald Schwartz School of Business faculty member Dr. Denton Anthony will lead the StFX immersion trip to Peru over the university’s reading week. The group will travel to Cuncani, a remote community in the Andes, to work on a project called “Kick Off.” Playing, learning and growing is the goal of this initiative, which seeks to improve rural education, generating cognitive and non-cognitive skills through football.
“Building relationships is important for the success of Immersion Service Learning programs and their partner projects. We were pleased to host Maricarmen at StFX, and to discuss the wonderful projects that NEXOS are working and developing on the ground. StFX students have a rare opportunity with this organization, to visit an amazing community and learn about a very different way of life,” says Jodi van Dompseler, Program Assistant with StFX Immersion Service Learning.
Nexos Comunitarios is a Peruvian non-profit civil association, formed by a group of citizens and professionals committed to reducing poverty in isolated communities within Peru, and to promoting a better understanding and respect between different societies and cultures nationally and internationally. Their focus is on sustainable development and implementing community projects related to nutrition, food security, hygiene and elementary education.
Their programs are not volunteer programs. They are learning and service programs that seek to make participants aware of the power they have: to be a link between the community and the rest of the world. Students learn about international development, service, interculturality and addressing poverty.
StFX Immersion Service Learning has partnered with Nexos since 2015.
StFX biology professor Dr. Ricardo Scrosati is part of a team of 14 Canadian marine biologists that today had a large study, “Seafloor biodiversity of Canada's three oceans: Patterns, hotspots and potential drivers,” published in Diversity and Distributions, a leading journal in the field.
The study evaluated the marine benthic biodiversity of Canada's three oceans, from the Pacific, to the Arctic, to the Atlantic.
“Using field information compiled over many years by several labs, including StFX's Marine Ecology Lab, this team used data for nearly 3,000 species to identify biodiversity hotspots across Canadian marine ecosystems,” Dr. Scrosati says.
The team then used environmental information to investigate the most likely causes of such patterns.
Dr. Scrosati says overall, this study provides valuable information that should improve, among other objectives, the design of marine protected areas to preserve our rich and fascinating marine benthic biodiversity.
“We are happy to have the study published in this journal because it has a high impact factor, which suggests that the study will be widely seen in the scientific community around the world. Thus, on the one hand, in that way we hope to attract talented colleagues and students to do further studies on marine biology in Canada and, on the other, we would see exciting to see our approaches applied to other parts of the world towards the global synthesis that science is always seeking,” Dr. Scrosati says.
The beginnings of this project, he says, likely started from informal conversations among colleagues in the past, but it was a colleague, Dr. Mathieu Cusson from the Université du Québec, who in the end formally led this project to its successful completion. “Interestingly, the original idea behind this project has spread into new ideas and collaborations. For instance, with Dr. Cusson, we will be co-supervising a PhD student who will investigate the relationships between marine species biodiversity and the actual ecological function that such species collectively have in biological communities.” Dr. Scrosati will be going to Quebec soon to help design the studies.
All those entering the lobby of Mulroney Hall on the StFX campus on January 27, 2020 had an amazing opportunity to learn and talk about Holocaust education with a number of StFX students.
Students from psychology professor Dr. Karen Blair’s Psyc 441 held an all-day event for International Holocaust Remembrance Day, displaying their final projects for the course, and being on hand to speak with all those who passed through.
Dr. Blair and the students had a visual display from Yad Vashem to hang in the art gallery space behind the replica of the Prime Minister’s office. In the lobby area, one group of students worked on a project aimed at “visualizing” six million victims, and another group working on activities to reduce prejudice. They also hosted a book display and educational materials and presented a video.
“I’ve been talking a lot about Holocaust education, and the misconceptions many students have,” says psychology student Cassidy Swan of Ottawa, ON. She says in her conversations she’s found that a lot of students know the basics of the Holocaust, but don’t know the when and the how and the steps in between that lead up to that point. It’s knowledge, she says, that people need to know more about.
“The knowledge is still valuable and needs to be taught.”
Fellow psychology students Alice Bruce of Pictou, NS and MacGillivray Smith of Enfield, NS, say they’ve had good response to the day, with several professors taking their classes through, and many community members and students stopping to talk.
Ms. Bruce says they’ve found people have varying degrees of knowledge about the Holocaust as Ms. Smith added the education is important for preventing future genocides. “In our class, we talked about the build-up to that and how you need to speak up for your believes before people start getting persecuted.”
FINAL PROJECT ASSIGNMENT
“The students in Psyc 441, which is a fourth year seminar course on the “Social Psychology of the Holocaust,” were given a final project assignment to “prevent the next Holocaust.” It was a lofty goal meant to be interpreted in abstract ways,” says Dr. Blair.
Each student had to decide how they would define the challenge for themselves - defining what is meant by the possibility of another Holocaust. “Does this mean genocide in general? The building blocks within society that allow for genocides, such as prejudice and exclusion?” says Dr. Blair. “In the end, most of the students developed projects related to Holocaust education, believing that education is a key element to reducing prejudice. People who know the details of the Holocaust and how it came to be are much more supportive of the need for Holocaust education and tend to be less supportive of extremist and prejudiced views.”
The students combined their efforts to create the event for International Holocaust Remembrance Day, she says.
Some of the events they’ve put together include the visualizing six million project. This project attempts to grapple with the fact that fewer than half of Canadian adults can identify six million as the number of Jewish men, women, and children murdered during the Holocaust. This may, in part, be because it is so difficult to grapple with such a large number. It’s simply unfathomable, Dr. Blair says.
The students have been working for months to try to cut six million pieces of paper. They actually wanted to cut 11 million to represent all of the victims of Nazi persecution.
“Just now, as they are continuing to cut paper in the lobby of Mulroney Hall, they are about to reach one million, helping to drive home just how large these numbers are.”
As well, Dr. Blair said each student in the course was assigned a “twin” who was a child that died during the Holocaust and shared the same birthday as the student. They researched to find out as much as they could about this person. They’ve created a visual display about each twin, hanging in the art gallery area.
One student looked into what types of Holocaust education are provided in high schools and what people feel is lacking. The student compiled a list of facts that people commonly don’t know and has been talking to people about their Holocaust education experiences. As well, another student is building a Holocaust education website while another is working on a Holocaust education podcast and documenting the day and the course.
The Atlantic Jewish Council and the Azrieli Foundation also provided a number of Holocaust memoirs for the group to give away to students at the event.
"Holocaust knowledge is declining and the survivors will soon not be with us to share their stories in person. Consequently it’s a very important time to raise interest in Holocaust education to ensure that this knowledge is not lost to future generations. The universal lessons of the Holocaust can help us to understand important social issues today as well as those that we will face in the future," says Dr. Blair.
The visual display in the gallery area will remain up all week until Friday for people to walk through.
When a group of StFX physics students started planning an Atlantic undergraduate physics and astronomy conference, they decided to aim big—and the results have been more than impressive.
The students have attracted 2018 Nobel Prize winner Donna Strickland; NASA engineer and advocate for diversity and inclusion in science, Renee Horton; StFX alumnus Allan H. MacDonald, winner of the Wolf Prize and the Herzberg Medal and professor at University of Texas, Austin; and Dalhousie University professor Jesse Maassen, to deliver keynote lectures when StFX hosts the Atlantic Undergraduate Physics and Astronomy Conference (AUPAC) from January 31-February 2, 2020.
The talks by all invited speakers are open to the public.
“It’s just amazing what they have accomplished,” says Dr. Peter Marzlin, faculty advisor and StFX physics professor, who praised the students who he says have organized and looked after mostly every detail for the conference.
“This is a conference that happens every year. This is the first Nobel Laureate that has showed up to speak. It’s really amazing. We’re really proud of the students,” said StFX physics professor Dr. Peter Poole, a Science Atlantic committee member.
StFX students and conference co-chairs Dean Eaton and Bryan Canam say they were thrilled, and a little surprised, they were able to attract each of the high-profile speakers they invited.
“We wanted to set the bar high,” says Mr. Eaton.
“These are the ones we were shooting for. We weren’t expecting them,” added Mr. Canam, who says they are much looking forward to the talks. “We’re more than pleased.”
Fellow students and conference committee members Thomas Hujon and Noah Tessema say they are looking forward to both the conference—a student organized event under Science Atlantic that looks to publicize and advertise research of many disciplines in physics and astronomy to undergraduate students in the Atlantic Provinces—as well as the chance to hear from the keynote speakers.
“These people are in the top rank of their professions,” says Mr. Hujon.
Mr. Tessema says their addresses should interest everyone, not just those with a physics background.
“There is always something to learn from people who have reached a certain success in life,” he says, noting it is inspiring to hear people speak passionately about their interests.
“You get an impression of what it takes for someone to be particularly good at what they do.”
The keynote addresses are scheduled to take place:
* Friday, Jan. 31: 7 p.m. SCHW 110, keynote speaker Jesse Maassen
* Saturday, Feb. 1, 11 a.m. SCHW 110, keynote speaker Allan MacDonald
* Saturday, Feb. 1, 6:30 p.m. SCHW 110, keynote speaker Donna Strickland
* Sunday, Feb. 2, 11 a.m., SCHW 110, keynote speaker Renee Horton
SHOWCASE STUDENT WORK
The organizers are expecting about 105 participants from universities across Atlantic Canada and elsewhere, with 32 students slated to present their work.
Over the weekend, undergraduate students will present talks on areas from particle physics and cosmology to atomic and solid state physics. There will also be other events such as a graduate fair, where graduate programs from across Canada advertise their programs to prospective students.
The StFX student organizers say they started planning the conference in February 2018, and that almost every senior student in the physics department is involved in its organization. In planning the conference, they say they’ve had to learn new skills almost every three to four weeks, from coding for their website to delegating.
They were also successful in securing sponsors, including their proposal to StFX’s Frank McKenna Centre for Leadership for help in sponsoring the keynote speakers.
The undergraduate conference, they say, will be a great opportunity for students to showcase their own research, to attend a grad fair to learn about future opportunities, and to network and learn from students and faculty from other institutions.
Of course, interacting with the keynote speakers, people at the top of their profession, will be a key benefit.
“It’s huge, the significance of meeting and networking with the speakers,” the students say.
Dr. Donna Strickland
Donna Strickland is a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Waterloo and is one of the recipients of the Nobel Prize in Physics 2018 for developing chirped pulse amplification with Gérard Mourou, her PhD supervisor at the time. They published this Nobel-winning research in 1985 when Strickland was a PhD student at the University of Rochester in New York state. Together they paved the way toward the most intense laser pulses ever created. The research has several applications today in industry and medicine — including the cutting of a patient’s cornea in laser eye surgery, and the machining of small glass parts for use in cell phones. Strickland was a research associate at the National Research Council Canada, a physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and a member of technical staff at Princeton University. In 1997, she joined the University of Waterloo, where her ultrafast laser group develops high-intensity laser systems for nonlinear optics investigations. She is a recipient of a Sloan Research Fellowship, a Premier’s Research Excellence Award and a Cottrell Scholar Award. She received the Rochester Distinguished Scholar Award and the Eastman Medal from the University of Rochester. Strickland served as the president of the Optical Society (OSA) in 2013 and is a fellow of OSA, the Royal Society of Canada, and SPIE (International Society for Optics and Photonics). She is an honorary fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering as well as the Institute of Physics. She received the Golden Plate Award from the Academy of Achievement, is in the International Women’s Forum Hall of Fame, and holds numerous honorary doctorates. Strickland earned a PhD in optics from the University of Rochester and a B.Eng. from McMaster University.
Dr. Renee Horton
Dr. K. Renee Horton is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and is a graduate of Louisiana State University and with a PhD in Material Science with a concentration in physics from the University of Alabama, as the first African American to receive this degree. In her day job, she serves as a NASA Space Launch System (SLS) Quality Engineer at Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) in New Orleans. Throughout her academic career, she has received numerous accolades and awards including the Black Engineer of the Year Trailblazer Award in 2011. She was named a 2019 Louisianian of the Year and is honoured in a group of nine individuals who stand out in their professions, give back and represent what’s best about Louisiana. She is an advocate for diversity and inclusion in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and works diligently in the community for STEM education and STEM outreach. She believes in changing the face of STEM. She is the founder of Unapologetically Being, Inc., a nonprofit for advocacy and mentoring in STEM. She is an international inspirational speaker who brings her personal story, expertise, and personality to her award-winning presentations. Dr. Horton has spoken all over the world including South Africa, Brazil, South Korea, Canada, Jamaica and Mexico. She has served as an invited speaker for the first International Women and Girls Day at the United Nations, Dow Chemical Black History Speaker, the National Air and Space Museum, Essence Power Stage, LSU Engineering commencement, numerous youth groups, to name a few. In 2016, she was elected President of the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP) as the second woman to hold the office. She has served the physics community abroad as a member of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) Women in Physics Working Group and currently serves on several advisory boards dedicated to a more diverse inclusion in physics. In 2017, she was elevated to a Fellow in the NSBP, the highest honour bestowed upon a member and in 2018 was inducted into Sigma Pi Sigma, the prestige honour society in physics. She is the author of Dr. H Explores the Universe, a children’s series, Dr. H and her Friends, and Dr. H Explores the ABCs. She recently was named the Silver Anniversary Artie Literature Award winner for 2018, from New Orleans Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. She is a member Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., as well as the proud mother of three and grandmother of two.
Dr. Allan MacDonald
Allan H. MacDonald was born in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, where he spent his early years. He earned his BSc degree from St. Francis Xavier University in 1973. He earned his MSc and PhD degrees in physics from the University of Toronto in 1974 and 1978. He spent several years as a member of the research staff of the National Research Council of Canada before becoming a faculty member at Indiana University in the U.S., where he spent over a decade. In 2000 he joined the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin, where he holds the Sid W. Richardson Chair in Physics. Professor MacDonald’s contributions to the theory of condensed matter physics have spanned many topics, including electronic structure theory, the quantum Hall effect, magnetism, and superconductivity. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and was awarded the Herzberg Medal (1987), the Buckley Prize in Condensed Matter Physics (2007), and the Ernst Mach Honorary Medal (2012). He recently received the 2020 Wolf Prize in Physics for his ground-breaking work in a field known as twistronics. In 2011 he predicted that a small rotation to a ”magic“ relative orientation angle would covert graphene bilayers from weakly interacting Fermi liquids to tunable strongly correlated electronic states. A rapidly expanding field (twistronics) with an impressive range of potential applications has grown from this observation.
Dr. Jesse Maassen
Jesse Maassen received B.Eng. and MASc degrees in engineering physics from the École Polytechnique de Montréal in 2006. He obtained a PhD in physics from McGill University in 2011 working on first-principles simulations of nanoelectronic devices. During 2012-2015, Dr. Maassen was a postdoctoral fellow in the Electrical Engineering Department at Purdue University. Since 2016, he has been an assistant professor of physics at Dalhousie University. His research interests focus on exploring novel materials and devices, using predictive first-principles modeling, with an emphasis on electro-thermal transport.
From the stirring rhythmic beats of the African drumming procession that opened the ceremony to the closing prayer that encouraged all to hear in their hearts the powerful words expressed, the launch of African Heritage Month 2020 in Antigonish not only shone a spotlight on the culture and contributions of African Nova Scotians to society, it recognized the strength that comes with unity.
A large crowd of StFX students, faculty and staff, community members, and local school students filled the MacKay Room, Bloomfield Centre, on the StFX campus on Jan. 23, 2020 to unite and celebrate that February is African Heritage Month. The theme for the month is “The Ties that Bind: Faith, Family, and Community.”
“Together, we gather to honour and celebrate the many contributions that African Nova Scotians past and present have made to our society,” said Kelsey Jones, StFX Coordinator, African Descent Student Affairs, and co-emcee of the ceremony with Lorraine Reddick, Student Support Worker, Strait Centre for Education.
“African Heritage Month marks a time of reflection, awareness, and most importantly, education,” she says.
African Heritage Month is a great opportunity to learn about the contributions, history and culture of African Nova Scotians, Ms. Reddick says. It is equally important that this knowledge be integrated into learning throughout the year, she noted.
Ms. Jones says we must recognize the contributions of those who came before us and who laid the foundation, and we must honour their legacy and continue to fight for justice and equality.
Getting together for a meal with friends and family over the holidays is a time-honoured tradition. This year, that circle grew a little wider as a group of StFX international students and members of the local community connected over Christmas through a new program at StFX called Home for the Holidays.
The StFX Office of Internationalization arranged the inaugural Home for the Holidays program to connect international students studying at StFX with families living in the Antigonish community during the holiday season. StFX is home to students from over 40 countries around the world, and many are interested in learning more about Canadian holiday culture, says Donald Rasmussen, StFX’s International Student Advisor.
This year, he says 17 students were matched with eight host families, and reaction to the experience has been positive from all involved.
MEANT A LOT
“I was super excited. I really wanted to engage, and I was a little emotional as I was missing my family,” says Anamika Saxena of India who was one of three international students to spend time with StFX Gerald Schwartz School of Business professor Rhonda McIver and her family, enjoying a meal and a visit at their home.
“It meant a lot for me, to rebalance my emotions, and to have people around me.”
Eshitha Chitla, also of India and taking a master’s in applied computer science, says it was a great chance to meet people, to learn more about Canadian culture and for people here to learn more about her culture.
Both students said they really enjoyed the meal, and the fact their hosts took the time to prepare something that would appeal to their Indian heritage with lots of spices, as well as the chance to spend time with “the sweet little children,” who played games and showed the visiting students their paintings.
“It was really nice. We really enjoyed it,” Ms. Saxena says.Home for the Holidays-01-MyStFX.jpg Home for the Holidays-03-MyStFX.jpg “We loved it,” says Prof. McIver.
She says her family was interested in getting involved in the program as they wanted to know some of the international students better, to learn about their culture, and to help the students feel more at home on campus
“Part of it is making sure students are fitting in and feeling comfortable and at home and that they have some allies. I have a son at university. I know what it is like,” she says.
She says her family hopes to connect again with the students over the term.
Mr. Rasmussen, who the students praised for his strong support of international students, says the program was promoted online and through the local Antigonish radio station and their office received immediate interest from faculty and staff members at StFX, as well as members of the broader Antigonish community.
In most cases, students were invited to their host family’s home during the holidays to enjoy a meal, meet family members, and experience Canadian holiday festivities. Some groups also got outside for winter hiking and snowman-making.
He says the office plans to run the program again next year.
St. Francis Xavier University has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Maritime Launch Services Ltd.
The signing of the agreement took place January 17, 2020 at StFX in the Joyce Family Atrium, Mulroney Hall before a large crowd that included the Hon. Randy Delorey, Nova Scotia Minister of Health & Wellness and Gaelic Affairs and Antigonish MLA; Mary Preville, Director General of Policy for the Canadian Space Agency; as well as representatives from ACOA, Nova Scotia Business Inc., local municipal governments, the local chamber of commerce, and the aerospace industry.
Maritime Launch Services (MLS) has proposed to construct and operate a private commercial space launch site for launching satellites into low Earth orbit. The purpose of the project is to establish a commercially-controlled, commercially-managed launch site that would provide options in North America in support of the growing commercial space transportation industry.
In support of the project, StFX is committed to the pursuit of research and creative works, ultimately contributing to academic discovery and dissemination of new knowledge, providing a lasting positive impact to the community.
“It is StFX’s vision to be a leader among Canada’s undergraduate universities for its research and creative contributions to student experience, community collaboration, social responsibility and growth opportunities,” says Dr. Richard Isnor, StFX Vice President of Research and Graduate Studies. “This agreement certainly fits within that vision. Our faculty and staff will explore new and exciting research. We are also enthusiastic about the new opportunities that this presents for student employment here in rural Nova Scotia in knowledge-based careers that diversify the rural economy.”
Dr. Isnor says he is enthusiastic about opportunities that agreements like this can create and how it’s supportive of the One Nova Scotia Coalition and Ivany Report, which challenged post-secondary institutions to look for opportunities to collaborate with companies being established or trying to contribute to society and the economy in the province.
Minister Delorey and Ms. Preville of the Canadian Space Agency also spoke during the event, offering their congratulations.
This one initiative has so many far-reaching positive implications, Minister Delorey said as he noted possible research opportunities and opportunities to support the local area.
“We are pleased to partner with StFX,” says Steve Matier, President and CEO of Maritime Launch Services, who noted the MOU is a logical next step as their initiative ramps up and with their focus toward the development of the most critical element of their needs to grow, retain and challenge the local talent and expertise here in Nova Scotia.
Possible opportunities for research are in the areas of computer sciences, chemical analysis, environmental monitoring and aquatic resources to name a few.
The proposed site for MLS is located in Canso, Nova Scotia, about an hour’s drive from StFX.
Robyn Maynard, the award-winning author of Policing Black Lives and a Vanier Scholar at the University of Toronto, will be at StFX Feb. 6, 2020 to deliver the 10th Annual Dr. Agnes Calliste African Heritage Lecture Series, organized by the StFX Department of Sociology.
The lecture series, named in honour of the late Dr. Agnes Calliste, a celebrated academic and sociology professor who taught at StFX for over two decades, was established to honour Dr. Calliste’s legacy and to continue her work of bringing esteemed speakers to campus during African Heritage Month to speak on issues of race and racism.
Ms. Maynard, an acclaimed author, activist and educator, will speak on the topic of ‘Black Life, Black Liberation and the Climate Crisis.’ The event begins at 7 p.m. in the Schwartz Auditorium.
The presentation of the StFX Black Leaders Awards will also highlight the evening. A reception will follow, and all are welcome to attend.
Kelsey Jones, StFX’s Coordinator, African Descent Student Affairs, will provide opening remarks.
StFX faculty member Dr. Ornella Nzindukiyimana will introduce Ms. Maynard, who during her time on campus, will also take part in a lunch with black student leaders and a workshop with local youth via X-Project.
Robyn Maynard is the acclaimed author of Policing Black Lives: State violence in Canada from slavery to the present (Fernwood 2017). The book is a CBC national bestseller, currently in its third printing, designated as one of the “best 100 books of 2017” by the Hill Times, listed in The Walrus‘s “best books of 2018,” shortlisted for an Atlantic Book Award, the Concordia University First Book Prize and the Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-fiction, and the winner of the 2017 Annual Errol Morris Book Prize. The work has received glowing coverage and has been published in French.
Ms. Maynard’s writing on race, gender, and discrimination is taught widely in universities across Canada and the United States. Her expertise is regularly sought in local, national and international media outlets and she has spoken before Parliamentary subcommittees, the Human Rights Committee of the Senate, and the United Nations Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent. She has a long history of involvement in community activism and advocacy. She been a part of grassroots movements against racial profiling, police violence, detention and deportation for over a decade and has an extensive work history in harm reduction-based service provision serving sex workers, drug users, incarcerated women and marginalized youth in Montreal. She is currently a PhD student and Vanier scholar at the University of Toronto and is working toward the completion of a new book manuscript.
Ms. Maynard, who won “2018 author of the year” by Montreal’s Black History Month, has published writing in the Washington Post, World Policy Journal, the Toronto Star, TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies, Canadian Woman Studies, Critical Ethnic Studies Journal (forthcoming), Scholar & Feminist Journal (forthcoming), as well as an essay for Maisonneuve Magazine which won the acclaim of “most-read essay of 2017.”
Four years ago, Gilles Perrine left home in Rose-Hill, Mauritius to travel almost halfway across the world to attend St. Francis Xavier University.
Now, as the fourth year StFX environmental science student approaches graduation, he says not only did he flourish, he’d recommend the same choice to others.
“If you want way more than an education, and you will get an education,” he says, “if you want a really good and smooth transition, StFX will be ideal. There are so many resources available.
“You will see yourself shine way more than you thought you could,” says Mr. Perrine, a graduate of St. Andrew’s School who says the idea of coming to Canada for university had appealed to him, but he hadn’t thought about any particular university until he met a StFX recruiter.
“Once she did her presentation, I was dazzled. I couldn’t say no,” he laughs. “The next thing you know, I’m filling out the form to apply.”
Now, four years later, he wears a distinctive band of gold with a raised black X on his finger, StFX’s renowned X-Ring, which he received, along with his senior year classmates, on December 3, 2019, during the university’s annual and much-anticipated X-Ring ceremony.
“When I look at this ring, I think of all four years, where I came from, where I am now, what really awaits for me. When I look at the ring, I think if you really work hard, there’s nothing that can stop you.”
What impressed him so much about that presentation back in high school?
Mr. Perrine says he liked the idea of coming to a small university, where he could meet and interact with his professors, be taught by faculty with PhDs, and learn in small classes.
He said upon arriving on campus, he found this not only to be true, but to be even better than what he’d been told.
“The professors will push you to do your best, and they will help to ensure you’re getting there.”
They provide an atmosphere where you really want to go to class and do well in class, he says.
“At StFX, everybody makes this so much easier for you. Everybody will make sure you feel prepared. School here is not only being at school, it’s also being part of a community that’s looking out for each and everyone.”
From his professors in class to staff at meal hall who greet him by name, StFX, he says, makes you feel comfortable.
StFX also presents many opportunities, he says. Mr. Perrine spent two summers doing research with faculty member Dr. Andrew MacDougall. He became a residence leader, working first as an RA and then as a house director. He was involved with various societies, and was focused on trying to leave a positive impact on campus.
Coming to live in a small town far away from home is not without its challenges. But Mr. Perrine says the adjustment didn’t take long.
“It’s so easy to get into life in Antigonish, and to interact with people.”
He says he learned a lot about the many things happening in town just by chatting with local people.
“That’s how I got involved in the Boy Scouts,” he says on the organization he had been involved in at home and joined here again as a leader. He also played soccer in the summer months with the local Celtics club.
After graduation, Mr. Perrine says he wants to stay in Nova Scotia, to work for a few years before applying to attend law school.
On StFX, he says, “There are so many opportunities to get involved. It’s up to each person what they want to do.”
Please be advised that StFX will delay opening until 4:00 PM today, Thursday, January 9th as the university continues to clear accumulated snow and ice across campus. Essential services will be maintained (Morrison Hall, Security, Facilities Management).
Please be advised that StFX will be closed today, Wednesday January 8th due to the impending storm. Essential services will be maintained (Morrison Hall, security, cleaning, snow removal).
The university will resume regular operations at 6:00 A.M. tomorrow, Thursday, January 9th.
Three nursing faculty from StFX’s Rankin School of Nursing (SON) were recently celebrated for their continued dedication to the SON.
Dr. Cathy MacDonald was warmly acknowledged for her many contributions to the SON in her role as acting director. “Her compassion for others and tireless hard work have made long lasting impressions within the SON, across the university, and within the broader nursing community,” said assistant director Dr. Debbie Sheppard LeMoine.
The school celebrated and welcomed Dr. Patti Hansen Ketchum as the incoming director starting in January 2020.
Dr. Sheppard LeMoine was congratulated as well for receiving tenure and promotion and for her hard work and impact on the ongoing success of the Rankin SON in her role as assistant director, Dr. MacDonald said.
The StFX Rankin School of Nursing recently held a curriculum retreat at Keppoch Mountain and they were honoured to collaborate and have their partners from the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) facilitate the day.
Along with faculty and staff from the Rankin School, in attendance were Cindy MacQuarrie , NSHA senior director of interprofessional practice and learning; Nancy McConnell Maxner, NSHA director; and Sherri Roach, NSHA provincial manager of student placements.
Rankin School assistant director Dr. Debbie Sheppard-LeMoine said the group spent the day examining steps for further evaluation and implementation of the School of Nursing curriculum.
“It was significant to have our NSHA partners with us. They are very committed to supporting our program goals,” she says.