Eleven StFX graduate students—10 master’s students and one PhD student—are 2017 recipients of the Nova Scotia Graduate Scholarship, awarded to research graduates at Nova Scotia universities to help advance the economic and social well-being of Nova Scotians by investing in graduate thesis-based research in several priority sectors.
The awards encourage exploration, discovery and innovation.
At StFX, the students are involved in research projects that range from exploring educational avenues to slow out-migration in the province to the impacts of rockweed harvest.
Recipients include master’s students Andrew Flower, Hina Shehzadi, James Williams, Nadia Tarakki, Zihao Jiang, Bry Crabbe, Abu Baker, Meredith Karcz, Lori Paslawski, Alex Young and PhD student Greg Hadley.
All say the scholarship is invaluable.
“Being awarded funding through the Nova Scotia Graduate Scholarship in the area of social innovation has allowed me to create a robust research plan of a truly provincial scope,” says Greg Hadley of Antigonish, NS, who is completing his PhD (educational studies) under the supervision of education professor Dr. David Young.
His research examines the potential for entrepreneurship education in Nova Scotia public schools to serve as a mechanism to slow out-migration and enhance economic development.
“I am particularly interested in rural areas, as population decline and economic stagnation has threatened the stability of many, once vibrant, communities. As a former public school teacher in rural Nova Scotia, I have seen what population decline has done and am keen to explore what educational avenues might help to slow this troubling phenomenon,” he says. “The funding will allow me to engage with stakeholders, academics and policymakers and, I predict, will open many other doors that may have remained closed by economic forces. This funding offers me a great deal of research flexibility and has been truly transformative for my work.”
Meredith Karcz of Burlington ON, who is completing a MSc in biology under the supervision of Dr. David Garbary, says the scholarship both helps her afford to study and conduct a project she cares about.
She is looking at the impacts of rockweed (Ascophyllum nodosum) harvesting in Nova Scotia on the other algal species and invertebrates that inhabit the rockweed canopies on rocky shores across the province.
“Rockweed harvesting is a growing multi-million dollar industry,” she says. “The seaweed is used primarily in agricultural applications and fertilizers. Research has primarily taken a species focused approach up until this point, but to properly ensure that current harvest methods are sustainable, the impact on the entire community needs to be assessed.”
Hina Shehzadi of Lyari Karachi, Pakistan is completing a M.Ed. under the supervision of education professor Dr. Joanne Tompkins. She is working on qualitative research, a comparative analysis of two curricula relating to the understanding of university students regarding sexual and reproductive health rights of women in Nova Scotia and Karachi.Hina for article.jpg
“This scholarship is a life-changing opportunity for me because coming from an under-developing country, Pakistan, where as a young woman it was a major challenge for me to continue my higher education, this scholarship is not only supporting me to achieve my dream for becoming a university professor, but my community as well as I am the only woman travelling abroad for study and setting examples for other girls in my community to work hard and explore the opportunities in the world. I am so grateful to receive this Nova Scotia graduate grant.”
MSc biology student Alex Young of Berwick, NS, working with biology professor Dr. Russell Wyeth, is examining the nervous system of a snail species (Lymnaea stagnalis), identifying genes and cell types responsible for producing different neurotransmitters inside of its sensory organs (lips, tentacles) to get an idea of how the snail processes sensory information.
“Once we understand the genes and cells present in its nervous system, those genes can be interfered with to block their action and give us an idea of their function. The goal of my research is to get a better understanding of how the snails' genetics and nervous system are responsible for controlling its behaviour at the molecular level,” he says. “Ultimately, my research can lead to large scale sensory manipulation of snails with chemicals to prevent them from entering gardens or precious crop fields in countries where they are currently a major pest and a vector for several diseases.
“Receiving a Nova Scotia Graduate Scholarship supplement means that I will be able to complete my master’s solely on external funding. One great thing about that is it saves internal funds to dedicate towards my research, hopefully increasing the quality of my projects.”
AWARD AN HONOUR
“The Nova Scotia Graduate Scholarship is an honour for me and it is also a confirmation of my hard work,” says Zihao Jiang, of Changzhou, Jiangsu Province, China, a first-year master’s student working with computer science professor Dr. Laurence T. Yang on research focused mainly on big data and matrix computation.
“Receiving the Nova Scotia Graduate Scholarship is a great honour for me,” agrees master’s of science student Nadia Tarakki of Bangladesh, who is working with earth sciences professor Dr. Dave Risk.
“This scholarship inspired me to create an effective tracer suite using isotopes to detect seepage and various emission sources. The results can be applied to mitigate health impacts in Nova Scotia, through use in issues such as emissions into residential basements and groundwater supplies,” she says.
She is working on soil gas monitoring at the Carbon Capture and Storage project at Aquistore, Estevan, Saskatchewan. This involves monitoring of soil gas concentrations of CO2, O2, N2 and CH4 and isotopic value analysis of stable isotope, d13C of CO2 and radiocarbon isotope, D14C of CO2 in addition to soil CO2 surface flux from pre-existing wells. The objective of the research is to monitor the containment of her research site and develop an isotopic tracer suite that can differentiate between biogenic and thermogenic surface gas sources.
“As a second-year recipient of the NSGS, this funding provides the financial support that allows us researchers to be more able to focus on our academics and research without having financial burdens in the background,” says Bry Crabbe of Woodstock, NB, completing a master’s of science in chemistry under the supervision of Dr. Geniece Hallett-Tapley and Dr. BJ MacLean.
He says through the use of niobium based perovskite semiconductor materials, they are studying the light induced reactions involving carbon-carbon coupling using this more energy efficient and more ‘green’ reaction process in the absence of heat and harsh organic materials.
“Receiving the Nova Scotia Graduate Scholarship will allow me to use scientific instruments that study the chemistry of hundreds of rock samples and create thin sections to study the samples at a microscopic level. Each of these methods, supported by the NSGS, are essential to the development of a new structural geologic model and ultimately, the completion of my master’s research,” says Andrew Flower of Calgary, AB, taking a master’s in earth science (geology) under the supervision of Dr. Mike Melchin.
“My study of graptolites and carbon isotopes will help create a model of mineral deposition that could potentially be used to help ore exploration in shale hosted mineral resources in Nova Scotia.”
The research is based on geological findings in the Selwyn Mountain range, located in the Howards Pass district, Northwest Territories.
With the sound of drum beats and the scent of sage still in the air, a standing-room only crowd watched as the Mi'kmaq flag was proudly unfurled on Sept. 7 to fly permanently on the StFX campus.
A packed crowd filled Dennis Hall for the historic ceremony, moved inside due to inclement weather. The flag will fly permanently outside the President’s office at Morrison Hall.
“It is an honour to be here for the raising of the flag,” Grand Chief Ben Sylliboy said in remarks as he thanked everyone for coming to share in this moment of togetherness, an important ceremony that brought together members of the Mi’kmaq nation and the StFX community.
The ceremony was also highlighted by several announcements of major initiatives designed to enhance student learning.
“I’m really honoured to be here, it is a long time coming. This is a start of reconciliation,” Grand Captain Andrew Denny said as he thanked StFX for raising the Grand Council flag on a permanent basis. It solidifies and cements the fact that Mi’kmaq are welcome here, he said.
Chief PJ Prosper of Paqtnkek First Nation, who is also a member of the StFX Board of Governors, said the ceremony symbolizes the commitment between the two, and the interest in sharing the rich stories and cultural traditions of the Mi’kmaq people who have been here for generations upon generations.
Chief Prosper also acknowledged the leadership of StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald, who he said reached out to the Mi’kmaq nation soon after his installation in office.
“It’s certainly a distinct honour for me to be part of this historic event,” Chief Prosper said.
“This is an important day for us,” Dr. MacDonald said as he talked about the journey StFX is on, and that "we still have a lot to learn."
Dr. MacDonald thanked all those who have carried the flag in this regard, particularly members of the StFX education faculty, and thanked everyone “for having patience with us.
“I look forward to the future, not just a symbol, an important symbol, but how do we start to imbed this in the learning. The good news is we already have people doing this,” he said.
StFX Aboriginal Student Advisor Terena Francis made several announcements during the ceremony including the news of a partnership with StFX, through the Jeannine Deveau Educational Equity Endowment Fund, to help establish an Elders-in-Residence program.
She also noted the appointment of Dorene Bernard as 2017 Coady Chair in Social Justice. Ms. Bernard performed a traditional smudging ceremony to start the ceremony.
Her third announcement again brought applause as she shared the news of the establishment of the five-year, $300,000 John Jerome Paul Chair for Equity in Mathematics Education. This research chair is created through the Deveau Fund and will be held by StFX education professor Dr. Lisa Lunney Borden.
Dr. Lunney Borden’s work will focus on teaching and math achievement for First Nations and African Nova Scotia students.
Mr. Paul, director of program services with Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey, who the chair is named after, said he has always been determined to see that Mi’kmaq youth gain skills in math and science to give them opportunity in the world. He said it is special to have Dr. Lunney Borden, who taught in Mi’kmaq communities for 15 years, be part of this project. He also noted he is humbled to be asked to have his name associated with this math equity chair as he knows the StFX education faculty will work diligently to support it.
Mr. Paul spoke of a partnership developed with StFX about 20 years ago to support the development of Mi’kmaq teachers for their communities. “We had great hopes when we started, but we had no idea, 20 years in, we would be standing here looking at such a great set of accomplishments,” he said to much applause.
The flag raising ceremony ended with drumming and the singing of the Mi’kmaq Honour Song.
Two StFX faculty members have been elected by their peers as new Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada (FRSC), national recognition as the best in their field.
Philosophy professor Dr. William Sweet and earth sciences professor Dr. Brendan Murphy are among 89 new Fellows to be inducted into the Royal Society of Canada this fall for outstanding scholarly, scientific and artistic achievements.
“This is a very formal acknowledgement of the exceptional work and contributions that Dr. Murphy and Dr. Sweet have made to their respective disciplines over many years. This award is well deserved and I applaud Dr. Sweet and Dr. Murphy on this recognition and on their distinguished careers,” says StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald.
“This is a significant accomplishment and it speaks to the quality and value of our faculty at StFX. It is exceptional that StFX has had two nominees elected in the same year for this distinguished award,” says Dr. MacDonald.
The two StFX faculty members are among four new Fellows elected from Atlantic institutions.
“I can't think of two more deserving candidates,” says StFX Academic Vice-President & Provost Dr. Kevin Wamsley. "This tremendous honour signifies the outstanding scholarly achievements of these very gifted professors. They are leading experts in their respective fields, and their bodies of work are internationally renowned. This is a truly wonderful accomplishment.”
Dr. Murphy, who has taught at StFX since 1982, is best known for his contributions to understanding the supercontinent cycle, one of the most significant developments in earth sciences since the discovery of plate tectonics. He has led a wide range of study over his career in an effort to improve understanding of mountain building processes and the long-term history of global environmental change.
Dr. Sweet, who joined the StFX faculty in 1990, is an internationally recognized scholar of the idealist movement in 19th- and early 20th-century Britain. His careful, historically-grounded and innovative scholarship on this movement has led to a re-evaluation of the work of some of its key figures and of its bearing on contemporary political philosophy as a whole. His research has also led to new insights into the impact of idealism in East Asia, India, and southern Africa, and the promotion of intercultural philosophy. The recipient of numerous awards and honours, Dr. Sweet has been invited to present his work across the globe.
The formal awards ceremony will take place in Winnipeg, MB in November.
“It’s a little humbling,” Dr. Sweet says of the award, and also gratifying that colleagues recognize the value of your work. It’s a sentiment echoed by Dr. Murphy, who is quick to talk too of equally deserving colleagues.
Both thanked those involved in nominating them, particularly Dr. Richard Isnor and John Blackwell, their respective departments for the support over the years, and credited family support as invaluable.
Dr. Sweet and Dr. Murphy say they have been fortunate throughout their careers to work with excellent people.
“Some people you have a mental chemistry with,” Dr. Murphy says. “That’s the beauty of sabbaticals, to make connections. I’m still working with people from each of my sabbaticals over the years. You meet people you can work with, that help keep the mental juices flowing.”
While technology allows faculty to stay connected in a way they never dreamed possible 30 years ago, they say, nothing beats face-to-face interactions with people.
“To make and maintain these international collaborations, you need to see the people, and you need time with them,” Dr. Sweet says. “This provides opportunity and international exposure.”
Passion and dedication and putting in the time and work are also key, they say.
Dr. Brendan Murphy
Dr. Brendan Murphy has led a stellar academic career in StFX’s Department of Earth Sciences where he has excelled as a researcher and professor for over 34 years. He teaches courses primarily in structural geology, tectonics and the evolution of the Earth. He has served as Chair of the department for nine years and has supervised more than 80 student thesis projects since joining StFX in 1982. He has held adjunct professor status at six other universities around the world. Dr. Murphy’s main research interests are the geological processes that form mountains and how they relate to the changing positions of continents through geological time, otherwise known as plate tectonics. He is best known among his peers for contributions to understanding the supercontinent cycle, recognized as one of the most significant scientific developments in earth sciences since the discovery of plate tectonics. He is recognized as one Canada’s premier tectonists, as well as a leading expert on the Appalachian orogen of eastern North America and its European counterpart, the Variscan orogen. His research has involved field studies and scientific collaborations around the world. An outstanding teacher and mentor, Dr. Murphy has supervised over 50 undergraduate student theses, 19 masters theses, and nine PhD dissertations through adjunct professorships and collaborations at other universities. He has also supervised three post-doctoral fellows and been a research collaborator and mentor to numerous young colleagues at StFX and around the world. He was the first faculty member to introduce an earth sciences course aimed at non-majors at StFX. He has served as an expert reviewer for the University Partnerships in Cooperation and Development Program (funded by the Canadian International Development Agency) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC) Solid Earth Sciences Committee. He is a current editor of Geology, the world’s premier journal in the Geosciences, and is past editor of Geoscience Canada and of the Geological Society of America Bulletin. His research has been continually supported by NSERC since 1984. Dr. Murphy has published over 290 scientific articles in academic journals, book chapters, monographs, or geological field guidebooks, and has authored or coauthored more than 200 conference presentations. He has received numerous awards for outstanding research, including the prestigious Killam Research Fellowship in Canada. In fact, in 2010 he was the sole recipient of a Killam Fellowship who works at a small, primarily undergraduate university in Canada. In 2014, he was awarded the StFX University Research Award. He was recently awarded a Hadyn Williams Fellowship at Curtin University in Australia. He was recognized with the Dave Elliott Award: Best Paper in the Canadian Tectonics Group for the Geological Association of Canada in 2015. He was elected a Fellow of the Geological Society of America in 2012 and received the Geological Society of America Distinguished Service Award in 2011. In 2014, Dr. Murphy was named winner of the J. Willis Ambrose Medal from the Geological Association of Canada. Dr. Murphy has served as president of the Atlantic Geoscience Society and chair of the Science Atlantic Geoscience Committee. He has been selected as scientific leader for several UNESCO International Geoscience Program projects and is a frequent science columnist and media commentator. His outreach activities have led to two awards for his contributions to public education, including the StFX Outreach Award.
Dr. William Sweet
Dr. William Sweet is one of the foremost Canadian academics on the history of 19th- and early 20th-century British philosophy, and one of the world’s leading scholars of British idealism. He has also contributed significantly to the philosophy of culture, intercultural philosophy, discussions of dignity and human rights, and the philosophy of religion. For over 25 years, he has produced influential articles and books on key figures of the idealist movement in Britain, and been a leading exponent in the reassessment of their work, particularly so far as it bears on issues of liberty, equality, and human rights in the contemporary world. Dr. Sweet’s work has challenged many of the received views of the idealist movement, but has also put into question the widely-held views that the idealists were close disciples of the German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel, and that they were an aberrant phase in 19th century British intellectual life. He is the foremost expert in the world on the British idealist, Bernard Bosanquet, and the leading commentator on his philosophy as a whole. Dr. Sweet has also contributed to the scholarship on political thought by organizing international conferences and collections of scholarly essays. These have stimulated many, particularly junior scholars, to write on idealism, expanding and deepening the study of this field. Dr. Sweet has also extended the scholarly understanding of British idealism by looking at its reception in the then British Empire, and beyond. In the Biographical Dictionary of British Idealism, for which he was general editor and authored some 50 entries, Dr. Sweet details the influence of idealism in philosophy in South Africa, India, East Asia, France, and the United States, as well as Canada. This work is continued in Dr. Sweet’s recent articles on idealism’s influence on major philosophers from Southern Africa and India. Dr. Sweet’s ground-breaking work on the reception of British idealism in Asia has led him to explore related themes. This has led to invitations to address scholars in South Africa, India, and China, and to the translation of some of Dr. Sweet’s work into Chinese. It has also led to frequent invitations to speak at major universities in China, India, and South Africa. Moreover, his ongoing work with the Fédération Internationale des Sociétés de Philosophie and with associated scholars has helped to bring the work of philosophers in developing countries to international notice. In parallel with his research into British idealism, he has made major contributions to historical studies in ethics and political philosophy. Particularly significant are his many publications and translations of the work of the 20th-century French philosopher, Jacques Maritain. Dr. Sweet’s work has been recognized by his election to the presidency of a number of learned societies, such as the Canadian Philosophical Association, and to the executive committees of international organizations, such as the Fédération Internationale des Sociétés de Philosophie, the Council for Research in Values and Philosophy, and the Istituto Internazionale Jacques Maritain (of which he is Presidente d'onore). He was recently selected as ‘Visiting Professor (Overseas)’ by the Indian Council of Philosophical Research. He is also a recipient of both the StFX President’s Research Award and the University Outreach Award. Dr. Sweet’s scholarship and the international reception of his work have led to his recognition as one of the leading scholars in the history of philosophy in Canada today.
I’m Rebecca Mesay. This is my StFX story.
I’m Emily Gale. This is my StFX story.
I’m Christine Kingan. This is my StFX story.
As a third year BBA Marketing Co-op student, I had the absolute pleasure of meeting with Mr. Frank McKenna in his downtown Toronto office. Mr. McKenna, the Deputy Chair of TD and a StFX alumnus highly regarded in the Xaverian famly, took time out of his demanding schedule to meet with me, a fellow Xaverian. He opened my eyes to the true value of co-op and what it has to offer, while revealing to me the experiences that I wouldn't otherwise have.
BBA ’17 (Co-Op)
Lieutenant-General, the Hon. Roméo Dallaire—international human rights advocate and founder and chair of the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative—has hope for the future. And much of that hope is in today’s youth.
“The youth of this nation, what they can master, what they can realize, and our support in letting them go…to have their boots soiled in a developing nation, to light a pilot light of passion for humanity, that for me is what should exist,” General Dallaire said to a standing ovation in a passionate keynote that drew hundreds of StFX students and greater Antigonish community members to the Keating Centre on Sept 5.
On the very first day of classes on campus, General Dallaire joined with several student speakers to provide an extraordinary night of learning.
The XTalks evening, with a theme of ‘Life,’ was co-hosted by StFX’s Students’ Union, the Frank McKenna Centre for Leadership and the Xaverian Weekly
As McKenna Centre executive director Mary Coyle noted the night’s speakers are here to “share information, inspire, motivate and help guide us.”
FLAME OF PASSION
“Go out there and get your boots dirty and bring that story back, come back with the sacred flame of passion that will never leave you,” General Dallaire encouraged university students in the audience.
“You have what we never had, the ability to influence the world,” he said as he talked about how today’s youth are already global citizens, a generation without borders, and masters of technology.
As we enter a complex and ambiguous era, you have now in your hands the power to influence, to be activists like never before, he said.
“The world is there waiting for you to engage…why not do it, why not be an activist?
“You are the ones who have the power to change,” he said as he also noted “you have the responsibility.”
General Dallaire said as we enter university, we sometimes don’t realize we’re entering a leadership strata, and with it, we have the responsibility to see the nation continue to pursue its values and thrive into the future.
“That is a part of being a graduate of a fine institution like this. That will be a role that is given to you,” he said, “to help your own, but to go well beyond your borders, to help the plight of humanity.
In speaking about the future, it is important too to get a sense of the past to help better understand the future, he said.
General Dallaire spoke about the reasons he founded the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldier Initiative and his goal to end the use and recruitment of child soldiers around the world. Recruiting children as weapons of war creates a vicious cycle, where children know of nothing else. It creates generational war, providing an ability not to win wars, but to sustain them, he said.
He also spoke about massive abuses of human rights he’s witnessed, to see neighbors turn against neighbors, humanity against humanity, and the dangers that come when humans are seen as things.
He spoke of how crucial it is to be involved in human rights so we never lose sight that all human beings are human beings,
“I believe there is a will out there to see humanity thrive, we’re faced with lots of frictions, but there is a depth of wanting this to go beyond survival, we want to thrive.”
Canadians, he said, have this sense of fair human endeavors. “Those are assets the world is looking for.”
Ms. Coyle and Sean Hopkins, VP activities and events, StFX Students’ Union, co-hosted the evening along with Xaverian Weekly co-editors Iain Kempt and Clare Keenan.
The event featured three dynamic X Talks speaker, all StFX students, Nia MacFarlane and Monica Miller of Shinerama; Cameron Sehl, entrepreneur and MacBain Riley Global Engagement Award winner; and Rebecca Mesay, Students' Union leader, Xaverian Leaders graduate and facilitator and McKenna Haiti Youth Leader.
The evening concluded with gifts and a donation from the organizers on behalf of all to the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, as well as a presentation from Tareq Hadhad of Peace by Chocolates to General Dallaire.
On Tuesday, October 3, 2017, StFX's Frank McKenna Centre for Leadership will present what promises to be the leadership event of the year in downtown Toronto. Join us as the Honourable Frank McKenna hosts an evening discussion on leadership with one of the most influential leaders in the world, President Bill Clinton.
The Frank McKenna Centre For Leadership presents
An Evening with President Bill Clinton
The Royal York Hotel, Toronto, Ontario
Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017
Reception 5:30 p.m. | Dinner 6:30 p.m.
To order a table
There are three sponsorship levels available. To become a sponsor or for more information, please call (902) 867-2359 Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. AST, or email email@example.com.
The PRESENTED BY Sponsorship Level ($50,000): benefits include
• Recognition in all promotional material including reception, media kit, dedicated web site
• Recognition on-screen throughout the dinner
• Recognition in the event program speaking remarks
• Two complimentary tables of 10 seats per table (value $10,000) in a prominent location
• An exclusive opportunity for FOUR guests to meet personally with President Clinton, including a photo
The IN ASSOCIATION WITH Sponsorship Level ($25,000): benefits include
• Recognition in promotional material including reception, media kit, dedicated web site
• Recognition on-screen throughout the dinner
• One complimentary table of 10 seats per table (value $5,000) in a prime location
• An exclusive opportunity for TWO guests to meet personally with President Clinton, including a photo
The SUPPORTED BY Sponsorship Level ($15,000): benefits include
• Mention in promotional material including reception, media kit, dedicated web site
• Mention on-screen throughout the dinner
• One complimentary table of 10 seats per table (value $5,000) in a prime location
• An exclusive opportunity for ONE guests to meet personally with President Clinton, including a photo
About StFX's Frank McKenna Centre for Leadership
The Frank McKenna Centre for Leadership is a beacon for those interested in leadership development. Building on StFX University's traditions of leadership development and service to community, the centre provides meaningful and effective leadership programming, offering students opportunities to learn through in-class and hands-on experiences, including learning directly from some of the world's most influential leaders.
The McKenna Centre for Leadership is focused on teaching students not only how to lead, but how to help others strenghten leadership qualities. For more information, click here.
It’s 7:30 a.m. and already it feels like the start of something special.
“Are you excited?” an upper-class student greets two first year students as they make their way into StFX’s Keating Centre for Welcome Day 2017, a day designed to introduce students to StFX, make them feel at home and provide the information they need for their time at university.
Inside the Keating Centre, StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald personally greets the incoming class as students and their families move through registration and into a Student Services Showcase that includes information booths from departments across campus, food stations, and the StFX photo booth.
As the nearly 1,000 members of the StFX Class of 2021 and their families arrive onto campus for the first time, the exuberant, pink shirt clad student ambassadors of the O-Crew are there to meet them, singing, dancing, and helping ease first year jitters.
“Wel-come home! Wel-come home!’ they cheer.
“Oh, my gosh, is that frosh,” the dancing, colourful students chant as members of the first-year class arrive to check into residence. “What room are you, let’s get you settled.”
Along with moving into residence, Welcome Day includes Parent Orientation sessions, a formal President’s Welcome and faculty and staff on hand to chat and answer questions.
ACADEMCIALLY FOCUSED, SOCIALLY ENGAGED
In his welcoming remarks, Dr. MacDonald encouraged students to be academically focused and socially engaged.
“Think about your time here at StFX and what you’re about to embark on,” he said as he delivered two key messages to students, parents and family.
Dr. MacDonald says he looks for two things in students that come to StFX. The first is that they’re academically focused—“that you think of yourself as a university student, someone who is going to embrace all aspects from an intellectual point of view”—and to think more deeply about what it is they want to learn at an institution like StFX.
“The second part is to be socially engaged in life,” he said as he advised students to be engaged in community, to join a society, get involved in student life, perhaps join Service Learning or Shinerama or O-Crew.
“This is a place that believes young people can make a difference in the world.
“I welcome you to this very, very special place, StFX and I welcome you to the Xaverian community.”
ESSENCE OF STFX
“We will give you the tools to make a difference in the world,” StFX Academic Vice-President & Provost Dr. Kevin Wamsley told students as he remarked that part of the essence of StFX is its outstanding faculty and staff and unique community.
He also reassured parents that StFX cares about their sons and daughters. “We want to ensure they have the best university experience possible.
“Classes start soon. We are ready for you,” he said.
Students’ Union president Annie Sirois also encouraged students to become involved, to take the opportunity they have at StFX to get out of their comfort zone, to be ambitious, to seize opportunities and give opportunities to others.
It’s not always going to be easy,
“You’re going to have tough nights and tough mornings, but that doesn’t mean you won’t grow,” she told students.
StFX Head of Student Services and Vice-President of Finance and Administration Andrew Beckett spoke about the StFX student experience, and about the Xaverian Commitment – a commitment students make to themselves in the pursuit of excellence.
It’s a commitment to hold yourself responsible for your personal growth, but do it yourself doesn’t mean do it alone, he said. “There are tremendous supports here to help you,” he noted. “We have tremendous, passionate, dedicated faculty and staff. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We want you to be successful.
“You made a great choice to be here. Embrace this opportunity and make it your own. Welcome to StFX.”
Students’ Union executive member, vice-president academic, Patrick Panet-Raymond hosted the formal ceremony.
Welcome Day has been great, says Zach Murray of St. John’s, NL, a first-year music student.
“It’s been cool. It’s way more extravagant than I thought, the whole set-up, with all the returning students welcoming you. It feels very much like you’re welcome. There’s no pressure. It’s very cool,” he says.
It’s a sentiment echoed by his mom, Ann Murray. “It’s been awesome,” she says, offering a parent perspective. “Everyone is so happy and friendly and it’s not confusing at all.”
First year social justice colloquium student Calisha Smith of Richmond Hill, ON says she came to StFX for the small class sizes and the campus feel. She says it’s a little intimidating to start university, but the day has been good and she appreciates the warm welcome. “I like that there’s people everywhere talking. It’s so friendly.”
“It’s very welcoming and organized,” her mom Kelly Smith agrees. “There are so many people here to help. It’s not really as daunting as I thought it would be.”
That help is something that Bailey Randall, an aquatic resources and sociology student from Antigonish, NS, likes. “It’s great to have people here to guide you,” she says. “It’s different here than high school and it’s nice to have the amount of people here to help.”
“People are very welcoming. If you look lost, they just ask if they can help you,” adds Kendra Vigneault of Antigonish, NS, who starts a business degree.
The commercial testing of StFX’s innovative gas sensor technology is now well underway in the oil and gas fields of western Canada.
Faculty and students of StFX earth sciences professor Dr. Dave Risk’s Flux Lab and Altus Geomatics (a Canadian Altus Group company) have combined forces to field test for commercial use their vehicle-based Emissions Attribution via Computational Techniques (“ExACT”) gas leak detection technology.
In January 2017, Altus Geomatics and StFX signed a collaboration agreement for the exclusive commercialization and usage rights of the technology. The next step in commercialization is to refine ExACT for use in a real world, marketable context. Until now, the technique has been used primarily for research.
Now, with the financial support of Altus and funding from Springboard Atlantic and the Idea to Innovation (“I2I”) program of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), this commercial testing is underway.
The ExACT sensor is mounted on a vehicle and collects near-ground geochemical readings that are uploaded to a cloud-based database and allows for real-time analysis. It is capable of covering a large region at a very fine scale, which provides operators with the detailed data and analytics they require to detect leaks before they become a regulatory issue.
The ability to identify emissions in an efficient and cost-effective manner allows producers to minimize the economic cost of lost commodities and maximize environmental protection, says StFX Manager of Industry Liaison Andrew Kendall.
He says this phase of the ExACT research will leverage the oil and gas industry expertise of Altus to fine-tune the vehicle mounted gas technology into equipment ready to use by their field operators to rapidly identify small gas leaks from oil and gas wells, pipelines and refineries quickly, and provide this information to the oil and gas companies so that those leaks can be eliminated or controlled.
“This is an excellent example of technology transfer,” he says. “The unique scientific expertise of Dr. Risk and his student researchers combined with the business focus and industry knowledge of Altus will ultimately result in the elimination or at least significant reduction in gas releases form the oil and gas industry.”
Dr. Risk agrees. “This partnership with Altus is demonstrating that what these StFX Flux Lab students are learning in the research lab has direct, positive applications for industry. The oil and gas industry is serious about reducing its impact on greenhouse gas emissions, and they are now looking towards these students for solutions.”