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StFX Names Inaugural Dr. John T. Sears Chair in Corporate Social Responsibility

Wed, 2018-05-30 18:25

StFX has announced the first Dr. John T. Sears Chair in Corporate Social Responsibility, a new faculty position that will strengthen teaching and research in this important field of study.

Dr. Brad Long has been appointed to the position following a national search. Dr. Long is an Associate Professor of Management in StFX’s Gerald Schwartz School of Business and the current chair of the school’s Department of Business Administration.  He specializes in the fields of business ethics and leadership.  

“It’s a tremendous honour to be the inaugural chair holder,” said Dr. Long. “I’m excited to be focusing on corporate social responsibility in a business context, and to build new learning opportunities that show this field is an integral, core aspect of business knowledge.”

Corporate social responsibility examines how businesses and institutions contribute to the well-being of their communities at large. As the Dr. John T. Sears Chair, Dr. Long will create new teaching and research opportunities that further understanding of corporate social responsibility and help cultivate the next generation of globally responsible managers.

“The purpose of business is to improve the human condition and strengthen community,” he said. “It’s inconsistent for a business to be wealthy but for its community and environment to be impoverished. A healthy economy and a healthy society are all interrelated. You can’t have one without the other.”

HONOURING A DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR

The new chair was named in honour of Dr. John T. Sears, the distinguished alumnus, professor, administrator, community leader and mentor. A 1952 graduate, Dr. Sears returned to StFX as a business professor before later serving terms as dean of arts, dean of science and two appointments as academic vice-president. In 2002, StFX awarded Dr. Sears an honorary degree.

The chair is made possible through a generous $3 million endowment from John and Adrienne Peacock, both members of the StFX Class of 1963. Mr. Peacock was a student of Dr. Sears.

“When I think of my learning experience at StFX, there is one clear standout professor who made a great impression on me. That was Johnny Sears,” said Mr. Peacock, explaining his family’s decision to name the chair in Dr. Sears’ honour.

“Johnny Sears served StFX well and was a tremendous supporter of the wider Antigonish community,” said Dr. Tim Hynes, Dean of the Gerald Schwartz School of Business. “It’s fitting this chair is named in his honour, and fitting that Dr. Long – with his expertise in leadership and business ethics – holds the position.”

NEW OPPORTUNITIES

The new chair position will strengthen links between the Schwartz School of Business and other sustainability-related fields at StFX, such as development studies, the Coady International Institute and StFX’s new Climate and Environment program. It will also allow for programs that foster experiential student learning, such as field trips, guest lectures and research partnerships.

Dr. Long begins his new position on July 1.

Nova Scotia high school students attend StFX-CMS Math Camp

Fri, 2018-05-25 10:37
2018 StFX-Canadian Mathematical Society (CMS) Math Camp participants

Grade 10 and 11 students from high schools across Nova Scotia were on the StFX campus May 18-20 to enhance their skills and have fun with mathematics at the fifth annual StFX-Canadian Mathematical Society (CMS) Math Camp. This was the biggest year yet for the camp, with 44 bright and enthusiastic students living on campus for the weekend.

Organized by StFX Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science faculty Dr. Joe Apaloo, Dr. Tara Taylor, Dr. Robert van den Hoogen and Dr. Ping Zhou, the goal of the camp is to provide students in Nova Scotia with opportunities for personal growth in the mathematical sciences within a supportive environment.

The camp consisted of lectures that included hands-on activities by StFX faculty with a diverse range of interests, along with fun filled activities such as math relay races, math trivia, problem solving, and games. Five StFX undergraduate students acted as camp leaders for the busy weekend guiding the students both during and between the various lectures and activities.  

Participation in the camp is by invitation only. School principals or designates nominate up to two students per school. Participants are then selected from the list of nominees and invited to come to StFX for the weekend. At the end of the weekend, one participant commented, “I learned a lot throughout this weekend about new concepts and add-ons to old concepts,” while another stated, “Everyone was great! The talks were all so interesting and did a fantastic job of introducing us to all sorts of branches in math.”

The camp has the support of the Canadian Mathematical Society, Science Odyssey, the Atlantic Association for Research in the Mathematical Sciences, and StFX.

Fascinating summer of research ahead for StFX students, recipients of the RBC Foundation Undergraduate Summer Research Internship Award

Fri, 2018-05-25 09:34
L-r, Hannah Moore, Monica Ragan, Kelsey Ellis and Alyssa Mansfield. Missing are Amy Rowe, Alejandra Torres, and Jake Yeandle.

This summer, StFX undergraduate student Hannah Moore will work to understand why and how women end up incarcerated. Fellow student Alejandra Torres will study the social, political, and racial logic of representations of racial minorities in contemporary scripted narrative television. And Jake Yeandle will complete a three-and-a-half month internship in Manly, Australia researching the issues, policies, and actions needed to implement a marine park in Sydney.

They are just three of the fascinating research projects seven StFX undergraduate students will undertake this summer as 2018 recipients of the RBC Foundation Undergraduate Summer Research Internship Award program. The awards are worth up to $6,250 for a minimum of 12 weeks and a maximum of 16 weeks of paid research. 

Fellow recipients Amy Rowe will study the impact of language on GDP; Monica Ragan will spend the summer looking at the Margaree River and the impacts associated with the title of Canadian Heritage Rivers System; Kelsey Ellis will evaluate the feasibility and potential health benefits of a community-based physical activity program for children with autism spectrum disorder; and Alyssa Mansfield will conduct research on non-citizen voting rights, laws and restrictions focusing on Canada. 

The research is made possible through the RBC Foundation Undergraduate Summer Research Internship Award program, which gives StFX students the opportunity to be involved in the creation of new knowledge and the creative use of existing knowledge through original research carried out under the supervision of a faculty supervisor/mentor.  

Funding to support student researchers in summer research internships through the Mulroney Institute of Government comes from the RBC Foundation.

SUCH A PROMISING OPPORUNITY 

“It is genuinely such an honour and a privilege to have been awarded the RBC Foundation Research Award. I am extremely grateful and eager to research because this is such a promising opportunity for myself, but also others such as the Elizabeth Fry Society and women whom they work with,” says Ms. Moore of Fredericton, NB, a third year honours student doing a degree in women’s and gender studies with a subsidiary in political science. 

She will research the “root causes of women’s criminality in Canada” and be supervised by StFX women and gender studies professor Dr. Rachel Hurst and Emma Halpern, director of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Mainland Nova Scotia.

“Both of these women will provide me with excellent supervision, guidance and mentorship. My research question; “Why and how do women end up incarcerated?” was at the request of the Elizabeth Fry Society,” she says. “They identified this area as one that was lacking in research.”

Through her research, she will provide them with answers in the form of a literature review. She will identify and include all literature produced in a Canadian context on why and how women become incarcerated. 

Upon completion of her research there will be a report distributed to Canadian organizations, and she says this research will ideally aide in bettering the lives of criminalized women in Canada, and minimizing this number. “The RBC Grant allows me to research something that I am extremely passionate about; women and the criminal justice system, while simultaneously preparing for my thesis. The research that I will be producing is extremely fulfilling because it will be acted upon, and aid the Elizabeth Fry Society in their future endeavours relating to funding and justice reform. 

BETTER UNDERSTANDING

Ms. Torres, a fourth year honours English student from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, supervised by Dr.Mathias Nilges, will study in detail the social, political, and racial logic of representations of racial minorities in contemporary scripted narrative television. 

“While mainstream commentary and academic dialogue have long embraced the logic of diversity in order to combat old notions of racial distinction and exclusion, I wish to show that TV content is severely lagging behind this movement,” she says. 

“With the help of the research funding and the mentoring project, I will be able to dedicate the summer of 2018 to a detailed analysis of this phenomenon, and I hope to show that TV’s refusal to embrace multiculturalism’s beliefs must be confronted. We cannot simply keep changing channels.

“I am extremely grateful to have an opportunity to work on a project that is very close to my heart. My aim in this project, which in part arises from my own experience of these issues as a Latina woman, is to facilitate a better understanding of the ways in which mass culture may participate in both negative and positive ways in shaping the imagination of race and identity that translates into the very real social and political fabric of daily North American life.”

Fourth year economics student Amy Rowe of Aurora, ON, supervised by Dr. Zeynep Ozkok, will study the impact of language on GDP. 

“Using econometric techniques I will determine if countries with official languages that are linguistically similar to English have higher levels of GDP per capita. This can be explained by the fact that English is regarded as the lingua Franca, or language of business. So multinational corporations are now mandating English. Moreover, an increasing amount of academic resources masters programs worldwide are now being instructed in English,” she says. 

“I’m incredibly grateful to have this opportunity funded by RBC. To be able to apply the skills and knowledge that you’ve learned in the classroom to a research topic that you’ve chosen in is an awesome experience. It gives students a chance research experience, which is a crucial skill for many masters programs.”

For Monica Ragan, a fifth year anthropology and aquatic resources student supervised by Dr. L. Jane McMillan, the summer will be spent looking at the Margaree River and the impacts associated with the title of Canadian Heritage Rivers System (CHRS) may have on conservation, rights, and recreation. 

COMPARING PERSPECTIVES

The research consists of gathering and comparing the perspectives different communities of river users on the impact CHRS designation has had on the Margaree River. This research examines the evolution of salmon use and actors associated with the Margaree River from three time periods. First, Mi’kmaq use of the river and salmon from time immemorial to 1986. Second, from 1986-1998, when the proposal and designation of the Margaree River as a CHRS site. Third, is from 1999-present to analyze the impact this designation has had on the various actors. From the past and present data gathered, she will make projections to the future relationship between the actors and the river. 

“The focus of this study is to understand how the watershed is regulated, to gather stories from those who access the resources and detail how the activities and resources are managed. It asks how and why the regulations have changed over time and seeks to discover if the regulations reflect the interests the various communities using the river, or if the interests of one community dominate how the resource is managed,” she says.

“This research opportunity means a lot to me. I am applying all the skills I have learned thus far in my educational career to make my own, unique project, and to work with and learn from my community. I would not be able to conduct this research or even quality of research without the RBC Foundation Research Award.”

INTERNATIONAL INTERNSHIP

Jake Yeandle of Oshawa, ON, a fourth year aquatic resources and public policy and social research student supervised by Dr. Doug Brown, says he is fortunate to have the opportunity to begin his research with a three-and-a-half month internship in Manly, Australia working for the Manly Environmental Centre and Northern Beaches Council. 

“There I will be researching the issues, policies, and actions needed to implement a marine park in Sydney, which would include the Northern Beaches coastline from Cabbage Tree Bay, Manly north to Barrenjoey and including the existing aquatic reserve in Sydney Harbour. This exciting opportunity falls directly in line with my degree pattern, incorporating public policy, social research, and aquatic resources. 

“Not only does it fit with my degree, but it also aligns with the priorities of the RBC Foundation and Mulroney Institute of Government by making use of global affairs, environmental policy, Indigenous affairs, and social policy and governance,” he says.

His independent majors research project will merge his focus of Australia’s marine park to compare the process for establishing these aquatic reserves in Canada and Australia. Reviewing relevant jurisdictions and legislation from both firsthand research in Australia, as well as, a selection of particular case studies from Canada will allow for parallels to be drawn between the two processes to highlight differences, strengths, and shortcomings of each separate country. 

His intent is to conduct research into each separate policy network to see what influence different actors have in separate contexts. 

PIVOTAL MOMENT

“Environmental sustainability has been at the forefront of my educational interests for as long as I can remember and this opportunity, with the help of the Mulroney Institute of Government and the RBC foundation, could be one of the pivotal moments of my career, hopefully shaping my view of the world and providing me with numerous opportunities to learn and grow as a student and adult. I find myself very lucky to be able to have the opportunity to work alongside the Northern Beaches Council, Doug Brown, the Mulroney Institute of Government, and the RBC Foundation, to research this policy field and the comparisons between my home country and such a marine-rich place like Australia. Examining this project and the regulations of these processes, as well as their history, will enlighten me with knowledge that I will be able to transfer to the St. Francis Xavier community through Student Research Day, my major’s presentation, and conversation with the amazing community that St. Francis Xavier University has to offer. I am very excited to share this project with everyone.”

Fourth year human kinetics student Kelsey Ellis of Ottawa, ON, supervised by Dr. Amanda Casey, will be evaluating the feasibility and potential health benefits of a community-based physical activity program for children with autism spectrum disorder. 

“There is a high incidence of unintentional drowning especially in children under 14. However, there remains a lack of sustainable swim programs for children with autism despite evidence that aquatics skills are very important. Therefore a long-term goal of this research is to encourage accessibility, sustainability and repeatability of the current program across Nova Scotia,” she says. 

PURSUE ACADEMIC INTERESTS

“I am very grateful to be among the recipients of the RBC Foundation Research Award. Through this award, StFX has provided me with the opportunity to pursue my academic interests by allowing me to devote my time and energy to my research. This award allows me to put into practice the knowledge that I have gained over the past three years while developing my research skills and gaining hands-on experience with vulnerable populations.”

Second year political science student Alyssa Mansfield of Antigonish, supervised by Dr. Nathan Allen, will conduct research on non-citizen voting rights, laws and restrictions focusing on Canada. 

“I will be focusing on how international norms surrounding overseas voting are translated and understood in the Canadian context and how this is applied to policy making. 

“This is an amazing opportunity that will allow me to expand my skills and add to my education. The grant allows me to expand my learning beyond the classroom and will expose me to learn how to understand law and policy that will help me in the future. I plan to peruse a career in law and this will allow me to gain background and skills that will help in the future.” 

Summer of research, opportunity, for six StFX UCR Student Award recipients

Thu, 2018-05-24 13:25
L-r, Connor McCabe, Claire Edington, Olivia Pushie, Maria Holley, Savannah MacDonald and Sean Freeborne.

Six StFX students will have the opportunity to push the boundaries of their knowledge, to conduct hands-on research under the supervision of a StFX faculty member, and make original research contributions this summer as recipients of StFX Student Research Awards and University Council for Research (UCR) Awards.

Each award is valued at $4,500. The 2018 UCR recipients are Connor McCabe, Claire Edington, Olivia Pushie, Maria Holley, Savannah MacDonald and Sean Freeborne.

“I feel very fortunate to have been chosen for this award, as it will give me the opportunity to grow as a student researcher. I think the UCR Student Awards provide students at StFX with the invaluable experience of engaging in research, making original contributions to their discipline and fostering relationships with professors and academic mentors,” says Claire Danielle Edington of Peterborough, ON, a fourth year honours human nutrition student supervised by Dr. Marcia English. 

This summer, she will work under the guidance of Dr. English and engage in research focusing on optimizing lactic acid fermentation in three Nova Scotian bean varieties, soldier beans, yellow peas, and Jacob's cattle beans. 

“Pulses (beans, lentils, and chickpeas) are part of the legume family and are of particular interest for this research since they provide consumers with healthy and environmentally sustainable dietary choices,” she says. “Research shows that diets rich in pulses have the potential to lower the risk of developing chronic diseases, however, the presence of off-flavour compounds is a limiting factor influencing pulse consumption among Canadians. The overall aim of this research is to evaluate the potential of fermentation strategies to limit off-flavor compounds in Nova Scotian bean protein isolates, in hopes of improving their aroma profile.” 

Savannah MacDonald of New Glasgow, NS, is entering the second year of the B.Ed. program. Working with supervisor Dr. Jennifer Mitton-Kükner, she will study the relationship between secondary students, poverty and literacy skill development in rural Nova Scotia high schools.

“I'm so excited,” she says. “This research is extremely valuable in terms of understanding student success - what it is, what it looks like, and how teachers can help. I'm grateful for the opportunity to learn more about this important subject with Dr. Mitton-Kükner, and I look forward to sharing what I discover.”

For Olivia Pushie of Antigonish, NS, entering her fourth year of an honours earth science degree with a major in aquatic resources, she will work with supervisor Dr. Alan Anderson, on research centered around examining pegmatitic rocks important for critical metals typically used in lithium ion batteries, electronics, cellphones, etc.

“The research I plan on conducting will help us to understand the origin and processes involved in the formation of ore mineralization so that we can devise better models for future exploration. Being awarded the UCR Student Award opens so many doors for me academically. Not only will I be able to conduct and contribute valuable research to the field of earth sciences, but I will also be able to further my own knowledge in something I am very passionate about, mineral/resource exploration,” she says. 

Connor McCabe, a second year engineering student from Greenwood, NS, supervised by Dr. Dave Risk, will be using a computational fluid dynamics software to more accurately measure winds from a transport truck.” I will also be collecting real-world data from trucks travelling at highway speeds. The goal of this research is to see how this information can be used to optimize the efficiency of the transportation industry to reduce operational costs and greenhouse gas emissions,” he says. 

“Having an opportunity like this as an undergraduate student is very rewarding. Being offered the potential to push the bounds of knowledge in my field of study makes the time spent studying all the more worth it. Doing research as an undergraduate also means gaining experience relevant to my program, providing me with new skills that are sure to be of great benefit throughout my career.”

Sean Freeborne, a fourth year honours earth science (geoscience) student from Baddeck, Cape Breton, NS, will conduct research exploring tectonic and genetic links between Southern Iberia (Spain) and Nova Scotia (Canada) over the summer. Field work for his research was conducted in Spain in February and this summer he will conduct work in Nova Scotia, as well as travelling to the University of New Brunswick to do detrital zircon geochronology work. “Having an opportunity such as this allows me to grow in my field of study,” he says. “This opportunity will provide me with essential experience in field geology, which is sought after in new graduates. I also hope to gain better critical thinking and research skills in my summer work at StFX, made possible by the UCR research grant.” 

Maria Holley of New Glasgow, NS, who is going into her fourth year of honours psychology with a two-year special concentration in forensic psychology, supervised by Dr. Kara Thompson, says this opportunity allows her to work in an area that is directly related to her studies and allows her to gain valuable experience that will benefit her in future endeavors. 

“This hands-on experience with research provides me with the opportunity to learn skills that I could not have acquired in a classroom setting or other situations. I am extremely grateful to have been given such an amazing opportunity,” she says.

“Dr. Thompson and I will be researching the simultaneous co-use of alcohol and marijuana and the effect that this co-use has on mental health, specifically in regard to depression and anxiety, among adolescents and young adults.”

NSERC USRA awards provide amazing opportunity to participate in summer research, say 14 StFX student recipients

Thu, 2018-05-24 11:11
Front row, l-r, Grace Tompkins, Renée McDonald, Heather-Ann Burrell, Mary Besaw, and Allison Hancock. Back row: Patrick O’Brien, Courtney MacDonald, Sachin Mohandas, Kyle Lasseter, Kerolos Youssef, and Pablo Scrosati. Missing are Kathleen Doiran, Liam Farrell and Emma Manning.

The opportunity is amazing, say 14 StFX students who will gain both research experience and summer employment as recipients of this year’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA). 

The NSERC USRA award is valued at $4,500 each, and will allow students to work on a variety of research projects that range from an ongoing bog restoration to extending our known Standard Model of particle physics into new physics. 

Recipients include Grace Tompkins, Renée McDonald, Heather-Ann Burrell, Mary Besaw, Allison Hancock, Patrick O’Brien, Courtney MacDonald, Sachin Mohandas, Kyle Lasseter, Kerolos Youssef, Pablo Scrosati, Kathleen Doiran, Liam Farrell and Emma Manning.

“I am very grateful to my professors and the NSERC organization for providing me with this amazing opportunity to research at the forefront of a field that I hope to pursue graduate studies in. This will undoubtedly be an invaluable experience that I hope to apply to my future career and academic endeavours,” says Sachin Mohandas of Antigonish, NS, who is supervised by Dr. Robert van den Hoogen.

“I am going into my fourth year of physics here at StFX, and this summer I will be using dynamical systems theory to analyze a system of differential equations governing the evolution of our universe, with the aim of determining whether an alternative theory of gravity can possibly provide an explanation for the mysterious Dark Energy currently observed in the expanding cosmos,” he says. 

“Additionally, I will be learning and utilizing new mathematical techniques to calculate and analyze a set of field equations describing our universe within another alternative theory of gravity: teleparallel gravity.”

Renée McDonald of Surrey, BC, who just completed the third year of an environmental science degree, says she is grateful to be involved in compelling research and to have had unique learning opportunities at StFX. 

“Working alongside successful researchers, building technical and practical skills is an incredible experience that has fueled my curiosity and interest to continue research in this field,” says Ms. MacDonald, who is supervised by Dr. Dave Risk.

“My research will involve using a compact, multi-gas analyzer package to measure gas migration from abandoned wells. Methane released from subsurface infrastructure faults of abandoned wells can travel into the surrounding soil which will be measured to determine the magnitude and spatial extent to which soil gas content is altered by gas migration.”

Fourth year honours BSc mathematics (statistics concentration) student Grace Tompkins of Valley, NS, supervised by Dr. Derrick Lee, will conduct research on the effects of pre-pregnancy exposures on breast cancer. “I’m so grateful to be able to gain research experience before hopefully heading on to do graduate studies,” she says. “I was fortunate to find a supervisor who was willing to take me on as a research student, with research that aligned with my interests while being in my field of study. It’s going to be a really rewarding experience, and I’m happy to be able to stay in Antigonish this summer.”

Fourth year honours physics student Patrick O'Brien of Fort McMurray, AB, who is supervised by Dr. Peter Poole and Dr. Hossain Ahmed, will spend the summer doing data analysis from the BaBar experiment run at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. 

“The goal is to look for charged lepton flavour violation, which would extend our known Standard Model of particle physics into new physics. Our universe consists of only a handful of particles that we know about, which are described in the Standard Model, and we're trying to potentially improve that model by looking for violations of it. This project will introduce me, and help prepare me for the field that I would like to pursue in grad school and beyond. I am very thankful towards my supervisors, along with the university and NSERC for this opportunity.”

DEVELOP SKILLS

Third year honours biology student Emma Manning of Saint John, NB, supervised by Dr. David Garbary, will be working on Brier Island running germination experiments with the rare Mountain Avens, Geum peckii to measure the conditions under which it grows and thrives. G. peckii only occurs in two locations across the world, Brier Island and Mount Washington in the U.S. and her project is part of an ongoing bog restoration project to preserve the habitat of the Avens on Brier. 

“It is an immense honour to have received this funding, which will allow me to greatly develop my knowledge and research skills by being able to apply them in the field. I am extremely grateful to be a part of this project, working with people truly passionate about the preservation of our local biodiversity.”

“This is an amazing opportunity for me to put the education I have received at StFX to relevant use and to learn more about the subject I love along the way. I am very thankful,” says Kyle Lasseter of Middleton, NS, who just completed his third year in a BSc advanced major in biology degree. He is supervised by Dr. Cory Bishop. He is using molecular and microbiological methods to investigate the physical and biochemical characteristics of some bacterial strains isolated from the fluid of salamander egg capsules. 

Mary Besaw of Antigonish NS, a fourth year honours earth science student taking a double major in aquatic resources, says she is extremely honoured to be awarded this research grant. 

“This will allow my supervisor and I to engage in additional assessments among many other things. I am very grateful for the additional support I will be receiving to research and learn about what truly interests me and will further my professional career.”

Working with Dr. Alan Anderson, her research this summer will characterize the source(s) of critical metal bearing rocks (Lithium-Cesium-Tantalum pegmatites), metals which make lithium ion batteries, cell phones, and other electronics a possibility.  “This research will help us understand the origins and geological processes involved in the formation of these reservoirs, as to devise better models for future generations while define the difference in lithium-enriched and barren pegmatite systems, in turn resulting in a more efficient and effective lithium market within Canadian soil,” she says. 

Liam Farrell of Trenton, NS, a fourth year honours physics student taking a minor in mathematics will work with Dr. Karl-Peter Marzlin to research the relation between Anti-particles and Rindler space. This is a theoretical physics project that involves quantum field theory. “Having this opportunity to do original research means the world to me because it allows me to do what I love and make a living from it. On top of that it looks great when applying for graduate schools to already have research under your belt, and best of all it is a really fun time,” he says. 

EDIBLE FILMS

This summer, Heather-Ann Burrell of Pickering, ON, a recent first class honours human nutrition graduate, will be working to develop and characterize edible films from various seaweed samples. Edible films are a type of packaging technology that can extend the shelf-life of food while offering a biodegradable alternative to synthetic petroleum-based packaging. Once the edible films have been prepared, she plans to assess their mechanical properties and use mathematical modelling to predict the shelf life of food products that the films are applied to.

“Gaining valuable research experience as an undergraduate student is a truly special opportunity. I have been given the chance to apply concepts learned in the classroom to a real-life work experience. My time as a student researcher at StFX will undoubtedly play an integral role to navigating my future career as a nutrition professional. I am very fortunate to be supervised and mentored by my professor, Dr. Marcia English, and I thank both NSERC and StFX for this opportunity.”

Fourth year honours chemistry student Pablo Scrosati, supervised by Dr. Shah Razul, is hoping to uncover some of the more complex molecular interactions that aid in food preservation using novel cryoprotectants. “Having this opportunity allows me to venture into the world of research and gain experience I hope to use later on in my life. It allows me to explore a topic I am interested in, and learn about the techniques used to explore complex problems,” he says. 

Ally Hancock of Toronto, ON, going into her second year of a business degree and supervised by Dr. Stephen Finbow, will focus her research on sport analytics, particularly hockey. “This opportunity is like no other. I feel very fortunate to be supported by the university and NSERC for they are encouraging my pursuit to study a field that I am very passionate about.”

Kerolos Youssef, who comes to Antigonish by way of Montreal and Egypt, just finished his first year in biology. With supervisor Dr. Russell Wyeth, he will be studying the lymnaea nervous system by using In Situ Hybridization and qPCR, to better understand the cell and genes that are expressed in the animal. “For me, it's a big opportunity because I always wanted to do research since I was young, but I always thought I had to wait until I graduated from university. But thanks to StFX and the NSERC USRA award, I now have the opportunity to do research,” he says. “So I am very excited to start doing something I wanted for a long time.”

COLLECTIVE BEHAVIOR RESEARCH

“My research is based upon the idea of collective behavior,” says Courtney MacDonald of Antigonish, NS, who is going into her second year of a math degree, supervised by Dr. Ryan Lukeman. “I am investigating the differences among five species of Rainbow fish. I will examine what factors are similar across species, how patterns of behaviour depend on group speed, collective order, and other parameters. These ideas will help provide a framework to understand universal interactions across species and features of a given collective behaviour.

“Getting the opportunity to do research as a first year student is an unforgettable opportunity. I am grateful to be working alongside students and professors who will help me gain experience and knowledge in the field of mathematics. I am honoured to be one of the recipients of the NSERC USRA award.” 

StFX undergraduate honours research featured at international conference

Thu, 2018-05-24 09:28
L-r, Laura Davidson, Molly Rutherford and Elizabeth Wallace

Three 2018 StFX human kinetics and biology graduates, Laura Davidson, Elizabeth Wallace, and Molly Rutherford, presented their undergraduate honours research recently at an international conference in San Diego, California, consisting mainly of graduate students, postdocs and senior scientists.

Experimental Biology is an annual meeting comprised of over 14,000 scientists and exhibitors representing six sponsoring societies and multiple guest societies. General fields of study include anatomy, biochemistry and molecular biology, investigative pathology, nutrition, pharmacology, and physiology.

StFX faculty Dr. Daniel Kane and Dr. Matthew Palmer were in attendance at the conference. “The students’ excitement was contagious,” says Dr. Kane. “We were able to put faces to the names of researchers whose work had formed the foundation of their StFX honours research. Observing students interact meaningfully with leaders in the field was a delight. All presenting StFX students rose to the challenge of effectively communicating their research to a diverse group of scientists on an international stage.”  

Laura Davidson, a biology graduate from Halifax, NS, presented her StFX undergraduate research entitled, “H1/H2 Histamine Receptor Blockade Lowers Substrate-Dependent Mitochondrial H2O2 Emission in Deep Gastrocnemius Muscle Following a Bout of Prolonged Exercise” in both poster and oral presentation sessions at the annual conference.

“Presenting my honours thesis research at Experimental Biology was an amazing experience and I feel incredibly fortunate to have been able to do so,” says Ms. Davidson, who plans to pursue a career in medicine. 

“I appreciated the opportunity to present my research in the form of an oral presentation and a poster, as this allowed me to strengthen my communication and presentation skills, as well as receive valuable feedback from various members of the scientific community. Additionally, I gained a wealth of knowledge through engaging with fellow students and experienced researchers in the field of physiology, during the poster sessions at this conference. I would like to thank my thesis supervisor, Dr. Dan Kane, for making this wonderful experience possible,” she says.

“My time at StFX greatly impacted me; I gained a wealth of knowledge, both in and outside the classroom, I met many amazing and inspiring individuals and I was given some incredible opportunities, including this one.”

Elizabeth Wallace, a human kinetics graduate from Antigonish, NS, also presented her StFX undergraduate research, entitled “Effects of H1/H2 Histamine Receptor Blockade on Mitochondrial Function in Rodent Brain Following Prolonged Exercise.”

“Presenting at an international conference was really incredible. Being able to meet some of the experts in our field and discuss our research with them was something that I never imagined being able to do at an undergraduate level,” says Ms. Wallace, who will start an MSc in global health in Hamilton, ON in the fall. 

“You learn so much in having conversations with those who have been doing research for their entire career. Being immersed in an environment where there is so much scientific discovery being shared is inspiring and exciting, and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to have had that experience. Without the support of our advisor, Dr. Kane, other professors, and StFX, this would not have been possible,” she says.

“I think the biggest impact that StFX has had on me is in how close I have become with my classmates and professors, and having that continuous support network to learn in.” 

Ms. Wallace and Ms. Davidson’s undergraduate honours work was supervised by human kinetics faculty member Dr. Daniel Kane, with special thanks to co-authors Dr. Karen Brebner and Mackenzie Bell for their efforts and contribution to this project.

Molly Rutherford, a human kinetics graduate from Kingston, ON, also presented her research entitled, “Effects of Caffeine and Menstrual Phase on Performance of Female Athletes During Heat Stress.” 

“Being fortunate enough to attend an international conference like Experimental Biology as an undergraduate student only exemplifies the opportunities that come along with attending St. Francis Xavier University,” says Ms. Rutherford. 

“Having the chance to present to and interact with academics of varying disciplines encouraged me to continue pursuing research going forward. Seeing the quality of research was inspiring and made all the hard work put into my thesis feel worth it! Without the support of our faculty members we would not have been able to achieve our goal of attending EB, I cannot thank everyone who was involved enough.”

Ms. Rutherford’s honours research was supervised by StFX human kinetics faculty member Dr. Matthew Palmer.

NSHRF Scotia Scholar Awards enable summer of health research for seven StFX students

Wed, 2018-05-23 14:08
L-r, Kirstin Gallant, Max Jennings, Katie MacEachern and Hana Marmura. Missing are Tessa Anzai, Tayah Liska and Odessa McKenna.

Seven StFX students are very much looking forward to a summer participating in health research, an incredible educational opportunity, they say, to focus on a project of interest as 2018 recipients of the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation (NSHRF) Scotia Scholars Awards. 

StFX students—Kirstin Gallant, Max Jennings, Katie MacEachern, Hana Marmura, Tessa Anzai, Tayah Liska and Odessa McKenna—have been awarded NSHRF Scotia Scholars Awards, which provide $5,000 in financial support to high caliber students engaged in health research at Nova Scotia universities. 

The goal is to support the development of the next generation of highly qualified health researchers and leaders at an early stage of their career.

Tessa Anzai of Vancouver, BC, a fourth year honours psychology and biology student, working with supervisor Dr. Lindsay Berrigan, is working on a project looking at the various forms of attention deficits associated with the different types of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). 

“Being able to work on research such as this with the support of the NSHRF Scotia Scholar award is incredibly meaningful,” she says. 

“MS is such a debilitating disease, which affects so many Canadians my age, and just learning about the underlying etiology and pathology of the disease has been not only interesting but also humbling. Actually working with a clinical population has been an academic goal of mine for some time, and is a great experience and opportunity for professional development. The idea that the research I’m conducting could have a role in developing clinical methods which could increase quality of life for those living with MS is quite exciting,” she says. 

“It’s known that MS is linked to a number of cognitive deficits, one of them being networks of attention, however, it is unknown if the different types of MS involve different forms of attention deficits. The research I’m conducting through the NSHRF Scotia Scholar award uses electroencephalography and event-related potential technology to measure brainwaves of participants with MS engaged in attention tasks, and compares these to healthy controls. The hope is that by developing a better understanding of the specific attention deficits implicated in each form of this disease, earlier recognition and treatment of the cognitive symptoms associated with MS can occur.” 

Hana Marmura of Antigonish, NS, a fourth year honours BSc human kinetics student minoring in health science, is working with her supervisor Dr. Matthew Palmer on a project related to water immersion recovery strategies for athletes. 

“Many high level athletes exercise or compete on successive days, and would benefit from complete recovery to maximize ensuing exercise performance. Cold water immersion after exercise, also known as an "ice bath," is commonly used to speed recovery, but it is generally not a comfortable process and recent evidence suggests that its benefits are only perceptual, i.e. a placebo effect. 

“To test this question, I will compare body temperature and cold water immersion to see if a more comfortable strategy might give similar perceptual benefits, and also determine if either gives any added benefit to seated passive recovery. I am hoping to better understand the physiological mechanisms associated with these recovery strategies and determine the most practical and effective way for athletes to speed recovery and maximize exercise performance,” she says.   

“I am so honoured to be given the opportunity to be doing this research this summer by the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation. This grant will allow me to have experiences, gain knowledge and experience growth as a student that I would not otherwise. I am excited to learn about the process of exercise science research and bring that with me into my career after StFX.”

PREPARE FOR CAREER

“Having this opportunity is a privilege, and provides me with invaluable experience that will help me grow as a student and will prepare me for a career in my field,” says Katie MacEachern of Port Hawkesbury, NS, a fourth year honours computer science student working with supervisor: Dr. Jacob Levman. 

She is currently working on the development of general purpose pattern recognition technologies. This involves a focus on supervised machine learning and associated regression based analyses. She’s also investigating these techniques' potential in the diagnosis of autism from magnetic resonance imaging examinations.

Kirsten Gallant of Antigonish, NS, a fourth year student completing an honours in economics with a subsidiary in mathematics, will work with supervisor Dr. Ryan Lukeman on a project focused on developing a mathematical model framework for populations of people who inject drugs (PWID), to evaluate the effects of a set of interventions (safe injection sites, medically assisted treatment, and drug checking) on initiation, overdose and overdose fatalities. 

“The model will be a hybrid between an individual based model, and compartmental model, so that individual characteristics can be considered, and population-level outcomes can be generated,” she says. “Lastly, an economic analysis will be undertaken based on the cost of each intervention, and the predicted effect of that intervention, to determine an empirically founded best practice for harm reduction for PWID. These data can then be used as a basis for developing future health policy related to harm reduction and disease prevention.

“I am honoured to receive the NSHRF funding for my summer research. It will give me the opportunity to collaborate and learn from some of the top researchers in the field as well as the chance to travel to Toronto to observe firsthand the safe injection sites, which I will be modeling. I am very excited to work on this complex and important public health issue that will hopefully allow me to gain the skills and to begin to establish the networks that will enable me to pursue mathematical epidemiology as a career.”

Tayah Liska of Stittsville, ON, a fourth year honours BSc human kinetics student, working with Dr. Angie Kolen, is involved in a research project, Examining the Role of Physical Activity on Cancer Survivors Quality of Life. 

“This is a relatively new, yet quickly growing area of research interest in the field of oncology and public health. Due to an increasing number of publications centered around this topic, completing a literature review and research proposal will be my focus this summer,” she says. 

“Receiving a NSHRF Scotia Scholar award is incredibly rewarding and allows for an opportunity to focus on completing a research project of interest. Having opportunities to conduct research at an undergraduate level is very progressive. For a student to be actively involved in addressing their own research question of interest, and contributing further to the understanding of a research topic, is an incredible educational opportunity and experience. I believe this experience will ignite further interest in engaging in future research opportunities.”

EXCITING OPPORTUNITY 

“The NSHRF Scotia Scholar Award has provided me with the opportunity to work in the fields of machine learning and bioinformatics; being a part of such new and fast moving disciplines is very exciting. This experience has given me the freedom to find fields I enjoy studying that might someday lead to a career that I would have never found otherwise,” says fourth year math and computer science student Max Jennings of Sydney, NS, supervised by Dr. Jacob Levman.

He will spend the summer studying and developing a convolutional neural network architecture that is able to accurately predict neurological conditions of pediatric patients by analyzing three-dimensional, volumetric MRI examinations. 

“Our proposed approach takes advantage of the spatial relationships between neighboring slices that are generally ignored by existing technologies which independently analyze two-dimensional slices of the MRI scan.” 

Eight StFX students will spend the summer conducting original research as Irving Research Mentorship Award recipients

Wed, 2018-05-23 10:21
Front row, l-r, Sophie LeBlanc, Andrew Duffy, Jessie Doyle and Thomas Ciha. Back: Erin Samson, Amy Graham and Jamie Samson. Missing is David Barry.

Thanks to the Irving Research Mentorship Awards program at StFX, eight undergraduate students will spend the summer involved in original research from investigating ethical questions surrounding organ donation to developing more environmentally friendly antifouling solutions to prevent and reduce marine mussel biofouling.

Irving Research Mentorships were awarded to StFX students David Barry, Thomas Ciha, Jessica Doyle, Andrew Duffy, Amy Graham, Sophie LeBlanc, Erin Samson and Jamie Sampson. 

The prestigious awards, offered through StFX’s Frank McKenna Centre for Leadership with an endowment established by Irving Oil, provide each recipient $6,250 in funding for 12 weeks of research. The students, from a variety of disciplines, each work under the guidance of a StFX faculty member.

DRIVE INNOVATION

“This research project presents an opportunity for me to expand my academic experiences at StFX beyond the classroom,” says Erin Samson of Louisdale Cape Breton, a fourth year BSc human kinetics student who is taking a minor in health sciences.

“I get to learn about subjects beyond my program and help drive innovation in my field, while getting to know the people I go to school with and the professors that teach my classes. This project allows me to explore potential future career paths while gaining relevant experience, and I am very grateful to be able to participate in it,” she says. 

Working with supervisor Dr. Daniel Kane, her research will focus on the effects of an antihistamine, exercise and combined intervention on mitochondrial function. Specifically, the research is concerned with oxygen uptake and the production of reactive oxygen species in mitochondria subjected to various combinations of exercise and antihistamines.

“Antihistamines are widely used in our society, including by athletes and exercisers, and it is in our best interests to understand how this antihistamine use might impact the way our bodies work and move,” she says.

Sophie LeBlanc of Ottawa, ON, a fourth year honours chemistry student supervised by Dr. Truis Smith-Palmer and Dr. Geniece Hallett-Tapley, is conducting research on biofouling, when organisms adhere to and grow on a surface, and will be working on developing more environmentally friendly antifouling solutions to prevent and reduce marine mussel biofouling on surfaces such as the nets that are used at the Waycobah trout farms in Cape Breton. 

“We will be testing various polydimethylsiloxane-based fouling-release surfaces in the Bras d'Or lakes this summer to evaluate their antifouling potential.” 

She says this summer of research will allow her to become immersed in new scientific knowledge and techniques, providing a solid foundation of knowledge and experience to allow her to hit the ground running in the fall with her thesis work.

“I am honoured to be a recipient of the Irving Mentorship Award as this opportunity allows me to gain valuable research experience in a field of applied analytical and surface chemistry combined with biology, which are areas that I find fascinating.”

She says biofouling can be a burden in many industries such as aquaculture and can have implications in the biomedical field. “Previously, toxic paints such as tributyl tin were used as antifouling materials, but these had toxic effects on aquatic organisms and were extremely damaging to marine ecosystems.” 

ETHICAL ANAYLSES

Jamie Samson of Louisdale, Cape Breton, starting her final year of an honours philosophy degree, working with supervisor Dr. William Sweet, will look into the ethical questions surrounding organ donation and transplantation in Canada. 

“The organ donor, the transplant recipient, and the system generally are all things which deserve further ethical exploration, as conflicts still arise between these groups in the news media. With an issue of life-saving treatment, it is important to have as full of an understanding as possible of the ethical consequences of every practice, whether simply as a member of the Canadian population or as a direct recipient of any of these procedures,” she says. 

“I hope to be able to present different views on the matter and provide ethical analyses of these ideas.”

Ms. Samson says she is extremely grateful for this opportunity. 

“Logistically this grant provides me with an interesting and rewarding summer job, but it is more than just employment. Not only am I spared much of the stress of having to write a large research project at the same time as attending classes next year, but I am also given 12 weeks to dedicate solely to thought, which is a much appreciated privilege, especially in my discipline. Looking in depth at the ethics of a certain area is something most people go their whole life without doing, though perhaps holding strong beliefs nonetheless; therefore while looking at this issue from a scholarly point of view, I also hope to be able to formulate my own thoughts and come to know more about my own personal ethics in the process.”

PURSUE OWN AVENUE OF RESEARCH

David Barry of Dartmouth, NS, entering his fourth year of an honours political science degree with a subsidiary in economics will focus his research on the political implications of East Asian monetary regionalism for Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) states. Its principal focus is the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM), a regional institution whose purpose is to make large loans available to member countries in case they face a financial crisis.

David Barry Irving Research Mentorship 2018.jpg

David Barry in Singapore

His supervisor, Dr. Youngwon Cho, hired him as a research assistant last July. “The project I’ve helped him with centres on the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO), the nascent economic surveillance branch of the CMIM. I've been lucky enough to travel with him to Singapore to help conduct interviews of senior officials at AMRO. 

“Much that has been written on the CMIM has centred on China and Japan—the larger powers involved in the initiative. In contrast, my research through the Irving Research Mentorship will focus on the perspectives of the smaller ASEAN countries. All countries in the CMIM share incentives to mitigate potential financial crises. But this topic’s appeal for an international relations student like myself comes from the inevitable presence of politics and consequences of power imbalances in efforts to address such a shared concern. After our stay in Singapore, we plan to interview central bank officials in surrounding ASEAN countries; this primary data will directly supplement my research under the mentorship award,” he says. 

“The award allows me to pursue my own avenue of research related to but distinct from what I’ve done as Dr. Cho's research assistant. It grants me the time needed to produce something rigorous and carves out space for me to produce something original, all while allowing me to continue to benefit from Dr. Cho’s guidance and expertise. I’m deeply grateful for this opportunity.”

PARTICIPATE IN NOVEL RESEARCH

“The Irving Research Mentorship Award has given me the opportunity to participate in novel research in an exciting field working to reduce the environmental impact of chemical processes,” says Andrew Duffy of Glenfinnan, PEI, a fourth year honours chemistry student supervised by Dr. Geniece Hallett-Tapley. 

The goal of the research, he says, is to employ the principles of green chemistry in the development of more sustainable and eco-efficient processes for the transformation of lignin, one of the main constituents of wood, into high value-added products. “One of the key factors in the development of these processes will be the synthesis of various photocatalysts containing gold or silver nanoparticles supported on a semiconductor. The principles of green chemistry will be applied throughout the project.” 

FORENSIC LENS

Jessie Doyle of Antigonish, NS, is starting her fifth year in an honours psychology degree with a Concentration in Forensic Psychology. Working with supervisor Dr. Margo Watt, her research is interested in elucidating the construct of ‘creepiness.’ 

“We all know what it is, yet when perusing the research literature, there have only been two studies to date that have attempted to define who and what is ‘creepy.’ I will be exploring this topic through a forensic lens, wherein detecting "creepiness" is considered to be a part of an intuitive risk analysis in everyday encounters, which we, as humans, have come to develop as a product of evolution in order to detect a potential threat to our safety. Eye tracker technology and a software called Affectiva, which has the capacity to discern emotional reactions via affect display, will be some of the ways in which determining the basis upon which we judge something or someone as ‘creepy,’” she says.  

She says the opportunity to conduct such novel research is exciting for a number of reasons.

“The implications of this research could be informative of our ability to accurately assess potential risk or threat to self, but also to assess the accuracy of our assessment of risk to others. For instance, labelling someone as ‘creepy,’ thus potentially misperceiving threat, could be detrimental to marginalized populations, such as the homeless, people on the autism or schizophrenia spectrum, insofar as it may result in social ostracization, which, as we know, can have deleterious repercussions. 

“On a more personal level, receiving the Irving Research Mentorship allows me to focus my energy and time into a field that I am deeply passionate about. As someone who aspires to pursue a career in academia, the whole process of applying for this award was a valuable learning experience, and the gratitude that I experience as a result of my effort being recognized and commended in this fashion is truly overwhelming.”

Thomas Ciha of Germantown, Wisconsin, entering his third year in computer science with a minor in economics and finance will work with supervisor Dr. Laurence Yang to research machine learning applications for time series forecasting, financial modeling and algorithmic trading.

“I am so grateful to be given the opportunity to grow intellectually and to continue cultivating my passion for artificial intelligence. In the office, the hours fly by. I'm loving every minute of it and can't wait to apply these models in real-world applications,” he says. 

 HANDS ON RESEARCH SKILLS

“This grant has given me the opportunity to develop hands on research skills. It has allowed me to connect with other like-minded researchers in my community that aspire to positively impact our health care system,” says Amy Graham of Ottawa, ON, who just completed her first year at StFX, and will work with supervisor Dr. Daniel Kane to research mitochondrial function post-exercise with antihistamine drug treatment. 

“I hope to discover how antihistamines may affect mitochondrial function, as this may have implications for exercising populations with metabolic diseases,” she says. 

StFX Marine Ecology Lab well represented at World Conference on Marine Biodiversity

Thu, 2018-05-17 09:53
The rocky shore of Nova Scotia, which members of StFX’s Marine Ecology Lab, led by Dr. Ricardo Scrosati, regularly survey to better understand how ocean-land interactions work.

StFX faculty and students were well represented at the 4th World Conference on Marine Biodiversity held this week in Montreal, QC, where members of the Marine Ecology Lab, led by biology professor Dr. Ricardo Scrosati, participated in three presentations during the conference.

One presentation was co-authored by Dr. Scrosati and Dr. Julius Ellrich, a postdoctoral fellow in the lab. Their presentation discussed recently discovered links between coastal oceanographic properties and the recruitment and development of intertidal biological communities spanning 415 km of the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia. This work has recently been accepted for publication in “Ecosphere,” a journal of the Ecological Society of America.

Another presentation resulted from a collaboration between Alexis Catalán, a PhD student from Chile, and a colleague from the Universidad Austral de Chile, Dr. Nelson Valdivia. For this work, they used an extensive data set from Nova Scotia and compared it with a similarly large data set from the southeast Pacific coast to demonstrate the interhemispheric constancy of spatial patterns of species distribution along marine shorelines. An associated paper will be submitted for publication later this year.

The third presentation resulted from an ambitious project aiming to document the benthic biodiversity of Canada’s three oceans, the Atlantic, the Arctic, and the Pacific, identifying diversity hotspots worth of conservation. This project has been led by a colleague from the University of Quebec, Dr. Mathieu Cusson, and has benefited from the input of 18 marine biologists from across Canada. A paper summarizing its results is also being prepared for publication.

“This conference was very exciting and attracted participants from 54 countries. Naturally, new connections were established, aiming for more collaborative work in future years,” Dr. Scrosati says.

StFX Rankin School of Nursing becomes only Canadian university to hold Best Practice Spotlight Organization designation

Mon, 2018-05-14 16:14
L-r, StFX Rankin School of Nursing professor Janet Purvis and nurse educator Wendy Panagopoulos accept the BPSO certificate during the RNAO BPSO Knowledge Exchange Symposium

The StFX Rankin School of Nursing has become a Registered Nurses Association of Ontario Best Practice Spotlight Organization (BPSO), and is the only university in Canada with this designation.

The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) is an organization that develops best practice guidelines for nursing and supports their integration into practice. These best practice guidelines are implemented and utilized nationally and internationally and are translated into seven languages. 

“Currently we’re the only university in Canada that has this designation,” says StFX nursing professor Janet Purvis, who chairs the BPSO steering committee at StFX. 

“This designation means that an agency or organization integrates and maintains best practices in all aspects of nursing practice. For StFX it means that we have integrated the best practice guidelines throughout the nursing curriculum in the classroom, lab/SIM, and the clinical setting.”

Ms. Purvis says it took StFX three years to achieve this designation as there are many requirements and conditions that are to be met. 

She says the process began at StFX four years ago by nursing faculty Dr. Joanne MacDonald. She had done work with RNAO and wanted to see StFX achieve this status as a university. The Nursing School embarked on a three-year commitment to work toward achieving BPSO status. 

“That meant we had to undertake a number of things such as to integrate best practice guidelines into our curriculum, form a steering committee, organize a number of best practice champion workshops, and set up a framework that is needed to initiate and maintain this work,” Prof. Purvis says. The Rankin School of Nursing has integrated all 54 guidelines into the new curriculum, has steering committee meetings to ensure the work continues, and reports ongoing to the RNAO to demonstrate they maintain the requirements of a BPSO for academia 

It took much work, but Prof. Purvis says they were thrilled with the result, the BPSO designation in June 2017. 

The Rankin School was officially presented with their BPSO certificate on April 19, 2018 during the RNAO BPSO Knowledge Exchange Symposium.  

StFX awards 2018 Wallace Family Internships; award helps students develop business ideas

Mon, 2018-05-14 13:40
2018 Wallace Interns, l-r, Cameron Sehl, Kirsten Gallant, Emma Logan, Jenny Bowie and Emily Chisholm

Five StFX students—three individuals and one team—will spend the summer getting their business ideas ready to launch, thanks to receiving a 2018 Wallace Family Internship.

Through the generous support of the Wallace Family Entrepreneurship Fund, StFX Extension Innovation and Enterprise Centre (IEC) has awarded the four 2018 Wallace Family Internships to five innovative StFX students: Jenny Bowie, Emily Chisholm, Emma Logan, and the team of Cameron Sehl and Kirsten Gallant. 

The internships, worth up to $6,000 each or $10,000 for a team, are for StFX students enrolled in full-time study and support full-time employment for 12 weeks from May 8 until July 31.  

During this period, interns receive coaching and assistance from StFX Extension Innovation and Enterprise staff and faculty mentors, and take part in weekly business skill training workshops, meet entrepreneurs, and work closely with experts in their fields of interest. The self-directed learning experience helps strengthen entrepreneurial skills through the exploration and development of each student’s own innovative enterprise endeavour. 

“The Wallace Family Internship is a perfect example of how StFX provides students with opportunities that combine academic and experiential learning,” says Paula Brophy, Coordinator of the Wallace Family Internship.

“The caliber of applicants this year is a clear indicator of the amazing things that are happening across campus. The Wallace Family Interns have the opportunity to explore an idea they are passionate about and get paid for it – how often does that happen?”

Ms. Brophy says faculty mentors are essential to the success of the internship, providing guidance and industry expertise.

This year, faculty mentors include Dr. Neil Maltby working with Emma Logan; Dr. Dave Risk and Dr. Ryan Lukeman working with Cameron Sehl and Kirsten Gallant; Dr. Marcia English mentoring Emily Chisholm; and Dr. Dave Risk partnered with Jenny Bowie. 

The 2018 Wallace Interns and their projects include:

Jenny Bowie is in her second year of the StFX engineering program. With her new venture, “Aero-Opt Routing,” Ms. Bowie aims to develop the hardware to collect live data (speed, position, power etc.) from vehicles, as well as the computational process that would use that data to determine the aerodynamic drag on the vehicle. Since drag is the most important determinant of fuel economy, her product would find ways to reduce it, such as improved routing to avoid headwinds, and would inevitably save money.

Emily Chisholm’s new venture, “Fresh Fruit Forever,” developed out of her desire for fresh fruits and vegetables and her love of exploring food. Ms. Chisholm, a first year Bachelor of Science in human nutrition student, wants to develop a product for consumers that will maximize the preservation of fresh fruits and vegetables without altering the taste. The Wallace Internship will help her develop the product and get it market.

Emma Logan’s new venture, “Hearing for All,” is a not-for-profit hearing-aid recycling foundation. The third year Schwartz School of Business finance student wants to develop the research and planning needed to create a foundation that will collect and refurbish donated hearing aids. Once she has created a network of contacts and volunteers and the necessary funding, Ms. Logan will arrange to have the hearing aids distributed to children with hearing loss in developing countries, with the help of volunteer audiologists and audiology students.

Cameron Sehl and Kirsten Gallant are both in the StFX Bachelor of Arts honours in economics program. Their new venture, “Symbi Medical,” based on a pilot program at a hospital in India, is a digital therapeutics company that uses accessible technology to improve health outcomes. Mr. Sehl and Ms. Gallant plan to focus and refine their business strategy, identify gaps in current health care services, and complete the technical development of the digital platform, which aims to use available technology, such as text and voice messages with cell phones, to change the current disconnect between doctors and patients, and between treatments and outcomes.

Human nutrition student honoured with industry award, national bursary

Tue, 2018-05-08 15:16
StFX Human Nutrition Department part-time faculty Fran Haley (left) presents the CAFP-StFX student branch Aramark Gold Plate award to Shelby Kennedy-Goncalves

It’s been a great month for fourth year StFX human nutrition student Shelby Kennedy-Goncalves of Calgary, AB, who has been honoured with both an industry award and a $1,000 national bursary from her profession. 

Ms. Kennedy-Goncalves is the Aramark Gold Plate winner for the student branch of the StFX Canadian Association of Foodservice Professionals (CAFP), awarded for her commitment to the food service industry, the StFX CAFP student branch and the local community, the Northumberland Professional Branch of CAFP has announced. 

Ms. Kennedy-Goncalves is also this year’s winner of the Don McPhie $1,000 bursary, awarded to a CAFP student member who best represents the qualities that Don McPhie brought to the association and industry.

As the Gold Plate winner, Ms. Kennedy-Goncalves will compete with university CAFP branch winners from across Canada for the National Gold Plate Award, which will be announced at the student awards luncheon at the National CAFP Conference this May in Vancouver, BC. As part of its commitment to future leaders, Aramark provides financial support to ensure that student branch award winners are able to participate in the annual CAFP national conference, as well as a $400 cash award to be used by the student to further his/her education. 

“I am thrilled to receive this award and look forward to networking with colleagues at the CAFP national conference,” says Ms. Kennedy-Goncalves.

As a Gold Plate branch recipient, Ms. Kennedy-Goncalves also qualifies to apply for the Aramark Accelerate to Leadership Program (A2L). The A2L program equips university graduates with the tools to navigate the many diverse areas of business at Aramark. Students are given the opportunity to enrich and nourish lives in the communities that Aramark serves through hands-on meaningful management experiences. The one-year, paid position affords robust learning and career readiness training.

NATIONAL BURSARY

CAFP also administers several national bursaries to encourage students to develop themselves in the culinary, supervisory, hospitality, managerial, and dietetic programs.  

Ms. Kennedy-Goncalves is this year’s winner of the Don McPhie bursary, awarded to a CAFP student member who best represents the qualities that Don McPhie brought to the association and industry. The recipient must be a well-rounded student, who demonstrates a strong commitment to the association and to their chosen field and have demonstrated effort to strengthen their student branch, show progressive experience and growth within the industry as well as community involvement.

Music professor Paul Tynan wins ECMA for Jazz Recording of the Year

Tue, 2018-05-08 14:04
Music professor Paul Tynan

An East Coast Music Award (ECMA) has come home to StFX. Music professor Paul Tynan, together with longtime collaborator California saxophonist Aaron Lington, has won the 2018 Jazz Recording of the Year award for 'Bicoastal Collective: Chapter 5,’ at the ECMAs held May 2-6, 2018 in Halifax, NS.

“Humbled and honoured are the two words I can use to describe this feeling,” says Prof. Tynan, who teaches jazz trumpet, jazz history and arranging at StFX, and is currently playing in Europe. 

“I received word of winning the ECMA from a good friend on PEI via text after just finishing my last night performing at The Hat Bar in Berlin. We had an impromptu party to celebrate there. When you pour your heart and soul in a project you always wonder if it effected people; maybe made them feel something. The recognition from the ECMAs is maybe a small nod to say that yes we did.” 

StFX music alumni also fared well at the ECMAs. 

Alumnus Christien Raymakers, who graduated with a BA in music in 2015, won the Dance Recording of the Year award (as ‘CRaymak’) for his ‘Play With Fire.’

Alumnus Jason Roach, who graduated with an honours music degree in 2006, as part of the group Còig, won the Roots/Traditional Recording of the Year for ‘Rove.’

StFX graduates over 900, Dr. Teresa MacNeil and Lino A. Saputo, Jr. receive honorary degrees

Sun, 2018-05-06 17:05
2018 StFX Spring Convocation was a day of achievement, celebration and accomplishment

On Sunday, May 6, StFX celebrated the Class of 2018 as it welcomed over 900 newly minted graduates into the Xaverian alumni family on a day marked by cheers, tears, and advice for graduates to make a difference in the world, and to maybe make the world a little different.

Graduates came from every province in Canada and 17 countries around the world.

StFX also presented the degree Doctor of Laws honoris causa to Dr. Teresa MacNeil of Johnstown, Cape Breton, a StFX graduate and passionate leader in community development and life-long learning, and to Montreal-based entrepreneur and philanthropist Lino A. Saputo, Jr., Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Saputo Inc., one of the top 10 dairy processors in the world, during Spring Convocation 2018 held at the Charles V. Keating Centre.

COURAGE AND LIFELONG LEARNING

“Do the things you are afraid of,” Dr. MacNeil told graduates during the morning ceremony in an address that focused on two themes—courage and lifelong learning.

2018 Spring Convocation Dr. Teresa MacNeil.jpg

Dr. Teresa MacNeil (centre) pictured with StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald (left) and Chancellor Dr. Susan Crocker

Courage is the fundamental trait that allows us to develop as human beings, and it takes courage to plunge into your endeavours, she said.

“The greatest mistake you can make in your life is to be afraid you’ll make a mistake,” Dr. MacNeil said. “So be daring.”

Be active learners, Dr. MacNeil encouraged. Take a deliberate approach to continuous learning. We are living through a time of enormous explosion of knowledge, she said.

“The most valuable asset you have learned is how to learn whatever you need, wherever you are, for the rest of your life.”

This university has given you, and continues to give the world, deliberate attention to adult education, she said, where the goal is to foster individual, social and economic change, to enable learners to see what they are up against and be able to do something about it.

Dr. MacNeil also made time to say thank you. “An honorary degree from my alma master, employment for 37 years, and then to address you, it is indeed a privilege. Thank you for this definite honour,” she said as she congratulated all the graduates.

COMMUNITY STFX BUILDS

2018 Convocation Dr. Lino Saputo Jr..jpg

Dr. Lino A. Saputo, Jr. (centre) with StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald (left) and Chancellor Dr. Susan Crocker 

“Thank you for awarding me this honorary degree,” Dr. Saputo said during his address in the afternoon ceremony. “I feel privileged to share this special day with you,” he told graduates. And he said he is ecstatic to receive the honour during the same ceremony in which son Giordano graduates. We really do feel part of the StFX family, he said.

Today is an important milestone, Dr. Saputo told graduates. Wherever your experience began and wherever you go, you all share something in common, he said—the sense of community that StFX builds.

Dr. Saputo told the Class of 2018 about how he wanted to be an X-Men nearly 30 years ago. But when considering universities he met a girl—who later became his wife Amelia—and decided to go to university at Concordia.

It was a good decision, he told graduates, as finding the right partner is one of the most critical decisions you make in life. The other is what we do in our career.

“It should be something you feel passionate about, and more importantly, something that taps into your curiosity,” he advised. “When you find the career that’s right for you, you’ll know it. When it’s time to change careers, you’ll know it.”

Dr. Saputo says when you find these two things, the right partner and the right career, it makes it easier to fulfill a third key part of a truly balanced life, helping your community.

We all want to make our community better, and there are many ways to do this, he said. And not all are financial. Volunteer a few hours, coach a sport team and follow your passion to right an injustice, he told graduates. “My conviction is we don’t live on this earth alone. It means so much to us to be able to give back.”

Over the past four years, he says he and his family have come to feel part of StFX and the Antigonish community and are proud of their son Giordano for the way he’s become a part of this community. “This is a wonderful part of Canada, made even better by the contributions of everyone associated with StFX.”

After 30 years, he says he’s finally and proudly now able to wear an X-Ring.

INCREDIBLE STUDENTS

StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald welcomed all to convocation and thanked family, friends, faculty and staff for their many contributions leading to this day.

“We are here for one reason and that is acknowledge some incredible students,” he said as he feted the Class of 2018.

“Think about contributing positively to the world,” he advised graduates, telling them they have many choices as they enter the world: the choice to be kind, to be optimistic, to forgive, to be humble, to respect everyone around them, to serve others, to be generous and to show gratitude.

“You have a great future ahead of you.”

Dr. MacDonald also took time to recognize StFX Chancellor Dr. Susan Crocker, the university’s first lay chancellor and the first female chancellor, who soon concludes her term, noting she served this institution with dignity, grace and generosity.

In her remarks, Dr. Crocker said she is honoured to open and preside over Spring Convocation 2018. “This day of recognition and celebration is the day you've worked to reach,” she told graduates.

“While we all came to StFX for different reasons and have incredibly unique journeys, we leave this beautiful campus with a shared gift,” said 2018 grad and senior class speaker Cameron Sehl.

Your StFX experience is like a lighthouse, he said, your ethos, your internal set of values that will steer you through the rocky waters of life. “It’s the sense of community you developed being part of something bigger than yourself…Count on the lights of our StFX experiences to guide us on the next steps of the journey.”

Senior class speaker Alex Corrigan, who spoke during the morning convocation, told classmates that today, with parchment in hand, they begin an entirely new journey. That transition is scary and uncertain, but also liberating and incredibly exciting. Pursue your dreams and keep believing in yourself, he encouraged classmates. “No matter where you are, you can always reach out to classmates and fellow StFX alumni. We may be leaving StFX, but StFX is not leaving us.”

StFX Alumni Association president Glenn Horne asked graduates to remember the Alumni Association is always there to support them. He also left graduates with three suggestions: push your boundaries, give back, work hard and have fun. Life is to be enjoyed, not enduring.

“This is a special day, celebrating significant accomplishment. On behalf of all alumni, congratulations,” he said.

MAJOR HONOURS

Major honours presented during the ceremony included the designation of professor emeritus upon retired StFX history professor Dr. Paul Phillips. Philosophy professor Dr. William Sweet received the University Research Award, and the Outstanding Faculty Teaching Awards were awarded to psychology professor Dr. Erin Austen and to development studies professor and Canada Research Chair Dr. Jonathan Langdon. Patricia Budicky, senior lab instructor in the Department of Chemistry, received the Outstanding Staff Teaching Award.

Class of 2018 university medallists:

UNIVERSITY GOLD MEDALS

These medals are awarded to the student with the highest average in the final three years of an honours, advanced major or major degree program or the final two years of a diploma or education degree program.

Bachelor of Science to: Matthew Thomas Martell, Bedford, NS

Bachelor of Science in Nursing to: Alyssa Mariah Guitard, Riverview, NB

Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition to: Aiyu Liu, Beijing, China

Bachelor of Arts/Science in Human Kinetics to: Amy Elaine Bobyn, Calgary, AB

Diploma in Engineering to: Megan Elizabeth Hawkins Fudge, St. George, NB

Bachelor of Education to: Renelle Ariel John, Trinidad and Tobago

Bachelor of Arts to: Jamie Julia Forsyth, Truro, NS

Bachelor of Music/Bachelor of Arts in Music to: Cassandra Lynn Mann, New Glasgow, NS

THE GERALD SCHWARTZ SCHOOL OF BUSINESS

The following medals are awarded to the students with the highest average in the final three years of a Bachelor of Business Administration or Bachelor of Information Systems program.

The ONEX Corporation Gold Medal Bachelor of Business Administration John Michael Jordan MacDonald, O’Leary, PE

GOVERNOR GENERAL MEDALS

The Governor General Undergraduate Medal for the highest average in the final three years of study to: Matthew Thomas Martell, Bedford, NS

The Governor General Graduate Medal for the highest overall average in a thesis-based graduate program to: Stephanie Elaine MacIntyre, Antigonish, NS

2018 BIOS:

HONORARY DEGREE RECIPIENTS

Dr. Teresa MacNeil


A passionate advocate and leader in community development, life-long learning and adult education, StFX graduate and Johnstown, Cape Breton native Dr. Teresa MacNeil spent a distinguished 37-year career at StFX. She is also noted for her contributions to numerous regional and national organizations, always with a view to making lives richer. Following early work in Newfoundland, Dr. MacNeil then moved to Cape Breton as a StFX Extension fieldworker. She completed a MSc and PhD in educational policy studies from the University of Wisconsin. From 1970-1982, she chaired StFX’s newly established Department of Adult Education, the flagship program that led to the Masters Degree in Adult Education. In 1975, she became a full professor, and in 1982 accepted the position of Director of Extension, which she held until 1993. While with Extension, Dr. MacNeil maintained a variety of positions that strengthened her work with the department including chairing the Board of Directors for Cape Breton Development Corporation; the Board of Directors for Enterprise Cape Breton; and the Provincial Task Force on the Economy of Cape Breton. From 1994-96, she served as StFX Director of Special Projects and in 1996 as StFX Advancement Director before her August 1996 retirement. Since then she has taken on numerous part-time assignments with boards, consultancies, and commissions. Professional and community highlights throughout her career span from chairing the board of directors of the Canadian Association for Adult Education to the National Advisory Group for Canada’s Adult Learning Knowledge Centre. She is a Member of the Order of Canada, the recipient of three honorary degrees and diplomas, and an inductee into the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame. She is also an Honorary Life Member, Canadian Association for Continuing University Education; Member of the Royal College of Fellows, Canadian Geographical Society; and Progress Women of Excellence of Nova Scotia.

Lino A. Saputo, Jr.

Montreal-based entrepreneur, businessman and philanthropist Lino A. Saputo, Jr. is Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Saputo Inc., one of the top 10 dairy processors in the world. Involved in the third-generation, family-run business since age 13, when he wrapped specialty cheeses, he now oversees the Quebec-based company comprised of 12,800 employees with 50 plants worldwide. Mr. Saputo, who holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Concordia University, officially joined Saputo in 1988 as an administrative assistant. Through the years he has held several positions including Vice President, Operations and Engineering; Executive Vice President Operations; and President, Cheese Division (USA). Since March 2004, he serves as President and Chief Executive Officer. In 2011, he was appointed to the position of Vice Chairman of the Board, and since August 2017, he serves as Chairman of the Board. Giving back to the community is a priority for Mr. Saputo and his family, known for their social responsibility and support of multiple organizations. Their commitment to sports, specifically soccer, is noteworthy. He is also committed to Centraide of Greater Montreal. He has co-presided over their annual fundraising campaign, and presides over the major donor campaign. He and his family have also gifted $10 million to the Montreal Heart Institute, an historic commitment dedicated to the prevention of cardiovascular disease. In 2011, he and his wife Amelia founded the Amelia and Lino A. Saputo Jr. Foundation dedicated to supporting a variety of organizations. They have particular interest in promoting healthy living initiatives and helping Montreal’s most vulnerable populations. Mr. Saputo serves on the Board of Directors of the National Bank of Canada, the Board of Directors of the Montreal Heart Institute Foundation and the Conference Board of Canada. In April 2018, he and Amelia gifted $10 million to StFX to revitalize the Oland Centre, which will become the Amelia and Lino Saputo Centre for Healthy Living, ensuring StFX and communities in northeastern Nova Scotia enjoy health and wellness opportunities for generations to come.

PROFESSOR EMERITUS

Dr. Paul Phillips, Department of History


Dr. Paul Phillips is a world-class scholar of British intellectual and religious history. He taught in the StFX Department of History from 1969 until his retirement in 2007. During his 38 years at StFX, he taught and mentored several generations of students, supervising 40 theses. In addition to his busy teaching schedule, he demonstrated leadership ability, serving three terms as chair of the History Department and one term as chair of Graduate Studies. Other notable examples of his service to StFX include two terms on Senate, one term on the Board of Governors, and service on multiple committees. A first class scholar, he crafted an enduring legacy, the author of five books, editor of one volume of collected essays and co-editor of one sourcebook of documents. His illustrious career has been marked by numerous academic honours. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and has been a visiting scholar at Wolfson College, Cambridge University, Cornell University’s Institute for European Studies, and Victoria College, University of Toronto where he enjoyed the title of Northrop Frye Visiting Fellow. More recently he occupied the prestigious Gatto Chair in Christian Studies at StFX for two terms. In 2002, he was recognized with the University Research Award, and since 2007, he has held the honour of Senior Research Professor at StFX.

UNIVERSITY RESEARCH AWARD

Dr. William Sweet, Department of Philosophy


Philosophy professor Dr. William Sweet joined the StFX faculty in 1990. He 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. 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. He has also contributed significantly to the philosophy of culture, discussions of dignity and human rights, and the philosophy of religion. His research has led to new insights into the impact of idealism in East Asia, India, and southern Africa, and the promotion of intercultural philosophy. In addition to his many publications, Dr. Sweet has contributed to scholarship by organizing international conferences and editing collections of scholarly essays. These have stimulated many, particularly junior scholars, to expand and deepen the study of these fields. Also 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. The recipient of numerous awards and honours, he has been invited to present his work across the globe. In 2017, he was elected by his peers as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (FRSC), a national recognition as one of the best in the field of philosophy.

OUTSTANDING FACULTY TEACHING AWARD

Dr. Jonathan Langdon, Development Studies Program


Dr. Jonathan Langdon, StFX development studies professor and Canada Research Chair in Sustainability and Social Change Leadership, is described as a mentor and educator who brings important concepts to the surface and puts his heart and passion into teaching. An excellent professor willing to go the extra mile, students say his teaching ensures everyone is on the same level—including himself. He encourages students to work hard and explore outside their comfort zone, leading to personal and academic growth, and he works to provide student opportunities, including service learning opportunities and local and international research work. For over 15 years, Dr. Langdon has worked with social movements in Ghana, and in particular in the Ada region defending communal access to a salt yielding lagoon since 2008. More recent work has branched out to connect with other resource disputed hot spots in Ghana and Guatemala. He also works closely with renewable energy movements in Nova Scotia. His work has been published in prominent international and Canadian journals, and he is the editor of Indigenous Knowledges, Development and Education. His forthcoming book on social movement learning in Africa will be released later this year.

Dr. Erin Austen, Department of Psychology

Psychology professor Dr. Erin Austen, a passionate and knowledgeable educator and committed researcher, knows how to get the best from her students. She wants students to succeed and this desire encourages students to pursue academic excellence.  Students say she uses a teaching style that is interactive, engaging and fun, and that she is committed to providing current empirical evidence and opportunities for students to engage with the material in various ways. The student learning experience is at the centre of her work. Among her efforts, she builds in service learning experiences in her course work and ignites a passion for research in her students. She also pushes students to think critically, engage in their learning and be proud of what they have accomplished. Her unique classroom environment and varied assignments allow different learning styles to thrive, students say. Her support and guidance helps students to flourish and realize what they are capable of accomplishing. Says one former student: “She helped me find my voice, passion and ultimately helped me believe in my abilities.” 

OUTSTANDING STAFF TEACHING AWARD

Patricia Budicky, Senior Lab Instructor, Chemistry


Patricia Budicky, a senior lab instructor in the Department of Chemistry, has for well over a decade poured her heart and soul into helping students at StFX learn as much as possible in a supportive environment. She has worked as a lab instructor at StFX since 2005, and consistently goes above and beyond expectations in everything she does. Colleagues say she cares deeply about the students. She expects a lot from students and they tend to live up to expectations. Many cite her as an important contributor to their success in the course. She does much work to make the labs and instruments run smoothly, is a champion for students, for technology and for chemistry, keeping up with all things in the field, and is involved in supporting the X-Chem Outreach Program in regional schools. She holds an honours BSc from the University of Waterloo and an MBA from Wilfrid Laurier University.

SENIOR CLASS SPEAKERS

Cameron Sehl


Cameron Sehl of Ottawa, ON, graduates from StFX with a Bachelor of Arts honours degree in economics. The proud Lane Hall Pitbull was actively involved at StFX. The current captain of the StFX Men’s Rowing team, he spent four years with the program and competed twice at Canadian nationals. On campus, he’s been a teaching assistant, a mentor to the Entrepreneurship Club, and head coach of the Eastern Highlands Special Olympics soccer and hockey teams. He was a Rhodes Scholar finalist, a 2017 recipient of the StFX MacBain/Riley Global Engagement Award, and a 2016 Cansbridge Fellow. After graduation, he will be returning to India as an OceanPath Fellow to work on Symbi Medical, a health education and patient monitoring platform that he started in 2017 to improve global healthcare access. 

Alex Corrigan

Alex Corrigan of Calgary, AB, is a Dean’s List student who graduates from StFX with a Bachelor of Science degree with an advanced major in chemistry. He has been highly involved in extracurricular activities, most notably Best Buddies, a student representative on the StFX Board of Governors, spending three years on O-Crew, coaching the Lane Hall hockey team, and sharing the role of 2018 Senior Class co-president. Additionally, through an internship this past summer, he helped the University of Calgary conduct research on finding alternative ways to diagnose concussion symptoms without using a CT scan. This research was published and he presented at a medical conference in Edmonton. A proud Xaverian, he has spoken on several occasions throughout the year, including at the X-Ring ceremony and at numerous fundraisers for the Class of 2018 Student Refugee Bursary, a bursary he helped establish. Alex hopes to study medicine after StFX and pursue his dream of becoming a pediatrician. 

 

2018 Spring Convocation Grad Lists are out!

Thu, 2018-05-03 21:12

The Spring 2018 Graduation and medal and award lists are below!! Congratulations to all our newest Xaverians!!

MORNING (9: 00 AM) CEREMONY LIST >>

Degrees: Ph.D. in Educational Studies; Masters of Science, Education and Adult
 Education; Bachelors of Education, Science, Nursing, Human Nutrition,
 Human Kinetics; Diplomas in Engineering and Integrated Dietetic Internship. 

 

AFTERNOON (3:00 PM) CEREMONY LIST >> 

Degrees: Bachelors of Arts, Business Administration, Information Systems, Music and Diplomas in Jazz Studies.

 

2018 AWARD AND MEDAL WINNERS >>

 

StFX to honour community development and education advocate Dr. Teresa MacNeil and entrepreneur, businessman and philanthropist Lino A. Saputo, Jr. during Spring Convocation 2018

Wed, 2018-05-02 10:47
Excitement and achievement will mark Spring Convocation taking place on Sunday, May 6. Pictured is a scene from the 2017 Spring Convocation.

St. Francis Xavier University will bestow honorary degrees upon Dr. Teresa MacNeil of Johnstown, Cape Breton, a passionate advocate and leader in community development, life-long learning and adult education, and upon Lino A. Saputo, Jr. a Montreal-based entrepreneur, businessman and philanthropist, and Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Saputo Inc., one of the top 10 dairy processors in the world, during Spring Convocation 2018 taking place Sunday, May 6 at the Charles V. Keating Centre.

StFX will graduate over 900 students in morning and afternoon ceremonies.

Degrees, including the PhD in educational studies; Masters of Science, education and adult education; Bachelors of education, science, nursing, human nutrition, and human kinetics; and diplomas in engineering and integrated dietetic internship, will be conferred during the morning ceremony, and degrees in arts, business administration, information systems, music and diplomas in jazz studies during the afternoon program.

Dr. MacNeil will address the morning ceremony, which begins at 9 a.m.  Mr. Saputo, Jr. will deliver the address to the afternoon convocation, which starts at 3 p.m.

Other major honours presented during Spring Convocation will include the designation of professor emeritus bestowed upon retired StFX history professor Dr. Paul Phillips, a world-class scholar of British intellectual and religious history.

The University Research Award will be presented to philosophy professor Dr. William Sweet.

The Outstanding Faculty Teaching Awards will be awarded to psychology professor Dr. Erin Austen and to development studies professor and Canada Research Chair Dr. Jonathan Langdon. The Outstanding Staff Teaching Award will be presented to Patricia Budicky, senior lab instructor in the Department of Chemistry.

Senior class speakers and 2018 graduates Cameron Sehl and Alex Corrigan will deliver remarks on behalf of the Class of 2018.

2018 BIOS:

HONORARY DEGREE RECIPIENTS

Teresa-MacNeil.jpg Dr. Teresa MacNeil

A passionate advocate and leader in community development, life-long learning and adult education, StFX graduate and Johnstown, Cape Breton native Dr. Teresa MacNeil spent a distinguished 37-year career at StFX. She is also noted for her contributions to numerous regional and national organizations, always with a view to making lives richer. Following early work in Newfoundland, Dr. MacNeil then moved to Cape Breton as a StFX Extension fieldworker. She completed a MSc and PhD in educational policy studies from the University of Wisconsin. From 1970-1982, she chaired StFX’s newly established Department of Adult Education, the flagship program that led to the Masters Degree in Adult Education. In 1975, she became a full professor, and in 1982 accepted the position of Director of Extension, which she held until 1993. While with Extension, Dr. MacNeil maintained a variety of positions that strengthened her work with the department including chairing the Board of Directors for Cape Breton Development Corporation; the Board of Directors for Enterprise Cape Breton; and the Provincial Task Force on the Economy of Cape Breton. From 1994-96, she served as StFX Director of Special Projects and in 1996 as StFX Advancement Director before her August 1996 retirement. Since then she has taken on numerous part-time assignments with boards, consultancies, and commissions. Professional and community highlights throughout her career span from chairing the board of directors of the Canadian Association for Adult Education to the National Advisory Group for Canada’s Adult Learning Knowledge Centre. She is a Member of the Order of Canada, the recipient of three honorary degrees and diplomas, and an inductee into the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame. She is also an Honorary Life Member, Canadian Association for Continuing University Education; Member of the Royal College of Fellows, Canadian Geographical Society; and Progress Women of Excellence of Nova Scotia.

Lino-Saputo.jpg Lino A. Saputo, Jr.

Montreal-based entrepreneur, businessman and philanthropist Lino A. Saputo, Jr. is Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Saputo Inc., one of the top 10 dairy processors in the world. Involved in the third-generation, family-run business since age 13, when he wrapped specialty cheeses, he now oversees the Quebec-based company comprised of 12,800 employees with 50 plants worldwide. Mr. Saputo, who holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Concordia University, officially joined Saputo in 1988 as an administrative assistant. Through the years he has held several positions including Vice President, Operations and Engineering; Executive Vice President Operations; and President, Cheese Division (USA). Since March 2004, he serves as President and Chief Executive Officer. In 2011, he was appointed to the position of Vice Chairman of the Board, and since August 2017, he serves as Chairman of the Board. Giving back to the community is a priority for Mr. Saputo and his family, known for their social responsibility and support of multiple organizations. Their commitment to sports, specifically soccer, is noteworthy. He is also committed to Centraide of Greater Montreal. He has co-presided over their annual fundraising campaign, and presides over the major donor campaign. He and his family have also gifted $10 million to the Montreal Heart Institute, an historic commitment dedicated to the prevention of cardiovascular disease. In 2011, he and his wife Amelia founded the Amelia and Lino A. Saputo Jr. Foundation dedicated to supporting a variety of organizations. They have particular interest in promoting healthy living initiatives and helping Montreal’s most vulnerable populations. Mr. Saputo serves on the Board of Directors of the National Bank of Canada, the Board of Directors of the Montreal Heart Institute Foundation and the Conference Board of Canada. In April 2018, he and Amelia gifted $10 million to StFX to revitalize the Oland Centre, which will become the Amelia and Lino Saputo Centre for Healthy Living, ensuring StFX and communities in northeastern Nova Scotia enjoy health and wellness opportunities for generations to come.

PROFESSOR EMERITUS

Paul-Phillips.jpg

Dr. Paul Phillips, Department of History 


Dr. Paul Phillips is a world-class scholar of British intellectual and religious history. He taught in the StFX Department of History from 1969 until his retirement in 2007. During his 38 years at StFX, he taught and mentored several generations of students, supervising 40 theses. In addition to his busy teaching schedule, he demonstrated leadership ability, serving three terms as chair of the History Department and one term as chair of Graduate Studies. Other notable examples of his service to StFX include two terms on Senate, one term on the Board of Governors, and service on multiple committees. A first class scholar, he crafted an enduring legacy, the author of five books, editor of one volume of collected essays and co-editor of one sourcebook of documents. His illustrious career has been marked by numerous academic honours. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and has been a visiting scholar at Wolfson College, Cambridge University, Cornell University’s Institute for European Studies, and Victoria College, University of Toronto where he enjoyed the title of Northrop Frye Visiting Fellow. More recently he occupied the prestigious Gatto Chair in Christian Studies at StFX for two terms. In 2002, he was recognized with the University Research Award, and since 2007, he has held the honour of Senior Research Professor at StFX.

UNIVERSITY RESEARCH AWARD

William-Sweet.jpg Dr. William Sweet, Department of Philosophy


Philosophy professor Dr. William Sweet joined the StFX faculty in 1990. He 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. 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. He has also contributed significantly to the philosophy of culture, discussions of dignity and human rights, and the philosophy of religion. His research has led to new insights into the impact of idealism in East Asia, India, and southern Africa, and the promotion of intercultural philosophy. In addition to his many publications, Dr. Sweet has contributed to scholarship by organizing international conferences and editing collections of scholarly essays. These have stimulated many, particularly junior scholars, to expand and deepen the study of these fields. Also 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. The recipient of numerous awards and honours, he has been invited to present his work across the globe. In 2017, he was elected by his peers as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (FRSC), a national recognition as one of the best in the field of philosophy.

OUTSTANDING FACULTY TEACHING AWARD

Jonathan-Langdon.jpg Dr. Jonathan Langdon, Development Studies Program


Dr. Jonathan Langdon, StFX development studies professor and Canada Research Chair in Sustainability and Social Change Leadership, is described as a mentor and educator who brings important concepts to the surface and puts his heart and passion into teaching. An excellent professor willing to go the extra mile, students say his teaching ensures everyone is on the same level—including himself. He encourages students to work hard and explore outside their comfort zone, leading to personal and academic growth, and he works to provide student opportunities, including service learning opportunities and local and international research work. For over 15 years, Dr. Langdon has worked with social movements in Ghana, and in particular in the Ada region defending communal access to a salt yielding lagoon since 2008. More recent work has branched out to connect with other resource disputed hot spots in Ghana and Guatemala. He also works closely with renewable energy movements in Nova Scotia. His work has been published in prominent international and Canadian journals, and he is the editor of Indigenous Knowledges, Development and Education. His forthcoming book on social movement learning in Africa will be released later this year.

Erin-Austen.jpg Dr. Erin Austen, Department of Psychology

Psychology professor Dr. Erin Austen, a passionate and knowledgeable educator and committed researcher, knows how to get the best from her students. She wants students to succeed and this desire encourages students to pursue academic excellence.  Students say she uses a teaching style that is interactive, engaging and fun, and that she is committed to providing current empirical evidence and opportunities for students to engage with the material in various ways. The student learning experience is at the centre of her work. Among her efforts, she builds in service learning experiences in her course work and ignites a passion for research in her students. She also pushes students to think critically, engage in their learning and be proud of what they have accomplished. Her unique classroom environment and varied assignments allow different learning styles to thrive, students say. Her support and guidance helps students to flourish and realize what they are capable of accomplishing. Says one former student: “She helped me find my voice, passion and ultimately helped me believe in my abilities.” 

OUTSTANDING STAFF TEACHING AWARD

Patricia-Budicky.jpg Patricia Budicky, Senior Lab Instructor, Chemistry


Patricia Budicky, a senior lab instructor in the Department of Chemistry, has for well over a decade poured her heart and soul into helping students at StFX learn as much as possible in a supportive environment. She has worked as a lab instructor at StFX since 2005, and consistently goes above and beyond expectations in everything she does. Colleagues say she cares deeply about the students. She expects a lot from students and they tend to live up to expectations. Many cite her as an important contributor to their success in the course. She does much work to make the labs and instruments run smoothly, is a champion for students, for technology and for chemistry, keeping up with all things in the field, and is involved in supporting the X-Chem Outreach Program in regional schools. She holds an honours BSc from the University of Waterloo and an MBA from Wilfrid Laurier University.

SENIOR CLASS SPEAKERS

Cameron-Sehl.jpg Cameron Sehl


Cameron Sehl of Ottawa, ON, graduates from StFX with a Bachelor of Arts honours degree in economics. The proud Lane Hall Pitbull was actively involved at StFX. The current captain of the StFX Men’s Rowing team, he spent four years with the program and competed twice at Canadian nationals. On campus, he’s been a teaching assistant, a mentor to the Entrepreneurship Club, and head coach of the Eastern Highlands Special Olympics soccer and hockey teams. He was a Rhodes Scholar finalist, a 2017 recipient of the StFX MacBain/Riley Global Engagement Award, and a 2016 Cansbridge Fellow. After graduation, he will be returning to India as an OceanPath Fellow to work on Symbi Medical, a health education and patient monitoring platform that he started in 2017 to improve global healthcare access. 

Alex-Corrigan.jpg Alex Corrigan

Alex Corrigan of Calgary, AB, is a Dean’s List student who graduates from StFX with a Bachelor of Science degree with an advanced major in chemistry. He has been highly involved in extracurricular activities, most notably Best Buddies, a student representative on the StFX Board of Governors, spending three years on O-Crew, coaching the Lane Hall hockey team, and sharing the role of 2018 Senior Class co-president. Additionally, through an internship this past summer, he helped the University of Calgary conduct research on finding alternative ways to diagnose concussion symptoms without using a CT scan. This research was published and he presented at a medical conference in Edmonton. A proud Xaverian, he has spoken on several occasions throughout the year, including at the X-Ring ceremony and at numerous fundraisers for the Class of 2018 Student Refugee Bursary, a bursary he helped establish. Alex hopes to study medicine after StFX and pursue his dream of becoming a pediatrician. 

Examined Life Lab launches at StFX

Fri, 2018-04-20 13:11
Pictured, standing, l-r, are Keegan Currie, Kaleigh Weickert, Rebekah Wood, Erin MacKinnon, Hanna Bergman, Renee Proctor, and Tyler Wilson. Seated, l-r, are Alejandra Torres, Alexandrea Guye and Emma Hofland-Burry

The Examined Life Lab, a unique new online lab research project led by English professor Dr. Mathias Nilges, just launched at StFX and will offer an ongoing student-led analysis and critique of daily life to better understand pressing problems of our time. 

Through research projects, StFX students will look at how problems, from society to politics, are connected to culture and everyday life. 

“Indeed, our research clusters are designed as one-stop-shops for people who are interested in complex topics such as the alt-right but find it difficult to know where to start researching such a vast issue. What we do is gather all information in one place—from a variety of perspectives, academic research and mainstream commentary, cultural objects, and so on,” Dr. Nilges says. 

“Our hope is that we can therefore also serve the public: we gather and produce information and analysis that allows us all to better understand a set of complex, pressing topics of our time.”

Dr. Nilges says the idea for the humanities lab emerged as a result of wondering how he might be able to provide students with additional research opportunities. 

“In the humanities, this is not always easy. Research in literary and cultural analysis and critique is often solitary work. One reads, thinks, and writes. This means in turn that it is not always easy to imagine how students may be able to assist in the research process,” Dr. Nilges says. 

“But, I thought, if students cannot help me with my work, then could I not still find ways to offer them research experience?”

He says his thoughts turned to the sciences where the model of running experiments is a very effective way of integrating students into research. One has a lab with running experiments and can then plug new generations of students into such running experiments, which help with skill training and knowledge acquisition. 

“What would a humanities version of such a lab look like, I wondered? Our lab tries to provide an answer to that question.”

OFFERS OPPORTUNITIES

“What excites me about the project is that it offers students opportunities to develop research projects that they consider timely and important, it helps them practice key skills that they will need after graduation, information analysis, various forms of content creation, strategic writing for a variety of audiences and projects, a variety of research and analytical skills, and so on,” he says. 

“Most importantly, maybe, the lab allows students to create projects about which they can be excited, about which they care, and into which they put a lot of work, but it advertises these projects. These projects don’t end up on a pile of graded papers at the end of the year. Instead, they are added to a growing set of work that together helps us understand complex research clusters better.”

Dr. Nilges says the projects can be read and consulted by future generations of students, by students at other universities, and by the general public. 

The work continues to live on in the lab, he says, and it is wonderful to see how excited students get when they are able to put their energy into projects that matter to them and that contribute to an ongoing, collective effort. 

Additionally, Dr. Nilges says students build professional portfolios of work that they can use for future applications, a portfolio or professionally produced work that showcases a variety of skills that are in demand and that displays their abilities.

The April 19th launch rolled out the initial version of the lab. A first set of students used it and produced content for it as part of Dr. Nilges’ ENGL 318 “Cultural Theory” course. 

Dr. Nilges built the lab and website with the help of two student assistants over the past two semesters. 

“My wonderful assistants, Emma Hofland-Burry and Keegan Currie, were really my co-workers. We taught ourselves web design, we discussed how to present and archive information in a user-friendly way, we worked out the design together, and so on,” he says. 

In addition, each assistant worked on one research cluster, so that students who would use the lab would have a beginning set of information ready to study, analyze, and expand. Mr. Currie researched and gathered information on a cluster called “The New Culture Wars: Neo-Masculinity, Populism, and the New Right-Wing Movements,” while Ms. Hofland-Burry’s research cluster is called “Nature's Futures: The Cultures of Climate, Environment, and Conservation.” 

“Both students gathered an immense amount of information that future generations of students can use as their starting point for projects, projects that will further add to each cluster, making for a growing set of resources and analyses that together help us better understand complex topics of our time,” he says. 

Dr. Nigles says they were funded $2,000 as a pilot project for the year by Dr. Richard Isnor, StFX Associate Vice-President Research. He also just received a UCR grant for the lab so will be able to hire student assistants again and continue to grow the project. 

“I am immensely proud of the great set of initial projects that my students put together this semester. We are very fortunate at StFX to get to teach and work with students like this,” he says.

“We have lots of ideas, and we’re excited for the next steps.”



This research is, in part, made possible by the Government of Canada Research Support Fund.

Human kinetics students honoured at annual awards banquet

Thu, 2018-04-19 15:28
L-r, award winners include Amy Bobyn, Hilary Brousseau, Hannah Burrows, Kelsey Fahie, and Sarah Johnson.

A number of StFX students were recognized for their achievement recently, receiving awards during the annual Human Kinetics banquet held on Saturday, April 7.

Among those receiving awards were:

Amy Bobyn, recipient of the C.S.E.P./S.C.P.E. Award (Canadian Society Exercise Physiology) presented to a graduating student who has achieved the highest academic standing in the BSc human kinetics program.

Hilary Brousseau, recipient of the H.K. Birks Award to a graduating student who has achieved the highest academic standing in the BA human kinetics program.

Hannah Burrows, recipient of the PHE Canada Award to a second/third year undergraduate student who has displayed outstanding leadership through his/her contribution to the HK Society.

Kelsey Fahie, recipient of the Melissa Landry Memorial Award, presented to a HK graduating student who has displayed outstanding volunteer contributions throughout their undergraduate degree at StFX.

Sarah Johnson, recipient of the Jeff Graham Memorial Award for friendship presented to a member of the senior class.

StFX team stars at National Model UN conference in New York City

Thu, 2018-04-12 11:42
The StFX Model UN team pictured at the closing ceremony in the UN General Assembly Hall in New York City.

StFX came back from the National Model UN (NMUN) conference held March 25-29 in New York City with a very impressive finish including two awards—an outstanding delegates award for two students, and an honourable mention delegation award for the entire team, which includes 19 students and faculty advisor, political science professor Dr. Youngwon Cho.

It was the first time StFX students attended this conference. The team received accolades for its collective performance, as well as individual distinction with Mathew Trnkus, a third year student from Montreal, QC, double majoring in political science and development studies, and Hannah Peters, a first year Bachelor of Arts in public policy and governance student from Halifax, NS, receiving the Outstanding Delegates Award for their individual performance in the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Model UN conferences simulate the activities of the United Nations in proposing, debating, and voting on resolutions on major global issues, with the simulation taking place under various organs and committees of the UN, Dr. Cho says. StFX has a long history of participating in MUN conferences, with the Harvard National Model UN (HNMUN) Conference being the primary conference to attend. Three years ago, StFX students won two individual delegate awards at the HNMUN conference.

The NMUN-NY Conference is the largest intercollegiate MUN conference in the world, drawing over 5,000 students from over 400 universities and 130 countries. Formally recognized by the UN Department of Public Information as a registered NGO, NMUN it is also a registered Academic Impact Member of the UN.

Dr. Cho says StFX represented Argentina in 13 committees across numerous bodies and departments of the UN, including the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, the Department of Peace and Security, and the Department of Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs. Among the topics addressed were illicit trade in small arms, sustainable development, equitable access to education, accountability and transparency at the UN, climate change, marine pollution, sustainable agricultural practices, post-conflict reconstruction, global drug policies, peacebuilding, eradication of chemical weapons, hunger alleviation, cross-border disaster displacement, and many more. 

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“I feel super lucky to have gotten to represent StFX at the National Model UN conference in New York City. It was one of the best moments of my first year so far,” Ms. Peters says.

“Matt and I won the outstanding delegates award for our work in our committee. I was thrilled and a little shocked to have received this award because there were around 140 groups in our committee each representing a different country.”

“MUN is a great opportunity for young leaders and students of all backgrounds and from universities all around the world to come together to discuss solutions to the world’s most challenging issues,” says Mr. Trnkus on the annual mock debating tournament.

“This year our society went to the largest MUN gathering in the world, NMUN-NY, where over 5,000 students competed over a two-week span. Hannah and I were lucky enough to be voted as outstanding delegates for representing Argentina and it truly is a dream come true. We are very much looking forward to seeing the MUN team grow and expand into an annual high quality delegation for years to come.”

“Model UN is a great opportunity for students to learn about international relations and diplomacy while also making close friends, not just from their own university, but from around the world. I'm excited to see Model UN grow at StFX in the years to come,” says Maili MacKenzie, StFX Model UN Society president and a fourth year political science honours student from Perth, ON.  

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In addition to the conference, the students visited Argentina’s Permanent Mission to the UN and meet with one of its diplomats, Minister José Luis Fernández Valoni, who briefed them on Argentina’s role and position in the UN. They also got a chance to visit the UN Headquarters, with the plenary session and the closing ceremony taking place within the walls of the UN General Assembly Hall.

Attending this year’s conference was made possible in part by the generous funding provided by the Jules Leger Endowment, the Mulroney Institute of Government, the Department of Political Science, the Dean of Arts, and the McKenna Centre for Leadership.

Next year, StFX will field two delegations: a course-based delegation, and a delegation fielded by the StFXMUN Society as an extracurricular activity. Students interested in the course, PSCI 357 Model UN, should contact Dr. Cho at ycho@stfx.ca; students interested in the society-based delegation should contact Matthew Trknus at x2015jhc@stfx.ca.   

Participating students this year included:

Anne-Marie Mizzi

Brenda Gatera

Celia Chambelland

Clementine Loinard

Hannah Peters

Iffat Sohi 

Maili MacKenzie (President)

Marcus Wilmott (Fundraising Chair)

Matthew Trnkus 

Megan Langhorne

Nic Latulippe 

Patrick Andersen 

Rachel MacQueen

Rosalind Keyes (Vice-President) 

Rose Mergy

Stephen Keyes

Taylor Shaw (Secretary/Treasurer) 

Victoria Morley 

Zachary Vogel 

 

 

 

M.Ed. student wins cost of her X-Ring in Student Satisfaction Survey

Wed, 2018-04-11 13:45
M.Ed. student Erin Lepage, who won the cost of her X-Ring, by participating in the annual Student Satisfaction Survey, celebrates her X-Ring story with member of the M.Ed. Mental Health 4 cohort

Erin Lepage of Ottawa, ON, who is graduating from StFX with a M.Ed. degree in Administration and Leadership, Mental Health Cohort 4, has won the cost of her X-Ring by participating in an annual survey for senior students that gauges student satisfaction and experience. All those who participate are eligible for a prize draw to win the cost of their X-Ring.

The survey is administered by the Academic Vice-President and Provost’s office and the Office of Institutional Analysis. It collects data on all aspects of the student experience from academics to extracurricular from a senior student perspective.

Ms. Lepage says she has had a unique experience at StFX due to the fact she completed her program off campus, out of province. The program has been delivered online, using collaborate, with a few face-to-face meetings.

“Therefore, for myself, although our cohort became extremely close, I was not completely aware of the community that St. Francis Xavier is comprised of…that is, until the ring ceremony! Our ring ceremony was the first ceremony to be celebrated off campus in StFX history,” she says. “It was momentous for everyone involved. It was at that ceremony when everything became clear, understanding what it meant to have a degree from StFX and what the X-Ring truly signifies.

“The alumni and staff who came to celebrate with us, including StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald, made us feel connected and very proud. There has not been a day go by since I received the ring where someone has not commented on it.”

She says the X-Ring represents a connection to an east coast community and an immediate relationship with a friend, family or fond memory.

“I am so proud and honoured to be a part of this astonishing community,” she says.

“Another exciting fact about my ring is that in conversation with my mother, I discovered that my grandfather went to StFX. He would have graduated exactly 100 years ago. To add, my very supportive partner has a ring from exactly 20 years ago. Everyone has a connection!”

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