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Announcement from Mike Boyd, Chair, StFX Board of Governors

Tue, 2019-03-19 12:00

To the StFX Community,

As Chair of the StFX Board of Governors, I write to inform you that after five years as President of StFX University, Dr. Kent MacDonald has decided to not renew his contract of employment which is scheduled to end on July 31, 2019.

Kent has dedicated himself tirelessly to leading StFX and has done a tremendous job in the role as President. His strengths are many, yet one that stands out for me has been his ability to personally connect and communicate with our students, a group that he cares deeply for. This was reflected in his decision to create and launch the Xaverian Fund – a $50 million endowment for student scholarships and bursaries which, in part, has increased access to higher education for those who could not afford such an opportunity.  In addition to his commitment to students, Kent and his team have had many significant accomplishments during his tenure -- establishing the university’s 2017 – 2022 Strategic Plan; supporting the development and launching of new academic programs; launching the $110 million Xaverian Commons Project to improve academic and social spaces on campus; bringing the Brian Mulroney Institute of Government to fruition; and, most recently, balancing the university’s budget – just to name a few. 

It is with this strong momentum that Kent expressed to me that it is the right time for someone new to step in to not only continue the good work that he has been leading, but to bring innovation and new ideas that will further advance StFX’s academic mission.

Kent will remain in his role until July 31st, 2019. A presidential search will begin in the weeks ahead. More details will be shared as they become available. The board is confident that the university’s executive team will continue their collective commitment to StFX during the transition period and beyond.

On behalf of the entire StFX community, I thank Kent for his leadership and unwavering dedication to this wonderful institution. He is a true Xaverian and I know he will continue to be a great friend and supporter of StFX in the future. At his request, I am providing a link to a letter from him to the campus community regarding his decision – letter from Dr. MacDonald



Mike Boyd

Chair, StFX Board of Governors

New Spatial Data Resource Centre opens at StFX

Mon, 2019-03-11 11:36
Matt Schumacher, environmental science lab instructor and the driving force behind StFX's new Spatial Data Resource Centre

A new centre that supports teaching, research and learning has opened on the StFX campus. 

The Spatial Data Resource Centre is housed on the first floor of the Angus L. Macdonald Library, and offers the campus community a place to learn about and utilize spatial information with a geographic aspect to it—a resource that will help students and faculty on a wide range of projects.

“In this age of spatial information, it will be nice to have a space where researchers can access data and discuss ways to acquire the information they need,” says Matt Schumacher, StFX environmental science lab instructor and the driving force behind the centre, which houses data, both physical (such as maps and aerial photos) and digital (including pictures and satellite imagery) and has the capacity to print maps and posters.

Mr. Schumacher, who teaches a course on GIS (Geographic Information Systems) at StFX and is the informal, and go-to, GIS professional on campus, says he is excited that students, faculty and staff can become more informed and expert users in spatial information. 

He says at least once a week he receives student and faculty requests for GIS-related help. 

Not only will the centre be able to help students, faculty and staff on numerous projects, it will help students learn important skills that are useful in the job market, he says. 

GIS, he says, is simply, mapping software. “But it can do so much more than that.” It takes layers of information and puts them together so that spatial information can be analyzed, stored and visualized. 

Mr. Schumacher says the way spatial information is collected and analyzed has transformed the way relationships and patterns are understood. This information is increasingly utilized by a broad range of users.

As examples, the information can be useful on any project with a spatial element to it. From finding a certain species of plant that grows in specific locations to the public health field and planning for epidemics; from helping to understand the demographics of ridings and their voting trends, to the business field where it can be used to help retail outlets get a sense of their customer base to target those hot spots with ads or in locating a new store. 

Mr. Schumacher says the centre will help educate the campus community about this new resource, the data tools available and how it can help them with their research. He’ll have set hours at a help desk in the centre. 

He says the offices of StFX Associate Vice-President Research & Graduate Studies Dr. Richard Isnor and the former Dean of Science Dr. Petra Hauf have been very supportive of the initiative, including providing some funding to help with the set up.  

Daylong discussions, learning highlight 11th annual Forensic Psychology Day @ X

Fri, 2019-03-08 14:02

From discussions around mental health in policing to the Dennis Oland trial, participants at the 11th annual Forensic Psychology Day @ X, held March 8 in StFX’s MacKay Room, Bloomfield Centre, had a terrific opportunity to participate in daylong discussions of all matters at the interface of psychology and law.  

Now in its 11th year, this annual event is organized by StFX forensic psychology students and includes speakers from the criminal and correctional justice systems, forensic researchers and students. Speakers and guests came from across Atlantic Canada. 

“The professionals, many being StFX alumni, who help out with the Special Concentration in Forensic Psychology in various ways, such as speaking in class, providing workshops, and facilitating placements for students, have been coined ‘friends of forensic psychology’ by (concentration coordinator and StFX psychology professor) Dr. Margo Watt, and this day is organized by students with the goal of recognizing and thanking them for all that they do,” says Claire Keenan, a StFX student and one of the day’s organizers, along with Jennifer Aftanas. 

“The event also serves as an opportunity for students, both forensic students and otherwise, and community members to gain a better understanding of the program and of forensic psychology in general.”

Several highlights from the day included keynote speaker Dr. Mary Ann Campbell, a psychology professor at the University of New Brunswick, whose address focused on 'Mental Health in Policing;’ Dr. Meg Ternes, a forensic psychologist from Saint Mary's University who spoke about deception detection; and an alumni panel who spoke about their careers since StFX, their research, and answered questions from current students.

Other highlights included talks from correctional psychologists Paul Murphy and Lesa Dawson – Mental Health in Correctional Service of Canada; Nicole Rovers – Legal Aid Law; and Dr. Veronica Stinson of Saint Mary’s University – Psychological science on juries in Canadian courts: Lessons and research implications from the Dennis Oland trials. 

In addition, current StFX students presented posters on their practicum placements.

Forensic day 2019 2.jpg

Ms. Keenan says each year students speak of the impact Forensic Psychology Day @ X has on them. “Not only is it an opportunity to show what they have been working on within their placements, it is a chance to see the variety of career options that can stem from forensic psychology, as well as hear about fascinating research and work being done,” she says. 

“Not to mention, it gives students the ability to meet professionals and experts and make connections that could end up being beneficial to their future goals.” 

StFX English professor Dr. Maureen Moynagh receives prestigious, international honour for her work

Thu, 2019-03-07 16:29
Dr. Maureen Moynagh

The excellence of StFX English professor Dr. Maureen Moynagh’s scholarly work has been recognized with a prestigious international award for her essay published in the African American Review. 

Her article, “Speculative Pasts and Afro-Futures: Nalo Hopkinson’s Trans-American Imaginary,” was singled out as the best of the year, receiving The Joe Weixlmann Prize for the Year’s Best Essay in 20th and 21st Century African American Literature in the African American Review.

The Review, published by John Hopkins University Press, is a scholarly aggregation of insightful essays on African American literature, theatre, film, the visual arts, and culture; interviews; poetry; fiction; and book reviews. It has featured renowned writers and cultural critics and fosters conversation among writers and scholars in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.

“It was a really pleasant surprise, and gratifying to be recognized in that way,” says Dr. Moynagh, who teaches English at StFX, specializing in postcolonial literature, particularly African-diaspora and African literatures. 

She says as the journal itself selects the award winner, she didn’t know she was in the running until she received word that she had won. 

Dr. Moynagh says her essay is on Nalo Hopkinson, an African-Canadian writer who works mostly in science fiction and fantasy. 

Her essay, she says, situates Ms. Hopkinson’s fiction in relation to Afrofuturism—science fiction   produced by African-diaspora writers that offers a critique of the present through counter-factual histories and alternative future worlds—and in relation to recent literary fiction in the Americas that incorporates elements of science fiction and fantasy in works that otherwise employ realist conventions. Instead of understanding the realist and the speculative as antinomies, Dr. Moynagh argues, Ms. Hopkinson’s fiction invites readers to see the speculative genres themselves as a means of addressing the social and political injustice that has conventionally been the province of realist fiction. 

Dr. Moynagh’s essay appears in the Fall 2018 issue of African American Review, a special issue devoted to African-Canadian literature that was edited by Canadian and Nova Scotian poet, playwright and literary critic George Elliott Clarke. 

Dr. Moynagh says her interest in African-diaspora literature dates back to her undergraduate student days at the University of Winnipeg when her professor invited the Trinidad-born author Samuel Selvon in to speak with the class. “I was really captivated by the stories he read. It spurred my interest to look further,” she says. It also drew her interest to the field of post-colonial studies.  

StFX students have rare opportunity to tour the Royal Canadian Navy dockyard

Thu, 2019-03-07 16:02
StFX alumnus, Lieutenant (N) Peter Bigelow ’11, shows students the bridge of the Canadian patrol frigate HMCS Halifax.

Recently, StFX professors Adam Lajeunesse and Peter Kikkert travelled with students to Halifax, NS to join up with colleagues from Dalhousie University for a rare opportunity to tour the Royal Canadian Navy’s dockyard, put to sea aboard a patrol frigate, and learn about maritime security from the men and women of the Navy. 

Canadian Forces Base Halifax is home to Canada’s Atlantic Fleet, a collection of 15 navy vessels, and students were given access to each class of ship. First, small groups were led through the cramped interior of HMCS Windsor, a diesel-electric attack submarine. “From the torpedo room to the tight sleeping quarters, it was an eye-opening look at where sailors have to work while underwater for weeks at a time,” Dr. Lajeunesse says. 

Students were also walked through the coastal defence ship HMCS Glace Bay, commonly used for fisheries protection, search and rescue, surveillance, and law enforcement support along the coast. Aboard the Canadian patrol frigate HMCS Halifax StFX alumnus, Lieutenant (N) Peter Bigelow, from the Class of 2011, led the group through the operations centre, the bridge, and chatted with students about life at sea while standing next to the ship’s 57mm deck gun.

Shipyard2-MyStFX.jpg StFX students Chris Yurris and Josh Dupigny at sea with the Canadian Navy aboard HMCS St. John’s.

Following the ship tours, StFX students Josh Dupigny and Chris Yurris joined HMCS St. John’s for a day-sail into the Atlantic, experiencing what it’s like to travel aboard one of Canada’s most powerful warships. 

Dr. Lajeunesse says The Brian Mulroney Institute of Government is pleased to be able to sponsor this trip as part of its continuing push to teach students about public policy and encourage learning outside the classroom.


Double win: Two StFX Schwartz School of Business students each receive $25,000 Frank H. Sobey Awards for Excellence in Business Studies

Mon, 2019-03-04 10:01
L-r, Emma Logan and Liam Elbourne

It’s excellence recognized. And good news, times two.  

Emma Logan and Liam Elbourne, both StFX Gerald Schwartz School of Business students, have each been awarded $25,000 as recipients of the 2019 Frank H. Sobey Awards for Excellence in Business Studies.

They are among eight exceptional business students, studying at Atlantic Canadian universities, to receive the award this year. The award was started in 1989 to support the development of future business leaders and business programs in Atlantic Canadian universities. The award recipients were chosen by a Board of Directors, comprised of Atlantic Canadian business and academic leaders, from over 30 finalists based on entrepreneurial experience and interest, academic standing, extracurricular and community activities, and career aspirations. 

“Since 1989, the Frank H. Sobey Awards have been awarded to 181 emerging business leaders from Atlantic Canada. Every year, our Board is overwhelmed by the talent, leadership and entrepreneurialism shining through students at Atlantic Canadian Business Schools. The talent that these young business minds bring to this region is inspiring to us all.” said Paul D. Sobey, Chair of the Board of Directors for the Frank H. Sobey Awards for Excellence in Business Studies. 

It is the first time StFX has had two recipients of this prestigious award in the same year.  

“My faculty colleagues and I could not be more pleased to have Emma and Liam selected as 2019 Sobeys Scholars,” says Schwartz School Dean of Business Dr. Tim Hynes. 

“They are terrific ambassadors for the Schwartz School of Business; outstanding students who are socially engaged, giving back to their communities. They could not be more deserving of this recognition and we are proud to have them as students in our program.”

Both students say they are thrilled to receive the award, and credit StFX for its transformational impact. 

“I am truly honoured to join the alumni of the Frank H. Sobey Award and proud to do so as a Schwartz School of Business student,” says Ms. Logan, a fourth year business student from Halifax, NS, taking an advanced major in finance.

“The opportunities I have had at StFX have been beyond what I imagined coming here four years ago. My experience and success at StFX would not have been possible without the incredible community of students and faculty that I am surrounded with. This award opens up so many doors for me and feels like the greatest launch in to my post-grad pursuits to being successful in business.” 

Mr. Elbourne, also from Halifax, NS, is in the last year of a joint honours degree in business and economics. In November 2018, he was named as StFX’s newest Rhodes Scholar. 

"I am absolutely thrilled to have won the Frank H. Sobey Award for Excellence in Business Studies,” he says. “For starters, being recognized as one of the top business students in Atlantic Canada amongst so many other driven and talented individuals is a tremendous honour. Additionally, this award provides me with the financial freedom to get the most out of my next steps after graduating from StFX." 

Both students have excelled during their time at StFX. Bios for each follow below: 

Emma Logan 

Ms. Logan, a fourth year Schwartz School finance student from Halifax, NS, has had an impressive four years at StFX. Along with her studies, she has started an initiative that gives new purpose to old hearing aids. She launched Hearing for All and is collecting used hearing devices, having them refurbished, and donated to areas in the world that need them. Ms. Logan, who lost her own hearing while just 13 months old after contracting meningitis, wants to increase access and affordability. She has partnered with Calgary, AB-based audiology charity Gift of Hearing, and in April 2019, they will travel to Yamasá, an agricultural community in the Dominican Republic where Gift of Hearing has an audiology clinic with the aim of bringing 1,000 hearing devices. “This has been an invaluable experience for me as I am bridging my academic skills to connect with the community. As a self-initiated project, I have built relationships and created partnerships with individuals and organizations. I have learned to navigate the hearing health industry, connecting with hearing aid users, hearing health professionals, and top executives of Canada’s leading hearing aid manufacturers,” she says. Additionally, the StFX Enactus student society has selected her Hearing for All initiative as one of its student-run projects. She is the project manager and leads a team of 20 student volunteers. 

Ms. Logan has also received a prestigious Wallace Family Internship at StFX in 2018, offered through the StFX Innovation and Enterprise Centre. The internship supports students who have an enterprise idea and are interested in starting a new venture. It provides funding to support full-time employment for 12 weeks. 

She has furthered her learning, participating in a StFX international exchange to Bond University in Australia, and on campus, has used her leadership skills to help fellow students discover their ability to create and innovate early in their degrees through her work as VP Communications of the StFX Entrepreneurship Society, and co-facilitator of Sandbox Discover.

She has been actively involved with athletics as well. Ms. Logan is a member and has skipped the StFX curling team. She was part of the team that made StFX history, winning its first AUS Curling Championship and earning a spot at the USports National Championship where they placed sixth. 

Ms. Logan is an ambassador for the Rick Hansen Foundation, advocating for others with disabilities by promoting accessibility and inclusion in school communities. 

She is also the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2018 Frank Algar Scholarship, awarded by the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association to a strong advocate for the hard of hearing community. She received ‘First in Class’ honours in 2017, presented to the student who achieved the highest mark in the international business class at Bond University, Australia; and is a 2017 Alexander Graham Bell Scholarship recipient, awarded for academic achievement and leadership.

Additionally, she is a recipient of the Benedict Mulroney Scholarship, awarded by StFX for academic excellence, leadership and service to others; the 2017 recipient of the Export Development Canada’s International Business Scholarship, awarded to a student furthering their studies in international business and in excellent academic standing; and the 2017 R.W. Pugh Fair Play and Sportsmanship Award, voted by peers and awarded to a female athlete at the USports Curling Championship. She’s received the Sister Catherine MacNeil Award for the outstanding female freshman student at StFX; the Angus Macgillivray Bursary awarded by StFX’s art department to a student with outstanding studio production and promise in the visual arts; and the Young Woman of the Year, 2015, awarded by the Deaf Youth Association of Nova Scotia.

Liam Elbourne

Liam Elbourne, a Schwartz School of Business student from Halifax, NS taking joint honours in business and economics, has had an exceptional student career at StFX. In November 2018, he was named as StFX’s newest Rhodes Scholar. The scholarship is widely considered one of the world’s most prestigious awards, valued at over $100,000, and enabling recipients to study at the University of Oxford. Only 11 students from across Canada are annually selected.  

Mr. Elbourne garnered international attention for his research. In June 2018, he presented his paper “Shocks to Military Support and Subsequent Assassinations in Ancient Rome,” co-authored with former StFX economics professor Cornelius Christian, at the 52nd annual conference of the Canadian Economics Association at McGill University. He was the only active undergraduate student to present in a regular session at this conference, which featured almost 1,000 presenters.

The paper was subsequently published in the international peer-reviewed journal Economics Letters, a highly-respected outlet that has published the work of many past Nobel Prize recipients. Full-length stories about this research appeared in some of the world’s leading outlets, including The Smithsonian magazine, The Economist and The Telegraph. 

Mr. Elbourne is also captain of the X-Men soccer team, and volunteers extensively within the StFX and Antigonish communities.

He was the top ranked business student at StFX in the 2017-18 academic year with a 94.25 per cent average. He has been on the StFX Dean’s List, received annual in-house scholarships, and the StFX Athletic Director's Award for academic achievement in 2016-17. He is a four-time U SPORTS academic all-Canadian.

He has twice been a teaching assistant in the Department of Economics and has offered tutoring in courses across the business, economics, and mathematics departments. Now vice president of the StFX Economics Society, he aims to help build a mentorship program to be launched within the StFX Economics Department, connecting current students with StFX’s highly successful economics graduates.

Along with excelling in the classroom, he is an active StFX student leader. The AUS Student-Athlete Community Service Award recipient this past fall, he was also the 2018 StFX Male Community X-cellence award winner and was honoured as a Leader of Distinction with the StFX Leadership Academy.

In the StFX community, Mr. Elbourne has become an advocate for the prevention of sexualized violence. He served as the lone male panelist for the Contextualizing #MeToo panel discussion organized by the StFX Women's and Gender Studies department in November 2017. He also co-designed and co-facilitated a series of workshops in all StFX residences during the 2017-18 winter semester aimed at educating students on issues of consent and sexual assault. This past September, he was keynote speaker at the Antigonish March in Respect for Women and he was recently featured in the Antigonish Women's Resource Centre's initiative called ‘16 Days of Activism on Gender-Based Violence.’     

In addition, he has led the opening of two year-long Exhibitions of Indigenous Art at StFX. The first was created in honour of the permanent installation of the Mi'kmaq flag on the StFX campus in October 2017, and its success was such that a second exhibition was encouraged by the university. 

In his three years as president of the StFX German Society, he has been able to contribute positively to the student experience outside of the classroom. He has also been engaged with youth in his community. He has volunteered his time at the grassroots soccer level since he was a teenager, and in 2017, he was a facilitator at a youth leadership conference called Spark the Change, organized by the Healthy Relationships for Youth program in Nova Scotia. 

A midfielder on the soccer team, he has captained the X-Men for the past three seasons and was a key piece in leading StFX to consecutive second place finishes in the league standings. He is a former AUS all-star and was the 2014 AUS rookie of the year.

Our history is your history: African Heritage Month in Antigonish launched during ceremony at StFX

Thu, 2019-01-31 16:33
Unveiling the African Heritage Month 2019 poster are Kelsey Jones, Councillor Mary Farrell, Warden Owen McCarron, Allanique Hunter, Minister Tony Ince, Marcel Desmond and Lorraine Reddick

A full house—from the Hon. Tony Ince, Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs, to local school children—gathered at StFX’s Bloomfield Centre on Jan. 31 to celebrate the launch of African Heritage Month 2019 in Antigonish, under a theme of “Our History is YOUR History.” 

“We gather to honour and celebrate the many achievements that African Nova Scotians have made to our society,” said co-emcee Kelsey Jones, StFX African Descent Student Affairs Coordinator, who hosted the ceremony with Lorraine Reddick, Student Support Worker with the Strait Regional Centre for Education (SRCE). 

African Heritage Month marks a time of reflection, but more importantly, a time for education, she said. 

The month gives attention to a history that’s far too often exploited by the mainstream narrative. “Our history is your history,” Ms. Jones said, repeating this year’s theme as she encouraged everyone to listen and to learn, to attend events, and to listen to voices, not just during this month, but throughout the entire year. 

In a special part of the ceremony, and an historic first, she said today marks the first time the Pan African flag will be flown on campus for the entirety of African Heritage Month. The Pan African flag was raised at both the Antigonish Town Hall and in front of the President’s Office on the StFX campus. 

Another special moment came in a tribute and a moment of silence for the late Dr. Agnes Calliste, retired StFX sociology professor, national and international celebrated academic, and community champion who tirelessly served the Xaverian and Nova Scotian communities, including as StFX’s Black Student Advisor. Dr. Calliste passed away in August 2018. 


Minister Ince said this is an important time, a time to learn something different and unique.

“African Heritage Month is a time to celebrate and share the culture, history, and achievements of African Nova Scotians,” he said.  

It’s a time to recognize the distinct story of African Nova Scotians and how this story is interwoven in our province’s past, present and future, he said. 

“This theme recognizes that when we understand the diversity that exists in Nova Scotia, we will be able to facilitate positive change for our province.” 

AHM 2019.jpg

Kelsey Jones (left) and Brenda Gateva are seen singing "Lift Every Voice" during the ceremony

AHM 2019 2.jpg

Poet Naomi Ogbogbo presents her work entitled 'Royalty'

Understanding and celebrating this diversity was a message shared by a number of speakers. 

“We’re thrilled to be hosting the ceremony at StFX, and the long overdue flying of the Pan African flag on campus,” said Andrew Beckett, StFX Vice-President Finance & Administration.

Mr. Beckett said it speaks to the importance of diversity, and the richness it adds. While he noted that StFX has much more to do, he said the university is pleased to be embracing and building on this diversity, in past efforts and in the recent opening of the Diversity Education Centre on campus, designed to help celebrate and create more of a focus. 

Both Antigonish County Warden Owen McCarron and Antigonish town councilor Mary Farrell spoke of how the month celebrates the culture, legacy and achievements of African Nova Scotians, while sharing how this story is interwoven. “When we all acknowledge our shared history, we will be able to facilitate positive change,” Mr. McCarron said. 

As part of the ceremony, SRCE teacher and StFX alumnus Morgan Gero led an African Drumming performance with students from St. Andrew Junior School and Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional High School. Minister Ince, an accomplished drummer himself, joined in the closing performance. 

AHM 2019 3.jpg Minister Tony Ince (second left) joins in the African Drumming performance

Several classes from St. Andrew’s Consolidated School and the Antigonish Education Centre attended the event. 

Others speaking at the ceremony included Paul Landry, SRCE, and Rev. Peter Smith, who offered a prayer. Remarks were also read from the Hon. Randy Delorey, MLA, and Sean Fraser, MP, who were unable to be in attendance. Naomi Ogbogbo presented her poem entitled "Royalty." 

The event is hosted by the Town of Antigonish, Zone #7 African Cultural Awareness Association, African Nova Scotia Affairs, Support 4 Culture, the County of Antigonish, Black Educators Association of Nova Scotia, SRCE, and StFX.

StFX students awarded scholarships to study at Netherlands partner university

Wed, 2019-01-30 15:25
StFX students, l-r, Iris Magill and Brenna Wilson

Brenna Wilson and Iris Magill are looking forward to a unique new international study opportunity in the Netherlands at StFX partner exchange university, HAN University of Technology—as scholarship recipients. 

The two StFX human kinetics students have each received the HAN University of Technology Summer Program Scholarship, valued at €1,620 or $2,445 CAD, that offers StFX students the opportunity to study at the HAN Faculty of Health and Social Studies for their 2019 Summer School: Health, Social Work and Sport

This program consists of three, one-week courses, starting May 20 and ending June 7. The scholarship pays the tuition fee and covers accommodations, local transportation, and a field trip associated with each course at HAN University of Technology, located in the city of Nijmegen, in eastern Netherlands, near the German border. 

“It’s a unique opportunity and a good opportunity to take some other courses...I’m excited,” says Ms. Wilson, a third year student from Saint John, NB majoring in kinesiology in the BSc human kinetics program. 

Ms. Wilson says she is looking forward to meeting new people, to seeing how classes are taught there, and to learning from professors in courses that range from sports event management to issues in health care. 

She says she is looking forward to gaining new perspectives and new creative ways of thinking from the experience.

It’s a sentiment shared by Ms. Magill of Ottawa, ON, a second year BA in human kinetics student taking a minor in sport management.

“It’s such an interesting opportunity,” she says. “I’m so interested in the courses offered, they’re all so different, and to compare and contrast how things are done there and here. 

“I’m really looking forward to it, to meeting new people and seeing how things happen in different cultures, and how our different cultures conduct different events.” 

Ms. Magill says she’s had a travel bug lately to explore different cultures and at the same time she’s been trying to get involved in as much as she can and build her resume. 

“I thought this was perfect to mix both, the travel and to see how other people, how the Dutch culture go about marketing and organizing events, and contrast how we do things here.”

She says she is also looking forward to building connections.

Both Ms. Wilson and Ms. Magill say they’re hoping the experience will help give them further focus on what they’d like to do after finishing their undergraduate degrees at StFX. 

They both say they’re eager too to bring back different ideas and all they learn when they return to StFX. 

To be eligible for the scholarship, students had to be in either the BA or BSc human kinetics program, or the BASc Health program at StFX, be in good academic standing, have a focused professional and academic interest in human health and well-being, and have a curious, independent, open-minded and adventurous attitude.

StFX Athletics honours record-high 96 U SPORTS Academic All-Canadians

Mon, 2019-01-28 14:24

The StFX Department of Athletics honoured its 2017-18 U SPORTS Academic All-Canadians on Jan. 28, 2019 at their annual celebratory breakfast. This year, there was a record-high 96 Academic All-Canadians, those student-athletes who have achieved an 80 per cent average or above while consuming a year of eligibility competing for a varsity team. The number was an increase from the previous high of 82 Academic All-Canadians in 2016-17.

“It is important that we pause to celebrate the fantastic academic accomplishments of our student-athletes,” comments StFX Director of Athletics & Recreation Leo MacPherson. 

“These Academic All-Canadians are masters at balancing a demanding varsity sport commitment and community outreach activities, while at the same time achieving excellence in their academic endeavors. Their accomplishments are very impressive.”

Out of the possible 290 eligible student-athletes who consumed U SPORTS eligibility by participating on a varsity team at StFX during the 2017-18 season, 33 per cent achieved  Academic All-Canadian status, including 40 male and 56 female student-athletes. The X-Women soccer team had the highest percentage of any StFX team with 80 per cent of their team members earning the distinction. 

There were 52 first-time Academic All-Canadians, 22 student-athletes who received the honour for the second time in their career, and 12 who were three-time Academic All-Canadians. Ten student-athletes earned the elite distinction of being a U SPORTS Academic All-Canadians four times including: Chloe Brennan (soccer), Elise Brennan (soccer), Craig Duininck (hockey), Liam Elbourne (soccer), Kristoff Kontos (hockey), Olivia MacDonald (cross country), Cole Suart (soccer), Alex Taylor (soccer), Erin Visser (soccer) and Marco Zanchetta (soccer).   

The Athletics Director’s awards for academic achievement, presented to the top StFX male and female academic student-athletes were Amy Graham from the X-Women hockey team and recently named Rhodes Scholar Liam Elbourne from the X-Men soccer team who received the honour for the second consecutive year. 


Amy Graham, pictured in the left photo, and Liam Elbourne, in the right photo, receive their awards from Athletics Director Leo MacPherson

The 2017-18 Academic All-Canadians were honoured at a celebratory breakfast at the Bloomfield Centre where they received a certificate from U SPORTS along with a gift from the Department of Athletics. All student-athletes were encouraged to invite a faculty member to accompany them to the breakfast. The breakfast kicked off StFX Athletics annual Faculty Appreciation Week.

The complete list of 2017-18 StFX Academic All-Canadians is as follows:

Quinn Alexander, Track & Field                    Catherine Kennedy, Soccer

MacKenzie Bell, Rugby                                 Kristoff Kontos, Hockey

Melanie Belong, Soccer                                Meg Mary Krawchuk, Soccer

Dustin Benetti, Soccer                                  Adam Kuntz, Football

Merrit Blair, Rugby                                        Emma Kuzmyk, Soccer

Emma Boudreau, Track & Field                   Justin Laforest, Hockey

Chloe Brennan, Soccer                                 Beth Lawrence, Track & Field

Elise Brennan, Soccer                                  Taylor Leger, Track & Field

Sarah Bruce, Soccer                                     Emma Logan, Curling

Sarah Bujold, Hockey                                    Liz MacDonald, Cross Country

Carly Burrows, Hockey                                  Olivia MacDonald, Track & Field

Joanne Callow, Rugby                                   Claire MacDougall, Soccer

Tane Caubo, Soccer                                       Branden MacInnis-Morris, Track & Field

Santino Centorame, Hockey                          Katie MacIntosh, Basketball

Sam Charron, Soccer                                     Paul MacLellan, Cross Country

Paige Chisholm, Cross Country                     Danielle Makar, Soccer

Jillian Clarke, Soccer                                      Patrick Marlow, Cross Country

Nicole Corcoran, Hockey                               Hana Marmura, Cross Country

Marcus Cuomo, Hockey                                 Madison McClure, Hockey

Olivia Czipf, Soccer                                       Therese McCurdy, Curling

Craig Duininck, Hockey                                 Mercy Myles, Soccer

Liam Elbourne, Soccer                                   Matt Needham, Hockey

Emerson Elliott, Hockey                                Alex Neuffer, Cross Country

Hannah Ellis, Rugby                                       Daley Oddy, Hockey

Kelsey Ellis, Soccer                                        Maggie Oliver, Track & Field

Isaac Fagnan, Football                                   Devon Parris, Football

Jeremy Fagnan, Football                                Joseph Pereyras, Track & Field

Dylan Fisher, Football                                     Angus Rawling, Cross Country

Ashley Francis, Curling                                 Ashley Robson, Cross Country

Megan Frost, Soccer                                      Amy Rowe, Soccer

Claudia Fulton, Rugby                                   Paytan Ruiz, Soccer

Sam Gan, Football                                         Lydia Schurman, Hockey

Alley Goodreau, Hockey                                Holly Scott, Basketball

Alex Gosse, Soccer                                        Sam Studnicka, Hockey

Amy Graham, Hockey                                    Cole Suart, Soccer

Megan Graham, Track & Field                      Madison Suart, Rugby

Nicole Halladay, Hockey                               Alex Taylor, Soccer

Alex Hamilton, Rugby                                   Natneal Tecle, Soccer

Liam Harrigan, Soccer                                    Aaron Thibeau, Soccer

Rachel Hawkins, Soccer                                 Patti-Anne Tracey, Hockey

Jonathan Heidebrecht, Football                      Curtis Urlacher, Football

Joshua Henderson, Curling                             Erin Visser, Soccer

Jane Hergett, Cross Country                           William Warren, Soccer

Ben Herringer, Soccer                                    Larissa White, Soccer

Justin Holland, Football                                  Hayley Wilson, Track & Field

Aaron Hoyles, Hockey                                   Emma Winters, Hockey

Matt Jemmett, Football                                   Alex Yakimenko, Football

Sarah Johnson, Hockey                                  Marco Zanchetta, Soccer

StFX hires Dr. Claire Betker as Scientific Director of the National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health

Thu, 2019-01-24 10:17
Dr. Claire Betker

StFX is pleased to announce that Dr. Claire Betker will be the next Scientific Director of the National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health (NCCDH), effective March 4, 2019. The NCCDH, hosted at StFX, is one of six federally funded, national public health knowledge centres. It mobilizes knowledge to contribute to the Canadian public health sector’s capacity and decision-making to address social conditions that determine health. The NCCDH generates evidence-based resources, provides consultation, delivers an electronic resource library, hosts events and facilitates networks. 

Dr. Richard Isnor, StFX Associate VP of Research & Graduate Studies, who oversees the NCCDH, is very pleased with the outcome of the far-reaching recruitment. “Claire’s expertise and extensive public health experience position her as an ideal leader to direct the NCCDH,” he says.  

A registered nurse, Dr. Betker is the current President of the Canadian Nurses Association. She is deeply familiar with the NCCDH, having working for the NCCDH previously as senior knowledge translation specialist and director of research - early child development. Dr. Betker will come to StFX from her current position as Acting Executive Director of Active Living, Population & Public Health Branch at MB Health, Seniors & Active Living. In that position, she oversees development of intersectoral policies, government standards and a wide range of public health programs and services. 

Dr. Betker’s research work for her PhD (Nursing, U Saskatchewan, 2016) investigated public health leadership to advance health equity, using a scoping review and metasummary methodology. She coordinated the Public Health Agency of Canada’s development of Canada’s public health core competencies, released in 2008. These interprofessional competencies inform all Canadian public health practitioners through their academic training, employers and professional associations. She was a member of the teams that developed the discipline-specific competencies for public health nursing; the public health leadership competencies; and Manitoba’s public health nursing standards. 

Dr. Betker has co-authored journal articles, book chapters and NCCDH publications. Her community health career began in rural Manitoba at a single-nurse public health office. Since then, she has worked for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, as a freelance consultant, at a nurse-managed primary care centre, and has taught nursing students. Dr. Betker is a past president of the Community Health Nurses of Canada, and has been a long-standing member of the Canadian Public Health Association and, as a settler-ally, the Canadian Indigenous Nurses Association.

“Claire brings a wealth of leadership expertise, rich networks and a passion to put knowledge into action -- especially when it comes to increasing the public health sector’s capacity to help Canadian communities achieve their full health potential,” says Connie Clement, current NCCDH scientific director who will retire as Dr. Betker arrives. “Claire’s a talented, highly collaborative colleague who lives and breathes the very values that her research demonstrates are integral for public health to improve social conditions that advance population health.” 

StFX Catholic Studies Program recognizes 10 students with awards

Wed, 2019-01-23 16:33
Recipients of the Catherine and Archie MacPhee Awards and the Rev. B.A. MacDonald Memorial Bursaries, include, l-r, Joseph MacMaster, Abigail Law, Hannah Krebs, Jamie Samson, Clare Quirk, Emily Matthews, Kenzie MacNeil, Catherine Culhane, Sarah Furness and William Kehoe.

A number of StFX students, who are making a significant contribution to Christian and intellectual life, were recognized on Jan. 22, 2019 when the Catholic Studies Program presented 10 students with bursaries as recipients of the Catherine and Archie MacPhee Awards and the Rev. Bernard A. MacDonald Memorial Bursaries.

The awards commemorate Archie and Catherine MacPhee, the parents of Rev. Norman MacPhee, and Father Bernard A. MacDonald, who was a professor of moral theology at StFX until his death in February 1998.

The Rev. B.A. MacDonald Bursaries and the Catherine and Archie MacPhee Awards recognize and support undergraduate students who have an interest in Catholic Studies, philosophy, or moral theology, and who have made or are making a significant contribution to Christian intellectual and spiritual life on campus or in their home community.

This year’s recipients include Joseph MacMaster, Abigail Law, Hannah Krebs, Jamie Samson, Clare Quirk, Emily Matthews, Kenzie MacNeil, Catherine Culhane, Sarah Furness and William Kehoe.


StFX students invited to lead panel discussions at WUSC International Forum

Tue, 2019-01-22 10:39
L-r, Travis Radtke, Angelique Gakulu, Dr. Maria Soledad Paz-MacKay, Priscilla Panchol and Kristen Stephens

A delegation of StFX students will be attending the World University Service of Canada’s (WUSC) annual International Forum in Ottawa, ON on January 25-27, 2019, where they will also lead and participate in several panel discussion at the national event.

WUSC is a Canadian non-profit organization in international development that works with post-secondary institutions, private-sector partners, and volunteers to improve the lives of disadvantaged youth around the world.

Five StFX students from across disciplines will attend the international forum, including StFX WUSC president Kristen Stephens, WUSC treasurer Travis Radtke, Carter Julius, Priscilla Panchol and Angelique Gakulu. StFX modern languages professor and WUSC faculty advisor Dr. Maria Soledad Paz-Mackay will also attend. 

Dr. Paz-Mackay says the success of the first StFX Refugee Awareness Day, which the WUSC group co-organized on campus on Nov. 20, 2018, led organizers of the national event to request the StFX group take part in the Jan. 27th plenary session, WUSC World Cafe, which consists of small group discussions led by WUSC local committees presenting on a specific topic. 

“Given our experience organizing the event on November 20th, the students were invited to lead the session "Scaling up your events/How to plan a successful event,” she says. 

The StFX event, she says, was carefully designed to raise the profile of the Student Refugee Program (SRP) on campus, and to bring attention to this important issue. She says the StFX WUSC chapter has been active on campus for 35 years. Since 1984, numerous students have been brought to Antigonish to study, live, achieve, thrive, and become a part of the Xaverian family through the SRP, a unique youth-to-youth sponsorship, which aims at connecting youth living in refugee camps throughout the world with supportive university campuses. 

The StFX Refugee Awareness Day event also created a collaboration with many other community groups working towards the same goal. “As a result, our local committee members have been invited to facilitate a table discussion during the International Forum,” she says. 

Furthermore, StFX development studies Priscilla Panchol of Kenya, who came to StFX through WUSC, has been invited to take part in a Jan. 25th panel where she will join the presentation, “Moving the needle on gender equality: young women’s leadership for a more equitable and inclusive world.” 

“This panel brings together a group of young and dynamic students who are making a real change in their communities and campus working towards a more equitable and inclusive world,” Dr. Paz-Mackay says.

Ms. Panchol says she is looking forward to the experience.

“Attending the forum means a lot as I will be participating with a team of others in the panel to discuss the current problems refugee girls are facing and how to tackle gender issues. I am really excited to part of this group as this will shape my leadership skills in future.”

WUSC StFX president Kristen Stephens, a second year human nutrition student from Keswick Ridge, NB, says she knew she wanted to be part of WUSC ever since she learned about it on campus. She is very much looking forward to participating in the forum.

“It is one thing to be involved in the WUSC society on campus, but it is an overwhelming feeling spending a weekend with members involved in WUSC from all around the world. I was in Ottawa with WUSC in August of 2018 and it was amazing connecting with others in WUSC,” she says. “I find events like this create motivation more than anything. The energy at these weekends is enough to light a fire in anyone.

“I feel blessed and honoured and can't wait for it.” 

Mr. Radtke, a fourth year Schwartz School of Business student from Cornwall, ON, who became involved with WUSC StFX after taking a service learning option in his Introduction to International Development class in his first year, says he is ecstatic to have a chance to participate, answer questions and share his experience as part of the panel presentation at the event.

He says the International Forum will provide him with the opportunity to broaden his scope and to meet with students from other campuses across the country to share ideas to benefit all. 

Over the course of the three-day International Forum, participants will have opportunities to network and meet with key Canadian and international development participants. This year’s theme is “Development in motion.”

“This provides beneficial opportunities for students to expand their knowledge of international development, while also networking with like-minded individuals from over 80 post-secondary institutions,” says Dr. Paz-Mackay.

“Ultimately, as a local committee, our presence at the International Forum will allow us to increase our activity on campus and enhance internationalism at our university.”

 As the faculty advisor for the StFX WUSC Society, Dr. Paz-Mackay says she participated last year in this event, and she was pleasantly surprised to see how many students from all across Canada took part. “I was also sad to see that none of our StFX students were there. So, we made it our goal to participate this year. The forum is an exciting annual gathering where the best ideas and practices for global development are shared. It will provide a unique opportunity for the five students to learn and bring new ideas back to StFX.” 

Well-known journalist Linden MacIntyre to take the stage to deliver the Allan J. MacEachen Lecture in Politics at StFX

Thu, 2019-01-17 15:19
Linden MacIntyre

Well-known journalist and author Linden MacIntyre will deliver this year’s Allan J. MacEachen Annual Lecture Series in Politics at StFX. The lecture, open to the public, takes place on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 7:30 p.m. in the Schwartz Auditorium. Mr. MacIntyre’s talk is entitled “Whatsoever things are lies: Twilight time for truth and liberty.” 

This annual lecture series was established in 1996 through the generous support of friends and associates of the late Hon. Allan J. MacEachen. 

Over the years, speakers at the MacEachen Lecture, now in its 22nd year, have included four former Canadian prime ministers, the Rt. Hon. Paul Martin, the Rt. Hon. Joe Clark, the Rt. Hon. John Turner, and the Rt. Hon. Jean Chretien, as well as a number of distinguished academics, politicians, journalists and a justice of the Supreme Court. Past speakers have also included Preston Manning, the Hon. Bob Rae, the Hon. Frank McKenna, Dalton Camp, Senator Jerry Grafstein, the Hon. Roy Romanow, Dr. Margaret MacMillan, Dr. Jennifer Welsh, the Hon. Flora MacDonald, Senator Lowell Murray, the Hon. Dr. Donald J. Johnston, Allan Gregg and the Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin.

At this year's event, StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald will deliver welcoming remarks and the Honourable Lowell Murray will introduce Mr. MacIntyre. StFX political science professor Dr. Jim Bickerton will serve as master of ceremonies. 

Mr. MacIntyre was born in Newfoundland and grew up in Cape Breton. He is a graduate of StFX and worked for many years as a journalist, first in print, then broadcasting. He spent 24 years as the co-host of the Fifth Estate and has won 10 Gemini awards for his work there.

His bestselling first novel, The Long Stretch, was nominated for a CBA Libris Award and his boyhood memoir, Causeway: A Passage from Innocence, won both the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Nonfiction and the Evelyn Richardson Prize. His second novel, The Bishop’s Man, was a #1 national bestseller, won the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Dartmouth Book Award and the CBA Libris Fiction Book of the Year Award, among other honours. The third book in the loose-knit trilogy, Why Men Lie, was also a #1 national bestseller as well as a Globe and Mail “Can’t Miss” Book for 2012. His most recent novels are Punishment, in 2014, and The Only Café, 2017. He is working on a non-fiction project based in Newfoundland scheduled for publication in 2019.


StFX Schwartz School of Business students win big at JDC Central competition

Wed, 2019-01-09 15:57
Schwartz School JDCC marketing team, students Mairi Liska, Matt McGlashan and Reed Wigglesworth

A delegation of students from StFX’s Gerald Schwartz School of Business certainly made their mark at the JDC Central (JDCC) competition held Jan. 4-7, 2019 at Guelph University, coming away from the event with a first and second place finish.

StFX took a delegation of 47 students to Guelph to compete in a variety of events at JDCC, the largest undergraduate business school competition in central Canada, which brings over 700 student delegates together from Ontario, Québec and the Maritimes, including in academic case presentations in eight different business streams, debate, social, and sports. Delegates from 11 universities participated, with StFX the only university from the east coast. 

StFX’s Schwartz School marketing team of fourth year business students Matt McGlashan, Reed Wigglesworth, and Mairi Liska placed first in the case competition for their academic stream. 

StFX’s sports team also placed second overall for their performance in dodgeball. 

“Our marketing team’s performance was stellar,” says Schwartz School professor and faculty advisor Prof. Rhonda McIver.

“The three students representing StFX prepared an in-depth analysis of the case content, provided excellent recommendations, and their responses to the questions from the judges were incredibly insightful and articulate. When the team was presented with the first place award for their performance, the judge presenting the award emphasized that she was “incredibly pleased to award this team first place” and that is was “with honour that she presented the StFX team with their award.”  

Prof. McIver says each team is put into isolation as early as 5 a.m. and up to the first presentation time of 8 a.m. Once presentations begin, all teams must be in isolation. The academic team is given a marketing case three hours prior to their presentation time. The team has exactly three hours to review, analyze and make a solid recommendation on the case material, as well as prepare a power point presentation to present to the judges.  

Typically, there are four judges for each stream, comprised of industry professionals, often including a representative or stakeholder tied to the business being analyzed in the case. 

The students say the competition was a great experience, and they were thrilled with the win.  

“I have probably said it so many times that my teammates are tired of hearing it, but I feel so lucky that all of us were put on this team together, we worked together so well, and I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off our last term here at X,” says Mr. McGlashan, a fourth year student from Kingston, ON, who first attended JDCC as a first year student. 

Just getting to compete at JDCC is a thrill, he says, and one he highly recommends to any incoming StFX business student. “It is so incredibly fun and valuable.”

Ms. Wigglesworth, a fourth year student from Ottawa, ON, says she and her teammates have a lot of fun working on the cases together—including at the JDCC competition.

“The whole StFX delegation has become a great group of supporting friends, and I have learned a lot from the cases. I am really happy I decided to try out and although it is a lot of work, it definitely paid off.” 

Prof. McIver says she was very proud too of StFX’s sports team who she says displayed much enthusiasm and sportsmanship en route to their second place finish. The team was comprised of Riley Milford, Cameron Fritz, Dylan Thring, Patrick Wallace, Joseph Hunter, Grace Knowles, Maya Hockley, and Bryanna Meggs.


“I am certain that Mr. Schwartz would have been incredibly proud of all 47 delegates representing the Gerald Schwartz School of Business in the JDCC competition last weekend. Although we did not place in all categories, every delegate put their best effort into every event,” she says. 

“The students were pushed to their limits – exhausted – yet the StFX spirit shone through. They are always the most respectful, collegial, and spirited group at every event in which they participate. I am honoured to have been able to participate with these students as their faculty advisor.”  

Now Hirining 2019-20 Library Student Assistants

Wed, 2019-01-09 15:13

The Angus L. Macdonald Library is currently seeking applicants for our 2019-20 Library Student Assistant staff.

Why work for us?

  • Predictable schedule
  • Shift switching
  • Training/coaching
  • Learn about the library, our staff and services to help you in your studies and research
  • You're already here, so why not get paid!

Who are we looking for?

  • Someone who is:
    • Energetic
    • Service-oriented
    • Organaized with exceptional attention to detail
    • Able to work 2-3 shifts per week (shifts range from 2 to 5 hours each)
  • No library experience necessary as we provide training, however the following skills and experiences will be considered an asset:
    • Experience working in a library
    • Experience in the service industry
    • Familiar with the Library of Congress classification system
    • Comfortable using Office 365 applications
    • Able to use and explain the operation of different technology, programs, websites, etc.

For a more complete job description, please click here.

*To apply, download our application form and follow the instructions on the page.

StFX Class of 2019 establishing Emergency Mental Health Bursary as Senior Class Gift

Wed, 2019-01-09 10:07
L-r, senior class co-president Carl Miller, senior class development officer Kylie Ito, and senior class co-president Sarah Comandante

The StFX Class of 2019 is establishing The Emergency Mental Health Bursary as its Senior Class Gift, creating a legacy that will help support students who are dealing with mental health concerns. 

“The intent of this bursary stemmed from our desire to create a gift that would increase mental health support for students of all years, programs, and backgrounds,” says senior class co-presidents Sarah Comandante and Carl Miller, who are working with fellow senior student Kylie Ito, the senior class development officer, to establish the bursary. 

“Every person at some point in their life will be affected by a mental health concern,” they say.

University students in particular can face many challenges, including being away form home, unique new stress that accompanies university, and financial burdens that can cause distress.   

“This bursary is essentially an ‘accessibility bursary’ that will have the opportunity to provide necessary support to students facing sudden and unexpected compromising circumstances. This may include, but certainly is not limited to, travel costs to fly a student home for a funeral, rehabilitation program costs, grocery cards if a student is unable to work at the time due to a mental health concern, legal or travel costs to support a student who is a victim of sexual violence, and so on.”

They plan for the bursary to be distributed under the privy of StFX Health and Counselling Centre staff so that there is no need for students to apply and subject themselves to disclosing sensitive information. 

“We also believe that the doctors, nurses, and counsellors at the centre are the best personnel to judge a situation for when a student may benefit from this bursary. This also eliminates the confidentiality breach of a third party being involved to assess eligibility.”

The goal, they say, is to raise enough money so that the bursary will be self sufficient enough to provide a fixed amount of funding to the centre each academic year for distribution, and the funds can be distributed as needed, not based a fixed number of students. 

“We hope that through the creation of this bursary, the stigma surrounding mental health will continue to be lowered and encourage students to reach out for the help they need.” 

Anyone interested in learning more or in making a donation is encouraged to do so here

Nova Scotia Health and Wellness Minister cuts the ribbon at grand opening of StFX lab that measures cognitive abilities in the brain

Mon, 2018-12-17 10:25
Nova Scotia Minister of Health and Wellness the Hon. Randy Delorey (third from left) cuts the ribbon at the grand opening of the Applied Neuro-Cognitive Research (ANChoR) Laboratory at StFX. Also pictured, l-r, are Dean of Science and psychology professor Dr. Petra Hauf, PhD candidate Megan MacGillivray, human kinetics professor Dr. Melanie Lam, psychology professor Dr. Lindsay Berrigan, fourth year honours psychology and biology student Tessa Anzai, lab research technician Ashley Francis, and Dean of Arts Dr. Karen Brebner.

The Hon. Randy Delorey, Nova Scotia Minister of Health and Wellness was on campus Dec. 14, 2018 to officially cut the ribbon during the grand opening of the Applied Neuro-Cognitive Research (ANChoR) Laboratory, where three StFX faculty are researching and measuring  cognitive abilities in the brain.

Funding support of $40,000 each from the Province of Nova Scotia (Nova Scotia Research and Innovation Trust), as well as the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) was used to acquire new advanced research equipment. The lab is equipped with electroencephalography (EEG) technology, which records the electrical activity of the brain, and enables faculty to research the biological systems that support how people think. 

StFX psychology professor Dr. Lindsay Berrigan, human kinetics professor Dr. Mel Lam, and Dean of Science and psychology professor Dr. Petra Hauf each carry out differing cognitive neuroscience research in the lab. The research programs are diverse, reflecting the unique background of each of the team members. 

Anchor Lab opening 2.jpg

StFX psychology professor Dr. Lindsay Berrigan (left) speaks with Minister Randy Delorey about the research happening in the  ANChoR Lab

 The lab was created, they say, to investigate the biological systems involved in a variety of cognitive abilities, such as how we process information from our environment, movement control, attention, learning, memory, using electroencephalography (EEG) and event-related potentials (ERPs).

The researchers say they are capable of studying these abilities across the lifespan, from infancy to old age, and in individuals affected by developmental disorders such as autism, Down syndrome, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis. 

“Support from the Nova Scotia Research and Innovation Trust (NSRIT), CFI, and others allowed us to move beyond studying these cognitive abilities using only behavioural observation to now also measure how the brain is functioning, in turn determining the biological activity related to our cognitive skills. This research will have important benefits for Nova Scotians,” they say.

“For example, understanding biological constraints on our ability to attend to and remember new information can inform education curriculum and training programs. Furthermore, understanding the changes in brain function that cause cognitive difficulties for people with the aforementioned disorders and diseases will help us to improve healthcare services. Our research has the potential to improve diagnostic measures, to develop effective rehabilitation programs, and to provide valuable information in the development of new medications.”

Dr. Berrigan investigates how cognitive abilities are influenced by diseases and disorders, such as multiple sclerosis. The goals of her research include refining methods of identifying cognitive dysfunction, improving cognitive health, and ultimately, to improving patients’ quality of life. 

Dr. Lam’s research seeks to answer the question “how does the brain receive, organize, and understand sensory input for action?” Her research explores the cognitive and neural processes that support action prediction and action planning when two or more people perform a task together. 

The research conducted by Dr. Hauf focuses on the link of motor development and cognitive development in infants, and the impact of motor experience on cognitive functions essential for movement perception, object exploration, and action understanding. 

Minister Delorey noted the funding support is a testament to the quality and caliber of the research. As well, he noted strengths of the lab include cross-department and cross-institutional collaboration opportunities and the involvement of undergraduate and master’s students in high-end technology and research. The research, he says, aligns well with the province’s priorities and vision. 

Research Nova Scotia Trust Fund supports StFX Faculty and Students

Mon, 2018-12-17 09:20

Two StFX state-of-the-art chemistry research laboratories, led by StFX faculty Dr. Geniece Hallett-Tapley and Dr. Shajahan (Shah) Razul are making significant contributions to fundamental investigations into industrially-relevant reactions having less of a carbon footprint and into the freezing of biomolecules with industrial applications.

Additionally, the labs are providing StFX students with a unique combination of fundamental and applied industrial research opportunities—experience that will help makes the students more competitive in their future careers.

The equipment in both labs is made possible through research grants each professor has received from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) with matching funds provided by the Research Nova Scotia Trust (RNST).

Dr. Hallett-Tapley has received $89,186 from the CFI, with matching RNST funds for her research project, “Applications of Modified Perovskite Photocatalysts in Fundamental Organic Transformation.”

Dr. Razul has received CFI funding in the amount of $67,544 plus matching funding for research equipment for the “Development and Structure-Function Relationship Studies of Cryoprotectants in Seafood.”

Dr. Hallett-Tapley is looking at ways to make industrially-relevant reactions have less of a carbon footprint. For instance, many of the reactions currently under investigation in her lab are used in the synthesis of common drugs and fine chemicals and typically rely on high heat and long reaction times. Dr. Hallett-Tapley's lab is actively looking into ways to maintain efficiency of these reactions, but reduce the amount of energy required by implementing the use of visible light sources and room temperature conditions

Heat sources, she says, are derived from finite fossil fuel resources. Her research is looking at ways to be less reliant on fossil fuels and to ensure these processes have sustainability into the future.

Over the past two years she’s had two master’s students working in her lab, nine undergraduate students, and a visiting colleague from Brazil.

For Dr. Razul, his lab is focused on studying the freezing of biomolecules in food systems, particularly in seafood, both cooked and raw. In particular, he has been researching cooked lobster meat and how to get it in a more pristine state when it freezes.

What’s unique about the work, he says, is the idea to use the natural molecules and to tune them in a way using computer simulation. He’s designed experiments to check to see if the simulation is doing what he thinks it will do. The equipment enables detailed studies on the freezing properties of cryoprotectants.

His research has already shed light on how to keep food in an almost fresh state after it is frozen. He is moving onto the second stage of his research, looking at molecules in raw food, including lobster and shrimp.  

Dr. Razul has also had a number of students involved in his research lab over the past two years including about seven undergraduate students and a PhD student.

StFX philosophy professor invited visiting professor in China

Fri, 2018-12-14 14:08
StFX philosophy professor Dr. William Sweet with Renmin University students and faculty

StFX philosophy professor Dr. William Sweet was recently invited to serve as a Visiting Professor in the School of Philosophy at Renmin University in China.

Prof. Sweet was invited under Renmin University's International Frontier Faculty Training Program, whereby an outstanding overseas scholar is invited to the university to give a course of lectures, aimed at providing Chinese academics with the latest academic research on issues of contemporary concern. Dr. Sweet gave a series of lectures on normative ethical theory and the place of intercultural philosophy. 

His Visiting Professorship followed on an earlier trip to China this year in August, where he lectured at Shandong University, in Jinan, at the Beijing Institute of Buddhism Culture, and at the World Congress of Philosophy in Beijing.

Renmin University is one of China's leading universities, devoted primarily to the humanities and social sciences, and one of the elite "985" group (so designated by Chinese President Deng Xiaoping in September 1985), that was "established to promote the development and reputation of the Chinese higher education system." Its School of Philosophy has some 80 faculty members, including over a dozen in the area of ethics alone. 

During his time in China, Prof. Sweet also met with scholars from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, with graduate and post-doctoral students from philosophy, politics, and law, at Renmin, and, later, with faculty from Changzhou University and from the School of Business Administration of the Suzhou University of Science and Technology, where he also gave an invited lecture. Dr. Sweet was particularly impressed by the students who, he said, were among the best that he has met.


Provincial government recognizes StFX contribution to northeastern Nova Scotia; Additional $3.95 million funding is an investment in the community

Fri, 2018-12-14 10:29

On Friday, December 14, St. Francis Xavier University and leaders within the Town and County of Antigonish applauded the provincial government’s $3.95 million dollar increase to the university’s annual operating funding. 

“This announcement is tremendous news for StFX. On behalf of the StFX Board of Governors, I want to thank the Premier, the Minister of Advanced Labour and Education for the Province of Nova Scotia and local MLA, Randy Delorey for their vision, leadership and commitment to post-secondary education within the province,” said Mike Boyd, Chair, StFX Board of Governors. “I also wish to acknowledge the work of StFX staff under the leadership of Dr. Kent MacDonald who, for over two years, worked tirelessly on this file.”

The funding will be added directly to the university’s base operating grant, taking effect within the 2018-2019 fiscal year. 

“I’ve spoken with Mayor Boucher and Warden McCarron, and together with the university, we are so very pleased with this decision of the government,” says Dr. Kent MacDonald, President and Vice Chancellor of StFX University. “It signals to us that this provincial government understands and appreciates that by investing in StFX, the government is investing in an economic, social and cultural driver for the town and county of Antigonish, the northeastern region of Nova Scotia, and the province.”

"The StFX Students’ Union was excited to hear about the funding announcement on the increase to the base-operating grant for the university,” said StFX Students’ Union President Rebecca Mesay. “I’m very pleased to see funding that will go to areas that directly support students.”

In December, 2017, a report was released that outlined StFX’s $486 million economic impact to the province of Nova Scotia in 2016-17. The report concluded that for every $1 invested in the university, StFX generates $15 in return to the province.