“Oh my! Gorgeous!” were the gasps of appreciation as the curtain was drawn back on April 3 to unveil a stunning five panel gift of art from the Antigonish community, including StFX, to the Sisters of St. Martha as the congregation begins a new journey in their new home.
The oil painting, entitled “Journey,” by Anna Syperek, is an allegorical landscape which reflects the journey of these religious women, and is a gift of art to the Sisters of St. Martha by StFX, the Town of Antigonish, the Municipality of the County of Antigonish, and St. Martha’s Regional Hospital Foundation on behalf of the entire Antigonish community.
“These panels hold for us our Martha story, rich with memories of responses over the past 118 years,” says Congregation Leader Sr. Brendalee Boisvert as she offered a profound thank you to the large crowd that gathered for A Day of Celebration.
“It depicts us as we continue to journey to the future,” she said, and “continue to reach out to the needs wherever they take us.”
Sr. Brendalee Boisvert speaks at the celebration
Recently these pioneering women moved from Bethany Centre, their home since 1921, to Martha Place at Shannex Parkland. On April 3—a special day in the Martha calendar, recognizing 75 years since their original constitution was approved in Rome–the community gathered to celebrate and mark this significant transition.
StFX, St. Martha’s Hospital Regional Foundation, and Antigonish Town and County commissioned a competition last fall for a local artist to create an art piece that would commemorate the new journey of the Sisters and honour their past work.
“It’s a special day of celebration,” said Senator Mary Coyle, the afternoon’s emcee.
Senator Coyle said all of us as a community watched with interest and wonder the construction of this building and thought of these brave women of Bethany as they moved to their new home.
“We gather today in solidarity with these women to mark this historic moment in this community,” she said. “We come together on behalf of our community to thank and celebrate the Sisters of St. Martha as you embark of a new step in your journey.”
Several speakers took to the podium to reflect on the enormous contributions of the Sisters of St. Marthas. These included Most Rev. Brian Dunn, Bishop of Antigonish; StFX Advancement VP Murray Kyte; Joe MacDonald, St. Martha’s Regional Hospital Foundation Chair; Antigonish County Warden Owen McCarron; Antigonish Deputy Mayor Diane Roberts, Chief PJ Prosper Chief of Paqtnkek Mi'kmaw Nation; and artist Anna Syperek, who explained the idea behind the painting.
“StFX has a very long history with the Marthas,” StFX VP Advancement Murray Kyte noted in his remarks. “StFX has looked to the Marthas for inspiration since 1987.”
That was the year the Marthas original motherhouse was built on campus and 10 Marthas moved in. The congregation was officially established in Antigonish in 1900. Mr. Kyte noted the Marthas have cared deeply for StFX for well over a century and have provided outstanding service to the community. StFX conferred an honorary degree on the congregation in 2000.
“StFX is deeply indebted to the congregation for the support they have provided to campus,” he said, “and continue to provide today at Wellspring Centre on campus.
“Thank you for your contributions to StFX, thank you on behalf of the university.”
Being recognized for their art work is an amazing feeling, say StFX students Natalie Chicoine, Donica Larade, and Ana Lucia (Blue) Azcué Marin, this year’s recipients of the Angus F. Macgillivray Art Bursaries at StFX.
The bursaries, each valued at $750, are named in honour of the late Angus F. Macgillivray, an exceptional artist, teacher and faculty member of the StFX fine arts department, and recognize outstanding studio production and encourage young artists showing promise in the visual arts.
To be considered, applicants submit a sketchbook and six finished artworks. Three judges consider all submissions, looking for dedication and active study in the use of the sketchbook as a tool for exploration and problem-solving before creating a finished artwork. The submitted artworks must show a mastery of skill in a variety of art mediums as well as a giving a sense of cohesive artistic vision.
“This bursary means the world to me,” says Natalie Chicoine of Barachois, QC, a third year history student minoring in Celtic studies. She currently takes three art courses at StFX—oil painting with Adam Tragakis, human anatomy for the artist, also with Adam Tragakis, and contemporary art with Bruce Sparks.
She says receiving the bursary is particularly beneficial as living on a student budget is already difficult enough, but is even more difficult when you are trying to keep up a passion such as painting or sketching. “The cost of materials is very high, but is so necessary in order to produce good work I believe,” she says.
She says when she learned she had been one of the three chosen for this bursary, she felt a mixture of shock and excitement. “I know from having had an administrative role in the first edition of the Xaverian Review, a fledgling arts and culture magazine/journal on campus that we hope to continue in future, just how many talented and highly creative artists the StFX community truly has and so to be chosen really is a great honour for me and was quite the pleasant surprise,” she says.
“What's more, it is just very encouraging and sort of affirming in many ways that my passion is worthy of pursuit, even more reason to go to art school after this degree is done!”
“It means a lot for me to win this bursary, since this is my first year getting any training so the positive recognition is just heartwarming,” says Donica Larade, a third year biology student minoring in arts from Halifax, NS. She is currently taking Drawing 101 and last semester took colour theory. “I checked my email and as soon as I saw the ‘congratulations’ headline on the message, I jumped on my friend I was so excited.”
Blue Azcué, an international fine arts student from the Universidad de Guanajuato in Guanajuato, México, is taking five art classes—the art of listening, botanical drawing, contemporary art, anatomy for the artist, and batik studio. She says this was a great experience to share and learn about art made at StFX and to show what she’s learned in Antigonish, complemented with her work from country.
“I got really happy, and I felt supported by a university, which is not my home school, but that I have come to see as home,” she say
For students, handling and researching old artefacts provide an immediate connection with the past. StFX honours history student Natalie Chicoine is taking it one step further. This term, as one of her assignments with history professor Dr. Laurie Stanley-Blackwell, Ms. Chicoine will curate an exhibit at the Antigonish Heritage Museum, entitled, “Fade to Black: Dressing for Widowhood in late 19th-century Scottish Nova Scotia.”
This exhibit will feature objects related to the death trade of the 1890s, including mourning pins, hair jewelry, mourning dress, and memorial buttons from the Antigonish Heritage Museum, the Highland Village Museum, and private collections.
According to Dr. Stanley-Blackwell, “there was a profusion of mourning accessories, mourning pageantry and mourning protocols at this time and women were major consumers in the business of death.”
For this exhibit, Ms. Chicoine has combined a gender and material culture approach to depict how women in Scottish Nova Scotia expressed bereavement through dress. She says she has enjoyed her time as a student curator at the Antigonish Heritage Museum. It has enabled her to learn about display design, curatorial best practices, as well as history.
“It allows you to be in close proximity with the very items that the people and culture you are studying held so dear,” she says.
Museum curator Jocelyn Gillis has also found the experience a positive one. She comments, “This represents the first time a student from the university has curated an exhibit at the museum.”
“Fade to Black” will launch on April 3, 2018 with a small reception and commentary by Ms. Chicoine starting at 2:30 p.m. The exhibit is open to the public and will run until May 4.
This event also pairs neatly with the public lecture, “’Death Becomes Her’: Women and Mortality in 19th- and early 20th-century Nova Scotia,” recently given by Dr. Stanley-Blackwell and Celtic studies professor Dr. Michael Linkletter. It also complements the current series, “Living with Death and Dying in Antigonish,” organized by women and gender studies professor Dr. Rachel Hurst, which focuses on public discussions about responses to death in the present and future.
It was another record year for StFX’s annual Student Research Day—now in its 16th year—with over 100 student research posters and presentations showcased March 28 in the Oland Centre Auxiliary Gym.
“I am delighted,” organizer and human kinetics professor Dr. Angie Kolen said on the all-time high participation, which included a phenomenal 92 poster presentations and nine oral presentations, from 17 different departments in the Faculties of Arts, Science and Business.
“It was impressive,” Dr. Kolen said on the event, which has continued to grow from its introduction to campus in March 2003.
Again this year, the student research presented was broad, varied and impressive, running the gamut from learning if music helps with dental anxiety to Twitter on trial and social media in the courtroom, from seals and sealing policy in the Gulf of St. Lawrence to sources of groundwater methane in proximity to legacy coal mines in Nova Scotia.
“StFX Student Research Day is always a special day on the annual university calendar,” says Dr. Richard Isnor, StFX Associate Vice President, Research and Graduate Studies.
“The excitement and enthusiasm that comes from our students who are talking about their research helps to forge a passion that frequently influences their post-graduate careers. The high quality and diversity of these student research presentations is always impressive,” he says.
Student Research Day gives students the opportunity to showcase their research or advanced studies, and other students, faculty, staff and community members a chance to learn about and discuss the work.
Several format changes took place this year, including moving the event from a Thursday afternoon event to a Wednesday evening.
Remaining constant, and always growing, is the enthusiasm for student research.
Dr. Kolen thanked the over 30 StFX faculty and staff who assisted with the adjudicating process and everyone who helped with the event.
Awards presented at the event included:
The Community Engaged Research Award, sponsored by Service Learning:
Denise Webb, Human Nutrition
Corrina Degan, Development Studies
The Angus L. Macdonald Bibliography Award, sponsored by the Angus L. Macdonald Library:
Sebastian Jurga, Psychology.
Gold Awards, sponsored in part by the StFX Bookstore:
Matthew Martell, Physics
Laura de la Roche, Psychology
Cameron Sehl, Business-Economics
Silver Awards, sponsored in part by the StFX Bookstore:
Chloe Allen, Psychology
Craig Duininck, Business-Economics
Nolan O’Reilly, Business-Economics
Emily Rosta, Human Nutrition
Molly Rutherford, Human Kinetics
Laura Sevigny, Psychology
Oral Presentation prize winners:
Gold – Carmen Landry, Biology
Silver – Sebastian Jurga, Psychology
Scholarship was in the spotlight on March 29 as members of the StFX community gathered for the Third Annual Celebration of StFX Authors.
The event, held in the Hall of the Clans in the Angus L. Macdonald Library, celebrated StFX faculty authors who have published books in 2007.
The Offices of the Academic Vice-President and the Associate Vice-President of Research and Graduate Studies hosted the event.
Dr. Richard Isnor, Associate VP Research and Graduate Studies, welcomed all to the event.
“It’s a great accomplishment for any scholar,” he said. “It’s a lot of work and it’s very worthwhile to recognize and celebrate this accomplishment,” he said as he noted the authors represented a good cross section of departments from across campus.
Among the authors and books celebrated this year are:
Yvon Grenier, Political Science: Grenier, Culture and the Cuban State: Participation, Recognition, and Dissonance under Communism; Lexington Books, 2017; 320 pagesculture and cuban state.jpg
maria paz mackay.gif
Maria Paz, Modern Languages: Paz, Historia, Memoria y Novela en la Argentina de posdictadura. La cuestión de la responsabilidad extendida; Teoria y Critica; Estudios literarios; February 2017
education law in canada.jpg
David Young, Education: Young, D.C. (Ed.). (2017). Education law in Canada: A guide for teachers and administrators. Toronto, Canada: Irwin Law.
Helping students develop their scientific logic is the subject of a new paper recently published by StFX biology professor Dr. Russell Wyeth.
The paper, “Patterns vs. Causes and Surveys vs. Experiments: Teaching Scientific Thinking,” was published in the American Biology Teacher, and is co-authored with Quest University Canada life sciences professor Dr. Marjorie Wonham.
Dr. Wyeth says the focus of the paper is on sharing their approach to teaching students how to think about the scientific method.
“Science can be described as a fairly straightforward progression: a question leads to a hypothesis that is then tested. Scientists think through this progression all the time, but scientific teaching tends to only give students examples rather than actually teach the students how to do it. Yet many students find the progression tough to master initially,” he says.
“They make small errors in logic that result in mismatched questions, hypotheses and tests. That can lead to substantial disappointment, when they go to considerable effort, either real or imagined, to design an experiment that turns out to not answer their original question.”
The goal of their paper, he says, was to share the simple conceptual framework, based on a clear understanding of patterns versus causes, that they’ve found helps students to substantially reduce those small errors and keep their logic tight so that do indeed generate the right hypothesis and then design a test of that hypothesis that will answer their question.
“We both feel that this scientific logic is one of the most fundamental things we should be teaching students in biology, or any empirical science, for that matter,” he says.
Fourth year honours StFX biology student Laura Davidson, who was exposed to Dr. Wyeth’s approach to teaching scientific thinking through a biology class she took from him in her senior year, says the approach is extremely practical and effective.
“It allows you to break down very complex scientific questions such that they become easier to understand and test,” she says. “I really appreciate the opportunity to have learned this methodical approach to addressing scientific problems.”
Fellow fourth year honours student Molly McIntyre agrees.
“Dr. Wyeth's QHT (Question, Hypothesis, Test) approach taught me to break down the scientific method into understandable components. This approach allows me to stay focused on the scientific question at hand, ensuring that my research actually tests what the study is interested in,” she says.
“As a student, using this method has made biological literature accessible—no scientific article is too complicated to understand. This approach has deepened my critical thinking as a reader of biological literature as well as in my own research.”
"This method allowed me to think more clearly about the question at hand and helped me avoid getting bogged down by additional details. It also helped me extract pertinent information from somewhat complicated scientific journal articles," adds fourth year honours student Carmen Landry.
Dr. Wyeth says their qualitative student feedback on teaching the QHT framework includes two clear themes.
“The first is more immediate and more critical: they note the extra effort required or express frustration at the difficulty they experience as they wrestle with these concepts. We believe this feedback reflects the valuable challenge of the assignment, and is a necessary consequence of the teaching goal—to have good scientific reasoning, the challenge must be met sometime. This is why we teach the framework in stages, balancing the difficulty of the entire process with relatively small steps as we progress towards full test designs.
“The second feedback theme is longer term and very positive: students note the benefits of the framework for understanding the scientific method. They highlight how it has helped them in subsequent courses or after graduation, how it helps them to think like a biologist, and how it is different from what they are taught in other courses. Many students express both themes in their feedback, and make it clear they feel the effort is worth surmounting the challenge.”
Dr. Wyeth says their interest in the topic arose quite simply when he and Dr. Wonham were teaching together at Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre, and they had students completing substantial independent projects, and they were making mistakes with their scientific logic. They sat down and brainstormed a framework that students could use to check their ideas against to make sure their logic was sound.
“We've since refined and adapted the approach for use in essentially all the upper-level third and fourth year courses we teach (at BMSC, Quest, and StFX). We have also shared the framework with other colleagues in our respective departments and at conferences, and the response has been consistent encouragement to share our ideas as widely as possible.”
StFX's latest President’s Colloquium invoked a spirited conversation last night, March 21, on the topic of ‘Freedom of Speech in a University Environment.’
Professors, students and staff discussed the following resolution: “Be it resolved that there shall be no restrictions on free speech at StFX University.” Thoughts in favour of the resolution were discussed, while others gave their opinions against the resolution.
A question and answer session took place where the audience became very engaged. Many issues were discussed such as 'Is freedom of speech restricted by Canadian law?'
The debate covered many different ideologies. It was agreed that the discussion opened up great conversation where everyone was exposed to new thoughts and ideas.
Moderator for the evening was Academic VP Dr. Kevin Wamsley. The panel consisted of Dr. Yvon Grenier, Sydney Pagan, and Augy Jones for the resolution, while William Fraser, Dr. Lisa Lunney Borden and Kelsey Jones argued against the resolution. StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald opened and closed the event.
More than 100 people turned out for the event held in the Schwartz Auditorium.
On January 31 and February 1, 2018, the National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health (NCCDH) participated in a knowledge translation event titled Towards Tuberculosis (TB) Elimination in Northern Indigenous Communities in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The event, which took place on the traditional territory of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota and Dene Peoples, as well as the homeland of the Métis Nation, was hosted by the National Collaborating Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCCID) and supported by the NCCDH, the NCC for Aboriginal Health (NCCAH) and the NCC for Healthy Public Policy (NCCHPP).
The purpose of the in-person event was to help participants learn about the historical context and lived experiences of those infected with and affected by TB. Organizers also set out to explore collaborative opportunities to end TB in the north.
Throughout their discussions, participants considered systemic inequities experienced by Indigenous people and the role these inequities play in perpetuating TB. Alongside equity issues such as poverty, inadequate housing, food insecurity and lack of access to health services, Indigenous self-determination was a crosscutting discussion theme. Isa Wolf of BC’s First Nations Health Authority reiterated this point, sharing stories from her work with TB programs that focus on holistic concepts of wellness, as well as medical models of TB treatment and infection control (described in an NCCDH blog post).
Following the forum, TB elimination will continue to be a specific area of focus for the NCCID. The NCCDH previously collaborated with the NCCID on a resource titled Public Health Speaks: Tuberculosis and the social determinants of health (2014).
For a more in-depth description of the events of the forum, please visit the web story on the National Collaborating Centres for Public Health website.
Working in pairs, 12 senior StFX earth sciences students recently navigated a trail along the Alájar River in Spain to 11 stations with the goal of interpreting the geological story recorded in the rocks in the area. The students collected field data to create a map and geological cross-section of the area.
The hike traversed the suture zone between ancestral North America and Europe in the heart of the ancient supercontinent Pangea over 300 million years ago, and was one of the experiences on an eight-day advanced geological field methods course the StFX Department of Earth Sciences held in Southern Iberia from Feb 16-24.
Dr. James Braid, with the assistance of Dr. Donnelly Archibald and MSc candidate Lori Paslawski, led the eight-day field school in Spain.
“Southern Iberia offers unique and varied geology, including excellent exposure of an ancient continental collision zone that formed during the collision of Gondwana and Laurussia, during the amalgamation of Pangea. This ancient suture zone stitched ancestral North America to Europe approximately 300 million years ago, and provides a rare exposure of this important geological relationship,” Dr. Braid says.
The region also hosts the world famous Iberian Pyrite Belt, a geological terrane rich in volcanogenic massive sulfide (VMS) deposits that are actively mined today. The trip focused on educating students on geological mapping and tectonic interpretation, economic geology, as well experiencing surface and underground mining and exploration operations in Spain and Portugal, says Dr. Archibald.
During eight intensive days in the field, students practiced observation, mapping, interpretation, and presentation skills in a location with a unique geological history.
“The area afforded a rare opportunity for students to witness examples many important geologic processes that they had only learned about in theory in the classroom,” Dr. Braid says.
The international field school was made possible through generous funding from Dr.
David Palmer (Probe Metals), Lundin Mining, the Prospectors and Development Association of Canada (PDAC), Kinross Gold, the StFX Dean of Science, the StFX Research VP, and the StFX Department of Earth Sciences.
“This trip has had an outstanding impact on me, by allowing me to discover not only the geology of Spain and Portugal, but their culture and traditions as well. It will most definitely allow me to be more marketable in my pursuit of a career having learned about how the classroom and industry relate in a practical way,” says Sean Freeborne, a third year honours earth sciences student.
“It is something that I never thought that I would be able to do in an undergraduate degree, and it shows how pursuing a degree in earth science can give you opportunities to explore the world,” he says. “The relationships that I have built with my professors and fellow students is by far what stands out the most from this trip.”
Bailey Malay, a fourth year honours earth sciences student, says she is grateful for the opportunity to go abroad to do an international field school.
“This opportunity will help me in the future as I was able to experience field work in a different country, as well as the culture of a different country. This experience has made me appreciate the program I am in and the many opportunities that I might find in my future as a geologist.”
COMPLETELY DIFFERENT LEARNING EXPERIENCE
“The juxtaposition of being thrown out of your comfort zone culturally and observing and learning about earth processes that are unique to the area provided a completely different learning experience that I believe everyone on the trip benefited greatly from,” adds fourth year honours student Patrick Hamilton. He says the trip will have massive impacts on his future as a geologist. “In geology context and experience is everything to a future employer. Having mapping and interpretation experience from Spain is something that few Canadian students will ever be able to say they have acquired.”
Olivia Pushie, a third year earth sciences and aquatic resources major, agrees the experience has already had so many impacts on her—furthering her geologic knowledge, experiencing another culture, and strengthening friendships with classmates.
group at the mine web.jpg
StFX staff and students at the Neves Corvo Mine, Portugal: Dr. Donnelly Archibald (back left), Dr. James Braid, Pat Hamilton, Caleb Grant, Andrew Flower, Sean Freeborne, Lauren Walker, Colin Ross, and Garrett Merz. Shelby Park (front left), Bailey Malay, Talia Bobenic, Olivia Pushie, Mary Besaw, and MSc student Lori Paslawski
Fourth year earth sciences student Talia Bobenic says the international field school helped her grow as a student. “I was exposed to so much new geology that I had never seen before. This experience helped me expand my geology knowledge that will be beneficial in my future pursuits.”
Andrew Flower, a second year master’s student, says it means a great deal that StFX Earth Sciences provided “this incredible opportunity to develop our geologic research skills overseas in a brand new and exciting environment. I can say for myself that this trip provided a learning experience not only in the field geology, but also on a level of personal growth. Being able to share this experience with fellow classmates and friends made the Spain trip unforgettable. The experience has sparked my drive to travel, and pursue a career internationally.”
This is the second time StFX has offered such an experience.
Dr. Braid organized and ran a similar trip in 2012.
“However, we now plan to make this a permanent trip to be run every two years. We have an endowment made possible by a generous donation from Dr. David Palmer (Probe Metals), which gives financial support to students through the Palmer Bursary. Combined with other donations, the trip is now more financially feasible.”
Dr. Braid has done extensive field research in Spain, including his doctoral research with StFX earth sciences professor Dr. Brendan Murphy.
“As a result, I have extensive knowledge of the area from both a geological and practical standpoint. As this area of Spain records a spectacular and unique geologic story, and given my on the ground knowledge I though it an excellent field laboratory for students,” he says.
“In terms of impact, when learning about geological processes there is really no substitute for seeing what we discuss in the classroom firsthand in the field. Although we run numerous fieldtrips around Antigonish, this trip allows students to see geology that is not possible in Nova Scotia. Taken together with the added bonus of international travel I believe the course greatly enriches the undergraduate experience and ties together many of the separate boxes of knowledge students learn about in their individual courses.”
The chance to showcase and talk about their research at the recent Science Atlantic Aquaculture & Fisheries and Biology Conference held March 9-11 at Memorial University was an invaluable experience, say three senior StFX honours biology students.
Laura Davidson, Carmen Landry and Molly McIntyre all presented at the conference held in St. John’s, NL.
“All three gave excellent presentations, exemplifying the best of what StFX students can achieve. They represented the department and the university with poise, pride, and professionalism,” says Dr. Michael Cardinal-Aucoin, who also attended the conference.
“Being able to present my research at this conference was an amazing opportunity. I was able to share something I am passionate about with the scientific community and received incredibly valuable feedback,” says Ms. Davidson, a fourth year honours biology student taking a concentration in health sciences.
“I believe that it is very important to have opportunities such as this, and I am so grateful that I was able to represent StFX at this conference, along with my fellow honours biology students,” says Ms. Davidson of Halifax, NS and graduate of Halifax West High School, who is supervised by Dr. Daniel Kane. She says their research investigated the effects of antihistamines on mitochondria in skeletal muscle, in the context of exercise. They found that antihistamines decrease hydrogen peroxide emission by these mitochondria.
She says the experience allowed her to strengthen her ability to translate scientific knowledge and improve her communication skills. “I feel that these skills are and will continue to be very valuable, as I plan to pursue a career in the healthcare field in the future.”
Ms. Davidson says she is presenting her research at an international conference, Experimental Biology, in April, so presenting at Science Atlantic was a wonderful opportunity to practice for that, also.
Ms. Landry, a fourth year honours biology student from Sydney, NS and Riverview High School graduate, who is supervised by Dr. Russell Wyeth, says her presentation focused on the establishment of a method to measure gene expression in pond snails, in order to learn about the function of their peripheral nervous system and their sensory processing.
“I really enjoyed being able to present my research in front of other biology students and faculty who share similar interests. Judging from the questions, there appeared to be a genuine interest in what I was doing, which I found to be encouraging,” she says.
GAIN CONFIDENCE, NETWORK
“This experience helped me gain confidence in my presentation skills. I appreciated the opportunity to network with biology students in Atlantic Canada and learn about the research being done by students across the region. This experience opened my eyes to the diversity of research topics available to undergraduate students.”
Dr. Wyeth says this was a great opportunity for Ms. Landry to share their research with other scientists. “Her research is part of a brand new direction in my lab, and it is important that we have conversations with other scientists who already have expertise with the methods. Carmen's thesis is a big part of us developing that expertise here at StFX,” he says.
“Presenting my research in this setting showed me the extent of what I learned,” says Ms. McIntyre, a fourth year honours biology student from Ottawa, ON and graduate of St. Joseph High School, who is supervised by Dr. Moira Galway.
Her research looked at the extraction of DNA from microorganisms in soil using different DNA extraction methods. Next, she looked at the stability of the microbial DNA profile over time and temperature with the soil sample stored in different potentially stabilizing solutions.
SHOWCASE AND ENRICH
“I was able to interact with other biology students and faculty to discuss my research in an academic sense. It is so important to have these opportunities because they allow me to showcase and enrich what I've learned. It has also allowed me to interact with different biologists, who ask questions that I had never thought of before,” she says.
Dr. Galway says Science Atlantic undergraduate conferences provide a great opportunity for student presenters to learn about life sciences research in the region and to meet other student researchers, and that she was delighted Ms. McIntyre was able to present her last summer's research in St. John's. “As the internal supervisor for Molly's off-campus research project, I know that I've learned as much as she has about a topic new to me: the challenges of sampling, preserving and analyzing the DNA of soil microbes.”
The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, former Chief Justice of Canada, the first woman in Canada to hold this position, and the longest serving Chief Justice in the history of this country, led a lively discussion on law and democracy as she delivered the Allan J. MacEachen Lecture on Canadian politics, now in its 21st year at StFX, on March 19.
Her keynote address, entitled "Democracy and the Rule of Law," took place before a packed house gathered in the Schwartz Auditorium for the lecture series, which commemorates the distinguished career of the late Hon. Allan J. MacEachen. The lecture series was established in 1996 through the generous support of friends and associates of Mr. MacEachen upon his retirement from political life.
After warmly welcoming Ms. McLachlin to campus, StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald noted in his remarks that this is the first lecture held since Mr. MacEachen’s passing in September 2017. Dr. MacDonald took a moment to share thoughts on “a man we simply knew as Allan J.,” touching on his remarkable record of public service, his eight decade association with StFX and Antigonish, and his impact on Canada.
“As we gather for the first time without Allan J., we think of him fondly, we miss him dearly, and we’re thankful we carry on the legacy,” Dr. MacDonald said.
“What a singular honour it is to be asked to deliver this lecture in honour of the late Allan MacEachen,” the Rt. Hon. Ms. McLachlin said.
“I admired him greatly.”
Once or twice in a generation, Canada produces a great statesman, and Allan MacEachen was one of them, she said.
“He put the country of Canada and the welfare of its citizens first. He enriched us enormously and we owe him a great debt. I only wish he was here so I could thank him personally for all that he did.”
In her remarks, the Rt. Hon. Ms. McLachlin outlined how each branch of government has its own unique role, the legislative, which makes the law, the executive branch, which enforces the law, and the judicial branch, which resolves disputes, and how democracy depends on each carrying out its role.
It’s very important that these institutions remain in balance, she said. It’s these tensions that hold democracy together, healthy tensions that most scholars believe are essential to a well-functioning democracy.
She spoke too about basic principles of democracy like judicial independence and its key role in guaranteeing an impartial justice system, and the rule of law, where every exercise of power has to be done in accordance with the law.
We are fortunate in Canada, she said, that balance and mutual respect is our historical norm.
She says in her almost half century as a lawyer and as a judge, she took for granted the democratic underpinning, that the world seemed to be in a march towards these values of human rights, democratically elected governments, and independent courts. The arrow may now be wobbling and parts of the world are experiencing an unravelling of post-World War II values, and experiencing diminishing judicial independence and rule of law.
“It bears watching,” she said, noting we live in an age where values are shifting and certain norms are beginning to unravel.
Democracy is well and alive, but we would be remiss not to be concerned with the slow decline in public confidence in our basic institutions. Maintaining public confidence will be a prime challenge as we move into the future, she said.
“We should not be complacent if we want to preserve the Canada we’re rightfully proud of,” she said.
StFX political science professor Dr. Jim Bickerton, who served as master of ceremonies, gave some background on the MacEachen Lecture Series, noting that over the years speakers 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 now for the first time, 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, and Allan Gregg.
Antigonish lawyer Carole Gillies, who also teaches business law part-time in the StFX Schwartz School of Business and a MacEachen Lecture committee member, introduced Ms. McLachlin.
Special guests in attendance at the event including the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, the Hon. Arthur J. LeBlanc and his wife Patsy LeBlanc.
Bio: The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin
The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin spent her formative years in Pincher Creek, Alberta and was educated at the University of Alberta, where she received a BA (Honours) in Philosophy in 1965. She pursued her studies at the University of Alberta and, in 1968, received both an MA in Philosophy and an LL.B. She was called to the Alberta Bar in 1969 and to the British Columbia Bar in 1971 and practised law in Alberta and British Columbia. Commencing in 1974, she taught for seven years in the Faculty of Law at the University of British Columbia as a tenured associate professor. Her judicial career began in April 1981 when she was appointed to the Vancouver County Court. In September 1981, she was appointed to the Supreme Court of British Columbia. She was elevated to the British Columbia Court of Appeal in December 1985 and was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in September 1988. Seven months later, in April 1989, she was sworn in as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. On January 7, 2000, she was appointed Chief Justice of Canada. She is the first woman in Canada to hold this position. In addition to her judicial duties at the Supreme Court, the Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin has chaired the Canadian Judicial Council, the Advisory Council of the Order of Canada and the Board of Governors of the National Judicial Institute. She is the author of numerous articles and publications. She retired on December 15, 2017.
To the campus community,
On Friday, police arrested a minor in response to the racist graffiti that was spray-painted at various locations last week. On behalf of the entire StFX community, we wish to express our shock and anger, our sadness and disappointment, upon learning of this crime. To remain silent on the implications of this callous act contradicts the values of equity and inclusion that underpin our vision for this university and its place within the broader community.
To our friends and neighbours affected by these acts – and anyone who has been a victim of racism – please know that we stand with you. We are committed to collectively building a future where everyone feels welcomed and included, and where racist structures, attitudes, and behaviours are remnants of the past. Indeed, the dialogue that this latest incident has ignited must not cease with the arrest. It is evident that racism exists in our communities; it is our responsibility to confront it.
StFX continues to take steps to become more inclusive, to amplify and celebrate the many diverse voices that are part of our community. We have a long-standing relationship with Indigenous and African-Nova Scotian communities through initiatives such as the X-Project and our education programs that have graduated more than 200 Mi’kmaq and African-Nova Scotian students. We are planning to welcome Mi’kmaq knowledge keepers to campus to share traditional Indigenous ways of being and knowing. The university has installed the Mi’kmaq flag on campus as a permanent reminder that we are situated on the unceded traditional territory of Mi’kma’ki. And, we are creating academic opportunities for students through the generosity of the Jeannine Deveau Educational Equity Endowment Fund. These are but a few steps towards equity and inclusion.
We encourage all communities to come together to confront systemic racism and make the changes required for a more just and equitable society. Finally, we would like to advise the campus community that we offer services for anyone who has experienced racism, has concerns, or needs support.
To report an incident of racism or a Human Rights complaint contact:
Human Rights & Equity Advisor
Location: MacKinnon 541A
Other services are available:
Coordinator, Aboriginal Student Affairs
Location: Bloomfield 313D
Coordinator, African Descent Student Affairs
Location: Bloomfield Rm 313C
Kevin B. Wamsley
Academic Vice-President & Provost
St Francis Xavier University
Craig Duininck, a StFX Schwartz School of Business fourth year honours entrepreneurship student, has been singled out for excellence.
Mr. Duininck of St. Cloud, Minnesota, has received the prestigious $25,000 Frank H. Sobey Award for Excellence in Business Studies, one of eight recipients for this academic year.
Started in 1989 to support the development of future business leaders and business programs in Atlantic Canadian universities, each year eight Sobey Awards are offered to full-time undergraduate students of business studies in universities in the Atlantic Provinces.
“It’s a very, very good feeling,” Mr. Duininck says on receiving the award, noting how the award criteria, which includes academic excellence, extracurricular and community involvement and entrepreneurial interest, recognizes all the work he’s put into the classroom, community service, and athletics over the last few years.
He’s had an impressive four years at StFX.
In 2017, Mr. Duininck received the $6,000 Irving Mentorship Research Award offered through StFX’s Frank McKenna Centre for Leadership to fund 12 weeks of research. His research looked at the effects of individual recognition on team productivity.
In 2017, he was also named captain of the StFX X-Men hockey team.
He is also a graduate of the StFX Leadership Academy and has volunteered his time in a number of ways, including raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada, serving as a business and statistic tutor, as well as volunteering with a local Boys and Girls Club, the Canadian Obesity Network StFX Chapter, the Learn to Skate program, Multi-Sport program, and the First Nations Hockey Development Program.
“I give a lot of credit to my family, and to StFX as a whole. The culture around here is a culture of giving back,” he says.
“Just going to class and hanging out with your friends isn’t enough,” he says. “It’s important to give back as well.”
He says he’s also been fortunate as a member of the X-Men hockey team to watch and be inspired by previous captains and team members who have won awards for demonstrating great leadership in and outside of the classroom.
As for time management? You learn very quickly how important it is, he says. “If you make time, it’s worth it.”
Walking into the Physical Sciences Centre at StFX, visitors will see two amazing structures built entirely out of cans of food—the efforts of StFX engineering students who are once again using their skills to fight hunger.
Second year engineering students at StFX are participating in Canstruction Nova Scotia, an annual competition that has teams build structures out of canned food. When the competition concludes, Feed Nova Scotia distributes the food and donations to member food banks and meal programs across the province.
Team Touching Down on Hunger
Members of the StFX and local communities are invited to come to the Physical Sciences Centre lobby to view the structures.
StFX engineering professor Emeka Oguejiofor said not only did students work to create aesthetically pleasing structures, they also had to use cans that would result in balanced meals.
While visiting the Physical Sciences Centre, all have the opportunity to vote for their favourite structure. The structure with the most votes will get the People’s Choice award. Voters are encouraged to donate in support of the work being done by Feed Nova Scotia. The Canstructures are on display through Sunday, March 11.
Team Flagging Down Hunger, led by team captains Makayla Rozsa-Grover and Tiffany Noddin, designed and built the “CANada Flag, a 5-1/2 foot high flag that displays the Canada flag on one side and the Nova Scotia flag on the other side. They used 17 different food types and a total of 1,836 cans.
Team Touching Down on Hunger, led by captains Alexander MacDonald and Connor Hanna, replicated the StFX football field and named their design “The Ol’ Can Stadium.” They used eight different food types and a total of 1,318 cans.
Professor Oguejiofor says RBC Royal Bank was amazing in their support. “They provided the students with $1,000 for food purchase in addition to their staff doing a food drive and collecting additional cans that will also be going to Feed Nova Scotia. So over 3,200 cans of food will be going to Feed Nova Scotia from this event.”
The legacy of the late Dr. Ann Sherman—former faculty member and former director of the school of education at StFX—will continue at her alma mater, StFX, thanks to a $1 million scholarship established in her honour to support African Nova Scotian and Aboriginal Canadian students in all programs in the Faculty of Education.
On March 2, StFX announced a $500,000 donation from the John and Judy Bragg Family Foundation to establish the Dr. Ann Sherman Scholarship. The scholarship is a lasting commitment to recognize their niece—described as a remarkable educator and leader in her field—and her legacy, particularly in helping underrepresented people.
The $500,000 funding is matched by the Jeannine Deveau Educational Equity Endowment Scholarship Fund, established at StFX through the generosity of alumna Jeannine Deveau from the Class of 1944, and aimed at making a university education more accessible to members of the African Nova Scotian and First Nations communities.
“This is an important story for us,” StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald said in making the scholarship announcement before a large crowd gathered in Dennis Hall.
“The $1 million endowment in her name will provide bursaries to ensure we are able to support African Nova Scotia and Aboriginal Canadians to attend StFX in the Faculty of Education,” he said.
Bursaries will be available for students in all programs in the Faculty of Education, including the Bachelor of Education, Masters of Education, Masters of Adult Education and PhD program.
It ensures that individuals who come to StFX, individuals who have been underrepresented for a long time, will have the pleasure of gaining knowledge and passing it on, Dr. MacDonald said.
This is a lasting legacy we can leave for our community, Dr. MacDonald said as he offered sincere thanks and appreciation to John and Judy Bragg for their generosity and support in initiating this scholarship.
“It would make her heart soar to know this would be her legacy at StFX,” niece Dr. Carla Sherman said at the announcement as she thanked all involved for making this possible.
In moving remarks, Dr. Sherman told of how her aunt believed in the power of education, and of the strong academic footprint she left wherever she touched down across the world.
“She’d be so pleased to know something has been created in her honour in a community so dear to her heart,” she said.
StFX Dean of Education Dr. Jeff Orr, a friend and former colleague, expressed further the impact the establishment of this scholarship will have on the StFX Faculty of Education.
“Ann deeply affected the scholarship while she was here. This will help us continue important work that was so dear to her,” he said as he spoke about Dr. Sherman’s many contributions to education.
This scholarship, he said, will have a significant impact on the ability of African Nova Scotian and Aboriginal Canadian students to participate fully.
“She had a passion for many things in education. The top of her list was support for First Nations and African Nova Scotian students,” he said.
This gift means so much, added StFX education faculty member Dr. Joanne Tompkins, who served as emcee for the ceremony.
Calculus skills were put to the test on February 28 as the StFX Mathematics & Statistics Department hosted the 2018 Integration Challenge for first year calculus students.
Students competed head-to-head solving integration problems from calculus in a tournament funded by the Atlantic Association for Research in the Mathematical Sciences.
Tiffany Tsui took home first place in the competition, followed by Lauren Barter in second, and Meaghan MacDonald in third place. The top three winners shared $500 of prize money.
"In holding the event, we are hoping to foster the excitement that comes with tackling and overcoming challenging math problems, in a fun environment. Everyone who participated showed real skill in the face of the pressure of performing difficult mathematics quickly and in front of others, and the finalists should be quite proud of their performance among a very talented pool of students," says StFX mathematics professor Dr. Ryan Lukeman.
He says the Integration Challenge is modelled on an annual competition held at MIT, where students compete to solve integrals, an important first-year calculus skill that can require a lot of ingenuity.
Integrals, he says, are great for focusing some of the essential skills of mathematics—strong fundamentals, pattern recognition, and creativity.
“Incidentally, these skills are also invaluable to forming quantitative critical thinkers who, down the road, will be creating solutions in an increasingly complex world," he says.
“The Integration Challenge was a great experience for me,” says Ms. MacDonald, a first year science student and graduate of Memorial Composite High School in Sydney Mines, NS. “It was an opportunity to push my mathematical abilities and perform under pressure.”
She says competitors were given a five-minute time limit per question and the first to correctly answer won the round. “It was a little intimidating trying to solve the problems when all eyes were on me, but it was a very friendly competition where everyone showed respect when others performed. All students who participated showed great mathematical talent and the professors did an amazing job putting the tournament together in a fair way. It was excellent practice for calculus class and am glad to have had the opportunity to participate,” she says.
Dr. Lukeman says the department extends sincere thanks for the support from the Atlantic Association for Research In the Mathematical Sciences (AARMS), “a great organization that supports math research and outreach in the Atlantic region."
Close to 20 StFX faculty and program staff from across campus gathered this week to write in a shared space during the 6th Annual Faculty Writing Retreat, say organizers human kinetics professor Dr. Mel Lam and psychology professor Dr. Erin Austen.
“Some worked on preparing their research for publication, others worked on book reviews, and/or research grant applications. The retreat ran from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily over the Reading Week,” they said.
Writers took a break to eat lunch together, which was catered by Sodexo and sponsored by the Office of the AVP Research. During the lunch break, attendees had an opportunity to share what they were working on with the rest of the group, to engage in conversation, and to get to know their colleagues from other departments, programs, and disciplines.
“As always, the writing retreat provided a supportive, motivating and productive environment to engage in the writing process. The atmosphere was one of collegiality,” Drs. Lam and Austen say.
“We thank the attendees for making this year’s retreat a success. We thank Dr. Richard Isnor, AVP Research, for his continued support of the retreat. We thank Sodexo for the food, and Conference Services for arranging the space. We are already looking forward to the next retreat where we will welcome both newcomers and returning writers.”
The retreat had a record number of participants registered: Deb Vossen (Human Kinetics), Christina Holmes (Health), Riley Chisholm (Sociology), Nancy Forestell (History), Charlene Weaving (Human Kinetics), Kailin Wright (English), Patti Hansen-Ketchum (Nursing), Maria Soledad Paz-Mackay (Modern Languages), Naima Chowdhury (Coady), Erika Koch (Psychology), Dan Kane (Human Kinetics), Connie Clement (NCCDH), Ronald Charles (Religious Studies), Mel Lam (Human Kinetics), Erin Austen (Psychology), Ornella Nzindukiyimana (Human Kinetics), Wojciech Tokarz (Modern Languages), Ann Bigelow (Psychology), and Linda Darwish (Religious Studies).
It’s a great day for StFX students. The StFX Service Learning program is excited to announce it is the successful recipient of $280,000 over four years through the most recent round of the Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships program. The funding will allow StFX to expand and build on its Immersion Service Learning program and existing partnership in Ghana.
Specifically, the funding will allow StFX’s Immersion Service Learning program to annually send 10 StFX students to Ghana as QE Scholars over the next four years. Students will travel to Ghana for 12 weeks to undertake a six-credit inter-disciplinary studies course, “Contemporary Issues and Service Learning in Ghana” and to complete six weeks of individual service placements.
Students accepted into the program, offered this year May-July 2018, pay only the cost of tuition for this amazing opportunity, says Service Learning program manager Megan Turner.
StFX was the first university in Canada to develop and offer service learning as an academic-based, experiential learning program for undergraduate students.
“This is going to be a great initiative for StFX, and a great opportunity for students to experience an incredible service learning experience,” says Dr. Richard Isnor, StFX Associate Vice President, Research and Graduate Studies.
“StFX students selected as QE Scholars under this initiative will be the beneficiaries of a prestigious national scholarship. The Queen Elizabeth Scholars program is strongly aligned with the StFX tradition of service in support of community-based development, so we are delighted to be joining other Canadian universities that are involved in this initiative,” he says.
Students will receive six credits towards their degree and gain enormously from the experience, which will include pre-departure and post-experience debriefs led by StFX’s Coady International Institute.
DEEP, RICH LEARNING
StFX development studies faculty member and Canada Research Chair, Sustainability and Social Change Leadership Dr. Jonathan Langdon and development consultant Coleman Agyeyomah will teach the inter-disciplinary studies course. Students will learn about Ghana’s contemporary context in relation to history, politics and the social and economic fabric, developing an understanding of global inequalities and social justice.
Students will then complete six weeks of individualized service placements, where they will enhance their knowledge in multiple disciplines in partnership with community development or social change organizations.
This experiential learning course is based on a long term partnership, which means StFX can offer students an opportunity to engage with Ghanaian development experts, as well as communities to explore the complexities of social change from their perspective on a very deep level, Dr. Langdon says.
“Even though three months is a short time frame, the wonderful connections Mr. Coleman Agyeyomah brings to leading this experience allow our students a level of access and depth that is rare,” he says.
“Students should expect to be challenged, to confront some of the differences that exist in our contemporary world, and the history of inequity that helped produce these differences. They should also expect to meet inspirational people who get up every day and take on some of these differences to ensure the lives of average Ghanaians have as much potential as possible. They should also expect that this experience leaves them asking questions about what they can do better enable global equity.”
NEXT GENERATION OF GLOBAL LEADERSHIP
StFX was successful in the most recent round of the Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships program, often referred to as the Queen Elizabeth Scholars program (QES), which will see $5.8 million of funding to support 650 students in 20 Canadian university-led projects.
Undergraduate and graduate students will enrich their academic, professional and cross-cultural skills while contributing to global projects led by participating Canadian universities.
Now in its fourth year, the QES program is a collaborative initiative led by the Rideau Hall Foundation, Universities Canada and the Community Foundations of Canada, made possible thanks to contributions from the Government of Canada, provincial governments, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), universities, and a wide range of private sector donors.
The impact of having an educational experience overseas is life-changing; students who have studied or worked abroad often return with a new sense of self and purpose. Moreover, it’s becoming clear that the benefits of a global experience for Canadian students stand to impact our country’s prosperity and growth. “As Canada looks to advance economic and political relations internationally, we need our next generation of leaders and innovators to have global core competencies, including knowledge of business culture, language skills and intercultural competence,” said Paul Davidson, President of Universities Canada.
“The QES program is proud to serve as a uniquely Canadian vehicle and platform for public and private funders as well as the university community to come together and offer students the opportunity for global learning, service and impact,” said Scott Haldane, President and CEO of the Rideau Hall Foundation.
Scholars participating in the QES program become part of a global network of leaders who continue to engage with their communities locally and around the world. “The QES program has truly created a dynamic group of young people who are changing our world and are instrumental in enhancing the work of community foundations at home and abroad,” said Andrew Chunilall, CEO of Community Foundations of Canada.
FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO APPLY
For StFX students interested in more information on the Immersion Service Learning experience to Ghana and for applications, please see https://sites.stfx.ca/service_learning/node/130.html