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Rare opportunity to see relic: Large crowds gather to see relic of St. Francis Xavier at St. Francis Xavier University

Mon, 2018-01-08 16:24
People line up for the rare opportunity to see relic of St. Francis Xavier

Standing inside the University Chapel at St. Francis Xavier University on Jan. 8, second year StFX student Matthew Crowell of Truro, NS pauses for a moment to describe his reaction to seeing and touching the glass-enclosed relic of the forearm of famous missionary saint, St. Francis Xavier—the university’s patron saint.

“It was very peaceful. I was clear-minded when I saw it,” said the human kinetics student.

“Something like this coming from Rome is very special. I can’t believe it’s the actual relic of St. Francis Xavier.”

Seeing the forearm of the Catholic saint at St. Francis Xavier University, the university that bears his names, makes the experience even more special, he said.

The major relic is on campus as part of a 14-city pilgrimage across Canada, organized by the Archdiocese of Ottawa, the Canadian Jesuits and Catholic Christian Outreach, a national university student movement.

“I am so overjoyed to be here with you at StFX,” Angèle Regnier, co-founder of Catholic Christian Outreach said to a large crowd gathered at the University Chapel awaiting the start of public veneration.

“This is an extraordinary privilege,” Ms. Regnier said as she explained the relic is normally on display at the mother church in Rome on a prominent, ornate altar. “You’d never think it would be removed.”

Permanently displayed at the Church of the Gesù in Rome, organizers believe this is the first time the relic has been on Canadian soil. His body, which is buried in Goa, India, as well as the relic of his arm, are incorrupt—they have not experienced natural decay since his death in 1552, says a press release from organizers who expect close to 100,000 people will visit the various events across the country—the same number of people it is believed Francis baptized with his right arm and hand.

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Relic of St. Francis Xavier pictured in a photo from Catholic Christian Outreach

“Saint Francis Xavier is one of the most revered saints of all time,” Terrence Prendergast, SJ, Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Ottawa, said in the release. “He was a man of extraordinary courage and faith who shared the Gospel message of Jesus with thousands across southeast Asia, Goa and India.”

“So many people have an affinity to him, and none more than StFX,” Ms. Regnier said in her remarks at the chapel, noting that while travelling in Canada, the relic will mainly visit places connected with the Canadian Jesuits and Catholic Christian Outreach. “You are the only exception.”

She says this is an exceptional opportunity to sit with a relic. “Appreciate all of your time. This is holy ground.”

While in Canada, the relic is scheduled to visit Ottawa, Québec City, St. John’s, Halifax, Antigonish, Kingston, Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Regina, Calgary, Vancouver, Victoria and Montréal. The veneration of relics, the release says, is a longstanding practice inside and outside the Catholic Church.

In conjunction with the arrival of the relic at StFX, Medieval Cultures at X also organized a panel discussion on the topic of medieval relics, a central feature in Christian religious and social life. Speakers included Dr. Donna Trembinski, Dr. Cory Rushton, and Dr. Sharon Gregory. 

China’s Arctic Ambitions: Irving Shipbuilding Chair at StFX's Mulroney Institute of Government launches new book

Thu, 2018-01-04 09:18
Co-authors, l-r, Whitney Lackenbauer of St. Jerome’s University and Dr. Adam Lajeunesse, Irving Shipbuilding Chair at the Mulroney Institute of Government at StFX.

Over the past several years, China has dramatically increased its activity and investment in the circumpolar Arctic. A self-described “Near Arctic State,” Beijing’s growing polar capabilities have caused confusion and even alarm in some quarters, as its motivations and objectives remain uncertain. This important development in circumpolar affairs is the subject of a new book, launched in December 2017 by Dr. Adam Lajeunesse, the Irving Shipbuilding Chair at the Mulroney Institute of Government at StFX.

The book, China’s Arctic Ambitions, delivers a nuanced assessment of the growing Chinese interest in northern resources, shipping, science, and governance. Drawing on extensive research in government documentation, academic literature, and business and media reports, this book eschews the common assumption that China poses an acute threat to Arctic states’ polar interests. Instead, it offers a nuanced assessment of how different Chinese stakeholders approach the region and how carefully managed relationships can contribute to positive circumpolar development.

Dr. Lajeunesse, and co-author Whitney Lackenbauer of St. Jerome’s University, presented the book’s most important conclusions and led a spirited debate on the subject at an event organized by the University of Calgary Press.

China’ Arctic Interest is available for purchase in January 2018 and will be followed by more Arctic security research in the coming months as the Mulroney Institute develops its Arctic security research theme, Dr. Lajeunesse says.

StFX signs agreement with Cultivator Catalyst Corporation

Mon, 2017-12-18 16:37

St. Francis Xavier University is pleased to announce it has signed an agreement with Cultivator Catalyst Corporation (CCC), whose wholly owned Nova Scotia based subsidiary, THC Dispensaries Canada Inc (THC Inc) became a licensed producer of cannabis on November 30, 2017 under Canada’s Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations.

This is a three-year multi-disciplinary agreement where StFX will seek research collaboration opportunities with CCC and its subsidiaries on the development of proprietary solutions for the commercial cannabis industry. Specific areas of collaboration include the following:

* Creation of unique cannabis genetics that may be used in clinical trials that CCC intends to undertake
* Development of new delivery methods and mechanisms for cannabis into the human body
* Research into new approaches for growing and cultivating cannabis at an industrial scale
* Assistance in sourcing human capital for CCC with a particular focus on StFX students and graduates
* Work with regional and provincial authorities to support these activities

Andrew Kendall, StFX Manager of Industry Liaison and Technology Transfer, says that, “There are researchers at StFX with interest and expertise in cannabinoid compounds and how they may provide benefit for a variety of medical conditions. We are also interested in research into cannabinoids from a harm reduction perspective. With THC Inc., we see opportunities where our faculty and students can collaborate in these areas.”

Frank MacMaster, President of THC Inc. says, “I am excited to work with such a world-class academic and research institution. At both CCC and THC Inc., we are not looking to build just another cannabis producer. Our approach is to build a platform that will offer unique products and services in the broad cannabis market that will have a disruptive impact on this young but fast-growing industry. THC Inc. is the first of several licensed producers throughout Canada we expect to be operating under the CCC banner in the coming 18 months and our work with StFX will benefit them all. We also look forward to supporting the local community by creating a large number of employment opportunities and creating an international center of innovation in cannabis here in Nova Scotia.”  

StFX powerful economic contributor – generates almost half a billion to Nova Scotia economy

Mon, 2017-12-18 15:21

Study reports for every $1 government invests in StFX, $15 return

An economic report released this month reveals that St. Francis Xavier University contributed $481 million in 2016-17 directly into the Nova Scotia economy.

The report called ‘The Economic Impact of St. Francis Xavier University on the Nova Scotia Economy’ examines the economic impact of the university. The report is comprised of five categories including institutional spending, student spending, visitor spending, alumni earnings premium, and research and knowledge.

See the report here: 

economic report.pdf economic report.pdf

"One of the most useful aspects of this document is that it assembles data for different University activities into a single document," says Dr. Greg Tkacz, Professor & Chair of Economics at St. Francis Xavier University, and a co-author of the report. "When analyzed together, we can paint a more complete picture of the University’s economic impact on the region and province."

The report shows the university’s spending contributed over $104 million to the regional area in 2016-2017. In addition, more than $48 million flowing into the regional economy can be attributed to students and visitors to the university.

The value of a university education cannot be overlooked. As students graduate into the working world they are provided with higher wages known as the ‘Earning Premium.’ On average, university graduates with undergraduate degrees receive $14,000 to $39,000 more annually in wages, while those with above a bachelor’s level earned a gross earnings premium between $22,000 and $54,000 annually.

Research also impacts the local economy through the creation, dissemination and fostering of knowledge. The university was responsible for investing almost $86 million into the economy that was directly related to the primary functions of the university, teaching and research.

"Given the high proportion of out-of-province students attending StFX, the institution can be viewed as an “exporter of education services” — money flows into Nova Scotia in exchange for a university education, which helps boost Nova Scotia’s Gross Domestic Product," says Dr. Tkacz. 

"This flow of funds into the province is captured not only through student spending, but also through the high proportion of out-of-province visitors who travel to Antigonish for events such as convocation and the X-ring ceremony. All of these generate substantial economic spin-offs for regional service providers related to lodging, food and recreational activities."

The government’s investment into StFX is a good one. The government multiplier factor embodies the amount the government funds the university and how much the university contributes in return. In the case of StFX, for every dollar the government invested in the university, StFX provided $15 in return into the economy.

This comprehensive report estimates total economic impact by employing the recognized and formal economic impact reporting standards developed by the University of British Columbia, later utilized by many universities across Canada.  

Philosophy professor Dr. Christopher Byrne awarded SSHRC funding, publishes new book on Aristotle’s physics  

Thu, 2017-12-14 11:11
Dr. Christopher Byrne

For Aristotle, matter matters.

That’s the precis of a new book from StFX philosophy professor Dr. Christopher Byrne, who deals with Aristotle’s contributions to physics in a forthcoming book, Aristotle’s Science of Matter and Motion, to be published by the University of Toronto Press in 2018.

Dr. Byrne received a grant of $8,000 for the book from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s (SSHRC) Aid to Scholarly Publications through the Federation for Humanities and Social Sciences. It is a competitive process and a prestigious award.

“I was quite gratified to receive this award, as the topic of my book is not exactly on everyone’s lips. Still, I was moved to write this book because there is a curious view of Aristotle that is still quite widespread: on the one hand, he is considered one of the most important figures in the history of philosophy, indeed, in many fields, having made important contributions to biology, ethics, political philosophy, logic, metaphysics, rhetoric, and the theory of tragedy; on the other hand, he is held by many philosophers and historians of science to have failed so badly at physics that he held back its development until the seventeenth century when the Scientific Revolution finally overthrew Aristotelianism,” Dr. Byrne says.

“So the puzzle that drew me to this topic was how such a great thinker could have failed so badly in his understanding of the material world.

“As it turned out, I discovered that his views on the material world are not nearly so bizarre and wrong-headed as people have claimed. On the contrary, he offers a systematic account of matter, motion, and the basic causal powers found in all physical objects due to the matter from which they are made.”

Matter is important for Aristotle because he holds that all perceptible objects are ultimately made from physical stuff of one kind or another and that this matter is responsible for many of their basic features. He also investigates the nature of change in general, independent of the specific nature of the object undergoing a change; here, he begins with locomotion, the most fundamental kind of change.

Finally, Aristotle offers an account of the basic features of matter and motion that is quantitative and non-teleological. His use of final causes in biology and elsewhere is compatible with his quantitative, non-teleological account of matter and motion, because in his view all goal-directed changes take place in physical entities more complex than the material elements.

“Indeed, Aristotle’s biology presupposes his physics because goal-directed changes presuppose non-teleological changes in matter. For Aristotle, then, matter matters a great deal,” says Dr. Byrne.

 

NCCDH collaborates with Toronto Indigenous Health Advisory Circle and MUSKRAT

Tue, 2017-12-12 13:31
Staff from the National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health, hosted by StFX, sat in circle with members of the Toronto Indigenous Health Advisory Circle to begin writing the Circle’s story. The NCCDH is co-writing TIHAC’s story with Rebeka Tabobondung and Erica Commanda of MUSKRAT, an online Indigenous arts and culture magazine

This past month, staff from the National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health (NCCDH), a public health knowledge centre hosted by StFX, sat in circle with members of the Toronto Indigenous Health Advisory Circle (TIHAC) to begin writing the Circle’s story. The NCCDH is co-writing TIHAC’s story with Rebeka Tabobondung and Erica Commanda of MUSKRAT, an online Indigenous arts and culture magazine.

TIHAC is a self-determining advisory group representing Indigenous people in Toronto. It was established through the collaboration of Indigenous and non-Indigenous health agencies in the city, including Toronto Public Health and the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network.

As an organization, TIHAC envisions a thriving, healthy Indigenous community in Toronto through the respectful harmonizing of practices, policies and resource allocation. Its mandates are to guide and advise provincial health systems in their health programs and services for Indigenous people and to influence the policies that impact the health of Indigenous people in Toronto.

The NCCDH has been in conversation with TIHAC members about this partnership for over a year.  Partners hope that telling the story of TIHAC’s success will spark similar collaborations across the country.

The NCCDH’s portion of the project is being led by Karen Fish, a knowledge translation specialist.

She says TIHAC’s story points to a community-driven, culturally inspired approach to improving the health of Toronto’s diverse and inequitably-served Indigenous population.

The story will describe the cultural and spiritual practices that have been foundational to TIHAC’s work. It will also highlight what Circle members, Youth and Elder advisors, and health system staff have learned in working toward “A Reclamation of Well Being,” the name of Toronto’s first Indigenous health strategy for Indigenous peoples in Toronto.

The story will be jointly published by TIHAC and the NCCDH in June 2018.  

Scholarship success allows biology master’s student to conduct month of field work, research in Ireland

Thu, 2017-12-07 15:16
StFX biology professor Dr. David Garbary and master's student Meredith Karcz

Meredith Karcz, a StFX biology master’s student from Burlington, ON, will spend a month in Ireland conducting field work on the impacts of rockweed (Ascophyllum nodosum) harvesting as a scholarship recipient of the Dobbin Atlantic Scholarship Programme, administered by the Ireland Canada University Foundation.

Ms. Karcz, who is supervised by biology professor Dr. David Garbary, is a successful recipient of the scholarship which supports students/faculty from eastern Canada to spend time in Ireland on a collaborative project.

Scholarships are awarded to candidates of the highest calibre, whose work relates to both Irish and Canadian interests and provides the potential to develop ongoing international links. The fund will support a month of field work for her thesis related work in Ireland. It includes travel and $1,200 per week for four weeks.

Ms. Karcz will be hosted at the National University of Ireland Galway by Dr. Dagmar Stengel, a colleague of Dr. Garbary’s, whose lab also studies rockweed harvesting.

Ms. Karcz says she is looking forward to experiencing research on an international level.

“I’m very excited to travel, and to build academic links,” she says.

“This is a marvelous opportunity for a student to have an overseas opportunity to do research associated with their thesis,” Dr. Garbary says.

“The fact this work was funded shows the importance of this seaweed (rockweed) as an economic base and a cultural phenomenon both in Nova Scotia and in Ireland.” This species of seaweed, he says, is among the most important, and more research needs to be done on it. 

The fact that StFX faculty have collaborations overseas also points to the strength of the department, he says.

Rockweed, which is harvested in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and is considered a fishery, is a growing multi-million dollar industry here, Ms. Karcz says. The seaweed is used primarily in agricultural applications and fertilizers.

Research, she says, has primarily taken a species focused approach up until this point, but to properly ensure that current harvest methods are sustainable, the impact on the entire community needs to be assessed.

She says rockweed forms a very dense canopy almost like a kelp, underwater forest. She is trying to understand the impacts harvesting has on the other algal species and invertebrates that inhabit and live underneath the rockweed canopies.

The same seaweed is harvested in Ireland, she says, but they use a different technique. In Nova Scotia, a harvesting rake is used to cut the seaweed on a yearly basis. In Ireland, the harvesting is done by hand with a blade, on the shores when the tide is out.

She’ll be researching questions such as what are the differences in biological community structures based on different harvesting methods and is one method more sustainable than the other. 

National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women held at StFX

Wed, 2017-12-06 15:44
Ceremony co-hosts, l-r, third year StFX student Karen Nembhard and RCMP Cst. Deepak Prasad

Members of the StFX community took time to remember and to issue a call to action against gender-based violence during the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women commemoration ceremony held on campus Dec. 6.

“Think of an action that you can do to end sexualized violence,” RCMP Cst. Deepak Prasad, who co-hosted the ceremony with third year StFX student Karen Nembhard, said to the large crowd gathered in the Schwartz auditorium.

“You guys are the people who can make a difference,” he said as he quoted a saying noting the difference between ‘one day’ versus ‘day one.’ “Today is day one. That’s our call to action.”

Ms. Nembhard says while much has been done, gender-based violence is still very much a reality and problem in our communities.

“We look forward to continued change in our community,” she said as the co-hosts reiterated the words of previous ceremony speakers encouraging everyone to explore ways they can get involved to end gender-based violence.

December 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada. Established in 1991 by the Parliament of Canada, the day marks the anniversary of the murders in 1989 of 14 young women at l'École Polytechnique de Montréal.

As well as commemorating the 14 young women whose lives ended in an act of gender-based violence that shocked the nation, December 6 represents an opportunity for Canadians to reflect on the phenomenon of violence against women in our society.

It is also an opportunity to consider the women and girls for whom violence is a daily reality, and to remember those who have died as a result of gender-based violence. And finally, it is a day on which communities can consider concrete actions to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.

Guest speaker Dr. Robyn Bourgeois, a professor of women’s and gender studies at Brock University, and formerly of StFX’s Coady International Institute, delivered a videotaped address. In particular, she focused on the reality of violence against Indigenous women.

As an Indigenous woman herself and as the mother of two Indigenous girls, she says they live in the shadow of some disturbing statistics and a certain degree of fear every day. Indigenous women, she says, represent only about four per cent of the population, but account for almost 20 per cent of the homicide cases in Canada. Dr. Bourgeois said similarly Indigenous women are nearly six times more likely to be victims of homicide and about 2.5 times more likely to be victims of violence than non-Indigenous.

Dr. Bourgeois provided some context for this, spoke about the challenges faced, and provided strategies to end this violence, including honouring and recognizing the sovereignty, self-determination and unique knowledge of Indigenous women and involving them in any initiatives, putting pressure on government to take action to end this violence, and of supporting people and efforts working towards this goal.  

Also during the ceremony, Dean of Science Dr. Petra Hauf presented first year StFX student Claudia Fulton with both the Memorial Scholarship for Women in Engineering as well as the General Motors of Canada Ltd. Women in Science Bursary, awarded for leadership potential and academic standard.

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Dean of Science Dr. Petra Hauf (left) presents the Memorial Scholarship for Women in Engineering and the General Motors of Canada Ltd. Women in Science Bursary to first year student Claudia Fulton

Margie McKinnon, Director of StFX’s Health, Counselling & Accessible Learning Centre also spoke, providing background on the development of StFX’s standalone sexual violence policy launched last fall. She strongly encouraged everyone to familiarize themselves with the policy, and provide input.

The key goal of all our work is to support and protect the rights of survivors, she said.

“I invite you to be part of this work,” she said as she issued a call to action to everyone to make a personal commitment to learn more about sexualized violence.

It’s not enough to be aware of sexualized violence, and it’s not enough to think the responsibility of sexualized violence prevention lies with this committee or other groups, she said.

“As individuals, each one of us has the power to stop sexualized violence,” she said. “Take a risk, challenge all forms of sexualized violence when you see it.”

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Fourth year student Brenda Gatera sang during the ceremony 

Fourth year StFX student Brenda Gatera gave a stirring musical performance during the ceremony while Ms. Gatera and Ms. Nembhard provided a moving closing performance. 

Adult education professor invited plenary speaker at major international UNESCO forum in South Korea

Tue, 2017-12-05 14:05
Dr. Leona English

Dr. Leona English, a professor of adult education at StFX, recently returned from giving a plenary address at a UNESCO forum in Suwon, Korea. Attended by some 400 delegates from 98 countries, this UNESCO event monitored progress in adult education goals articulated at the last CONFINTEA (international adult education conference), convened by UNESCO in Brazil in 2009. 

Dr. English presented findings from the Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE III), which she worked on in 2015 at the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) in Hamburg, Germany. GRALE III represents progress in adult education goals in 139 UNESCO Member States, over a seven year period.  Attendees of the CONFINTEA Mid-Term Review were representatives of UN agencies, governments, UNESCO commissions, NGOs and ministries of education. As well as presenting GRALE III, Dr. English was a member of the writing team that drafted the outcome document from the conference, the Suwon Statement.

In 2016, Dr. English was made an honorary fellow of UIL, along with six international leaders in adult education. On that occasion, she was also part of a global Think Tank hosted by UIL to deliberate on Lifelong Learning and the Sustainable Development Goals, in light of the UN’s Agenda 2030. She is now editing a special issue of the UNESCO journal, International Review of Education, to profile the outcomes of the Think Tank. 

Mary Coyle, executive director of StFX’s McKenna Centre, appointed to Senate of Canada

Mon, 2017-12-04 14:18
Mary Coyle

Congratulations to Mary Coyle, the executive director of StFX’s Frank McKenna Centre for Leadership and former director of the Coady International Institute and StFX Vice-President, who has been appointed to the Senate of Canada by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Ms. Coyle was one of two appointments announced on Dec. 4, 2014. Also named to the Senate is Mary Jane McCallum of Manitoba.

“A long-time champion for women’s leadership, gender equality, and the rights of Indigenous Peoples, Mary Coyle has forged a distinguished career in the post-secondary education and non-profit sectors, with a focus on international and local development,” said the announcement from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Ms. Coyle joined StFX in 1997, serving as Vice President and Director of the Coady International Institute, a centre of excellence in community-based development and leadership education. During her tenure, the Coady grew significantly, enhancing its global education and innovation agenda and expanding programming for women, youth, and Indigenous Peoples.

Since 2014, she has worked as the executive director of the Frank McKenna Centre for Leadership, a centre devoted to developing student leadership. She also continues to work as an advisor and facilitator for various organizations, including the Haitian Centre for Leadership and Excellence and the Friends United Indigenous Arts and Culture Initiative.

Ms. Coyle played an instrumental role in the establishment of the Stephen Lewis Foundation, the Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, and the Indian School of Microfinance for Women, the announcement says.

She holds a diploma in French Language from the Université de Besançon in France and a Bachelor of Arts in Languages and Literature with a major in French and a minor in Spanish from the University of Guelph.

After working for the Ministry of Commerce and Industry as a Cuso International cooperant in Botswana, she earned a Master of Arts in Rural Planning and Development at the University of Guelph. She subsequently worked as a rural development advisor in Indonesia and later to support two State Islamic Universities develop their community engagement strategies.

Prior to joining StFX, she spent a decade as executive director of Calmeadow. Ms. Coyle helped the organization pioneer the creation of the world’s first commercial micro finance bank, BancoSol, in Bolivia and establish the First Peoples Fund to provide micro loans to First Nations and Métis communities in Canada.

She has three daughters and six grandchildren.

 

"The Day Has Finally Come!" StFX senior class receives coveted X-Rings

Sun, 2017-12-03 16:29
StFX students celebrate after receiving their X-Rings on December 3, 2017.

Click here to watch the 2017 StFX X-Ring Ceremony!

 

St. Francis Xavier University was brimming with energy and excitement today, December 3, 2017, as almost 900 students received what’s become a global symbol of StFX pride and perseverance: their X-Ring.

“The day has finally come!” exclaimed StFX President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Kent MacDonald ’86 ’93 upon greeting students at StFX’s Charles V. Keating Centre.

In his remarks, Dr. MacDonald welcomed friends and family of students who watched the ceremony from overflow rooms on campus, as well as those joining from across the globe via live-stream.

He also spoke about his perspective on what sets StFX students apart.

“I get asked often what makes StFX students different than others,” said Dr. MacDonald. “One of the things I’m proudest of about our students is their ability think as non-conformists,” noting it was the leadership of such students that lead to the re-establishment of the December 3rd X-Ring ceremony in 1982.

“If there’s anything the world needs today, it’s people who are willing to look at problems in a different way. And that’s what we do here at StFX.”

LEARN FROM EACH OTHER

Senior class co-president Alex Corrigan addressed his fellow X-Ring recipients by recalling a conversation with a graduate from the Coady International Institute, who remarked that the most memorable learning experiences take place during discussions and interactions with others.

“In that time together, we teach each other important things,” said Alex. “We learn about new cultures and parts of the world we’ve never seen. We learn to communicate, articulate and debate both effectively and respectfully.

“I hope when you look at your X-Ring, you’ll remember these important lessons that we’ve learned from each other.”

BIGGER THAN ALL OF US

Emily Paige Mork introduced the ceremony’s guest speaker, Robyn Tingley ’96, who last month was named one of Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network. In her remarks, she encouraged students to stay true to the Xaverian values that continue to make StFX strong.

“StFX is bigger than all of us,” she said. “It’s a collection of all our actions, and the idea we hold each other to a higher standard. It’s the idea that 100 years from now, StFX will still stand as the best testament to global leadership and community-mindedness anywhere in the world.

“You are now one of us, and we will always welcome you into this wonderful, connected community of ours. No matter where your journey takes you, let your X-Ring serve as a reminder not only of what your X-Ring means to you, but what you mean to it.”

Glenn Horne ’07 ‘08, president of the StFX Alumni Association, delivered the Alumni Greeting to all assembled.

“1184 days ago, most of you stepped onto this campus for the first time as students. Today, the count down for your X-Ring is over! Take a moment and breathe it in.”

He also encouraged students to embrace the meaning behind their X-Rings.  

“The X-Ring’s meaning, as a symbol of justice, community and perseverance, is embodied by everyone who wears it. It has been crafted by those who wore it before us, and it’s now yours to carry forward.”

HONORARY X-RING

Each year, an honorary X-Ring is given to a member of the StFX community who exemplifies Xaverian values. This year, the honour was bestowed on Dr. Roy Rasmussen, a professor in the department of human kinetics who – in his almost 50-year career at StFX – has consistently epitomized academic excellence and inspired both students and faculty alike. In announcing the honour, student Erin Visser described Dr. Rasmussen as a man who is always listening to students and putting their needs above his own.  

During the ceremony, Tamara Cremo offered words of welcome and Fr. Gary MacPherson ‘72, university chaplain, delivered the invocation. Evan Davison-Kotler gave an explanation of the StFX motto, while Corrina Degen read a passage from the writings of Dr. Moses Coady. Senior class co-president Rachel LeBlanc served as master of ceremonies.

Students Rebecca Charnock, Josh Machan, Cassandra Mann, Joshua Parsons and Yaxin Yang performed a lively musical interlude that was written especially for the ceremony. Annie Sirois, President of the StFX Students’ Union, led the senior class in reciting the Xaverian Commitment that all students sign at the beginning of their first year of study.

Jami Campbell, Jacqueline Mackay, Erin Visser and Mary Jessie MacLellan ’87, Director of Alumni Affairs, also lead the group in singing the StFX University song, Hail and Health.

As students departed the hall, they tapped their new rings against a wooden kneeler from the StFX chapel, a tradition dating back to when the ceremony was still small enough to be held in that space. 

Moments of celebration mark Fall Convocation 2017, as StFX honours renowned photojournalist Palagummi Sainath and confers over 200 degrees and diplomas

Sat, 2017-12-02 16:34
L-r, StFX Chancellor Dr. Susan Crocker, honorary degree recipient Palagummi Sainath, and StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald

From a little boy holding a large orange “Go Dad Go” sign to a proud daughter posting social media photos of her mother, graduating with a master’s degree, the Charles V. Keating Centre filled with moments of celebration on Saturday, Dec. 2 as StFX celebrated Fall Convocation 2017.

Guests gathered, over 200 graduates, including those from StFX’s Coady International Institute’s Diploma in Development Leadership program, crossed the stage, and StFX bestowed an honorary degree on Palagummi Sainath of India, a renowned photojournalist considered one of the most significant journalists of his generation.

The crowd gave a standing ovation to Dr. Sainath, a social justice advocate as well as a world-renowned photojournalist.

During the ceremony, StFX also honoured sociology professor Dr. Norine Verberg, recipient of the 2017 Outreach Award, and the Antigonish County Adult Learning Association (ACALA), this year’s Community Partner Recognition Award winner

“Today we honour and celebrate accomplishments in your studies,” StFX Chancellor Dr. Susan Crocker said as she welcomed all to the university and opened Fall Convocation.

“Do you feel the energy in this great hall?”

“This is a celebration for great work and perseverance,” StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald said during his address.

He congratulated all the graduates for their achievements, including the second cohort of the Master’s of Education Indigenous Education and the Coady graduates who have come from around the world to be with us here at StFX. “Your time with us made the learning more rich, our community more vibrant and we wish you well.”

Dr. MacDonald told the graduates that with this wonderful accomplishment also comes responsibility. He encouraged all graduates to take a moment in the coming days to think about how they will take this gift of a StFX degree and make a difference in the world.

He encouraged graduates “to try to make the world just a little bit better place.”

It was a message reiterated by Dr. Sainath in his address to the graduation class.

Universities remain the arena of ideas, he said, and the graduates today are about to move from that terrain of ideas into a world of reality, and a world far more unequal than when he entered it as a recent university graduate, he said.

“How you will engage with the world of rapidly growing inequality depends on you,” he told graduates. “What you do will affect many lives beyond your own.”

We are privileged by the university education we have received, but we are also accountable, he said.

“I say to you don’t be hesitant in engaging in the larger battleground.”

Dr. Sainath also encouraged the graduates to never stop learning.

Coady graduate Ann Marie D. Smith of Jamaica, a leadership and organizational development facilitator/consultant currently engaged with the Caribbean Leadership Project, delivered the address on behalf of the graduating class.

She invited fellow graduates as they move on to continue to follow this institution’s strong commitment to social justice in action. She also thanked all those who have supported the graduates on their journey, and offered congratulations to everyone graduating.  

Glenn Horne, president of the StFX Alumni Association, congratulated the graduates and welcomed them into the Xaverian alumni family. He encouraged the graduates to take their knowledge and skills and to lead change and inspire.

BIOS

Honorary Degree Recipient
Dr. Palagummi Sainath
World renowned photojournalist Palagummi Sainath—Sainath as he is widely known—is considered one of the most significant journalists of his generation. Since the 1980s, he has focused on social problems, rural affairs, poverty and the aftermath of globalization in India. Former rural affairs editor of The Hindu newspaper, Sainath is known for his book Everybody Loves a Good Drought: Stories from India’s Poorest Districts now in its 45th printing, published in 10 languages, and used in over 100 universities in India and overseas. He founded the People's Archive of Rural India, a multimedia website where over 1,000 journalists from across India report on rural culture. He has dedicated his life to solidarity with, and justice for, India’s rural poor, bringing rural peoples’ stories to audiences in India and abroad. He is in high demand as an educator and has taught development studies and journalism courses at universities in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. He also educates young people from disadvantaged communities as journalists so they have the tools to help their communities. His photography exhibit, Visible Work, Invisible Women, has been widely viewed. The first journalist to win Amnesty International’s Global Human Rights Journalism Prize, he has won over 40 international awards for his provocative journalism and for his impact on society. Sainath served as the 2015 Coady Chair in Social Justice at StFX. In this role, he also worked with the Antigonish County Adult Learning Association (ACALA).

2017 Outreach Award
Dr. Norine Verberg
StFX sociology professor Dr. Norine Verberg is described as a first-class professor whose work reaches well beyond the boundaries of campus. In line with her deep conviction that scholarship ought to be connected to the world outside the academy, Dr. Verberg has made every effort to involve herself with organizations in Antigonish, especially most recently with Syria Antigonish Families Embrace (SAFE) and StFX for SAFE. The goal of StFX for SAFE was ambitious: to raise $100,000 to help sponsor two Syrian refugee families. Dr. Verberg steadfastly believed that if “all Xaverians” worked together on the campaign, they would succeed. The goal was achieved and several refugee families are now neighbours, with two students from those families enrolled at StFX. Dr. Verberg has been involved in other outreach work, including serving on the board of the Antigonish Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving; working with families following the Westray Mine explosion on their critical commemoration of the “Westray Story”; and working with StFX students and the Antigonish County 4-H Leaders Council to develop a 4-H partnership with StFX. She has also dedicated her time to the Antigonish Performing Arts Series, the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre, and especially to her students and classes. All the while, she has made these commitments while mentoring new faculty and serving StFX in numerous capacities.

2017 Community Partner Recognition Award
Antigonish County Adult Learning Association (ACALA)
The Antigonish County Adult Learning Association (ACALA) is a not-for-profit charitable community organization that has for over 20 years delivered adult literacy, family literacy and employability programs to adult learners in Antigonish town and county. They have also long provided valuable learning opportunities for StFX students, welcoming students through collaborations with the Department of Human Nutrition, Bachelor of Education, Service Learning, as well as developing programs to support Coady International Institute participants wanting language support. Over the years, StFX faculty in the Department of Adult Education have also worked closely with ACALA as board members and recently on building an online People’s Archive of Rural Nova Scotia, documenting the unique culture of rural Nova Scotia. The opportunities for experiential learning and exposure to a range of community initiatives has supported the curriculum and professional education for StFX students and provided them with noteworthy accomplishments for their resumes and graduate school. Equally important, witnessing the leadership and engaging with ACALA activities has provided StFX students with insight into the ability to make a difference when the community works together.  

Graduating Class Speaker
Ann Marie D. Smith, Jamaica
Ann Marie Smith is a leadership and organizational development facilitator/consultant currently engaged with the Caribbean Leadership Project. In this capacity, she designs, develops and delivers leadership development programming for senior public officers from 12 Caribbean countries and supports capacity building in public service learning institutions across the region. Prior to her work as a consultant, she was employed by the Management Institute for National Development, the Government of Jamaica’s public service learning, leadership and organizational development institute, where she led the team responsible for the design, development and delivery for public service learning in Jamaica, and supported the establishment of public service learning institutions across the Caribbean region. She describes her true passion as facilitating family and youth empowerment, and anticipates that through this Coady Diploma in Development Leadership, she will be better able to support varying communities to achieve just and sustainable outcomes for their members.

Blood, sweat and tears go into every X-Ring, but especially so with Rachel Allan

Fri, 2017-12-01 10:22
Rachel Allan

As StFX Day approaches, StFX student Rachel Allan says she’ll feel overwhelmed, accomplished and a little surreal when she moves the silver ring she wears on her X-Ring finger that reads, “Be True to Your Dreams,” to another finger and slides on that distinctive band of gold with a raised black X. Here, we share Rachel’s story on what makes this day so special to her. 

Not so long ago, Rachel Allan, an honours economics and business student, didn’t believe she’d ever wear an X-Ring. At age 18, just months before arriving at StFX as a freshman student, she suffered a devastating brain trauma when she took a hard knee to the temple that knocked her out during a high school provincial rugby game. It wasn’t her first concussion.

She spent that June, her last month at St. Peter’s High School in Ottawa, on brain rest and the summer lying low. Doctors advised her not to come to StFX that September. She did.

“My whole life, I’ve been going to X,” she says, explaining her determination.  

“I was very stubborn, being a teenager.”

Her friends were coming, and StFX had been her dream since she was a child.

In Grade 2 when asked to draw four things on a flag that represented her family and future goals, she drew an X-Ring.

Not only did her family’s Thanksgiving dinner table regularly fill with generations of X-Ring wearers, every summer, when the family would stop at the traffic lights outside Antigonish on the drive from Ottawa to their bungalow in Big Pond, Cape Breton, her mother would say, ‘That’s your school. You’re going there someday.’

“My aunts would always tell me you need to get one of these (the X-Ring) just for the experiences you get there over four years, the accomplishment and hard work,” she says.

She followed her dream.

But it didn’t take long to realize things weren’t right. She remembers a walk across campus tiring her out, sleeping for four days straight with her roommate checking in that she was okay.

“I knew I was getting in too deep. I knew I was coming here forever, my friends were coming here. I tried, but no.”

“I had second impact syndrome,” she says.

“I couldn’t stay here. I was pretty brain dead. It was getting worse because I was in school.”

Things came to a head on October 15. Three-quarters of the way through a midterm she started blacking out. She saw a campus doctor who withdrew her.

She remembers Schwartz School of Business staff and faculty being very supportive, telling her to come back when she can.

More than lost dreams, she faced a daunting road ahead.

For months, she slept in a dark room with no TV, no computer and no phone.

She couldn’t put a sentence together, had no balance in her feet, everything in her head was wonky, she says.

“I couldn’t communicate my thoughts and I was left emotionless,” she says in an open and candid conversation.

“It was a very long process to get me to have a conversation with people.” She says she couldn’t form coherent sentences. She’d repeat herself.

“My brain swelled so bad after the second impact.”

Ms. Allan says she spent two years out of it, not engaged, with no control over her emotions. She started physio at the very bottom, she says.

Her doctors told her parents she’d likely have a permanent handicap and may not be able to do the things she did before. In hindsight, she says it was probably best she didn’t understand this diagnosis. She never gave up hope.  

Working with her neurologist and physiotherapist, little by little, she started to make strides.

She has holes in her brain and will always live with the damage, she says. However, her brain restored itself in the parts that were healthy.

“The healthy part has done it all on its own without any explanation,” she says.  

She works to prevent migraines and wears a heart monitor when she exercises so that she doesn’t exert herself too much.

“I’ve learned how to cope,” she says.

“I have triggers and I know my triggers. If I avoid my triggers, I do fine. Headaches will put me to bed.

“Since I’ve gone back to myself, my brain works in a different way,” she says. “I learn in a different way. Before, my learning was more oral, now it’s photographic and writing. That was a big adjustment,” she says.

Through it all she was determined to come back to school.

While her parents worried tremendously about her, they never put that stress on her or showed her their fear, she says. “They were very positive, and did everything they can to help me,” she says.

As a result, she says it was constantly in her mind that there wasn’t any reason she couldn’t do it, that she wouldn’t be able to go back to school.

Being positive and determined (she says her first words included “me do”) and being young and healthy all helped, she says.

The year after leaving Antigonish she took two economics courses at Ottawa University to see if she could apply herself and eventually return to StFX.

She started working at her old job, and she started travelling.

Ms. Allan says because of her injury she can never play sports again and she felt the loss keenly. Travelling became her new hobby. She backpacked through southeast Asia, China, Malaysia and Japan.

When she started working and travelling, she began to realize there was more to life than the game of rugby, and that she should be grateful and happy.

In fact, she says the injury has given her a whole new perspective.

“I’m so appreciative, and so curious. I so just want to live and appreciate relationships and meeting new people. I appreciate being able to connect with people, being able to sit down and talk to people and learn about their outlook. I like to learn about new cultures and things that benefit your soul and body.”

In 2015, she returned to StFX.  

Coming back the second time, she says she knew StFX was a place where she could get help. She knew how helpful people were from the health and counselling centre to her professors.

“But it was terrifying. I can’t drop out and fail again.”

She took extra courses, made the dean’s list, and picked up joint honours. Recently, she received the Tanenbaum Canada Israel Student Exchange Scholarship and spent last semester studying in Israel.  

“I thoroughly enjoy school now when before it was literally killing me.”

As graduation approaches, she’s considering a master’s of economics or an MBA. “I never thought a master’s would be in the cards.”

Rachel Allan flag photo.jpg

The flag Rachel Allan drew in Grade 2, featuring the X-Ring

When she finally slips on her X-Ring on December 3, the feast day of St. Francis Xavier, it will be surreal, she says.

She will move the silver ring she wears on her X-Ring finger that reads, “Be True to Your Dreams,” to another finger and slide on that distinctive band of gold with a raised black X.

Two words inscribe her X-Ring: “Seven years.”

“I wanted an X-Ring since I was seven,” she says.

“I don’t think it will feel real. When I left school, I felt I was never coming back. I was so depressed. My dreams were crushed. I fought to the very end to stay here.”

“This wasn’t in the view. I honestly didn’t think I was capable of it. I thought it was way out of my league.”

With family and friends cheering her on, she’ll be thinking about how much she has done to get back here and get her X-Ring.

“I’ll probably cry.

“I feel very accomplished, the amount of blood, sweat and tears I did to make this happen. I will definitely feel overwhelmed.

“I definitely want my children to get an X-Ring.”

 

New opportunities to study the Big Bang, time inversion, and the conditions for our existence, as StFX becomes part of BABAR collaboration

Thu, 2017-11-30 13:12
L-r, physics professor Dr. Hossain Ahmed and department chair Dr. Peter Marzlin

StFX is now part of a major, international particle physics collaboration that will bring about new opportunities for StFX students to study questions on such matters as the Big Bang, time inversion, and the conditions for our existence through accessing data only available to members of the collaboration.

Through physics professor Dr. Hossain Ahmed, StFX has become part of the BABAR collaboration, a particle physics experiment at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford University in California. It’s an international collaboration having about 600 physicists and engineers from 75 institutions in 13 countries.

Particle physics, Dr. Ahmed says, is about trying to understand the universe at a fundamental level, which also allows researchers to develop new technology, such as the production of medical isotopes using accelerators.

The primary goal of the BABAR experiment, he and StFX Physics Department Chair Dr. Peter Marzlin say, was to study charge parity violation (CP Violation) in nature, but it also helped to deepen basic understanding of the universe, including lepton flavor violation, dark matter, and tests of new theories.

BABAR produced more than 500 journal papers, including the precise measurements of differences between matter and antimatter, which have proved the theory of Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide Maskawa, resulting in the awarding of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Due to its unique collision energies, BABAR data is still in high demand to analyze and prove new scientific theories, they say.

“This data is very important to analyze physical theories,” Dr. Ahmed says. “StFX students will get the benefit of that and they will be able to contribute to the physics community, both in the BABAR collaboration and beyond.”   

“The inclusion of StFX in the BABAR collaboration gives Dr. Ahmed and his students access to the data that has been gathered in the experiment,” Dr. Marzlin says. “This will provide physics students with a unique opportunity to get involved in analyzing data of a major scientific experiment, which is only accessible to institutions that are part of the collaboration. Hence, for the first time, StFX students can get involved into experimental elementary particle physics.”

Dr. Ahmed, the first to work in particle physics at StFX, has been working with BABAR since 2009, both as a post-doctoral fellow and as a faculty member while at other institutions. He says when he came to StFX he thought about how the collaboration may work here and decided to approach the collaboration board, presenting a proposal of the benefits of including StFX as a collaborator.  

Dr. Marzlin says being accepted as a collaborator is a big deal.

“It’s not that easy to get into that big of a collaboration. It’s by no means automatic. It speaks for Dr. Ahmed’s qualities as a researcher that StFX was so quickly accepted into that collaboration,” he says.

They say they are now working on providing opportunity for StFX students to become involved, including looking at options for students to visit the SLAC lab.

 

Understanding the legalization of cannibas topic of latest StFX President’s Colloquium

Tue, 2017-11-28 15:32
StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald opens the 6th President’s Colloquium with remarks around the importance of having tough conversations around issues that affect the campus community and beyond.

StFX’s tradition of bringing timely and important conversations into its residence spaces continued on Nov. 27 when StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald hosted the latest President’s Colloquium focused on understanding the legalization of cannibas.

The university community conversation was held on the fourth floor of the Riley Hall residence and included a panel of experts, Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia Chief Medical Officer; StFX psychology professor Dr. Kara Thompson; and Ivan Drouin, registered psychologist and clinical therapist at the StFX Health and Counselling Centre.

The wide-ranging discussion focused on a number of issues including how will the current laws change when cannabis is legalized in Canada, What do these changes mean for StFX students? And what are the health implications that the university community needs to explore?

Dr. Strang delivered a presentation on the issue and fielded questions from those gathered. Dr. Thompson said more research of cannabis is needed but she feels the legalization of cannabis will make it easier for research to continue.

“This is one more example of us trying to have a discussion in our residence that is both interesting and helpful to the community,” said Dr. MacDonald. This conversation allows us to prepare for the pending legislation change, he said. Dr. MacDonald also added that this discussion gets the campus community thinking about how it will respond, taking into consideration the health and safety of students, faculty and staff.

The evening marked the 6th President’s Colloquium, an event initiated by Dr. MacDonald and designed to provide a space in residence—living, learning communities—for students, staff, faculty and community members to come together to have discussion around important issues. 

StFX to honour renowned photojournalist Palagummi Sainath, confer over 200 degrees and diplomas during Fall Convocation 2017

Tue, 2017-11-28 11:09
StFX will honour world renowned photojournalist and social justice advocate Palagummi Sainath of India and confer over 200 degrees and diplomas during Fall Convocation 2017, which takes place on Dec. 2. Here, StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald congratulates a graduate during the 2016 ceremony.

StFX will bestow an honorary degree on world renowned photojournalist and social justice advocate Palagummi Sainath of India, considered one of the most significant journalists of his generation, and confer over 200 degrees and diplomas, including to graduates of StFX’s Coady International Institute’s Diploma in Development Leadership program, during Fall Convocation 2017.

The ceremony takes place this Saturday, Dec. 2 at 3 p.m. at the Charles V. Keating Centre.

During Convocation, StFX will also honour sociology professor Dr. Norine Verberg, recipient of the 2017 Outreach Award, and the Antigonish County Adult Learning Association (ACALA), this year’s Community Partner Recognition Award winner.

Coady graduate Ann Marie D. Smith of Jamaica, a leadership and organizational development facilitator/consultant currently engaged with the Caribbean Leadership Project, will deliver the address on behalf of the graduating class.

BIOS:

P.Sainath (002).jpg

Palagummi Sainath
World renowned photojournalist Palagummi Sainath—Sainath as he is widely known—is considered one of the most significant journalists of his generation. Since the 1980s, he has focused on social problems, rural affairs, poverty and the aftermath of globalization in India. Former rural affairs editor of The Hindu newspaper, Sainath is known for his book Everybody Loves a Good Drought: Stories from India’s Poorest Districts now in its 45th printing, published in 10 languages, and used in over 100 universities in India and overseas. He founded the People's Archive of Rural India, a multimedia website where over 1,000 journalists from across India report on rural culture. He has dedicated his life to solidarity with, and justice for, India’s rural poor, bringing rural peoples’ stories to audiences in India and abroad. He is in high demand as an educator and has taught development studies and journalism courses at universities in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. He also educates young people from disadvantaged communities as journalists so they have the tools to help their communities. His photography exhibit, Visible Work, Invisible Women, has been widely viewed. The first journalist to win Amnesty International’s Global Human Rights Journalism Prize, he has won over 40 international awards for his provocative journalism and for his impact on society. Sainath served as the 2015 Coady Chair in Social Justice at StFX. In this role, he also worked with the Antigonish County Adult Learning Association (ACALA).

Norine Verberg (002).jpg

2017 Outreach Award
Dr. Norine Verberg

StFX sociology professor Dr. Norine Verberg is described as a first-class professor whose work reaches well beyond the boundaries of campus. In line with her deep conviction that scholarship ought to be connected to the world outside the academy, Dr. Verberg has made every effort to involve herself with organizations in Antigonish, especially most recently with SAFE and StFX for SAFE. The goal of StFX for SAFE was ambitious: to raise $100,000 to help sponsor two Syrian refugee families. Dr. Verberg steadfastly believed if StFX for SAFE reached further, they would succeed. The goal was achieved and several refugee families are now neighbours, with two students from those families enrolled at StFX. Dr. Verberg has been involved in other outreach work, with Mothers Against Drunk Driving; her recognized work with families coping with trauma and loss following the Westray Mine explosion; her involvement with the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre; her assistance of students in their ‘Pause for the Cause’ campaign; and co-founding the 4-H Chapter on the StFX campus. She’s also dedicated her time with the Performing Arts Series, to theatre on campus, and especially to her students and classes. All the while, she has made these commitments while mentoring new faculty and serving StFX in numerous capacities.

ACALA (002).jpg

2017 Community Partner Recognition Award
Antigonish County Adult Learning Association (ACALA)

The Antigonish County Adult Learning Association (ACALA) is a not-for-profit charitable community organization that has for over 20 years delivered adult literacy, family literacy and employability programs to adult learners in Antigonish town and county. They have also long provided valuable learning opportunities for StFX students, welcoming students through collaborations with the Department of Human Nutrition, Bachelor of Education, Service Learning, as well as developing programs to support Coady International Institute participants wanting language support. Over the years, StFX faculty in the Department of Adult Education have also worked closely with ACALA as board members and recently on building an online People’s Archive of Rural Nova Scotia, documenting the unique culture of rural Nova Scotia. The opportunities for experiential learning and exposure to a range of community initiatives has supported the curriculum and professional education for StFX students and provided them with noteworthy accomplishments for their resumes and graduate school. Equally important, witnessing the leadership and engaging with ACALA activities has provided StFX students with insight into the ability to make a difference when the community works together.  

Ann Marie Smith.jpg

Graduating Class Speaker
Ann Marie D. Smith, Jamaica

Ann Marie Smith is a leadership and organizational development facilitator/consultant currently engaged with the Caribbean Leadership Project. In this capacity, she designs, develops and delivers leadership development programming for senior public officers from 12 Caribbean countries and supports capacity building in public service learning institutions across the region. Prior to her work as a consultant, she was employed by the Management Institute for National Development, the Government of Jamaica’s public service learning, leadership and organizational development institute, where she led the team responsible for the design, development and delivery for public service learning in Jamaica, and supported the establishment of public service learning institutions across the Caribbean region. She describes her true passion as facilitating family and youth empowerment, and anticipates that through this Coady Diploma in Development Leadership, she will be better able to support varying communities to achieve just and sustainable outcomes for their members.

StFX French students learning language skills, history in translation project

Tue, 2017-11-21 15:23
Students in French 327, taught by Dr. Edward Langille, pictured on right, are translating a 1,000-word article and submitting it for publication with the Encyclopédie de Diderot et D’Alembert collaborative translation project at the University of Michigan.

With laptops and notepads spread open in front of them, students in Dr. Edward Langille’s French 327 class are hard at work completing an assignment they term challenging, cool and helpful.

The 15 students in the class are each translating a 1,000-word article and submitting it for publication with the Encyclopédie de Diderot et D’Alembert collaborative translation project at the University of Michigan. The Encyclopédie was a 20-year effort (1751-1752) and one of the crowning achievements of the French Enlightenment, comprising over 20,000 individual entries.

Each student was asked to choose a 1,000-word article from the French original that hadn’t previously been translated and transcribe it into English.

“I believe that learning to write in a second language is good practice for writing in one’s own language. It’s a question of precision of thought and translation is an obvious means to acquiring skills in two languages,” Dr. Langille says.

“As a scholar of the French Enlightenment, I was aware of the Encyclopédie translation project. I thought it might give the writing class an interesting focus to participate in it.”

“It is interesting,” says Gilles Perrine, a second year environmental sciences student from Mauritius and a graduate of St. Andrew’s School - Rose Hill, who says he is enjoying the translation and how one must really stick to the subject and to each word and how it was applied back then.

“To me, that is a true research project. It’s not easy at all,” he says.

“This course is one of the best French courses I’ve ever taken,” he says, explaining he likes the tips and techniques given, being able to write an assignment every single week and being able to pinpoint mistakes and correct then.

“It’s really focusing on the small details and the correct way of trying to translate them. It’s interesting,” says Renee Morrow, a third year French student from Pomquet, NS, and graduate of l'École acadienne de Pomquet. “It’s really focused on one word, not just the definition, but learning the history of the word, the historical aspects of it. It’s pretty cool.”

She says it’s a little different for the students as they are more used to translating English into French.  She says the project is definitely helping her language skills as well as introducing her to many old French words.

Becca Ross, a fourth year French student from Pictou County and graduate of Northumberland Regional High School, says at times some of the words weren’t spelled correctly and she had to figure out the words in order to translate.

Amber Benoit of Antigonish, NS, also a graduate of l'École acadienne de Pomquet, and a third year psychology student at StFX, agrees it’s interesting to work with a French piece to translate it into English. “It is challenging,” she says, “but helpful.” It’s much easier just to talk in French, but it’s different to sit down and do some writing and to focus on grammar and the translation, she says, and that process helps a lot.

 

StFX’s Mulroney Institute launches new research series focused on Arctic operational histories

Mon, 2017-11-20 13:52
StFX launches new research series, the Arctic Operational Histories

StFX is proud to announce the launch of a new research series, published and managed by the recently opened Mulroney Institute of Government. Edited by Irving Shipbuilding Chair, Dr. Adam Lajeunesse, and supported by Irving and a $10,000 grant from the Canadian Defence Engagement Program, the Arctic Operational Histories offers open access e-books consisting of operational narratives generated from firsthand accounts and official government histories.

“This series is designed to support academic research by opening new material to researchers, while supporting policy makers in the Canadian government and armed forces,” Dr. Lajeunesse says.

“By examining some of Canada’s most pressing security questions from a historical perspective, these volumes provide a unique insight and vital context, crucial to evidence-based decision making.”

In support of this new series, he says StFX students are now working as research assistants, editing, transcribing, and laying out volumes for publication.

The first volume – now available – is a history of the HMCS Labrador, Canada’s first icebreaker and Arctic patrol craft.

For three years in the mid-1950s, the Labrador was Canada’s eyes, ears, and muscle in the Arctic. It conducted some of the first modern surveys of the Northwest Passage, assisted in the construction of the vital Distant Early Warning Line, and kept a close eye on American naval activity in Canada’s Arctic waters.

Forthcoming volumes in this series will examine the historic voyage of the RCMP vessel St Roch, the recovery of a crashed Soviet nuclear satellite in the Northwest Territories during the Cold War, and the history of the Royal Canadian Air Force in the sub-Arctic.

The series can be found at: www.operationalhistories.ca

Psychology students attend, present research at national conference

Fri, 2017-11-17 16:05
Breanna O'Handley during her presentation

Once again, several StFX psychology students were able to attend and to present their research at a national conference.

StFX psychology professor Dr. Karen Blair, students Breanna O’Handley, Emilia Lorenz, and Ashley Hoskin and Dr. Blair’s master’s student Kay Jenson of Acadia attended the recent Canadian Sex Research Forum (CSRF) Annual Meeting & Conference in Fredericton, NB.

The students had to submit abstracts in the spring and their submissions were accepted for presentation.

The conference follows on the heels of the Canadian Psychological Association national meeting, which Dr. Blair and seven students attended in June.

Once again, the students were supported by the Jules Léger Fund to attend the conference, and once again they were some of the only undergraduate students in attendance, Dr. Blair says.

Ms. O’Handley, a Guysborough, NS native who graduated with an honours psychology degree in May, presented her thesis research, which she conducted at StFX with Dr. Blair, in the form of an oral talk to an audience of 83 people. The talk also touched on the research work of Dr. Blair’s current honours student Emilia Lorenz.

“Her talk was extremely well received by some of the top sex researchers in Canada and she did a great job of answering questions from many of these researchers,” Dr. Blair says.

Ms. Hoskin and Ms. Jenson presented a poster on research that they have worked on together.

psychology resize 1.jpg

INCREDIBLE EXPERIENCE

“It was an incredible experience to have the opportunity to attend and present at CSRF,” Ms. O’Handley says. “It was fantastic to be able to attend another conference, especially one so relevant to my current work. While I still conduct research with Dr. Blair, I now work with Student Life at StFX as the Gender and Sexual Diversity Student Advisor, therefore many talks at CSRF were relevant to my new position at StFX.”

She says she was able to attend talks concerning sexual consent, non-binary dating experiences, and campus sexual assault, “all of which provided me with valuable information to bring to my work here at X. Attending academic conferences and staying up-to-date with related research is proving to be an invaluable experience in helping to bring the best services possible to current StFX students.”

Ms. O’Handley’s undergraduate research examined the psychophysiology of sexual prejudice. “The data I presented on the indistinguishable salivary a-amylase responses of heterosexual men to male same-sex kissing images is just one piece of a larger project happening in the KLB Research lab,” she says. “The larger project is trying to understand whether people may show physiological or emotional signs of their prejudice, which may then be interpreted as signs of danger/threat by same-sex couples, who in turn, may then be more reluctant to share affection in public.”

Currently, Ms. Lorenz is working to analyze the facial expressions of participants that viewed same-sex PDAs, in order to pinpoint what emotions participants felt.

Ms. O’Handley says she was the only undergraduate student to give an oral presentation at the conference. Having the chance to gain experience presenting at conferences like CSRF and CPA has been wonderful, says the Guysborough Academy graduate.

“Few undergraduates have the same opportunities afforded to them – especially at larger institutions,” she says. “The small school experience at StFX has made it easy to get involved with research at the undergraduate level and the Jules Léger Fund has made trips to CSRF and CPA possible for me.

“Additionally, attending such a small university allows for students to have more connections with their professors, such as Dr. Blair. Dr. Blair has given her students, not just her own honours thesis students, opportunities to attend academic conferences and become immersed in research that they would not have otherwise. We are lucky to have professors at StFX that care about their students, know them on a first name basis, and are willing to go the extra mile to foster their academic growth.”

In addition to her work at StFX, Ms. O’Handley continues to work with Dr. Blair in the KLB Research Lab and together they are launching a new study soon looking at memories of coming out from both an LGBTQIA2S+ person’s perspective as well as a parent perspective.

 

 

 

 

 

Potential international marine ecology student collaborations focus of faculty visit

Thu, 2017-11-09 13:48
Dr. Ricardo Scrosati (left) and Dr. Augusto Flores surveying the Nova Scotia coast

Potential international collaborations involving biology and marine ecology students was the topic of discussion at StFX last week when StFX biology professor Dr. Ricardo Scrosati hosted Dr.  Augusto Flores, a professor of marine ecology from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, to his Marine Ecology Lab.

“Dr. Flores is an expert in the ecology of marine invertebrate larvae, and his expertise will combine well with our expertise in the ecology of rocky intertidal systems,” Dr. Scrosati says.

“For a few days, we examined together some of our long-term study locations along the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia,” he says with the thoughts of future student exchanges in mind.

“We hope to collaborate on a number projects involving student co-supervisions in the upcoming years,” he says.

Following those field trips, the two drove to the University of Quebec at Rimouski (UQAR), where they were hosted by Dr. Réjean Tremblay, who is also a marine ecologist and has overlapping research interests.  

Dr. Flores and Dr. Scrosati each gave a seminar for UQAR faculty and students.

Dr. Scrosati’s seminar discussed, on the one hand, his lab's recent findings on the ecological influence that coastal pelagic processes have on rocky intertidal organisms along the Nova Scotia coast and, on the other hand, the various nonconsumptive effects that predators have on marine prey.

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