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Former Canadian Ambassador to the United States to deliver the Allan J. MacEachen Lecture Series at StFX

Wed, 2020-02-12 16:13
David MacNaughton

David MacNaughton, former Canadian Ambassador to the United States, will deliver the keynote address in this year’s Allan J. MacEachen Annual Lecture Series in Politics at StFX.

Mr. MacNaughton will deliver a talk entitled, “Difficult Choices for Canada in a Chaotic World,” at the event, which takes place Thursday, Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m. at StFX’s Schwartz Auditorium. All are welcome to attend. 

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

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

David MacNaughton

David MacNaughton was recently appointed President of Palantir Canada. He will head up the Canadian operations of Palantir Technologies, the Silicon Valley-based data integration and analytics software giant. Prior to joining Palantir Canada, Mr. MacNaughton was Canada’s Ambassador to the United States. He presented his credentials to President Barack Obama on March 3, 2016. In the 1980s, Mr. MacNaughton transformed the public affairs industry by building an organization that comprised government relations, public opinion research and public relations. After selling his business in 1989, Mr. MacNaughton became president of Canada’s largest government and public relations firm and subsequently North American president of the world’s largest public relations firm. From 1995 until 2003, Mr. MacNaughton was President of Strathshore Financial and was an advisor to one of Canada’s leading investment banks. Mr. MacNaughton’s public sector experience includes work at both the federal and provincial levels, including as advisor to the Minister at the Departments of Transport, Industry and Foreign Affairs. He was principal secretary to the Premier of Ontario from 2003 to 2005 and the chairman of StrategyCorp from 2005 until his appointment. Active in community affairs, Mr. MacNaughton has served on the boards of the North York General Hospital, the Stratford Festival, the National Ski Academy, TV Ontario, the Toronto French School and the Toronto International Film Festival. 

The importance of healthy living: Sodexo Canada establishes scholarships, bursaries for StFX human nutrition students

Wed, 2020-02-12 14:14
L-r, Bob Hale, StFX director, Ancillary Services, Sodexo customer service manager Kris Benoit and general manager Tim Hierlihy, Department of Human Nutrition senior lab instructor Brenda Hanlon and dietetic educator Sarah O’Brien.

StFX human nutrition students will have access to new scholarships and bursaries thanks to the generosity of Sodexo Canada. 

Sodexo, the campus food provider at StFX, has established the Sodexo Canada Scholarship, two individual scholarships of $5,000 to be awarded annually, as well as the Kevin Fraser Memorial Bursary, in memory of the late Kevin Fraser, former Sodexo general manager at StFX, which will see five bursaries of $1,000 each presented annually. 

“Sodexo and StFX realize the importance of diet in healthy living and we want to be part of developing students who can help in this goal moving forward,” says Tim Hierlihy, general manager, Sodexo Campus Food Services. 

“Kevin Fraser did a lot for students on the campus and in his community who were less fortunate and we wanted to honour his legacy in creating bursaries for students in financial need to honour his legacy,” he says. 

“Our hope is by taking some of the financial pressure off of students and families, we can enable greater success in university, helping deserving students who want to graduate with their degree and give back to using the skills they have developed,” says Bob Hale, director, Ancillary Service.


Mr. Hierlihy says Sodexo and the Human Nutrition Department have had a relationship for many years, with Sodexo supporting the department either through helping a student to attend the Canadian Association of Food Professionals annual conference, food donations for the lab or working with the department in securing an intern or co-op student. The department also uses My Kitchen in Morrison Hall for sessions on healthy cooking.

Department of Human Nutrition senior lab instructor Brenda Hanlon says the department has always had a reciprocated relationship with the campus food service provider. She says this relationship grew under Mr. Fraser. “Students in the Foodservice course tour all Sodexo facilities on campus, Kevin and Tim have been guest lecturers in the Foodservice class, Chef Mike Pollock has used the food labs for food competitions, and visiting chefs have been guest lecturers for the HNU Seminar Series.” 

She says both she and retired human nutrition faculty member Fran Haley have sat on Foodservice advisory groups and Ms. Hanlon has judged food competitions at meal hall. And student service learning projects have included consumer satisfaction surveys and waste audits. As well, Ms. Haley, Ms. Hanlon and Mr. Fraser were all members of the Canadian Association of Foodservice Professional (CAFP)-Northumberland Branch, providing mentorship to the StFX student CAFP branch. 

Sodexo regularly hosts interns from the Integrated Dietetic Internship (IDI) Program for food service management practicum experiences, and is very supportive of the IDI sport dietetic interns working with StFX athletes on campus, says Laura Reid, dietetic educator, Human Nutrition Department. 


The Sodexo Canada Scholarship will include one $5,000 non-renewable entrance scholarship presented annually to the top-ranked incoming first year student in the Human Nutrition Department, and one $5,000 non-renewable scholarship to a third or fourth year human nutrition student from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick or Prince Edward Island who shows professional and academic promise and a commitment and interest in working in the food service industry.

The Kevin Fraser Memorial Bursary, established in memory of the late Kevin Fraser, who loved his time at StFX and contributed behind the scenes to many students’ success, will be awarded annually to any first or second year student from Nova Scotia enrolled full-time in the Human Nutrition Department. Five bursaries of $1,000 each will be presented each year. The award is based upon financial need.

StFX Athletics honours 91 U SPORTS Academic All-Canadians

Mon, 2020-02-10 14:54

The StFX Department of Athletics honoured its 2018-19 U SPORTS Academic All-Canadians Feb. 10th, at their annual celebratory breakfast. This year, there were 91 Academic All-Canadians, those student-athletes who have achieved an 80 per cent average or above while consuming a year of eligibility competing for a varsity team. The number was the second highest ever. Last year’s 96 is the all-time high. 

“This celebration of excellence in the classroom is a major highlight of our year,” comments StFX Director of Athletics & Recreation Leo MacPherson. “The opportunity to celebrate the synergies between academics and athletics is important to all of us. The ongoing support provided by our senior administration and our faculty members was also acknowledged and very much appreciated.” 

Out of the possible 275 eligible student-athletes who consumed U SPORTS eligibility by participating on a varsity team at StFX during the 2018-19 season, 33 per cent achieved Academic All-Canadian status, including 39 male and 52 female student-athletes. The X-Women soccer team had the highest percentage of any StFX team with 58 per cent of their team members earning the distinction. 

There were 34 first-time Academic All-Canadians, 31 student-athletes who received the honour for the second time in their career, and 14 who were three-time Academic All-Canadians. Nine student-athletes earned the distinction of being a U SPORTS Academic All-Canadians for four years, while an impressive three student-athletes were five-time Academic All-Canadians, including Elise Brennan, Chloe Brennan and Liam Elbourne – all soccer athletes. In addition, Elbourne was honoured as one of eight elite national U SPORTS Top 8 Academic All-Canadians, receiving commendation from the General Governor of Canada earlier this year.

The Athletic Director’s awards for academic achievement, presented to the top StFX male and female academic student-athletes, were Amy Graham from the X-Women hockey team who received the award for the second consecutive year, along with Liam Elbourne, a three-time winner. 

The 2018-19 Academic All-Canadians were honoured at a celebratory breakfast at the McKenna Centre where they received a certificate from U SPORTS along with a gift from the Department of Athletics. All student-athletes were encouraged to invite a faculty member to accompany them to the breakfast. The breakfast bookended StFX Athletics annual Faculty Appreciation Week.

The complete list of 2018-19 StFX Academic All-Canadians is as follows:

Michael Adetola, Football                  Joanna Alphonso, Rugby 

Mackenzie Bell, Rugby                      Dylan Bell, Football   

Melanie Belong, Soccer                     Alison Blanchard, Rugby 

Emma Boudreau, Track & Field         Erin Brennan, Track & Field              

Chloe Brennan, Soccer                      Elise Brennan, Soccer   

Sarah Bruce, Soccer                          Carly Burrows, Hockey 

Tane Caubo, Soccer                           Santino Centorame, Hockey 

Paige Chisholm, Cross Country         Josie Chisholm, Hockey

Benoit Cormier, Football                     Lane Cormier, Hockey

Olivia Crewe, Track & Field                Marcus Cuomo, Hockey

Olivia Czipf, Soccer                            Olivia DeMerchant, Rugby

Aidan Doherty, Cross Country            Liam Elbourne, Soccer

Hannah Ellis, Rugby                           Kelsey Ellis, Soccer

Jeremy Fagnan, Football                    Isaac Fagnan, Football

Allie Flower, Track & Field                  Megan Frost, Soccer

Claudia Fulton, Rugby                        Sam Gan, Football

Alley Goodreau, Hockey                     Brianna Gottschall, Basketball

Megan Graham, Track & Field            Amy Graham, Hockey            

Alexandra Hamilton, Rugby                Liam Harrigan, Soccer

Rachel Hawkins, Soccer                     Joshua Henderson, Curling

Jane Hergett, Cross Country              Ben Herringer, Soccer

A.J. Hewish, Soccer                           Sarah Hoerig, Rugby 

Aaron Hoyles, Hockey                        Liam Hyland, Football

Matt Jemmett, Football                       Zoe Johnston, Cross Country

Jack Kennedy, Soccer                        Catherine Kennedy, Soccer    

Adrian Kinney, Track & Field               Emma Kuzmyk, Soccer

Justin Laforest, Hockey                      Taylor Leger, Track & Field

Lauren Liem, Cross Country               Emma Logan, Curling

Travis Loov, Football                           Cole MacDonald, Hockey

Lauren MacFadyen, Curling                Katie MacIntosh, Basketball   

Paul MacLellan, Cross Country          Patrick Marlow, Cross Country

Hana Marmura, Cross Country          Jamie McCarron, Basketball   

Therese McCurdy, Curling                 Cassidy McEwan, Hockey

Mac Murray, Soccer                           Matt Needham, Hockey

Alex Neuffer, Cross Country              Brooke Noseworthy, Hockey

Patrick O’Brien, Curling                     Jordan Rao, Soccer

Angus Rawling, Cross Country          Ashley Robson, Cross Country

Amy Rowe, Soccer                             Paytan Ruiz, Soccer

Lydia Schurman, Hockey                   Emily Sinclair, Rugby

Sam Studnicka, Hockey                     Madison Suart, Rugby            

Catherine Thompson, Cross Country  Patti-Anne Tracey, Hockey    

Mark Tremaine, Hockey                      Chloe Walker, Track & Field 

Katie Walsh, Soccer                            Carleigh Walters, Rugby        

William Warren, Soccer                       Bailey Wasdal, Football                     

Jamie White, Basketball                      Larissa White, Soccer             

Alex Yakimenko, Football              

StFX students attend, present at Canadian Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics

Mon, 2020-02-03 13:50
L-r, Claire MacDougall and Catherine Boisvert

For two third year honours StFX physics students, attending the Canadian Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics held in Toronto in January was a terrific learning opportunity. 

“Attending the conference was a very inspiring experience. It was amazing for us to see so many successful female scientists represented and meet female undergraduate colleagues,” say Claire MacDougall, an honours physics student from Halifax, NS, and chair of the Canadian Association of Physicists Student Advisory Council, and Catherine Boisvert a joint physics and math honours student from Montreal, QC, who is also president of the StFX Physics Society. 

“We learned about the issues facing women, minorities and the LGBTQ+ community in this male dominated field, which will be extremely useful for both of us in our work with student advocacy. We also were exposed to career options outside of academia, which is not often something we learn about.”

Ms. MacDougall also presented her research, “Determination of Radiative Efficiency and Global Warming Potential of Several HFC’s and HFE’s” at the conference held at the University of Toronto. 

The duo say they are the only two female students in their program, and that Physics Department chair Dr. Peter Marzlin and the rest of the physics faculty encouraged them to attend this national conference and provided them with the funding and support they needed to attend. 

“The conference was a very supportive environment and validated some of our negative experiences as female students but more importantly shed light on the strengths and perspectives we bring as women to the field of physics,” they said. 

StFX Service Learning welcomes partner from Peru to campus

Fri, 2020-01-31 13:14
Pictured, l-r, with visiting partner Maricarmen Valdivieso (second left) are several members of the StFX Immersion Service Learning trip to Peru: Emma Dwyer, Maricarmen Valdivieso, Dr. Denton Anthony, Hannah Bance, Erica Robertson, Alex Daly, Priscillah Panchol, Jade Farao, and Kennedy Armstrong.

StFX’s Service Learning Program recently welcomed one of its partners to campus, Maricarmen Valdivieso. the founder and director of Nexos Comunitarios in Pero, who was visiting with university partners in Canada and the U.S. 

While at StFX, she met with Immersion Service Learning staff, toured campus and had an opportunity to meet with past program participants as well as the StFX group that will be travelling to Peru in two weeks.

StFX Gerald Schwartz School of Business faculty member Dr. Denton Anthony will lead the StFX immersion trip to Peru over the university’s reading week. The group will travel to Cuncani, a remote community in the Andes, to work on a project called “Kick Off.” Playing, learning and growing is the goal of this initiative, which seeks to improve rural education, generating cognitive and non-cognitive skills through football. 

“Building relationships is important for the success of Immersion Service Learning programs and their partner projects. We were pleased to host Maricarmen at StFX, and to discuss the wonderful projects that NEXOS are working and developing on the ground. StFX students have a rare opportunity with this organization, to visit an amazing community and learn about a very different way of life,” says Jodi van Dompseler, Program Assistant with StFX Immersion Service Learning.

Nexos Comunitarios is a Peruvian non-profit civil association, formed by a group of citizens and professionals committed to reducing poverty in isolated communities within Peru, and to promoting a better understanding and respect between different societies and cultures nationally and internationally. Their focus is on sustainable development and implementing community projects related to nutrition, food security, hygiene and elementary education.  

Their programs are not volunteer programs. They are learning and service programs that seek to make participants aware of the power they have: to be a link between the community and the rest of the world. Students learn about international development, service, interculturality and addressing poverty.

StFX Immersion Service Learning has partnered with Nexos since 2015.

Seafloor biodiversity of Canada's three oceans: StFX professor part of Canadian marine biologist team to publish study

Tue, 2020-01-28 11:15
Typical marine biodiversity in Nova Scotia

StFX biology professor Dr. Ricardo Scrosati is part of a team of 14 Canadian marine biologists that today had a large study, “Seafloor biodiversity of Canada's three oceans: Patterns, hotspots and potential drivers,” published in Diversity and Distributions, a leading journal in the field.  

The study evaluated the marine benthic biodiversity of Canada's three oceans, from the Pacific, to the Arctic, to the Atlantic. 

“Using field information compiled over many years by several labs, including StFX's Marine Ecology Lab, this team used data for nearly 3,000 species to identify biodiversity hotspots across Canadian marine ecosystems,” Dr. Scrosati says.  

The team then used environmental information to investigate the most likely causes of such patterns.

Dr. Scrosati says overall, this study provides valuable information that should improve, among other objectives, the design of marine protected areas to preserve our rich and fascinating marine benthic biodiversity.

“We are happy to have the study published in this journal because it has a high impact factor, which suggests that the study will be widely seen in the scientific community around the world. Thus, on the one hand, in that way we hope to attract talented colleagues and students to do further studies on marine biology in Canada and, on the other, we would see exciting to see our approaches applied to other parts of the world towards the global synthesis that science is always seeking,” Dr. Scrosati says.

The beginnings of this project, he says, likely started from informal conversations among colleagues in the past, but it was a colleague, Dr. Mathieu Cusson from the Université du Québec, who in the end formally led this project to its successful completion. “Interestingly, the original idea behind this project has spread into new ideas and collaborations. For instance, with Dr. Cusson, we will be co-supervising a PhD student who will investigate the relationships between marine species biodiversity and the actual ecological function that such species collectively have in biological communities.” Dr. Scrosati will be going to Quebec soon to help design the studies.

StFX students mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day with education, conversation

Mon, 2020-01-27 16:23
Psychology professor Dr. Karen Blair speaks with students during the International Holocaust Remembrance Day event at StFX.

All those entering the lobby of Mulroney Hall on the StFX campus on January 27, 2020 had an amazing opportunity to learn and talk about Holocaust education with a number of StFX students. 

Students from psychology professor Dr. Karen Blair’s Psyc 441 held an all-day event for International Holocaust Remembrance Day, displaying their final projects for the course, and being on hand to speak with all those who passed through. 

Dr. Blair and the students had a visual display from Yad Vashem to hang in the art gallery space behind the replica of the Prime Minister’s office. In the lobby area, one group of students worked on a project aimed at “visualizing” six million victims, and another group working on activities to reduce prejudice. They also hosted a book display and educational materials and presented a video.

Holocaust education 3 .jpg

“I’ve been talking a lot about Holocaust education, and the misconceptions many students have,” says psychology student Cassidy Swan of Ottawa, ON. She says in her conversations she’s found that a lot of students know the basics of the Holocaust, but don’t know the when and the how and the steps in between that lead up to that point. It’s knowledge, she says, that people need to know more about. 

“The knowledge is still valuable and needs to be taught.”

Fellow psychology students Alice Bruce of Pictou, NS and MacGillivray Smith of Enfield, NS, say they’ve had good response to the day, with several professors taking their classes through, and many community members and students stopping to talk. 

Ms. Bruce says they’ve found people have varying degrees of knowledge about the Holocaust as Ms. Smith added the education is important for preventing future genocides. “In our class, we talked about the build-up to that and how you need to speak up for your believes before people start getting persecuted.”


“The students in Psyc 441, which is a fourth year seminar course on the “Social Psychology of the Holocaust,” were given a final project assignment to “prevent the next Holocaust.” It was a lofty goal meant to be interpreted in abstract ways,” says Dr. Blair. 

Each student had to decide how they would define the challenge for themselves - defining what is meant by the possibility of another Holocaust. “Does this mean genocide in general? The building blocks within society that allow for genocides, such as prejudice and exclusion?” says Dr. Blair. “In the end, most of the students developed projects related to Holocaust education, believing that education is a key element to reducing prejudice. People who know the details of the Holocaust and how it came to be are much more supportive of the need for Holocaust education and tend to be less supportive of extremist and prejudiced views.”

Holocaust education 1 .jpg

The students combined their efforts to create the event for International Holocaust Remembrance Day, she says.  

Some of the events they’ve put together include the visualizing six million project. This project attempts to grapple with the fact that fewer than half of Canadian adults can identify six million as the number of Jewish men, women, and children murdered during the Holocaust. This may, in part, be because it is so difficult to grapple with such a large number. It’s simply unfathomable, Dr. Blair says. 

The students have been working for months to try to cut six million pieces of paper. They actually wanted to cut 11 million to represent all of the victims of Nazi persecution. 

“Just now, as they are continuing to cut paper in the lobby of Mulroney Hall, they are about to reach one million, helping to drive home just how large these numbers are.” 

As well, Dr. Blair said each student in the course was assigned a “twin” who was a child that died during the Holocaust and shared the same birthday as the student. They researched to find out as much as they could about this person. They’ve created a visual display about each twin, hanging in the art gallery area. 

One student looked into what types of Holocaust education are provided in high schools and what people feel is lacking. The student compiled a list of facts that people commonly don’t know and has been talking to people about their Holocaust education experiences. As well, another student is building a Holocaust education website while another is working on a Holocaust education podcast and documenting the day and the course. 

The Atlantic Jewish Council and the Azrieli Foundation also provided a number of Holocaust memoirs for the group to give away to students at the event. 

"Holocaust knowledge is declining and the survivors will soon not be with us to share their stories in person. Consequently it’s a very important time to raise interest in Holocaust education to ensure that this knowledge is not lost to future generations. The universal lessons of the Holocaust can help us to understand important social issues today as well as those that we will face in the future," says Dr. Blair. 

The visual display in the gallery area will remain up all week until Friday for people to walk through. 

StFX students attract Nobel Laureate, NASA engineer, Wolf Prize and Herzberg Medal winner as keynote speakers at student-led physics and astronomy conference

Mon, 2020-01-27 15:22
Conference committee organizers include, seated, l-r: Noah Tessema, co-chairs Dean Eaton and Bryan Canam, and Katie Robinson. Back row: Dr. Peter Poole, Thomas Hujon, Mitchell Blacquiere, Catherine Boisvert, Andrew College, Daniel Winters, Sean Murphy, and Dr. Peter Marzlin. Missing: Claire MacDougall and Duncan Osmond.

When a group of StFX physics students started planning an Atlantic undergraduate physics and astronomy conference, they decided to aim big—and the results have been more than impressive.

The students have attracted 2018 Nobel Prize winner Donna Strickland; NASA engineer and advocate for diversity and inclusion in science, Renee Horton; StFX alumnus Allan H. MacDonald, winner of the Wolf Prize and the Herzberg Medal and professor at University of Texas, Austin; and Dalhousie University professor Jesse Maassen, to deliver keynote lectures when StFX hosts the Atlantic Undergraduate Physics and Astronomy Conference (AUPAC) from January 31-February 2, 2020.

The talks by all invited speakers are open to the public.

“It’s just amazing what they have accomplished,” says Dr. Peter Marzlin, faculty advisor and StFX physics professor, who praised the students who he says have organized and looked after mostly every detail for the conference.

“This is a conference that happens every year. This is the first Nobel Laureate that has showed up to speak. It’s really amazing. We’re really proud of the students,” said StFX physics professor Dr. Peter Poole, a Science Atlantic committee member.

StFX students and conference co-chairs Dean Eaton and Bryan Canam say they were thrilled, and a little surprised, they were able to attract each of the high-profile speakers they invited.

“We wanted to set the bar high,” says Mr. Eaton.

“These are the ones we were shooting for. We weren’t expecting them,” added Mr. Canam, who says they are much looking forward to the talks. “We’re more than pleased.”


Fellow students and conference committee members Thomas Hujon and Noah Tessema say they are looking forward to both the conference—a student organized event under Science Atlantic that looks to publicize and advertise research of many disciplines in physics and astronomy to undergraduate students in the Atlantic Provinces—as well as the chance to hear from the keynote speakers.

“These people are in the top rank of their professions,” says Mr. Hujon.

Mr. Tessema says their addresses should interest everyone, not just those with a physics background.

“There is always something to learn from people who have reached a certain success in life,” he says, noting it is inspiring to hear people speak passionately about their interests.

“You get an impression of what it takes for someone to be particularly good at what they do.”


The keynote addresses are scheduled to take place:

* Friday, Jan. 31: 7 p.m. SCHW 110, keynote speaker Jesse Maassen

Saturday, Feb. 1, 11 a.m. SCHW 110, keynote speaker Allan MacDonald

Saturday, Feb. 1, 6:30 p.m. SCHW 110, keynote speaker Donna Strickland

Sunday, Feb. 2, 11 a.m., SCHW 110, keynote speaker Renee Horton


The organizers are expecting about 105 participants from universities across Atlantic Canada and elsewhere, with 32 students slated to present their work.

Over the weekend, undergraduate students will present talks on areas from particle physics and cosmology to atomic and solid state physics. There will also be other events such as a graduate fair, where graduate programs from across Canada advertise their programs to prospective students.

The StFX student organizers say they started planning the conference in February 2018, and that almost every senior student in the physics department is involved in its organization. In planning the conference, they say they’ve had to learn new skills almost every three to four weeks, from coding for their website to delegating.

They were also successful in securing sponsors, including their proposal to StFX’s Frank McKenna Centre for Leadership for help in sponsoring the keynote speakers.

The undergraduate conference, they say, will be a great opportunity for students to showcase their own research, to attend a grad fair to learn about future opportunities, and to network and learn from students and faculty from other institutions.

Of course, interacting with the keynote speakers, people at the top of their profession, will be a key benefit.

“It’s huge, the significance of meeting and networking with the speakers,” the students say.

Dr. Donna Strickland

Donna Strickland.jpg Donna Strickland is a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Waterloo and is one of the recipients of the Nobel Prize in Physics 2018 for developing chirped pulse amplification with Gérard Mourou, her PhD supervisor at the time. They published this Nobel-winning research in 1985 when Strickland was a PhD student at the University of Rochester in New York state. Together they paved the way toward the most intense laser pulses ever created. The research has several applications today in industry and medicine — including the cutting of a patient’s cornea in laser eye surgery, and the machining of small glass parts for use in cell phones. Strickland was a research associate at the National Research Council Canada, a physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and a member of technical staff at Princeton University. In 1997, she joined the University of Waterloo, where her ultrafast laser group develops high-intensity laser systems for nonlinear optics investigations. She is a recipient of a Sloan Research Fellowship, a Premier’s Research Excellence Award and a Cottrell Scholar Award. She received the Rochester Distinguished Scholar Award and the Eastman Medal from the University of Rochester. Strickland served as the president of the Optical Society (OSA) in 2013 and is a fellow of OSA, the Royal Society of Canada, and SPIE (International Society for Optics and Photonics). She is an honorary fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering as well as the Institute of Physics. She received the Golden Plate Award from the Academy of Achievement, is in the International Women’s Forum Hall of Fame, and holds numerous honorary doctorates. Strickland earned a PhD in optics from the University of Rochester and a B.Eng. from McMaster University.

Dr. Renee Horton

Renee Horton 2020.jpeg Dr. K. Renee Horton is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and is a graduate of Louisiana State University and with a PhD in Material Science with a concentration in physics from the University of Alabama, as the first African American to receive this degree. In her day job, she serves as a NASA Space Launch System (SLS) Quality Engineer at Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) in New Orleans. Throughout her academic career, she has received numerous accolades and awards including the Black Engineer of the Year Trailblazer Award in 2011. She was named a 2019 Louisianian of the Year and is honoured in a group of nine individuals who stand out in their professions, give back and represent what’s best about Louisiana. She is an advocate for diversity and inclusion in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and works diligently in the community for STEM education and STEM outreach. She believes in changing the face of STEM. She is the founder of Unapologetically Being, Inc., a nonprofit for advocacy and mentoring in STEM. She is an international inspirational speaker who brings her personal story, expertise, and personality to her award-winning presentations. Dr. Horton has spoken all over the world including South Africa, Brazil, South Korea, Canada, Jamaica and Mexico. She has served as an invited speaker for the first International Women and Girls Day at the United Nations, Dow Chemical Black History Speaker, the National Air and Space Museum, Essence Power Stage, LSU Engineering commencement, numerous youth groups, to name a few. In 2016, she was elected President of the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP) as the second woman to hold the office. She has served the physics community abroad as a member of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) Women in Physics Working Group and currently serves on several advisory boards dedicated to a more diverse inclusion in physics. In 2017, she was elevated to a Fellow in the NSBP, the highest honour bestowed upon a member and in 2018 was inducted into Sigma Pi Sigma, the prestige honour society in physics. She is the author of Dr. H Explores the Universe, a children’s series, Dr. H and her Friends, and Dr. H Explores the ABCs. She recently was named the Silver Anniversary Artie Literature Award winner for 2018, from New Orleans Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. She is a member Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., as well as the proud mother of three and grandmother of two.

Dr. Allan MacDonald

Allan MacDonald 2020.jpg Allan H. MacDonald was born in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, where he spent his early years. He earned his BSc degree from St. Francis Xavier University in 1973. He earned his MSc and PhD degrees in physics from the University of Toronto in 1974 and 1978. He spent several years as a member of the research staff of the National Research Council of Canada before becoming a faculty member at Indiana University in the U.S., where he spent over a decade. In 2000 he joined the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin, where he holds the Sid W. Richardson Chair in Physics. Professor MacDonald’s contributions to the theory of condensed matter physics have spanned many topics, including electronic structure theory, the quantum Hall effect, magnetism, and superconductivity. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and was awarded the Herzberg Medal (1987), the Buckley Prize in Condensed Matter Physics (2007), and the Ernst Mach Honorary Medal (2012). He recently received the 2020 Wolf Prize in Physics for his ground-breaking work in a field known as twistronics. In 2011 he predicted that a small rotation to a ”magic“ relative orientation angle would covert graphene bilayers from weakly interacting Fermi liquids to tunable strongly correlated electronic states. A rapidly expanding field (twistronics) with an impressive range of potential applications has grown from this observation.

Dr. Jesse Maassen

Jesse Maasen.jpg Jesse Maassen received B.Eng. and MASc degrees in engineering physics from the École Polytechnique de Montréal in 2006. He obtained a PhD in physics from McGill University in 2011 working on first-principles simulations of nanoelectronic devices. During 2012-2015, Dr. Maassen was a postdoctoral fellow in the Electrical Engineering Department at Purdue University. Since 2016, he has been an assistant professor of physics at Dalhousie University. His research interests focus on exploring novel materials and devices, using predictive first-principles modeling, with an emphasis on electro-thermal transport.

The ties that bind: African Heritage Month 2020 launched in Antigonish during ceremony at StFX

Thu, 2020-01-23 16:08
StFX student Sebastian Charles leads the crowd in the song Lift Every Voice

From the stirring rhythmic beats of the African drumming procession that opened the ceremony to the closing prayer that encouraged all to hear in their hearts the powerful words expressed, the launch of African Heritage Month 2020 in Antigonish not only shone a spotlight on the culture and contributions of African Nova Scotians to society, it recognized the strength that comes with unity. 

A large crowd of StFX students, faculty and staff, community members, and local school students filled the MacKay Room, Bloomfield Centre, on the StFX campus on Jan. 23, 2020 to unite and celebrate that February is African Heritage Month. The theme for the month is “The Ties that Bind: Faith, Family, and Community.” 

“Together, we gather to honour and celebrate the many contributions that African Nova Scotians past and present have made to our society,” said Kelsey Jones, StFX Coordinator, African Descent Student Affairs, and co-emcee of the ceremony with Lorraine Reddick, Student Support Worker, Strait Centre for Education. 

“African Heritage Month marks a time of reflection, awareness, and most importantly, education,” she says. 

African Heritage Month is a great opportunity to learn about the contributions, history and culture of African Nova Scotians, Ms. Reddick says. It is equally important that this knowledge be integrated into learning throughout the year, she noted.

Ms. Jones says we must recognize the contributions of those who came before us and who laid the foundation, and we must honour their legacy and continue to fight for justice and equality.

African heritage month 2020 2 .jpg

During her remarks, she challenged non-African Nova Scotians to ask themselves, ‘what am I doing to help dismantle the white supremacy society we live in?’ 

“We need you in solidarity, and we need action,” she said. “We need to work together for a better tomorrow. I, for one, am excited to see what the future holds.” 


The theme of “The Ties that Bind,” reminds us that we can facilitate a greater bond of all cultures in Nova Scotia, said Antigonish Mayor Laurie Boucher, who noted both the importance of inclusion and of paying tribute to the rich history and many contributions of African Nova Scotians. Mayor Boucher noted how pleased she is to see how this ceremony has grown over the years and to see the ever-growing crowd in attendance each year. 

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Antigonish County Warden Owen McCarron noted he looks forward to this ceremony every year for the wonderful feeling of energy, community and culture in the room. “We need to work harder to spread that feeling of today, and to celebrate all the cultures that make our community,” he said. 

In remarks that received several rounds of applause, StFX President Dr. Kevin Wamsley noted that all around the world today we’re dealing with a plague of white nationalism. “We have to deal with that head on,” he said.

“We do that through education and understanding.”

There is hope, too, he said. For inspiration, one need only to look at StFX at the students, faculty, and staff of African descent who are here and who are succeeding. For all non-Black people, he challenged them not to let other people do the work for them. “You need to know the history of African Nova Scotians, and you need to stand up and be heard.” 

The way forward is not about fighting, it is all about building bridges, he said. 

In his remarks, Antigonish MLA and Minister of Health and Wellness and Minister of Gaelic Affairs, the Hon. Randy Delorey, also reiterated African Heritage Month isn’t about one month, it is about changing ourselves to incorporate it into our everyday life. 

Father Stanley MacDonald, who offered a blessing during the ceremony, encouraged everyone to be sure to take in the powerful words shared. “It needs to be heard in our hearts,” he said. “Think about it. Let it go deep.” 

Also bringing remarks were Janice Gough, Strait Regional Centre for Education, and Natasha Gray, African Nova Scotia Affairs. Remarks were also read from Central Nova MP Sean Fraser, who was unable to be in attendance. 

Rev. Richard Adesola helped open the ceremony with a prayer while Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional High School student Keira MacDuff sang O Canada and StFX student Sebastien Charles led the crowd in Lift Every Voice. 

Dr. John High Gillis Regional High School student Marcel Desmond brought in the African Heritage Month flag for a symbolic flag raising. The flag will fly in Alumni Plaza at StFX and also in the Town of Antigonish. A flag raising ceremony will be held at Town Hall on Feb. 3 at 11 a.m. 

The launch also included a libation ceremony, led by Ms. Reddick, to honour ancestors; the unveiling of the African Heritage Mount 2020 poster; presentations from Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional High School students; and lunch catered by Jamaica Lee Style Cuisine and Sodexo. 

The event is a partnership of StFX, the Town of Antigonish, the County of Antigonish, African Nova Scotian Affairs, Black Educators Association of Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Gaming Support 4 Culture, and Strait Regional Centre for Education. 

Deborah Viel

Wed, 2020-01-22 16:20
Course InstructorDeborah Vieldviel@stfx.caContinuing And Distance Education

Lauren Viana

Wed, 2020-01-22 16:20
Laboratory TechnicianLauren Vianalviana@stfx.caHuman NutritionBruce Brown 433

Susan Vincent

Wed, 2020-01-22 16:20
ProfessorSusan Vincentsvincent@stfx.ca902-867-5281AnthropologyBruce Brown 335E

Deborah P. Vossen

Wed, 2020-01-22 16:20
Associate ProfessorDeborah P. Vossendvossen@stfx.ca902-867-3885Human KineticsAmelia Saputo Centre Rm 208A

Balakrishnan Viswanathan

Wed, 2020-01-22 16:20
Limited ? TermBalakrishnan 867-2469ChemistryPhysical Sciences Centre Rm 3027

Tyrell Vernon

Wed, 2020-01-22 16:20
Associate Coach, StFX BasketballTyrell Vernontvernon@stfx.caAthleticsOland Centre

Amanda Vosman

Wed, 2020-01-22 16:20
Lab InstructorAmanda Vosmanaevosman@stfx.ca902-867-3679Earth SciencesPhysical Sciences Complex Rm 2035

Martin Vlk

Wed, 2020-01-22 16:20
Assistant Coach Soccer (M)Martin Vlkmvlk@stfx.caAthletics

Yvonne Vigneault

Wed, 2020-01-22 16:20
_Yvonne 867-5252Wellspring CentreMorrison Hall 2nd

Vijay Vishwakarma

Wed, 2020-01-22 16:20
Vijay 867-3956Gerald Schwartz School Of BusinessSchwartz School 390

StFX international students, local community, connect for Home for the Holidays

Tue, 2020-01-21 14:46
StFX students Anamika Saxena (left) and Eshitha Chitla (right), both of India, are pictured with StFX Gerald Schwartz School of Business professor Rhonda McIver (second right) and her family during the Home for the Holidays program.

Getting together for a meal with friends and family over the holidays is a time-honoured tradition. This year, that circle grew a little wider as a group of StFX international students and members of the local community connected over Christmas through a new program at StFX called Home for the Holidays. 

The StFX Office of Internationalization arranged the inaugural Home for the Holidays program to connect international students studying at StFX with families living in the Antigonish community during the holiday season. StFX is home to students from over 40 countries around the world, and many are interested in learning more about Canadian holiday culture, says Donald Rasmussen, StFX’s International Student Advisor.

This year, he says 17 students were matched with eight host families, and reaction to the experience has been positive from all involved. 


“I was super excited. I really wanted to engage, and I was a little emotional as I was missing my family,” says Anamika Saxena of India who was one of three international students to spend time with StFX Gerald Schwartz School of Business professor Rhonda McIver and her family, enjoying a meal and a visit at their home. 

“It meant a lot for me, to rebalance my emotions, and to have people around me.”

Eshitha Chitla, also of India and taking a master’s in applied computer science, says it was a great chance to meet people, to learn more about Canadian culture and for people here to learn more about her culture. 

Both students said they really enjoyed the meal, and the fact their hosts took the time to prepare something that would appeal to their Indian heritage with lots of spices, as well as the chance to spend time with “the sweet little children,” who played games and showed the visiting students their paintings. 

“It was really nice. We really enjoyed it,” Ms. Saxena says. 

Home for the Holidays-01-MyStFX.jpg

Home for the Holidays-03-MyStFX.jpg “We loved it,” says Prof. McIver.

She says her family was interested in getting involved in the program as they wanted to know some of the international students better, to learn about their culture, and to help the students feel more at home on campus

“Part of it is making sure students are fitting in and feeling comfortable and at home and that they have some allies. I have a son at university. I know what it is like,” she says.

She says her family hopes to connect again with the students over the term. 

Mr. Rasmussen, who the students praised for his strong support of international students, says the program was promoted online and through the local Antigonish radio station and their office received immediate interest from faculty and staff members at StFX, as well as members of the broader Antigonish community. 

In most cases, students were invited to their host family’s home during the holidays to enjoy a meal, meet family members, and experience Canadian holiday festivities. Some groups also got outside for winter hiking and snowman-making. 

He says the office plans to run the program again next year.