A full house—from the Hon. Tony Ince, Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs, to local school children—gathered at StFX’s Bloomfield Centre on Jan. 31 to celebrate the launch of African Heritage Month 2019 in Antigonish, under a theme of “Our History is YOUR History.”
“We gather to honour and celebrate the many achievements that African Nova Scotians have made to our society,” said co-emcee Kelsey Jones, StFX African Descent Student Affairs Coordinator, who hosted the ceremony with Lorraine Reddick, Student Support Worker with the Strait Regional Centre for Education (SRCE).
African Heritage Month marks a time of reflection, but more importantly, a time for education, she said.
The month gives attention to a history that’s far too often exploited by the mainstream narrative. “Our history is your history,” Ms. Jones said, repeating this year’s theme as she encouraged everyone to listen and to learn, to attend events, and to listen to voices, not just during this month, but throughout the entire year.
In a special part of the ceremony, and an historic first, she said today marks the first time the Pan African flag will be flown on campus for the entirety of African Heritage Month. The Pan African flag was raised at both the Antigonish Town Hall and in front of the President’s Office on the StFX campus.
Another special moment came in a tribute and a moment of silence for the late Dr. Agnes Calliste, retired StFX sociology professor, national and international celebrated academic, and community champion who tirelessly served the Xaverian and Nova Scotian communities, including as StFX’s Black Student Advisor. Dr. Calliste passed away in August 2018.
Minister Ince said this is an important time, a time to learn something different and unique.
“African Heritage Month is a time to celebrate and share the culture, history, and achievements of African Nova Scotians,” he said.
It’s a time to recognize the distinct story of African Nova Scotians and how this story is interwoven in our province’s past, present and future, he said.
“This theme recognizes that when we understand the diversity that exists in Nova Scotia, we will be able to facilitate positive change for our province.”
Kelsey Jones (left) and Brenda Gateva are seen singing "Lift Every Voice" during the ceremonyAHM 2019 2.jpg
Poet Naomi Ogbogbo presents her work entitled 'Royalty'
Understanding and celebrating this diversity was a message shared by a number of speakers.
“We’re thrilled to be hosting the ceremony at StFX, and the long overdue flying of the Pan African flag on campus,” said Andrew Beckett, StFX Vice-President Finance & Administration.
Mr. Beckett said it speaks to the importance of diversity, and the richness it adds. While he noted that StFX has much more to do, he said the university is pleased to be embracing and building on this diversity, in past efforts and in the recent opening of the Diversity Education Centre on campus, designed to help celebrate and create more of a focus.
Both Antigonish County Warden Owen McCarron and Antigonish town councilor Mary Farrell spoke of how the month celebrates the culture, legacy and achievements of African Nova Scotians, while sharing how this story is interwoven. “When we all acknowledge our shared history, we will be able to facilitate positive change,” Mr. McCarron said.
As part of the ceremony, SRCE teacher and StFX alumnus Morgan Gero led an African Drumming performance with students from St. Andrew Junior School and Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional High School. Minister Ince, an accomplished drummer himself, joined in the closing performance.
Several classes from St. Andrew’s Consolidated School and the Antigonish Education Centre attended the event.
Others speaking at the ceremony included Paul Landry, SRCE, and Rev. Peter Smith, who offered a prayer. Remarks were also read from the Hon. Randy Delorey, MLA, and Sean Fraser, MP, who were unable to be in attendance. Naomi Ogbogbo presented her poem entitled "Royalty."
The event is hosted by the Town of Antigonish, Zone #7 African Cultural Awareness Association, African Nova Scotia Affairs, Support 4 Culture, the County of Antigonish, Black Educators Association of Nova Scotia, SRCE, and StFX.
Brenna Wilson and Iris Magill are looking forward to a unique new international study opportunity in the Netherlands at StFX partner exchange university, HAN University of Technology—as scholarship recipients.
The two StFX human kinetics students have each received the HAN University of Technology Summer Program Scholarship, valued at €1,620 or $2,445 CAD, that offers StFX students the opportunity to study at the HAN Faculty of Health and Social Studies for their 2019 Summer School: Health, Social Work and Sport.
This program consists of three, one-week courses, starting May 20 and ending June 7. The scholarship pays the tuition fee and covers accommodations, local transportation, and a field trip associated with each course at HAN University of Technology, located in the city of Nijmegen, in eastern Netherlands, near the German border.
“It’s a unique opportunity and a good opportunity to take some other courses...I’m excited,” says Ms. Wilson, a third year student from Saint John, NB majoring in kinesiology in the BSc human kinetics program.
Ms. Wilson says she is looking forward to meeting new people, to seeing how classes are taught there, and to learning from professors in courses that range from sports event management to issues in health care.
She says she is looking forward to gaining new perspectives and new creative ways of thinking from the experience.
It’s a sentiment shared by Ms. Magill of Ottawa, ON, a second year BA in human kinetics student taking a minor in sport management.
“It’s such an interesting opportunity,” she says. “I’m so interested in the courses offered, they’re all so different, and to compare and contrast how things are done there and here.
“I’m really looking forward to it, to meeting new people and seeing how things happen in different cultures, and how our different cultures conduct different events.”
Ms. Magill says she’s had a travel bug lately to explore different cultures and at the same time she’s been trying to get involved in as much as she can and build her resume.
“I thought this was perfect to mix both, the travel and to see how other people, how the Dutch culture go about marketing and organizing events, and contrast how we do things here.”
She says she is also looking forward to building connections.
Both Ms. Wilson and Ms. Magill say they’re hoping the experience will help give them further focus on what they’d like to do after finishing their undergraduate degrees at StFX.
They both say they’re eager too to bring back different ideas and all they learn when they return to StFX.
To be eligible for the scholarship, students had to be in either the BA or BSc human kinetics program, or the BASc Health program at StFX, be in good academic standing, have a focused professional and academic interest in human health and well-being, and have a curious, independent, open-minded and adventurous attitude.
The StFX Department of Athletics honoured its 2017-18 U SPORTS Academic All-Canadians on Jan. 28, 2019 at their annual celebratory breakfast. This year, there was a record-high 96 Academic All-Canadians, those student-athletes who have achieved an 80 per cent average or above while consuming a year of eligibility competing for a varsity team. The number was an increase from the previous high of 82 Academic All-Canadians in 2016-17.
“It is important that we pause to celebrate the fantastic academic accomplishments of our student-athletes,” comments StFX Director of Athletics & Recreation Leo MacPherson.
“These Academic All-Canadians are masters at balancing a demanding varsity sport commitment and community outreach activities, while at the same time achieving excellence in their academic endeavors. Their accomplishments are very impressive.”
Out of the possible 290 eligible student-athletes who consumed U SPORTS eligibility by participating on a varsity team at StFX during the 2017-18 season, 33 per cent achieved Academic All-Canadian status, including 40 male and 56 female student-athletes. The X-Women soccer team had the highest percentage of any StFX team with 80 per cent of their team members earning the distinction.
There were 52 first-time Academic All-Canadians, 22 student-athletes who received the honour for the second time in their career, and 12 who were three-time Academic All-Canadians. Ten student-athletes earned the elite distinction of being a U SPORTS Academic All-Canadians four times including: Chloe Brennan (soccer), Elise Brennan (soccer), Craig Duininck (hockey), Liam Elbourne (soccer), Kristoff Kontos (hockey), Olivia MacDonald (cross country), Cole Suart (soccer), Alex Taylor (soccer), Erin Visser (soccer) and Marco Zanchetta (soccer).
The Athletics Director’s awards for academic achievement, presented to the top StFX male and female academic student-athletes were Amy Graham from the X-Women hockey team and recently named Rhodes Scholar Liam Elbourne from the X-Men soccer team who received the honour for the second consecutive year.1-b.jpg
Amy Graham, pictured in the left photo, and Liam Elbourne, in the right photo, receive their awards from Athletics Director Leo MacPherson
The 2017-18 Academic All-Canadians were honoured at a celebratory breakfast at the Bloomfield Centre where they received a certificate from U SPORTS along with a gift from the Department of Athletics. All student-athletes were encouraged to invite a faculty member to accompany them to the breakfast. The breakfast kicked off StFX Athletics annual Faculty Appreciation Week.
The complete list of 2017-18 StFX Academic All-Canadians is as follows:
Quinn Alexander, Track & Field Catherine Kennedy, Soccer
MacKenzie Bell, Rugby Kristoff Kontos, Hockey
Melanie Belong, Soccer Meg Mary Krawchuk, Soccer
Dustin Benetti, Soccer Adam Kuntz, Football
Merrit Blair, Rugby Emma Kuzmyk, Soccer
Emma Boudreau, Track & Field Justin Laforest, Hockey
Chloe Brennan, Soccer Beth Lawrence, Track & Field
Elise Brennan, Soccer Taylor Leger, Track & Field
Sarah Bruce, Soccer Emma Logan, Curling
Sarah Bujold, Hockey Liz MacDonald, Cross Country
Carly Burrows, Hockey Olivia MacDonald, Track & Field
Joanne Callow, Rugby Claire MacDougall, Soccer
Tane Caubo, Soccer Branden MacInnis-Morris, Track & Field
Santino Centorame, Hockey Katie MacIntosh, Basketball
Sam Charron, Soccer Paul MacLellan, Cross Country
Paige Chisholm, Cross Country Danielle Makar, Soccer
Jillian Clarke, Soccer Patrick Marlow, Cross Country
Nicole Corcoran, Hockey Hana Marmura, Cross Country
Marcus Cuomo, Hockey Madison McClure, Hockey
Olivia Czipf, Soccer Therese McCurdy, Curling
Craig Duininck, Hockey Mercy Myles, Soccer
Liam Elbourne, Soccer Matt Needham, Hockey
Emerson Elliott, Hockey Alex Neuffer, Cross Country
Hannah Ellis, Rugby Daley Oddy, Hockey
Kelsey Ellis, Soccer Maggie Oliver, Track & Field
Isaac Fagnan, Football Devon Parris, Football
Jeremy Fagnan, Football Joseph Pereyras, Track & Field
Dylan Fisher, Football Angus Rawling, Cross Country
Ashley Francis, Curling Ashley Robson, Cross Country
Megan Frost, Soccer Amy Rowe, Soccer
Claudia Fulton, Rugby Paytan Ruiz, Soccer
Sam Gan, Football Lydia Schurman, Hockey
Alley Goodreau, Hockey Holly Scott, Basketball
Alex Gosse, Soccer Sam Studnicka, Hockey
Amy Graham, Hockey Cole Suart, Soccer
Megan Graham, Track & Field Madison Suart, Rugby
Nicole Halladay, Hockey Alex Taylor, Soccer
Alex Hamilton, Rugby Natneal Tecle, Soccer
Liam Harrigan, Soccer Aaron Thibeau, Soccer
Rachel Hawkins, Soccer Patti-Anne Tracey, Hockey
Jonathan Heidebrecht, Football Curtis Urlacher, Football
Joshua Henderson, Curling Erin Visser, Soccer
Jane Hergett, Cross Country William Warren, Soccer
Ben Herringer, Soccer Larissa White, Soccer
Justin Holland, Football Hayley Wilson, Track & Field
Aaron Hoyles, Hockey Emma Winters, Hockey
Matt Jemmett, Football Alex Yakimenko, Football
Sarah Johnson, Hockey Marco Zanchetta, Soccer
StFX is pleased to announce that Dr. Claire Betker will be the next Scientific Director of the National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health (NCCDH), effective March 4, 2019. The NCCDH, hosted at StFX, is one of six federally funded, national public health knowledge centres. It mobilizes knowledge to contribute to the Canadian public health sector’s capacity and decision-making to address social conditions that determine health. The NCCDH generates evidence-based resources, provides consultation, delivers an electronic resource library, hosts events and facilitates networks.
Dr. Richard Isnor, StFX Associate VP of Research & Graduate Studies, who oversees the NCCDH, is very pleased with the outcome of the far-reaching recruitment. “Claire’s expertise and extensive public health experience position her as an ideal leader to direct the NCCDH,” he says.
A registered nurse, Dr. Betker is the current President of the Canadian Nurses Association. She is deeply familiar with the NCCDH, having working for the NCCDH previously as senior knowledge translation specialist and director of research - early child development. Dr. Betker will come to StFX from her current position as Acting Executive Director of Active Living, Population & Public Health Branch at MB Health, Seniors & Active Living. In that position, she oversees development of intersectoral policies, government standards and a wide range of public health programs and services.
Dr. Betker’s research work for her PhD (Nursing, U Saskatchewan, 2016) investigated public health leadership to advance health equity, using a scoping review and metasummary methodology. She coordinated the Public Health Agency of Canada’s development of Canada’s public health core competencies, released in 2008. These interprofessional competencies inform all Canadian public health practitioners through their academic training, employers and professional associations. She was a member of the teams that developed the discipline-specific competencies for public health nursing; the public health leadership competencies; and Manitoba’s public health nursing standards.
Dr. Betker has co-authored journal articles, book chapters and NCCDH publications. Her community health career began in rural Manitoba at a single-nurse public health office. Since then, she has worked for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, as a freelance consultant, at a nurse-managed primary care centre, and has taught nursing students. Dr. Betker is a past president of the Community Health Nurses of Canada, and has been a long-standing member of the Canadian Public Health Association and, as a settler-ally, the Canadian Indigenous Nurses Association.
“Claire brings a wealth of leadership expertise, rich networks and a passion to put knowledge into action -- especially when it comes to increasing the public health sector’s capacity to help Canadian communities achieve their full health potential,” says Connie Clement, current NCCDH scientific director who will retire as Dr. Betker arrives. “Claire’s a talented, highly collaborative colleague who lives and breathes the very values that her research demonstrates are integral for public health to improve social conditions that advance population health.”
A number of StFX students, who are making a significant contribution to Christian and intellectual life, were recognized on Jan. 22, 2019 when the Catholic Studies Program presented 10 students with bursaries as recipients of the Catherine and Archie MacPhee Awards and the Rev. Bernard A. MacDonald Memorial Bursaries.
The awards commemorate Archie and Catherine MacPhee, the parents of Rev. Norman MacPhee, and Father Bernard A. MacDonald, who was a professor of moral theology at StFX until his death in February 1998.
The Rev. B.A. MacDonald Bursaries and the Catherine and Archie MacPhee Awards recognize and support undergraduate students who have an interest in Catholic Studies, philosophy, or moral theology, and who have made or are making a significant contribution to Christian intellectual and spiritual life on campus or in their home community.
This year’s recipients include Joseph MacMaster, Abigail Law, Hannah Krebs, Jamie Samson, Clare Quirk, Emily Matthews, Kenzie MacNeil, Catherine Culhane, Sarah Furness and William Kehoe.
A delegation of StFX students will be attending the World University Service of Canada’s (WUSC) annual International Forum in Ottawa, ON on January 25-27, 2019, where they will also lead and participate in several panel discussion at the national event.
WUSC is a Canadian non-profit organization in international development that works with post-secondary institutions, private-sector partners, and volunteers to improve the lives of disadvantaged youth around the world.
Five StFX students from across disciplines will attend the international forum, including StFX WUSC president Kristen Stephens, WUSC treasurer Travis Radtke, Carter Julius, Priscilla Panchol and Angelique Gakulu. StFX modern languages professor and WUSC faculty advisor Dr. Maria Soledad Paz-Mackay will also attend.
Dr. Paz-Mackay says the success of the first StFX Refugee Awareness Day, which the WUSC group co-organized on campus on Nov. 20, 2018, led organizers of the national event to request the StFX group take part in the Jan. 27th plenary session, WUSC World Cafe, which consists of small group discussions led by WUSC local committees presenting on a specific topic.
“Given our experience organizing the event on November 20th, the students were invited to lead the session "Scaling up your events/How to plan a successful event,” she says.
The StFX event, she says, was carefully designed to raise the profile of the Student Refugee Program (SRP) on campus, and to bring attention to this important issue. She says the StFX WUSC chapter has been active on campus for 35 years. Since 1984, numerous students have been brought to Antigonish to study, live, achieve, thrive, and become a part of the Xaverian family through the SRP, a unique youth-to-youth sponsorship, which aims at connecting youth living in refugee camps throughout the world with supportive university campuses.
The StFX Refugee Awareness Day event also created a collaboration with many other community groups working towards the same goal. “As a result, our local committee members have been invited to facilitate a table discussion during the International Forum,” she says.
Furthermore, StFX development studies Priscilla Panchol of Kenya, who came to StFX through WUSC, has been invited to take part in a Jan. 25th panel where she will join the presentation, “Moving the needle on gender equality: young women’s leadership for a more equitable and inclusive world.”
“This panel brings together a group of young and dynamic students who are making a real change in their communities and campus working towards a more equitable and inclusive world,” Dr. Paz-Mackay says.
Ms. Panchol says she is looking forward to the experience.
“Attending the forum means a lot as I will be participating with a team of others in the panel to discuss the current problems refugee girls are facing and how to tackle gender issues. I am really excited to part of this group as this will shape my leadership skills in future.”
WUSC StFX president Kristen Stephens, a second year human nutrition student from Keswick Ridge, NB, says she knew she wanted to be part of WUSC ever since she learned about it on campus. She is very much looking forward to participating in the forum.
“It is one thing to be involved in the WUSC society on campus, but it is an overwhelming feeling spending a weekend with members involved in WUSC from all around the world. I was in Ottawa with WUSC in August of 2018 and it was amazing connecting with others in WUSC,” she says. “I find events like this create motivation more than anything. The energy at these weekends is enough to light a fire in anyone.
“I feel blessed and honoured and can't wait for it.”
Mr. Radtke, a fourth year Schwartz School of Business student from Cornwall, ON, who became involved with WUSC StFX after taking a service learning option in his Introduction to International Development class in his first year, says he is ecstatic to have a chance to participate, answer questions and share his experience as part of the panel presentation at the event.
He says the International Forum will provide him with the opportunity to broaden his scope and to meet with students from other campuses across the country to share ideas to benefit all.
Over the course of the three-day International Forum, participants will have opportunities to network and meet with key Canadian and international development participants. This year’s theme is “Development in motion.”
“This provides beneficial opportunities for students to expand their knowledge of international development, while also networking with like-minded individuals from over 80 post-secondary institutions,” says Dr. Paz-Mackay.
“Ultimately, as a local committee, our presence at the International Forum will allow us to increase our activity on campus and enhance internationalism at our university.”
As the faculty advisor for the StFX WUSC Society, Dr. Paz-Mackay says she participated last year in this event, and she was pleasantly surprised to see how many students from all across Canada took part. “I was also sad to see that none of our StFX students were there. So, we made it our goal to participate this year. The forum is an exciting annual gathering where the best ideas and practices for global development are shared. It will provide a unique opportunity for the five students to learn and bring new ideas back to StFX.”
Well-known journalist and author Linden MacIntyre will deliver this year’s Allan J. MacEachen Annual Lecture Series in Politics at StFX. The lecture, open to the public, takes place on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 7:30 p.m. in the Schwartz Auditorium. Mr. MacIntyre’s talk is entitled “Whatsoever things are lies: Twilight time for truth and liberty.”
This annual lecture series was established in 1996 through the generous support of friends and associates of the late Hon. Allan J. MacEachen.
Over the years, speakers at the MacEachen Lecture, now in its 22nd year, have included four former Canadian prime ministers, the Rt. Hon. Paul Martin, the Rt. Hon. Joe Clark, the Rt. Hon. John Turner, and the Rt. Hon. Jean Chretien, as well as a number of distinguished academics, politicians, journalists and a justice of the Supreme Court. Past speakers have also included Preston Manning, the Hon. Bob Rae, the Hon. Frank McKenna, Dalton Camp, Senator Jerry Grafstein, the Hon. Roy Romanow, Dr. Margaret MacMillan, Dr. Jennifer Welsh, the Hon. Flora MacDonald, Senator Lowell Murray, the Hon. Dr. Donald J. Johnston, Allan Gregg and the Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin.
At this year's event, StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald will deliver welcoming remarks and the Honourable Lowell Murray will introduce Mr. MacIntyre. StFX political science professor Dr. Jim Bickerton will serve as master of ceremonies.
Mr. MacIntyre was born in Newfoundland and grew up in Cape Breton. He is a graduate of StFX and worked for many years as a journalist, first in print, then broadcasting. He spent 24 years as the co-host of the Fifth Estate and has won 10 Gemini awards for his work there.
His bestselling first novel, The Long Stretch, was nominated for a CBA Libris Award and his boyhood memoir, Causeway: A Passage from Innocence, won both the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Nonfiction and the Evelyn Richardson Prize. His second novel, The Bishop’s Man, was a #1 national bestseller, won the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Dartmouth Book Award and the CBA Libris Fiction Book of the Year Award, among other honours. The third book in the loose-knit trilogy, Why Men Lie, was also a #1 national bestseller as well as a Globe and Mail “Can’t Miss” Book for 2012. His most recent novels are Punishment, in 2014, and The Only Café, 2017. He is working on a non-fiction project based in Newfoundland scheduled for publication in 2019.
A delegation of students from StFX’s Gerald Schwartz School of Business certainly made their mark at the JDC Central (JDCC) competition held Jan. 4-7, 2019 at Guelph University, coming away from the event with a first and second place finish.
StFX took a delegation of 47 students to Guelph to compete in a variety of events at JDCC, the largest undergraduate business school competition in central Canada, which brings over 700 student delegates together from Ontario, Québec and the Maritimes, including in academic case presentations in eight different business streams, debate, social, and sports. Delegates from 11 universities participated, with StFX the only university from the east coast.
StFX’s Schwartz School marketing team of fourth year business students Matt McGlashan, Reed Wigglesworth, and Mairi Liska placed first in the case competition for their academic stream.
StFX’s sports team also placed second overall for their performance in dodgeball.
“Our marketing team’s performance was stellar,” says Schwartz School professor and faculty advisor Prof. Rhonda McIver.
“The three students representing StFX prepared an in-depth analysis of the case content, provided excellent recommendations, and their responses to the questions from the judges were incredibly insightful and articulate. When the team was presented with the first place award for their performance, the judge presenting the award emphasized that she was “incredibly pleased to award this team first place” and that is was “with honour that she presented the StFX team with their award.”
Prof. McIver says each team is put into isolation as early as 5 a.m. and up to the first presentation time of 8 a.m. Once presentations begin, all teams must be in isolation. The academic team is given a marketing case three hours prior to their presentation time. The team has exactly three hours to review, analyze and make a solid recommendation on the case material, as well as prepare a power point presentation to present to the judges.
Typically, there are four judges for each stream, comprised of industry professionals, often including a representative or stakeholder tied to the business being analyzed in the case.
The students say the competition was a great experience, and they were thrilled with the win.
“I have probably said it so many times that my teammates are tired of hearing it, but I feel so lucky that all of us were put on this team together, we worked together so well, and I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off our last term here at X,” says Mr. McGlashan, a fourth year student from Kingston, ON, who first attended JDCC as a first year student.
Just getting to compete at JDCC is a thrill, he says, and one he highly recommends to any incoming StFX business student. “It is so incredibly fun and valuable.”
Ms. Wigglesworth, a fourth year student from Ottawa, ON, says she and her teammates have a lot of fun working on the cases together—including at the JDCC competition.
“The whole StFX delegation has become a great group of supporting friends, and I have learned a lot from the cases. I am really happy I decided to try out and although it is a lot of work, it definitely paid off.”
Prof. McIver says she was very proud too of StFX’s sports team who she says displayed much enthusiasm and sportsmanship en route to their second place finish. The team was comprised of Riley Milford, Cameron Fritz, Dylan Thring, Patrick Wallace, Joseph Hunter, Grace Knowles, Maya Hockley, and Bryanna Meggs.
“I am certain that Mr. Schwartz would have been incredibly proud of all 47 delegates representing the Gerald Schwartz School of Business in the JDCC competition last weekend. Although we did not place in all categories, every delegate put their best effort into every event,” she says.
“The students were pushed to their limits – exhausted – yet the StFX spirit shone through. They are always the most respectful, collegial, and spirited group at every event in which they participate. I am honoured to have been able to participate with these students as their faculty advisor.”
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The StFX Class of 2019 is establishing The Emergency Mental Health Bursary as its Senior Class Gift, creating a legacy that will help support students who are dealing with mental health concerns.
“The intent of this bursary stemmed from our desire to create a gift that would increase mental health support for students of all years, programs, and backgrounds,” says senior class co-presidents Sarah Comandante and Carl Miller, who are working with fellow senior student Kylie Ito, the senior class development officer, to establish the bursary.
“Every person at some point in their life will be affected by a mental health concern,” they say.
University students in particular can face many challenges, including being away form home, unique new stress that accompanies university, and financial burdens that can cause distress.
“This bursary is essentially an ‘accessibility bursary’ that will have the opportunity to provide necessary support to students facing sudden and unexpected compromising circumstances. This may include, but certainly is not limited to, travel costs to fly a student home for a funeral, rehabilitation program costs, grocery cards if a student is unable to work at the time due to a mental health concern, legal or travel costs to support a student who is a victim of sexual violence, and so on.”
They plan for the bursary to be distributed under the privy of StFX Health and Counselling Centre staff so that there is no need for students to apply and subject themselves to disclosing sensitive information.
“We also believe that the doctors, nurses, and counsellors at the centre are the best personnel to judge a situation for when a student may benefit from this bursary. This also eliminates the confidentiality breach of a third party being involved to assess eligibility.”
The goal, they say, is to raise enough money so that the bursary will be self sufficient enough to provide a fixed amount of funding to the centre each academic year for distribution, and the funds can be distributed as needed, not based a fixed number of students.
“We hope that through the creation of this bursary, the stigma surrounding mental health will continue to be lowered and encourage students to reach out for the help they need.”
Anyone interested in learning more or in making a donation is encouraged to do so here www.stfx.ca/classof2019
The Hon. Randy Delorey, Nova Scotia Minister of Health and Wellness was on campus Dec. 14, 2018 to officially cut the ribbon during the grand opening of the Applied Neuro-Cognitive Research (ANChoR) Laboratory, where three StFX faculty are researching and measuring cognitive abilities in the brain.
Funding support of $40,000 each from the Province of Nova Scotia (Nova Scotia Research and Innovation Trust), as well as the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) was used to acquire new advanced research equipment. The lab is equipped with electroencephalography (EEG) technology, which records the electrical activity of the brain, and enables faculty to research the biological systems that support how people think.
StFX psychology professor Dr. Lindsay Berrigan, human kinetics professor Dr. Mel Lam, and Dean of Science and psychology professor Dr. Petra Hauf each carry out differing cognitive neuroscience research in the lab. The research programs are diverse, reflecting the unique background of each of the team members.
StFX psychology professor Dr. Lindsay Berrigan (left) speaks with Minister Randy Delorey about the research happening in the ANChoR Lab
The lab was created, they say, to investigate the biological systems involved in a variety of cognitive abilities, such as how we process information from our environment, movement control, attention, learning, memory, using electroencephalography (EEG) and event-related potentials (ERPs).
The researchers say they are capable of studying these abilities across the lifespan, from infancy to old age, and in individuals affected by developmental disorders such as autism, Down syndrome, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
“Support from the Nova Scotia Research and Innovation Trust (NSRIT), CFI, and others allowed us to move beyond studying these cognitive abilities using only behavioural observation to now also measure how the brain is functioning, in turn determining the biological activity related to our cognitive skills. This research will have important benefits for Nova Scotians,” they say.
“For example, understanding biological constraints on our ability to attend to and remember new information can inform education curriculum and training programs. Furthermore, understanding the changes in brain function that cause cognitive difficulties for people with the aforementioned disorders and diseases will help us to improve healthcare services. Our research has the potential to improve diagnostic measures, to develop effective rehabilitation programs, and to provide valuable information in the development of new medications.”
Dr. Berrigan investigates how cognitive abilities are influenced by diseases and disorders, such as multiple sclerosis. The goals of her research include refining methods of identifying cognitive dysfunction, improving cognitive health, and ultimately, to improving patients’ quality of life.
Dr. Lam’s research seeks to answer the question “how does the brain receive, organize, and understand sensory input for action?” Her research explores the cognitive and neural processes that support action prediction and action planning when two or more people perform a task together.
The research conducted by Dr. Hauf focuses on the link of motor development and cognitive development in infants, and the impact of motor experience on cognitive functions essential for movement perception, object exploration, and action understanding.
Minister Delorey noted the funding support is a testament to the quality and caliber of the research. As well, he noted strengths of the lab include cross-department and cross-institutional collaboration opportunities and the involvement of undergraduate and master’s students in high-end technology and research. The research, he says, aligns well with the province’s priorities and vision.
Two StFX state-of-the-art chemistry research laboratories, led by StFX faculty Dr. Geniece Hallett-Tapley and Dr. Shajahan (Shah) Razul are making significant contributions to fundamental investigations into industrially-relevant reactions having less of a carbon footprint and into the freezing of biomolecules with industrial applications.
Additionally, the labs are providing StFX students with a unique combination of fundamental and applied industrial research opportunities—experience that will help makes the students more competitive in their future careers.
The equipment in both labs is made possible through research grants each professor has received from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) with matching funds provided by the Research Nova Scotia Trust (RNST).
Dr. Hallett-Tapley has received $89,186 from the CFI, with matching RNST funds for her research project, “Applications of Modified Perovskite Photocatalysts in Fundamental Organic Transformation.”
Dr. Razul has received CFI funding in the amount of $67,544 plus matching funding for research equipment for the “Development and Structure-Function Relationship Studies of Cryoprotectants in Seafood.”
Dr. Hallett-Tapley is looking at ways to make industrially-relevant reactions have less of a carbon footprint. For instance, many of the reactions currently under investigation in her lab are used in the synthesis of common drugs and fine chemicals and typically rely on high heat and long reaction times. Dr. Hallett-Tapley's lab is actively looking into ways to maintain efficiency of these reactions, but reduce the amount of energy required by implementing the use of visible light sources and room temperature conditions
Heat sources, she says, are derived from finite fossil fuel resources. Her research is looking at ways to be less reliant on fossil fuels and to ensure these processes have sustainability into the future.
Over the past two years she’s had two master’s students working in her lab, nine undergraduate students, and a visiting colleague from Brazil.
For Dr. Razul, his lab is focused on studying the freezing of biomolecules in food systems, particularly in seafood, both cooked and raw. In particular, he has been researching cooked lobster meat and how to get it in a more pristine state when it freezes.
What’s unique about the work, he says, is the idea to use the natural molecules and to tune them in a way using computer simulation. He’s designed experiments to check to see if the simulation is doing what he thinks it will do. The equipment enables detailed studies on the freezing properties of cryoprotectants.
His research has already shed light on how to keep food in an almost fresh state after it is frozen. He is moving onto the second stage of his research, looking at molecules in raw food, including lobster and shrimp.
Dr. Razul has also had a number of students involved in his research lab over the past two years including about seven undergraduate students and a PhD student.
StFX philosophy professor Dr. William Sweet was recently invited to serve as a Visiting Professor in the School of Philosophy at Renmin University in China.
Prof. Sweet was invited under Renmin University's International Frontier Faculty Training Program, whereby an outstanding overseas scholar is invited to the university to give a course of lectures, aimed at providing Chinese academics with the latest academic research on issues of contemporary concern. Dr. Sweet gave a series of lectures on normative ethical theory and the place of intercultural philosophy.
His Visiting Professorship followed on an earlier trip to China this year in August, where he lectured at Shandong University, in Jinan, at the Beijing Institute of Buddhism Culture, and at the World Congress of Philosophy in Beijing.
Renmin University is one of China's leading universities, devoted primarily to the humanities and social sciences, and one of the elite "985" group (so designated by Chinese President Deng Xiaoping in September 1985), that was "established to promote the development and reputation of the Chinese higher education system." Its School of Philosophy has some 80 faculty members, including over a dozen in the area of ethics alone.
During his time in China, Prof. Sweet also met with scholars from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, with graduate and post-doctoral students from philosophy, politics, and law, at Renmin, and, later, with faculty from Changzhou University and from the School of Business Administration of the Suzhou University of Science and Technology, where he also gave an invited lecture. Dr. Sweet was particularly impressed by the students who, he said, were among the best that he has met.
On Friday, December 14, St. Francis Xavier University and leaders within the Town and County of Antigonish applauded the provincial government’s $3.95 million dollar increase to the university’s annual operating funding.
“This announcement is tremendous news for StFX. On behalf of the StFX Board of Governors, I want to thank the Premier, the Minister of Advanced Labour and Education for the Province of Nova Scotia and local MLA, Randy Delorey for their vision, leadership and commitment to post-secondary education within the province,” said Mike Boyd, Chair, StFX Board of Governors. “I also wish to acknowledge the work of StFX staff under the leadership of Dr. Kent MacDonald who, for over two years, worked tirelessly on this file.”
The funding will be added directly to the university’s base operating grant, taking effect within the 2018-2019 fiscal year.
“I’ve spoken with Mayor Boucher and Warden McCarron, and together with the university, we are so very pleased with this decision of the government,” says Dr. Kent MacDonald, President and Vice Chancellor of StFX University. “It signals to us that this provincial government understands and appreciates that by investing in StFX, the government is investing in an economic, social and cultural driver for the town and county of Antigonish, the northeastern region of Nova Scotia, and the province.”
"The StFX Students’ Union was excited to hear about the funding announcement on the increase to the base-operating grant for the university,” said StFX Students’ Union President Rebecca Mesay. “I’m very pleased to see funding that will go to areas that directly support students.”
In December, 2017, a report was released that outlined StFX’s $486 million economic impact to the province of Nova Scotia in 2016-17. The report concluded that for every $1 invested in the university, StFX generates $15 in return to the province.
Together We Can, a new girls empowerment program, has launched at StFX.
And on Dec. 5, 2018, project partners gathered on campus to celebrate the milestone, and to look ahead to research work aimed at helping pre-teen girls maintain their self-esteem and self-confidence during a time when research shows their social and emotional health tends to drops.
Together We Can is the result of a three-year project led by the New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) and StFX that focused on the challenges young girls in rural areas face, and the interventions that help improve or maintain positive identity.
Stephanie Ruckstuhl, a registered nurse and NBCC faculty member with the practical nursing and allied health programs, started the program after seeing research which showed the severe drop-off in positive self identity numbers for girls in Canada, between Grade 6 and Grade 9.
Over the past three years, the project used StFX education students and NBCC licensed practical nursing students, as well as staff from the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre (AWRC) to act as peer mentors and deliver workshops to girls in Grade 7 and 8 in schools in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
The partners received three years in funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) to test the effectiveness of the Girls’ Action Foundation's Amplify program, which it used in this project.
“This is important upstream work because we know nationally that girls’ sense of positive identity significantly drops through adolescence. We also know that girls’ reporting of mental health problems increases in this adolescent range,” said StFX education professor Dr. Chris Gilham, one of the program partners. “The program focuses on strategies and activities aimed to empower young girls and we have strong evidence to show it works, especially for vulnerable, at-risk girls.”
Dr. Gilham says the program is recognized by the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness, and the Department of Education as an evidenced-based social-emotional program, and that the Strait Regional Centre for Education has taken it up in earnest. He says they would love to see more school boards across the Maritimes pick it up. He says they are starting a roll-out phase where they will mail information to administrators in all Atlantic Canada schools, as well as the majority of schools across the country.
Dr. Suzanne Stewart, a StFX English professor, has long been fascinated with nature, rural life and the changing seasons. Now, she’s ably parlayed those interests into a new book that celebrates life in rural Nova Scotia.
The Tides of Time: A Nova Scotia Book of Seasons, published by Pottersfield Press in November 2018, is set in northeastern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton and presents portraits of contemporary labourers whose harvests mark the rhythms of the seasonal year.
Each of its 12 chapters are monthly essays that tell the story of a labour unique to that month, including jobs like tuna fishing, cranberry farming, maple syrup production, sheep farming, beekeeping, lobster fishing, and foraging for wild mushrooms.
“It’s a book in part about nature. I’m quite attracted to the beauty of nature,” says Dr. Stewart who holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction from the University of King’s College, as well as a PhD in English literature with a specialization in the poetry of the Romantic period.
More specifically, she says, The Tides of Time is a book about rural life.
“It’s meant to be a book that celebrates what people are doing. I want to show the deep knowledge, the attachment and integrity, and their devotion to what they do.”
Dr. Stewart says she was inspired to write the book in part from reading the Labours of the Month Calendar she discovered in the medieval The Book of Hours, a widely popular book of its time.
She says every month of the year in the calendar had a particular task set out, depicting rural activities that commonly took place during that month.
“What I liked about it was it was so determined by seasonal change and the rhythm of time.”
It’s an area to which she’s particularly drawn. She in fact received a bursary to attend the Wordsworth Summer Conference, in Grasmere, England, in August, 2018, where she presented the paper "'Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee': Dorothy Wordsworth and the Months of the Year."
Both the concept of time and rural life peaked her interest.
Romantic literature, her area of specialization, is known to elevate and celebrate a rural way of life.
She says she was also intrigued by the concept of time and the crisis of time facing today’s society where many lives have become so accelerated and busy, with some losing the natural rhythms of time.
Dr. Stewart says she wanted to see if she could construct her own Nova Scotia labour of the month calendar, bringing a literary lens to her observations of rural life. She set out to see if she could tie each month of the year to a monthly labour or harvest.
She started by talking with vendors at the Antigonish Farmers’ Market and expanded from there, travelling across the region to meet with farmers and fishers and producers. She turned each visit into a story. Each story, she says, details both the actual labour and the personality of the labourer. She also drew on years and years of notes and attentiveness to the seasons, to the details and delicacy of nature, to vividly paint the descriptive elements of each season.
In The Tides of Time, “Stewart revitalizes an older, contemplative view of the sacredness of time,” reads the book’s jacket description.
“In keeping with the genre of nature writing, her book offers a meticulous way of looking at the world as she blends first-hand observations of seasonal change with stories of the labourers. The Tides of Time offers a refuge from the rush of urban life. It turns to the seasons, rural life and literature for an alternative mode of time, which is fluid, rhythmic, and gentle.”
“Nova Scotia suits this tradition so nicely because our seasons are so distinct,” she says. “We’re able to witness the seasonal changes so nicely here and to see how rural life is tied to those changes.”
The Tides of Time is Dr. Stewart’s first book. It is available online through Indigo and locally at Coles in the Antigonish Market Square mall, the Five to a Dollar, and the Antigonish Heritage Museum.
She is already at work on a second book.
The Right Honourable Brian Mulroney, Canada’s 18th Prime Minister and a StFX alumnus from the Class of 1959, delivered a powerful and emotional tribute to former U.S. President George H.W. Bush as the 41st president was laid to rest in a state funeral last week in Washington, D.C.
The two leaders had formed a close friendship during their terms in office that continued through the years.
During his moving remarks, Mr. Mulroney spoke eloquently about Mr. Bush’s legacy and the impact he had not only on the United States, but the world.
We’re pleased to share a copy of this tribute, Mr. Mulroney's official eulogy of President Bush, as well as a video of the tribute.
Gender-based violence ends when we as a community stand together and say no.
That was the message from RCMP Cst. Deepak Prasad, one of the co-hosts of the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women commemoration ceremony that was held at StFX in the Schwartz Auditorium on Dec. 6, 2018.
“What will be your call to action?” Cst. Prasad asked the students, staff, faculty and community members gathered for the annual ceremony that is itself a call to action against gender-based violence
We as a community need to work on the issue, echoed ceremony co-host Iffat Sohi, equity student representative, StFX Students’ Union.
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.
“Although this incident happened 29 years ago, gender-based violence remains a reality,” Ms. Sohi said.
Keynote speaker Dolly Mosher, Domestic Violence Case Coordinator, Halifax Regional Police Victim Services Unit, provided a Nova Scotia perspective on violence against women.
She spoke about Silent Witness Nova Scotia, a program established in 2014 to provide education in the community around domestic violence as well as education around how to get help.
Ms. Mosher provided sobering statistics on gender-based violence in Nova Scotia since 1990, including the fact that up until September 2018 there have been 62 confirmed intimate partner homicides in the province.
“Anyone can experience domestic violence,” she said, noting it impacts all ages, all occupations and all geographic areas.
Cst. Prasad and Ms. Sohi listed resources for help and options that are available in the community.
Second year English honours student Emma Kuzmyk received a standing ovation after she performed an original poem during the ceremony.
A new agreement signed between St. Francis Xavier University and a Chinese educational delegation will strengthen the two countries’ scholarly exchange as well as enhance StFX recruitment in China.
The agreement was signed by StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald and Mr. Guo Wanjun, Director of the Education Bureau of Qingbaijiang. The agreement will allow for new opportunities for recruitment and encourage visiting scholars and faculty to look at other possible areas of cooperation in research and academic programs. Joint conferences, seminars, workshops and forums are other possibilities for this new relationship.
Mutual beneficial opportunities in international education will strengthen the bond between Canada and China and support faculty and students in fulfilling their academic pursuits across borders.
Just days before her StFX graduation with an honours degree in the Advanced Option nursing program, Charlotte Curley, a StFX Rankin School of Nursing student who graduated on Dec. 1, 2018 at Fall Convocation, had more to celebrate when she learned she had won the Marie McCully Collier Population and Public Health Student Award from the Public Health Association of Nova Scotia.
Ms. Curley was in competition for the honour with undergraduate and graduate students across Nova Scotia.
“I was honoured and excited to receive this award. This award affirms the work I have done so far and indicates that I am on the right path for my future career. I feel that it reflects my potential in the field of public and population health,” says Ms. Curley who in January 2019 will start her career as a registered nurse on the maternity unit in the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital in Fredericton, NB.
In the new year, she will also edit and submit her thesis for publication in the Canadian Journal of Public Health. She also hopes to present her research at the Canadian Public Health Association annual conference in April 2019.
Her supervisor, Rankin School of Nursing professor Sionnach Lukeman, had much praise for Ms. Curley, who was also the only student in her AO class to complete an honours thesis.
“Typically, students in our accelerated program do not do a thesis due to the demands of the condensed program. However, Charlotte presented a case for how she could manage, and we developed a plan to make it work. While doing this research project, she was also in my “advanced population and public health” course, and I could see how her passion, dedication and intellectual capacity was working together in a symbiotic way,” Prof. Lukeman says.
“Her integration of the material both in class and in her research project was exceptional for an undergraduate student. Charlotte has submitted an abstract to the Canadian Public Health Association conference and will be using this award to attend the conference in Ottawa this spring.”
Prof. Lukeman says as a new graduate who is considering a masters and working in public health, the opportunity to participate in the dissemination of research results with leading researchers in this field in Canada will be invaluable.
“I believe this award will build Charlotte’s capacity for working in public health in the future. It is this kind of mentorship that is crucial at a time when capacity for working at the population level is needed more than ever. Charlotte is an excellent example of the capacity for research, innovation, and leadership in the discipline of nursing.”
Ms. Curley says by completing her honours thesis, she has achieved two important professional goals.
“I had the privilege of working alongside an incredible teacher and role model, Sionnach Lukeman. We developed a symbiotic working relationship and I now have a valuable personal and professional relationship with her,” she says.
“Through my honours thesis, I have started to shed light on the important topic of public health reform in Canada. My research has initiated a platform for future research and development in this field.”
Ms. Curley, originally from Tara, ON, has lived in Antigonish since 2011 and has completed two honours degrees. “I feel that StFX has given me incredible research experience and invaluable relationships with faculty members and administrators across disciplines. My StFX experience has set the stage for my future. In my time here, I have developed skills in communication, work ethic, networking, collaboration and community involvement. I can confidently say that these skills will stay with me wherever I go.”