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StFX pre-service teachers becoming entrepreneurs to help teach entrepreneurs 

Wed, 2021-03-03 15:51
Pictured are Dr. Greg Hadley and students in his B.Ed. Secondary Business Education class

A group of StFX pre-service teachers are learning to become entrepreneurs to help educate future entrepreneurs. 

Students in Dr. Greg Hadley’s B.Ed. Secondary Business Education class have all been tasked with conducting a business venture assignment so that they will be well prepared to help teach high school students to do the same. 

“This is an important simulation as completing a venture has become an expectation in many high school business education courses,” Dr. Hadley says. 

“Many assignments in our B.Ed. program are designed to prepare students for classroom teaching. In this case, 'the venture' is a curriculum outcome for Entrepreneurship 12, a popular business course in Nova Scotia. Supporting high school students as they plan and launch a venture is generally a good deal of work for the classroom teacher. It was with that in mind that this assignment was born,” he says. 

“The goal is to prepare our future business education teachers with the knowledge and experience to take a high school class through the business venture process in a meaningful and educative way. It is a piece of experiential learning with direct, practical benefit for our pre-service teachers.” 

The assignment asks students to create their own venture in a process that closely mirrors what classroom teachers do. Students, working in groups, generate ideas, refine them, and mobilize them into an actual venture, he says. 

The assignment, offered for the past three years, is the centerpiece of the business pedagogy class and is popular with students. Over the years, students have launched food service ventures, planned extra-curricular events, worked with the campus newspaper, and created social enterprises. This year, his class is working through four separate venture projects. One group has created a social enterprise that sells cards featuring the artwork of Nova Scotia artists from different cultural affiliations, while another group is selling customized trading cards. One group is selling hot chocolate 'bombs' that make hot chocolate preparation easy, while another is planning an extra-curricular event for students. 

The greeting card company CardsFourCause, he says, is a nice example of how students have pivoted to complete this task given the restrictions of COVID 19. The students have also introduced an e-commerce element, something new for the assignment. 

ENTERPRENEURIAL SKILLS IN ACTION

In this case, the students, Jenny Melong of Pictou County, NS, Adrian Covey, who grew up in Prospect Bay and now lives in River John, NS, and Tracey MacNeil of Mabou Harbour, Cape Breton, launched a social entrepreneurial venture project in which they’ve partnered with Nova Scotian artists from diverse cultural groups to feature their artwork on professionally printed greeting cards. Profits are donated to organizations that support social justice, the environment, fine arts, and culture. 

The students say the learning experience has been terrific. 

“As pre-service teachers, we have found tremendous value in the business venture simulation experience. Not only has it provided an opportunity for educational learning and growth related to entrepreneurship, but it has also created a platform for social integration, outreach, and communication with and amongst our B.Ed. colleagues. It has been extremely beneficial and rewarding to share knowledge and ask questions along the way with other pre-service teachers,” say the three students, all in their first year of the education program. 

“The experience of taking an idea from the ideation phase through to mobilization has allowed us to access and strengthen the entrepreneurial KSAs (knowledge, skills, and attitudes) required of an entrepreneur. When we think about our readiness as a professional educator, we are now more confident in our ability to teach well, using active, experiential learning as the basis of our teaching.”

The three students say they originally planned to implement the venture as a small scale, profit-oriented venture, but with their focus on social justice in their Sociology of Education course, they thought it would be a nice opportunity to raise funds and awareness for related causes. 

“As such, we decided to implement a social entrepreneurial, non-profit venture that paired art with advocacy. We partnered with artists from diverse cultural groups across Nova Scotia including Acadian, African Nova Scotia, Indigenous and Scottish Gaelic. We empowered the artist to define a group or organization to which they would like the profits from the sale of their cards donated, which ended up including causes linked to youth empowerment, social justice, the environment, arts and culture. To increase our reach, we decided to implement our venture using an e-commerce platform and social media marketing. To date, we have sold over 300 cards and our website has been visited by over 500 users across Canada, the U.S. and even a few in the U.K and Kenya!”

Creating the venture was at first a daunting endeavour, they say, but with guidance of Dr. Hadley and excellent group communication and collaboration, they were able to break the process down into segments and assign tasks and accountabilities through Microsoft Teams. The group was able to stay on track and get the venture up and going in a short time, with sales skyrocketing within the first few days. “While our campaign will soon be coming to an end, in the future, we will be exploring ways to keep “CardsFourCause” alive as a part of the B.Ed. program’s Secondary Business Education course.”  

The students say there are several takeaways from this activity. 

“We have learned there are many uniquely talented artists in minority cultures in Nova Scotia. One of the artists we partnered with for our venture is an inspiring, self-taught, 11-year-old African Nova Scotian sketch artist from Antigonish named Sylas Smiley. Sylas has taught us how important youth are in the community, and what an incredible contribution to the future they make. We have also experienced, first-hand, the vital role technology plays in today’s business environment; particularly the internet, making it possible to sell over 300 unique cultural greeting cards in only 10 days.”

They were surprised by the overwhelming amount of support they received. “We were extremely humbled to have one of our cards used as the thank you card for the StFX Department of Sociology Dr. Agnes Calliste African Heritage Lecture. Community support was also very humbling, with over $400 in local sponsorship secured to support costs associated with the venture.”

Student entrepreneurship provides unspeakable value, they say.

“We recently had a youth entrepreneur, a Grade 10 student from Pictou County, deliver a presentation to our class. She was more than enlightening; she was heartwarming, inspiring and hopeful. She made one comment that continues to resonate with us; relating to the idea that incredibly young children become excited, energetic, motivated, in the face of fun, hands-on, interactive types of activities. Her statement caused us to reflect on how relevant and valuable it is to foster student entrepreneurship, in any educational manner possible. Students of all ages deserve to be educated about entrepreneurship.”

COVID Update: Avoid travelling to Halifax/Consistent group of 10

Fri, 2021-02-26 19:24

To the campus community,

Earlier this afternoon, our province’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Robert Strang, announced what he called a ‘circuit breaker’ intervention within the Halifax and Central region, to help stop the spread of COVID-19 within the province.

I’d like to share a reminder to the campus community to avoid all non-essential travel to Halifax and the Central Region. Also, a reminder that it is ok to socialize in a group of 10; however, please ensure that you are doing so with a consistent group of 10. According to Dr. Strang, this is a practice where improvement is needed across the province.

Although the cases may seem far from our everyday lives, it is important that we remind ourselves that we are still in the midst of a pandemic. To date, StFX students, faculty and staff have done a tremendous job in keeping our communities safe. With cases on the rise in the province, including some cases for which the virus is proving untraceable, it’s vital that we keep our focus. 

Let’s continue to be diligent in our activities, take care of ourselves, one another and our community. To quote Dr. Strang, “We must all take precautions, even if we, personally, are not at risk.” Let’s take his words to heart and continue to practice safe and low-risk behaviours.

Have a safe weekend. 

Andy

Andy W. Hakin PhD President and Vice-Chancellor

St. Francis Xavier University

Kiknu “Our Home” —Indigenous Student Centre officially opens at StFX

Fri, 2021-02-26 15:40
L-r, Mi'kmaw Elder and StFX Knowledge Keeper Kerry Prosper and StFX President Dr. Andy Hakin joined together to officially open StFX’s Indigenous Student Centre and unveil its name, Kiknu, meaning 'our home' in English.

Kiknu, meaning ‘our home’ in English, is the name of StFX’s Indigenous Student Centre, officially opened on campus on Feb. 26.

Mi'kmaw Elder and StFX Knowledge Keeper Kerry Prosper and StFX President Dr. Andy Hakin joined together to unveil the centre’s name during a ceremony held in Dennis Hall in the Coady Institute. 

“I give thanks for this,” said Elder Prosper as he welcomed all to the ceremony, held with a small number of in-person guests. Due to COVID-19, the event was livestreamed to the campus and broader community via StFX's Facebook page. 

Elder Prosper shared a most honoured, traditional welcome with everyone gathered for the official opening. The Indigenous Student Centre, he said, is a safe spot for our students, their families, and for all Indigenous people who come here. 

“We have lived here for thousands of years, but today we struggle to find safe spots in our homeland,” he said. 

“We will always remember this day.”

“It’s a special moment in StFX’s history,” Dr. Hakin said as he recognized honoured guests at the ceremony and thanked the community for allowing StFX to have this moment.

“I’m excited about the possibilities that Kiknu brings us.” 

Dr. Hakin says the name speaks to what this place can be and should be. “Our home, that’s what it says.”

He says he sees Kiknu as a place that will bring people together, where peer mentoring and learning happen organically, a place that will promote the success of students, and that will create an environment that promotes friendship and helps in the journey to bring about truth and reconciliation. It will be a place of growth, and a place to amplify Mi’kmaq culture in our daily lives and provide learning opportunities to all.  

“It will enrich the campus.” 

“I’m so glad that this is happening,” says StFX Faculty of Education professor Michelle Sylliboy, who brought greetings during the ceremony. She also thanked Terena Francis, Coordinator, Indigenous Student Affairs at StFX, for all her efforts to make this day possible. 

Prof. Sylliboy was involved in going back to the community to ask Elders, including StFX alumni, for their input on the name. Kiknu was suggested: “It’s a home away from home for these students.” 

Jeneva Dennis, a fourth year BA student, who emceed the afternoon event, spoke about the importance of the space. She said it is a place where she can come to study, to talk to people, and to be able to hold her culture close. 

StFX Vice President Students Elizabeth Yeo gave a Territory Acknowledgement and delivered opening remarks, noting that StFX is committed to honouring treaty relations because we are all treaty people. While StFX recognizes there is work still to be done, she says today is a meaningful step forward, celebrating the naming of this space, and creating a space with the hopes it ensures that Indigenous students feel safe, welcomed and honoured. 

 

StFX selected as vaccination site

Wed, 2021-02-24 14:03

February 23, 2021



To the campus community,



Later today we are expecting the Nova Scotia government to announce that StFX has been selected as a venue for one of the province’s COVID-19 Community Vaccination Clinics.



The provincial government recently announced a vaccination strategy that will see residents of Nova Scotia receive the vaccine in descending order based on age, with those aged 80 and above among those receiving the first doses.  It is anticipated that the entire vaccination roll-out will take at least six months, and StFX expects to serve as a clinic venue for the public for the duration of the province’s vaccination timeline. The MacKay room within Bloomfield Centre has been identified as the venue for this clinic.



We are very pleased to be able to offer our facilities as a venue for this critical part of the province’s COVID-19 response. Please note that the site itself will be managed by Nova Scotia Public Health officials, who will also make all decisions regarding vaccination appointments and roll-out. You can find a series of Frequently Asked Questions provided by the province with more information on the government’s vaccine plans by visiting StFX’s COVID-19 web portal: www.stfx.ca/coronavirus.

 

If you have specific questions on the province’s plans for vaccine roll-out, please contact Nova Scotia Public Health using this email address: coronavirus@nshealth.ca.

 

Sincerely,

 

Andy



Andy W. Hakin PhD

President and Vice-Chancellor

St Francis Xavier University

 

StFX student Margaret Scott wins best poster award at Atlantic Geoscience Society Colloquium

Wed, 2021-02-24 11:32
Pictured are some of the Solid+ Liquid+ Vapour inclusions in quartz that StFX student Margaret Scott examined in order to determine the pressure and temperature conditions of quartz crystallization.

StFX student Margaret Scott has been singled out for the quality of her work as she won the Raeside Award for the best undergraduate student poster at the annual Atlantic Geoscience Society Colloquium held virtually earlier this month. 

Her poster was entitled “Conditions of pocket formation in the Zapot pegmatite, Gillis Range, Nevada,” and was the subject of a directed studies course that StFX earth sciences professor Dr. Alan Anderson supervised. Ms. Scott, who is from Ottawa ON, and who graduated from StFX in 2020 with a biology degree and returned this year to complete an earth sciences major, competed with students at the colloquium from universities across Atlantic Canada.

“Margaret started making her measurements in my lab shortly after the COVID restrictions for the Physical Sciences building were removed in late May 2020. I would check on her progress once each week, but she worked in isolation for most of summer. Her careful collection of data was exceptional, and I am pleased that the conference judges recognized the quality of her work,” Dr. Anderson says. 

Ms. Scott says she enjoyed taking Minerology with Dr. Anderson last year and she did well in the class. Dr. Anderson offered her a position for the summer to do research on the Zapot pegmatite, where she took microthermometric data to investigate the pressure and temperature conditions of pocket formation in the Zapot pegmatite. 

She says her initial reaction to winning the award was surprise, as she was quite nervous. “I get nervous in presenting so I thought I messed up when I was asked to explain my research.”

Overall, she says it’s been a great experience.  

“This opportunity was an amazing experience to have to get an idea of what it is like working in a lab and conducting research. It was one of the best summer jobs I’ve had because I was able to apply what I have been learning from my earth science courses to lab work and was able to learn more about this subject from Dr. Anderson.”   

 

StFX Athletics honours 96 U SPORTS Academic All-Canadians

Mon, 2021-02-22 14:08

The StFX Department of Athletics honoured its 2019-20 U SPORTS Academic All-Canadians in a celebratory video. This year, there were 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 tied the StFX all-time high of 96, also achieved in 2017-18. 

With the ongoing COVID protocols the traditional format of holding an annual celebratory breakfast for the recipients and their invited faculty members was replaced with the virtual event, which can be viewed on the StFX Athletics YouTube channel by clicking here.  

“Although we were unable to gather in person this year, this celebration of excellence in the classroom remains 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 271 eligible student-athletes who consumed U SPORTS eligibility by participating on a varsity team at StFX during the 2019-20 season, 35 per cent achieved Academic All-Canadian status, including 37 male and 59 female student-athletes. The X-Women Cross Country Track team had the highest percentage of honourees from all StFX teams, with 67 per cent of their team’s members earning the distinction.  

There were 46 first-time Academic All-Canadians, 23 student-athletes who received the honour for the second time in their career, and 19 who were three-time Academic All-Canadians. Eight student-athletes earned the distinction of being a U SPORTS Academic All-Canadians for four years, including Mackenzie Bell (rugby), Megan Graham (track & field), Paul MacLellan (cross country), Therese McCurdy (curling) and hockey athletes Marcus Cuomo, Matt Needham, Sam Studnicka and Mark Tremaine. All are recent 2020 graduates.

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 third consecutive year, along with Jay Turnsek from the X-Men Football team.

The 2019-20 Academic All-Canadians will receive a certificate from U SPORTS along with a gift from the Department of Athletics. 

The complete list of 2019-20 StFX Academic All-Canadians is as follows:

First Name, Last Name, Sport, Degree, Hometown

Mira Alexander Track & Field BA HK Truro, NS

Quinn Alexander Track & Field BA Truro, NS

Ethan Anderson Curling BSc N Kentville, NS

Kali Beaton Track & Field BSc HK Brookvillage, NS

Mackenzie Bell Rugby BASCH New Glasgow, NS

Melanie BeLong Soccer BSc Moncton, NB

Jacob Benoit Cross Country BSc HK Sweets Corner, NS

Isaac Bezanson Football BBA Prospect Bay, NS

Tehya Blake Soccer BA Orleans, ON

Meaghan Boatsmith Track & Field BSc HK Hamilton, ON

William Bower Hockey BBA Saint John, NB

Erin Brennan Track & Field BA HK Beechwood, NB

Kaya Brossard Hockey BBA North Vancouver, BC

Tanna Burke Cross Country BSc N Cole Harbour, NS

Carly Burrows Hockey BSc HK New Glasgow, NS

Jenna Burrows Soccer BSc N New Glasgow, NS

Santino Centorame Hockey BBA Mississauga, ON

Will Chapman Football BBA Halifax, NS

Samuel Charron Soccer BBA Ottawa, ON

Paige Chisholm Cross Country BSc N Port Williams, NS

Josephine Chisholm Hockey BSc HK Antigonish, NS

Benoit Cormier Football BSc Moncton, NB

Lane Cormier Hockey BSc AR Hopewell, NS

Olivia Crewe Track & Field BSc HK Ottawa, ON

Marcus Cuomo Hockey BA St Johns, NL

Findlay Day Cross Country BA PP&G Victoria, BC

Alanna Deakin Track & Field BEd Dubai, UAE

Aidan Doherty Cross Country BBA West Vancouver, BC

Kathleen Dolan Rugby BASCH Halifax, NS

Emerson Elliott Hockey BBA Aurora, ON

Hannah Ellis Rugby BSc HK Halifax, NS

Isaac Fagnan Football BBA Antigonish, NS

Danielle Franada Rugby BBA Grande Prairie, AB

Megan Frost Soccer BBA Ottawa, ON

Claudia Fulton Rugby Engineer Aylesford, NS

Christina Gentile Soccer BA Laval, QC

Brianna Gottschall Basketball BASCH Antigonish, NS

Amy Graham Hockey BSc HK Ottawa, ON

Megan Graham Track & Field BSc N Trenton, NS

Alexandra Hamilton Rugby BSc N Eastern Passage, NS

Madeline Harroun Rugby BBA Halifax, NS

Shyanne Hedges Soccer BSc HK Calgary, AB

Jane Hergett Cross Country BSc N Port Williams, NS

Alexander Hewish Soccer BBA Ottawa, ON

Anna Horner Rugby BSc HK Stouffville, ON

Zoe Johnston Cross Country BEd Pembroke, ON

Catherine Kennedy Soccer BA Antigonish, NS

Jack Kennedy Soccer BBA Antigonish, NS

Paige Knechtel Curling BASc H Beachburg, ON

Justin Laforest Hockey BSc HK Carleton Place, ON

Adam Laishram Hockey BSc HK Ashburn, ON

Samantha Lake Rugby BEd Windsor, NS

Sarah Lapensee Soccer BASCH Manotick, ON

Thomas LeGallais Basketball BA Cornwall, ON

Lauren Liem Cross Country BSc HK Bedford, NS

Cole MacDonald Hockey BBA Wetaskiwin, AB

Emma MacDougall Rugby BA Halifax, NS

Paul MacLellan Cross Country BBA Antigonish, NS

Justin Major Track & Field BASCH Nassau, BS

Carter Malyk Football BBA Calgary, AB

Jamie McCarron Basketball BEd New Glasgow, NS

Sarah McCarron Rugby BA HK Antigonish, NS

Therese McCurdy Curling BSc N Beaver Brook, NS

Cassidy McEwen Hockey BSc HK Lloydminster, AB

Jessica McPherson Rugby BSc HK Lower Sackville, NS

Talia Morin Soccer BBA Ottawa, ON

Matt Needham Hockey BBA Kamloops, BC

Devon Parris Football BA Kingston, ON

Hallie Pirie Rugby BSc HK Smiths Falls, ON

Thalia Puac Rugby BSc HN Mission, BC

Jordan Rao Soccer BASCH Calgary, AB

Joshua Read Soccer BA HK Corsham, UK

Grace Rheault Basketball BASCH Ottawa, ON

Ashley Robson Cross Country BSc N Dartmouth, NS

Paytan Ruiz Soccer BBA Pictou, NS

Julia Schmitt Hockey BSc Truro, NS

Lydia Schurman Hockey BSc Summerside, PE

Amanda Smith Soccer BSc HK Ottawa, ON

Alyssa Spridgeon Soccer BA Whitby, ON

Graydon Staples Cross Country BSc Shanty Bay, ON

Hannah Stoddart Soccer BA HK Lawrencetown, NS

Oliver Storseth Soccer BSc Antigonish, NS

Sam Studnicka Hockey BBA Windsor, ON

Madison Suart Rugby BSc HK Calgary, AB

Eric Sutton Track & Field BSc HK Peterborough, ON

Ellen Taggart Cross Country BEd Dartmouth, NS

Patti-Anne Tracey Hockey BBA Antigonish, NS

Mark Tremaine Hockey BEd Dartmouth, NS

Jay Turnsek Football BBA North Bay, ON

Riley Van den Heuvel Track & Field BEd Port Hood, NS

Alexis Verville Football BA Victoriaville, QC

Chloe Walker Cross Country BA PP&G Ottawa, ON

Carleigh Walters Rugby BSc HN Williams Lake, BC

William Warren Soccer BBA Windsor Jtn, NS

Bailey Wasdal Football BBA Calgary, AB

James White Basketball BSc HK Saint John, NB

A New World: Black Emancipation and the Work That Lies Ahead—11th annual Dr. Agnes Calliste African Heritage Lecture set for Feb. 24th

Mon, 2021-02-22 10:15
Dr. Rachel Zellars

On Wednesday, Feb. 24, the 11th annual Dr. Agnes Calliste African Heritage Lecture Series, organized by the StFX Sociology Department, will take place when Dr. Rachel Zellars’ keynote lecture. “A New World: Black Emancipation and the Work That Lies Ahead,” explores how on May 25, 2020, the world shifted. In the aftermath of the execution of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, 60 countries and every major city in North America erupted, for months, into movements of protest and resistance. 

In her address, Dr. Zellars asks what does our current, global moment teach us about historical Black struggles for full emancipation, and what do recent calls to #DefundThePolice and for abolition mean for Black people and our future sites of resistance? 

The lecture, which starts at 7 p.m., will also include the Committee for Black and Aboriginal Student Success (CABSS) Black Leaders Awards, and closing remarks by StFX religious studies professor Dr. Ronald Charles, a scholar of the African diaspora. 

ronald_charles.jpg

Dr. Ron Charles

Dr. Charles says on the importance of the event and why he accepted: “As one who is from the Caribbean and one with a keen interest in subaltern voices and perspectives, I have been drawn to Dr. Calliste’s work early on since my arrival on campus in 2014. The lecture means the possibility to continue learning and provoke deep-seated assumptions regarding Black bodies and Black knowledge. It is truly an honour to be part of this event.”

Dr. Norine Verberg, Department of Sociology chair, says, “Sociology has hosted an annual African Heritage Lecture for about 25 years because of the leadership of Dr. Agnes Calliste. Although it was organized by the Sociology Department, Agnes saw it as a Xaverian project, welcoming sponsorship and participation from all faculties at StFX. She used the lecture platform to inspire us to celebrate the pathbreaking work being done on and by African heritage scholars, Indigenous scholars and scholars from other racialized groups. When Agnes retired, naming the African Heritage Lecture series in her honour seemed an ideal way to honour her local leadership.”

This event is free and is open to the public and will be livestreamed on the StFX University Facebook page. 

Dr. Rachel Zellars, MA, JD, PhD, is a lawyer and assistant professor at Saint Mary’s University in the Department of Social Justice and Community Studies. Her research and scholarship focuses on the history of Black Canada beginning with the American Revolution; slavery in the Maritimes; and gender violence. She is also a nationally recognized expert on critical implicit bias, a term that she coined in conjunction with her extensive, ongoing work with the federal government and numerous private institutions. In addition to her legal background, Dr. Zellars also holds a master’s degree in Africana Studies from Cornell University and a doctorate in education from McGill University. She is a long-time community organizer, who recently co-founded the Black Lives Matter Solidarity Fund in Nova Scotia, which has raised over $300,000 to date. Additionally, she co-founded the African Nova Scotian Freedom School to honour the rich legacies of African Nova Scotian freedom fighters, educators, and community leaders throughout the province. In 2013, she co-founded the Third Eye Collective, a transformative justice collective created by and for Black women. She continues to study, practice, and facilitate in the context of transformative justice nationally.  

Agnes_Calliste_3 (2).JPG

Dr. Agnes Calliste

The lecture series
is organized by the StFX Department of Sociology in honour of the legacy of Dr. Agnes Calliste. As noted in the Canadian Sociological Association's 'In Memoriam' following her death Fall 2018: "[Dr. Calliste's] scholarship focused on the complex interrelation of work, race, ethnicity and gender in Canada. Her ground-breaking research with African-Canadian railway porters and Caribbean-Canadian nurses explored previously unexamined dimensions of our social history. Dr. Calliste studied not only the institutionalized oppression of such communities, but also their organized resistance." The Canadian Sociological Association is also hosting an Outstanding Contribution Award Lecture honouring Dr. Calliste as part of its 2021 annual conference. 

This year, a new initiative was added to the program with the inaugural Dr. Agnes Calliste Black Student Voices Circle held Feb. 11, 2021.

 

StFX stands with Black colleagues, students, and community members

Fri, 2021-02-19 09:31

To the campus community,

I have been contacted by members of the campus community in relation to a recent letter presented in the Xaverian Weekly on February 8, 2021. To be clear, the Xaverian Weekly is a student-led newspaper that is not edited or managed by the university. The opinions and ideas expressed in the publication are those of its editors and contributors.   

The published letter in question presented ideas that offended readers and made Black students feel unwelcome and unsafe in our community. For those who have been negatively affected by what they have read, please reach out and contact the dedicated university staff members listed below who are available to support you:

-  Warren Kelsey, Black Student Advisor (Bloomfield Rm 433)

    wkelsey@stfx.ca – 902-867-5445

Megan Fogarty, Manager, Human Rights & Equity (Bloomfield Rm 306A)

    mfogarty@stfx.ca – 902-867-5306

Recognizing the negative impact that the letter has had on some of our community members, I want to take this opportunity to reaffirm the university’s position that has been previously communicated to campus -- the StFX community stands with our Black colleagues, students, and community members fighting for racial equality. Black Lives Matter is more than just a slogan. StFX aspires to provide an environment of inclusivity for all community members. We do this by applying policies to the fullest extent possible when confronted with issues such this. We provide supports, work actively to remove barriers and to educate the community on issues such as historical injustices, reconciliation and current inequities. We celebrate the richness that cultural diversity brings to our community and the contributions of our diverse community members.  Conversations and actions to support and promote these efforts needs to continue as there remains much work to be done.  It is work that will not be shied away from.

Current discussion over the letter published in the Xaverian Weekly highlights the fact that this University needs to continue to improve its efforts related to diversity and inclusiveness. That such upset has occurred at a time when we, as a community, are celebrating African Heritage Month is a source of great sadness and amplifies the imperative to be better.  We share a determined commitment to doing so.



Andy W. Hakin PhD

President and Vice-Chancellor

St. Francis Xavier University

StFX Schwartz School students win CFA Atlantic Investment Research Competition 

Wed, 2021-02-17 13:14
StFX Schwartz School students, l-r, Nathan Hayes, Liam Rowland and Jay McKenna pictured on Zoom during the CFA Atlantic Investment Research Competition. The team, coached by faculty advisor Dr. Vijay Vishwakarma, won the event.

A team of students from StFX’s Gerald Schwartz School of Business recorded an impressive victory at the CFA Atlantic Investment Research Competition, a well-regarded and highly competitive event that is part of an annual global competition providing university students with hands-on mentoring and intensive training in financial analysis and professional ethics.

StFX students Nathan Hayes (team captain), Liam Rowland and Jay McKenna, who are coached by faculty advisor Dr. Vijay Vishwakarma, represented the Schwartz School at the competition, which took place virtually on Feb. 13, 2021 and included six teams from Atlantic Canada, including Acadia, Saint Mary’s, Dalhousie, Mount Allison, Université de Moncton and StFX. 

StFX now moves on to the sub-regional finals, which features the winners from the different Canadian regions, on April 12-16. Winners then move on to regional competitions in the Americas, Asia, and Europe, culminating in a global final. In 2020, over 6,400 students and 1,100 universities competed overall.

“We were ecstatic to find out we won,” says Mr. Hayes of Port Hawkesbury, NS, a fifth year BBA student taking an advanced major in finance and BA major in economics, minor in business administration, on the competition where students are tested on their analytical, valuation, report writing, and presentation skills, gaining real-world experience as they assume the role of a research analyst. 

Mr. Hayes says the event was highly competitive as opposing teams included both undergraduate and graduate (MBA) degree students. There were two panels, each comprised of three judges, for a total of six judges. The judges were Julie Ducharme, Institutional Portfolio Manager, PH&N; Michel Malo, Chief Investment Officer, Provident10; Tim Bradshaw, Vice President, Scheer, Rowlett & Associates; Gary Chateram, Senior Vice President, MacKenzie Investments; Rob Ritchie, CEO, HRM Pension Plan; Nadia Savva, Director Insurance Platforms and Subadvisory, MFS Investment Management. 

Mr. Rowland, a fourth-year advanced major finance student from London, ON, says his reaction to the win was initially shock, as the event is extremely competitive, and it seemed like any team could win. “We remained confident throughout the process as we knew we had put it in the necessary work to give ourselves a chance.” 

“It was very exciting and somewhat surprising. We knew we were up against a strong talent pool with MBA students, so it was a great feeling,” says Mr. McKenna of Calgary AB, a fourth year advanced major in finance student who is also taking a minor in economics. 

Mr. McKenna says the StFX team was very fortunate to present alongside one another. “Most teams presented as individuals in their homes. Being in a bubble with one another, we were able to book a classroom and present together. This made it much more of a real presentation.” 

From a faculty perspective, Dr. Vishwakarma says it is rewarding when you see your team win. Especially as the competition was the toughest he has seen so far in many years of coaching for the event. 

“The challenge is preparing a team where some of the concepts asked are very advanced, and not even covered in undergraduate courses. This competition asks students to study a particular company and recommend buying, holding, or selling something that a professional does on Bay Street. Because of the pandemic, there is so much uncertainty in the market, and it is challenging to do forecasting for professionals in such circumstances then. You can think how difficult it was for an undergraduate student. Our team worked hard until the very end and made it.”

VALUABLE TO TAKE PART

“Taking part in this competition has provided myself and my teammates an exciting hands-on experience in conducting stock analysis that we believe will be very beneficial both professionally and personally. Gaining an understanding of even the simple processes behind an equity research report, such as formatting and overall visual appeal, is extremely valuable to comprehend,” Mr. Rowland says.

“It definitely helps prepare students for their careers,” Mr. McKenna says. “This is tangible work that is similar to what students can expect to be doing in capital market roles, particularly equity research.” 

Mr. Hayes says competitions like these are essential for StFX students. Taking advantage of these competitions and extra-curricular activity really allows for students to gain essential experience as they move forward into the job market.

He says a highlight of the event was being able to compete amongst other schools in the region and create connections, within their own community and also with competing schools, the judges, industry mentors and all involved.

Mr. Rowland says something that stood out to him was the amount of depth that goes into these types of reports. “Having not done one before, it was quite intimidating to start. In addition, the high level of competition was something I noticed. The judges noted that this year was extremely close in terms of overall scores. It seemed as though there was not one team that had fallen behind.”

He says preparation for the competition involved constant communication between teammates. “Communication was done both over the phone, and luckily, in person. Our team would typically meet weekly, tackling a different part of the report and/or presentation. A big challenge was the time period of Christmas break, where we were all in separate parts of the country doing our best to stay on track.” 

Mr. Hayes says it was tough to coordinate on different time zones during the break and obviously wanting to be home to relax and enjoy the holidays. “But thanks to great work all around we overcame those challenges and really put together a solid report and slide deck for our presentation.”

He says he would like to add a thank you to all the Schwartz faculty who contributed and provided guidance throughout their time as undergraduate students. “Specifically, I would like to add a thank you to Vijay, our faculty advisor, for his knowledge and guidance not just throughout this competition but undergrad as a whole. Also, thank you to Stephen Machielsen of BMO Capital Markets, who served as our industry advisor, and lastly to all those involved in organizing the competition, including the judges and Kyle Weeden from the CFA Atlantic Society.” 

Off to another good start--StFX successfully transitions to winter term

Tue, 2021-02-16 09:54

StFX students are now nearing the midway point of the second semester of face-to-face classes, and by all accounts, the start of the winter 2021 term is going well.  

It was no small undertaking, with over 1,300 students required to isolate for 14 days after the Christmas break. 

StFX VP Students, Elizabeth Yeo, says the COVID-19 Steering Committee and staff synthesized feedback from students, parents and staff and analyzed developments to review and improve the January plans for students required to quarantine following the holiday break. StFX, she says, worked with provincial authorities and committees to gain support for developments and changes to existing protocols and plans.

Among new protocols this term was the introduction of online classes for all students for one week during the quarantine period, as well as the unexpected introduction of a mandatory quarantine for students arriving from New Brunswick. These students hadn’t previously needed to isolate.  

In all, 450 students from outside Atlantic Canada and around 100 from New Brunswick quarantined in residence between January 4 and 24. Faculty and staff volunteers and short-term contract students helped support these students. Off-campus, about 800 students were in quarantine due to travel. The Alumni Office, through StFX’s Neighbours Helping Neigbours program, coordinated with about 250 community, staff and alumni volunteers, who called, emailed, and delivered groceries to these students.  

Ms. Yeo says something that stood out for her was the faculty willingness to begin classes online while the non-Atlantic Canada students were in quarantine, so that the non-quarantine students could stay in their home communities. This enabled the university and the community to focus on supporting students during quarantine and keeping everyone safe. And StFX faculty commitment to supporting StFX students really shone through when the faculty seamlessly extended the online class period for an additional week to accommodate the provincial government requirement for New Brunswick students to isolate for two weeks. “Being able to begin classes online for the second week was welcomed. The students appreciated the structure, the ability to be productive during quarantine and the connection with the faculty and other students in their classes. The additional week of online classes helped immeasurably to support the varying needs of all of our student groups.” 

Another key difference was the large group of staff and faculty volunteers and short-term contract students who provided support and supervision in the residences for the extended period. “The extra hands made all the difference and the transition back was very smooth,” she says.  

 “Also, the students knew what to expect and seemed very prepared. Also being able to begin classes online for the second week was welcomed. The students appreciated the structure, the ability to be productive during isolation and the connection with the faculty and other students in their classes.”

She says there were no breeches of the Quarantine Act, and students did an amazing job doing their part for the safety of the community. “We are very grateful for the support of both faculty and staff for students during isolation and for our amazing Alumni Office for their coordination of this effort.” 

Isolating students in residence, who had their meals delivered to their rooms in September, saw a change in January. The students, under supervision, were able to walk to Morrison Hall to select and pick up their meals to bring back to their dorm rooms. “This was popular because it provided additional opportunities to get outdoors for a walk in addition to outdoor time. It also permitted the students more choice with food selection, which was welcomed by our residence students,” Ms. Yeo says.  

HR Advisor Alison Sampson took the lead on scheduling volunteers and hiring/scheduling student staff in the roles of residence monitors when it was decided that the isolation and meal delivery would look different this term. “It was determined that we would need 40-50 people per day to staff the 11 residences. Over the course of three weeks, that totaled almost 5,000 hours,” she says. “We put a call out in early December looking for staff volunteers, to see how many of those shifts we could cover with current resources. We were really pleased to have 66 staff members give their time to work multiple shifts (including Linda Hakin, wife of StFX President Dr. Andy Hakin, who volunteered for seven breakfast shifts). Staff volunteers were able to cover about 30 per cent of the shifts,” she says. “To cover the rest, I hired 60 student staff. Some were able to work two-three shifts, where others worked 15-20 shifts over the course of three weeks.” 

The residence monitors escorted students to meal hall three times per day (ensuring they followed all public health guidelines), escorted them to scheduled outdoor recreation time and helped with deliveries (take-out, groceries, packages) to student rooms.  

“It was a big undertaking, but it was a great opportunity to work in a different capacity on campus.” 

Once again, the Alumni Affairs Office coordinated its StFX’s successful Neighbours Helping Neighbours program with about 250 volunteers picking up groceries for 449 students. More volunteers participated in wellness calls with over 400 isolating students.

Alumni Affairs Director Shanna Hopkins said new this term, volunteers supported an off-campus house as opposed to a single student, and supported students on campus who needed groceries. The program proved extremely valuable, not only for delivering groceries, but also helping students with other needs throughout their isolation. She said several alumni referred students, who had reported insomnia and other issues, for mental health services. 

“It was a lot easier this time. We had so many volunteers who wanted to help. They did it the first time and enjoyed it. The alumni really enjoy it. It’s a way to give back and show them this is our community and if we all do our part, we can keep everyone safe.”

While StFX successfully navigated the fall term without a single COVID-19 case, in January, three students (not related to each other) tested positive shortly after arriving from out of the province. “All three were isolating properly and following the protocols while travelling and there was no further transmission resulted from these cases. All have recovered,” says Ms. Yeo. “We were well practiced from the first term at moving students into quarantine and the protocols for supports and meal deliveries. The students who tested positive were provided daily monitoring by Public Health and one of our nurses from our own Health and Counselling Centre also provided medical support and regular wellness check ins.”

Other differences from last term included provincial and federal quarantine requirements for international students. StFX underwent a rigorous process in the fall to develop and meet provincial and federal public health standards for residences, isolation protocols, transportation, facilities etc. Meeting the standards was required to quality for Designated Learning Institution (DLI) Status, which enabled international students to travel into Canada and Nova Scotia. StFX provided accommodation, monitoring and supports for all international students arriving to StFX from outside of Canada.

Similar to the fall, StFX hosted town hall information sessions and updated communications materials to prepare students, their families and the community for the January return to campus. 

Ms. Yeo says student feedback concerning the isolation period was positive and in particular, many students expressed appreciation for the ability to join classes online while in isolation.  

Once again, she says the Students’ Union and Student Services delivered an online program of activities during isolation for students on and off campus to engage students with each other virtually and entertain them to combat boredom and loneliness, particularly during the first week of quarantine and during weekends and evenings.

The province, under the direction of Public Health provided the opportunity for students to be tested for COVID-19 on Days 6–8 of quarantine (rather than three mandatory tests as provided in the fall.) “The PAC reported they were very pleased with the numbers of students who voluntarily were tested.”

As in the fall, she says the province required students to check in daily during their quarantine using the provincial app, and the university followed up for any student who missed the daily check in to ensure that everyone was safely quarantining. All students were required to quarantine for the full 14 days. “The PAC reported they were very pleased with the numbers of students who voluntarily were tested.”

Ms. Yeo reflected on the importance of the wider Antigonish community to the students’ successes. She says that says the response of community members from the Town and County, both over the holidays in support of students who stayed in Antigonish, together with the community support for students required to isolate has been remarkable. 

“Over Christmas, local merchants and citizens reached out to help students celebrate the holidays in Antigonish through direct to student donations of catered holiday dinners and Christmas stockings. Thank you to Bethany Theuerkauf and Pat MacGillivray for coordinating the events and activities and the band of merry elves who stuffed and delivered stockings to every student who stayed in Antigonish! And a sincere thanks to all the community volunteers who delivered groceries, ran errands or reached out with friendly calls, funny videos, and cheery notes. StFX and Antigonish together exemplify the very best in what it means to be part of a caring community.”

Young children willing to incur personal cost to achieve equal pay, StFX adjunct psychology professor finds in research published in Child Development

Wed, 2021-02-10 13:39
Dr. John Corbit

Children are willing to incur a personal cost to achieve equal pay, a StFX researcher has found while looking at children’s responses to gender pay inequity across two societies, in the U.S. and in Peru.  

Dr. John Corbit, an adjunct professor in the StFX Department of Psychology, is the lead author on a paper Children in the United States and Peru Pay to Correct Gender-Based Inequality published in Child Development, a top journal in developmental psychology.  

“Group-based inequalities are pervasive across human societies, but their developmental origins are not well understood. One such form of inequality is manifested in the gender gap in pay. We set out to investigate how children in the USA and Peru respond to gender pay inequity, in order to better understand the developmental origins of gender-based inequality,” says Dr. Corbit, who teaches human development across cultures and cultural psychology at StFX, and is also a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow at Dalhousie University. 

The researchers presented children with scenarios where boys and girls had been paid unequally for the same job, and asked participants whether they would like to pay with their own candies to change the unequal distributions. 

“We expected to see one of three patterns, one possibility was that children would show the early signature of the gender pay gap and preferentially intervene when males received less, another possibility was that both boys and girls would show a preference for their own gender, finally we might see that children prefer equity and correct both forms of gender based inequality. This is exactly what we saw, in both the USA and Peru, children were willing to pay a cost, by giving up some of their own candies, to ensure that everyone received equal pay.” 

Dr. Corbit says in previous work, the researchers had seen different norms of fairness across these societies and there is a persistent gender gap in pay in both populations. Other researchers, he says, have suggested that children begin to follow the norms of their cultures around middle childhood, the same age group that were included in these studies. 

“So, it was remarkable to find such a strong preference for gender pay equity amongst children in both of these populations.” 

That young children are remarkably concerned with fairness is a very hopeful sign as we seek to move toward a more equitable society, Dr. Corbit says. 

 

 

All classes cancelled/StFX Campus closed today, Mon Feb 8

Mon, 2021-02-08 05:31

Please be advised that the StFX campus will be closed today, Monday, February 8, and all classes, both in-person and online, are cancelled due to the snow storm. Essential services will be maintained (Morrison Hall, security, cleaning, snow removal). 

 

The university will resume regular operations at 6:00 A.M. tomorrow, Tuesday, February 9.  

Six StFX students receive Xaverian Innovation and Entrepreneurs Micro-Grants to help run businesses 

Thu, 2021-02-04 15:02
Xaverian Innovation and Entrepreneurs Micro-Grant recipients include, top row, l-r, Amy Graham, Mbungeni (Bo) Ndlovu, and Grace Kaiser. Pictured at bottom are Tania Tesson, Patti-Anne Tracey and Richard Grant

To help grow the ongoing innovation and creativity of StFX students, StFX Innovation and Enterprise Centre’s DiscoverBox has awarded six students Xaverian Innovation and Entrepreneurs Micro-Grants of $2,500 each for the winter term of 2021. 

The grants will help the students run their respective businesses. Recipients include Amy Graham and Patti-Anne Tracey, Tania Tesson, Mbungeni (Bo) Ndlovu, Richard Grant and Grace Kaiser.

“Now, more than ever, we need to foster the entrepreneurial spirit on campus and provide students with the opportunity to start and grow projects that address community-focused solutions,” says Paula Brophy, Coordinator, StFX Innovation & Enterprise Centre.

She says the students will be guided by the centre’s DiscoverBox initiative through problem definition to ideation, business development, testing and exploring market entry, providing the students with foundational skills to apply to their business. 

DiscoverBox is a NS Sandbox located at StFX and is funded by Labour and Advanced Education – Government of Nova Scotia. 

To be eligible for this award, applicants had to submit an essay and outline of their business, be a full-time StFX student, attend a two-day training program, and commit 150 hours of work toward the project.

All work must be done remotely, including virtual meetings with DiscoverBox staff, and should involve a faculty mentor.

During a special session this April, the students will pitch their ideas and progress of their projects to a virtual audience of fellow recipients, business owners and StFX faculty and staff, helping them become more comfortable pitching their ideas in a clear and concise manner and providing them with an opportunity to reflect on their work. 

The projects include:

Amy Graham and Patti-Anne Tracey – “Team  in SVP,” or Together Everyone Achieves More in Sexual Violence Prevention

This past summer, Amy Graham and Patti-Anne Tracey received support from the Wallace Family Entrepreneurship Fund and created an educational training platform about sexual violence in athletics. Their website titled "Team in SVP," Together Everyone Achieves More in Sexual Violence Prevention, provides sexual violence prevention materials, resources, and two-and-a-half hours of interactive training workshops for coaches and Canadian sport organizations. They continue to build, enhance, and professionalize their website, encouraging all involved in Canadian sport to "be better and do better" when it comes to preventing sexual violence. The work they will complete over the next few months involves networking, professionalizing the content, and consumer feedback. They plan to create a questionnaire for coaches to complete before and after they review their "Team in SVP" training modules. The data collected from their questionnaire will provide them with valuable information regarding whether their educational resources fit the design of coaches in meeting the commitment to prevent sexual violence in sport. This information will be useful to them in determining what must be done in the sporting culture to create a safer and equitable environment. 

Tania Tesson – Naturally Me

Tania Tesson has started Naturally Me masks. “To support Naturally Me is to show appreciation and proper respect to another culture of our world. I believe that experiencing cultures through food, travel and fashion makes us more connected,” she says. “I find that there is something about history through clothes that can be shared and explored to transform cultural appropriation into cultural appreciation. Today, I have decided to express that through clothing and starting with the Naturally Me masks. The masks are made of European fabric and African fabric to bring a piece of our history as humans collective from west Africa. The goal, however, is not just African culture but all cultures. Future iterations could be Indian African or Caribbean-Japanese inspired clothing.”

Mbungeni Ndlovu – OlyUp Technologies Inc

The primary goals of Mbungeni (Bo) Ndlovu’s project are to make a software product that strength and conditioning coaches can use to make it more convenient for them to produce training programs and monitor the health and performance of their athletes; to improve the athletic performance of athletes in their respective sports and positions; and to reduce athletic injuries. For a previous story about Bo and his project, please see https://www.stfx.ca/about/news/Mbongeni-Ndlovu

Richard Grant – LIVEN

Richard Grant says LIVEN will be Canadas first single serve protein kefir, a delicious digestive supporting, post-workout, fermented protein beverage with no added sugar, made with locally produced organic milk, "LIVEN UP YOUR DIET.” “As of now, there is a fragmented, yet still emerging probiotic market dominated by kombucha, normal milk kefir and yogurt. The issue with the current products is they are either bland tasting, not as healthy as they claim, loaded with a significant amount of sugar or artificial flavoring and, no brands have attempted to capitalize on the implications of this product segment on the fitness industry. We believe there's a huge opportunity for innovation and success here,” he says. “Our solution to this problem is a new variation of probiotic, branded as "Liven." Liven is made from fermented milk kefir and whey protein. This drink contains the probiotic power and health benefits from milk kefir, which range from digestive support, brain health, immune system support, skin health, bone health, and now muscle recovery with the addition of high-quality whey protein. It is our goal to eliminate the stigma of bland tasting probiotic drinks and target a range of potential consumers by providing our consumers with a tasty, organic beverage that also offers a significant macronutrient profile to create a true ‘first-of-its-kind-product.’” 

Grace Kaiser – College St. 

College St. is a student-run clothing company based in Antigonish geared towards promoting art culture in the community as well as around the StFX campus. The foundation of the business started with promoting art made by students for students to alleviate difficulty of finding art culture in Antigonish. College St. is proud to incorporate art from locals in the Antigonish community as well as that of students, allowing said students and others to express themselves and appreciate accessible community art. All products are designed and created in Antigonish by a team of student employees who love supporting local!

 

StFX student Claire MacDougall named a finalist for McCall MacBain Scholarship

Wed, 2021-02-03 10:14
Claire MacDougall (pictured) has been named a finalist for McCall MacBain Scholarship

St. Francis Xavier University senior physics and math student Claire MacDougall has been named a finalist for the inaugural McCall MacBain Scholarships, Canada’s first comprehensive leadership-based scholarship for master’s and professional studies.

The scholarship enables students to pursue a fully funded master’s or professional degree at McGill University while connecting with mentors and participating in an intensive leadership development program.

Ms. MacDougall will join 49 Canadian peers from 28 universities at virtual final interviews from March 11 to 13, 2021. She will participate in interviews with Canadian leaders from academia, business, government, and the social sector.

Over 735 people applied for the McCall MacBain Scholarships, and 132 participated in regional interviews with local leaders in November before the 50 finalists were selected. Up to 20 McCall MacBain Scholars will be chosen after final interviews.

Finalists were chosen based on their character, community engagement, leadership potential, entrepreneurial spirit, academic strength, and intellectual curiosity.

"I am so grateful and honoured to have been selected as a finalist for the McCall McBain Scholarship. This is an incredible opportunity for me, and I owe so much to the StFX community, my friends, and mentors for helping me these past four years," says Ms. MacDougall.

"Throughout my time at StFX I have been inspired to become involved in my community by my faculty and peers. To me, the most meaningful thing we can do in our lives is something that improves the lives of the people around us—no matter how big or how small."

Ms. MacDougall has already been celebrated for her community work and leadership potential. 

In 2020, she was one of only 10 students in Canada awarded the 3M National Student Fellowship Award, which honours full-time diploma and undergraduate students at Canadian post-secondary institutions who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in their lives at their institution. These students embrace a vision of education that enhances their academic experience and beyond. 

In 2019, she was the inaugural McKenna Leadership Project Development Grant recipient at StFX, which provides a student with a 12-week summer salary to work on a project that addresses a need in the community or at StFX. For her project, she collected new and gently used school supplies and in late summer 2019 hosted the inaugural pay-what-you-can Back to School Ice Cream Social event (a successful event she staged again in 2020, leading a team of 30 volunteers gathering school supplies for families in need. The team has provided supplies to 130 children in rural Nova Scotia.)

Ms. MacDougall says she had noticed that people threw out a lot of school supplies each spring, and that didn’t sit well with her. She wanted to prevent the waste from ending up in the landfill and she knew there were many who could benefit from the unused supplies. She had read a report from the Antigonish Poverty Reduction Coalition and was aware of the issue of poverty in the community and how expensive school supplies can be. 

Her project turned out to have such an impact that her work was honoured with the Kay Thompson Desjardins Award for Social Entrepreneurship from the Antigonish Chamber of Commerce. The award is named after one of the pioneers of the Antigonish Movement who worked for Moses Coady and StFX Extension. 

As a science student, Ms. MacDougall has chosen to follow a career path that incorporates her values of social responsibility and humanitarianism through a climate justice lens by involving herself in researching global warming effects of atmospheric molecules and pursuing a career in the field of atmospheric physics or sustainable energy engineering postgraduate. She has applied to study fluid dynamics in the mechanical engineering department with applications in tidal and offshore wind energy. 

As a woman in STEM, she works to break down barriers for underrepresented groups through outreach and advocacy both locally, at StFX and nationally, as Chair of the Canadian Association of Physicists Student Advisory Council, which recently created an online resource centre. She was also a member of the student organizing committee that hosted the 2020 Atlantic Undergraduate Physics and Astronomy Conference at StFX. 

From a young age, she has always been involved in sports. She competed in varsity soccer at StFX and hopes to inspire the same joy in others by coaching local youth and special needs persons in soccer and baseball.

“There is no typical McCall MacBain Scholar,” said Natasha Sawh, Dean of the McCall MacBain Scholarships. “We look for potential in students from all walks of life, with different academic and volunteer interests. What unites them is the inner drive to learn, lead, and make a positive impact in other people’s lives.”

Finalists who are not selected as McCall MacBain Scholars will be eligible for a $10,000 entrance award for their studies at McGill University.

The scholarships are the result of the 2019 landmark gift of $200 million, the single-largest gift in Canadian history at that time, by John and Marcy McCall MacBain. The McCall MacBain Scholarships will expand internationally over the next decade, with nearly 300 McCall MacBain Scholars selected by 2030.

StFX graduate Caitlin Thomas (BA’17), who is now completing a master’s degree at the University of Manitoba, was also named a finalist for the McCall MacBain Scholarships. 

StFX to hold inaugural Dr. Agnes Calliste Black Student Voices Circle on Feb. 11

Wed, 2021-02-03 09:15
DeRico Symonds (pictured) will deliver a lecture and guide a conversation on racial justice and resilience in university communities with a panel of African Nova Scotian and Black university students at the inaugural Dr. Agnes Calliste Black Student Voices Circle on Feb. 11

An important new initiative highlighting Black student voices and racial justice and resiliency will take place at StFX this year as part of the annual Dr. Agnes Calliste African Heritage Lecture Series organized by the StFX Sociology Department. 

Along with the annual lecture, scheduled for Feb. 24, this year’s program will open on Thursday, Feb. 11th with the inaugural Dr. Agnes Calliste Black Student Voices Circle chaired by Tara Reddick, a StFX sociology student, McKenna Centre Racial Justice Leadership Grant recipient and a community activist. 

As part of the event, DeRico Symonds, a community leader in social justice issues from Halifax, NS will deliver a public keynote address starting at 7 p.m., titled, “Liberation, Agitation and Collective Resistance.”

The keynote will guide a conversation on racial justice and resilience in university communities with a panel of African Nova Scotian and Black university students, including Ms. Reddick, Henderson Cartwright, Rebecca Mesay, Marcel Desmond and Jermal Mansfield, with closing remarks by Dr. Wendy Mackey, assistant professor, Culturally Relevant Pedagogy and Leadership, Education, StFX.  

This event is free and is open to all. It will take place online via Zoom, and can be accessed using the following link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82942638909 

Ms. Reddick says the COVID-19 pandemic has made things challenging for all students. Add anti-Black racism and recent high-profile cases that involve the killing of Black people, it makes these times difficult. “These recent occurrences create the backdrop in which Black students are pursuing their education. As Black students, we have no choice but to be resilient and fierce. The Black Student Voices Circle is about creating a deliberate space for Black students to speak, share and listen. We need to create more spaces where Black students can learn and relate to one another, spaces where our allies can learn and gain some understanding as well. So, I see this as an important time to talk about our challenges and our experiences and for everyone to be inspired to find ways to create a better school and life experience,” she says.

Mr. Symonds is looking forward to the event and the conversation and actions it will help facilitate.

“Those who have come before me carried the baton as far as they could. It is our job to pick that baton up and run as fast and as far as we can. Leaving it in as best of a place as we can for the next generation to continue. Dr. Calliste embodied this notion, she carried the baton fast and far in a variety of directions, leaving it for others to continue the race. I accepted this invitation because I am inspired by the work that Dr. Calliste has accomplished, I am driven by what she had to overcome and propelled into a direction to seize this moment as I stand on her shoulders to continue to move the baton forward,” he says. 

“We all have a role and responsibility to make this world a better place. We cannot stand around waiting for the right person, it is likely the right person is you. The key is to just get started, it does not have to be perfect, a tree does not start out full grown and a house does not start out already built. One day at a time, one brick at a time.”

DeRico Symonds was born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He grew up in the public housing community known as “The Pubs.” He has tirelessly advocated for communities across the Halifax Regional Municipality for issues including, but not limited to poverty, unemployment, affordable housing, marginalization and community violence. He is a founding member of several non-profit organizations in Halifax. He holds an undergraduate degree in child and youth study (2012) and completed a MEd in counselling through Acadia University (2018). He also has his Canadian Counselling Certification through the Canadian Counselling & Psychotherapy Association of Canada. For more information visit www.dericosymonds.ca  

The event is sponsored by the Department of Sociology, Academic VP & Provost, Deans Offices, Associate VP Research, CRC Health Equity & Social Justice, Spatializing Care Lab.

Inaugural Mila Mulroney Chair in Women, Policy, and Governance Leadership announced

Fri, 2021-01-29 09:36
Dr. Bailey Gerrits

The Brian Mulroney Institute of Government and St. Francis Xavier University are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Bailey Gerrits as the inaugural Mila Mulroney Research Chair in Women, Policy, and Governance Leadership.

“We are excited to welcome Dr. Bailey Gerrits to the Brian Mulroney Institute of Government,” said Dr. Don Abelson, founding Director of the Institute. “The Mila Mulroney Research Chair is mandated to develop and engage with timely research on the roles of women and issues related to women within policy and governance. The Institute looks forward to welcoming Dr. Gerrits. Her feminist scholarship and expertise will be a great asset as the Institute continues to grow.”

The Mila Mulroney Chair’s research program focuses on advancing knowledge and understanding of issues affecting the roles of women in addressing a broad range of policy and governance priorities. 

“I am honoured to be selected as the inaugural Mila Mulroney Research Chair and to join the Brian Mulroney Institute of Government,”  said Dr. Gerrits. “The position centres women’s leadership in addressing pressing policy and governance issues, something Mrs. Mulroney demonstrated herself in her vast charity work. With this opportunity, I am excited to continue my research agenda aimed at tackling gender-based violence and to start two new projects. One will answer whether Canadian federal anti-violence policies are examples of carceral feminism, that is to say – policies that address gender-based violence but cause harm to racialized, Indigenous, immigrant, and poor communities by focusing on penal solutions. The second will use participatory methods to imagine a future free of gender-based violence. Both, I hope, will contribute to ending gender-based violence.”

Dr. Gerrits has established herself as an expert in gender-based violence and the effect policy could have on leading to its eradication. Her work examines the stories told about gender-based violence and considers how they contribute to ending or facilitating the violence. Her current projects include explaining domestic violence news patterns in Canada, documenting how Canadian police frame gender-based violence on social media, and comparing gendered social media attacks against women in leadership positions during COVID-19 in Canada and the US.

Dr. Gerrits has published in several peer-reviewed journals, including Feminist Media Studies and the International Journal of Communication. She is also an avid volunteer, having volunteered and served on the board of organizations which support survivors of gender-based violence. Dr. Gerrits experience working with survivors motivated her to focus her research on domestic violence, and she is passionate about ending gender-based violence.

In addition to being an outstanding scholar, Dr. Gerrits has volunteered for several organizations which support survivors of gender-based violence. She has served on the board of Kingston Interval House, the central domestic violence centre in the Kingston, Ontario, region. She has also volunteered with Kingston’s Sexual Assault Centre as a crisis-line operator. Her experience working with survivors of domestic violence motivated her to focus her research on this issue. Dr. Gerrits is passionate about ending gender-based violence. Through collaboration with state and community organizations, her research will be invaluable in this critical endeavour.

Dr. Gerrits is currently finishing her position as a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Winnipeg in the Department of Criminal Justice. She will formally join the Institute in July 2021.

StFX Reads The Book of Negroes: Lawrence Hill joins StFX Jan. 25-29 as McKenna Scholar in Residence

Mon, 2021-01-25 14:41
Lawrence Hill

StFX students—and the wider community—have a terrific opportunity to connect with and learn from one of Canada’s most successful authors, Lawrence Hill, as he starts an intensive, week-long virtual residency Jan. 25-29, 2021 as the 2020-2021 McKenna Scholar in Residence. 

Mr. Hill, a professor of creative writing at the University of Guelph and a writer whose novels and non-fiction work have been widely read in Canada and around the world, and translated into many languages, starts his residency today, Jan. 25th. He will teach a series of classes about writing and research and will lead ‘StFX Reads: Lawrence Hill’s The Book of Negroes,’ as StFX students and the community gather to discuss his award-winning novel. 

During the week, he will hold daily brown bag lunch meetings with students from different parts of the university to talk about his work and answer questions, as well as nightly evening events that are free and open to the public. Participants are able to pick up free copies of Mr. Hill’s novel, The Book of Negroes at the StFX library.  

“Together, as a community, we will read and talk about Hill’s novel and the important topics with which it deals, and we will be able to chat with and learn from Lawrence Hill himself. All are welcome to participate: students, faculty, staff, and members of the community,” say organizers from the McKenna Centre. 

Centre director Dr. Mathias Nilges says each year the McKenna Centre awards an intensive one-week residency to an outstanding, notable scholar whose work exemplifies the values of both the McKenna Centre and StFX, focusing in particular on leadership that is aimed at social justice and social change. This year they were delighted to welcome Mr. Hill.

“This intensive-residency program that we created is exciting, because it brings additional expertise to our campus, and it creates an opportunity for students, faculty, and also community members to learn from a leading scholar and accomplished leader during daily events, which are also combined with opportunities for students to meet the scholars during student-only sessions. This way, we afford students the opportunity to personally meet and chat with influential scholars, which adds to the learning experience and offers students the chance to get important advice and tips for their own research and work,” he says. 

The nightly public events, held each evening from 7-9 p.m., include:

January 25: Adapting The Book of Negroes to the screen: the perils and pleasures, a conversation between Lawrence Hill and El Jones followed by discussion. Welcome will be provided by Brennah Agnew and moderators are Dr. Maureen Moynagh and Rebecca Mesay, https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Lct2nw7FT-2UXZPU1TxFdA

January 26: Researching and writing historical fiction: how not to get stuck in the stacks. Lawrence Hill shares his thoughts about researching The Book of Negroes as well as his novel in progress about the thousands of African-American soldiers who travelled to northern BC and Yukon to build the Alaska Highway during WWII. Welcome is by Dr. Ronald Charles and moderator is Tara Reddick, https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_mWP2IP1iROCht3UdSoziNA

January 27: On becoming a writer: Lawrence Hill’s personal and family reflections. Welcome will be by Lee Anna Osei and moderator is Aliyah Fraser, https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_YMkWg1XtRvGPoNuogGnkIA

January 28: What prisoners have to teach us about story: Lawrence Hill reflects on volunteering and teaching in federal penitentiaries. Welcome is by Dr. Ornella Nzindukiyimana and moderator is Boye Matuluko, https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ct6WR0SrRPajkA9GJ0AaKA

January 29: As you wish: A time to ask Lawrence Hill questions and discuss The Book of Negroes, with a welcome by Dr. Kevin Wamsley and moderators are Claire Joseph and Devon Parris, https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_4w5jtQOHTouYpU9NT3ck3A

This year, in preparation for the residency, English professor Dr. Maureen Moynagh and her students Elise Canning, Amelia Perry, Alyssa Spridgeon, Devon Parris, and Addy Strickland, offered a special student-led Quarantine Book Club, during which they discussed the novel. 

ABOUT LAWRENCE HILL:

Lawrence Hill is the author of 10 books, including the novels The Illegal, The Book of Negroes, Any Known Blood, and the memoir Black Berry, Sweet Juice: On Being Black and White in Canada. The manuscript for his new children’s novel, Beatrice and Croc Harry, is with his publisher. 

He is the son of American civil rights activists – an African-American father and white mother – who married in the South and moved the next day to Canada, where they spent the rest of their lives, raised a family, wrote books about Black history in Canada and continued their civil rights activism. Lawrence Hill’s grandfather and father were African-American soldiers in the US Army in World Wars I and II, respectively. 

He is writing a new novel for adults about the African-American soldiers who helped build the Alaska Highway in northern BC and Yukon in 1942-43. Hill’s father, Daniel G. Hill, served as the first director and later was the Chair of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. He also served as Ombudsman of Ontario. With his wife Donna Hill, he founded the Ontario Black History Society, for which Lawrence Hill volunteered over the course of many years. 

Mr. Hill is the winner of various awards including the National Magazine Award for best feature article, The Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize for his novel The Book of Negroes, and twice has won CBC Radio’s Canada Reads. He delivered the 2013 Massey Lectures, based on his non-fiction book Blood: The Stuff of Life. He co-wrote the adaptation for the six-part television miniseries The Book of Negroes, which won 11 Canadian Screen Awards. His volunteer activities include serving as an honorary patron of Crossroads International, whose work in community economic development in sub-Saharan Africa he has supported for 40 years. His essay about his mother, “Act of Love: The Life and Death of Donna Mae Hill” appeared in The Globe and Mail in 2018 and enriched a national conversation about medically assisted dying. 

Formerly a reporter with The Globe and Mail and parliamentary correspondent for The Winnipeg Free Press, Hill speaks fluent French and some Spanish. He has lived and worked across Canada, in Baltimore, and in Spain and France. He is an honorary patron of Crossroads International, for which he travelled as a volunteer to the West African countries Niger, Cameroon and Mali, and to which he lends the name of his best-known character for the Aminata Fund, which supports programs for girls and women in Africa. Hill sits on the advisory committee of the Centre for Community—Engaged Narrative Arts in Hamilton, Ontario. His earlier volunteer work has included serving The Black Loyalist Heritage Society, Book Clubs for Inmates, Project Bookmark Canada, The Ontario Black History Society. He continues to support and serve as a volunteer for The Writers’ Trust of Canada and the Writers’ Union of Canada.

Hill graduated from the University of Toronto Schools in 1975. He served as school captain in his final year. He has a BA in economics from Laval University in Quebec City and an MA in writing from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He has received honorary doctorates from 10 Canadian universities. 

A Member of the Order of Canada, he lives with his wife Miranda Hill, also a writer, in Hamilton, ON and in Newfoundland.

Meal hall program going well for isolating StFX residence students

Wed, 2021-01-13 16:32
Morrison Hall

Anyone passing by StFX around meal time over the past week or so may have noticed a line of six-feet apart, mask-wearing, students lining up around Morrison Hall. It’s all part of a new process to help support students who are completing their mandatory 14-day self-isolation in residence.  

Each day of their quarantine, volunteer supervisors take the students from their residence house over to the meal hall, make sure they’re social distancing while in line, and that they go directly back to their rooms. 

“Overall, I’d call it a success. Everyone is doing a great job,” says Bob Hale, Director of Ancillary Services. “They’re keeping six feet apart, they’re wearing masks, and the staff are protected. Sodexo staff are pleased. The students are courteous and obliging.”

Unlike the fall semester when StFX delivered meals to the students isolating in residence, this term the university set up the supervised program so that students can walk over to Morrison Hall from their residence and pick up three meals a day, with breakfast provided from 8-9 a.m., lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and supper from 4-7 p.m. During supper, students are also able to take treat bags with them with snack items for later.

Once the meals are picked up, the students are escorted back to their rooms. 

Meal times are staggered so that members of each residence come at set times, with the exception of breakfast  when, due to low numbers of interested students, everyone goes over at once. 

StFX staff members Carla Gillis and Randy Peters have volunteered as supervisors, and they say it’s been going well. 

“My experience has been that the students are respecting the time schedule for leaving and getting to meal hall. They are respecting the request to go back to their dorm room directly. They have been prompt in being ready to leave and have been following the requirements for masks and social distancing. They are following the same requirement for keeping their masks on and social distancing while in the dining hall,” Ms. Gillis says.   

Mr. Peters echoes these comments. “The students have been exceptional with mask compliance. The staggered meal times have reduced the time students have had to line up outside and all have been very responsible with social distancing,” he says. 

“The food has been good and students seem reasonably pleased considering they are self isolating.” 

Mr. Hale says the new process was set up to give the students a better food experience. 

“This way, they’re getting more choice, they’re picking up the meals when they’re hot, and if they don’t want the meal (some students live in self-contained apartments and don’t always choose to go for every meal), they don’t have to come, so we’re able to have less food waste.”

The walk also gives the isolating students some outdoor time. 

In all, about 375 students are participating on a regular basis. 

The students provide a swipe from their meal card when they enter meal hall, but the university isn’t charging for the meals. The information is instead used for tracing purposes, and the meals go back on their cards.

The meal program will run until the self-isolation period ends on Jan. 19. Those students from New Brunswick, who started their isolation later, will have their meals delivered directly to them after the 19th until they complete their isolation. 

New Brunswick Quarantine Message

Fri, 2021-01-08 15:50

Dear Students, 

This afternoon, the Nova Scotia government announced the introduction of a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all persons entering the province from New Brunswick, effective 8:00 AM tomorrow morning (Saturday, January 9, 2021). This requirement will impact a number of StFX students who intend to return from New Brunswick. We recognize that this announcement is sudden and, for safety’s sake, encourage our students from New Brunswick not to rush their return to Antigonish in an effort to avoid the implementation of this new rule. 

With that in mind we ask everyone, especially New Brunswick students and their families, to pay close attention to the information within this email. 

IN THIS MESSAGE

1. In-Person Classes to begin Monday, January 25th 

2. NB students are to return to Antigonish by Sunday, January 10th 

3. NS, PE and NL students are asked not to return until Sunday, January 24th 

4. Mandatory travel-related information from the Province of NS 

1. IN-PERSON CLASSES WILL BEGIN Monday January 25th 

The start of in-person classes at StFX has been delayed to Monday, January 25th in response to the impact of this new quarantine requirement to allow students from New Brunswick to complete the isolation requirement. As communicated in the fall all classes will begin in an online format as of January 13, and now will continue online until our in-person format resumes on January 25th. Classes scheduled to be online for the entire term, will remain online. 

2. NEW BRUNSWICK STUDENTS ARE TO RETURN TO ANTIGONISH BY SUNDAY, JANUARY 10th 

NB STUDENTS RETURNING TO RESIDENCE 


All residence students from New Brunswick are required to return to StFX no later than 8:00 pm, Sunday, January 10th. This will allow enough time to complete the mandatory 14-day quarantine before in-person classes resume on the 25th.  Please be aware that all students arriving from New Brunswick as of this afternoon and returning to residence will be required to isolate.

• When New Brunswick students arrive on campus, they should proceed to the Keating Centre where they will be checked in and issued a red wristband to show they are isolating. Do not proceed to your residence room until you have come to the Keating Centre. The Keating Centre hours of operation are:

Saturday, January 9 12pm – 8 pm

Sunday, January 10 12pm – 8pm

• Students in quarantine will be supported with three meals a day as per our existing quarantine protocols. We strongly encourage you to read our Quarantine Protocols for Residence Students document to stay informed with how quarantine is managed on campus and your responsibilities as a student. 

If you have questions, concerns, or need more information, we strongly encourage you to contact us as soon as possible via  studentlife@stfx.ca

NB STUDENTS RETURNING TO OFF-CAMPUS ACCOMODATIONS 

All off-campus students from New Brunswick should also make plans to return to their accommodations within Antigonish NO LATER THAN Sunday, January 10th.  Again, this will allow enough time to complete the mandatory 14-day quarantine before in-person classes resume on January 25th. Please note no student will be able to return to campus and resume in-person classes until after their 14-day quarantine is complete. 

• Students returning from NB following the holidays and isolating in off campus accommodations should follow these guidelines shared by Public Health;

o have your own separate room in the home (like a bedroom, basement or attic) 

o wash your hands before leaving the separate room 

o wear a non-medical mask when outside your separate room 

o avoid contact with people you live with 

o use a separate bathroom or use the following cleaning protocol for a shared bathroom - clean high touch surfaces (like doorknobs, taps, toilet handle and sink) after each use 

o have food and beverages prepared by others and delivered in a non-contact manner 

o don't share dishes, drinking glasses and cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding and other items with others in the home 

o keep your personal items (like toothbrush, cups, cell phones, tablets and laptops) separate from others in the home 

o don't share food or drinks with others in the home 

If you expect to have difficulties following these guidelines, then everyone in your household must quarantine. 

• We strongly encourage you to read our Quarantine Protocols for Off-Campus Students document to stay informed with how quarantine is managed off-campus and your responsibilities as a student.

• Off-campus students in quarantine will be supported via our Neighbours Helping Neighbours program, which provides deliveries of groceries and other essential items. The student is responsible to cover the cost of items purchased. To register for this program, visit www.alumni.stfx.ca/groceries.

• If you have questions, concerns, or need more information, we strongly encourage you to contact us as soon as possible via possible via studentlife@stfx.ca

3. STUDENTS FROM NOVA SCOTIA, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND OR NEWFOUNDLAND ARE NOT TO RETURN TO ANTIGONISH UNTIL SUNDAY, JANUARY 24th

With the start date of in-person classes moved to Monday, January 25th, all students from Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland are asked not to return to Antigonish until Sunday, January 24th. This timing will allow students from these provinces to return to campus for the start of in-person classes while limiting their exposure within the community.

4. MANDATORY TRAVEL-RELATED INFORMATION FROM THE PROVINCE OF NS

Effective January 9th at 8 a.m., any traveller from New Brunswick must now complete a 14-day self-isolation period upon arrival in Nova Scotia. 

Students who started their travel in Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador and who are travelling through New Brunswick with minimal or no stops will not be subject to the 14-day self-isolation period. Try not to make any stops in New Brunswick. If a brief stop is necessary, please ensure you practice public health protocols such as keeping a physical distance of two metres away from other people, wear a non-medical mask, and wash or sanitize your hands often.

As a summary of the current requirements, students arriving in Nova Scotia from anywhere except Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador need to: 

1) Complete a Nova Scotia Safe Check-in Form before arriving: https://travel-declaration.novascotia.ca/

2) Self-isolate for 14 days after arriving in the province

3) Complete a digital check-in daily during self-isolation

Students are also encouraged to get a COVID-19 test on day 6, 7, or 8 of self-isolation. Schedule your test using the COVID-19 self-assessment tool: https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/ 

While the border restriction with New Brunswick is not retroactive, students who arrived from New Brunswick or had visitors from that province in the past 14 days are encouraged to get tested immediately and consider a second test five to seven days later. They are encouraged to self-isolate while waiting for the first test result.

International students must also use the federal government’s ArriveCAN app to provide their information to the Public Health Agency of Canada. Students can download the ArriveCAN app or call 1-833-641-0343 for assistance. International students have particular self-isolation requirements. Learn more.

Questions? Visit the Coronavirus website: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/education/#post-secondary or email PostSecondary@novascotia.ca.

Anyone in Nova Scotia who thinks they have symptoms of COVID-19 should do the COVID-19 self-assessment. You can call 811 if you cannot complete the self-assessment online.

In closing, we recognize this announcement by the provincial government is sudden and may create challenges for New Brunswick students and their families.  Still, since the beginning of COVID-19, we have all needed to adjust to rapidly evolving circumstances and this latest development is no different. With that in mind, we greatly appreciate your cooperation and understanding as we all work together to keep the StFX and wider Antigonish communities safe and healthy.

Sincerely,

Elizabeth Yeo

Vice-President, Students

St. Francis Xavier University 

 

Eight StFX researchers receive almost $1.5 million in NSERC Discovery Grant competition (2020)

Thu, 2021-01-07 11:16
Eight StFX researchers have together received $1,485,000 in federal funding over five years from NSERC, through its Discovery Grants research program. Central Nova MP Sean Fraser and StFX President Dr. Andy Hakin recognized the researchers during a virtual ceremony. Pictured are a few of the participants in the ceremony.

Eight StFX researchers have together received $1,485,000 in federal funding over five years from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), through its Discovery Grants research program. 

Central Nova MP Sean Fraser and StFX President Dr. Andy Hakin recognized the researchers during a virtual ceremony held Jan. 7 to celebrate the news, initially announced in June 2020. 

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry announced at that time over $492 million in funding by NSERC through its Discovery Grants research program. The funding goes to 2,400 researchers across the country as they pursue research in natural sciences and engineering disciplines, including biology, mathematics and statistics, computer science and artificial intelligence, chemistry, and chemical engineering. It also includes support for more than 500 early-career researchers.

“The value I see in research is extraordinary,” Mr. Fraser said during the event. 

“Supporting researchers in Canada is important to maintaining a strong foundation for continued innovation and job growth, which is why I am excited to be able to recognize and celebrate the work of talented NSERC Discovery Grant recipients in my own backyard at StFX.”

In his remarks, Mr. Fraser also spoke about the importance of supporting diverse research across the country and of encouraging more people earlier in their research careers.  

Dr. Hakin congratulated all the successful StFX NSERC Discovery Grant recipients on their success in the 2020 competition. “It’s a wonderful achievement,” he said as he noted that as a former NSERC Discovery Grant holder all the years of his research career, he knows firsthand how important it is to receive this funding.

“We had two new faculty members receive their very first NSERC Discovery Grants and the six other awardees saw significant increases in the funding of their research grants, which demonstrates the high quality and impact of their research. NSERC’s Discovery Grant funding is critical for small universities like StFX and provides significant support for our students to become engaged in research,” he said.

Dr. Hakin said another important aspect of this funding is how it enables researchers to involve undergraduate and graduate students in their research, training the next generation. 

Also speaking at the event was earth sciences professor and department chair Dr. Lisa Kellman, a Canada Research Chair holder for 10 years, a University Research Award recipient, and an exceptional researcher who saw her NSERC Discovery Grant double in this latest round. 

“Research is a really important part of our academic job,” Dr. Kellman said as she offered congratulations to her colleagues on receiving these highly competitive awards. 

These awards bring many benefits, she said, which are not always visible in the short term, but over the longer term benefit our broader society as well as help support and educate undergraduate, master’s and PhD students. 

A number of researchers who spoke at the event thanked NSERC and noted the importance of both supporting curiosity-driven research and of training the next generation, of helping facilitate the inquiry of curious students and of attracting exceptionally bright students to StFX.  

The successful StFX researchers include:

Dr. Erwan Bertin, Department of Chemistry, $24,000 per year over five years plus a one-time $12,500 early career researcher supplement, Exploring Pulsed Laser Ablation in Liquids as a New Synthetic Path Toward Electrocatalysts.

Dr. Stephen Finbow, Department Mathematics and Statistics, $24,000 per year over five years, Colouring, Domination and Discrete Dynamic Graph Processes.

Dr. David Garbary, Department of Biology, $28,000 per year over five years, Cell walls and symbioses of the economically important brown seaweed Ascophyllum nodosum.

Dr. James Hughes, Department of Computer Science, $24,000 per year over five years plus a one-time $12,500 early career researcher supplement, Evolutionary Algorithm Development for Applications in Brain Connectomics and Other Complex Systems.

Dr. Lisa Kellman, Department of Earth Sciences, $43,000 per year over five years, Examining the protection of organic carbon in mineral soils of managed landscapes.

Dr. Brendan Murphy, Department of Earth Sciences, $51,000 per year over five years, The Assembly Of Pannotia: Implications for the Origin of Supercontinents.

Dr. Dave Risk, Department of Earth Sciences, $51,000 per year over five years, Measuring the methane footprint of Canadian oil and gas operations.

Dr. Russell Wyeth, Department of Biology, $47,000 per year over five years, Neuroethology of odour-based navigation in aquatic gastropods.

 

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