2nd class graduates from SMU-BNUZ joint degree program

On June 29, the second cohort of business students graduated from a unique program offered by Saint Mary’s University and Beijing Normal University-Zhuhai (BNUZ).

Clad in academic caps and gowns, a total of 68 Chinese students received dual degrees that day: a Bachelor of Commerce from Saint Mary’s and a Bachelor of Economics from BNUZ. Among them was 2019 Valedictorian Ms. Yushan Xie, who graduated summa cum laude.

Academics and administrators from both universities attended the ceremony to confer the degrees and celebrate the graduates. Prof. Ailan Fu, Vice-President, BNUZ and Dr. Malcolm Butler, Vice President, Academic and Research served as co-presiders of the convocation.

Dr. Harjeet Bhabra, Dean, Sobey School of Business and BNUZ counterpart Prof. Xin Zhong Dean, International Business Faculty presented the graduands, and President Prof. Qingyun Tu and Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray conferred the degrees.

The presidents of both universities addressed their newest alumni, wishing them well and commenting on the successful academic partnership between the two institutions.

“Your graduation today is a further reflection of the blossoming of our (historic, cross-border) partnership,” said President Summerby-Murray in his remarks, speaking from a podium decorated with small Canadian and Chinese flags.

“You are uniquely positioned for global careers. You have experienced the thinking and the scholarship of both East and West as they relate to business and enterprise. And you value the person-to-person relationships, demonstrated here today, that are and will continue to be the foundation of successful cooperation between our countries, China and Canada”.

Many of the graduates plan to begin postgraduate studies in the fall, with 48 receiving offers from offers from universities in China and abroad. Some well-known schools include Columbia University, the University of Edinburgh and the University of Sydney.

Related stories:

Historic day: First graduating Arts class at SMU in 2+2 partnership with BNUZ

First cohort graduates from unique, international program


Movie trucks on campus...

Curious about the row of white movie trucks in our parking lot?

After a bit of investigating, we learned that the trucks are renting parking space from Saint Mary’s. A film crew is in town shooting a TV movie-of-the-week for Lifetime Network called NXIVM Cult: A Mother’s Nightmare.

NXIVM is a now-defunct American self-help and personal development organization that targeted wealthy and famous women. Former leader Keith Raniere was recently convicted for sex trafficking, and many others -- including former Smallville actress Allison Mack — are facing charges of racketeering, forced labour, identity theft and more.

The movie is being produced by Sony Pictures Entertainment. Local company Magic Rock Productions is also involved.


Grad student helms influential Europe Elects site

Reporting on European elections from his current home base in Halifax means working around the clock sometimes for graduate student Tobias Gerhard Schminke.

In 2014 he founded Europe Elects, an ongoing project that tracks and analyzes election and polling data across the European Union. With its website and social media channels, the non-profit project has more than 107,000 followers and is now produced with help from a multilingual team of 39 volunteers across four continents.

The newspaper Politico reported on July 3 that Europe Elects is the 12th most influential media outlet in the European Parliament, ahead of CNN, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. During the recent European Parliament election in May 2019, Europe Elects was the top global news source on Twitter, according to Bavarian public TV network Bayerischer Rundfunk.

Increasingly in demand as an election analyst for international media such as El Pais, euronews and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Schminke recalls doing a phone interview with The Guardian at the crack of dawn during the spring EU election.

“Then on election day I was up at 1:00 am covering the first results coming in from Malta. So you’ve got to be a little bit crazy if you want to do what I do! It is very time consuming, so you’ve got to be disciplined,” he says.

Pretty impressive, considering he is also a full-time student who has been building and managing the site without any financial backing. He launched it during his undergraduate studies in media and communication sciences and political science, completed at the University of Mainz in his home country of Germany and also the University of Haifa in Israel.

At Saint Mary’s, he is in the final stretch of his master’s degree in International Development Studies, with Dr. Gavin Fridell as his graduate supervisor. Europe Elects doesn’t relate directly to his thesis – Schminke is researching trade unions as catalysts for progress in developing countries, and has been doing field work with unions in Uganda.

“In a way, they both come together under this umbrella of making the community work in a way that benefits many people,” he says.

Europe Elects aims to educate citizens on EU politics beyond national borders and create a public sphere to discuss common issues. It provides election-related news across the European Union as it happens, including polls and projections. The team also puts the data in context, with educational videos and in-depth articles on everything from Brexit to generational voting differences to what’s up with the right-wing surge in a number of countries.

Schminke created the site when he saw an untapped niche in the lead-up to the 2014 European election. Living in Germany, he craved EU election analysis all in one spot, but existing news sources mainly provided their own national narratives with no overall picture of the political situation across the EU. 

“Europe is becoming more and more politically integrated, so it’s actually important for Germans and others to know what’s happening in other EU countries,” he says. “We all face common issues like climate change, the migration crisis, automation of jobs and so on. People always just discuss it in their national context, but many of these issues can only be resolved politically together.”

Follow Europe Elects on the web at www.europeelects.eu and on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.


Saint Mary’s-based Atlantic Water Network recognized with national awards

The Saint Mary’s-based Atlantic Water Network is being recognized with national awards from Water’s Next.

The exemplary efforts of water champion and Atlantic Water Network Director, Emma Wattie were celebrated when she received both the individual award for leadership in non-government organizations, as well as Water Steward of the Year, earlier this summer.

Growing up on the beautiful Saint John River in rural New Brunswick, the importance of water stewardship and management came naturally to Emma. Through her work with the Atlantic Water Network, Emma has built critical infrastructure and relationships that have enabled community-based monitoring initiatives to achieve greater impact both locally and regionally. She has brought a streamlined and standardized approach to water monitoring groups, which in turn has increased demand for the water monitoring tools and equipment and expanding our knowledge of Atlantic watersheds.

Through her management of the Environmental Equipment Bank program and WET-Pro training, communities can leverage resources to scale up existing monitoring programs and build new ones where needed without having to reinvent the wheel. WET-Pro has been critical in freeing up organizational capacity to address continuously emerging needs for regional freshwater monitoring. 

“It’s truly an honour to receive the Water’s Next awards for my work with Atlantic Water Network. The jury is a group of peers in the water monitoring world, so to receive this recognition from a national platform brings validation to many years of hard work. Atlantic Water Network provides important resources to its community-partners and all the work we do is for them.” 

Emma has also championed the importance of sharing water data across watersheds and jurisdictions. From conception to implementation, she played a crucial role in bringing DataStream – an open-access online platform – to Atlantic Canada. Her success in building a strong partnership with The Gordon Foundation and the ability to mobilize community-based monitoring groups across four provinces made it possible to establish Atlantic DataStream in under one year.

The Water’s Next Awards Gala celebrates the people, projects, and technology that are making substantial contributions to the success of Canada’s blue economy. The gala saw leaders from across Canada and around the world come together to celebrate the accomplishments of the 49 finalists for the event’s 13 different awards, highlighted by the Company of the Year and the Water Steward of the Year awards.

—-Submitted by Cale Loney, External Affairs


SMUEC's social enterprise training goes national

The Saint Mary’s University Entrepreneurship Centre (SMUEC) is bringing its entrepreneurial enterprise across Canada, starting in Saskatchewan and the Yukon.

Last month SMUEC team members Mitch Harrison and Jason Turner traveled to Saskatoon to deliver the first installment of The Pipeline’s train-the-trainer program.

The Pipeline is SMUEC’s social enterprise development service that helps students and community groups conceive and launch sustainable businesses that address community challenges. The program uses the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals as a framework for exposing global challenges, and uses social innovation as a stimulus for creating community solutions.

A total of 17 participants from Saskatchewan and Manitoba participated, representing organizations including the Saskatchewan Economic Development Alliance, Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan, the National Aboriginal Council Corporations Association and numerous chapters from Community Futures Canada. 

Participants walked away with a toolkit of processes, methodologies and activities as well as a certification that will enable them to facilitate Pipeline training in their communities. 

The Saint Mary’s University Entrepreneurship Centre will continue to work with each organization as they begin to facilitate Pipeline training and support the development of social enterprises in their region.  

The next Train-The-Trainer session is scheduled for early September, when the team will travell to Whitehorse to work with members of the Entrepreneurship and Community Innovation department at Yukon College. 

For more information, please contact mitch.harrison@smu.ca

Hockey excellence: Trevor and Matt Steinberg, Hunter Garlent

Saint Mary’s has long been known for hockey excellence. Two recent stories highlight the success of our men’s hockey coach as well as two former players.


Men’s hockey coach Trevor Steinberg celebrated the exciting news about his son Matt being selected by the Colarado Avalanche at the last month’s National Hockey League draft in Vancouver.

Read the full story: Halifax hockey player looks to follow in dad's footsteps, play in NHL

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Former Husky Hunter Garlent signed a one-year professional contract with the Milwaukee Admirals.

Garlent was a commerce student at Saint Mary’s and played centre on the men’s hockey team..

Read more about Hunter: Getting to know your U SPORTS student-athletes: Hunter Garlent, Saint Mary’s Huskies

Forensic Science Camp underway

It’s an exciting week for students in our popular Forensic Science Camp in the Faculty of Science.

Now in its second year, and with a second week added due to popular demand, teens in Forensic Science Camp learn about DNA extraction and examination, fingerprint collection and analysis, and examination of blood stains and spatter patterns.

“Forensic science is the application of science with a legal component,” explained Dr. Brenna Frasier, the camp’s founder and lead instructor.  “You could use forensics in chemistry, biology, engineering… it encompasses almost any scientific field.”

The lessons are a combination of instruction and hands-on learning, designed for students who are keen to learn and participate and who want experience conducting scientific research in a lab. They also learn to work as a team, as they would in “real world” situations.

An exciting part of the camp is doing a mock crime scene investigation in the field – in this case, in a staged residence room. Processing a crime scene is followed by a mock trial and presentation of evidence. Students also meet with professionals working in the field.

This camp gives participants a feel for the forensic science industry, and most of these students are already considering university programs in this field. By learning about skeletal remains, hair and fibre examination, and crime scene examination from our expert faculty members, students learn what crime scene investigators, forensic experts and other professionals do in their careers, and many are looking forward to pursuing this study further.

To be accepted into the camp, students age 14-17 complete an application form and an essay outlining their interest in Forensic Science.  To learn more, click here. Registration for summer 2020 will open in February.

Submitted by Danielle Boudreau, Faculty of Science

Invasive Species Jenga premieres at Soapbox Science

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 Dr. Linda Campbell and graduate student Sarah Kingsbury were invited to present their educational Invasive Species Jenga game at Soapbox Science at the Seaport Market last weekend.

 The game is based on the idea is that an aquatic food web is an integrated interlinking system, and changes in one part of the system will affect other parts. The introduction of persistent invasive species could disrupt the food web by destabilizing of the current structure and the interactions of native species.

 The stacking tower game is colour-coded based on the food web position (e.g. plant, invertebrate, fish, invasive species), and structured so it is vulnerable to collapsing if the native species blocks are removed first.

 Sarah Kingsbury has also been working on a citizen science project concerning an invasive species called Chinese mystery snails. Read more here to find out how you can participate.

 Her work was recently featured in a CBC story: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/chinese-mystery-snail-study-1.5140445

— Submitted by Danielle Boudreau, Faculty of Science

Huskies hockey memento laid at the heart of The Dauphinee Centre

A piece of Saint Mary's hockey history now lays at the heart of The Dauphinee Centre.

In a ceremony this summer the iconic smoking pipe of the late Bob Boucher was laid at centre ice, connecting Saint Mary's storied hockey past with the future of the sport at The Dauphinee Centre.  Bob was rarely seen without his smoking pipe, which became a symbol of the well-loved coach and the tradition of excellence he brought to the university’s hockey program.

An inductee of the Saint Mary's University Sport Hall of Fame in 1998, Bob Boucher was the coach of the Saint Mary's men's hockey team for 13 years. During this time, he compiled an astounding record of 231 wins, 33 losses and four ties and led the Huskies to the national championship game in four consecutive seasons from 1970 to 1973. He also coached the Dartmouth Moosehead Mounties who won the Hardy Cup national championship.

Bob came from an illustrious hockey family with connections to numerous NHL teams. A star junior player with the Montreal Junior Canadiens when they won the Memorial Cup in 1957, and with the Toronto Saint Michael's, an eye injury precluded his promising NHL career. Nevertheless, Bob went on to play senior and semi-professional hockey in Europe and the USA before being joining the Saint Mary's community.

He revived hockey at Saint Mary's, and also started the Saint Mary's Hockey Camp of Champions, a summer program for minor hockey players. He left Saint Mary's in 1980 for the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers to be an assistant coach to his former teammate, Hockey Hall of Famer Pat Quinn.

"Sharing the rich hockey history and sports tradition of Saint Mary's makes a difference to our student-athletes," said women's hockey coach Chris Larade. “Ceremonies like today for Bob, honouring his contributions to hockey and the Saint Mary’s community, show our student-athletes the lasting impacts that we have as a team on our community."

The recognition meant a lot to Anne Boucher and her son Robert. Anne is a former figure skating coach who worked out of the Alumni Arena. It was here that she met her husband, Bob Boucher.

"A lot of memories came flooding back today, it was very special to be able to share it with some of Bob's players and today's coaches," said Anne Boucher. "We have fond memories of the old arena, and we spent a lot of our time there. We actually lived on campus our first two years of marriage."

"The arena has always been a special place at Saint Mary’s. The games, the atmosphere, the place was always electric. I am really looking forward to that atmosphere at The Dauphinee Centre.  I know Bob would be very happy to see that passion back on-campus and to be a part of it in a new home for hockey."

—Submitted by Cale Loney, External Affairs

News from SMU Alumni: Food Drive and summer events!


The Alumni Office wrapped up the annual Food Drive Competition on June 27th. And what a success it was!

Nineteen teams participated and collected more than 2,200 lbs of non-perishables for the campus Community Food Room, close to 500 lbs more than last year!  Thank you to all of the staff and faculty members who contributed.

The winning team will be announced at the Annual Faculty & Staff BBQ on July 24th from 11:30am-1:30pm* at The Oaks (*while supplies last).

If you have questions about the Food Drive or BBQ, email Mohammad Ashiq at alumni.assistant@smu.ca.


Upcoming summer events

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VIP Experience at Halifax Jazz Festival - Thursday, July 11th featuring JUNO award winner Bahamas, with opening act, The Barr Brothers. Tickets are $40 each, $75 for 2, and $30 for students. 

VIP tickets include:
• Skip The Line Access - get in to the festival grounds before everyone else!
• Private SMU Alumni VIP tent with food and a complimentary drink
• VIP bar - don't wait in a long line for a cold one!
• VIP bathroom access - don't miss half the concert waiting in line for the public port-a-potties
• Covered tent & seating - no need to worry about the weather!

Purchase tickets here: https://events.smu.ca/2019-hfx-jazz-fest-alumni-vip-event or at the Alumni Office, 867 Robie St.


Halifax Pride Parade

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Join SMU Alumni and SMUSA for the Halifax Pride Parade on Saturday, July 20th at 1pm and show your Husky Pride! All SMU alumni, students, staff, faculty and their families are welcome to join.

Please email Mohammad at alumni.assistant@smu.ca to sign up.

Peace education continues through new children's books

Peaceful Schools International (PSI) is collaborating again with three young author/illustrators to create new series of children’s books that teach conflict resolution…this time with a Saint Mary’s twist.

Last fall, with support from the Faculty of Education and in conjunction with the university and SMUSA, PSI launched Animal SchoolThe Enchantress from Canada and The Fairy Ring, created by Grade 8 students Amelia Penney-Crocker, Ruby Jangaard and Marin DeWolfe.

This unique project gained national and regional media attention and plenty of positive feedback…sparking the idea to continue the work.

 “So far, our research indicates that these are the only books of their kind…written by children, for children, on peace education,” says Bridget Brownlow, SMU’s Conflict Resolution Advisor and President of Peaceful Schools International. “There is a clear absence of these types of books, so we wanted to continue this project again this year.”

The new stories will be set on Saint Mary’s campus – an idea Brownlow attributes to PSI board member,  Dr. Rohini Bannerjee., Associate Professor of Modern Languages and Classics, who suggested a campus wide initiative involving peace education and conflict resolution.

“The new series focuses exclusively on characters and situations that are directly associated with and take place on the Saint Mary's campus - all centred around how to peacefully resolve conflicts through the eyes of children,” says Brownlow.

On Saturday, June 22, 20 children from local partner elementary schools came to campus for a special brainstorming session with the young authors and editors. The diverse group of students along with their parents/guardians were welcomed to campus by President Summerby-Murray and SMUSA President Mary Navas.

The stories will feature a new set of characters called the 'Saint Mary’s Snippets' who live on campus and assist our university community with different ways to peacefully resolve conflicts. The children toured the campus and then brainstormed scenarios and ideas, giving the young authors plenty of fodder to help create the books over the summer months.

The project is one that touches many parts of the Saint Mary’s community.

“Support from the Faculty of Education has been tremendous,” says Brownlow. “We are really indebted to the Faculty of Education, especially Dr. Anthony O’Malley,  Dr. Esther Enns and Johnny Shaw for helping make these books a reality.”

Some of the children of faculty and staff attended the brainstorming session, and the books will be translated into a variety of languages-- including Irish, French, Mandarin, Arabic, German, Japanese -- by Saint Mary’s students, faculty and staff.

Related stories:


Trade Mission to Europe: a closer look

The Sobey School of Business Impact Blog has issued a three-part series covering the Executive MBA 2019 International Trade Mission.

See an excerpt below, where we meet students Theresa Jahn and Scott Allan as they prepare to travel to Belgium and Denmark.


Sobey EMBA Trade Mission Part 1: Good Business

by Charlene Boyce


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It’s a snowy February in Nova Scotia and ordinarily Scott Allan would be thinking about Emera’s electrical grid. Instead, he is meeting with Theresa Jahn, a scientific affairs manager for Nature’s Way with a medical background, and they are talking about the aerospace maintenance repair and overhaul market. 

They are putting the final touches on an assignment about their client, IMP Aerospace and Defence, whom they will represent on the Sobey Executive MBA International Trade Mission.  The trade mission is woven in to Dr. Mark Raymond’s International Business course, and the mission itself is looming large in late March. It’s a heck of a midterm, a nine day intensive trade mission meeting with industry professionals representing a company and an industry neither have deep experience with. 

Before November, neither Theresa nor Scott had thought much about the scope of IMP’s work. Since the pair were matched with the company they have researched the industry, toured the IMP facility, met with company representatives and gotten fairly conversant with the potential market for maintenance, repair and overhaul in Denmark.  

They are one of six teams representing Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada companies, ranging from relatively small food producers to large ocean tech organizations. From March 29 – April 6, the teams will represent their companies and the Sobey Executive MBA program on a fast-paced trade mission to Europe. Working with partners like ACOA and business match-makers Kisserup, the Executive MBA program hosts an annual International Trade Mission to a targeted location. In the past, the classes have travelled to Singapore, Bogotá, Ho Chi Minh City, Sao Paolo and Warsaw, among others. The school has built a reputation for delivering impactful programming, and this mission has received warm praise from businesses, alumni and government officials.  

See the full story and follow-up articles: https://www.smu.ca/academics/sobey/blogs/impact.html

Summer Safety: Heat Stress Guidelines

We all enjoy the hot days of summer but care needs to be taken when the Humidex starts to climb. 


The Humidex, a combination of heat and humidity levels, provides a number that describes how hot we feel, much in the same way the equivalent chill temperature or “wind chill factor”, describes how cold people feel. 

Saint Mary’s University recognizes the potential problems caused by high temperatures in the work environment or associated with sports activities. 

Heat Stress Guidelines, based on a Humidex value and modified to consider activity level and clothing, have been established to prevent the occurrence of heat related illness. 

The guidelines offer practical steps to manage summer heat for indoor and outdoor work, field trips and sports activities. Learn the signs of heat stress, first aid tips and more at http://www.smu.ca/about/heat-stress-guidelines.html.

Need to cool down? Visit these air-conditioned spaces:

  • Atrium/Library

  • McNally East, including the Faculty Lounge

  • Theatre Auditorium

  • Sobey Building

  • Loyola Academic Building

  • The Language Centre – 960 Tower Road

SMUSA execs chosen for provincial and federal student advocacy roles

Above (l-r): Bryn de Chastelain, SMUSA’s Vice-President, Academic & Advocacy and Mary Navas, SMUSA President & CEO.

Above (l-r): Bryn de Chastelain, SMUSA’s Vice-President, Academic & Advocacy and Mary Navas, SMUSA President & CEO.

Two Saint Mary’s University Students’ Association (SMUSA) executives have been elected to board positions with provincial and federal student organizations. 

Mary Navas, SMUSA’s President & CEO, was recently elected as Chair of Students Nova Scotia, a not-for-profit , non-partisan advocacy group that advances the interests and priorities of approximately 20,000 Nova Scotia post-secondary students.

Bryn de Chastelain, SMUSA’s Vice-President Academic & Advocacy, was elected as Director-At-Large, Policy for the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA), a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that advocates on behalf of over 350,000 post-secondary students to the federal government.

This is the first time in over 3 years that SMUSA will have simultaneous, direct involvement in these organizations.

“Board positions with StudentsNS and CASA allow Saint Mary’s students to have direct influence on provincial and federal advocacy that contributes to important aspects of student life, including financial aid, career preparation, and overall well-being”, said de Chastelain, whose new position is responsible for reviewing CASA’s existing policies and developing new ones to improve the lives of post-secondary students across the country.

“I am eager to take my position as Director-at-Large, Policy for CASA because I want to engage a greater number of students in policy work and continue to improve the transparency of student federal advocacy” said de Chastlain, who is committed to advocating for accessible and quality post-secondary education through focuses in work-integrated learning, financial aid, and resources for under-represented student populations.

Mary Navas, SMUSA’s first female president in over 13 years and SMU’s only Honduran student, is excited to bring a fresh perspective to the StudentsNS board.

“As Chair, I want to continue to bring the student voice forward to government and create real change on our campuses,” she says.

Navas is focused on improving financial aid and financial literacy to address funding gaps, creating more student jobs through work integrated learning, and fostering more opportunities for international students. Of the appointment, Navas said “We’re excited to be able to directly influence post-secondary education, not only for SMU students, but for students in Nova Scotia, and across the country”.

New MOU with Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre

Saint Mary’s has taken another step forward on the path towards reconciliation.

On Wednesday, June 5, Dr. Rob Summerby-Murray and Pam Glode-Desrochers, Executive Director of the Mi’kmaq Native Friendship Centre (MNFC) signed an important MOU that strengthens connection and collaboration between the two organizations.

The Mi’kmaq Native Friendship Centre helps provide social-based programming for Urban Aboriginal People and serves a focal point for the urban Aboriginal community to gather. The new MOU creates a partnership that will see Saint Mary’s consult the Friendship Centre on the development of appropriate protocols for on-campus activities and enhancing support for Indigenous students, faculty and staff.

Another key part of the agreement is that the MNFC will provide an Elder on Campus four hours per week, a role now being filled by Elder Debbie Eisan.

Elder Debbie Eisan was on hand for the signing and told the group that Indigenous students at local highschools are increasingly aware of the work happening at Saint Mary’s and appreciate knowing that Indigenous Student Advisor Raymond Sewell is available to them.

“We are really excited about how the MOU articulates the mutual desire to strengthen connections between Saint Mary’s University and the Mi’kmaq Native Friendship Centre,” says Tom Brophy, Senior Director, Student Affairs and Services. “It opens the door for the MNFC to provide support and advice to Saint Mary’s as we move to continue to improve the experience of the Indigenous students and Indigenous culture on campus broadly.”

“I am delighted that we have taken this important step together,” said Dr. Summerby-Murray. “Saint Mary’s is looking forward to the many opportunities to collaborate on Indigenous-related programming, Indigenous-focused projects, research and of course enhancing learning opportunities for Indigenous students.”

An official celebration of the MOU signing is being planned for fall 2019.

Related links:

National Indigenous History Month

SMU class wins Innovation Distinction Award from Northwood Foundation

A unique service learning project lead by Saint Mary’s computer science professor Terry Goldsmith and Service Learning Coordinator Sarah Bray has proven to be an award-winning idea.

The Northwood Sandbox is a service learning initiative that saw 30 software engineering students working with Northwood residents to design apps that would help them with everyday life.

For more details, watch the video story about read Service Learning adds value for students and our community

Saint Mary's community mourns the loss of Blair John

Above: PhD candidate Blair John presents at the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Eastern Regional Competition, held at McGill University in Montreal this past April. He was one of 11 student representatives from universities across Quebec, Newfoundland, and the Maritimes .

Above: PhD candidate Blair John presents at the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Eastern Regional Competition, held at McGill University in Montreal this past April. He was one of 11 student representatives from universities across Quebec, Newfoundland, and the Maritimes .

It has been a difficult week for the Saint Mary’s community since learning the news of Blair John’s death. The statement below from President Robert Summerby-Murray was shared on smu.ca.


I am saddened to share the news that Blair John, a PhD candidate in Psychology, recently passed away in Turin, Italy.

The university has been in close contact with Blair’s family to offer support and to extend sympathy and condolences on behalf of the Saint Mary’s community.

Originally from the Bahamas, Blair joined Saint Mary’s in September 2017 and was working on his PhD in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. He was a Junior Consultant at the CN Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.

In his time at Saint Mary’s, Blair became known as a leader, and was a well-loved colleague and friend. He served as University Representative for the Canadian Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology and was involved in many student activities. He also recently won first prize in the Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition at Saint Mary’s for his presentation, “Catching the Fakers: Exploring New Methods to Identify Applicant Faking in Interviews.”

Blair was an engaging, caring individual who embodied Santamarian values. We extend our deepest sympathies to all those who knew him.

Dr. Rob Summerby-Murray
President and Vice-Chancellor
Saint Mary’s University

Supports available to all within the Saint Mary’s community:

  • The Counselling Centre
    4th Floor, Student Centre
    902-420-5615 / counselling@smu.ca
    Drop-ins welcome

  • Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP)

  • Mental Health Mobile Crisis Team (24/7, telephone response)
    Crisis support across Nova Scotia
    902-429-8167 or 1-888-429-8167

  • Student Health Centre

  • Good2Talk
    24/7 free and confidential phone counselling

  • SMUSA Health Plan is providing services through I.M. WELL.
    Please contact the SMUSA Health Plan Office for assistance: SMUSA Health Plan Office, 5th Floor Student Centre, 902-496-8754

  • I.M. Well (24/7, 365 days per year)
    Download (I.M. Well) Counselling App, and/or resources and live chat available for ALL students: 1-877-234-5327

Young historians shine at Provincial Heritage Fair

The future of history is in great hands, if the Nova Scotia Provincial Heritage Fair is any indication.

Eighty students from across the province showcased their excellent and informative history projects on June 6 and 7, in the McNally Theatre Auditorium at Saint Mary’s University. Ranging from Grades 4 to 9, the students researched everything from local theatre and Louisbourg to maple syrup and “Canadian stereotypes, eh?”

With a new award this year for military heritage, some projects reflected Nova Scotian involvement in the Second World War, particularly poignant as the fair coincided with 75th anniversary commemorations for D-Day. Other new awards recognized student research in African heritage topics, environmental history, equity and justice, immigration studies, the history of science and technology, and more.

Cultural heritage also had a strong showing, with detailed projects about Viola Desmond, the ‘60s Scoop, an Inuit family tree, the Underground Railroad, Portuguese and Dutch immigration to Canada, Celtic fiddles and Acadian culture.

Many students found inspiration in their own families, including a Grade 6 girl from Bridgewater researched Portia White, “whose brother Lorne was my great grandfather”. A Grade 6 boy from Albert Bridge, Cape Breton, chronicled the history of Sydney Steel, where his grandfather and great grandfather both worked. “It was definitely a tough job,” he said.

The projects were winners at regional fairs across the province before coming to SMU. The Provincial Fair judges are all professionals active in the fields of culture, history and heritage – professors from the SMU Faculty of Arts, archivists, librarians, museum curators, museum interpreters and more.

The student delegates and their chaperones stayed overnight on campus in residence. They also took part in workshops at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, creating their own folk art inspired by Maud Lewis, who was the theme for this year’s event. Africville will be the focus for next year’s Nova Scotia Heritage Day and the Provincial Fair.

Follow the Nova Scotia Provincial Heritage Fair on its website, on Facebook at @novascotiaheritagefairs, and on Instagram at nsprovincialheritagefair.

-   Submitted by Marla Cranston, Faculty of Arts

Summer reading: The latest books by SMU faculty

For news about other books recently released or on the horizon, please keep us posted at internal.comms@smu.ca so we can share details with the SMU community!

Provincial award for short creative non-fiction

Congratulations are in order for Dr. Ariel Watson, a creative writing professor with the Department of English Language & Literature. On May 9, the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia announced winners of its annual Nova Writes competition for unpublished manuscripts. Dr. Watson’s manuscript “Beasts of Myth” won H. R. (Bill) Percy Short Creative Non-Fiction Prize.

The citation from judge Marjorie Simmins: “The author has written a resonant and complex story, with themes of multi-generational family ties and interactions, looming death, the reshapings of personal histories, the romantic pulls of times gone by, and the essence and changing composition of memory, as connected to a time, and its people.”


Spring book launch in Munich

Dr. S. Karly Kehoe, Canada Research Chair in Atlantic Canada Studies, has had a busy spring season. She travelled to Munich in April for the launch of her new book, Responsibility for Refugee and Migrant Integration (De Gruyter, 2019, co-edited by Eva Alisic and Jan-Christoph Heilinger).

The book aims to expand understanding of the complex challenges and opportunities associated with migration and integration, and to examine the important roles that individuals can play in the process.

It’s a subject she knows well, through her work with the Global Young Academy to identify, assist and relocate refugee scholars.

Also in April, Dr. Kehoe was the 2019 Spring Strickland Visiting Scholar at Middle Tennessee State University, where she gave a keynote lecture, “Science Diplomacy: History Matters – This is Why”.

Kehoe also recently contributed a chapter to A History of Catholic Education and Schooling in Scotland: New Perspectives (Palgrave MacMillan). Her chapter is called "Women Religious and the Development of Scottish Education”. In it, she highlights the emergence of a system of Catholic female education between the early 1850s, when women began to assume the bulk of the responsibility for elementary education, and the early years of the twentieth century.


The Canadian experience for international students

Dr. Min Jung Kwak has a new book, Outward & Upward Mobilities: International Students in Canada, Their Families, and Structuring Institutions (University of Toronto Press), co-edited with Ann H. Kim. The collection explores how international students and their families fare in local ethnic communities, educational and professional institutions, and the labour market, including barriers and facilitators of adaption and integration.

Dr. Kwak is a principal researcher in an international research project with York University to create a Korean Studies curriculum for Canada; she’s also busy making preparations for the first Saint Mary’s geography field course to South Korea, happening in the winter 2020 term.


Where the human psyche meets politics

On March 22, the Political Science department hosted a launch for Dr. Stella Gaon’s new book, The Lucid Vigil: Deconstruction, Desire and the Politics of Critique. It is the first publication in Routledge’s new Psychoanalytic Political Theory series, which “offers a forum for texts that deepen our understanding of the complex relationships between the world of politics and the world of the psyche”.


Studies in Pentecostalism

Dr. Michelle MacCarthy recently announced her new publication, Going to Pentecost: An Experimental Approach to Studies in Pentecostalism (Berghahn Books, co-edited with Annelin Eriksen and Ruy Llera Blanes). It is available at the link as a freely downloadable, open access e-book. The SMU Anthropology professor is also the author of Making the Modern Primitive: Cultural Tourism in the Trobriand Islands (University of Hawaii Press, 2016)


Raceshifting website a companion resource to forthcoming book

This September, University of Manitoba Press will release Dr. Darryl Leroux’s new peer-reviewed book, Distorted Descent: White Claims to Indigenous Identity.  Last week, Dr. Leroux – an associate professor in the Department of Social Justice & Community Studies – announced the launch of www.raceshifting.com, a new website based on his research.

It includes a GIS “storymap” featuring all organizations surveyed through his project (about 75), plus links to public documents for all of the so-called “Eastern Métis” court cases (almost 60) filed in Québec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia that he has identified so far. In his upcoming book, Dr. Leroux will analyze much of the online material, which he produced with Unwritten Histories Digital Consulting. 

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 Online reading group about historian Alice Clark

Dr. Tim Stretton of the Department of History is a key voice in an international online conversation about historian Alice Clark. One hundred years have passed since the publication of Clark’s groundbreaking book, Working Life of Women in the Seventeenth Century. To mark the centenary, an online reading group was created in April through ‘the many-headed monster’ blog, a collective effort focusing on English society and culture in the early modern period.

 Dr. Stretton kicked off the new online group and provided valuable context by writing the first article, “A Biography of Alice Clark (1874-1934)”. In 2018, he contributed a chapter about Clark for the book Generations of Women Historians (palgrave macmillan). You can also follow the online group via Twitter and participate in the conversation at #AliceClark100.  

— Submitted by Marla Cranston, Faculty of Arts