Recognizing our researchers

Last week Dr. Adam Sarty, Associate Vice-President, Research and Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies, held an event in McNally Main Theatre Auditorium to recognize all of the researchers at Saint Mary’s who received research funding from external agencies over the last 12 months (September 2018 to September 2019). The duration of these grants and contracts may span over several years. 

A total of 79 Saint Mary’s faculty members received $9.85 million from organizations including the Canada Research Chair program, SSHRC, NSERC, CIHR research grant and partnership programs. Also included were a wide variety of other provincial and federal grants, and direct research contracts with industry partners facilitated through the Office of Innovation and Community Engagement.

Obtaining external research funding in a competitive environment is a recognition by outside peers/experts that the research is of high quality. Along with supporting the research, it provides the means to hire and fund student researchers (undergraduate, graduate), postdocs and technical staff.

Undergraduate Astrophysics student publishes a lead-author scientific paper


Publishing a lead-author scientific paper is always an exciting milestone for graduate students, one that comes after a lot of research, hard work and persistence to work through multiple edits with advisors and journal editors.  

Sophia Waddell has already achieved this goal after her third year of undergraduate studies, having published a paper with the Royal Astronomical Society. The Astrophysics student has also co-authored four other papers: one with a graduate student after her first year at Saint Mary’s, two with her supervisor Dr. Luigi Gallo, and another led by a postdoc.  

After coming up with the idea for the paper in her High Energy Astrophysics course, she wrote the paper and worked with Dr. Gallo on a series of revisions. She then submitted the paper to the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society for an anonymous review, which resulted in just a few changes before the paper was accepted.  

“It’s very rare that an undergraduate student is able to publish a lead-author paper,” said Dr. Luigi Gallo, Professor of Astronomy at Saint Mary’s. “Sophia has an amazing work ethic that is driven by her passion for the subject matter.  She is constantly reading papers, working the data, asking questions, and often stumping me.”  

Waddell’s paper, titled Multi-epoch X-ray spectral analysis of the narrow-line Seyfert 1 galaxy Mrk 478, explores X-ray data from a supermassive black hole (SMBH) called Mrk 478. “This black hole in particular is called an active galactic nucleus (AGN), which means that it is actively sucking in material, forming an accretion disk around the black hole,” explained Waddell.  

“The material located closest to the black hole gets so hot, that rather than radiating optical light (light our eyes can see), it emits high-energy X-rays. Using special space-based observatories, we can study the X-rays coming from active black holes, which can tell us about the structure and properties of the innermost regions.” 

In her paper Waddell used different models representing different physical structures of the inner region of this SMBH, and applied them to data collected with X-ray satellites. 

“Using the models, and a couple of other techniques, we were able to determine the structure and geometry of the inner region of this black hole, which can help tell us more about the evolution of galaxies and the Universe itself,” she said. 

“Sophia is currently following up on her results and is now looking at the rapid variability on time scales of a day, to see if those fast changes are consistent with the same model,” said Dr. Gallo. 

Black Holes

A black hole is a region of space that has experienced a gravitational collapse leaving behind a region from which nothing can escape, not even light. Supermassive black holes are the largest type of these astronomical objects, and are considered to be at least hundreds of thousands of times the mass of the sun. The concept of black holes was first considered in the 18th century, and the formation of supermassive black holes, first mentioned in the 1960s, is still a topic being researched by astronomers. The first photo of a supermassive black hole was only captured in the spring of 2019.   

Plans for the Future

Waddell has “loved all things math and science” since she was a small child, and with two parents who graduated from the Engineering program at Saint Mary’s, she had plenty of support at home for her STEM interests. After a unit in astrophysics in a high school physics class she was hooked and now plans to pursue an academic career as a physics and astrophysics professor. She’s currently applying to grad schools and would like to continue studying X-ray astronomy.  

“I think it’s incredible that we get to work with data taken by satellites in outer space, studying some of the most extreme objects in the Universe,” said Waddell. “I also love talking about my research and science in general, and I can’t wait to keep sharing my science with others!”

— Danielle Boudreau, Faculty of Science

Dr. Rituparna Kanungo Named a Fellow of the American Physical Society


Saint Mary’s University physicist Dr. Rituparna Kanungo has been named as a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) for her outstanding research on rare isotopes.

This honour goes to scientists who have made significant innovative contributions to the field of physics. No more than one half of one percent of the Society’s membership who have been nominated by their peers are elected as Fellows.

Dr. Kanungo was nominated by the Division of Nuclear Physics. She is a professor in the Astronomy and Physics Department and an Affiliate Scientist of TRIUMF, Canada’s particle accelerator centre in Vancouver.

“I am deeply honoured to be chosen to receive this prestigious recognition from the American Physical Society, which I would like to share with all my students, post docs and collaborators. I am immensely thankful to my peers for valuing my contributions, and I thank my supervisors, mentors and our funding agencies for their support,” said Dr. Kanungo.

“This motivates me further to pursue and enable new discoveries with the rare isotopes in nature. It came as a truly rewarding moment with a burst of encouragement in a long and challenging journey to explore the unknown.”

Dr. Kanungo’s nomination was for research which encompasses several projects in Canada and abroad. She has a large network of national and international collaborators, bringing together undergraduate, graduate students, post docs and collaborating scientists from around the world.

“Being elected as a Fellow of the APS is a testament to Dr. Kanungo’s work in the field of subatomic physics, allowing her to enhance her scientific research and further expand collaborations with other leaders in this field,” said Dr. Lori Francis, acting Dean of Science at Saint Mary’s University. “This honour is also an international recognition of Canadian expertise and an appreciation of the work being done at our university and across the country.”

“We are very proud of Dr. Kanungo’s leadership in nuclear physics research, and this award is a wonderful endorsement of the impact Dr. Kanungo and her many Canadian and international collaborators have had on her field,” said Dr. Malcolm Butler, Vice-President Academic and Research 

At Saint Mary's University. “Saint Mary’s has been pleased to support Dr. Kanungo’s work, and our students have had tremendous opportunities to work with her and her collaborators at major laboratories in Canada (TRIUMF National Laboratory) and around the world. On behalf of everyone at Saint Mary’s University, I offer congratulations to Dr. Kanungo for being named an American Physical Society Fellow.”

The APS citation of her recognition

For seminal studies of weakly bound nuclei that have challenged our understanding of the nuclear many-body system, and for the development of innovative experimental techniques and approaches used in measurements with rare isotope beams.


Dr. Kanungo’s research focus is on nuclei, which are the core of all visible matter in our Universe. They embody the beauty and mystery of nature’s strongest force that binds two building blocks protons and neutrons into an enormous wide variety of complex many-body systems, forming the different elements and their isotopes.

Only a small handful of the isotopes exist naturally on earth with most of them being stable or very long-lived. However, the access to explore the short-lived rare isotopes in nature, especially ones approaching the edges of the nuclear landscape, is revolutionizing nuclear science.

Dr. Kanungo uses nuclear reactions to unveil the new features in rare isotopes. Her team, along with researchers around the world, are continuously working together to develop new experimental methods of harnessing the rare isotopes.

“I look forward to contributing to a new era of exploration with the next generation rare isotope facilities coming online in this decade. Particularly, FRIB in the USA and ARIEL in Canada the new North American facilities, FAIR in Germany as well as the existing RIBF facility in Japan,” said Dr. Kanungo.

More of Dr. Kanungo’s research can be found here: <<LINK>>

APS Fellowships

The APS Fellowship Program was created since 1921 to recognize members who have made advances in physics through original research and publication or have made significant innovative contributions in the application of physics to science and technology. They may also have made significant contributions to the teaching of physics or service and participation in the activities of the Society.

Fellowship is a distinct honor signifying recognition by one's professional peers. Each year, no more than one half of one percent of the Society’s membership (excluding student members) is recognized by their peers for election to the status of Fellow of the American Physical Society.

Nomination Process 

The criterion for election is exceptional contributions to the physics enterprise; e.g., outstanding physics research, important applications of physics, leadership in or service to physics, or significant contributions to physics education.

Each nomination is evaluated by the Fellowship committee of the appropriate APS division, topical group or forum, or by the APS General Fellowship committee. After review by the full APS Fellowship Committee, the successful candidates are elected by APS Council.

Congratulations to Dr. Kanungo on behalf of the Saint Mary’s University community!

 - Danielle Boudreau, Faculty of Science


Dr. Christa Brosseau Wins President’s Award for Excellence in Research  

Dr. Christa Brosseau has won the Saint Mary’s University President’s Award for Excellence in Research for her outstanding work in the Chemistry department at Saint Mary’s.

Created in 1989 to honour outstanding research conducted by a full-time faculty member, the recipients of the Saint Mary’s University President’s Award for Excellence in Research must have a record of continued and exceptional contribution to research and scholarship, as well as national or international recognition as an authority in a major field of knowledge.

A world leader in her field, Dr. Christa Brosseau is an internationally recognized, highly productive, and influential scholar in the areas of electrochemistry, spectroscopy, and nanotechnology. By any metric of research success, be it number of publications, quality of publications, research grants obtained, awards received, high quality personnel trained, degree of innovation, potential for application, or knowledge transfer achieved, Dr. Brosseau exemplifies research excellence.

As a Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Sustainable Chemistry and Materials, Dr. Brosseau has received more than $1.1-million in research funding in the previous five years from such sources as Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI). She has trained nearly 40 students in her lab since 2009; these students have received more than 25 awards for their own research presentations and publications.

With an interdisciplinary Chemistry research program spanning the fields of spectroscopy, electrochemistry, nanoscience and biomedical studies, Dr. Brosseau’s innovations in the area of Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy allows for detection of biomolecules that revolutionize the way we can detect and diagnose diseases. Dr. Brosseau and her research group have developed fabric chips, or wearable sensor technology, that lead to many health applications. This technology has been applied to earlier detection of diseases such as tuberculosis and preeclampsia. This work can also be used to help understand how diseases are spread.

A tireless champion of science literacy, Dr. Brosseau speaks frequently at international conferences, meetings, and seminars, communicating her research findings and their potential applications to solve real world challenges to wide audiences. Her creative and innovative research appears in the top scientific journals, and her scientific work is often profiled in technology and industry-based outlets due to its high impact.

Dr. Brosseau partners her research passion with a high degree of commitment to teaching and service to Saint Mary’s University and to her professional community. She is the former Chairperson and current Vice-Chairperson of the Canadian Section of the Electrochemical society, Co-President of nanoAtlantic, and a board member of Techsploration. She won the Discovery Centre’s Emerging Professional Award in 2013 and the SMUSA faculty of Science teaching award in 2010. Saint Mary’s University is fortunate indeed that Dr. Christa Brosseau calls Saint Mary’s home.

Congratulations Dr. Brosseau!

The award is adjudicated by the Research Committee of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research. Each Faculty Dean may nominate one Faculty member.

 - Danielle Boudreau, Faculty of Science

Kudos: Major NSERC funding awarded to Saint Mary’s researchers

Saint Mary’s is pleased to announce significant funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) in the last year. 

A just-announced Strategic Partner Grant, designed to support networks to connect companies and government to work together to address challenges in research areas where Canada can be a world leader, will see Dr. Danika van Proosdij and Dr. Jeremy Lundholm continue their work on Nova Scotia dykeland restoration. Funding for this project and another Strategic Partnership Grants for Networks will total $11-million, with a detailed funding breakdown to follow.

As well, Saint Mary’s researchers will receive funding worth more than $1.2 million over five years from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) for eight Discovery Grants plus a Discovery Development Grant.

“I am really pleased to celebrate the success of our researchers here at Saint Mary's,” said Dr. Lori Francis, acting Dean of Science. “The funding awarded in the recent announcements is a significant recognition of the high quality and impactful research taking place across the faculties at Saint Mary’s. Not only does it allow our researchers to pursue innovative, ground-breaking research, it also provides remarkable research opportunities for our undergraduate and graduate students.”

The Discovery Grants Program, NSERC’s largest program, supports ongoing natural sciences and engineering research projects with long-term goals. In addition to promoting and maintaining a diversified base of high-quality research at Canadian universities, Discovery Grants help provide a stimulating environment for student research training.

Selection is based on peer review recommendations, and these grants are designed to support ongoing research programs with long-term goals. Thanks to their long term, typically five years, Discovery Grants give researchers the flexibility to explore the most promising avenues of research as they emerge.

“Saint Mary’s University is proud that our professors are seeing this level of success in securing competitive federal science research funding,” said Dr. Adam Sarty, Associate Vice-President, Research and Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research. “For a university with a relatively small number of faculty members, being awarded 10 new NSERC research grants in one year – with professors from eight different departments, representing all three of our Faculties – is a true demonstration of the strength and breadth of the research enterprise at Saint Mary’s. 

These research grants will benefit many undergraduate and graduate students that become involved with these professors, allowing them to serve our local communities or create new fundamental understandings, or both,” said Dr. Sarty.

Congratulations to all, this research work in the Faulty of Science, and across the entire university, is exciting and inspiring.

 Details about the exciting work our faculty members are doing is found below. 

 Co-leads Jeremy Lundholm (Biology) and Danika van Proosdij (Geography and Environmental Studies)

NSERC Strategic Partnership Network Grant

Title: NSERC ResNet: A network for monitoring, modeling, and managing Canada’s ecosystem services for sustainability and resilience

 A Canadian future of shared health, prosperity, and resilience will depend on our ability to manage ecosystems and all the services they provide for human well-being now and in the future. Working landscapes — land actively used for production of resources such as food, fish, and forest products — are of particular importance for their contributions to Canada’s wellbeing.

 NSERC ResNet will launch investigations (co-designed with local communities) into the provision, impact and management of multiple ecosystems services in six landscapes across Canada. Saint Mary’s University will play a key role in the Bay of Fundy Agricultural Dykeland Restoration landscape, with Drs. Danika van Proosdij and Jeremy Lundholm as co-leads along with Dr. Kate Sherren at Dalhousie.

 The proposed research builds on long-term collaborations with industry and government partners, including a successful history of idea development, innovation and HQP training. Dr. van Proosdij’s group, through a Coastal Restoration Fund grant (DFO), has established four managed realignment sites in Bay of Fundy dykelands that will provide a physical, living platform upon which to conduct applied research.

 Dr. Tony Charles (Environmental Science / Management)

Title: Sustainability of Fisheries, Coasts and Oceans - Integrated Systems Approaches

 The NSERC grant awarded to Dr. Tony Charles will enable the development of the tools and knowledge base needed to meet one of the most challenging problems facing Canada and the world today: achieving sustainability of fisheries, oceans and coasts. Dr. Charles’ research will highlight the importance of healthy ocean ecosystems and healthy coastal communities and the value of conserving biodiversity and taking action on climate change. His research has four main aspects: (1) developing new fishery management approaches, including ecosystem-based and community-based methods; (2) helping to resolve conflicts between fisheries and conservation; (3) improving climate change adaptation in fisheries and coastal communities, and (4) supporting coastal communities in planning their future.

Erin Adlakha (Geology)

Title: Linking high spatial resolution accessory mineral chemistry and geochronology to large-scale ore-forming hydrothermal processes in the crust.

Dr. Adlakha’s research examines the composition and timing of minerals in ore deposits to understand how they formed over a hundred million (sometimes even over a billion) years ago. Some minerals in ore deposits are not necessarily of economic interest but provide a wealth of information in their mineral chemistry. The composition of a mineral can help fingerprint the type of fluids from which it formed, and also give clues as to the conditions during ore deposit formation. An understanding of how ore deposits form bolsters mineral exploration models for the exploration and mining industry.

 Jiju Poovvancheri (Mathematics & Computing Science)

Title: Towards Seamless Interaction and Navigation in Virtual Worlds using Multiple 3D Sensors

Dr. Poovvancheri’s research is positioned to support the ongoing efforts of graphics and gaming industry to utilize digitized world in virtual/augmented reality applications. As part of the proposed research, a fully automatic computational framework that creates highly detailed and semantically rich digital models of physical world at scale will be developed. Tremendous possibilities 3D sensing technology (Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) and RGB-D cameras) combined with deep neural networks for the digitization problem will be leveraged and further investigated. Digital models thus created are key to various applications such as VR games or tours (Google Earth VR) and 3D maps for navigation. Together with the digitization effort, interaction of humans with virtual (digital) objects and navigation of humans in the virtual spaces-two core enablers of VR applications, are also investigated under this project.

 Tim Frasier (Biology and Forensic Science)

Title: Understanding the strength and demographic consequences of inbreeding depression in the wild, and the subsequent implications for conservation

The overall goal of this work is to improve our understanding of the strength and consequences of inbreeding depression in the wild. Specifically, Dr. Frasier will combine genomic data with long-term field research to quantify the impacts of inbreeding on individual health, reproductive success, and survival in the endangered North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis); and then assess how these individual effects combine to shape population growth rates and recovery potential. This work will have impacts at two different scales. At a narrow scale it will identify the degree to which inbreeding is shaping patterns of individual fitness, and how these individual effects combine to limit the recovery potential of this endangered species. At a broader scale, this work will provide much needed information on the strength and consequences of inbreeding depression in the wild, the subsequent effects on recovery potential and population viability, and the implications for conservation.

 Erin Cameron (Environmental Science)

Title: Soil invertebrates under global change

Dr. Cameron will investigate how global change affects soil invertebrates and how impacts vary across spatial and temporal scales, particularly in northern ecosystems. She uses earthworms as a model group to study these effects because they act as ecosystem engineers with the potential for large impacts on other organisms and because many species have invaded new regions. Dr. Cameron was also awarded from NSERC a “Northern Research Supplement” in addition to her Discovery Grant.

Mitja Mastnak (Mathematics & Computing Science)

Title: Hopf algebras, combinatorics, and operator theory

Symmetry is one of the most important concepts in mathematics and physics. For example: a wheel is useful precisely due to its symmetry with respect to rotation. Hopf algebras are algebraic structures that can be used to encode and study symmetry. Dr. Mastnak’s research focuses on Hopf algebras in order to classify them, construct new interesting examples, and apply them to problems in other branches of mathematics.

 Robert Thacker (Astronomy and Physics)

Title: Toward more robust numerical and observational comparisons

 The funding for the project will cover research into the accuracy of simulations of the formation of galaxies. “We have been doing this simulation work and comparing to observations of real galaxies for nearly three decades, but as both simulations and observations of galaxies get better, the comparisons have actually become more difficult,” said Dr. Thacker. “In essence we've hit the end of the beginning of this research, now we have to start answering some really tough questions about how accurate the simulations reproduce dynamical behaviours like chaotic evolution.”

 Karen Harper (Biology)

Title: Understanding boundary structure and function in heterogeneous landscapes

Discovery Development Grant

Natural boundaries between adjacent ecosystems are important features of landscapes that might harbour greater diversity. However, fragmentation from human activity results in negative effects of the creation of artificial edges. The recent proliferation of studies on vegetation at edges suggests that the time is right for a comprehensive global review of edge studies. Natural and man-made boundaries need to be considered in the context of heterogeneous landscapes. My long-term aim is to develop a model of stand and landscape-level effects on edge influence and dynamics, and to assess the landscape context of boundary structure and function. Dr. Harper’s proposed research will advance knowledge by providing a more detailed analysis of vegetation structure on a broader scale that has the potential to reveal interesting and important patterns of structural diversity on Canadian and global landscapes.

 Hai Wang (Finance, Information Systems and Management Science)

Title: Predictive Business Analytics for Incomplete Data

Dr. Wang’s NSERC grant is to design new predictive business analytics technologies which are capable of making well-defined predictions about the future based on historical data for better business decision making. His research has been supported by NSERC since 2005. 

 -- Submitted by Danielle Boudreau, Faculty of Science

New Masters program addresses global demand for English language teachers

Students taking the new International Master of Teaching English (IMTE) program participated in a recent orientation led by Dr. Michael Legutke (back), visiting scholar and several instructors from the Faculty of Education.

Students taking the new International Master of Teaching English (IMTE) program participated in a recent orientation led by Dr. Michael Legutke (back), visiting scholar and several instructors from the Faculty of Education.

With English continuing to expand as the world’s lingua franca, the demand for teachers of English continues to grow.

The British Council forecasts that by the year 2020, over two billion people will be speaking or learning English. Global research in English language teaching has shown that the majority of future English language teachers in non-English-speaking countries will be non-native speakers of English.

In response to this global challenge, especially with respect to preparing non-native English speakers as teachers of English as an additional language, Saint Mary’s Faculty of Education created its new International Masters in Teaching English program (IMTE).

Launched in September 2019, the Faculty welcomed its first cohort at a recent program orientation event, which included a workshop by internationally renowned professor of English language education, Dr. Michael Legutke, from one of our partner institutions in Germany, the University of Giessen.

The new IMTE program prepares graduates for international careers in teaching English as an additional language. Saint Mary’s University enjoys a partnership with Cambridge University, having been selected as a Cambridge English Language Assessment Authorized Centre. This partnership enables the Faculty of Education to offer IMTE students opportunities to progress along the Cambridge Teacher Framework, leading to internationally recognized certificates from Cambridge Assessment English as part of the IMTE program.

The Faculty of Education was delighted to receive a large number of applications from outstanding applicants for its first year. There are currently 14 international students enrolled in the four-semester 16-month program coming from many countries, including Iran, Japan, China, Mexico and India. Course professors include both Saint Mary’s faculty and visiting professors from partner universities abroad.

Introduction of the new IMTE program is another step forward in the Faculty of Education’s long history of international education and intercultural engagement at the graduate level. During the past twenty-five years, the Faculty of Education has been offering graduate courses with an international focus in three thematic areas: teaching English as a second/other language (TESOL), peace education, and education and development. The IMTE program builds on these strengths and takes the English language education focus to a new level.

Sobey School welcomes visiting scholar from Finland

Riitta Forsten-Astikainen

Riitta Forsten-Astikainen

We are excited to officially welcome visiting scholar, Riitta Forsten-Astikainen from the Micro-Entrepreneurship Centre of Excellence at the University of Oulu, Finland to Saint Mary's University.

She will be working with Dr. Chantal Hervieux and the Centre for Leadership Excellence over the next three months collecting data on Human Resource Management in SMEs, to compare findings from Halifax to Finland.

She is also collecting comparative data from Canadian micro-entrepreneurs regarding their perceptions of growth in micro-enterprises.

We look forward to working with Riitta and at the same time, learning more about the Finnish Business Environment.

— Charlene Boyce, Sobey School of Business

Dr. Blake Brown recognized by the Royal Society of Canada

Saint Mary’s University professor Blake Brown has been recognized by the Royal Society of Canada for his outstanding scholarship and has been named a member of The College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists.

“I am very proud to have the Royal Society of Canada recognize the world-class research of one of our scholars,” said Malcolm Butler, vice-president, academic and research at Saint Mary’s University. “Dr. Brown is unafraid to ask tough questions or to undertake the extensive research required to answer them. He understands the importance that the past plays in the present, and his research helps Canadians understand some of the most important topics facing us today.”

The Royal Society of Canada established the College of New Scholars, Scientists and Artist in 2014. The college recognizes individuals who have begun demonstrating leading scholarly research or artistic excellence within 15 years of having completed their post-doctoral program or its equivalent. The College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists is Canada’s first national system of multidisciplinary recognition for the emerging generation of Canadian scholarly leadership.

Blake Brown – Department of History


Blake Brown is one of Canada’s leading legal historians whose research tackles vital questions in the history of law and public policy. Author or co-author of three books, including A Trying Question: The Jury in Nineteenth Century Canada and the award-winning Arming and Disarming: A History of Gun Control in Canada, he is a publicly engaged commentator on policy issues, promoting a nuanced understanding of the interaction between law and society.

“I am honoured to be joining this exceptional group of new scholars,” said Brown. “Now more than ever, our history offers us a glimpse into our present and potentially our future. From firearms and their connection to masculinity to our legal system and its evolution, history provides the context through which we can better understand the challenges of today. I look forward to the new opportunities for collaboration and research partnerships that will be made possible through membership in this diverse, talented, and multidisciplinary group.”

Saint Mary’s PhD graduate wins international award

Dr. Samantha Penny

Dr. Samantha Penny

Saint Mary’s University is proud to announce that Dr. Samantha A. Penney, a recent PhD graduate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, has received the prestigious 2019 Kenneth E. Clark Student Research Award from the Center for Creative Leadership and the International Leadership Association.

“It is an absolute honour to have my dissertation research recognized internationally,” said Dr. Penney.

In her award-winning paper on leadership titled Fostering a Psychologically Healthy Workplace through Leadership, Dr. Penney created and validated a scale to assess leadership behaviours that contribute to a healthy workplace, and then designed a workshop and phone-based coaching program which she delivered to leaders in eight organizations across seven provinces.

The training includes knowledge of what a healthy workplace is, leaders’ roles in creating that healthy workplace, and goal setting and skill development to act on that knowledge. “For example, infrequent feedback, such as only having annual performance reviews are a concern in organizations. Research has suggested that employees are more likely to change their behaviour and attitudes when they receive frequent positive and constructive feedback,” she explained.

“The results demonstrate that leadership behaviours can be trained,” said Dr. Penney, adding that while many of the leadership behaviours identified aren’t new information, giving leaders the tools and training to apply the knowledge is key. “Employees often move up within an organization into a leadership role because they’re good at their jobs, but they don’t always have leadership skills.”

“Working with leaders and organizations to provide practical recommendations is something that I am very passionate about, and my research ties into my new role of conducting leadership assessments for the purposes of selection and development,” she said.

“Dr. Penney, and her research, are very deserving of this international recognition,” said Dr. Arla Day, her dissertation supervisor. “Not only does this award demonstrate her expertise and innovation in the area, but it also reinforces the reputation of Saint Mary’s as a high-caliber training institution with a strong level of research expertise in occupational health psychology.”


Dr. Penney recently completed her PhD in Industrial and Organizational Psychology at Saint Mary’s. She completed her Master of Science in Applied Psychology at Saint Mary’s and has an Honours Bachelor of Arts from Lakehead University.

She has authored several journal articles and book chapters on leadership and employee well-being, and has presented her work at national and international conferences.

Her experience as an independent consultant and leadership coach, developing both leader-level and employee-level training programs, and as a facilitator, delivering workshops and seminars to corporate clients aligns with her background in Industrial/Organizational Psychology.

She recently accepted a role as a Talent & Leadership Development Assessment Analyst at Lee Hecht Harrison Knightsbridge in Toronto.

About the Kenneth E. Clark Award

The Kenneth E. Clark Student Research Award recognizes one outstanding unpublished paper by undergraduate and graduate students each year. It is sponsored by the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) and the International Leadership Association (ILA).

Papers are evaluated by 13 CCL research faculty members through a multi-rater, blind review process. Winners of the international award receive a cash prize, and a trip to ILA’s Annual Conference to present the winning paper there and in various multimedia ILA publications.

Dr. Penney follows in the footsteps on another Saint Mary’s alumna in winning this award. Aleka MacLellan, who was then a recent PhD graduate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, and won the same award in 2017.

— Submitted by Danielle Boudreau, Faculty of Science

Research spotlight: Dr. Georgia Pe-Piper

The Offshore Energy Research Association (OERA) website recently featured Professor Emerita Dr. Georgia Pe-Piper. See story below!


OERA-funded project:
Predictive modelling of sandstone reservoir quality in the Scotian Basin

Supporting OERA goal to:
Foster research that promotes technical innovation to reduce barriers to development of energy resources.

Looking out for the best interests of her students resulted in a mid-career shift in focus for Dr. Georgia Pe-Piper.

Her training and early experience as a geologist involved the mineralogy and geochemistry of volcanic rocks and broadened into interests in granites and the relationship of tectonics to the formation of igneous rocks. “But at the beginning of the 21st century, I realised that there were more opportunities for employment of students in petroleum geology than in mineral exploration, where many of my earlier students had found work,” she says. “So I took on the new challenge of applying my skills in mineralogy and geochemistry to the understanding of the Scotian Basin, offshore Nova Scotia.”

Dr. Pe-Piper says she had support as she made the shift from one area of geological focus to another. “I was helped in this transformation by David Brown of the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board, who saw the practical value of the type of work that I could do.” She adds that, “As I come nearer the end of my geological career, I want more than ever to pass on my skills and experience to the next generation.”

Welcoming new faculty

IMG_0359 New Faculty Day - Group - edit.jpg

Saint Mary’s was delighted to welcome twenty new instructors at the Welcome Day for New Faculty on Wednesday, August 28th.

This initiative of the VPAR office helps engage new faculty in our scholarly community with a full-day orientation. The new professors heard from faculty, senior administrators and students to get a better sense of life at Saint Mary’s, and participated in workshops and presentations on the teaching and learning, research, and service environment at Saint Mary’s.

The event also launched a new continuous professional development program, designed with the Studio for Teaching and Learning, that will provide relevant and timely information sessions to support new faculty throughout the year.

Prep for fall with help from the Library

With a new academic term around the corner, the Library wants faculty and instructors to know about helpful services that can benefit you and your students!


Want to know more about adding different types of content to Brightspace (images, videos, PDFs, and links to library materials)?

Find out how to add your material while taking copyright exceptions and restrictions into account.

Copyright Librarian Amy Lorencz and Copyright Assistant Patricia Langille, in collaboration with Stephen Rankin from the SAS Lab, will show you how to locate copyright information on library materials, how to link/upload to it in your course, and how to obtain permissions if required (through us!).

This session is for any Faculty/Instructor at Saint Mary’s University.

To register:

Questions? Contact


Did you know that the library can teach your students to find, evaluate, select, and cite the right sources for their projects? We’re booking now for classes in Fall 2019. Please contact to arrange for a librarian to come to your class.

We also offer ResearchBase, an online assignment designed to give students hands-on practice using library tools like the Novanet catalogue and journal databases.

For more information about what we offer, see our instruction menu at:

Spelling success: Dr. Nicole Conrad wins $92,000 funding for literacy research

Psychology researcher Dr. Nicole Conrad

Psychology researcher Dr. Nicole Conrad

Dr. Nicole Conrad has won an Insight Grant worth $92,000 from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

Dr. Conrad’s grant will be used to pursue research on the role of spelling on the development of reading skills in elementary school children.

 Titled Spelling matters too! The role of spelling practice on the development of reading skill, the project will focus on three complementary areas on study:

  • An examination of how spelling practice facilitates efficient and automatic word reading, which is necessary for comprehension;

  • Addressing theoretical predictions about how spelling practice benefits reading comprehension by comparing longitudinal theoretical models predicting whether spelling contributes to reading comprehension;

  • Comparing the effects of reading and spelling practice on comprehension of texts containing practiced words.

Dr. Conrad and her undergraduate students will perform their next study in Nova Scotia schools. The project involves administering reading and spelling tests to establish a benchmark, and then teaching words with certain orthographic patterns to early readers.

The researchers will then retest the children to study what effect learning about the patterns of letters used to represent words in print has on the children’s spelling and comprehension. 

“With increased knowledge of how spelling processes benefit reading outcomes, we can develop cohesive theories of literacy acquisition,” said Dr. Conrad, a cognitive psychologist. “More importantly, this research will provide insight into the best instructional practices for spelling, information clearly identified as needed by Canadian teachers.”

 “Professor Conrad is an established national leader in research devoted to understanding reading development,” said Dr. Adam Sarty, Dean of Graduate Studies and Associate V-P of Research at Saint Mary’s. “This SSHRC Insight Grant award is another recognition of her leadership and will provide needed support to advance her work focusing on the role of spelling.” 

 Insight Grants

The goal of the Insight Grant program is to build knowledge and understanding about people, societies and the world by supporting research. Recently announced by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, Dr. Conrad’s funding is part of more than $285 million for over 6,900 researchers and graduate students across Canada. 

 “Researchers in the social sciences and humanities generate ideas and innovations that improve the lives of Canadians,” said Ted Hewitt, President, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. “This investment will strengthen research training for students, connect Canadian and international researchers across disciplines and sectors, and equip Canada with the talent, knowledge and insights that are essential to meeting the challenges of today and tomorrow.”

  “Having been a past recipient of the highest teaching awards at Saint Mary’s University, Professor Conrad exemplifies the best of balancing excellent teaching and impactful research that Saint Mary’s encourages – we are very proud of her and her ongoing work,” said Dr. Sarty.

Dr. Nicole Conrad is a cognitive psychologist, has taught at Saint Mary’s since 2005. She received her Ph.D. degree in Experimental Psychology from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Her research focuses primarily on how memory is involved in reading acquisition and skilled reading, how children acquire the linguistic and cognitive information necessary to become skilled readers, and the nature of the beneficial relation between reading and spelling.

 About SSHRC

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) is the federal research funding agency that promotes and supports postsecondary-based research and research training in the humanities and social sciences. By focusing on developing talent, generating insights and forging connections across campuses and communities, SSHRC strategically supports world-leading initiatives that reflect a commitment to ensuring a better future for Canada and the world.

The work SSHRC supports encourages the deepest levels of inquiry. It spurs innovative researchers to learn from one another’s disciplines, delve into multiparty collaborations and achieve common goals for the betterment of Canadian society. Research outcomes are shared with communities, businesses and governments, who use this new knowledge to innovate and improve people’s lives.

Created by an act of Canada’s Parliament in 1977, SSHRC reports to Parliament through the Minister of Science.

— by Danielle Boudreau, Faculty of Science

The latest installments of the SSB 'Summer of Research' series


Each Wednesday in the month of August, the Sobey School of Business will highlight the work of various faculty on the Impact Blog with articles and a series of short videos.

Check out the latest and learn about the fascinating work of your colleagues!

Research to explore Catholic role in British colonization across the Atlantic


A new research project at Saint Mary’s aims to fill a major gap in knowledge relating to transatlantic migration, Catholic history and British imperialism going back 250 years.

“The period we’re looking at was a period of intense anti-Catholicism,” says Dr. S. Karly Kehoe, who holds the Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Atlantic Canada Communities. “It’s not dissimilar to what’s happening in different countries in the West now, with anxiety and animosity towards specific groups.”

Titled ‘A Catholic Atlantic? Minority Agency in the British World, 1763-1860’, the project received a significant Insight Development Grant from the federal government, announced July 17 by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

“It’s going to help build research capacity with the CRC, and make it more international by bringing in Irish, Scottish and Caribbean dimensions,” says Kehoe, whose project partner is Dr. Ciaran O’Neill, Ussher Assistant Professor in Nineteenth-Century History at Trinity College Dublin.

Broad literature exists on Catholic missions to Asia and Africa in the modern period, but not much research has been done on Catholic migration in the British Atlantic context. Kehoe hopes to shed new light on the transnational character of Catholic agency in the British world, and show that links beyond just trade and migration existed between northeastern British North America and the Caribbean.

Trinidad will be a major area of focus, as it was a predominantly Catholic island with large free people of colour and slave populations that identified as Catholics. There is an Italian component as well – two collaborators in Rome will assist in working with the Vatican’s archives and other Catholic Church history sources.

The project will be a great learning opportunity for several student research assistants at SMU, who will work directly with students in Dublin.

“We’re really committed to sharing the research, so we’ll be creating blogs and podcasts,” says Kehoe. “That’s where students will really take a lead on preparing little research vignettes, interesting snippets we find that people might want to know about.”

The two-year project will include public lectures next fall at a Halifax symposium and a Dublin workshop. Kehoe will also connect this work with high school students in Mabou, Cape Breton, through the SMU Emerging Researchers Program she leads with Dr. Alexander MacLeod.

Paying more attention to minority groups in the past British Empire can help in better addressing migrant integration in today’s world, she says.

“Migration is constant. I think all academics who engage with it have a responsibility to connect what they’re doing with what’s going on now, to broaden the conversation and get people thinking about things in different ways.”

Kehoe is a strong advocate for displaced, refugee and at-risk academics, through her work with the Global Young Academy. She recently co-edited a new book, Responsibility for Refugee and Migrant Integration, which launched in April in Munich. Also in April, she was the 2019 Spring Strickland Visiting Scholar at Middle Tennessee State University.

The Canada Research Chair in Atlantic Canada Communities program at Saint Mary’s aims to raise awareness about the complex historical experience of Atlantic Canada as a way of inspiring new ideas about global networking, settler colonialism, economic assertiveness and the agency of its people and communities.

-  Submitted by Marla Cranston, Faculty of Arts

Unlocking overlooked history from a 2,200-year-old Roman villa

When modern technology meets buried remnants from the early Roman Empire, collaborative research has the potential to unearth new chapters of human history never previously analyzed.

That’s the thinking behind The Villa di Tito Project: Reexamining Roman Villas, helmed by Dr. Myles McCallum of Saint Mary’s University. The project received nearly two thirds of SMU’s most recent round of federal research funding, announced July 17 by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

Home to an annual archaeology field school for Saint Mary’s and McMaster University students, the rural Villa site is located amid olive groves on the north slopes of the Velino river valley in central Italy, in the province of Reiti. It’s along the Via Salaria, an ancient road used to transport salt into the interior of Italy, which ran from Rome to the Adriatic. The Villa sits high above a freshwater lake that is also ripe for archaeological study – the Lago di Paterno, once considered the geographical centre of Italy and a sacred site connected to the goddess Vacuna.  

Over its five-year lifespan, the SSHRC Insight grant will – among other things – reduce costs for students participating in the field school, and allow McCallum to hire and train several undergrads each year to work as research assistants on the project. Including three this summer, plus a fourth hired with funds from SMU’s Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research.

“The research results were pretty spectacular this summer and will just get better over the next few years,” says McCallum, Chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Classics. The students “did an amazing job, they worked incredibly hard, and learned a bunch of new things like using our database system, flying a drone, doing some detailed photography and photogrammetry, and more.”  

The field school also teaches the fundamentals of archaeological excavation, field surveying, drawing, and artifacts analysis. The drone footage will help to create detailed views, maps and 3D models of the area.  

“This particular structure is monumental in size. Whoever built it in the 1st century B.C. invested a lot of time and money into it. It was a showpiece in the countryside for them, and probably the local centre of the social and economic network,” says McCallum.

One of the project’s goals is to find evidence to prove the theory that the Villa was originally built by Titus (Tito), a member of the Flavian family and the Second Dynasty of the Roman Empire. More importantly, it aims to reconstruct the lives of the workers – the people who made bricks and wine, grew crops, pressed olives for oil, or engaged in mining, woodworking and metalworking.

“The historical record is highly biased toward the social elites and the aristocracy,” says McCallum. “They wrote the history for themselves and they didn’t tend to write about slaves or poor people. We want to understand the Villa as a community, as opposed to just a monument to one person or family’s wealth and prestige.”

A good portion of the two-storey structure was revealed over the summer. Other notable finds were coins, stamped tiles, ceramic pots and transport amphorae, chunks of mosaic flooring, and incredibly intact brick walls. The Villa went through a series of renovations over the centuries, and was briefly repurposed after apparently being abandoned for a few hundred years. Environmental archaeology will yield more clues about the people: collecting and analyzing soil samples for pollen, seeds, charcoal, food remains and animal bones can indicate whether diets changed over time, pre-Roman conquest to post-conquest.

“We’re beginning to understand this transition, and the role played by these villas and estates in the process of creating a homogeneous imperial culture in Italy,” says McCallum. 

The SSHRC Insight grants are designed to promote research collaboration and partnerships. The Villa di Tito project team includes researchers from McMaster, Oxford, the University of Rome, the University of Nevada and Texas A&M. McCallum has invited Saint Mary’s colleagues in Geography and Chemistry to get involved, for everything from carbon 14 dating and chemical analysis to geomorphology and ground-penetrating radar.

Recruitment is underway for next summer’s field course, and students in all disciplines are welcome. McCallum admits it’s not the most glamourous work: “You’re outside all day for eight to 10 hours. It can get hot, it can rain, and there are bugs.” Even so, most students agree it’s an unforgettable learning experience.

Follow the project on Facebook via the Villa of Titus Archaeological Research Project and the Saint Mary’s Department of Modern Languages and Classics.     

—    Submitted by Marla Cranston, Faculty of Arts

Biomedical engineering doctoral student wins Quest award

Brendan Grue, a Saint Mary’s University (SMU) PhD in Applied Science student, is the 2019 recipient of Research Nova Scotia’s (RNS) prestigious Quest Award.

Brendan Grue received the 2019 recipient of Research Nova Scotia’s prestigious Quest Award.

Brendan Grue received the 2019 recipient of Research Nova Scotia’s prestigious Quest Award.

“I was surprised and honoured to be chosen,” said Grue. “I think it reflects the growing research community here at Saint Mary’s.” 

Grue is researching the development of a new class of orthopedic implants to hopefully reduce the use of metallic plates and alleviate the need for autograft surgery. An autograft is a procedure where bone or tissue is transferred from one spot to another on a patient’s body. He is working under the supervision of Dr. Samuel Veres, an associate professor for the Division of Engineering at Saint Mary’s University.

“Brendan's wide-ranging and multidisciplinary laboratory talents have been incredibly important to our lab,” said Dr. Veres. “Thanks to him we are now in a position to substantially expand our work in scaffold development for tissue repair and regeneration.”

The Quest Award (monetary value of $5000) is presented to the graduate student researcher who demonstrates the greatest promise and potential for excellence in health research. Grue was selected from among applicants with the highest standing in the recent RNS Scotia ScholarsOM Award competition. The competition is open to graduate and doctoral students from across Nova Scotia universities, making the win for Grue also a win for Saint Mary’s.

"Saint Mary's University appreciates the ongoing support from Research Nova Scotia for graduate students in the health sector through the Scotia Scholars program," said Dr. Adam Sarty, associate vice-president, Research and dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research at Saint Mary's. "We are very fortunate to have an exemplary student like Brendan in our Ph.D. in Applied Science program to pursue his work in Biomedical Engineering. On behalf of Saint Mary's, I want to congratulate Brendan on receiving this special recognition from Research Nova Scotia."

According to Grue, the available treatment options for patients in need of orthopedic implants can require expensive and potentially dangerous revision or implant retrieval surgeries.

“Metallic and various synthetic bone grafts may not be as biocompatible or as conducive to the healing environment within bone,” said Grue. “I’m engineering an alternative using mineralized bovine collagen that has the ability to degrade over time as well as give the support the body needs to repair itself.”

To create his implants, Grue is using bovine forelimb tendons that are a current waste product of the meat processing industry in Nova Scotia. The use of bovine collagen in implants is already Health Canada approved, making his source material both sustainable and practical for clinic uptake. “I’m taking advantage of the architecture that’s already within nature and building upon it to construct something that will hopefully allow the body to repair itself,” he explains.

With roughly one year left in his PhD program, Grue is focused on the final phase of his research in which he will assess the body’s potential response to the collagen-based implant.

“There is a particular need within Nova Scotia’s aging population to have interventions that allow for enhanced bone repair due to a higher incidence of bone-related injuries within this group,” said Grue. “I’m excited to see the potential this could have to help Nova Scotians and support the continuation of research in this area.”

In the future, Grue aspires to attend medical school, stating the applied nature of his research has further motivated his decision. “As a clinician scientist, I will be able to apply lessons learned from my research to patients directly and allow what I learn from patients to shape future research directions.”

Read more:
Natural moovement: Halifax researcher hopes cow tendons can replace metal in orthopedic patients

Saint Mary’s part of new $6.5 million offshore de-risking project

Project co-lead Dr. Todd Ventura

Project co-lead Dr. Todd Ventura

Saint Mary’s University is part of a major new initiative that adds genomics technologies to traditional geoscience with the aim to reduce the risk for oil exploration in Nova Scotia’s offshore. 

The $6.5 million project, Validation and Integration of Genomics Solutions for Offshore Oil Exploration in Nova Scotia and Beyond, was announced by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, as one of 20 projects across Canada awarded through Genome Canada’s Genomic Applications Partnership Program (GAPP). 

The initiative builds on the work of a previous GAPP project in which genomics data and results were compared with petroleum geochemistry data to paint the clearest picture yet of petroleum deposits in areas of Nova Scotia’s offshore. This new project, involving the same team, will take that work to the next level by delivering high-resolution tools and maps developed with the help of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), advanced ‘omics technologies and machine learning.

 “The idea of using genomic (DNA-based) tools to help de-risk offshore oil and gas exploration efforts has transitioned from a ‘what if’ idea not that long ago into a compelling opportunity that has earned the support of this project’s many partners,” said Steve Armstrong, President and CEO of Genome Atlantic. “We are extremely pleased to have the opportunity to work with such a dedicated and talented group committed to establishing Nova Scotia as a leader within this globally competitive sector.”

Project co-lead Dr. Todd Ventura

The project is co-led by Dr. Todd Ventura (Saint Mary’s University), Dr. Casey Hubert (University of Calgary), and Adam MacDonald (Nova Scotia Department of Energy and Mines) and is managed by Genome Atlantic in partnership with Genome Alberta.

“This GAPP is expanding on the microbiological toolkit with the addition of lipidomics,” said Dr. Todd Ventura, Saint Mary’s University.  “This may allow us the ability to detect more ancient seepage events that can lead to the discovery of new active petroleum systems in the offshore.”

Project partners include the Nova Scotia Department of Energy and Mines; the Geological Survey of Canada, Natural Resources Canada; Research Nova Scotia; Nova Scotia Offshore Energy Research Association (OERA); Mitacs Canada; Applied Petroleum Technology (APT); the University of Calgary; and Saint Mary’s University.

“De-risking our offshore for exploration is critical for Nova Scotia to remain competitive in a global market,” said Adam MacDonald, NS Department of Energy and Mines. “Adding new tools and building innovative and integrated projects such as this collaboration with the University of Calgary and Saint Mary’s University gains recognition and attention to our quality and capacity to compete. Not only do we de-risk exploration but this project provides environmental baseline information on the benthic life and communities that may be dependent on natural occurrences of hydrocarbon on the seafloor.”

The Province of Nova Scotia’s commitment to the project is part of its $12 million investment in offshore R&D over the next four years.

“For generations, the offshore has paid off for Nova Scotians and it still holds tremendous potential to grow our economy and create jobs across the province, especially in rural areas,” said Nova Scotia Energy and Mines Minister Derek Mombourquette. “By continuing to invest in leading-edge research we will find cleaner and safer ways to look for resources and attract international investment to our shores.”

Leading scholars to speak at AWELL conference

Two top scholars will deliver keynote remarks at the 3rd Academic Writing and English Language Learners conference (AWELL) held at Saint Mary’s this fall.

The two-day conference is designed for faculty, instructors, and writing centre professionals who teach and tutor ELL students. The goal of the conference is to provide tools and approaches that may be used directly in classrooms and tutoring sessions.

”Dr. Suresh Canagarajah is a highly honoured scholar and speaker who we are very fortunate to have as a keynote,” says Brian Hotson, Director, Academic Learning Services at the Studio for Teaching and Learning. ”And Dr. Bell is a leading scholar in her field of digital academic writing.”

Please see below for the speaker bios, call for proposals and additional information about the conference.


Suresh Canagarajah
Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Applied Linguistics, English, and Asian Studies


Dr. Canagarajah, named as one of the top 50 scholars who have shaped the field of TESOL by TESOL International, is the Edwin Erle Sparks Professor in the Departments of Applied Linguistics and English at Pennsylvania State University, as well as the Director of the Migration Studies Project.

Among many other awards, Dr. Canagarajah is a recipient of the Distinguished Scholarship and Service Award by the American Association of Applied Linguistics; the Mina P. Shaughnessy Award (2015) by the Modern Language Association for the Outstanding Scholarly Book in the Fields of Language, Culture, Literacy, or Literature for his book Translingual Practice: Global Englishes and Cosmopolitan Relations (2013); Best Book Award (2016) from the American Association of Applied Linguistics for Translingual Practice: Global Englishes and Cosmopolitan Relations (2013). He is the author of more than 10 books and dozens of book chapters, academic articles, and other publications, both in English and Tamil. His book, Critical Academic Writing and Multilingual Students (2002), is required reading in the field of academic writing and multilingual instruction.

Stephanie Bell
Writing Centre Director, York University


Dr. Bell is Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies and Director of the Writing Centre at York University.

She has delivered multiple presentations on digital writing and production at conferences for the International Writing Centres Association, Canadian Writing Centres Association, and Canadian Association for the Study of Discourse and Writing. She is a board member of the Canadian Writing Centres Association. Her digital student production forum, Scratch Media, features podcasts and other media produced through her writing courses. A co-authored monograph proposal, “Bring a hard copy to your appointment”: Tooled-up, networked, multimodal writing at the Writing Centre, is in submission to with Inkshed Publications.


We want to provide an open forum to all those interested in any area of additional language studies and academic writing, including digital writing pedagogies, multiliteracies, plurilingualism, and intercultural writing supports. Questions for consideration may include, but are not limited to:

·        Pedagogy and practice for multilingual classrooms

·        ELL pedagogy relating to globalized students

·        Learning community writing practice

·        Technology in writing practice relating to ELLs

·        Multimodal and digital approaches to ELL writing instruction and practice

·        Considerations of general teaching and learning practice to ELLs.

Proposals Submission Details here...

Two-day registration ($175.00).

Saint Mary's University faculty or staff ($100.00).

Student or writing tutor ($75.00).

For more information, please contact Brian Hotson, Director, Academic Learning Services

Fraiser's research leads to northern Scotland

Dr. Frasier creating a sample from a whalebone.

Dr. Frasier creating a sample from a whalebone.

Dr. Brenna Fraiser’s work analyzing DNA from pre-historic whalebones recently led her to Northern Isles of Scotland.

Dr. Fraiser is a professor and course coordinator with the Forensic Sciences program at Saint Mary’s. In June, she and fellow researcher Vicki Szabo from Western Carolina University traveled to University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) Archaeology Institute, to examine the institute’s collection of whalebone artefacts and extract DNA samples.

The research is part of a large project which is investigating the use of whale bone in Western Atlantic society over the last 1000 years.

See the full story here: