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

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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.”

Background

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!

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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

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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!

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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: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=rgILBnVXYEOruuLinMpmJ1aQBEZn7gxNp1k1kklrhCNUNVYxTElXVlM3MkQ5NFlRSUxZS042VFVFNS4u

Questions? Contact copyright@smu.ca

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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 Heather.Sanderson@smu.ca 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: http://www.smu.ca/academics/library-instruction.html

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

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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

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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.

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

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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

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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.

CALL FOR PROPOSALS

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 brian.hotson@smu.ca

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:
https://archaeologyorkney.com/2019/06/18/extracting-dna-from-the-cairns-whalebone-collection/

Drs. Daphne Rixon and Dr. Fiona Duguid receive grant for co-operative sector research

Above (l-r) : Dr. Daphne Rixon, Dr. Fiona Duguid

Above (l-r) : Dr. Daphne Rixon, Dr. Fiona Duguid

Dr. Daphne Rixon, Executive Director and Dr. Fiona Duguid, Research Fellow, Centre of Excellence in Accounting and Reporting for Co-operatives (CEARC) have been awarded a Partnership Engage Grant of $24,900 to work with Co-operatives Mutuals Canada (CMC) on research that identifies SDGs beneficial in measuring co-operative performance.

Given the increased interest in the SDGs globally and in Canada, and their growing importance regarding building resilience, stability, peace, and public security, the co-operative sector is ripe for understanding their role and improving their contributions to these global goals.

Key here is the need for empirical, standardized data that can be reported by each co-operative to their members, as well as aggregated into a national dataset describing the co-operative sector as a whole. These data points can then be reported to the Federal government to support its’ measurement and reporting of the SDGs on the global stage.

After decades of work with the United Nations, 193 countries, including Canada, adopted The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015. Since the signing, there has been a growing need and interest in how to measure and report on the SDGs. The Canadian co-operative sector does not have a mechanism to design, measure and report on the sector’s SDG impact. This Partnership Engage Grant (PEG) aims to answer the following: how is the Canadian co-operative sector contributing to Canada’s measurement and reporting on SDGs’ impact?

This project is comprised of online discussion boards, a survey, focus groups and through participatory action research ensures not only the central role of the community partner, CMC, in decision-making and intellectual leadership, but also ensures the development of practical, timely and beneficial SDG indictors that can be used by the co-operative sector.

Total funding for the project is $56,900 which includes $24,900 from SSHRC as well as in-kind funding of $15,000 from CEARC, $15,000 from CMC and $2,000 from IRECUS, University de Sherbrooke.

Dr. Rixon is responsible for overall management of the project, Dr. Fiona Duguid, CEARC Research Fellow is the Research Lead and Daniel P. Brunette, Director of Advocacy and Partnerships, CMC is the partner representative.

For more information about this project, please contact Daphne Rixon: daphne.rixon@smu.ca or Fiona Duguid: fduguid@gmail.com.

Francophone women in Atlantic Canada the focus of magazine edited by SMU professor

With field schools to lead, research to conduct and conferences to organize, summer is a hectic season for many Saint Mary’s professors, including Dr. Rohini Bannerjee of the Department of Modern Languages & Classics.

Dr. Bannerjee was delighted to serve as guest editor for the 15th edition of Understorey Magazine, which  launched six years ago as a project of the Second Story Women’s Centre in Lunenburg and is now published in partnership with the Alexa McDonough Institute for Women, Gender and Social Justice. A member of the editorial advisory board, Bannerjee enjoyed diving into the subject matter for this edition, ‘Femmes francophones du Canada atlantique’.

“Thanks to a strong foundation in French at Sacred Heart School of Halifax and a certain affinity for interculturality, I learned the French language in Nova Scotia with enthusiasm,” she explains in her editorial. Born in a Punjabi-Hindi-Urduphone immigrant family, she went “beyond the barriers imposed on and by” herself to pursue her graduate studies in French. At Saint Mary’s, she is Associate Professor of Francophone Literature and Culture of the Indian Ocean, and is also a Faculty member of the Asian Studies program, the Joint MA Women and Gender Studies program (SMU-MSVU) and, starting this fall, will also be teaching in the International Development Studies program.   

She was thrilled to include non-fiction pieces by several SMU voices in the magazine, including two of her former students:

·   French Professor Dre. Sophie Beaulé “gives life to the notion of elsewhere”;

·   Sonja Williams (BA’15) of Cheticamp, now working with the federal Department of Canadian Heritage in Halifax, explains how her Acadian pride is never in question even after taking her husband’s English surname after marriage; and

·   Eve Julia Powell (BA’13), a Newfoundlander who is now a French Immersion teacher in Saint John, NB, explains how the language became her passion and destiny after her English parents enrolled her in French immersion school as a youngster.     

Available to read online, Understorey has a mandate "to sustain a relevant, accessible and aesthetically beautiful venue that empowers women (defined inclusively) through self-expression and contributes to the diversity and vitality of Canadian literature and visual art."

Submissions are welcome for the next two editions, from emerging and established writers and artists who identify as women or non-binary. First up is ‘Diverse Stories of Women on Stage’ (deadline July 15), then ‘Re Nature: Writing on a World under Threat’ (deadline Sept. 30). See the submission guidelines.

Other highlights from Bannerjee’s busy summer:

·   She celebrated the 50th anniversary of official bilingualism in Canada on June 19 at Government House, during the Lieutenant Governor’s annual garden party.

·  The mother of three boys, she was a featured guest June 26 on the CBC Maritime Noon phone-in show, discussing the realities of everyday racism when you’re raising children of colour. Her recent article in Eco Parent magazine provided a starting point.

·   She is co-organizer of an international Francophone literature and linguistics conference coming up July 11-13 in Balaclava, Mauritius, titled ‘Résistance, Résilience, Réactualisation’, co-sponsored by Saint Mary’s, Dalhousie and the University of Mauritius.

·   Also in July, she will teach a graduate seminar class at the University of Mumbai, thanks to a Faculty Mobility Grant from the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, which promotes academic and cultural exchanges between India and Canada.

·  Winding up a period of sabbatical, she’s preparing to teach several new SMU courses this fall and winter, such as Voices of the Francophone South Pacific; Migration and Displacement of the Indian Ocean; and one at the Halifax Central Library that will be open to the public, Oral Traditions in the Francophone World

Follow her updates on Twitter at @RohiniBannerjee.

 

 

Congrats to our Summer Undergraduate Research award winners!

Saint Mary’s is running four different Summer Research Award programs for undergraduate students this year. Congratulations to the following students and their supervising professors!

2019 First Year Undergraduate Summer Research Award winners:

  • Hajar Abdessamie            (Marketing - with Prof. Matthew Boland)

  • Tanaka Akiyama                 (Engineering - with Prof. Adel Merabet)

  • Emma Edwards                   (Criminology - with Prof. Rachael Collins)

  • Ayusha Pradhananga        (Computing Science - with Prof. Jiju Poovvancheri)

  • Nathan Robichaud             (History / Atlantic Canada Studies - with Prof. Blake Brown)

  • Mehak Tekchandani          (Psychology - with Prof. Veronica Stinson)

 

2019 SSHRC Explore Undergraduate Summer Research Award winners:

  • Justyn Henley                      (Psychology - with Prof. Marc Patry)

  • Stephen Hennessey           (Marketing - with Prof. Ethan Pancer)

  • Emily Nolan                         (Archaeology - with Prof. Myles McCallum)

  • Le Khoi Anh (Ayden) Pham     (Psychology - with Prof. Lucie Kocum)

  • Chenping (Jason) Yi           (Accounting - with Prof. Mohamed Drira)

2019 NSERC Undergraduate Summer Research Award winners:

  • Stephanie Amrieh             (Chemistry - with Prof. Christa Brosseau)

  • Kennedy Brittain                (Chemistry - with Prof. Danielle Tokarz)

  • Lyndsey Burrell                   (Environmental Science - with Prof. Jeremy Lundholm)

  • Rachel Corney                     (Biology - with Prof. Laura Weir)

  • Carter Cunningham           (Biology - with Prof. Genlou Sun)

  • Lindsay Donovan                (Biology - with Prof. Clarissa Sit)

  • Sebastien Garand               (Physics - with Prof. Rituparna Kanungo)

  • Jacob Hoare                         (Chemistry - with Prof. Robert Singer)

  • Jacob Hollett                       (Physics - with Rituparna Kanungo)

  • Jennifer Kolwich                 (Biology & Chemistry - with Prof. Clarissa Sit)

  • Piper Langdon                     (Biology - with Prof. Susan Bjornson)

  • Lindsay MacDonald           (Biology - with Prof. Anne Dalziel)

  • Kathleen Maiti McGrath  (Astrophysics - with Prof. Luigi Gallo)

  • Brooke McKenzie               (Engineering  - with Prof. Adel Merabet)

  • Kaleigh McLeod                  (Biology & Chemitsry - with Prof.’s Christa Brosseau & Clarissa Sit)

  • Cameron Power                 (Physics / Environmental Science - with Prof. Aldona Wiacek)

  • Katherine Purvis                 (Biology - with Prof. Danielle Tokarz)

  • Terrell Roulston                  (Biology - with Prof. Jeremy Lundholm)

  • Owen Sharpe                      (Mathematics & Computing Science - with Prof. Mitja Mastnak)

  • Connor Tannahill                (Mathematics & Computing Science - with Prof. Paul Muir)

  • Sophia Waddell                  (Astrophysics - with Prof. Luigi Gallo)

  • Conor Waterfield               (Physics - with Prof. Rituparna Kanungo)

 

2019 Dean of Science Summer Research Award winners: 

  • Nicola Augustin                  (Biology & Chemistry - with Prof. Clarissa Sit)

  • Prashansa Kooshna           (Biology & Chemistry - with Prof. Clarissa Sit)

  • Jennaecia Lewis                  (Psychology - with Prof. Jason Ivanoff)

  • Jennifer McArthur             (Psychology - with Prof. Meg Ternes)

  • Bivash Pandey                     (Computing Science - with Prof. Jiju Poovvancheri)

 

Award-winning work from 3 Arts profs

Publications by Saint Mary’s professors have been generating national and international attention throughout the spring season.

Along with the 2019 O. Henry Prize for Dr. Alexander MacLeod’s short story “Lagomorph”, here are some other titles earning kudos and great reviews, just in time for the summer reading season.

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National award for exploring identity through tourism promotion  

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Dr. Nicole Neatby admits she’s “an annoying tourist to travel with” because she likes to stop an analyze tourism ads along the way.

“My friends will say, ‘let’s just travel and enjoy. That’s the detrimental effect of studying certain topics,” jokes the History professor, who also teaches in the Atlantic Canada Studies Program. 

She is fresh back from Vancouver, where the Canadian History Association just presented her with its 2019 Clio award for her new book, From Old Quebec to La Belle Province: Tourism Promotion, Travel Writing, and National Identities: 1920-1967. (McGill-Queen’s University Press). The award recognizes exceptional contributions to regional history; she received the Clio for the Quebec region.

The book has also inspired a new “History of Tourism” course Dr. Neatby will teach this winter, which will be of interest to students in Arts and Business students at Saint Mary’s. 

“I didn’t set out to write a history of tourism in Quebec,” explains Neatby. “What I was really interested in was how people remember their past. What do they think is significant about their past, what do they see as important?”

Quebec’s tourism ads from earlier in the 20th century focused on the province’s rich history, and Neatby was fascinated to see how this shifted: “Nations are like people, they want to put their best foot forward and say this is what is attractive or unique about me. And Quebeckers changed their minds. Toward Expo 1967, they wanted to say ‘we are a modern society, really cutting edge on so many fronts,’ which was a very different image.”

For her next project, Neatby is casting a similar eye on tourism and culture promotion in Halifax. One chapter will look at American jazz musicians who performed here during the Prohibition years, and what sort of reception and promotion they received.

More immediately, she’s soon heading to Scotland for a vacation, and expects to pay keen attention to the tourism ads. “I have a 13-yr old niece who will be travelling with me and I’m very aware that I might bore her to tears,” she says with a grin.

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Provincial award for short creative non-fiction

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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.”

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Honourable mention for a ‘monumental and masterful work’  

Kudos also to Dr. Blake Brown of the History department and Atlantic Canada Studies Program. His book A History of Law in Canada, Vol 1: Beginnings to 1866 , co-edited with Philip Girard and Jim Phillips, received an honourable mention for the W. Wesley Pue Book Prize from the Canadian Law & Society Association, for best book on a social legal subject. See the June 5 announcement on the Canadian Legal History Blog.

It is “a monumental and masterful work,” the judges said in their citation. “It fills a gap in Canadian scholarship by providing a comprehensive, well-written and informative account of the history of law in Canada. Its 900 pages of text and footnotes reflect an astonishing range of knowledge. It breaks new ground in its sweep and scale, and its interweaving of the history of the three pillars of Canadian law: common law, civil law and Indigenous legal orders. It will be a classic for many years, a guide and inspiration to Canadian legal historians for generations to come."

 The book was published in 2018 by the Osgoode Society and University of Toronto Press, and Dr. Brown is currently working with his co-editors on the second volume.