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U of W grads tap deep potential

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University of Winnipeg Trevor Vincent graduates this spring with a physics degree. During the summer Vincent completes research using MRI studies of rodent brains for Alzheimer's research.

MELISSA TAIT / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

University of Winnipeg Trevor Vincent graduates this spring with a physics degree. During the summer Vincent completes research using MRI studies of rodent brains for Alzheimer's research. Photo Store

What does astrophysics have to do with the inner depths of the human brain?

It’s a direct connection, said University of Winnipeg physics honour grad Trevor Vincent, already a published and accomplished researcher as an undergrad.

Vincent is one of 1,088 students graduating from the University of Winnipeg at convocation Thursday and today, including 22 students earning master’s degrees.

First off, consider that Vincent’s research funded by four federal grants involved implanting genes in mice to see if they would produce Alzheimer’s Disease. He’s been published twice in the Magnetic Resonancing Insights journal, and has an article before the editors of the journal Neuroscience Methods.

Then, consider he’s going on to the University of Toronto to study astrophysics, to pursue an academic career or find a job in software engineering.

"The physics aspect would be the imaging techniques based in physics," he said of his medically-oriented research. "I’m mainly interested in the numerical compositions in physics — this is one field that uses it," and so does astrophyics.

Vincent’s research involved "determining if the brain shrinks when given genes believed to cause Alzheimer’s Disease in humans."

The mice’s brains didn’t shrink, so, if that result was repeated often enough, those genes could be eliminated as possible causes of Alzheimer’s, he said.

Speaking of applying numerical computations, Vincent has been one of the most renowned young chess players in the province while attending Grosvenor School, Ecole River Heights Junior High, and Kelvin High School.

University has only left Vincent time to compete within Manitoba, where his chess play has been pretty impressive. "I’ve been Manitoba chess champion for the past five years," he said.

 

Andrée Forest is graduating with a degree in environmental studies.

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Andrée Forest is graduating with a degree in environmental studies. (KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS) Photo Store

Other countries are discovering ways to unleash the passion and energy of postsecondary students to save the environment — Canada, not so much.

"We haven’t really got that in Canada yet," said Andree Forest, graduating with a degree in environmental studies, and with a whole heap of save-the-planet ideas.

Forest has plans to move over to University of Manitoba, which offers interdisciplinary master’s degrees not yet available at U of W. Her thesis would involve developing a program here similar to one launched in Vancouver 18 months ago, which would link students organizing their own credit courses to benefit campus, city, and community sustainability plans.

In Vancouver, "It’s only been about a year and a half, but there’ve been tens of thousands of hours put in," said Forest, a graduate of College Louis Riel.

"Most projects are done through group work. The program in Vancouver is closely linked to the city’s sustainability program," she pointed out.

Forest has been heavily involved in the U of W Students Association bike lab, which she believes could provide a credit course for students under her master’s degree plan.

"The ultimate goal is to link the bike lab to academic courses," through environmentally-aware professors who see campus and city sustainability and bicycles as course material, Forest said.

She’s hoping for a career facilitating the links between students and sustainability plans.

"A lot of universities are beginning to hire learning services co-ordinators. It could be a position that doesn’t exist yet," said Forest.

She’s an avid winter cyclist. "Before the bike lab was built, there was a group of students who met to talk about winter cycling. The momentum got rolling," said Forest.

At the bike lab, "You’re going to be taught how to fix it — none of the work gets done for you."

As soon as the snow is gone, there’s a visible shift in the enthusiasm for cycling to campus among students and staff, Forest said. "We always need more bike racks. Sometimes it’s harder to park a bike on campus than cars."

 

Megan Fultz is graduating from the U of W with two degrees in international studies and in human rights.

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Megan Fultz is graduating from the U of W with two degrees in international studies and in human rights. (KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS) Photo Store

So there was Megan Fultz sitting in the governor general’s house having dinner with Will and Kate and the Harpers, and the first thing she talks about was meeting Free the Children founder Craig Kielburger.

That’s when Fultz was chosen as one of 80 young people to meet the royal couple. In 2011, Fultz was named one of Canada’s Annual Top 20 Under 20 Award recipients, and she was thrilled to meet previous recipient Kielburger.

Fultz is graduating from U of W with two degrees in international studies and in human rights.

So well did Fultz do with scholarships coming out of Vincent Massey Collegiate that she donated her U of W entrance scholarship to the Opportunity Fund, which the university uses to help inner city students go on to university.

"I was quite impressed with the opportunity they presented to students," said Fultz.

She’s been heavily involved with the women’s Legal Education Action Fund, Oxfam Canada, and the Legal Help Centre.

"Oxfam was my introduction to women’s rights," said Fultz, who helped start Winnipeg’s Oxfam chapter when she was in high school at Vincent Massey. "I caught the (activist) bug, and realized that the areas I feel passionate about needed work."

Fultz wants to go to law school a year from now to specialize in human rights law, but first, another year of giving back — she’s just been elected as president of the University of Winnipeg Students Association.

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

 

HONORARY DEGREES

Renowned politician, author, sports broadcaster, philanthropist, lawyer, and Hall of Fame hockey goalie Ken Dryden was honoured Thursday for his ardent support of concussion education and prevention, as well as educational access for youth in care — exemplified by the Ken Dryden Scholarships. The former Minister of Social Development and Member of Parliament is an Officer of the Order of Canada, and a celebrated hockey legend. Dryden won five Stanley Cup titles as a goaltender for the Montreal Canadiens in the 1970s, which, along with his all-star and 1972 Summit Series appearances, helped secure his place in the Hockey Hall of Fame. He has authored books on several topics, including the game of hockey, educational system reform, and the future of Canada. Dryden is an inspiring leader and visionary who remains committed to improving community.

 

As the Chief Executive Officer of the Winnipeg Foundation, Rick Frost is renowned for his accomplishments and dedicated service to Manitoba. During his tenure, Frost has grown the Foundation’s assets from $150 million to $440 million. He is also a driving force behind the Nourishing Potential Fund at the Winnipeg Foundation, which aims to endow $5 million to support the food budgets of youth-serving agencies. Frost has made his mark as an active volunteer and philanthropist who has helped strengthen the sustainability of countless charities and organizations across the province. He served as chief commissioner at the City of Winnipeg and continues to display a strong sense of community — serving on several prominent regional, national and international boards. Frost strives to address social inequities and is dedicated to creating opportunities for new Canadians and the Aboriginal community. He received his honourary degree Thursday.

 

Ajit Kaur Deol, a retired teacher and principal who came to Canada from India in 1967, has committed herself to issues in education, social services, and multiculturalism throughout her career. She is a pillar of support for her Indo-Canadian community, a facilitator of intercultural understanding, and an officer in the Order of Manitoba. Deol has served on several prominent boards, including the Manitoba Human Rights commission and the Canadian Multiculturalism Council, promoting intercultural tolerance and understanding. She is a strong advocate for education and has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of her students — especially the marginalized and disenfranchised — through better policies and governance. Deol receives her honourary degree at 9:30 a.m.

 

George Heshka is a visionary principal who has transformed Sisler High School, Manitoba’s largest school. Under Heshka’s 25 years of leadership, Sisler, located in Winnipeg’s north end, has become an innovative institute with award-winning programs. In recent years, Sisler was acclaimed as one of the 10 best schools in Canada and the best all-round high school by Maclean’s Magazine. Heshka is also a recent recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his commitment to education and community excellence. Thanks to Heshka’s commitment and vision, Sisler is renowned for providing quality education and creating generations of leaders. Hshka receives his honourary degree at 9:30 a.m.

 

Detailed information about Spring Convocation 2013 is available at: http://www.uwinnipeg.ca/index/convocation-index

 

 

STAFF AWARDS

Education Prof. Kevin Lamoureux will receive the Robin H. Farquhar Award for Excellence in Contributing to Self-Governance; and religion and culture Prof. Laurence Broadhurst will receive the Clifford J. Robson Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence.

Lamoureux is a dedicated teacher who is strengthening U of W’s mission to reach out to non-traditional students. As a gifted and engaged instructor with the faculty of education, Lamoureux has developed expertise in groundbreaking mentorship and inclusion programs as well as governance models within Aboriginal education. He has become a well-known professional development speaker for school divisions, government agencies and community groups.

Consistently described by his students as a passionate teacher, Broadhurst fosters the desire for learning and critical thinking through discussions and dialogue, making his enthusiasm infectious. As a teacher within the Department of Religion and Culture, his breadth of knowledge covers the ages from the ancient Greeks through early and medieval Christianity to pop culture.

Prof. Albert Welter will receive the Erica and Arnold Rogers Award for Excellence in Research. Welter is considered Canada’s leading expert on the classical period of Chan (Zen) Buddhism in the Song dynasty in China, renowned for his outstanding and careful scholarship in a rapidly growing field of academic interest. He is regularly invited by universities around the world to give lectures and in 2006 was a Visiting Professor at Renmin University in Beijing. In 2010 he initiated U of W’s East Asian Language and Culture program and has significantly raised the profile of UWinnipeg and the Department of Religion and Culture.

 

STUDENT AWARDS

The Campus Sustainability Recognition Award goes to the Geography and Environmental Students Association, in recognition of the group’s commitment to fostering sustainable practices on campus.

The Geography and Environmental Students Association (GESA) created a unique Eco Grant to support campus-based projects that have a focus on sustainability and are spearheaded by students, faculty members, staff, or community members who have direct affiliation with the University. GESA members conduct fundraising campaigns to support this idea.

This year, the Eco Grant was awarded to establish two beehives on campus in an effort to help declining honeybee populations in North America. The hives will be visibly located and signage will educate students and other passers-by about the project. A small student group will assist with the beekeeping.

 

ALUMNI

Stefano Grande, executive director of the Downtown Winnipeg Business Improvement Zone, will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award. He graduated in 1989 with a science degree in geography and environmental studies. Alumni Association President Stefan Jonasson lauded Grande, saying "one of the main reasons for Stefano’s selection is the positive impact he has had on the downtown in such a short time; it has truly reflected the University’s mandate of giving back to the community."

In 2011, Grande established an annual BIZ Bursary for deserving business students at U of W.

As the current executive director for the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ, his focus over the last eight years has been increasing the BIZ’s service delivery to business members in the areas of safety and litter removal in particular, as well as increased advocacy in areas that include downtown housing, police foot patrols, Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and Rapid Transit, and other key policies critical to the long term renewal of downtown.

 

AWARDS AND PRIZES

Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha Prize — Amy Dorwart

Bill Gadsby Pre-Service Teaching Award — Megan Dooley

Certified General Accountants Association of Manitoba Graduation Prize in Business and Administration — Allanah Smith

Dr. Dan A. Chekki Prize for Excellence in Sociology — Lei Chai

Gawthrop Prize — Brenda Suderman

Lost Prizes Award — Jeremy Derouard

Lost Prizes Scholarship — Amber Oughton

Mayor’s Medal— Denise MacDonald

Nisbet Memorial and Winchester Prize — Elizabeth Sawatsky

O.T. Anderson Award — Mamneet (Sheena) Manghera

Ron Norton Prize in Psychology — Scott James Smith

Swiss Ambassador Book Prize for Distinction in French Studies — Kimberley Peters

Tait and Anderson Prize — Christine Salstrom

The Stars of Spence Street Award — Stephanie Dudok

 

Medals for Overall Achievement in a Degree:

Governor General’s Gold Medal, Master’s — Xiaoyu Wang

Governor General’s Silver Medal, Undergraduate — Trevor Vincent

Graduate Student of Highest Distinction Award — Xiaoyu Wang, Brenda Suderman

Chancellor’s Gold Medals for the Highest Standing — Matthew Paschak, education

University Silver Medal for the Second Highest Standing — Amber Oughton, education

 

Medals for Overall Achievement in a Degree (Honours)

Arts: gold Joshua Fineblit, silver Brent Maunder

Science: gold Trevor Vincent, silver Hilary Bews

 

Medals for Overall Achievement in a Four-year Degree:

Arts: gold Justina Elias, silver Robert Moquin

Business and Economics: gold Allanah Smith, silver Ronald Gervacio

Science: gold Robin Stonebridge, silver Dorice Lee

 

Medals for Overall Achievement in a Three-year Degree:

Arts: gold Megan Dooley, silver Ellie Einarson

Business and Economics: gold Colin Popham, silver Zena Kavanagh

Science: gold Blake MacKay, silver Allison Marmel

 

Medals for Achievement in a Major (Honours):

Applied Computer Science — David Bernier

Biochemistry — Hilary Bews

Biology — Sam Fineblit

Biopsychology — Bon Abigail Castillo

Chemistry — Michael Wiebe

Classics — Loralee Dyck

Criminal Justice — Sarah Lumsden

Economics — Joshua Fineblit

English — Melissa McIvor

French Studies — Rachelle Thiessen

Geography — Morrissa Boerchers, Meaghan Sawka

History — Loralee Dyck

Interdisciplinary Linguistics — Ashleen Scott

Mathematics — Max Bennett

Philosophy — Albert Moman

Physics — Trevor Vincent

Politics — Adelina Petit-Vouriot

Psychology — Jessica Dupasquier

Sociology — Brent Maunder

Theatre and Film — Teri-Lynn Friesen

Theatre and Film, Dance — Sarah Helmer

Urban and Inner City Studies — Denise MacDonald

 

Medals for Achievement in a Major (Four-Year):

Applied Computer Science — Aisha Diallo

Bioanthropology — Kayla Danino

Biochemistry — Maria Carmela Kalaw

Biology — Dorice Lee

Biopsychology — Robin Stonebridge

Business and Administration — Allanah Smith

Chemistry— Kevin Santos-De Guzman

Classics— Devon Berofe

Combined Major— Keely McFadden

Criminal Justice— Omri Golden-Plotnik

English — Justina Elias

Environmental Studies — Jeff Wiehler

French Studies— Lane Gibson

Geography — Robert Moquin

Human Rights and Global Studies — Kelsey Evans

International Development Studies — Megan Fultz

Joint Communications (UW/RRC) — Andrew Parker

Kinesiology and Applied Health — Nicole Skakun

Philosophy — Jordana Wiebe

 

Medals for Achievement in a Major (Three-Year):

Anthropology — Beverley Fast-Miller

Applied Computer Science — Daniel Steele

Biochemistry — Blake MacKay

Biology — Frederick Eng

Biopsychology — Adam Hoffmann

Business and Administration — Colin Popham

Chemistry — Lucien Cayer

Combined Major— Skylar Kneller

Conflict Resolution Studies — Quincy Brandt

Criminal Justice — Adam Meyers

Developmental Studies — Christine Friesen

English — Karina Scham

French Studies — Karina Scham

Geography — Megan Dooley

German Studies— Joel C. Penner

History — Jaime Friesen-Pankratz

Human Rights and Global Studies — Stephanie C. Richardson

Interdisciplinary Linguistics — Beverley Fast-Miller

International Development Studies — Quincy Brandt

Kinesiology and Applied Health — E. Elaine Nystrom

Mathematics — Amara Koop

Philosophy— Ellie Einarson

Politics — Devin Wehrle

Psychology — Berta Klause

Religion and Culture— Augusta Stobbe

Rhetoric and Communications — Natalie Reynolds

Sociology — Morgan Lecuyer

Theatre and Film — Jody Chalmers

Women and Gender Studies — Heather Scott

 

EMERITUS/EMERITA AWARDS

Enid Brown — Instructor Emeritus

Brown worked at U of W for close to three decades, leaving a legacy of significant contributions before her retirement in 2011. She was integral in the development, growth, and creation of the Faculty of Kinesiology, which was approved by Senate and officially came into being on July 1, 2012. This accomplishment has been credited to Brown’s vision, passion, and commitment to her field of study.

 

David Cheal — Professor Emeritus

Cheal is a leading scholar with a national and international reputation in the areas of family, aging, and demography, which helped put U of W’s Department of Sociology on the map. When he retired in 2010, he had served 41 years at U of W and had authored 11 books, several of which are classics and bestsellers in the field. His students relished his classes, which were structured as a series of questions for students to consider, rather than as a series of statements to memorize.

 

Joel Novek — Professor Emeritus

Throughout his 36-year career in the Department of Sociology at U of W, Novek distinguished himself for his span of scholarship and research in emerging fields, including hog farming in Western Canada, technology and the workplace, the grain trade in the information age, and sociology of the environment. His books, articles, and conference papers represent a significant and original contribution to Canadian sociology.

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