Thursday, December 10, 2009

  • Prof sure his gift will be 'used wisely'
  • Grad student featured in 'future' report
  • Sabbatical leaves beginning January 1
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Three big smiles]
Prof sure his gift will be 'used wisely'

A $200,000 gift has come to St. Jerome's University from Scott Vanstone, who recently retired from the college as a professor of mathematics, and his wife, Sherry Shannon-Vanstone. The duo were honoured at a reception held November 24 at St. Jerome's.

The two donors posed with St. Jerome's president David B. Perrin (centre) at the event, held "to thank Scott Vanstone and Sherry Shannon-Vanstone for their dedication and commitment to St. Jerome’s University over many years".

Vanstone told the guests that the gift was “to show our gratitude and support for St. Jerome’s University and to help lead the way into the 21st century.” He added:“I have seen this institution flourish and grow. There are plans to expand and build a modernized complex here at St. Jerome’s. I know this gift will be used wisely to advance those plans.”

Vanstone officially retired October 1 after 35 years as a professor of mathematics at St. Jerome’s and in the UW department of combinatorics and optimization. His research in cryptography is the cornerstone of UW’s Centre for Applied Cryptographic Research, and when the centre was founded in 1998 he was named to an industrial research chair in cryptography.

He is also co-founder of the spinoff firm Certicom Corp., which calls itself "he global leader in smart energy security technologies", and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Earlier this year, Vanstone was awarded the Ontario Premier’s Catalyst Award for Lifetime Achievement in Innovation. He designated $100,000 of this award to entrance scholarships for first-year students at St. Jerome’s.

At last month's reception, Vanstone remarked that “This is a place where I have been allowed to teach, do research and become an entrepreneur. I thank St. Jerome’s for giving me the latitude to advance my career.” Perrin, the president, recognized Vanstone’s long and distinguished career and, on behalf of faculty, staff and students, expressed thanks to the couple for their continued support: “Thanks to your support, St. Jerome’s will be able to celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2015 by making some necessary capital improvements on campus.”

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Grad student featured in 'future' report

reprinted from the UW report to donors, “We’re Making the Future”

In the remote aboriginal James Bay community of Fort Albany, Kelly Skinner is welcomed as someone who works hard to help the local people — especially the children.

[Skinner]A PhD candidate in health studies and gerontology, Skinner (right) is among a growing number of grad students at Waterloo. To support their research and that of their professors, the university increased research funding income by a third in the past five years.

Skinner's funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and other sources allowed her to expand and evaluate a healthy breakfast and snack program in the Fort Albany school, which in turn helped secure more funding for the program. And since fresh vegetables are scarce and costly there, funding from her supervisor, Rhona Hanning of HSG, will pay to build a greenhouse, where the children will learn about gardening while they grow food for the program.

Academic value aside, Skinner says the work has rewarded her richly. "Seeing a benefit in the community I work with — that's where I get the most joy from my research. Seeing how the people in my studies appreciate being heard. Helping them gain better access to affordable food."

Especially rewarding is seeing how the children enjoy snack time. "And the teachers say the kids concentrate and work together better when they're not hungry. So this program will also help with their education."

Offered a range of openings out of high school, Skinner says she's glad she chose Waterloo. "I've had incredible opportunities here." Undergrad research experience with the Population Health Research Group led indirectly to her return as a grad student. That's when aboriginal children's nutrition became her focus. "Now it's my passion. I feel very strongly about working with aboriginal people; I want to make people more aware of the challenges they face."

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Sabbatical leaves beginning January 1

Here’s a list of some faculty members who will be away from their regular routine as they take sabbatical leaves beginning January 1, 2010. The plans for each sabbatical are as reported to UW’s board of governors.

Sati Bandyopadhyay, accounting and finance (six months): “I wish to try and complete my current research-in-progress during the leave, including three SSHRC funded projects of which I am principal investigator in one and collaborator in two. I would like to spend some time at University of Melbourne to start a new research initiative and at Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, to continue with an existing research project.”

Stephen Brown, statistics and actuarial science (24 months): “I will continue my research into development and application of methods for the analysis of hierarchical data from school and community studies. A major national study of the effect of individual and community factors on adolescent smoking involving colleagues at UBC will be completed this year and this, and other studies conducted at Waterloo, will form the basis of this work.”

Donald Burn, civil and environmental engineering (six months): “I will be based at the University of Waterloo, but plan to spend periods of time working with researchers at Environment Canada in Victoria, continuing collaborative research. The research will focus on climate change and water availability in Canada. I will also use the sabbatical leave to write up recent research results for publication in refereed journals.”

Maria del Carmen Sillato, Spanish and Latin American studies (twelve months): “In March 2008 I was able to publish an anthology that includes creative work written by survivors of the military dictatorship in Argentina. My goal is to analyze the different discourse strategies employed by these authors in the reconstruction of their traumatic memories to investigate the therapeutic role of creative writing in the aftermath of trauma. My ultimate goal is the elaboration of a manuscript.”

Michael Boehringer, Germanic and Slavic studies (six months): “I plan to conclude several smaller projects on 19th century Austrian literature that will result in several articles. I will begin research on a new major research project in the function of collective and individual memory in 20th century literature. For this purpose, I plan a research stay in Austria to collect materials and interview authors.”

Jean Andrey, geography and environmental management (six months January-June 2010 and six months July-December 2011): “During the sabbatical, I will focus on two threads of research. The first pertains to weather-transportation interactions and in particular with weather-related driving risks and related interventions. The second project deals with sustainable transportation and the development of related indicators and explorations of the capacity for travel changes using scenario analysis.”

Roydon Fraser, mechanical and mechatronics engineering (twelve months): “To re-engage engineering-ecological research opportunities and collaborations, to write energy conversion papers, to organize and digest realms of unread and unsorted energy literature for research and teaching purposes, and to establish inter-university research collaborations. Specific topics of research will be plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, energy destruction principle, and thermoacoustics.”


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Link of the day

Human Rights Day

When and where

Kinesiology Lab Days for visiting high school students, December 7-11 and 14-16, Matthews Hall, information carchiba@

Fall term examinations December 9-22; unofficial grades begin appearing in Quest December 23; grades become official January 25.

UW-ACE Instructor User Group 10:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology seminar: Peter Andreana, Wayne State University, “An Entirely Carbohydrate-Based Cancer Vaccine Construct Elicits Selective Cellular Immunity” 11:00 a.m., Chemistry II room 361.

Accelerator Centre “graduation” celebration for two companies, SparkMatrix Technologies and Frozen North Productions, 11:30 a.m., 295 Hagey Boulevard, information info@

Pension and benefits committee Friday 8:30 a.m., Needles Hall room 3004.

Information systems and technology professional development seminar: Lisa Tomalty and Jim Marshall, “IST Request Tracker Tutorial/ Refresher” Friday 9 a.m., IST seminar room.

Centre for Teaching Excellence instructional skills workshop December 11, 14 and 16, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Ontario Research Funding celebration of grant recipients at UW and Wilfrid Laurier University, Friday 10:00 a.m., Chemistry II room 064, by invitation, information ext. 33580.

Sunshine Montessori School Christmas concert Friday 7 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Winterfest family skating party sponsored by staff association, Sunday 1:00 p.m., Columbia Icefield. Details.

Application deadline for social work (post-BA program) for fall 2010 is December 15. Details.

Alternatives Journal launch of “green energy” issue Tuesday 5:30 p.m., Sustainability Network, 215 Spadina Avenue, Toronto; wine and cheese reception follows.

Celebrate Christmas Through Story and Song, sponsored by Campus Ministry, St. Jerome’s University, Tuesday 7:30 p.m., Siegfried Hall, tickets $5 (students $2, family $10), proceeds to Out of the Cold.

‘Managing Grief Through the Holidays’ workshop presented by Employee Assistance Program, Wednesday 12:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

Fee payment deadline for winter term, December 17 (promissory note), December 29 (bank transfer). Details.

Weight Watchers at Work information session and sign-up for winter series, December 17, 12:00, Humanities room 373; information ext. 32218.

Eddie Goodwin, UW central stores, reception to mark retirement after 42 years at UW, December 17, 2:00 to 5:00, Davis Centre lounge, RSVP cjaray@

UW senate monthly meeting December 21 — cancelled.

Payday for faculty and monthly-paid staff Wednesday, December 23, and Friday, January 22; for biweekly-paid staff, December 18 and 31.

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