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Gradzette The university of mANITOBA’S GRADUATE STUDENT Magazine FEBRUARY 2014

App-ly yourself: Social media tools you should be using Page 3


February 2014

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Gradzette c/o The Manitoban Newspaper Publications Corporation 105 University Centre University of Manitoba Winnipeg, MB, R3T 2N2 General inquiries and advertising Phone: (204) 474.6535 Fax: (204) 474.7651 Email: Editor: Ryan Harby Copy Editor: Bryce Hoye Designer: Marc Lagace Contributors: Leila Mostaço-Guidolin, Bryce Hoye Cover: Ryan Harby

The Gradzette is the official student magazine of the University of Manitoba’s graduate student community and is published on the first Monday of each month by the Manitoban Newspaper Publications Corporation.

The Gradzette is a democratic student organization, open to participation from all students. It exists to serve its readers as students and citizens. The magazine’s primary mandate is to report fairly and objectively on issues and events of importance and interest to the graduate students of the University of Manitoba, to provide an open forum for the free expression and If you have a passion for writing, jourexchange of opinions and ideas, and to stimulate meannalism, photography, or illustration ingful debate on issues that affect or would otherwise be the Gradzette is looking for individuof interest to the student body and/or society in general. als to get involved with the produc tion process of the U of M’s graduate The Gradzette serves as a training ground for students instudent paper. terested in any aspect of journalism. Students and other interested parties are invited to contribute. Please contact The Gradzette currently offers 10 the editor listed above for submission guidelines. cents per word for freelance articles, $7 per photo/graphic used, and $30 The Gradzette reserves the right to edit all submissions for images used on the cover. Freeand will not publish any material deemed by its editorilancers will be added to a contact al board to be discriminatory, racist, sexist, homophobic pool and emailed with potential aror libelous. Opinions expressed in letters and articles are ticle, photo, or graphic assignments solely those of the authors. when they become available. The Gradzette is a member of the Canadian University Interested applicants please send Press, a national student press cooperative with members your resume and at least two (2) refrom St. John’s to Victoria. cent work samples to editor@grad All contents are ©2014 and may not be reprinted without the express written permission of the Manitoban Newspaper Publications Corporation.



February 2014

Twenty-first century academia Getting to know social media tools for students Leila Mostaço-Guidolin


ocial media; only two words, but they carry the power to change the world. Social networks originated as a means to connect with your friends and colleagues in an easy and convenient way. Many of you may have found your old pals from school who were out of touch for one reason or other, and while social networks have provided us the opportunity to connect with people and build better relationships, social media platforms are also becoming essential for academia, not just for the promotion of research but for research development as well. If properly used, social media has the power to enrich academic working life in a way that also provides some added value. Here the Gradzette presents five great platforms that you should consider joining in order to enhance your 21st century academic experience. Welcome to the digital world!

that; smart marketing/self branding can get you farther than your dry qualification can. Of course, if you have spent enough time in the scientific niche you already know what makes a successful scientist: observations skills, innovative mind, a bit of luck and… healthy marketing capabilities. Scientists sell their ideas every day, whether over a podium or through the flickering computer screens so they might as well harness these capabilities to sell themselves as a brand. I suggest that whether you’ve just started your graduate school or are on the last sentence of your dissertation, do yourself a big favour, and open an account at At over 200 million users worldwide, LinkedIn is the biggest social network focused on promoting professional connections. That’s already one good reason to setup an account and join the vast pool of professionals that connect and share insights, thoughts and tips. LinkedIn also provides the ability to have an upgraded version of your CV LinkedIn online and available for Human Resource (HR) You could be a first-year graduate student or and recruiters to find you. One point to remember a post-doc looking for your next challenge in is that LinkedIn should be joined as soon as you the academy or in the industry. Whatever goals can and updated regularly, especially when you you have, your career path will rely heavily on approach the time of job seeking. your qualifications and experience but not just 3


ResearchGate ResearchGate  is a  social networking  site for scientists and researchers to share papers, ask and answer questions, and find collaborators. It has been described as a  combination of “Facebook,Twitter, and LinkedIn” that includes profile pages, comments, groups, job listings, and ‘like’ and ‘follow’ buttons. Members are encouraged to share raw data and failed experiment results as well as successes, in order to avoid repeating their peers’ scientific research mistakes. Out of curiosity, Microsoft co-founder  Bill Gates  is among the company’s investors. ResearchGate has 2,600 groups covering various projects and lab methods, with those communities replacing what had traditionally been published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at seminars. It’s about presenting work in progress and sharing practical research tips. According to its founder, scientists and researchers from 196 countries and principalities are contributing to the site, with users in the US, UK, Germany and India making up the bulk of its three-million-plus registered users.


February 2014

graph citations over time, and compute several citation metrics. It is a very easy way to track your progress in academia and you can even make it easier for people to find you through Google! Prezi One of the greatest innovations in education was the blackboard. For the first time in history, teachers could present their lessons visually and engage students to participate in the conversation. The whiteboard has done the same for business—helping us to explore and share ideas more effectively. Prezi is a virtual whiteboard that transforms presentations from monologues into conversations: enabling people to see, understand, and remember ideas. Prezi  is a Hungarian software company, created in 2008 in order to replace the ordinary slide-based presentations. It is possible to share slides and make presentations available online. There are many discussions about the real utility of Prezi in academic presentations. It is really interesting, however, the effects available might attract more attention than the actual ideas. So, if you decide using it, use it with moderation.

Google Scholar & Google Citation

Instead of the Thomson ISI Web of Science, Publish or Perish why not use Google Scholar data to calculate your citations? An important practical reason for this is that Google Scholar is freely available to anyone with an Internet connection and is generally praised for its speed. The Web of Science is only available to those academics whose institutions are able and willing to bear the (quite substantial) subscription costs of the Web of Science and other databases in Thomson ISI’s Web of Knowledge. You can create a profile and from there, when someone searches for scientific papers using Google Scholar, it is possible to find you and all your publications by making your profile public so that it may appear in Google Scholar results when people search for your name. The page contains a list of all your publications (including patents, conference proceedings, papers, thesis, articles, etc.), the number of citations, and your main collaborators/co-authors. You can check who is citing your publications, is useful for networking. You can explore other disciplines, outside of your specialty, and make some useful contacts. It is wise, however, to not use like Facebook, to be “friends” with a bunch of people. On, you can elect to “follow” people, but the relationship is not reciprocal. Usually you will follow a few people, mainly interesting scholars. You get a notice when people sign up to follow you and then you can decide if you want to follow back. It was launched in September of 2008 and the site now has over three million registered users. The platform can be used to share papers, monitor their impact, and follow the research in a particular field.


February 2014

And then there were five Researchers get funding from Canada Foundation for Innovation Bryce Hoye his January five U of M researchers were presented with over $850,000 in federal funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI). Specifically, researchers Mazdak Khajehpour  (chemistry), Peter Kulchyski (Native studies), Juliette Mammei (physics and astronomy), Genevieve Ali (geological sciences), and Barbara Sharanowski and Alejandro Costamagna (entomology) were recipients of CFI’s (CFI) John E. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF). The CFI provides resources in the applied sciences for projects that aim to better the lives of Canadian citizens, and cast a light on Canada as a nation that supports cutting-edge research. The JELF (formerly known as the Leaders Opportunity Fund), in particular, is “designed to help universities attract and retain the very best of today’s and tomorrow’s researchers at a time of intense international competition.” For physicist/astronomer Juliette Mammei, the CFI’s $97,067 in funding will be put towards establishing a high-energy physics detector development laboratory at the U of M. These detectors will be used the world over in a variety of high-energy experiments. “The experiments use high energy particles such as electrons (accelerated to 99.999999 per cent the speed of light) to scatter from nuclear targets to study the properties of nuclei, protons, and neutrons,” Mammei told the Gradzette. “The ‘Standard Model’ is the physics theory that describes the fundamental particles and the interactions they can undergo. I will test the Standard Model by making extremely precise measurements of quantities that have definite predictions within the current framework of the model.” Mammei’s prototype detectors will first be tested using cosmic rays, with one such experiment needing up to 224 quartz bars. “Each about the size of a brick, the bars will


be attached to aluminium light guides and read out with a photomultiplier tube. Specially designed electronics boards will process the signals, which will be sent to a computer and recorded for later analysis. Each of the detectors will have to be individually quality checked and fully characterized for use in the experiment.”

The JELF helps universities: • Acquire infrastructure for their leading research faculty to undertake cuttingedge research • Create competitive packages of research support in the form of infrastructure and a portion of the operating and maintenance costs from the CFI, coupled with direct research costs from partner organizations Info from These detectors will have applications in the areas of space and medical physics. “The same particles that plague astronauts and equipment located in orbit can be detected with similar detectors that are developed for particle physics experiments. Detectors used to measure neutron background in the experiments are similar to those that might be used in a medical physics setting to measure radiation exposure during diagnosis and treatment.” Mammei is currently carrying out several experiments, each at various stages of completion, and she is open to taking on prospective graduate students. “I think it’s important for graduate students to get both hardware and software experience, including design and simulation for a future experiment, testing of detector prototypes, participation in data-taking and analysis of a




February 2014

portion of the data from a completed experiment.” For geologist Genevieve Ali, $148,242 in CFI funding will help her devise models of how watersheds function throughout the prairies. “In the past, prairie researchers dealing with issues of runoff generation or nutrient transport have relied on conceptual models imported from abroad. However, prairie landscapes do not fit traditional theories of runoff generation because of their flatter topography and the regular occurrence of floods and droughts,” Ali told the Gradzette. “Agricultural activities, especially drainage, also modify the pathways via which runoff and nutrients travel from land to waterways, and our incomplete knowledge of these pathways makes it difficult to get reliable predictions of water yield and water quality in the prairies in general and in Manitoba in particular.” With her newly funded Mobile Hydrobiogeochemical LABoratory project, Ali hopes to develop a better understanding of prairie ecosystems. In particular, Ali cites the movement of diffuse nutrients, surface and subsurface runoff pathways, the residence time of water in watersheds (or the time water spends below ground before leeching into a watershed outlet), the rate of soil-water removal by vegetation, and the feedbacks and interactions between hydrological, soil, and vegetation processes as the key areas of interest. Ali pointed to the abysmal health of Lake Winnipeg as motivation for her project and, although there are no current positions available in her lab, she encourages all potential students to email her ( or visit the following news and blog website for future opportunities: Resident bug experts Costamagna and Sharanowski are teaming up to study insect “pest” species: specifically, they are trying to uncover alternatives to pesticide application, approaches to managing these agriculturally destructive pests in a more environmentally friendly and economical fashion. “We study the impacts of parasitoids and predators on agricultural pests across multiple crops in agricultural landscapes, using novel molecular techniques,” Sharanowski told the

Gradzette. “We are planning to field sample pests on multiple crops, as they share similar communities of generalist predators. We will determine how different species of predators and parasitoids interact and the relative contribution of each species in the control of pests in different crops.” These “molecular technologies” involve the creation of DNA markers that will help identify the most successful insectivorous predatory species that prey upon agricultural pests, as well as the habitat characteristics that enhance their impact. The goal is to ultimately find ways to utilize natural predators, thereby reducing dependence on pesticides to control nuisance species populations. “For example, incorporating areas with flower resources and perennial plants may provide important nutritional resources for beneficial insects that increase pest control before those pests reach outbreak levels.” Sharanowski told the Gradzette that the graduate program in entomology is currently looking for students interested in working on the taxonomy and ecology of insects. Interested students should go to the departmental website: entomology/. Additional JELF recipients Khajehpour received $235,812 to further his research on age-related illnesses on the molecular level – diseases like Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s. Kulchyski was awarded $194,193 for his efforts to produce the Canadian Content Hemispheric Institute Digital Video Library (CC-HIDVL). Kulchyski’s hopes the CC-HIDVL will generate a platform for interdisciplinary research in the area of performance studies, a budding field concerned with any number of areas that involve performance – be it theatrical, cultural, artistic, sports-related, and beyond.


February 2014

Federal Government hopes to double international students Jane Lytvynenko — CUP Ottawa Bureau Chief OTTAWA (CUP) — Canadian university classrooms could have twice the international students in the next eight years. On Jan. 15, the Conservatives announced  a strategy  to double the amount of researchers and students coming from abroad. The program centers around $5 million per year in funding primarily going toward branding and marketing. The funding was approved as a part of the Economic Action Plan last year. Canadian Parliament, Ottawa. Photo by Steven W. Dengler Minister of International Trade Ed Fast announced the program at Ryerson were consulted when putting together the plan. University. Fast said in a  press release  that in “The only goal I can see is double the number addition to the marketing money, “the strategy of incoming students,” he says. “I don’t know will provide $13 million over two years to the why that number was picked and if you don’t Globalink  program of Mitacs, a national not- know why the number was picked you’ll have a for-profit organization that fosters innovation hard time justifying it.” through research and training programs.” The Dan Harris, the NDP post-secondary initiative will focus on six key regions: Brazil, education critic, said the idea of doubling China, India, Mexico, North Africa and the international students in Canada is not a bad Middle East and Vietnam. one. While critics say an increase in international “They [international students] make an students is a positive overall goal, they add there important part of the student body in Canada needs to be more details on the program. Alex and help provide resources to universities Usher, president of  Higher Education Strategy through tuition fees,” said Harris. Associates, says the newly announced strategy He added the government needs to ensure needs to be better thought out to be successful. the resources and support are there for the new “There are lots of reasons why you might want international students, many of whom face a to increase the number of international students culture shock when coming to Canada. Gary but let’s be explicit about what they are and work Slater, associate vice-president international at backwards from there,” says Usher, adding there the University of Ottawa, says new students is no clear purpose for doubling international often have a language barrier and have to deal students. with different methods of teaching from what Usher says the document presented by Fast they’re used to. should not be called a strategy. He wondered Harris echoed Slater’s concern with resources whether provinces and educational institutions



February 2014

“The number one thing the federal government can do is give Canada a good reputation outside the country. It’s a marketing issue to a large extent” – Gary Slater, associate vice-president international at the University of Ottawa for international students, saying, “We have to make sure they succeed and we have no problems arise from a larger student body.” He added that universities will need additional funds to provide adequate programming for the new students, something that’s not currently outlined in the strategy. Slater said that because education is a provincial matter, the federal government can only hope the numbers double as projected. The rest of the work falls on the provinces, some of which have a hard time recruiting international students. “We have to recognize that a national policy like that will be differently seen in the French and the English world,” said Slater, pointing out that Quebec has a harder time recruiting international students. “It’s much easier to recruit students that want to study in English than in French. We have to work hard if we want to keep a linguistic balance in the country.” Slater said while Canada has a great post-

secondary education system, it has to compete with the USA. That’s where the $5-million yearly initiative for advertising comes in. “The number one thing the federal government can do is give Canada a good reputation outside the country,” said Slater. “It’s a marketing issue to a large extent.” According to Harris, Canada also needs to ensure there is an easy way to immigrate for international students who decide to stay. “We should be putting a focus on making sure there is a path to immigration and family reunification,” he says. Whether the students stay or go back, Slater said anyone studying in Canada is an asset for the country. Those moving back often forge strong links with the institution they studied in, while students who immigrate contribute to the economy. “They bring a lot not only to university but to society,” said Slater.

Get your research featured in the Gradzette Are you a graduate student eager to promote your research and provide exposure for your work in the master’s or doctoral program? The Gradzette is looking for individuals interested in participating in our ongoing “Researcher Profile” column, which seeks to showcase important and exciting U of M research for a larger audience. If you would like to be featured in an upcoming “Researcher Profile,” please contact with details regarding your field of study, a short blurb about your current research, and any pertinent contact information for interview purposes.


The Gradzette Bulletin Board

The UMGSA panel addresses the audience at the first of two 2014 GSA Annual General Meetings

ANnual General Meetings The UMGSA and HSGSA held their Annual General Meetings (AGM) this past month, inviting student members to attend a review of the GSA budget and activities from 2013 and beyond. Among the topics at both AGMs was the issue of CFS membership; the executive reiterating to attendees that the association does not consider itself an active member of the Canadian Federation of Students and that remaining fees collected in the name of CFS would be re-allocated once the issue is fully resolved. This year’s AGM also brought to light the success of the Fall GSA orientation, reporting full attendance at all workshops and events. Other news from the AGMs included word of an expanded speaker series in the works for coming years that would see more distinguished lecturers brought in for students on behalf of the HSGSA.

Three Minute Thesis The 2014 Three Minute Thesis (3MT) event is set to begin this month with Heat 1 taking place on Feb. 6, from 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm (E3-270 Engineering); Heat 2 on Feb. 11, from 2:30 pm - 4:30 pm (E3-270 Engineering); and Heat 3 on Feb. 13, from 2 pm - 4 pm (Theatre A, Basic Medical Sciences). Finalists from the set of three heats will go on to compete in the Final Competition, which takes place Feb. 25, 7 pm - 9 pm at the Robert B. Schultz Lecture Theatre, St. John’s College.

GSA ELECTIONS The GSA offers many paid executive positions from President to Vice-Presidents and Senators, for which the positions are elected annually. Student governance at a non-profit organization with over 3,700 members is not only an opportunity to get another line on your CV, it is also an opportunity to learn about Advocacy, Leadership, Bylaws, Policies, Finance, Marketing, Event Planning, External Relations and much more! Nominations will be accepted from Feb. 3 at 9 am until Feb. 14 at 4:30 pm. If you are interested in nominating yourself or have questions please contact Chief Returning Officer Kendra Magnus-Johnston at or Monika Wetzel at


February 2014 Gradzette