Portico Magazine, Spring 2017

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Clean energy future Peter Tremaine’s nuclear energy research aims to power our growing population while curbing carbon emissions. p.16

Mental wellness

How two personal stories are creating change. p.22

Hands-on science Mary Jane Conboy’s job is to make science fun for everyone. p.14

Head check

Harrison Brown takes concussion testing to the sidelines. p.27

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28 22 10




4 Loose cannon 4 Letters 5 President’s message 34 Class notes

6 Around the ring


From the human body to space, exhibit designer Mary Jane Conboy brings science to life at the Ontario Science Centre.

Are Trump’s tweets changing the way politicians communicate?


6 Coursework 11 Ask the expert 27 This I know 28 Alumni spotlights 36 Passages 37 Time capsule

14 On the job 15 Q&A




News and views from around campus.

10 Discovery U of G research, innovations and ideas.

31 Alumni matters Events, updates and class connections.

16 Clean energy future Peter Tremaine’s chemistry research aims to provide clean energy for a growing population.

22 Mental health matters How a student and young grad are using their personal experiences to shine a light on mental illness.

38 Last look Inspiring words for graduates at winter convocation.

Spring 2017  PORTICO  | 3

Letters Spring 2017, Vol. 49, Issue 1 LOOSE CANNON


@UC_Services Blast from the past! @TheBrassTaps. @KjHodgins Sorry, not getting work done today: busy reading latest @porticomag cover to cover. #Notmyfault every article is great! @CanadaFood News Meet the man with a plan to fix the world’s fragile food system via @porticomag.

@meltait The best brewer, best beer and best brewery in Canada @RoyalCityBrew in @porticomag. @guelph _gryphons We spotted lots of great #Guelph Gryphons content in the latest @porticomag.


f you order a burger at the popular 100 Mile Grille food outlet in the University of Guelph’s Creelman dining hall, Mark Kenny can tell you exactly where all its parts come from: the meat is procured

from local farmers and formed into patties at the University’s own meat processing facility; seasonal tomatoes and onions are grown nearby; the buns are made by a local artisan baker; and even the condiments, including spicy

ketchup, mustard and barbecue sauce, are made from scratch with local ingredients. To sweeten your accompanying tea or coffee, there’s honey from the campus apiary. “Good food is a lot of work, but it’s very rewarding,” says Kenny,


How to serve the best campus food in Canada

28 | PORTICO Fall 2016

i was really interested to read the Fall 2016 issue of your magazine. It was amazing to read the article “How to serve the best campus food in Canada,” and learn about the variety of food available and the local sourcing. I lived in Mac Hall residence from 1968 to 1971 and I remember once we were so fed up with chicken, chicken, chicken, that we saved up chicken bones and presented them to someone in authority as a protest. Those days are obviously gone. Congratulations to Mark Kenny and team for providing the appealing food featured on campus in 2016. —Amy Cousineau, B.A.Sc. ’72, M.Sc. ’75 i have just read the Fall 2016 issue cover to cover. Portico is always really good, but this issue is especially excellent. Your choice of theme and treatment of it was imaginative, and every article was captivating and relevant. Well done. As an English literature grad who has spent a career in communications, I am

staff, faculty and students in 17 outlets across campus, as well as specialty foods for catering events on campus. U of G’s Hospitality Services is one of only three independent food service departments at a Canadian university that directly employs a staff member with CSCMP accreditation to purchase food and manage contracts; many other institutions use outside catering companies to feed students. U of G further sets itself apart by serving foods that are grown and processed on campus. Arctic char, for example, comes from the Alma Aquaculture Research Station, and more than 1,800 kilograms of honey produced at the Honey Bee Research Centre is served every year. Veggies that can’t be used right away are processed on campus, vacuum-sealed and frozen for use over the winter, and a commercial-grade smoker adds flavour to mushrooms, ribs and chicken. Kenny’s commitment to procuring locally means he knows many of the 75 nearby farmers who supply food to the University on a first-name basis. When he deals with larger distributors, he requests Ontario-grown foods whenever possible. “I like to share the stories of the food we are serving, and that means sharing the stories of the people who produce that food,” says Kenny, who is active on Twitter (@100mileMark Kenny’s procurement manager for favourite mark) and often posts Hospitality Services and a campus meal: mouth-watering photos A “Royale with certified supply chain of the day’s specials. Cheese” burger management professional and fries from Kenny balances his the Gryph ’N (CSCMP). “It’s worth it love of food with a solid when we see the faces of Grille food truck. business background and the students as they taste an artist’s sensibility. He what our chefs have made.” started working in restaurants at Kenny’s job is to source the raw 14 and went on to earn a business goods to feed more than 20,000 diploma. He enrolled at U of G as


4  |  PORTICO  Spring 2017

27,000 brownies made by U of G chefs 8,000 apples from Martin’s Family Fruit Farm in St. Jacobs 15,000 buns made locally by Canada Bread 2,400 tomatoes from Elmira Produce Auction Cooperative


1,020 kilograms of cold meats 900 kilograms of lettuce

Make your own fish moilee – get the recipe at porticomagazine.ca. Fall 2016 PORTICO | 29


proud to experience this level of quality in our alumni magazine. —Rae Thompson, BA ’81 Time capsule

Daniel Atlin, vice-president (external) Chuck Cunningham, assistant vice-president, Communications and Public Affairs EDITOR

Stacey Morrison ART DIRECTOR

Janice Van Eck WRITERS

Susan Bubak, Kevin Gonsalves, Lori Bona Hunt, Wendy Jespersen, Karen Mantel, Teresa Pitman, Andrew Vowles PHOTOGRAPHER

Jessica Darmanin

Portico is published three times a year by Communications and Public Affairs at the University of Guelph. Opinions expressed in the magazine do not necessarily reflect those of the editor or the University. FEEDBACK

Send letters and story ideas to porticomagazine@uoguelph.ca or by mail to Communications and Public Affairs, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ont., N1G 2W1. We reserve the right to edit all submissions. ADVERTISING


1980 The University of Guelph’s campus pub, originally called The Keg, was established in 1974 and later became The Brass Taps. Operating from the second floor of the University Centre for 42 years, the pub holds many fond memories for alumni, from indulging in a Design-a-Wich (design-your-own sandwich) and delicious poutine and nachos supreme, to watching the first-ever Toronto Blue Jays game in 1977. Today, The Brass Taps serves pub fare, including gourmet burgers, curries and classic lattice fries. It also has 26 draught taps and 17 television screens to enjoy. We think this photo was taken around 1980 but the exact year is unknown — can you provide a date? Or can you identify any of the people? Send us a note and let us know!



+ The College of Physical Science (now the College of Physical and Engineering Science) celebrates its 10th anniversary.

+ Millions of viewers tune in to the TV soap opera Dallas to learn who shot lead character J.R. Ewing.

+ The Macdonald Stewart Community Art Centre (now the Art Gallery of Guelph) opens with an exhibition featuring pieces from U of G’s Canadian art collection. + Singer Gordon Lightfoot entertains at Homecoming.

+ Six Iranian-held U.S. hostages escape with help from Canadians. + John Lennon is shot and killed by a crazed fan.


PORTICO_Fall2016_Issue.indd 37



2016-11-07 9:56 AM

regarding the Keg photo (Time Capsule, Fall 2016), I’m pretty sure I recognize some of the people pictured. In the top of the frame … I’m pretty sure I’m the one in the middle with dark hair and moustache (my wife agrees). If I was to guess the year, I would say 1982, but it may have been 1981. The picture brought back a flood of wonderful memories. —John Belanger, BA ’84, MA ’88


Send advertising inquiries to Stacey Morrison at s.morrison@uoguelph.ca or 519-824-4120, Ext. 58706.

+ The Pac-Man video game is released.

+ The first day of FM broadcasting occurs for U of G’s new radio station CFRU-FM.

Do you have a memory to share from your time at U of G? Email a high-resolution photo to porticomagazine@uoguelph.ca and it could appear in Time Capsule.

Connect with Portico @porticomag

A quick bite of the menu served by Hospitality Services to 5,000 students on move-in day in September

a mature student and took courses ranging from film studies to art history, but before he could graduate, the food world lured him back. “The students here [at U of G] are educated about food,” he says. “They’ve travelled; they’re used to foods that would have been considered exotic not long ago.” Kenny taps into the diversity of the chefs on campus to respond to that desire for variety. “We have chefs from 15 different cultural backgrounds here, so they can bring those flavours to our meals,” he says. A popular dish on campus is fish moilee with Indian spices served at InFusion, a pan-Asian cuisine kiosk in the University Centre. Surprisingly, pickles have been one of the tougher foods to source locally. Kenny searched for months before discovering Lakeside Packers in Harrow, Ont. “Now we buy them by the skid.” He also started ordering cheese from Bright Cheese and Butter in Woodstock. The only downfall to serving such great food is students don’t want to leave. One student leaving campus told Kenny, “I don’t know what I’m going to eat now — I’m so used to the great food here.”

Send address changes to: alumnirecords@uoguelph.ca or 519-824-4120, Ext. 56550, or by mail to Records c/o Alumni Affairs & Development, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ont., N1G 2W1. ISSN 1714-8731

Printed in Canada. Publication Agreement #40064673. Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Portico Magazine, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ont., N1G 2W1.


Improving life is our shared challenge


ooking around our campuses in Guelph, Ridgetown and Toronto, I see people engaged in learning, teaching and discovery. Those pursuits are important in their own right — and hardly a surprise. As a post-secondary institution, we’re all about education and research. But there’s something else humming through those endeavours. From a laboratory on the main campus, to a classroom at the Ridgetown Campus, to the green atrium at the University of Guelph-Humber, look and listen closely, and you can sense a purposefulness. Learning and discovery matter both for their own sake and for their power to improve life in the wider world. Making the world a better place is a central idea at the University of Guelph, one that shows not just in what we say but also in what we do. Across the disciplines here, we aim to improve life. By focusing on the whole student, we produce not just graduates but also engaged citizens. In teaching and in research, we seek ways to engage with the wider community — whether that’s here in Guelph, elsewhere in Canada or around the world. Our campus members explore the natural and physical sciences, touch


hearts and minds through the arts, and integrate culture into study and learning. We emphasize ethical and sustainable business practices, and we look to engineer solutions for the immediate and wider worlds. We aim to help feed a growing world in sustainable ways. And we strive to nurture caring, interconnected campuses that value diversity and embrace inclusiveness. At U of G, we look at life in all of its full and nuanced

By focusing on the whole student, we produce not just graduates but also engaged citizens. forms — truly the only way to make sense of our rapidly changing and ever more complex world. Universities are among the few places in our world where we encourage opportunities for reflection and thoughtfulness, and where we can harness reflection and thought to help make that world a better place. For faculty, staff and students on our campuses, and for our alumni and partners in other places, our underlying purpose is improving life. I invite you to explore this issue of the Portico to experience that sense of purpose for yourself. Franco Vaccarino President and Vice-Chancellor Spring 2017  PORTICO  | 5

Around the ring    CAMPUS NEWS AND VIEWS


Powdered cricket brownies, anyone? As part of the preliminary pitch for their semester-long assignment in the Ideas Congress (ICON) course, a team of Guelph undergraduates recently handed out home-baked goodies — complete with insect ingredients — to classmates. To judge by appreciative comments around the classroom that evening, the brownies helped to sweeten up the crowd. And the arguments by members of The Insect Effect team for eating bugs — cheap, high in protein and more environmentally friendly than raising livestock — resonated with classmates.

6  |  PORTICO  Spring 2017

But being fed free treats didn’t deter anyone from peppering the team with pointed questions about their idea for promoting entomophagy. Encouraging that kind of animated give-and-take is partly what integrative biology professor Shoshanah Jacobs and Prof. Dan Gillis, School of Computer Science, had in mind when they got together to design the ICON course. They also aim to help undergraduates cultivate three main skills that Jacobs says repeatedly rank tops in employer surveys: problem solving, knowledge transfer and translation, and teamwork.



Their solution introduced in 2015 is a self-directed course that challenges undergrads to take charge of their own learning. Participants also have to figure out how to work with counterparts from different areas across campus on a discipline-straddling problem. For the entire semester, ICON students work in teams of four or five on devising a solution to an important societal need. “It’s a non-lecture, alternative teaching model,” says Jacobs, who sees herself and Gillis more as facilitators than as instructors. “It’s great to find ways to take students beyond their undergrad discipline.” In 2015, student teams worked on ideas to help create net-zero energy houses. In winter 2016, groups worked on concepts for a mobile classroom lab connected to an “eco-learning” demonstration centre proposed for the Guelph Innovation District. Last fall, the theme was food security. Students are graded individually on participation, communication and a research essay, and assessed group marks for preliminary and final project pitches. Fourth-year geography student Brooke Ellison Wareing says the course has taught her about teamwork, delegation and problem solving. Her group is working on an app to enable consumers to purchase low-cost restaurant leftovers to reduce food waste. “You almost get to create the class yourself,” she says. “You decide what your goals are and how you want to achieve them.”




A few fascinating facts about U of G’s international connections:

Sexual violence policy offers support to entire campus community

Ben Bradshaw has been appointed assistant vice-president (graduate studies). He began his five-year term last fall. He has been a professor in the Department of Geography since 2004.

86 Number of study-abroad programs

10%+ Number of undergraduate students who have an experience abroad during their academic career

38 Number of participating countries

109 Number of partner institutions around the world


The University of Guelph continues to strengthen its sexual violence programming by revising its existing sexual violence protocol into a more comprehensive policy aimed at supporting all members of the campus community, including faculty, staff and students. The policy, which was approved by the Board of Governors in December, includes an expanded definition of sexual violence that incorporates the full spectrum of incidents, ranging COUNSELLING from inappropriate comments and SERVICES AND harassment through to rape. RESIDENCE Brenda Whiteside, associate LIFE FRONTvice-president (student affairs), LINE STAFF says the new policy is just one of ARE TRAINED several initiatives that will IN HOW TO DEAL WITH enhance support of sexual violence SEXUAL programming on campus. VIOLENCE Other initiatives include a REPORTS Sexual Violence Support and Information website (www.uoguelph.ca/sexualviolence), which contains policy information, as well as information about on- and off-campus resources for those who have experienced sexual violence. Promoting consent has been a regular part of U of G’s orientation activities. The “Stop. Ask” campaign was launched in September 2016 to remind students to stop and ask for consent before engaging in sexual activity. Counselling Services and Residence Life front-line staff are trained in how to deal with sexual violence reports. An online training program was launched in January for the rest of the campus community. Both training programs include recommendations on how to offer support and refer people to resources. “Our focus is the safety and support of survivors and their friends,” says Whiteside.—SUSAN BUBAK

Ajay Heble, a professor in the School of English and Theatre Studies, was named the 2016 Impact Award winner by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. He will receive a $50,000 grant for research promotion, knowledge mobilization or related activities. Lawrence Hill, a professor in the School of English and Theatre Studies, was nominated for a NAACP Image Award in the “Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction” category for his book The Illegal. Food scientist Gisèle LaPointe has been named the NSERC/DFO (Dairy Farmers of Ontario) Industrial Research Chair in Dairy Microbiology. Alicia Viloria-Petit, a professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the Ontario Veterinary College, was named to the “Top 10” list of most influential Hispanic Canadians. The annual awards program is sponsored by TD Bank and run by the Canadian Hispanic Business Alliance. Viloria-Petit was recognized for her cancer research over the last 25 years.

Number of students in study-abroad programs @porticomag

Spring 2017  PORTICO  | 7

Around the ring CAMPUS NEWS

United Way fundraiser wins “Campaign of the Year”

8  |  PORTICO  Spring 2017


Student among 72 shortlisted astronaut candidates More than five years ago, Scott VanBommel watched a rocket roar into the sky, propelling the Curiosity rover to Mars. Now the University of Guelph student hopes to become one of Canada’s next astronauts, a prospect that may line him up to be among the first humans to blast off on a voyage to the red planet. In February, VanBommel was among 72 astronaut candidates shortlisted by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). The list also includes U of G grads Matthew Bamsey and Olathe MacIntyre. VanBommel was one of nearly 4,000 applicants last summer after the CSA announced its current competition. This summer, VanBommel will complete his PhD. He’ll also undergo numerous CSA tests designed to probe his physical and mental fitness for working in space, including everything from potential missions on the International Space Station to a possible voyage to Mars. The agency will name two astronauts by August. “Being an astronaut encompasses everything I enjoy,” says VanBommel, referring to constant learning, teamwork and science outreach. When he came to U of G to begin his B.Sc. in 2006, he was thinking of becoming a teacher like his mom and dad. He was drawn to physics early and enjoyed the problem solving in his first-year classes. In his fourth year, he worked on a project for the first time with Prof. Ralf Gellert, head of a

U of G research team that designed and calibrated an instrument carried to Mars aboard a roving science laboratory. About the size of a Rubik’s cube, the instrument — called an alpha X-ray spectrometer (APXS) — is mounted on the rover’s robotic arm. Testing soil and rock samples, it looks for evidence that features on the red planet were sculpted by water, or that the planet might once have supported life. VanBommel was still in high school when the rovers Spirit and Opportunity landed on Mars in early 2004. By 2010, Spirit stopped working. (Opportunity is still sending data to Earth.) VanBommel studied data from Spirit for that senior project, and found himself hooked. “The death of Spirit was the birth of my career in space exploration,” he says. It was about two years ago that he realized that his Guelph experience might lend itself to an astronaut career. Last summer’s CSA competition was the first call since 2009. Current NASA plans include a Mars mission in the mid-2030s. VanBommel says the red planet was once much like Earth, and it’s still possible that Mars harbours signs of life. “You could argue that the search for life outside Earth is one of mankind’s biggest questions,” he says.—ANDREW VOWLES

Scott VanBommel is part of a U of G team that helps direct the rover Curiosity’s daily operations.


The local United Way recognized the University of Guelph with major awards for its 2016 campaign. The U of G community raised $640,000 in one of its most successful fundraising drives ever. The University received the “Campaign of the Year Award” for the public sector. The school also won the Leadership Award, given to the workplace that had the largest increase in donors giving more than $1,000 in a year. Three departments also took home awards. Physical Resources won the “Joint Union-Management Award,” and the departments of Hospitality Services and Student Housing Services won “Education Division Spirit Awards.” The U of G campaign exceeded $600,000 for the fifth year in a row and raised more than a half-million dollars for the seventh time.



Help shape the future of Ontario universities

U of G introduces neuroscience major

The Council of Ontario Universities has launched a “Futuring” campaign to spark conversation about the role of Ontario universities and the province’s future. The campaign asks important questions about higher education and what it should offer students, and how universities can be good partners in shaping a brighter tomorrow. U of G is supporting the campaign through social media (#futuring) and community conversations. What are your hopes and concerns for Ontario’s future, and how can we work together to make it successful?

Share your thoughts and join the conversation by visiting ontariosuniversities.ca.

The University of Guelph is introducing a new undergraduate major in neuroscience. The U of G Senate recently approved the interdisciplinary B.Sc. honours major. The program brings together scientists from the departments of Biomedical Sciences, Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, Molecular and Cellular Biology, and Psychology to offer innovative courses and research opportunities in molecular, cellular, behavioural and cognitive neuroscience. “The structure and functions of the brain are incredibly complex,” says Prof. Francesco Leri, chair of the Department of Psychology. “Through this new major, we’ll help unshroud some of the mystery that surrounds them.” The first cohort of students in the neuroscience major will begin in September 2017.



University Centre updates will create more space for students Areas of the University Centre (UC) are being updated to make better use of space on the first floor and in Peter Clark Hall. Changes on the first floor include a new open lounge and meeting space for students, and new energyefficient and larger washroom facilities, including an accessible universal washroom. Renovations to Peter Clark Hall will include a multiuse meeting space and updates to the carpet, ceilings, lights and soundproofing. The UC is a shared building that the University and students jointly administer through the UC Board and UC Management. Since the building opened in 1974, the student population has almost doubled. Philip John, acting director of the UC, says the renovation plans “go a long way in creating much-needed multi-purpose space for students.”

U of G celebrates Canada’s 150th A new U of G website highlights campus and community events celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017. The website will be updated as events are added. Visit www.uoguelph. ca/canada150 to view all the listings and news.

CAMPUS NEWS Kirsty Duncan, federal minister of science, centre, visited U of G to discuss gender equity in science with faculty and students, including Charlotte Yates, provost and vice-president (academic), right, who led the discussion. @porticomag

Spring 2017  PORTICO  | 9



Researchers identify monarch butterfly birthplaces to help conserve species University of Guelph researchers have pinpointed the North American birthplaces of migratory monarch butterflies that overwinter in Mexico, vital information that will help conserve the dwindling species. The researchers analyzed “chemical fingerprints” in the wings of butterflies collected as far back as the mid-1970s to learn where monarchs migrate within North America each autumn. The largest percentage of monarchs migrated to Mexico from the American Midwest, but the biologists were surprised to find the insects’ origins were spread fairly evenly throughout Canada and the United States. “We expected the vast majority of monarch butterflies to be found in the Midwestern states,” says Tyler Flockhart, lead author and Liber Ero Postdoctoral Fellow at U of G. “However, just 38 per cent come from that part of the U.S.A. If we just focus conservation activities on this area, this research shows we will be missing a large number of butterflies born elsewhere in North America.” 10  |  PORTICO  Spring 2017

Monarch numbers have dropped significantly in recent years, likely due partly to the eradication of milkweed, which began in the mid-1990s. Monarchs feed on milkweed and lay their eggs on the plants. Analyzing more than 1,000 samples, the research team looked at chemical isotope signatures showing where the butterflies were born in the previous summer and fall. They found that 12 per cent of the insects were born in the northwestern U.S. and Canadian Prairies, 17 per cent in the north-central States and Ontario, 15 per cent in the northeastern U.S. and the Maritimes, 11 per cent in the south-central U.S. and eight per cent in the southeastern States. Co-author and integrative biology professor Ryan Norris says the study shows monarch conservation efforts must begin immediately throughout North America. He calls for better collection and analysis of butterflies in their Mexican overwintering grounds to monitor the effects of conservation efforts.

To view a new innovation each day, visit www.uoguelph.ca/ research.



U of G showcases 150 research innovations The University of Guelph’s Office of Research has launched a 150 Innovations Project to commemorate Canada’s sesquicentennial. A U of G innovation will be posted on the office’s website daily. The first innovations highlighted include DNA barcoding, the rural diaries project, growing food on Mars, the shipping fever vaccine and the Guelph Family Health Study.



Research shows HIV stigma still prevalent One in five people who have HIV in Canada don’t know about their infection, and those who do may be reluctant to share their diagnoses because of the stigma that still exists. Sociology and anthropology professor Linda Hunter examined 25 years’ worth of HIV awareness posters aimed at women, who account for one-quarter of the 75,000 adults living with HIV in Canada. Hunter looked at posters from 1990 to 2015 and found that poster campaigns generally reinforce stigma rather than promote communication. Hunter’s study found that early posters reinforced the stigma around HIV by citing examples of how women with HIV were treated differently and were portrayed as being isolated. One poster, produced in 2004, depicts a woman isolated from her peers with text stating that since her diagnosis, no one wanted to share anything with her, “not even the bathroom.” This type of fear-based messaging can lead to misinformation, stereotyping and stigma, says Hunter. A more effective approach, she adds, FEAR-BASED would be to portray MESSAGING HIV-positive women CAN LEAD TO surrounded by friends MISINFORMATION, and family. STEREOTYPING She also points to AND STIGMA, a recent campaign by SAYS HUNTER. the Canadian AIDS Society in 2015 called HIVAnonymous. The word “anonymous” further stigmatizes people living with HIV, she says, as does the use of a faceless silhouette. Hunter did find an exception to this trend. A 2013 anti-stigma poster campaign from Montreal features HIV-positive individuals talking about their lives and their contributions to their communities. The poster states, “It’s HIV that needs to be excluded, not the people living with it.” She says reducing the stigma can help women feel more comfortable about seeking health care and talking about issues regarding sexuality, pregnancy and child care with health-care providers. Many women with HIV avoid accessing health services and support programs due to fear of judgment by healthcare providers. –SUSAN BUBAK



Is it true that my dog doesn’t like to be hugged? For humans, a hug is nurturing and builds trust and a sense of safety. But your dog may not feel the same way. Leaning against or reaching around dogs can feel threatening to them, says Prof. Lee Niel, Col. K. L. Campbell Chair in Companion Animal Welfare at U of G’s Ontario Veterinary College. “What may be enjoyable for you may cause your pet stress,” she says. Hugs aren’t necessarily off limits. The key is respecting your dog’s boundaries and personal space. Niel says each dog is different in terms of what they like and don’t like, so it’s important to watch your dog’s behaviour for clues. “If they are showing signs of fear — things like lowered ears, lowered body posture and trying to pull away — those are obvious signs they are not enjoying a particular type of interaction,” says Niel. “But if they are leaning in and soliciting more attention, you know you are on the right track as to the kind of things they enjoy.” The type and amount of affection a dog enjoys isn’t about the dog’s breed. Niel says it’s about previous experiences and the individual personality of

the dog. This shouldn’t come as a surprise — it’s true of people, too. “The way we all interact with the world is based on our previous experiences of what is safe and what isn’t,” she says. And just like us, if your dog is focused on an activity such as eating dinner or feels anxious for some reason, it might not be the best time to solicit affection from them. “When your dog is stressed and focused on dealing with that stress, they might not want to be cuddled and touched because that might be distracting to them,” says Niel. This is also true if they are sleeping. Like you, your dog may not want to be woken up for a hug. Niel says the best approach for a happy dog is to make yourself available and let them come to you. Dogs can also adjust to our behaviour. “You probably already know some ways your pet likes to interact with you,” says Niel. For example, most dogs like to be scratched on the shoulders. Get to know what your dog likes and you will enjoy a trusting relationship with all the benefits of the human-animal bond.–KAREN MANTEL Spring 2017  PORTICO  | 11


Fungi key to forest diversity To understand forest diversity, look not just to the trees but also to the fungi, says a new international study involving a University of Guelph professor. A team of researchers, including U of G integrative biology professor Hafiz Maherali, found that fungi — not trees — are what control forest diversity. More specifically, whether a tree and its fungi have an “internal” or “external” relationship affects growth patterns. Tree species diversity is critical for maintaining forest biodiversity and ecosystem function, including everything from carbon storage to nutrient cycling. But the factors regulating tree diversity have remained unclear. Scientists have long known that plants and soil fungi form symbiotic relationships called mycorrhizas, with plants providing carbon in exchange for nutrients. Most tree species, including maple and ash, have internal mycorrhizas with fungi that colonize in tree roots. But other species, such as pine and oak, have external mycorrhizas that produce a protective sheath around the root. In the study, published in Science, the researchers examined 55 tree species from 550 forest locations in North America. They found the type of relationship determines where trees grow. In both greenhouses and forests, they found that trees with external mycorrhizas might grow together more densely because their roots are protected from pathogens in the soil. Trees with internal mycorrhizas growing in the same soil as their parent tree are exposed to the parent’s pathogens. “Pathogen attack causes these trees to grow further away from their parent, a process that increases forest diversity,” says Maherali. The results may help in forest management and restoration and in better understanding the effect of invasive species.

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U of G part of ‘energy neutral’ waste water treatment project The University of Guelph is taking part in a novel $1.5-million initiative backed by the federal government that aims to eliminate energy costs for waste water treatment. U of G will work with GE Water and Process Technologies, along with McMaster University, to test new ways to reduce energy consumption while generating energy from the waste water treatment process and using beneficial resources from waste water. It’s the first large project to receive funding under the Southern Ontario Water Consortium’s (SOWC) Advancing Water Technologies program, which supports collaborative, industry-led technology development projects and is funded by FedDev Ontario through a $12-million contribution announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last year. “Waste water treatment is critical to human health and environmental sustainability,” says Malcolm Campbell, vice-president (research). “This project will bolster the University of Guelph’s great strengths in water research and help improve life.” The project aims to achieve energy neutrality in waste water treatment by reducing demand and by recovering energy from biogas. U of G will work with GE to test new anaerobic digestion technology, using advanced bio-solids treatment to improve biogas production and kill pathogens. The research will be done at the University’s cutting-edge waste water pilot facility. Built in partnership with SOWC and the City of Guelph, the facility uses variable waste water streams from the municipal waste water treatment plant for technology testing and demonstration. Ed McBean, U of G engineering professor and Canada Research Chair in Water Supply Security, heads the pilot facility. Engineering professor Sheng Chang is U of G’s lead researcher on the project.





Plant-based ingredient could lead to improved tuberculosis vaccine The tuberculosis (TB) vaccine hasn’t changed much since it was first used on humans almost a century ago, yet the disease is still prevalent in Canada’s aboriginal communities and in developing countries. In Canada, the TB vaccine is recommended only for those who live or work in high-risk areas for TB transmission. The vaccine is only 51 per cent effective in preventing any type of TB infection, according to the Government of Canada’s Immunization Guide. “It’s not effective anymore, especially in adults,” says University of Guelph chemistry professor Mario Monteiro. “It’s not even used now in North America.” Monteiro is working on a new type of TB vaccine that uses a plant-based ingredient to trigger an immune response in the body. Monteiro’s lab is best known for developing vaccines against gastrointestinal bugs such as Clostridium difficile and Campylobacter jejuni, both of which cause diarrhea. Both

St. John’s wort vaccines use polysaccharides (long sugar molecules found on bacterial cell surfaces) to fire up the body’s immune system. Monteiro decided to use a similar approach with TB. The infectious lung disease is particularly dangerous for young children and people living with HIV/ AIDS. Cases of multidrug-resistant TB are on the rise, making the need for a new vaccine even more pressing. In collaboration with Prof. Praveen Saxena, Department of Plant Agriculture, Monteiro’s lab also studies medicinal plants such as St.

John’s wort and their effects on the immune system. Monteiro noticed the plant produces a polysaccharide region similar to an area in the cell wall of the TB mycobacterium. Plants with these types of polysaccharide structures have properties that stimulate the immune system, as do the polysaccharides found in the cell wall of the TB mycobacterium, he explains. Instead of growing TB mycobacteria for the vaccine, which must be done safely in a biohazard lab, Monteiro is isolating and characterizing parts of the St. John’s wort polysaccharide. This process yields 1,000-fold more polysaccharide material from St. John’s wort than from TB mycobacteria. The polysaccharides from the TB mycobacteria are being used as targets for the vaccine. When the body is exposed to TB mycobacteria, the immune system will be equipped with the specific antibodies to recognize the cell surface of the microorganism and respond immediately, says Monteiro, adding the vaccine is in the early stages of development. “You can actually say vaccines can grow on trees,” he says.–SUSAN BUBAK

Battling invasive insects Prof. Peter Krell, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, is developing a new genomics approach for identifying harmful insects, including the emerald ash borer.



Canine bone cancer trial Prof. Paul Woods, Clinical Studies, is helping to run a clinical trial with the U.S. National Cancer Institute’s Comparative Oncology Trials Consortium. Researchers are evaluating the effectiveness of the therapeutic agent rapamycin in treating osteosarcoma in dogs by delaying or preventing metastasis. Woods is the co-director of the Ontario Veterinary College’s Institute for Comparative Cancer Investigation. @porticomag

DNA barcoding part of UN plan Representatives at the UN’s Biodiversity Conference ratified a decision to support DNA barcoding as part of its strategic plan to protect biodiversity. U of G Prof. Paul Hebert was the first scientist to propose short DNA sequencing to identify species. DNA barcodes are now available for more than 500,000 species and five million individual plants, animals and fungi.

Hops library The Department of Plant Agriculture is creating a genetic library of Canadian hops varieties to propagate on demand high-quality hops for brewing beer. Researchers will produce clones of cultivars by growing plant parts in a sterile and controlled environment. The completed library is intended to be a reliable, Canada-specific resource for beer lovers and brewers.

Spring 2017  PORTICO  | 13

On the job

Mary Jane Conboy, PhD ’99


Director of science content and design, Ontario Science Centre WHERE ELSE can you see prehistoric creatures and the latest scientific discoveries in the same place? The Ontario Science Centre has been amazing audiences both young and old since 1969 with its diverse array of exhibits that make science fun for everyone — even if you don’t know the difference between an atom and an axon. Mary Jane Conboy, director of science content and design, is one of many brains behind the exhibits. Working with an interdisciplinary team of researchers, writers, graphic designers and carpenters, she has helped coordinate hundreds of displays. Every exhibit at the Science Centre starts with a brainstorming session to come up with ideas that can be told as a story. “Then we have to figure out what is the most interesting part about it,” says Conboy, PhD ’99. After developing approaches to the topic, followed by a budget and timeline, all of the exhibits are built on-site. The exhibits cater to visitors of all ages and backgrounds, and to different learning styles and abilities. “We know that people learn in many different ways,” says Conboy. “There

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are different parts of each exhibit that appeal to different people.” Some exhibits create an immersive environment that transports visitors to another place. “In an exhibit hall, there could be something that is tactile, something that is auditory or something that triggers the olfactory sense. It’s about trying to engage all of the senses,” she says. Her favourite exhibits include a mock rainforest that feels as hot and humid as the real thing. “You learn so much from all of your senses in that particular location,” she says. Another exhibit is not for the faint of stomach, causing visitors to feel as though they’re standing on the edge of a bottomless pit. The Science Centre has 10 themed halls with hundreds of engaging experiences in each. Conboy recently led an 18-month-long renovation to the AstraZeneca Human Edge hall involving a 10,000-square-foot exhibit with more than 80 experiences related to the human body. “We try to capture emerging science as much as possible,” she says. “We reach out a lot to the research community. If it’s something about the human body, we reach out to hospitals and

medical facilities that are doing cutting-edge work.” But how does the Science Centre stay relevant in a digital age? While many museums make their collections available online, Conboy says nothing beats seeing them in person. “I don’t see Google as a direct competitor to museums. When you have little kids come in and say, ‘Wow, that’s real,’ that’s very powerful.” Her first experience conveying information to the public was during her PhD at the University of Guelph, where she studied land resource science. She did her thesis on bacterial contamination of rural drinking water wells in Ontario and Zimbabwe. Translating complex research for the public paved the way for her career at the Science Centre, where she helps visitors filter fact from fiction. “The Science Centre brings credible information to the public but does it in a way that is engaging and social,” says Conboy, of broadening visitors’ understanding and experience of science. “By bringing science to the public in a fun way, you’re able to let them discover the phenomenon, and share it with their friends and family.” –SUSAN BUBAK



Mary Jane Conboy in the Living Earth exhibit hall’s mock rainforest.

Q& A Is Donald Trump’s Twitter use changing how politicians communicate? From outbursts and accusations, to off-the-cuff commentary and criticizing foreign counterparts, U.S. President Donald Trump’s bold use of Twitter has been a source of frustration and fascination. But is he impulsively sharing his thoughts or is it a brilliant media strategy? Political science professor Tamara Small researches social media use among Canadian politicians. She talks about Donald Trump’s use of Twitter, and what Canadian politicians might learn from it. P: Do you think Trump is being strategic in his use of Twitter or just typing what he thinks in the moment? Tamara Small: I think it’s a bit of both. His tweeting style is consistent with who he is as a person — he’s always been bombastic. He’s also distrustful of many institutions, including the media. Twitter allows him to avoid dealing with the media and communicate directly with the people. And it captures their attention. That’s the strategic part. P: What makes Trump’s use of Twitter effective? TS: His tweets look like what a regular person would say, rather than a politician. On Twitter, Trump can say a multitude of things and he doesn’t have to answer questions. That’s good for politicians — there’s no detail, no context, just a sound bite. But politics in 140 characters by politicians of any stripe should be concerning to the public. P: Why should we be concerned? TS: If politicians don’t have to defend their ideas in a public forum, we all lose. There’s a reason why a free press is a @porticomag

cornerstone of democracy — we need the questions to be asked. Even if they aren’t answered, they are out there and give some context about the issues. P: Should he stop using Twitter? TS: This is more about Donald Trump as a person than about the president using Twitter. Prior to Trump, we lauded politicians for using social media. Barack Obama used Twitter and people loved it, and I don’t think anybody would suggest Justin Trudeau should shut down his account. I do think it’s time for him to stop using Twitter for things like dissing (actress) Meryl Streep or discussing foreign policy. But this is who Donald Trump is. He has never hidden who he is, and this is whom the American people elected. P: Do you think this is the future for elections — will more of them be fought on social media? TS: Not necessarily. Donald

@realDonald Trump (March 3) It’s so pathetic that the Dems have still not approved my full Cabinet.

Trump is an atypical political candidate. Most politicians could not use Twitter in this way, and talk about people the way he does and get away with it. P: Do you think we’ll see a change in the way Canadian politicians use social media? TS: I think the cork is already out of the bottle. Even in traditional media, speeches have been getting shorter and shorter. Politicians don’t want to do long talks with details on their policies or answer media questions. Most voters don’t want to listen to them, either, so we’re not going to make them. However, Canadian politicians don’t have the same size audience that Trump does. Kevin O’Leary is another bombastic reality show star who recently entered into Canadian politics. I’m sure his team is watching Donald Trump’s tactics closely. –TERESA PITMAN

Spring 2017  PORTICO  | 15



he “mild-mannered professor” might have been coined especially for Peter Tremaine. Dressed in a dark blue fleece sweater, grey pants and brown hiking shoes, wearing thin silver-rimmed glasses, and lounging back in a chair with his legs stretched out in his MacNaughton Building office, he looks nothing if not avuncular. What might pos-

16  |  PORTICO  Spring 2017

sibly rile him up? How about his electricity bill? Smiling, the U of G chemistry professor allows that he’s hardly immune to rising power prices that have sparked complaints from Ontario consumers. Like most homeowners, he says, he does what he can to conserve energy and save money by turning off lights and ensuring adequate insulation. But for him, focusing on electricity

Peter Tremaine’s water chemistry research is helping to make existing nuclear reactors more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

costs misses a bigger problem. “Global warming is more urgent,” says Tremaine, referring to global greenhouse gas emissions from such power sources as coal and natural gas. “Electricity costs for Ontario are a political issue, and that’s important, but there’s a longterm planetary issue: controlling carbon dioxide. That’s not some- “We need thing you can choose not to do.” every trick Providing needed energy for a in the book growing population while curbing to reduce carbon emissions is the ultimate carbon goal of Tremaine’s research. He’s emissions. spent more than 30 years studying Nuclear high-temperature, high-pressure power is water chemistry found in nuclear almost reactors. His work is helping to entirely extend the lifetime of existing nu- carbonclear power reactors and enabling free.” safe long-term storage of spent fuel. It’s also laying the groundwork for next-generation reactors. He’ll continue those studies as the holder of a new NSERC/UNENE Senior Industrial Research Chair in High-Temperature Aqueous Chemistry. The chair is worth $2.5 million over five years, and is funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and by the University Network of Excellence in Nuclear Engineering, along with other partners. The latter network brings together universities and industry to support nuclear research and development programs in Canadian schools, and to train future nuclear experts. “Peter is doing work uniquely relevant to CANDU reactors, our homegrown reactor designs — that’s not going to get done anywhere else in the world,” says Jerry Hopwood, a physicist and current president of UNENE. “In the control room of a reactor, your knowledge of the exact operating state is being helped by Peter’s work.” Beyond the reactor control room, Tremaine aims to benefit electricity 18  |  PORTICO  Spring 2017

consumers as well as the environment by finding ways to improve nuclear power reactors — what he considers one of the best carbon-free solutions for meeting our energy needs. In Ontario, hydroelectric power provides about one-quarter of that demand, but it’s not necessarily benign. Electricity from natural cataracts such as Niagara Falls is carbon-free. But damming rivers in order to generate hydro also poses environmental problems, says Tremaine, including the release of greenhouse-warming methane from rotting vegetation submerged in artificial lakes and ponds. Other green sources, notably wind and solar, are essential, but they generate much less energy and require backups when the wind and sun aren’t cooperating. Ontario’s nuclear plants — the Darlington and Pickering stations run by Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and the privately run Bruce Power plant — provide about 60 per cent of the province’s electricity. Beyond Ontario, Tremaine says cost is the main deterrent to building nuclear power plants. (New Brunswick has a single nuclear plant; Quebec decommissioned an earlier facility.) The infrastructure is expensive to build and maintain, from the costs of stringent environmental assessments to refurbishment expenses needed to safely extend the operating life of older plants. Along with many other green energy sources, nuclear power remains more expensive than oil and gas. Tremaine says we might come to rely more on those sources — including nuclear, as well as energy conservation — if we reckoned in the true costs of relying on fossil fuels. Canada is implementing carbon pricing, and Ontario has introduced a cap-and-trade pro-

gram intended to limit greenhouse gas emissions. He says even those measures don’t come close to accounting for the full cost of extracting and burning carbon in coal or natural gas to produce electricity if the energy costs of capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide emissions are included. Using today’s technology, long-term carbon dioxide storage would require the energy equivalent of 30 per cent more oil or gas to be burnt — an additional cost not factored into fossil fuel prices. “We need every trick in the book to reduce carbon emissions. Nuclear power is almost entirely carbon-free,” says Tremaine, whose studies of hydrothermal chemistry are important for both nuclear power production and waste management. “The greenhouse gas problem is huge, and it’s going to get worse. I get more riled up about politicians who ignore the science about greenhouse gases and misrepresent to the public the need to do something now.” The other thing that fires him up is a general failure to recognize that made-in-Canada nuclear power technology is one of our best bets for ensuring a reliable, largely carbon-free and relatively cheap source of electricity into the future. The CANDU heavy water reactor now used in Ontario and New Brunswick, and in a number of countries around the world, was developed largely by Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (AECL) during the 1950s and ’60s. Add in this country’s uranium mining and fuel fabrication sector, and Tremaine says, “Canada is a major player in the international nuclear industry.” CANDU heavy water reactors built between the 1970s and 1990s were designed to run for 30 years, with refurbishment allowing for another 30 years of operation. In


2011, SNC-Lavalin based in Montreal bought AECL’s commercial reactor division, now run as Candu Energy Inc. Various reactor units at the Pickering, Darlington and Bruce stations have been updated or are undergoing refurbishments. Tremaine stresses that CANDU reactors are built to meet rigorous safety standards set by international agencies and by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). Those standards are strictly monitored to ensure that a reactor is either shut down at the end of its life or refurbished to extend its lifetime. It’s like the brake linings on your car: “You have to replace them or stop driving. Our research has helped extend the Pickering reactors’ lifetime by about 10 years.” Although the Pickering site will be decommissioned in 2024, the refurbished Darlington units and Bruce Power station are intended to hum along for decades. Tremaine aims to help ensure their design lifetimes can be met or exceeded: “We want to fine-tune reactor operating chemistry to minimize longterm corrosion of components.” Sketching diagrams on a whiteboard in his office, Tremaine explains that a CANDU reactor uses heavy water to move heat from the reactor core to a boiler. Steam generated in the boiler then drives the turbine generator that creates electricity. The system uses pipes and tubes to circulate both heavy and normal water in different circuits within the plant. Understanding what happens under a nuclear plant’s high temperatures (250-300 C) and pressures is critical for modelling complicated chemical reactions that, over time, may cause thinning of the tubes carrying heavy water coolant. That thinning may contaminate equipment and cause radiation problems that require costly repair or replacement. @porticomag

HOW A CANDU REACTOR WORKS A CANDU reactor uses heavy water to move heat from the reactor core to a boiler. Steam generated in the boiler then drives the turbine generator that creates electricity. The system uses pipes and tubes to circulate both heavy and normal water in different circuits within the plant. Recovered Uranium

Storage Depleted Uranium


Enriched Uranium Spent Fuel Thorium Mine + Fissile LWR


Thorium Cycle

Recovered Uranium

Low Enriched Uranium

NUE Plutonium

Natural Uranium


Depleted Uranium Uranium Mine


MOX Natural Uranium

Looking to prevent problems, operators use Tremaine’s work to refine both heavy and light water chemistry. His studies take place in his U of G hydrothermal chemistry research laboratory, using a suite of instruments that’s nearly unrivalled in any university lab. “This is one of the few labs in the world with the equipment and expertise to study these chemical reactions in light and heavy water under the high-temperature conditions relevant to nuclear reactors,” says Jenny Cox, senior research associate and lab manager. Don’t look for a mock nuclear reactor here. Instead, there’s a variety of benchtop devices, including a pressure vessel (called a “bomb”) as big as a reusable drink cup that works like a pressure cooker for studies of water and chemicals under reactor conditions — minus the radiation. Various instruments allow researchers to identify products of chemical reactions, and chemical concentrations and properties in solution. For some experiments, the lab uses small

U-233 + Heavy Element


amounts of depleted (lightly radioactive) uranium. Nuclear engineers use the results of these experiments to control His studies chemistry in existing nuclear power plants. Tremaine’s research is also take place in his U of G intended to help design future generations of power reactors. hydroCanada is among signatories to an thermal international agreement to develop chemistry and select a next-generation reactor research laboratory, concept expected to be online in about 25 years. Topping the list is using a the super-critical water reactor, suite of instruments which would operate at water temperatures up to 600 C. Tremaine that’s says there are plenty of water chemnearly istry questions to answer before unrivalled that new design is in use. in any Other experts are using his work university to model conditions for long-term lab. geological storage of spent nuclear fuel. Canada’s Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) hopes to select a safe disposal site — likely half a kilometre down within a suitable rock formation in the Canadian Shield — by about 2024. Tremaine says Spring 2017  PORTICO  | 19

experts looking for such a contained site need to ensure that their choice is both scientifically sound and socially acceptable. Multiple barriers would be installed to keep contaminants in the repository. Under current models, it would take hundreds of thousands of years for contaminants to reach the Earth’s surface after any container breach. His research will help the NWMO understand and model the movement of those fuel contaminants. All radioactive spent fuel is now stored on-site. Social acceptance of nuclear energy is perhaps a bigger hurdle. Some people distrust the technology, he says. In 2011, Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant experienced a meltdown and radiation release after an earthquake-induced tsunami. Closer to home, a meltdown occurred in 1979 at the Three Mile Island nuclear station in Pennsylvania. Both accidents involved a loss of reactor coolant. No incident has occurred in a CANDU reactor that might have prevented cooling of nuclear fuel. Unlike most other commercial power reactors, CANDU reactors have hundreds of pressure tubes containing nuclear fuel bundles. If a tube fails, Tremaine says, it may be isolated and replaced without affecting its neighbours, as happened in 1986 at Pickering. In his office, an aerial photo hanging on one wall depicts the Whiteshell Laboratories complex formerly run by AECL in Pinawa, Man. That’s where Tremaine landed his first job in the industry in 1975, after chemistry studies at the University of Waterloo and the University of Alberta. “Nuclear research sounded exciting,” he says. “Canada was just building its first reactors. All of that was exciting. It was the space race in nuclear power.” Recalling being sent for training to the then new Bruce 20  |  PORTICO  Spring 2017

THE RESEARCH Understanding what happens under a nuclear plant’s high temperatures and pressures is critical for modelling complicated chemical reactions that, over time, may cause thinning of the tubes carrying heavy water coolant. That thinning may contaminate equipment and cause radiation problems that require costly repair or replacement.

Nuclear energy is part of what makes Canada an energy superpower.

installation on Lake Huron, he says, “I crawled all over the Bruce reactor to provide background for water chemistry research. Once it started up, I realized I had gotten in on the ground floor there. That’s an experience very few people in the industry have ever had.” Tremaine grew up in Thornhill, Ont. His father, an air force officer, was a “science junkie.” Arguably, so were his sons: Peter’s brother, Scott, is an astrophysicist at Princeton University. Peter came to U of G in 2001 as dean of the College of Physical and Engineering Science, and served in that position for five years. U of G gives Tremaine handy access to other chemists on campus — particularly within his department’s Electrochemical Technology Centre — and to industry connections in southern Ontario. During an earlier 10-year stint as chair of the chemistry department at Memorial

University of Newfoundland, he worked on research with Ontario Power Generation. Tongue in cheek, he says, “This is a lot closer to OPG.” Those industry ties have always been critical for Tremaine. As far back as his own university days, he says, “I wanted something socially relevant.” During a one-year postdoc at McGill University’s Pulp and Paper Research Institute, he got his first taste of collaborative research involving university, industry and government. That model has characterized his research ever since, including the new NSERC/UNENE chair. “Part of the fun of this is to talk to industry people and understand what problems they are looking at, what needs to be done, working to design a program that addresses a need,” says Tremaine. Those ties have enabled him to sustain a research program that currently involves five grad students, two research associates and three post-docs. From its beginnings in the 1950s, nuclear power was viewed as an exciting, high-tech industry that could help meet global energy needs, says Tremaine. That early enthusiasm was dimmed by nuclear accidents in the United States, Russia and Japan. But he believes acceptance will grow, particularly as we’re forced to consider carbon-free alternatives. Nuclear energy is part of what makes Canada an energy superpower, says Tremaine. “We should be approaching oil and gas, hydro and nuclear with sophistication and be world leaders in all three. I’m not sure most Canadians see it that way.” Recalling his early years studying and working in Alberta, he says, “Scratch an Albertan and ask about oil, and you get an informed opinion. It should be the same with nuclear power in Ontario.”

Create a scholarship so our students can change the world. Make a bequest today. For more information on bequest giving, please visit www.alumni.uoguelph.ca or contact bequests@uoguelph.ca.


Spring 2017  PORTICO  | 21


MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS Story by Susan Bubak and Andrew Vowles

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n the surface, Tunchai Redvers and Garrett McFadden have little in common. She grew up in a small First Nations community in the Northwest Territories and struggled with her indigenous identity; he grew up in a middle-class family, playing hockey in a lakeside Ontario town. Today, Redvers is a graduate student, and McFadden is captain of the Guelph Storm hockey team and a first-year student at U of G.

Garrett McFadden started McFadden’s Movement, a non-profit foundation to teach young athletes about mental health.


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The common thread they share isn’t obvious, but it affects up to 20 per cent of Canadian youth. Mental illness has touched both of their lives. Now they’re using their personal experiences to raise awareness and make things better for others.

Breaking the   stigma of “mental toughness”


e was already stickhandling roles as fulltime captain of the Guelph Storm hockey team and part-time economics student at the University of Guelph. Now Garrett McFadden is devoting time to a new campaign intended to encourage young athletes to talk about mental health issues. It’s an initiative rooted in his brush with a teenage hockey player who took his own life several years ago. McFadden’s Movement, a nonprofit foundation established last fall, is intended to teach young athletes about signs of mental health issues and strategies for addressing problems. Under the initiative, the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) player visits area minor hockey teams to discuss mental health. “It’s important to make sure they know they have people to talk to and tools out there to help them,” says McFadden, speaking rink-side on campus. Besides sharing information, he’s raising funds for the local branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and for Wes for Youth, an online counselling and resource site for people with mental health issues. Jamie and Yolanda Cameron in Walkerton, Ont., established the program after their son Wes died by suicide at age 16. 24  |  PORTICO  Spring 2017

That was just over five years ago, but the memory is still raw for McFadden, 19. McFadden grew up in Kincardine, Ont., where he started playing organized hockey at age four. He and Cameron played in the Grey Bruce Highlanders minor hockey league, where they faced off against each other a few times. Before Cameron’s death, McFadden knew nothing about mental health issues. Since then, he’s learned plenty about the topic — and about dealing with some of life’s ups and downs. Drafted by the Storm at age 16, he moved to Guelph in 2014. That year, the team won the OHL championship, although rookie No. 27 saw little ice time. He missed much of the next season due to injuries. Last year, the team won only 13 games all year. Watching teammates’ reactions and behaviour as assistant captain during that bruising season, McFadden found himself learning about motivation, handling emotions and team play. This year, the Storm defender was named captain. With a young team battling inconsistencies on the ice, that role has involved plenty

He’s able to talk on their level. It’s awesome to see someone they admire and look up to affected by mental health issues and still press on.

SIGNS THAT SOMEONE MAY BE STRUGGLING Suicide is among the leading causes of premature death in Canada among people ages 15 to 24, according to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA). Jessica Schumacher with the Guelph chapter of the CMHA, shares signs that someone may be dealing with a mental health problem: Changes in appearance or mood. Abuse or misuse of alcohol or drugs. Withdrawing from family and friends. Easily agitated or angry. Making dark jokes about suicide or death.

of discussion with teammates, both collectively and one-on-one. Thinking about their struggles made McFadden think about Wes Cameron. When Stephanie Coratti, the Storm’s community relations coordinator, met with a few team members last spring to discuss community engagement, McFadden broached his idea. Under the new program, McFadden visits minor hockey teams around Guelph for hour-long talks. Typically he speaks to about 20 people at a time, although one session drew close to 50 people, including parents. In his talk, he discusses the 2011 incident as well as struggles since then on and off the ice. Also part of the program is Jessica Schumacher, youth engagement facilitator with the CMHA. She provides information about teen suicide and mental health, including signs of stress, coping strategies and where to go for help. Schumacher says McFadden’s combination of youthfulness and his status as a major junior player make him a role model for younger players, as well as a good foil for her own presentation. “Garrett getting up to tell a story shows huge strength,” says Schumacher, who runs a CMHA peer suicide prevention and health promotion program in local high schools. “It also shows his vulnerable side, dealing with the loss of someone he knows. “He’s able to talk on their level. It’s awesome to see someone they admire and look up to affected by mental health issues and still press on.” That’s especially important for young athletes who often feel compelled to keep quiet about problems, she says. “You need to be strong, you’re not allowed to show emotion, and you’re supposed to

keep things inside. It’s really important to reduce the stigma.” McFadden gives about two to three talks a month — about as much as his hockey and school schedule will allow. He admits he was nervous about talking to kids about mental health. “What if I don’t make an impact?” he thought. “That’s what frightens me.” He need not have worried. Attending the talks, Coratti, BA ’15, watches listeners’ reactions to gauge how they’re feeling. “A few kids were barely blinking. They were just eyes on Garrett — full attention,” she says. “If he can see that he’s helped one kid, that’s a success to him.”

Hope and support for aboriginal   youth



unchai Redvers didn’t have access to mental health resources while growing up in a Dene First Nations community of about 3,500 people in Hay River, Northwest Territories. Like many aboriginal youth in Canada, she experienced feelings of isolation and witnessed the effects of substance abuse. “Drug and alcohol addiction was very present and visible growing up in the communities and also within my extended family,” says Redvers, BA ’16. “This visibility made it really normalized, and I saw a lot of people suffering and struggling.” Her personal struggles led to a suicide attempt at age 15. Recent headlines have brought national attention to the high rates of aboriginal youth suicide in Canada, with victims as young as 10. Redvers points to Attawapiskat First Nation in Northern Ontario, where last year a state of emergency @porticomag

Tunchai Redvers started We Matter, a national campaign that provides hope and support to aboriginal youth.

was declared due to the epidemic of suicide attempts on the reserve. “There really is a crisis in Canada,” she says. “We were just so overwhelmed by it and tired of hearing about these statistics, so we decided to do something about it.” In fall 2016, Redvers and her filmmaker brother, Kelvin, launched a national campaign called We Matter to provide hope and support to aboriginal young people. It models itself after the It Gets Better campaign for LGBTQ youth. The siblings created short videos of aboriginal role models across Canada who beat the odds to not only survive but also thrive. Aboriginal icons such as comedian Don Burnstick, Manitoba politician Wab Kinew and CBC reporter Angela Sterritt are among those who have shared their experiences in We Matter videos, which are posted on the website and have

received thousands of views. “I still get emotional watching some of the videos,” says Redvers. “There has never been a space like this before, especially for young people, to have so many positive, strong indigenous voices in one public spot.” She says We Matter gives the aboriginal community a platform to share their stories of hope and survival while turning tragedy into possibility. The website also welcomes video submissions from anyone who wants to offer messages of support to indigenous communities. Redvers attributes some of her own identity struggles to the lack of aboriginal role models she had while growing up and the negative portrayal of indigenous people in the media. Having access to a site like We Matter could have made a difference in her life, she says. Redvers eventually moved to Spring 2017  PORTICO  | 25

WHERE TO GET HELP Seeking help for a mental health concern is one of the biggest hurdles for students, says U of G psychology professor Margaret Lumley. Students may blame themselves for not being able to deal with their own mental health concerns, and may fear being rejected or judged by friends and family. “We know the higher the levels of internalized stigma that youth with mental illness possess, the less likely they are to reach out and ask for help or access services,” says Lumley. The University of Guelph’s Student Wellness Services offers various health and wellness services to students: The Student Support Network run by the Wellness Education Centre offers drop-in peer support. Counselling Services offers professional short-term counselling and therapy, as well as referrals to off-campus resources for those who need longer-term assistance. No appointment is necessary. Health Services physicians can refer students to an onsite psychiatrist. After-hours phone support is offered through Here 24/7 (1-844-437-3247) and Good2Talk (1-866-9255454). Off campus, the Canadian Mental Health Association of Waterloo Wellington Dufferin offers local services and resources (www.cmhaww.ca).

26  |  PORTICO  Spring 2017

We try to provide that little bit of hope — that little bit of light — for youth to catch onto.

Yellowknife with her father and got involved in sports and other extracurricular activities available in a larger city. When she came to U of G, she was drawn to international development studies for its focus on social justice and global issues. She travelled to India as part of the Global Youth Network and to Guatemala for a study-abroad trip. A three-month internship with Right to Play brought her to Northern Ontario, where she helped organize sports-based summer camps for First Nations communities. Redvers credits the Aboriginal Resource Centre at U of G for its support while she was a student. She’s now pursuing a master of social work degree. According to Health Canada, First Nations youth face a suicide rate that’s five to seven times higher than for non-aboriginal youth, and Inuit youth have some of the highest suicide rates globally at 11 times the national average. “I think it comes down to a real sense of hopelessness in youth and getting to the point where you feel nothing is going to get better,” says Redvers. She points to the lingering effects of colonization and residential schools (her grandmother grew up in a residential school in the Northwest Territories), substance abuse, loss of cultural traditions and lack of support for those who need help. Since its launch, We Matter has reached more than one million people on social media and has received national media coverage. Redvers hopes the campaign will start a conversation about mental health, and help guide indigenous youth who are struggling with suicidal thoughts and hardship. “We try to provide that little bit of hope — that little bit of light — for youth to catch onto.”

U OF G COURSE PROVIDES STUDENT SUPPORT The wall of silence surrounding mental illness is beginning to crack, but the stigma hasn’t disappeared. University of Guelph psychology professor Margaret Lumley is helping students overcome the stigma by teaching “Mental Health and Well-Being,” a first-year course for students who have been diagnosed with a mental health issue. “We know that in the university climate, the demand for mental health services has increased exponentially over the past decade,” says Lumley, who studies youth resiliency and mental health. “Universities across Canada have been struggling to meet that demand.” Since 70 per cent of mental illnesses begin to develop in adolescence and early adulthood, when young people typically enter college or university, it’s a critical time for early intervention, she adds. Although mental health awareness is growing among students, “there’s still a long way to go,” says Lumley. Sharing their mental health concerns with other students who are experiencing the same challenges helps reduce feelings of isolation. “Despite the difficulties they may have endured, they have so much to offer, sometimes because of those experiences,” she says. The course offers a supportive atmosphere for students to learn about themselves and each other through group activities and guest speakers, including upperyear students with mental health challenges. Topics include recognizing personal strengths, developing healthy coping strategies, and how to access mental health resources on and off campus and online. Across campus, stress reduction and resilience skills are also built into academic programs, including initiatives in the School of Engineering and the Ontario Veterinary College, and other departments such as Athletics.

This I know

Tackling concussions, head-on


s a rugby player, Harrison Brown knows what it’s like to get a concussion, but he didn’t always receive the right medical treatment. During a high school rugby game, he was hit so hard, he stumbled off the field and vomited. It was a teammate — not a coach — who advised him to sit out for the rest of the game. “What’s happening on the sidelines is either nothing, or they’re using a piece of paper to perform a subjective test,” says Brown, who now researches concussions at the University of British Columbia (UBC) where he is a PhD candidate in sensorimotor physiology. Government of Canada statistics show that football, soccer and hockey head injuries among youth have increased by more than 40 per cent. Brown wanted to bridge the gap between concussion testing in the lab and on the sidelines. In 2016, Brown co-founded HeadCheck Health and developed a mobile app that trainers and coaches can use during a game to assess potential concussions. The HeadCheck app consists of a series of eight test modules that cover cognition, balance and memory. The tests are conducted before a head injury to establish a player’s baseline and after a brain-rattling impact. “It’s a quick, accurate way to perform both sideline and post-injury tests for concussions,” says Brown. The test takes about 10 minutes to complete. @porticomag

The app is based on the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT3), which uses a series of tests to evaluate a player’s symptoms following a blow to the head. Testing balance, cognition or memory alone won’t provide enough information to assess whether someone has a concussion. “The best way to do it is to test multiple functions of the brain,” says Brown, B.Sc. ’10. “You get a very broad picture of somebody’s brain health.” To test balance using the app, the player is asked to stand in three different positions: stand with eyes closed and hands on the hips; position one foot in front of the other heel to toe; and stand on the non-dominant leg with the other leg raised. Brown and his team are developing a headband with sensors that will help measure a player’s balance more accurately. The app delivers real-time results but doesn’t recommend whether a player should be pulled from the game; that decision is left up to the user. Every concussion and player is different, Brown

explains, and what causes a concussion in one player may not affect another in the same way. The extent of the injury depends on the player and other variables, including the direction and force of impact, neck positioning and the amount of fluid in the brain. Sixty teams representing 1,800 athletes at various levels are using the app, as well as all of UBC’s varsity teams. “They said it was an important investment in the health of their athletes,” Brown says of UBC’s endorsement. “We did this to improve the health of athletes and protect them.” Concussion awareness has grown since Brown was in high school. “I wasn’t educated on concussions. I didn’t know that I needed to be tested. I didn’t know that there should have been someone there to make sure I was OK and make the decision as to whether I could play or not.” Now that he knows about the dangers of playing with a concussion, he says, “It’s a little bit scary to know that I experienced that.”–SUSAN BUBAK

The HeadCheck app: Available on iTunes. Track concussion indicator scores such as symptoms, concentration, balance and memory. Post-injury assessment and objective balance testing are accessible to users with a HeadCheck account.

Spring 2017  PORTICO  | 27


Gary Pundsack thinks flying a kite is more than child’s play. It could help provide power to those living in developing countries. His company, Stratodynamics Aviation Inc., developed two new inventions that harness National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) technology as part of a global Space Race start-up challenge. The U.S. Center for Advancing Innovation held the contest in partnership with NASA to create space technology spinoffs using SKYFISH IS A NASA patents or inventions. PARAFOIL KITE Pundsack’s team was the only Canadian team among ATTACHED TO the 15 finalists announced last A GENERATOR November. ON THE One of the team’s inventions, GROUND THAT called Skyfish, is a parafoil kite PRODUCES attached to a generator on the ENERGY FOR ground that produces energy for OFF-THE-GRID off-the-grid markets. More than MARKETS one billion people worldwide, mostly in developing countries, live without a regular source of power. “There is a growing market of micro-grid developers who are providing power in places where there is no infrastructure,” says Pundsack, MBA ’12. He also sees potential applications for Skyfish in rural areas. Skyfish produces 2,000 watts of energy — enough to power about 30 homes. The kite automatically flies in a figure-eight pattern in high-wind areas, pulling 28  |  PORTICO  Spring 2017

on two lines that turn the generator as the lines are extended. Once the kite is fully extended, it is navigated to a low-wind area and the lines are reeled in until the cycle can repeat. A NASA-developed control system steers the kite, and a battery bank stores the energy for immediate or future use. Another innovation is an unmanned glider called HiDRON that provides weather-monitoring data. Traditional weather balloons are launched twice a day from 900 sites worldwide. In the U.S. alone, that’s about 75,000 weather balloons launched annually. “Once the balloon bursts, the equipment (called a radiosonde) parachutes back uncontrolled and about 80 per cent of this equipment is lost,” says Pundsack. If no one finds the equipment, it becomes waste. Weighing only 500 grams, HiDRON hitches a ride on a weather balloon and glides back to Earth, carrying the weather monitoring equipment so it can be reused. GPS technology allows the glider to be tracked, and also monitors wind speed and direction. “The glider will be able to fly itself back, but maybe over time stay aloft longer by using natural currents that are available,” says Pundsack. Most weather data such as temperature, barometric pressure and relative humidity is collected by weather balloons with radiosondes as they float up to the stratosphere, as high as 18,000 metres above the Earth. “All of the data collected goes into building our weather forecasts,” he says. “That process hasn’t really changed since the 1930s.” Pundsack says the technology could be used


Bringing space technology down to Earth

Working by the book

Gary Pundsack’s company is using space technology to help life on Earth. by national weather agencies and research institutions to monitor the atmosphere and the effects of climate change. Stratodynamics plans to commercialize both inventions within the next two to three years. “My MBA has been critical for evaluating the commercialization process,” he says. “The technology is fascinating and interesting, but so much of the success is based on developing a viable business model for a market that has growth potential.” –SUSAN BUBAK


If you’ve been captivated by a novel by a contemporary Canadian writer, chances are Iris Tupholme helped get that book into your hands. As senior vice-president and executive publisher at HarperCollins Canada, Tupholme is responsible for the overall vision of the publishing program. Along with a team of editors, she decides which books make it to market (it’s as much about a compelling and well-written story as it is a business decision about audience reach). She’s also a hands-on editor with more than 500 books to her credit, including novels from prominent Canadian authors such as University of Guelph professor Lawrence Hill (The Illegal) and Emma Donoghue (Room). “The editor is the author’s champion within the publishing process,” says Tupholme, BA ’80. “The editor is the ideal reader — the careful, thoughtful, insightful reader who sees beyond what is on the page, and urges the writer to deepen and improve the manuscript in each draft.” Hill has worked with Tupholme for 20 years — she became his editor for his second novel, Any Known Blood. “It was a very serious book, but the first chapter when I submitted it to her was high comedy,” he says. Tupholme felt this would confuse readers and suggested adding a chapter to set up the story. “So, I went back and wrote a prologue and I still think it is one of the best parts of the book,” says Hill. “She didn’t tell me what to do, but she knows how to extract the best from me. She makes me want to write better.” One book Tupholme is especially proud of is Margaret Trudeau’s memoir Changing My Mind, which tells Trudeau’s story from a new perspective and helped break the stigma of mental illness. “Telling stories is how we understand ourselves, and to be part of the huge contribution that writers make to our world is a great privilege,” says Tupholme, who edited and published the book. As an English student at U of G, Tupholme often edited papers for roommates and friends, making suggestions for more effective sentence structure or improved arguments. She discovered she enjoyed editing as much as her friends appreciated it. A career in publishing

appealed to Tupholme, an avid reader, but she knew she didn’t want to be a writer. “I do better at helping others share their ideas,” she says. After graduation, she was a volunteer editor for a small Marxistfeminist publisher in Toronto. She then worked as a bookstore manager before moving to roles at publishers PrenticeHall and Penguin Books. She’s been with HarperCollins for 25 years. “Every day is different. I’m never bored. I’ve had maybe 10 total minutes of boredom in all the years I’ve worked in this field,” says Tupholme, who is also the founding chair of the International

Visitors Program at the International Festival of Authors. The program helps sell works by Canadian authors to international publishers. With the rise of digital books, she sees even more opportunity to share literature with the world. To Tupholme, it’s a job that goes far beyond words on paper. “Books can free the imagination and deepen our humanity,” she says. “Books extend and enrich our experience in life.”–TERESA PITMAN

Iris Tupholme is a hands-on editor with more than 500 books to her credit.

Have an idea for an alumni spotlight? Send us a note at porticomagazine@ uoguelph.ca. Spring 2017  PORTICO  | 29



Welcome Home, U of G Alumni! Mark your calendars and get ready to visit your favourite places on campus, get together with friends, attend a class reunion... and make some new U of G memories Friday, June 9 Alumni Awards of Excellence Gala Saturday, June 10 Reunions, Tours, Beer Garden, President’s Milestone Lunch, and more! www.alumni.uoguelph.ca | alumni@uoguelph.ca | 519 824 4120 x56934

Alumni matters    COMING EVENTS April 22 Midwest Alumni Dinner Join fellow alumni for dinner at the prestigious Union League Club of Chicago. TBA Alumni Night at the Blue Jays Game


Alumni leave their mark on campus


he University of Guelph campus has grown and changed over the years, but one thing remains the same — alumni are the roots of the University. Whether you are working across the globe or living across the street, you will always be connected to your alma mater. It’s important for the University to honour alumni for their achievements — that’s what inspired a new campus recognition project called the Alumni Plaza. It will be constructed in front of War Memorial Hall as a tribute to Alumni Awards of Excellence winners, and will provide a ceremonial spot on campus to highlight alumni and their achievements. The Alumni Plaza will also serve as a location for receptions and as a location to reflect on some of the incredible journeys that began at the University of Guelph. The 2017 Alumni Awards of Excellence will be presented June 9 at a gala during Alumni Weekend. The gala is an annual

celebration of excellence recognizing alumni for their important achievements in their professions and communities through their work or volunteer commitments. Everyone is welcome to attend. While some alumni will be forever remembered on campus in the Alumni Plaza, others jumped at a chance to leave their mark in the new Gryphon Athletics Event Centre. The Name-a-Seat campaign was a great success thanks to almost 100 alumni who donated or pledged $1,000 and had a seat named for them (or a friend, family member, class or group). They are recognized with seat plates in the event centre. Please plan to join us on Alumni Weekend in June to tour the incredible new facilities in the Athletics Centre, enjoy the newly installed Alumni Plaza or attend a campus event. Whatever you choose, we would like to welcome you back home! For all the details, visit www.alumni.uoguelph.ca/ alumniweekend.

Brandon Gorman, B.Comm. ’06 President UGAA

Jason Moreton, BA ’00 Associate Vice-President Alumni Advancement

June 9-10 Alumni Weekend The marquee alumni event of the year features the UGAA Awards of Excellence Gala, President’s Milestone Lunch, Beer Garden, special tours and much more. Sept. 23 Homecoming Mark your calendars and cheer on the Gryphons as they face the McMaster Marauders.

For details and a full list of events, visit www.alumni. uoguelph.ca/events.


Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada Explore the wonders of the deep! Alumni and families enjoy 15 per cent off general admission tickets. @porticomag

Montana’s BBQ & Bar U of G grads can show their alumni card at Montana’s Guelph location at 201 Stone Rd. W. to receive 20 per cent off dine-in food purchases.


Alumni receive deals and discounts on footwear. You may be asked to show your alumni card upon purchasing. For details on these special offers, visit www.alumni.uoguelph.ca/promotions. Spring 2017  PORTICO  | 31

Alumni matters

The Gryphons defeated the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks in front of a record crowd at the Sleeman Centre.


Frosty Mug The Frosty Mug is the Gryphons men’s varsity hockey game that’s played at the Sleeman Centre in downtown Guelph every January. It’s a chance for students, staff, faculty, alumni and community members to reconnect with U of G. This year, a record crowd of more than 4,600 fans — including nearly 150 alumni — cheered on the Gryphons as they defeated the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks 2-1.

32  |  PORTICO  Spring 2017


College career nights Each year, all seven U of G colleges hold career nights to connect students with alumni and learn about opportunities. The College of Biological Science Career Night, below, attracted more than 200 students eager to connect with 30 alumni from different industries offering career advice and mentorship. The annual Engineering Career Night, bottom, was held earlier this year in the Engineering Atrium with more than 30 alumni attending.

(l-r): Dr. Mitchell Sutton, B.Sc. ’80, Matthew Kassis, B.Sc. ’11, Louise Gleeson, B.Sc. ’96 and Dr. Jonathan Britton, B.Sc. ’96.

(l-r) Recent grad Karan Goswami, B.Eng. ’16, of Aecon Energy gets to know engineers-in-training Nicole Sylvester, B.Eng. ’13, Brendan Walton, B.Eng. ’16 and Maddie Carter, B.Eng. ’14, of C.F. Crozier & Associates, as they discuss the engineering industry with a student (right). @porticomag

Spring 2017  PORTICO  | 33

Alumni matters CLASS NOTES


The University of the West Indies in Trinidad named a new building at its School of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences, in honour of Holman Williams, DVM ’49.


Donna (Winter) Jeffery, DHE ’50, and Donald Jeffery, BSA ’50, published Adventures in Foxieland, which tells the stories of animals living in Foxieland, a place that is based on their own farm in Northumberland, Ont. It is available on Amazon Kindle and soon in paperback. They have several other published stories and new writing projects on the go.


Joseph Gorski, Dipl. ’78, is founder and director of Soil Technologies, Inc., which tests and improves soil to increase yields and build disease resistance. Laura Lee, DVM ’79, is still enjoying veterinary practice, and has been doing integrative medicine with a strong focus on animal chiropractic and sports medicine. She also focuses on traditional Chinese medicine, including acupuncture, herbal medicine and food therapy to treat chronic diseases and cancer in animals. She lives in Dartmouth, N.S., with her daughter who manages the veterinary practice, an Arabian mare and four cats. In her free time, she plays percussion in a Brazilian samba ensemble and improvised jazz groups.


Jim Murray, M.Sc. ’80, published his fourth book, Becoming … what you really want to be. He is the founder and CEO of Optimal Solutions International. LeRoy Blake, B.Sc. ’82, and his wife Janet (Lilliman) Blake, B.Comm. ’83, mobilized their parish in Ottawa to sponsor a Syrian refugee family. The support was overwhelming, with contributions of more than $75,000, allowing the parish to

sponsor two families. The Blakes report that one year later, the families are happy and well-adjusted, with the kids doing well in school, both fathers working and both families expecting babies this year, “a testament to them feeling safe and secure in their new homeland.”

p Members of the sponsored Khore and Farah families with LeRoy and Janet Blake, back row middle. Paul Aiello, BA ’83, and Clayton Greenway, B.Sc. ’03, launched healthcareforpets. com, a pet health and wellness website that includes articles, videos and an “Ask the Vet” section with the goal of promoting responsible pet ownership. Kenneth (Ken) Tamminga, BLA ’83, was promoted to distinguished professor of landscape architecture at Penn State University. Stewart Gill, PhD ’84, received an Order of Australia Medal in the Queen’s Birthday 2016 Honours list for contributions to tertiary education. He was recently appointed master of Queen’s College at the University of Melbourne and is the incoming president of the International Council for Canadian Studies. Michael Burr, Dipl. ’85, works with developmentally delayed adults and has “many fond RCAT memories.” Laura Dewar, B.Sc. ’85, M.Sc. ’88, completed her PhD in biomedical physiology and kinesiology at Simon Fraser University last fall and says, “Finally received my doctorate in middle age!” Lori McLellan, BA ’85, retired at 54. She says: “Time to golf and fish and drink wine in Niagara! Still dancing after all these years!”

p Each month, retired and nearly retired fisheries scientists and Guelph alumni gather in Halifax for coffee to catch up and “solve the world’s problems.” (l-r): Geoff Hurley, B.Sc. ’73; Peter Hurley, B.Sc. ’75, M.Sc. ’81; Jim Simon, B.Sc. ’77; Ross Claytor, BA ’74, B.Sc. ’81, M.Sc. ’85; Stephen Smith, B.Sc. ’77, M.Sc. ’79; Jim McMillan, B.Sc. ’79; and John Tremblay, B.Sc. ’79, M.Sc. ’82. 34  |  PORTICO  Spring 2017

Neil Embleton, DVM ’87, and surgical partner Veronica Barkowski, DVM ’87, invented a canine stifle stabilizing implant called the Simitri Stable Stride. They have published in peer-reviewed journals

and presented at veterinary orthopedic conferences. Alyda (Alice) Faber, BA ’87, published her first poetry collection, Dust or Fire (Goose Lane Editions 2016) – Johnston Green appears in one of the poems — and teaches at the Atlantic School of Theology. Helen Sharp, B.Sc. ’88, has been appointed professor and director of the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore.

p Pictured (l-r): Natalie Welc, B.Sc. ’14, M.Sc. ’17; Christian Chiera, B.Comm. ’15; Barbara Botden, B.A.Sc. ’77; Dominic Gagne, BA ’15, M.Sc. ’17; Michael Freeman, B.A. ’02; Breanne Mailhot, BA ’14; Anthony Hanemaayer, B.Comm. ’15; Frances Botden, BA ’14; Jessica VanderWier, B.A.Sc. ’14; Maria Constantinou, BA ’14; Scott VanderWier, B.Eng. ’15; Michael Coyne, B.Sc. ’14; Cathy Gough, BA ’76; Mac Wilder, B.Comm. ’14; Jessica DeMars, MPH ’15; David Crown, B.Sc. (Hort.) ’73; Barbara Hannah, B.A.Sc. ’77; Stan Gough, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’78; Nancy Freeman, B.H.Sc. ’70; Bill Freeman, Dipl. (Agr.) ’69; and Margaret Jongsma, B.A.Sc. ’83. Frances Botden, BA ’14, and Anthony Hanemaayer, B.Comm. ’15, met in their second year at U of G, even though their childhood homes were less than five kilometres apart. Their wedding in August 2016 brought together five decades of graduates. The couple lives in Oakville, Ont., where Frances works at the Burlington Public Library and Anthony is working as an analyst for the Royal Bank of Canada.


Thomas Dimitroff, BA ’90 led the Atlanta Falcons to the 2017 Super Bowl as the team’s general manager. The two-time NFL Executive of the Year joined the Falcons in 2008 after scouting roles with the New England Patriots. The Falcons lost 34-28 to the Patriots in overtime.


Becky Madill, B.A.Sc. ’95, enjoys living on the Bruce Peninsula with her husband and four daughters, and teaching at a local school. Deek Gray, B.Comm. ’96, works as a detective constable in the elder abuse and fraud unit in Burlington, Ont. He recently celebrated his 12th wedding anniversary. He says: “Big hello to all the 1995/1996 HAFA co-op grads out there for our 20-plus years since graduation!”


Shane Arbuthnott, MA ’10, recently published his first book, Dominion (Orca Book Publishers), a fantasy for middlegrade readers. Joel Aitken, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’10, M.Sc. ’14, is an organic inspector at Ecocert Canada in Guelph, and Katie Thomson Aitken, B.A.Sc. ’10, is a naturopathic doctor in Guelph who treats stress and anxiety. @porticomag

Spring 2017  PORTICO  | 35

Alumni matters Steve Stasko, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’11, head grower for Orangeline Farms, received an Ontario Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence for the farm’s SurpriZingly Sweet Strawberries, which are available year-round. The farm was one of the first to grow greenhouse strawberries in Ontario.


Victoria Struthers, BA ’12, was married in May 2016.

1940s Mary McLean, DHE ’41, Nov. 11, 2016. Laurence Roulston, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’42, Nov. 1, 2015. Russell McKay, Dipl. (Agr.) ’47, March 29, 2016. Thomas Lane, B.Sc. (Agr.), ’49, M.Sc. (Agr.) ’51, June 28, 2016.

Maureen Beech, B.Comm. ’14, was married in May 2016 at the Basilica of Our Lady in Guelph. She and her husband also purchased a new home in the city. Jessica Luksts, B.Sc. ’15, is attending the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University (2019 doctor of medicine candidate). Baljinder Sabharwal, M.Sc. ’15, recently bought her first house and enjoys being a new homeowner. Erica Pollard, BA ’16, says: “You never realize how much you will miss the University of Guelph until you move to a different province. The U of G will always be home to me!”

ALUMNI 1930s Katherine Lake, DHE ’38, Dec. 18, 2014.

1950s Alfred Anderson, Dipl. ’51, Oct. 9, 2016. William Carroll, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’51, July 28, 2016. Garth Schnittker, Dipl. ’51, Oct. 20, 2016. George Fleming, DVM ’52, Nov. 18, 2016. Thompson Wright, DVM ’52, Sept. 27, 2016. Harry Fried, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’54, Nov. 17, 2016. August Kloppenburg, Dipl. ’55, Jan. 20, 2017. David Courtice, DVM ’56, Nov. 11, 2016. Frederick (Neil) van Nostrand, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’56, Oct. 3, 2016. Alan Christie, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’58, M.Sc. (Agr.) ’60, Jan. 10, 2017. Harvey Grenn, DVM ’58, Aug. 13, 2016. Christopher Greenhous, Dipl. ’59, Nov. 5, 2016.

1990s Gilles Marcotte, Hon.DLet. ’93, Oct. 20, 2015. Ralph Manning, M.Sc. ’94, Oct. 26, 2015. Joanna Waugh, B.Sc. (Eng.) ’96, Oct. 9, 2016. David Yemchuk, B.Sc. ’94, DVM ’98, July 8, 2016. 2000s Rebecca Wheatley, Dipl. ’02, Jan. 4, 2017. Maggie Davies, B.Sc. ’05, Aug. 4, 2015. Stephanie May, B.Comm. ’11, Jan. 20, 2017. FACULTY, STAFF & STUDENTS Kyle Coleman, student, Dec. 10, 2016. Madison Gough, student, Nov. 1, 2016. Andrea Humphrey, staff, Jan. 2, 2017. Riley Lynch, student, Jan. 19, 2017. Kayleigh Shannon, student, Jan. 24, 2017. Farzom Zarifi-Rad, student, Jan. 7, 2017.

1960s Henry Bowers, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’60, M.Sc. (Agr.) ’61, Nov. 23, 2016. C. Ernest Pritchard, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’62, April 8, 2014. John (Jack) Debbie, DVM ’65, Dec. 4, 2016. George Sweetnam, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’66, July 12, 2016. 1970s Paul Anderton, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’70, Feb. 23, 2016. John (Doug) Holmes, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’70, Oct. 1, 2016. Gretchen Day, BA ’71, Jan. 8, 2017. Donald Harfield, Dipl. ’72, June 24, 2014. Donald Smith, DVM ’74, Oct. 29, 2016. 1980s Joyce Robinson, BA ’82, Nov. 9, 2015. Peter Soloman, B.Sc. ’84, Dec. 27, 2015. Scott McLean, Dipl. ’85, Jan. 18, 2016.

To honour alumni who have passed away, the University of Guelph Alumni Association makes an annual donation to the Alumni Legacy Scholarship. 36  |  PORTICO  Spring 2017

Time capsule



Students write final exams in the main gym at the W.F. Mitchell Athletics Centre. Since the original gym opened in 1957, thousands of students have sat at long tables to write exams. In 2016, a new state-of-the-art athletics centre opened. Among its features are a student lounge, a climbing wall and an updated gym, which is still called into use as an exam location. Can you identify any of the people in this photo? Send us a note and let us know!

Do you have a memory to share from your time at U of G? Email a high-resolution photo to porticomagazine@ uoguelph.ca and it could appear in Time Capsule. @porticomag



+ The women’s basketball team wins its first provincial championship title in 25 years.

+ Hurricane Katrina, one of the five deadliest hurricanes in U.S. history, hits the Gulf coast, causing destruction from Florida to Texas.

+ Veterinarians Without Borders (VWB) is established at the Ontario Veterinary College, becoming the first VWB group in North America. + The new University of GuelphHumber building receives a 2005 Award of Excellence for innovation in architecture from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.

+ Three PayPal employees create video-sharing website YouTube. + George W. Bush begins his second term as president of the United States. + Charles, Prince of Wales, marries Camilla Parker Bowles.

+ U of G launches a coffee-table book featuring campus photos and reflective quotes, with a foreword by astronaut and graduate Roberta Bondar.

Spring 2017  PORTICO  | 37

Last look


“Think fast.” Those words of wisdom came from U of G president Franco Vaccarino as he addressed graduating students during winter 2017 convocation. We’re rarely told to “think slow,” he added, but it’s an equally important skill in today’s fastpaced world. “Young people today are able to cope with and process more information and attend to more sources of new information and knowledge than any other generation,” said Vaccarino. But

38  |  PORTICO  Spring 2017

being constantly inundated with information from our smartphones, tablets and laptops makes it even more important to take the time to stop and think. Vaccarino compared this deluge of data to a river flowing with new ideas and knowledge. “We need to think faster” to process this information while considering its long-term impact. U of G teaches students how to engage in both reactive and reflective thinking to improve life for themselves, their community and

their world. The University graduated more than 1,000 students during winter convocation ceremonies in February. Six ceremonies were held over two days at War Memorial Hall. –SUSAN BUBAK


Feb. 22, 2017

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Project : Annonce TDI 2017 Client : TD Assurance File # : 37-MM9836-17_MMI.AL1.EN•uoguelph(8.125x8.25)

Province : Ontario Publication : The Portico Size : 8.125x8.25 Color : Quad

Proof # : 1 Due date : 01/30/2017 Designer : Jordane Bellavance

Hamelin-Martineau Inc. • 505, boul. de Maisonneuve O, Bureau 300 • Montréal (Québec) H3A 3C2 • T : 514 842-4416 C : jordane@hamelin-martineau.ca


PM #40064673