UPEI grad heading to Oxford
Christian Norton, who graduated with his Honours Biology degree from UPEI in 2016, will head this fall to Oxford University with a full scholarship. Norton will complete his MSc in Biology this spring at the Université de Montréal’s Institut de recherche en biologie végétale before commencing his PhD studies in plant ecology at Oxford. He is one of 140 recipients of the Clarendon Scholarship, which covers his tuition, college fees, living costs, and research costs for four years. Norton’s master’s research took him to Northern Labrador, where he studied how Inuit and local communities use indigenous plants for food, health, and medicine. He studied at UPEI under Dr. Christian Lacroix, professor of biology, who recently co-authored a paper with Norton on his honours research project. As a UPEI student, he was awarded three consecutive NSERC undergraduate student research awards—an impressive accomplishment in securing these highly competitive awards.
The National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has announced the recipients of its latest round of Discovery Grants and Discovery Accelerator Supplements. Among the awardees is Dr. Aitazaz Farooque, an assistant professor at UPEI’s School of Sustainable Design Engineering. Dr. Farooque’s research aims to develop technologies and systems for the application of inputs used in potato farming, including pesticide, nutrients, and irrigation. Under current crop-management practices, these inputs are applied uniformly across a field, without taking into consideration variations in soil, crop, potential yield, climate, and topographical features. Dr. Farooque’s research program will develop and integrate technologies and systems to identify variations within a field. It will use sensing and control systems to create intelligent machines to ensure better management
Mapping PEI’s energy future
A pair of researchers at UPEI’s School of Sustainable Design Engineering have been awarded funding from Mitacs to develop a detailed technical framework for PEI’s electrical system to increase renewable energy integration and decrease our reliance on fossil fuels. With $150,000 from Mitacs Accelerate and the PEI Energy Corporation, Dr. Matthew Hall and Dr. Andrew Swingler will hire three graduate students and begin building a “roadmap” towards making PEI’s energy system 100 per cent carbon free. The team will work with the PEI Energy Corporation, which will provide essential data, knowledge of the market, and networks of industry expertise. The project will build a simulation-modelling tool for the PEI electrical system to explore a range of renewable energy integration solutions. It will assess the demand response and energy storage potential in PEI, and how they can be best leveraged. The team will also analyse the rising role of electrical vehicles in the PEI system, including impact on electricity load. The final goal is to lay out pathways toward 100 per cent renewable electricity supply for the Island.
QES recipients announced
The Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships (QES) program recently announced the successful recipients of its phase-three funding. Among them is a project led by UPEI. The project, “Integrating Innovative Research & Training for Improved Sustainable Livelihoods in a Smallholder Dairy Farming Region—phase 2,” aims to develop Canadian and Kenyan students into global citizens through enriching courses, community engagement, research, and development projects in Canada and Kenya, and to provide training and resources to enhance sustainability and food security of the poor rural Buuri region of Kenya. The project is co-led by Dr. John VanLeeuwen, a professor of epidemiology and ruminant health management at UPEI’s Atlantic Veterinary College, and Dr. Colleen Walton, an assistant professor in UPEI’s department of Applied Human Sciences. Other UPEI faculty involved in writing the proposal were Dr. Jennifer Taylor and Charlene VanLeeuwen of Applied Human Sciences, and Dr. Shawn McKenna and Dr. Luke Heider of AVC’s Farm Service group. The project team includes a Canadian partner, Farmers Helping Farmers (FHF—a PEI-based NGO with 35 years of experience in Kenya), and three Kenyan partners, the Buuri Dairy Farmers Cooperative Society (made up of more than 1600 dairy farmer members), the University of Nairobi, and Kenyatta University. The project will see three graduate students from Kenya and 13 undergraduate students from UPEI working together in Canada and Kenya to train Buuri dairy farmers. The team will make substantial contributions to Canadian and Kenyan rural communities in terms of training, resources, and experiences, and will help improve health management and productivity on Buuri dairy farms, and enhance school/community nutrition and food security in Buuri. The project will be funded with $300,000 from the QES, with another $472,200 in contributions from UPEI and its partners.
Kiera Rigby wins award
UPEI women’s basketball forward Kiera Rigby is the 2018 recipient of the 32nd annual James Bayer Memorial Scholarship Award presented by PepsiCo Beverages Canada. The James Bayer Memorial Scholarship Award was established in 1985 and is awarded annually to an outstanding student-athlete in Atlantic University Sport for excellence in academics, athletics, leadership, sportsmanship and citizenship. Phil Currie, executive director of Atlantic University Sport, and Marg Bayer, wife of the late James Bayer, make the presentation to Rigby on behalf of the selection committee which also includes and Dr. Robert Campbell, president and vice-chancellor of Mount Allison University and chair of the AUS board of directors. A five-foot-11 forward from Charlottetown, PEI, Rigby has achieved success on the basketball court and in the classroom, while also being heavily involved in the community. She was named an AUS first team all-star this season. In the classroom, the biology student has a cumulative GPA of 3.9. She is a four-time academic all-Canadian on pace to repeat the achievement for a fifth time. Rigby is very active in the community, lending her time to a number of causes. She is a three-year member of the UPEI Varsity Leadership team, a tutor with Student Services and an active member of the UPEI Biology Society and Pre-Med Society.