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A Letter to Future STUdents from a First-Year Student

PUBLISHED DATE: Thursday, January 19, 2017
Dear Future STUdent,

My name is Wasiimah, and I’m a first-year student at St. Thomas from Mauritius, a small island in the Indian Ocean.

It’s with great pleasure I’m writing to you, because I know choosing the best university for you can be challenging. I hope by sharing my experiences with you, I help you figure out whether St. Thomas is the best place for you.

Making the decision to join the STU family

I was looking for a university that suited my personality and character, but also that fit my financial position. I was interested in studying Psychology and Criminology, and when I discovered the many scholarship and bursary opportunities at St. Thomas, I decided to apply.

One day, I received a phone call that changed my life. I was offered a renewable scholarship and bursary from St. Thomas. The university had my heart that very day.

The happiness and pride I could see in my parents’ eyes was all because of St. Thomas. This was the day I decided I would come to Canada and to St. Thomas. Being able to fulfill my mother’s dream of sending her children abroad for university studies is a feeling beyond words.

My first weeks

Amazing! Fantastic! Awesome!

My first impression of St. Thomas was the very warm welcome I received at the airport. Arriving to find someone from the university holding up a sign with my name on it with a big smile on their face at 11 pm was a great feeling after two days of travel.
 
When I arrived to my residence room, my roommate was there to welcome me. There were no awkward moments. My roommate and I ended up talking for hours.

The culture of acceptance here made my transition easy and wonderful, and living in residence is the best thing I can recommend. I cannot imagine my experience without the wonderful moments I share with students who live in my residence. Everyone is so ready to listen and help you with anything.

Most importantly, they accept you the way you are. Being with people from St. Thomas, I don’t think about that I am not from Canada or that I belong to a different cultural and religious background.

I remember being in your shoes, worrying about how the first weeks would go. Believe me, this is a normal feeling. However, at this university, if you are sitting alone at the dining hall, someone will join you. You make friends just by opening your door. A simple “hi” and a smile is usually the start of a new friendship at St. Thomas.

First week of class

One reason I chose St. Thomas was for the small classes—maximum 60 students, but more often less—which allows for interaction between professors and students. It makes me love going to class.

If you’re looking to have a lot of interaction and discussion with classmates and professors, St. Thomas is a fit for you. Professors remember your name and they’re willing to meet you outside of class.

What St. Thomas has done for me

Coming to St. Thomas has given me happiness, wonderful experiences, and amazing people in my life. Belonging to the St. Thomas family has been the best thing I could have imagined for myself.

This experience has not only given me these things, but it has also given my parents happiness and pride. St. Thomas has definitely changed my life.

I hope my personal experiences helps you decide whether St. Thomas is right for you.

Sincerely and best regards,

Bibi Wasiimah JOOMUN

STU Students Add Their Voices to Youth Council

PUBLISHED DATE: Thursday, January 19, 2017
St. Thomas University students Oliver Hébert, Noah Turner, and Oriana Cordido De Sola are voicing their opinions on issues important to young people in New Brunswick and Canada.

The Constituency Youth Council, announced in the fall of 2016 by Member of Parliament (MP) for Fredericton and St. Thomas alumnus Matt DeCourcey, is designed to inform government on issues that concern youth.  Oliver, Noah, and Oriana are a part of that group.

The Council meets several times during the year to work on projects and share ideas, opinions, and concerns with one another and with DeCourcey.

Here’s what the St. Thomas students had to say about the opportunity.



What inspired you to apply to the Youth Council?

Oliver: Dr. Jamie Gillies, Communications Public Policy professor, forwarded me the information. I worked with some provincial organizations in high school, so I was ready to jump back into it. I’ve learned a lot at university, so I wanted to get involved in that way again.


Noah: The Council embodies a lot of what St. Thomas represents. The university is focused on social justice and that’s what the Council reflects, so it seemed like an opportunity to take what I learn in class and use it in a real-world situation.


Oriana: I wanted to continue getting involved in the community. As an international student from Venezuela, I want to leave my mark in a country that is giving me so much.


What are some of the issues you’ve talked about as part of the Council?

Oliver: Issues pertaining to LGBTQ rights, particularly with trans rights; I’m trans myself. There’s a discrepancy in New Brunswick around access to health care and rights like house and employment protection. Bringing this to the table and having people talk about it is really important to me. Mental health is another topic I want to talk about, and it applies to queer rights because people who are queer are more at risk of struggling with mental illness and are not able to get health care access.


Oriana: In the team I am a part of, we are going to address is the barriers of refugees for integration. 


What change do you hope to see in the future from your contribution?

Noah: The Council is a very new thing, and it was created to act as a channel between young people and the government. This year the roots need to be put in; it’s important the government begins to better understand who we are.


What benefits do you think the Council provides for young people in Fredericton?

Oliver: Young people being involved and actually talking to their members of Parliament. It’s hard to care about a political system that has ignored you for most of your life. We have really low voter turnout overall, but especially with young people and it has partly to do with the system not answering to us or not seeming to care about us. This will hopefully start changing that.


Noah: There’s now a place for us to go and present our own issues, where it’s less intimidating than if we were presenting among older, more experienced people who may already have their degrees. We can also actually talk directly to members of Parliament.


What skill set has STU given you to prepare you for this?

Oliver: I’ve been able to talk with professors and students, and take courses that have challenged the conventions of my thinking. St. Thomas promotes critical thinking. I’ve always been an analytical thinker, but my education has allowed me to make new pathways in my mind for thinking about issues and how to go about changing them. It makes me better at doing activist work and working with other people because I think in a more diverse way.


Oriana: Critical thinking is the strongest skill I’ve developed at St. Thomas that helps me with my work in the Council. Learning how to be open minded and critical when looking to solve a problem around us is key. 


Noah: St. Thomas teaches you to think critically. When you come to St. Thomas, you start to dig deeper to fully understand issues and develop opinions. Now I’m able to see different perspectives—not just my own. I talk to people and use all my resources. It’s remarkable how much St. Thomas has changed me in just a year and a half.  


Alumnus Writes Book about One Band's Influence on the Moncton Music Scene

PUBLISHED DATE: Monday, January 16, 2017
Jason Murray’s new book A Distorted Revolution: How Eric’s Trip Changed Music, Moncton, and Me tells the story of the indie-rock band Eric's Trip. It will be out in May 2017.
As Jason Murray stood in front of his friend’s house, music spilled from the basement—a sneak peek of a sound destined to revolutionize the Moncton music scene and the idea for what would be the St. Thomas grad’s future book.

A Distorted Revolution: How Eric’s Trip Changed Music, Moncton, and Me tells the story of the indie-rock band from humble beginnings playing basement shows during the early 1990s to the seed it planted in the music scene still felt almost 30 years later. 

Murray, who studied Journalism (BA ’10) and Education (BEd ’11) at St. Thomas, wrote the book as part of his Master’s in Fine Arts in Creative Writing at the University of King’s College. A Distorted Revolution will be published in May 2017 by Halifax’s Nimbus Publishing.


He credits his writing style to the strong mentorships he received in the Journalism program from professor and author Phillip Lee and professors Mark Tunney and Michael Camp

During his time at St. Thomas, he also met and worked directly with award-winning author David Adams Richards who was the university's artist in residence. That’s when the idea for a full-fledged manuscript really began to form and take shape. 
 
"They were on stage with pawn shop equipment: cheap old guitars, cheap old amps with duct tape all over them … they showed this 'do it yourself' attitude everyone could relate to.” – Jason Murray, STU alumnus and author of A Distorted Revolution: How Eric’s Trip Changed Music, Moncton, and Me
 
Partly a memoir, Murray covers the band’s influence on him and a whole generation of what he calls “outsiders." It’s also a piece of music journalism. He interviewed band members, other Moncton musicians from the era, and musicians who influenced Eric’s Trip, like Sonic Youth’s Lee Renaldo and Black Flag’s Keith Morris.

Eric’s Trip—made up of Rick White, Chris Thompson, Julie Doiron, and Mark Gaudet (who replaced the band’s first drummer Ed Vaughan)—went on to become one of the most influential bands to come out of Moncton, eventually signing with Seattle’s Sub Pop records, the same record label who had signed Nirvana.

“Eric’s Trip sort of knocked down this pedestal for rock and roll bands that you had to be absolutely super technical musicians with a huge record deal and a million dollars in production and equipment to go up and do a show," Murray said. 

"They were on stage with pawn shop equipment: cheap old guitars, cheap old amps with duct tape all over them. They just played shows that didn’t sound perfect and they showed this 'do it yourself' attitude everyone could relate to.”

Soon, more and more budding musicians were buying equipment at the pawn shops and starting their own punk rock and grunge bands.

“People were just playing music for fun, and everything didn’t have to be perfect. These were the seeds planted in the early 90s by bands like Eric’s Trip, and you are still seeing the fruit of those seeds produced today."

Murray had always recognized the impact Eric’s Trip had locally but it wasn’t until he was visiting a record store in Sydney, Australia that he saw its wider appeal.

“I was flipping through records … I happen to look up and there was a big Eric’s Trip poster on the wall. I asked the two guys working who the Eric’s Trip fan was, and it turned out they were both big fans."

That’s when he got the idea to write the book.

Program Spotlight: English Language and Literature

PUBLISHED DATE: Sunday, January 15, 2017
Pursue your love of literature

Studying English Language and Literature will allow you to explore new worlds and new ideas through a broad collection of classical and contemporary literature.

You will learn to see things from the perspectives of others, better understand the human experience, and appreciate new points of view on the world.

Optional Concentrations

In addition to Minor, Major, and Honours programs in English Language and Literature, you will also have the opportunity to pursue a Concentration in Drama or Creative Writing.

Concentration in Drama

You will explore the relationship between text and performance in literature courses and clubs like Theatre St. Thomas.


Concentration in Creative Writing

You will have opportunities to engage with texts creatively—to produce them and to hear readings by authors and writers. You will sharpen your style and submit work for publication.


Bachelor of Arts, Major/Minor in English Language and Literature

You may complete a Major (36 credit hours) or a Minor (18 credit hours) in English Language and Literature. You are also able to pursue a Major in English Language and Literature with a Concentration in either Drama or Creative Writing. If you are exceptionally dedicated to the field of English, you may wish to pursue your Honours.

Honours Programs in English Language and Literature

You will apply to the program and meet an Honours advisor before third year. To graduate with Honours, you will complete 60 credit hours. To complete Double Honours in English, you will complete 48 credit hours in English and the requirements for your second program.

Honours, English with Drama

You will fulfill the requirements for the Double Honours in English, as well as required courses in Drama.

Honours, English with Creative Writing

You will fulfill the requirements for the Double Honours in English, and at least 18 credit hours in Creative Writing courses, including the Honours Thesis in Creative Writing.

Sample of upper-year English courses 
  • Drama Productions
  • American Literature
  • Irish Literature
  • Comedy
  • Women Writers I/II
  • Survey of Children’s Literature
  • Reading Popular Culture
  • History of the Novel
  • Major Canadian Writers
  • Manga and Graphic Noels
  • Advanced Poetry Workshop
  • The Classical Epic
  • Drama and Its Critics
  • Jane Austen
  • Shakespeare and Politics
Learn more about the Department of English Language and Literature

Call for Proposals for 2017 Student Research & Ideas Fair

PUBLISHED DATE: Wednesday, January 4, 2017
St. Thomas University students are invited to participate in the 14th Annual Student Research & Ideas Fair by giving a 15-minute paper presentation, a poster presentation, or presenting their work in another medium such as a video broadcast or a podcast. Any and all topics of student research are eligible for inclusion in the Fair.
 
This annual event provides an opportunity for students to learn what is involved in academic conference participation. The Fair will be held on Friday, March 17, 2017 from 12:00 pm until 4:30 pm. Lunch will be provided.
 
Students must have a faculty mentor to assist them. Faculty mentors will help students with the choice of research topic, the preparation of the proposal, and their presentation.
 
Proposals must be submitted by Wednesday, February 1, 2017 in Word format and must include the following information:
  •   Student’s name, department or program, and year of study
  •   Contact information (email address)
  •   Faculty mentor’s name and department or program
  •   Presentation format and audio-visual requirements
  •   Title of presentation

  • Whether the research project is from an Honours Thesis, Independent  Study, Class Project, or Other
  •   A short abstract (maximum 200 words)
Please e-mail your proposal to Susan Sears (sears@stu.ca).
 
If you have any questions, please contact Susan Sears at sears@stu.ca or 460-0358.

Advocating for Balance Between Privacy and Security: Dr. Christina Szurlej Speaks to Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security

PUBLISHED DATE: Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Human Rights professor Dr. Christina Szurlej believes Canada’s national security framework needs to balance the right to privacy with other fundamental freedoms.

Szurlej, Endowed Chair in Human Rights at St. Thomas, focused on that message when she spoke to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security regarding the Security of Canada Information Act, which was introduced as part of the Anti-terrorism Act.

“Any restriction of human rights and freedoms entrenched in the Constitution must be proportionate,” Szurlej said. “Only two people have died from terrorism in Canada over the last decade. If the risk is so low, broad restriction of the rights of every Canadian is disproportionate.”

Szurlej noted exchanging human rights and civil liberties for national security won’t necessarily provide protection for the country, but if the government decides to limit privacy as a method of defense they need to consider the distinction between targeted surveillance and mass surveillance, proportionality, cost-effectiveness, and the overall value of these measures.

“It’s nearly impossible for national security officials to be able to adequately monitor and prioritize this information overload,” Szurlej said.

“Imagine being a security officer monitoring ten screens for suspicious activity in aisles where theft is known to occur. Now imagine ten screens become one hundred. You may miss signs of crime, because your energy and resources are not focused where risk is greatest.”

In the event the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act is amended and not retracted, Szurlej made a number of recommendations, including the need for a clear definition of activities that constitute a “threat to Canada,” the establishment of an Office of the National Security Advisor, the introduction of regulations to track what type of information has been shared, and the creation of a clear remedy for instances when information shared resulted in negative consequences for innocent individuals.

“With a low threshold under existing legislation, personal data can easily be shared between government agencies. We need to ask how this impacts protection from unreasonable searches and, by extension, the presumption of innocence,” Szurlej said.

“No one wins when the state fails to balance human rights and security.”

Dr. Christina Szurlej is teaching Introduction to Human Rights and International Human Rights during the winter semester at St. Thomas University.

First Year Scholarship Tips – Deadline is March 1

PUBLISHED DATE: Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Why apply for a major scholarship?
  • More than 40 different kinds of scholarships are available to incoming, first-year students.
  • $2 million in financial aid goes to our students every year.
  • 1 in 6 first-year students receives a major scholarship valued between $9,000 and $64,000.
  • 50 FULL TUITION scholarships are offered every year.
Are you hoping to earn a major scholarship to begin your Bachelor of Arts at St. Thomas University this fall? We’ve outlined some important information and helpful tips just for you.

Deadline

Our major scholarship deadline is March 1, 2017! You must have all your applications and supporting documents in to the Admissions Office by then.

How to reach us

The Admissions Office is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. You are able to reach us a number of ways, listed below. The contact information below is also where we accept your application documents. Any questions, just ask!

Email: admissions@stu.ca (international students: international@stu.ca)

Phone: 506-452-0532 (toll-free: 1-877-788-4443)

In person: 51 Dineen Drive, Donald C. Duffie Hall (with the clock on the front), St. Thomas University, Fredericton, NB

You can also connect with individual Admission Counsellors.

Checklist

Note: You may send your documents in individually. They do not need to come all together at one time. However, it is mandatory that all documents are received by the Admissions Office by March 1, 2017.

1. Scholarship Application Form
The Major Scholarship Application Form is available on your ConnectSTU.ca account or on page 7 of the paper application package.

2. First Semester Transcript
Arrange to have a copy of your official first-semester final transcript sent to us by email (admissions@stu.ca) or by fax: 506-452-0617

3. Scholarship Application Letter
A one to two page typed letter in which you explain what makes you a strong candidate for one of our awards.  

Your letter may include some of the following:
  • Your reasons for pursuing university studies and plans for the future
  • Your reasons for applying to St. Thomas
  • Activities that demonstrate your leadership qualities
  • Extracurricular, community, and volunteer activities
  • Hobbies and outside interests
4. Résumé
Your résumé should outline your activities since beginning high school, including any jobs you have held, honours or awards, etc.

5.  Reference Letter
A letter of reference from a teacher, guidance counsellor, or principal that outlines why they believe you are a strong candidate for a major scholarship from St. Thomas. The referee may wish to identify your skills, attitude, and growth, as well as your contributions to and performance within your school.

Reference letters may also be written by other community members such as coaches, mentors, or other people who have had an influence on your life.

Please note: Major scholarships are open to candidates for full-time admission to the first year of the Bachelor of Arts program who are applying on the basis of their high school records. Only applicants with an admission average of 80% or higher will be considered for a major scholarship.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Moot Court Team Earns Bid to Nationals for Second Straight Year

PUBLISHED DATE: Monday, December 12, 2016
The St. Thomas moot court team finished 22nd of 350 teams from across the United States and nabbing multiple speaker and brief writing awards.

St. Thomas competed at two regional events, in Fitchburg, MA and Boston, MA, where they qualified two teams for the American Moot Court Association nationals at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, Florida. During nationals, it was announced St. Thomas students Alex Monteith and Navy Vezina earned third place nationally in the brief writing competition.  

Emma Walsh and Robert Lynn shared what it was like competing as the only Canadian university at the American Moot Court Association events. With teammates Brianna Matchett and Matthew LeBlanc, they successfully argued US Supreme Court case law with 360 teams from across the United States to earn two of 80 spots at nationals.

Only Canadian university earns nods at regional events

Walsh and Matchett came tenth out of 44 teams at the Fitchburg regional. The same competition saw fellow St. Thomas students Emily Williams and Navy Vezina earn speaker awards, placing ninth and tenth out of 88 speakers.

In Boston, Lynn and LeBlanc earned bids for nationals, placing fifth overall as a team. They each earned a speaker award placing ninth and fourth, respectively, out of 50 speakers.

At nationals, both St. Thomas teams made it through to playoffs on the second day of competition, eventually landing in 22nd place overall.

Moot court is a credited class at St. Thomas, taught by Dr. Amanda DiPaolo, director of the Human Rights Program. Students apply to the class, and begin work on the cases in the spring, months before the academic year begins.

“We’re the school from Canada, and we can beat you.”
- Emma Walsh, second-year student, Human Rights, Political Science

Walsh, a dual citizen who grew up in Maine, said the experience has redirected her academic and career goals and solidified her interest in law.

Six months of reading, researching, forming arguments and picking them apart paid off during her first day at Fitchburg.

“Brianna and I blew through our first day, taking all six ballots for our three rounds,” she said. “We ended up ranking so high we advanced immediately. I realized we are exceptionally trained and prepared for this. St. Thomas has a reputation now. We’re the school from Canada, and we can beat you.”

She attributed that to the dedication of DiPaolo.

“It’s amazing to me how much she can put of herself into her job. I don’t think you get that anywhere else—someone who’s going to give you that much time, attention, constructive criticism, and guidance. She’s outstanding.”

Walsh said the unexpected outcomes of her decision to enroll in Introduction to Human Rights are what a Bachelor of Arts is all about.

“Your first year is trying, and it can seem a little confusing. But it works out,” she said. “The motivation I have for what I want to do now, I think it scares some people. I feel passionately about what I want to do, and I wasn’t really like that when I first got here.”

“A combination of theatre and academics.”
 – Robert Lynn, third-year student, Great Books, English with a Concentration in Drama

Lynn is also involved with Theatre St. Thomas, and was cast him as the lead character in The Trickster of Seville, which ran just weeks before his moot court regional. He considers moot court to be “a combination of theatre and academics” and believes his theatre training contributed to his success with moot court.

“Part of training as an actor is learning every character wants something,” he explained. “You’re supposed to think about scenes in terms of objectives, and you’re trying different tactics as you try to get what you want in the scene. That’s transferable in moot court. I was viewing the judge as my scene partner, and asking myself ‘how can I get the judge to agree with me?’”

Though it was Lynn’s second year competing, his partner had some catching up to do. While most students begin in May, LeBlanc didn’t join the class until the fall, after having his arm twisted by Lynn.

“Matt’s busy, but we’re friends and I thought he could really help me out. I was glad he said yes. He did a phenomenal job.”

The two went to high school together at Fredericton High School, performed alongside one another in Trickster, and argued US case law in moot court as a team. Inspired by their moot court experience, they co-write a “for-and-against” style column in The Aquinian where each of them take a separate stance on an issue.

Moot court offers students an opportunity to practically apply the knowledge and skills at the core of a Bachelor of Arts.

“You know those course evaluations you fill out that ask things like, ‘Do you see a clear connection between the activities of the class and its objectives?’ This gets a five out of five.”

Made possible by Stewart McKelvey

Both Walsh and Lynn acknowledged the support from local law firm, Stewart McKelvey, who provide the funds that allow students from St. Thomas to participate in moot court.

Lynn said this kind of thing just wouldn’t be possible for university students otherwise.

“This has been a huge part of my university experience. That lawyers who don’t even know who I am are willing to give me this opportunity makes me believe Fredericton is a good place to live, full of good people who care.”

Walsh echoed Lynn’s feelings of gratitude, adding the support is especially meaningful because of who it comes from.

“It's encouraging to know people who have been successful in my dream career, especially in our local community, have faith in me in to succeed in the field as well,” she said.

“Because of moot court, I know law is my calling. It’s has allowed me to develop a deep respect and passion for law, and to have made it to the national competition in my first year of competing shows me I have what it takes. It is entirely motivating to have a plan for my future because of this experience.”

Future STUdents: Tour campus and post a photo for a chance to win a t-toque

PUBLISHED DATE: Thursday, November 10, 2016
Are you planning to tour St. Thomas University to be a TOMMIE FOR A DAY?

If so, read on to learn about your chance to get your very own t-toque. 
 
3 STEPS TO GETTING YOUR T-TOQUE
  1. Visit St. Thomas and take a campus tour.

  2. Take a photo of yourself somewhere on campus while you’re here. 

  3. Share that photo on Instagram, Facebook, and/or Twitter using these two hashtags:
    #tommieforaday #StThomasU
That’s it! If you're a selected winner, we'll send you a t-toque in the mail so you can stay warm and show off your Tommie pride as a future STUdent. 

Questions? Ask your tour ambassador, an admissions counsellor, or email or call us any time at admissions@stu.ca or 1-877-788-4443

BOOK YOUR CAMPUS TOUR NOW