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Health Research Chair in Community Health and Aging Established

PUBLISHED DATE: Thursday, August 17, 2017
The new $1 million Health Research Chair in Community Health and Aging at St. Thomas, funded by The McCain Foundation and the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation, will benefit the province of New Brunswick and the campus community. Shown making the announcement are St. Thomas University President Dawn Russell; Lisa Harris, Minister of Seniors and Long-Term Care; Ann Evans, The McCain Foundation; and Dr. Bruno Battistini, President, CEO and Scientific Director of the NBHRF.
The new Health Research Chair in Community Health and Aging at St. Thomas will benefit the province of New Brunswick and the campus community.
With one of the most rapidly aging populations in Canada and with 90 per cent of seniors living outside of hospitals, nursing homes, or long-term care facilities, the need for age-related research, policy analysis, and program development has become more important.
Lisa Harris, Minister of Seniors and Long-Term Care, announced the addition of the research chair, along with representatives from the university, The McCain Foundation, and the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation.
“Research into community health and aging is absolutely vital to our government. It’s critical that we conduct research to determine the most effective ways to ensure seniors have the care and support they need and deserve,” Harris said.  “I’m very excited that a Community Health and Research Chair will be joining New Brunswick’s research community, and I’m looking forward to seeing the many new topics that will be explored as a result.”
St. Thomas is uniquely qualified to house this research chair as the only university in New Brunswick to offer a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Gerontology. On campus, the chair will lead curriculum development and research, as well as provide additional experiential learning opportunities for students.
Dawn Russell, St. Thomas University President and Vice-Chancellor, said the Health Research Chair in Community Health and Aging will make the university an even more important community resource in the coming years.
“Our goal at STU is to undertake scholarly research that addresses the most pressing issues confronting society,” Russell said.
“This chair will provide additional research avenues for those studying Gerontology, it will strengthen our ability to educate students on working with the aging population, and will present additional opportunities for collaboration between academic departments and between researchers from STU, the University of New Brunswick, the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital, and local nursing homes.” 
Dr. Bruno Battistini, President, CEO, and Scientific Director of the NBHRF, recognized the work and research that’s been done by members of the STU community.
“St. Thomas University is at the forefront of aging research,” Battistini said. “We’re committed to bring all the expertise we can to the university staff and Gerontology department.”
The chair is being funded by The McCain Foundation and the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation, on behalf of the government, who are contributing $1 million over multiple years.
P­otential areas for research include community health, senior-friendly communities, the perception of the aging population, healthy living, social wealth, and the impact of social isolation on emotional and physical well-being.

Around the STUniverse: Welcome Week 2017 Schedule

PUBLISHED DATE: Thursday, August 10, 2017
Saturday, September 2, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm - Sir James Dunn Hall/Forest Hill Cafeteria 
A Giant Step for STUdents—Move-In Day
Come visit us and pick up your Student Card, Welcome Week Kit, and bracelet. Your student card acts as a bus pass and meal card, your bracelet is what gets you into all the events throughout the week, and your Welcome Week kit contains some amazing swag and essential gear for your first week of university.

Saturday, September 2, 2:00 PM – Kinsella Lobby
Parents Welcome 
Parents are invited to join faculty and staff in a welcome ceremony. Parents will receive an official welcome from the Associate Vice-President, Enrolment Management Scott Duguay, as well as tips to help their students with the transition to university. Refreshments will be provided.

Saturday, September 2, 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM - Lower Courtyard
Intergalactic Battle—Cheer Off
A popular Welcome Week tradition, the Cheer Off is an opportunity for first-year students to show their newly adopted pride for their residence and Off Campus communities. STU’s newest students will gather together, sporting house colours and screaming cheers, in hopes of claiming the title of the loudest and proudest house on campus. 

Sunday, September 3, 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM - Gather in the Lower Courtyard 
Mission: Downtown
Get ready to test your skills and abilities while exploring downtown Fredericton! This event will introduce students to the downtown core and its many landmarks to help them make the most of their years at STU! This is one event you definitely won’t want to miss!

Monday, September 4, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM - Kinsella Auditorium
James Mullinger Comedy Keynote Presentation
Award-winning comedian James Mullinger will deliver an inspiring presentation that encourages students to realize “anything is possible.” Everyone can benefit from this message as we enter a new school year.

Monday, September 4, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM – Kinsella Auditorium 
Mark Black “Live Today” Presentation
We are proud to welcome Mark Black to our Welcome Week! His motivational speech will inspire students  to ignite their potential and live in the moment. Attending this talk will give students the tools they need to cope with the stress and worry that comes with stepping out of their comfort zone. Mark will show us how to be productive and creative with our time and energy—skills every student needs!
Monday, September 4, 7:00 PM

James Mullinger Comedy Night
Acclaimed British comedian James Mullinger moved to Canada in 2014 and has been delighting audiences with his poignant insights into Maritime quirks. Students from near and far will be entertained by Mullinger’s witty style and pertinent jokes as they finish off the second day of their Welcome Week experience.

Tuesday, September 5, 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM - Lower Courtyard
Shine Day
Students will hit the streets of Fredericton to flip burgers, sing songs and wash cars – whatever they can do to attract attention and raise money for St. Thomas’s annual Shinerama campaign. Students will be given the opportunity to raise money for a great cause, meet classmates, and become familiar with the Fredericton community. Let’s get out and raise money for Cystic Fibrosis Canada! 

Tuesday, September 5, 7:00 PM – 11:00 PM - Meet at the Student Union Building
Students will meet in the Vanier Parking lot to be bussed down to the Fredericton Exhibition—a wildly popular tradition! Welcome Week bracelets will provide students with FREE entrance into the FREX, where they will have the opportunity to play games, catch death defying acts, and much more! Busses will be running throughout the night to bring students back to campus. 

Wednesday, September 6, 8:45 AM – 12:30 PM - Kinsella Auditorium
Academic Orientation Day 
Academic Transition Day occurs the day before classes begin and provides incoming students with the chance to experience a university classroom, meet faculty, and chat with upper-year students. Students will also attend an Information Fair to learn about the many helpful services St. Thomas has to offer. 

Wednesday, September 6, 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM - Forest Hill Ballrooms
STU Commencement Ceremony
The Commencement Ceremony is STU’s official welcome to new students joining the university community and marks the beginning of their university years. Each student will receive a T-Pin – the “T” is the symbol all St. Thomas students identify with while they are attending STU and long after they graduate. 

Wednesday, September 6, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM - Fredericton Playhouse
Hypnotist Cyrus at The Fredericton Playhouse
STUdents are invited to see the legendary Hypnotist Cyrus perform at the Fredericton Playhouse for FREE! This will be a one of a kind show that students won’t want to skip! The Fredericton Playhouse is a cultural staple in the downtown community, which hosts hundreds of amazing musical and theatrical performances all year long! 
Thursday, September 7, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM - Officer’s Square
Freddy Beach BBQ 
Each year the City of Fredericton hosts a welcome back BBQ for the students of St. Thomas University, University of New Brunswick, New Brunswick Community College, and other local campuses. Join your fellow classmates for live performances and free food in this exciting downtown event where dignitaries from the city and post-secondary institutions will welcome you to Fredericton!

Thursday, September 7, 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM - Kinsella Auditorium 
Ziggy Stardust’s Time to Shine Talent Show
The Time to Shine Talent Show allows first-year students to showcase their talent in a friendly competition with both a joke and serious category. This event will be an extension of Shine Day where Shinerama participants will be thanked for their hard work with an address from St. Thomas University President Dawn Russell. Our grand total of fundraising will also be announced!

Friday, September 8, 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM - Forest Hill Ballroom
Mos Eisley Casino
You will never find a better hive of fun and foolery. Enjoy some mocktails in the Rigby Ballroom while you face off against your friends in a variety of casino games. At the end of the night, a prize auction will be held, during which students can use the monopoly money they’ve won to bid on prizes.

Saturday, September 9th, 12:00PM-2:00PM – Forest Hill Ballroom
Sex Ethics and Alcohol Safety Presentation—Karla O’Regan, Natasha Glover, Rebecca Kingston
This presentation gives students tools to navigate various situations safely and ethically. Karla O’Regan, professor in the Criminology and Criminal Justice department, will deliver a presentation on consent. Natasha Glover, a STU alumna now working with AIDSNB, will talk about sexual health and the resources available to students in the city of Fredericton. Finally, Rebecca Kingston, a STU student organizing the Keep It Social Campaign on campus, will outline the harms of alcohol and the importance of maintaining safe habits. This presentation is mandatory for any students who wish to participate in the Paint Fight.

Saturday, September 9, 2:00 PM -4:00 PM - Forest Hill Ballroom
Colours of the STUniverse—Paint Fight
If you thought colour runs were fun, you haven’t seen anything yet! The final event before the STU Social will be an enormous paint fight between residences. White shirts will be provided to all students. With over $1,000 spent on paint, the battle will continue until all of the paint is gone! 
Saturday, September 9, 10:00 PM – 1:00 AM - Forest Hill Ballroom
STUniverse Social 
The grand finale of your first week at STU is the legendary STU Social! So dress up, dust off your dancing shoes and get ready to have fun! It's going to be out of this world!

Psychology, Court, and Eyewitness Testimony: Janelle Marchand, BA’ 17, hopes her research will make a difference in Canadian courtrooms

PUBLISHED DATE: Tuesday, August 1, 2017
Janelle Marchand and Dr. Ian Fraser
Janelle Marchand is hoping her research on the fallibility of eyewitness testimony will help make a difference in courtrooms across Canada.

Marchand, of Antigonish, NS, has been working closely with Dr. Ian Fraser to demonstrate the importance of including expert witnesses on the fallibility of eyewitness testimony in the country’s legal proceedings.

“When a person is presenting their eyewitness testimony—an account a bystander or victim will give in the courtroom—a lot of the time they’re telling the truth but their mind faults them, so what they say isn’t exactly what they saw,” Marchand said.

“There’s nobody in the courtroom to say ‘yes we should use this information’ or ‘no we shouldn’t use this information’ because right now the use of an expert witnesses on the fallibility of eye witness testimony is often ruled inadmissible in our Canadian courtrooms. This could lead to a lot of wrongful convictions.”

With no expert witness, the onus is left on lawyers, judges, and juries to decide what to do with this information. In other surveys and studies relating to knowledge on the fallibility of eye witness testimony, judges and lawyers score an average of 55 per cent.

Marchand wanted to focus her study on jurors to see if the science concerning the fallibility of eyewitness testimony could amount to common sense to the average person.

“I surveyed 225 eligible jurors and gave them statements that an expert on the fallibility of eyewitness memory would be able to distinguish between true and false in a courtroom proceeding,” she said. “The participants in my study scored around 63.2 per cent.”

The recent STU grad, who earned an honors in Psychology and minor in Criminology, said her research serves as a baseline to what Dr. Fraser has already accomplished in surveying prosecutors, defense attorneys, and police officers. 

“At the end of the day, it may be best for this type of evidence to be presented by an expert. Dr. Fraser’s research, along with mine, demonstrates that legal professionals who are currently in the system do not fully comprehend the knowledge,” Marchand said. “The Supreme Court of Canada should reconsider the value of expert evidence in our justice system.”

Seeing the Big Picture

This project is a continuation of Marchand’s thesis, which she completed under the supervision of Fraser. She said working closely with her professor has been an invaluable experience.

“He taught me so many skills and helped me learn how to develop a professional relationship, which I use in my work every day,” she said.

Coming from a small community and a high school with only eight students in the graduating class, Marchand was drawn to STU for its size and focus on liberal arts. The knowledge she brings from multiple fields has been an asset in her position as an Indigenous Researcher studying Aboriginal populations.

“My skills from STU are benefitting me in the real world,” she said. “At STU we see the larger picture—we see Psychology, we see Criminology, we see Philosophy, and we see how it all ties together.”

In the future, Marchand plans to pursue a master’s degree with the ultimate goal of working in public policy or for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Janelle is looking for more participants for her research. If you would like to participate in her study, read the message below and follow the link to her survey.

This is an anonymous, online survey entitled, "Survey Assessing Common Knowledge of Eyewitness Testimonies”. The purpose of this study is to determine the level of knowledge of potential jurors concerning the science dealing with eyewitness memory. If you are a Canadian citizen and are at least 18 years of age, you are welcome to participate. The survey should take approximately 10-15 minutes. You will be presented with a series of statements to which you may indicate agreement, disagreement or you do not know. This research project has been approved by the St. Thomas University Research Ethics Board (REB #2016-20).

Moot Court World Champions: Navy Vezina and Abbie LeBlanc use creative arguments to capture Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition

PUBLISHED DATE: Monday, July 31, 2017
Navy Vezina and Abbie LeBlanc became the first-ever Canadian team to win the Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition hosted at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

The STU duo edged the University of Buenos Aires in the final round to finish first out of 38 teams.

“There were gasps and there were tears. It was a very shaky, slow-motion type moment, but it was definitely one of the best of my life,” Vezina said of the win.

Vezina and LeBlanc faced solid competition throughout the event, and because the two final teams can’t be from the same United Nations region they had to finish number one overall to qualify. That meant finishing ahead of the University of Oxford and Yale University.

“The creativity of our arguments helped a lot. It made us more engaging for the judges,” Vezina said. “At these types of competitions you kind of try to stand out because everyone’s arguments sound the same. It’s riskier and it’s harder that way, but it tends to pay off.”

Despite being an undergraduate university at an event open to law and masters of law students, Vezina and LeBlanc never felt like underdogs. Their biggest challenge throughout the competition was impressing the judges.

“The judges were the biggest part because they were so well informed and were all experts in their field,” LeBlanc said. “It’s intimidating because you’re always trying to impress them—that’s basically the nature of the game.”

The six-person STU International Law Society team of Vezina, LeBlanc, Emily Williams, Emma Walsh, Camille Xavier, and Brianna Matchett qualified for the World Moot Court Championships in June by submitting a brief that finished in the top five in their United Nations region.

Vezina and LeBlanc were the two members chosen from the group to attend the competition in Switzerland and each had a different goal—Vezina hoped to finish in the top five and LeBlanc hoped to finish in the top two. With their history-making win, both goals were surpassed.

“I’m really proud of all six of us. It’s a great win,” LeBlanc said. “I hope it encourages people to keep doing things like this at STU. Keep trying things; find something you love to do and do it.”

“What’s really great about STU is that six of us could make a club and it was really easy to get the club going. It’s not like that at other universities,” Vezina added. “Not every university offers that kind of freedom to its students.”

Both Vezina and LeBlanc gave credit to Dr. Amanda DiPaolo, Director of Human Rights at STU, for supporting the group’s decision to pursue this competition independently as the members of the STU International Law Society.

Moot Court at STU
The students’ experience competing as members of the Moot Court team, offered as part of the Human Rights major, provided a strong foundation during their preparation and competition in Geneva. The STU team competes in the American Moot Court Association and has had much success in the last two years, qualifying for the National Championships in California and Florida.

For more information about Moot Court at STU, click here.

From Gerontology to Occupational Therapy: Julie Mahoney, BA’ 11, credits professors at STU for helping her find her path

PUBLISHED DATE: Thursday, July 27, 2017
Julie Mahoney wants to focus her career on helping the aging population achieve maximum quality of life.

A Gerontology major from the STU class of 2011, Mahoney discovered the perfect field to put her knowledge to work in a practical way—occupational therapy.

“During my gerontology education at STU, there was an overarching theme of achieving and maintaining a strong quality of life throughout older adulthood, which is also a main goal of occupational therapy,” Mahoney said. “The more I learned about occupational therapy, the more I thought it would be a great fit.”

Mahoney, who grew up in Fredericton, came to St. Thomas for the small class sizes and opportunity to work closely with professors. Her time studying Gerontology under the guidance of Dr. Linda Caissie and Professor William Randall was what she calls “life-changing.”

“The pure passion and dedication these two individuals have for the aging population and their willingness to teach others by sharing personal stories only heightened my desire to learn more,” she said. “I have such vivid memories of the material I learned, which I still hold firmly today.”

After completing her Bachelor of Arts, Mahoney pursued a Master of Arts in Health and Aging at McMaster University. She then accepted a position at the Women’s Health Concerns Clinic at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton as a Research Coordinator.

Mahoney enjoys her research work at St. Joe’s, but said she’s always wanted to work in healthcare. In the fall she’ll begin her studies in the Occupational Therapy program at Queen’s University, where she believes her background in Gerontology and liberal arts will work to her advantage.

“Having an interdisciplinary background and the ability to acknowledge the individuality of lived experiences will be monumental,” she said. “Helping others from a holistic standpoint—acknowledging all aspects of one’s life—is critical in understanding one’s meaningful activities, or occupations, which is the foundation of occupational therapy.”

Once she completes her studies, Mahoney intends to pursue work in a hospital or community care setting where she can interact regularly with older adults living with chronic illness.

“An Amazing Opportunity” -- Chancellor’s Scholarship recipient Jenicca Jean looks forward to new opportunities at St. Thomas

PUBLISHED DATE: Thursday, June 29, 2017
Jenicca Jean was hoping to attend St. Thomas University, and after being awarded a major scholarship she's certain it’s where she's meant to go.

The Nackawic Senior High School graduate is the 2017 recipient of the Chancellor’s Scholarship—one of the most prestigious scholarships offered by the university.

“This scholarship is an amazing opportunity for me. I honestly wake up every morning and I’m astounded,” Jean said. “STU was where I was hoping to go and this scholarship confirmed my decision—this is where I’m supposed to be.”

Jean said finding out she was awarded the scholarship was a “dream-like” experience.

“It was very surreal. I could hardly believe what I was hearing,” she said. “I kept looking at my vice principal, Sean Newlands, and my guidance counselor, Chris Gallop, to make sure it was true. I still have an overwhelming feeling of excitement that I can’t put into words.”

Jean was actively involved in her high school community through Student Council, Teens against Drunk Driving, Me to We, Best Buddies, the Gay-Straight Alliance, Reach for the Top, and a number of other clubs and societies. She was also a varsity athlete and will continue her athletic career at St. Thomas as a member of the Tommies women’s volleyball team.

The future STUdent was drawn to the university’s sense of community, small class sizes, and the overall positive learning environment.

“I like knowing I will be known by my name rather than a number and that the university is committed to the success of its students,” she said. “I can’t wait to spend the next four years in such a caring environment.”

Jean plans to study Psychology, but intends to keep her options open and take advantage of the liberal arts offerings. She’s confident she’ll be prepared for what comes after STU.

“I know STU will prepare me for the workforce and help me further become a productive member of society while making a positive difference in the lives of others,” Jean said. “I’m thrilled to take new courses, to have new experiences, and new opportunities.”

Art’s Healing Power: How Kimberly Kool, BA’06, Connects With Others Through Art

PUBLISHED DATE: Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Kim Kool, BA'06, partners with community groups and agencies to offer encaustic workshops to individuals with mental health issues, addictions, developmental disabilities, and young moms, among others.
Kimberly Kool, BA’06, didn’t think she had an artistic bone in her body. But a job working with women at the federal penitentiary in Kitchener, Ontario taught her otherwise — and changed her life.

She was working for the STRIDE program at Community Justice Initiatives, offering arts and recreation programs to incarcerated women. The program engages community volunteers to develop strong relationships with federally sentenced women, with the ultimate aim of supporting successful reintegration for the women after their release.

“I felt like I was studying again. I did a lot of research on different art techniques, as it was more about crafts than fine arts,” said Kool, who studied Criminology, English, and Psychology at St. Thomas.

The STRIDE program took place inside the federal penitentiary with up to 100 women participating, depending on the activity which was taking place.

Kool found that art became a huge equalizer and a life-changing experience for these women who had often lived through significant trauma, abuse, and poverty.

“Women who thought ‘I’m no good’ would sit down and create something beautiful. I just remember seeing the look on their faces when they made something for the first time,” Kool said.

The art activities Kool and the STRIDE team planned became so popular that the program expanded to include women who had already left prison.

While looking for new art techniques to introduce at work, Kool was introduced to encaustics, an ancient Egyptian art practice done by heating beeswax.

Yet this time, it was her life that changed.

“The first time I tried encaustics I felt like a kid trying something for the very first time, where you just play and lose yourself completely.”

Encaustics art involves heating beeswax, adding oil paint to it, embedding objects into the wax, and heating them together to create something new. For example, you can embed flowers, poems printed on pieces of paper, or other meaningful objects.

“I bought everything I needed to do it at home, started playing around with the medium, and sort of built myself a studio in my house,” said Kool.

She left the STRIDE program and developed her own private practice called Edge of Grey Encaustics in Grey County, Ontario where she partners with community groups and agencies to offer encaustic workshops to individuals with mental health issues, addictions, developmental disabilities, and young moms, among others.

Her workshop participants all say encaustics helps them have fun and de-stress.
“Art has this great way of building a community of people that stay connected with each other.”

Kool is convinced art can make a difference in people’s lives. She has seen it happen, citing the example of a woman with a developmental disability who came to an encaustics workshop with her support worker. She was quiet and shy at first, but as the workshop progressed, she connected with the other participants and created a beautiful piece of art. After the workshop, they all decided to go for lunch at a little café nearby.

“I just remember thinking that it was because of the opportunity to come together and create art together that this woman was able to participate and actually be part of the community,” she said.

This profile is part of a longer feature on the healing power of art, which appeared in Connections Magazine. To see the full issue of the magazine, please see: