Message to young women: “Make Your Move”

March 3rd, 2014 · No Comments · Engineering, News Release, Outreach, Peers, Students

Make Your Move, a unique outreach opportunity being presented by WISE-Kidnetic Energy will be held on International Women’s Day, Saturday, March 8, 2014.

Winnipeg schools are identifying young women in grades 8-9 who have demonstrated leadership in community service, student government, sports and/or academics. These students will be each invited along with two of their friends to participate in Make Your Move, an event designed to challenge and inspire them with design challenges and exploration of careers in engineering. Each team will participate in design/build/test challenges meant to encourage teamwork, creativity and ingenuity.

One female engineer from the University of Manitoba or the broader community will be assigned to mentor each team. The students will then have the opportunity to spend time with a practicing female engineer. The event will help show young women there are many career opportunities in engineering and that companies that hire engineers value them for their abilities and skill sets.

WISE Kid-netic Energy is the largest outreach initiative at the University of Manitoba, providing outreach for the Faculty of Engineering. Engineering students run girls clubs, provide hands-on Manitoba science curriculum based workshops in schools and run science and engineering camps throughout the province. WISE strives to inspire all youth to pursue fields of engineering but particularly girls, indigenous youth, visible minorities and the socioeconomically challenged.

Last year WISE:
• worked with 10 inner-city schools to provide science workshops for more than 2,900 youth
• delivered workshops and week-long science and engineering camps on four First Nations reserves reaching over 2,200 youth
• expanded the Girls’ Club program
• engaged over 22,000 youth in Manitoba

For more information, contact Nusraat Masood, WISE Program Administrator, at: or call 204-474-8148
Tentative Schedule for Make Your Move
Saturday, March 8, 2014
EITC Atrium, University of Manitoba

11:00 am - 11:30 am Students arrive, Registration, Refreshments
11:30 am - 11:45 am Welcome address
11:45 am - 12:45 pm 1st Design Challenge
12:45 pm - 2:00 pm Lunch, networking
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm 2nd Design Challenge
3:00 pm - 3:30 pm Snack, networking
3:30 pm - 4:00 pm Closing Remarks, Announcement of Prizes
4:00 pm - 4:30 pm Students depart

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Will Ukraine survive?

March 3rd, 2014 · No Comments · Advisory, Archives, History, Peace and Justice, political studies

Professor of political science Alexander Motyl of Rutgers University will be this year’s 21th annual J.B. Rudnyckyj Lecturer at the University of Manitoba.

Motyl will discuss current serious situation and the institutional devastation of Ukraine by the Yanukovych regime, examine the Euro Revolution as a response to that devastation and evaluate Ukraine’s post-Yanukovych prospects.

Motyl is a well-known scholar who has written extensively on the former Soviet Union and Ukraine, including several books and many articles. Some of his books include: Communist Legacies and Post-Communist Trajectories: Comparative Perspectives on Ukraine and Russia (forthcoming); Holodomor Reader (2012); Imperial Ends: The Decay, Collapse, and Revival of Empires (2001); Dilemmas of Independence: Ukraine after Totalitarianism (1993); and Will the Non Russians Rebel? State, Ethnicity, and Stability in the USSR (1987).

Motyl is a prominent commentator on contemporary Ukraine and a regular contributor to World Affairs, a core journal on international affairs. In addition, he is well known as the author of an oft-cited blog that is maintained through the World Affairs website:
For more information about Motyl, see his personal website:

Date and Time of Lecture: Friday, March 14, 2014, at 6:00 pm
Location: Archives & Special Collections, 330 Elizabeth Dafoe Library, Fort Garry Campus, University of Manitoba. Free admission. Reception to follow.

Sponsors: The University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections; the Slavic Collection, Elizabeth Dafoe Library, University of Manitoba; and the department of German & Slavic Studies, University of Manitoba.

For further information, please contact the U of M Archives & Special Collections at: 204-474-9986

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Winners of 3MT competition selected

February 26th, 2014 · No Comments · Alumni, Health, News Release, Peers, Research, Students, graduate studies

Last night, nine University of Manitoba graduate students shared new frontiers of knowledge in the second 3MT® competition at the University of Manitoba.

The Three-Minute Thesis competition challenged graduate students to consolidate years of research into one short, interesting, straightforward presentation. With only a single slide illustrating their ideas, the competitors had just three minutes to clearly explain their research to the audience.

Andrea Edel, a doctoral student in physiology, was awarded first prize for her presentation titled “Flaxseed: A Modern Prescription for High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol.” She won $5,000 to help further her research.

The competition was part of the University of Manitoba’s overall strategy to provide career-building opportunities for graduate students while inviting the community to share in their discoveries.

Jay Doering, vice-provost of graduate education and dean of graduate studies, was instrumental in bringing the international competition to the University of Manitoba. A committee chose 27 students from a pool of 135 and grouped them into three heats. From those heats came nine students who advanced on to the final competition.

University of Manitoba President and Vice-Chancellor David Barnard welcomed the large audience at the final competition on February 25, 2014, before turning the proceedings over to emcee Paul Samyn, editor of the Winnipeg Free Press.

“Graduate students are the primary workforce in our research engine,” explained Barnard. “They are on the front lines of innovation. Their discoveries lead to the cure for diseases, foster economic growth, and challenge our assumptions on everything from human rights to the creation of the universe.”

Judges for the final competition were: Fiona Odlum, Assignment Editor, Breakfast Television, CITY-TV Winnipeg; The Honourable Theresa Oswald, Minister of Jobs and the Economy, Province of Manitoba; and Patricia Bovey, Chair, University of Manitoba Board of Governors.

Olivia Sylvester, a doctoral student in the Natural Resources Institute, won the second prize and was awarded $2,000. She explained how protecting rainforest biodiversity is at odds with Indigenous rights to food.

The “People’s Choice” award of $1,000, chosen by the audience, went to Havva Filiz Koksel, a doctoral student in food science. She described how high-tech analytical devices can help scientists create the perfect loaf of bread.

There are three regional competitions taking place in Canada later this year, in addition to a Francophone competition in Quebec. Edel will move on to the Western regional competition in Calgary on May 2, 2014. There will be a national 3MT® virtual competition later in May during which the regional winners will be judged against one another.

For more information, please contact Jay Doering, graduate studies, at: 204-474-9887, email:, or visit our 3MT® website at

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Recipients of Distinguished Alumni Awards announced

February 24th, 2014 · No Comments · News

The first recipients of the expanded University of Manitoba Distinguished Alumni Awards include a former refugee, a chemical weapons inspector, a Manitoba industry leader, an Indigenous community leader and a human rights scholar and advocate.In 2014, the Distinguished Alumni Award has grown to include four new categories. The new awards recognize University of Manitoba graduates who have achieved outstanding accomplishments in their professional and personal lives, and who have been inspirations to fellow alumni, current students and the community.

“Our university is proud to celebrate these exceptional alumni,” says David Barnard, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Manitoba. “Each one of them has demonstrated outstanding accomplishment in their professional and personal lives. They have made meaningful contributions to their community at home and around the world and are an inspiration to all of us. This is a fitting first class for the newly expanded format of our Distinguished Alumni Awards.”

David Matas [BA/1964] will receive the University of Manitoba Distinguished Alumni Award, which recognizes graduates who are distinguished in their career and in their contributions to society. Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize but banned from Russia and denounced by China, Matas’ outspoken stance on violations of human rights around the world has made him one of the world’s leading scholars and advocates of the oppressed.

Bruce Miller [BRS/1999] will receive the University of Manitoba Alumni Community Leadership Award, which recognizes graduates who have significantly contributed to their community at home or abroad, making a difference to the well-being of others. Throughout his career, Miller has sought opportunities to build community and to share stories of his culture and traditions with Indigenous students through education and Aboriginal sport programs.

Scott Cairns [BSc(Maj)/2001] will receive the University of Manitoba Alumni Professional Achievement Award, which recognizes graduates who demonstrate outstanding accomplishment in their field of endeavour. Cairns’ passion for chemistry formed the foundation that resulted in his leading a team of weapons inspectors from a United Nations watchdog organization that won the Nobel Peace Prize into the heart of Syria, and saw firsthand the effects of a brutal regime upon innocent victims of war.

John Bockstael [BSc(CE)/1980] will receive the University of Manitoba Alumni Service Award, which recognizes graduates who have demonstrated superior leadership and service to the University of Manitoba. Bockstael’s name is synonymous with construction in Manitoba; in 2008, he helped establish the Friends of Engineering that partners students with industry leaders in the province.

Chau Pham [BSc/2000, MD/2005, MBA/2013] will receive the University of Manitoba Young Alumni Award, which recognizes graduates who are 35 years of age or under at the close of nominations. Two years in a refugee camp battling tuberculosis was part of the motivation that led Pham to become a doctor and eventually establish Canadians Helping Kids in Vietnam. She works tirelessly to help children with insufficient medical care.

Heather Reichert, president of the U of M Alumni Association, notes: “The University of Manitoba and the Alumni Association felt it was important to expand the Distinguished Alumni Awards to recognize graduates in the five categories of Young Alumni, Community Leadership, Professional Achievement, Alumni Service, and Distinguished Alumni. Graduates of the University of Manitoba change our world at the local, national and international level and these five alumni are true trailblazers who have made a difference in the lives of others.”

“We celebrate our alumni to draw attention to their outstanding accomplishments and to congratulate them on being true role models for all Manitobans,” says John Kearsey, vice-president (external). “In addition to honouring our alumni, the Celebration of Excellence event will feature Juno-nominated and internationally acclaimed University of Manitoba alumni-yet more examples of the wealth of truly inspiring people we are so proud to count among our University of Manitoba family.”

All the awards will be presented at the inaugural Distinguished Alumni Awards Celebration of Excellence on May 1, 2014. Tickets are $75 and are available at

Past recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Award include: Ovide Mercredi, Gerry Price, Howard Pawley, Lila Goodspeed, Janice and Gary Filmon, Robert Silver, Barry Broadfoot, Lesley Hughes, Dr. Allan Ronald, Monty Hall, Ivan Eyre, Israel Asper, William Kurelek, Kathleen M. Richardson and Hon. Mitchell Sharp.

For more information, contact John Danakas, director, marketing and communications, University of Manitoba, at: 204-474-8551, or email:

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Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson to give Knight Lecture

February 18th, 2014 · No Comments · Advisory, Astronomy, News Release, Outreach, Students, physics

Is space really the final frontier?

For 2014, the prestigious Robert and Elizabeth Knight Distinguished Visiting Lecture focuses on the scope and grandeur of the universe.

This year’s Knight Distinguished Visitor is acclaimed astrophysicist and television personality Neil deGrasse Tyson. He will provide valuable insight into how scientists work in and think about the social, political and physical world. With wit, charm and eloquence, he will tell the captivating story of a boy from the Bronx who, with a pair of binoculars, first looked up into the night sky and became enthralled with the cosmos.

Neil deGrasse Tyson was born and raised in New York City and earned his BA in physics from Harvard and his PhD in astrophysics from Columbia. His professional research interests include star formation, exploding stars, dwarf galaxies and the structure of our Milky Way.

Tyson was appointed by President Bush to serve on commissions that examined the future of the US Aerospace Industry and the United States Space Exploration Policy. In 2006, the head of NASA appointed Tyson to serve on its prestigious Advisory Council.

In addition to dozens of professional publications, Tyson has written for lay publications as an advocate of science and in particular, astronomy. His ten books include his memoir The Sky is Not the Limit: Adventures of an Urban Astrophysicist and Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution, co-written with Donald Goldsmith. Origins is the companion book to the 2004 PBS-NOVA 4-part mini-series Origins, in which Tyson served as on-camera host. Two of Tyson’s recent books are the playful and informative Death By Black Hole and Other Cosmic Quandaries, which was a New York Times bestseller, and The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet, chronicling his experience at the center of the controversy over Pluto’s planetary status. Tyson is sometimes called “The Man Who Killed Pluto.” The 2010 PBS/NOVA documentary The Pluto Files was based on his book.

Tyson’s many other media appearances include five seasons as the on-camera host of PBS-NOVA’s spinoff program ScienceNOW, and the 2009 National Science Foundation program and podcast StarTalk, now also a podcast, StarTalk Radio. His target audience is all those people who never thought they would, or could, like science.

Tyson is the recipient of eighteen honorary doctorates and the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, the highest award given by NASA to a non-government citizen. His contributions to the public appreciation of the cosmos have been recognized by the International Astronomical Union in their official naming of asteroid “13123 Tyson.” And in 2000, Tyson was voted “Sexiest Astrophysicist Alive” by People Magazine.

Currently, Tyson is working on a 21st century reboot of Carl Sagan’s landmark television series Cosmos, to air on the FOX network beginning in March 2014.

In his first lecture at a Canadian university, Tyson will give a free public presentation, titled “The Sky Is Not the Limit,” on Thursday, March 13, 2014, in Investors Group Athletic Centre, Fort Garry Campus. Doors open at 3:00 pm, lecture begins at 4:00 pm. Rush seating. Space is limited (pun intended). Tyson will be introduced by Walter Natynczyk, president of the Canadian Space Agency. The lecture is part of “Dream Big,” a week-long series of cosmic events, a list of which can be viewed at

The purpose of the Robert and Elizabeth Knight Distinguished Visitors Program is to enhance the quality of higher education at the University of Manitoba and enrich its academic life by supporting visits to the University by: scholars in the fields of commerce, finance, economics, political studies, history and literature; leaders in the areas of commerce, industry and government; and outstanding achievers from other disciplines who have made distinguished contributions to the advancement of knowledge or to cultural, social and economic development.

In the evening, Tyson will be the honoured guest at the Emerging Leaders Dinner, celebrating student leadership. The Emerging Leader Award (ELA) is a way the University of Manitoba recognizes the outstanding contributions that students make to the enhancement of the institution and our community. The award was introduced in 2006 to recognize students who are committed to furthering our educational mission by contributing to the social, cultural or economic well-being of communities on and/or off campus, while encouraging cross cultural understanding and demonstrating sustained leadership and initiative that is worthy of recognition.

For more information, please contact David Grad, student life coordinator, at: 204-474-6637 or email:

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Finalists for 3MT competition selected

February 14th, 2014 · No Comments · Alumni, News Release, Outreach, Peers, Research, Students, graduate studies

Nine finalists have made it through the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition heats that took place on February 6, 11 and 13, 2014. They will move on to compete in the Final Competition which is being held on Tuesday, February 25, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm at the Robert B. Schulz Lecture Theatre (St. John’s College, 92 Dysart Road, Fort Garry Campus). Doors open at 6:30 pm.

The public and the University of Manitoba community are invited to cheer on our innovative graduate students as they compete for the First Place ($5,000), Second Place ($2,000) and People’s Choice ($1,000) awards. Each competitor will have three minutes, using only a single slide as an illustration, to clearly explain the nature, goals and significance of his or her research.

Challenging? You bet it is. It takes years for a thesis to be researched and finalized–never mind synthesizing it down to a mere three minutes to get the information across to a lay audience.

The challengers competing in the final are:

Corrie Allan
Interior Design (Master’s)
Exercising the Right to be Trans: Redesigning the North American Fitness Club to Reflect Non-Binary Bodies and Identities

Stephanie Caligiuri
Physiology (Doctoral)
A New Therapy to Combat the Number 1 Global Silent Killer

Andrea Edel
Physiology (Doctoral)
Flaxseed: A Modern Prescription for High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol

Emma Hauch
Physiology (Master’s)
Extracellular Matrix Reloaded

Havva Filiz Koksel
Food Science (Doctoral)
The Perfect Loaf of Bread: Insights from X-rays, Sound Waves and Bubble Dynamics

Michael Minor
English, Film, and Theatre (Doctoral)
Decolonizing Through Indigenous Poetry

Olivia Sylvester
Natural Resources Institute (Doctoral)
Protecting Rainforest Biodiversity at Odds with Rights to Food for Indigenous People

Chris Wiebe
Immunology (Master’s)
Finding a Better Match in Kidney Transplantation

Markus Zeismann
Community Health Sciences (Master’s)
Training for the Trauma Bay: Is “Done Enough” Still Good Enough?

The emcee for the Final Competition will be Paul Samyn, editor, Winnipeg Free Press. Judges will be: Richard Cloutier, news director, CJOB; The Honourable Theresa Oswald, Minister of Jobs and the Economy; and Patricia Bovey, chair, University of Manitoba Board of Governors.

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a research communication competition originally developed by The University of Queensland. 3MT® challenges graduate students to consolidate their ideas and research discoveries so they can be presented concisely to a non-specialist audience.

The winner of the 3MT Final Competition here at the University of Manitoba will advance to the western regional competition in May.

Join the conversation on Twitter! Follow us at @umanitoba and tag your tweets with #3MT and #umanitoba.

For more information, contact:
Jay Doering, vice-provost (graduate education) and dean (Faculty of Graduate Studies),, or phone 204-474-9887

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Ovide Mercredi becomes Senior Advisor to U of M

February 12th, 2014 · No Comments · Aboriginal, Alumni, Indigenous, News Release, Peace and Justice

Dr. David Barnard, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Manitoba, is pleased to announce that Mr. Ovide Mercredi has been named Senior Advisor to the University of Manitoba effective February 14, 2014 for a four month term.

Mercredi will work closely with the President, the President’s Executive Team, and the Executive Lead for Indigenous Achievement as the University undertakes the development of an updated strategic plan to take us through the next five years. 

Barnard notes: “Indigenous Achievement is a key component of the U of M’s strategic planning framework, and I am delighted and honoured that Mr. Mercredi will be working in close partnership with the Executive Lead on integrating Indigenous perspectives into the University’s priorities, with a vision for the University to move forward in a collaborative manner that involves Indigenous faculty, staff and students.”

The partnership between Mercredi and the U of M executive team will also reinforce ongoing efforts to enhance innovative programming and supports geared toward First Nations, Metis and Inuit students.

Mercredi was named the recipient of the University of Manitoba Distinguished Alumni Award in 2013, and his many achievements and contributions were celebrated at last year’s Homecoming Dinner and events. 

Mercredi is a highly respected community and national leader, and well-known as a lawyer, negotiator and leading advocate for Indigenous rights. He is a former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, was Regional Chief of the Assembly of First Nations for Manitoba and also served his community as Chief of the Misipawistik Cree Nation from 2005-2011. 

As shown by his achievements, Mercredi has continued on a life-long path of advocacy, dedication and passion for First Nations issues, and established himself as a leader who believes in bringing together Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples through cooperation, collaboration, partnership and negotiation. 

For more information, please contact John Danakas, director, marketing and communications office, University of Manitoba, at: 204-474-8551 or email:

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