When you think of the University of Lethbridge's global reach, you might not initially think of a connection to the current war in Afghanistan. However, that's just where some members of the U of L student and alumni community are right now, based in Kandahar, Afghanistan, literally and figuratively one of the world's hot spots.
Bombardier Keenan Geiger (left) is a current fourth-year Edmonton campus management student majoring in Human Resources. Now taking a break from school, he is on a seven-month deployment in Afghanistan as a reserve member of the Canadian Forces. His unit is part of the 20th Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery, based in Edmonton. Geiger shows off a U of L flag with Cpl. Andrew McDonald (middle) who graduated in 2006 with a bachelor of arts in political science, and (right) Calgary police officer and Lt. Kevin Collier, who holds a bachelor of management degree in accounting, which he obtained in 2004. U of L alumnus Tyler Paynton (BA '07), a member of the 18th Air Defence Regiment in Lethbridge, is also serving in Afghanistan but was not able to be in the photograph.
To send a brief message to Geiger or his colleagues in Afghanistan, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
This past fall, U of L researcher and veteran educator Dr. Noella Piquette-Tomei was one of only a handful of Canadians invited to participate in the Return to Salamanca: Global Conference on Inclusive Education. There, she and fellow experts reviewed the Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action on Special Needs Education, an understanding signed by all members of the United Nations that pledges to further inclusive education, providing all children with opportunities to learn.
As a result of the conference, she has been asked to contribute to a case-study book that will be used across Canada by pre-service teachers and community workers for strategies when facing various disabilities.
Win President Bill Cade's car
Who is Michael Nolan? It's a question that's been murmured repeatedly around campus over the past few months. On Feb. 22, 2010, the surprising answer was revealed: a 1984 BMW 325e.
The car, which President Bill Cade bought brand new, was fondly named Michael Nolan after a distant family member who provided a trust fund for Cade's mother. In the spirit of giving back, Cade has donated the long-loved BMW to the Students' Union to be raffled off in support of student scholarships.
Tickets are $5 each or three for $12 and are on sale until the end of the semester, at a variety of functions, and from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays at the Students' Union office (SU180), the Advancement Office in University Hall (A735) and the SU Service Centre in the SU Building.
For details about the car and to watch a video of President Bill Cade with Michael Nolan, visit: www.uleth.ca/unews/content/nolan-campaign-benefit-students
MythBusters prove science is cool
On Feb. 6, 2010, MythBusters Grant Imahara and Tory Belleci made a public presentation at the U of L as part of the Science Alberta Foundation's Science Happens Here program.
Those lucky enough to score tickets to the sold-out evening heard Belleci and Imahara speak candidly about their path to stardom, their craziest stunts and other personal trivia like favourite movies and songs on iTunes. But more importantly, audience members young and old were exposed to the fact that science has relevance.
"One of our founding goals was to encourage young Albertans to enter careers in science and technology, by fostering an interest in these areas," explains Dr. Arlene Ponting, CEO, Science Alberta Foundation. "We were pleased to work with the University of Lethbridge in delivering this unique event, as the University showcases some of the most innovative science in the province."
Chillin' for Charity
In late November, the student-run Jeux du Commerce (JDC) West 2010 Team hosted Chillin' for Charity, anevent that raised approximately $15,000 for the United Way. Always willing to give back, U of L President Bill Cade was the first to jump into the icy cold water.
Whishaw earns prestigious ASTech award
Dr. Ian Whishaw, a founding member of the University of Lethbridge's pioneering neuroscience research group and a leader in behavioural neuroscience research internationally, was awarded the 2009 Alberta Science and Technology Outstanding Leadership in Alberta Science award.
Whishaw, who is among a select group of Alberta's top scientists and innovators to receive the award, is one of the top contributors to the field of behavioural neuroscience, and based on citations, is one of the 200 most influential neuroscientists in the world.
Mrazek presents at Copenhagen conference
In late December, Dr. Rick Mrazek returned from the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen where he was presenting his research on Rivers and Oceans and Water Under Fire. The topics of Mrazek's research include the negative impact of the northern Alberta tar sands, Canadian water consumption in relation to other countries, global assistance in terms of water and the dire state of the world's water supply.
On Nov. 5, 2009, fifth-year University of Lethbridge fly-half/fullback Ashley Patzer was named player of the year in Canadian Interuniversity Sport women's rugby for the second time in her career. The five-foot-two Lethbridge native became the third double MVP since women's rugby was added to the CIS program in 1998.
Both Patzer and teammate Ashley MacDonald were named to the All-Canadian team. It is the second straight honour for MacDonald and fourth overall for Patzer.
U of L Pronghorns women's rugby coach, Neil Langevin, was also recognized. Langevin was the first coach from a Canada West women's rugby program to be named CIS coach of the year.
The girl in the picture
Kim Phuc graced the University of Lethbridge campus on Feb. 10, 2010, and shared a powerful message. Phuc, a Vietnamese-Canadian, is widely known as "the girl in the picture" for her role in an iconic photo taken during the Vietnam War.
On June 8, 1972, Phuc's village of Trang Bang came under attack by South Vietnamese planes, which mistakenly dropped napalm in an area where the North Vietnamese were infiltrating. While running for safety, nine-year-old Phuc was severely burned. The now famous photograph instantly became evidence of the cruelty of war toward child victims and a symbol of civilian suffering in war.
Nearly 40 years later, Phuc uses her experiences to advocate for peace and forgiveness. While on campus, she made a presentation to students and was the guest speaker at the 18th Annual International Dinner, A Celebration of Humanity.
U of L's iGEM team is golden
A total of 112 teams vied for gold, silver and bronze medals. Only 10 Canadian teams received gold medals, three of which went to teams in Alberta.
The iGEM competition is regarded as the premier undergraduate synthetic biology competition in North America. Student teams are given a kit of biological parts at the beginning of the summer from the Registry of Standard Biological Parts. Working at their own schools over the summer, they use these parts, along with new parts of their own design, to build biological systems. They then operate these systems in living cells.
The U of L team, led by Dr. Hans-Joachim Wieden, included Roxanne Shank, Alix Blackshaw, Lisza Bruder, Ashley Duncan, Fan Mo, Mackenzie Coatham, Megan Torry, Jeffrey Fischer and Kristen Rosler.
Daycare dream realized
It was a big day for some of the smallest members of the University community. On Feb. 25, 2010, the U of L proudly celebrated the grand opening of its new Daycare. A long-envisioned dream, the $2 million project was completed on time and on budget. The facility, located near the University residences, has space for 54 children and includes a large outdoor play area.
University moves up in rankings
In the 2009 Maclean's magazine annual ranking of Canadian universities, the University of Lethbridge moved up one spot – from seventh to sixth – and retained its place in the top 10 listing of 22 primarily undergraduate institutions.
As well, the U of L maintained or increased its placement in 10 different measures, among them the amount of support for student services and scholarships and the number of awards per full-time faculty members.
While noteworthy results, the rankings do not include several items that show additional investment in student resources and do not reflect the U of L's focus on graduate studies.
"We increased our student scholarships and bursaries significantly, which increased our ranking, but those figures do not include an additional $2.4 million our students receive through the Alberta scholarship program," reminds U of L President Bill Cade. "As well, as we move forward with our strategic plan and continue to develop as a comprehensive research university, there's no accommodation for our dramatic increase in masters and doctoral candidates in our School of Graduate Studies."
In a separate national ranking focused on research, the U of L moved up three places as one of Canada's top 50 research universities. The results were released by Research Infosource Inc. and based on Statistics Canada data and the Research Infosource Canadian University R&D database.
With a 22 per cent increase in funding, well ahead of the national average of six per cent, the U of L's gain demonstrates the institution's strength in key research areas.
"During the reporting period (2007-08), our research funding increased from $13 million to more than $16 million, and moved us up from 38th to 35th place, in the middle range of the top 50 group," explains U of L Vice-President, Research, Dr. Dan Weeks.
"Our researchers should be extremely proud of this accomplishment – it is proof that the U of L is successfully moving forward in many directions. Even in a tough economy, we are seeing great success. I am pleased that we were among the top 15 universities to record significant percentages of overall research growth."
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