Western News celebrates 5th annual Newsmakers

How will we remember 2014? Probably through one or more of these faces.

Today, Western News presents its 5th annual Newsmakers issue, a celebration of the campus spirit we have to offer at Western. Each Newsmaker contributed to campus conversations – both important ones and entertaining ones. They are who we will think about when we think about 2014.

Understand, we honour a mere handful of the hundreds who shaped the last year at Western. Some of these names you’ll know by heart. Others, you may need a little help to remember.

So, join us on the following pages that spotlight, in brief words and striking images, some of our favourites from the last year.

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Cluster of Research Excellence in Musculoskeletal Health

Millions of bone-and-joint aliment sufferers across Canada, and around the world, will benefit from the collective capabilities of Western’s latest high-profile research investment.

Health Sciences professor Trevor Birmingham, left, Physiology and Pharmacology professor Jeff Dixon, middle, and Medical Biophysics and Surgery professor David Holdsworth are three of more than 70 researchers across five faculties in the newly announced Cluster of Research Excellence in Musculoskeletal Health. This is the university’s second Cluster of Research Excellence, a top designation reserved only for collaborative areas where “innovation and world-class research thrive.”

Announced in November, Musculoskeletal Health will be supported by a $5-million funding commitment from the university over five years. Organizers say the cluster will position Western at the forefront of research affecting bones and joints, including arthritis, osteoporosis and trauma, as well as work-, sport- and exercise-related injuries.

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Sarah Dawson, Alumni Career Coach

A new career initiative meant to support alumni and contribute to their ongoing career success was launched at Western this year, with Sarah Dawson stepping in as the inaugural Alumni Career Coach. “Western’s commitment to helping our students achieve success doesn’t end at graduation,” she said. “This program is designed to help all of our alumni, whether they are new graduates or experienced professionals.” Western’s Alumni Career Management provides both online and in-person career development events and opportunities and this new initiative is part of a multi-year plan to help graduates learn about new opportunities, develop skills, and connect with other alumni – all with the aim of advancing their careers.

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Raymond Francis, Post-Doctoral Fellow (Engineering)

Raymond Francis wrapped up his PhD work at Western in August and has had his head in the clouds ever since. Actually, it’s been much further than the clouds. Think Mars. Currently a postdoctoral fellow at Western, Francis is also a visiting postdoc at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab at the California Institute of Technology. During his PhD, he began working with the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, exploring the planet Mars as a member of its science team, as well as taking part in mission operations as lead for environmental and atmospheric science. Now in California, he has started working with the lab’s ChemCam (chemical camera) – a laser-induced breakdown spectrometer (LIBS) that vapourizes rocks up to seven metres from the rover and images the emission from the resulting plasma to identify the rocks’ composition. His main role with the instrument is supporting the rollout of new automated targeting software for the ChemCam LIBS system.

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Chirag Shah, chair of Western’s Board of Governors

Recruited by Western’s Alumni Association, Chirag Shah joined the Board of Governors in 2010. Just four years later, the Western alumnus, BSc’89, now finds himself heading up the group as Board chair. Using the university’s Strategic Plan as his guide, Shah led his first meeting in January with a continued focus on the fiscal governance of Western, including the approval and oversight of operational and capital budgets, capital planning and development, investments and investment policy. Shah is the London Market Leader for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, managing delivery of the firm’s services to clients in the region. He also serves on the boards of TechAlliance and United Way of London & Middlesex. Shah’s time as board chair concludes at the end of this month.

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Paul Paolatto, Western Research Parks Executive Director

Western Research Parks were ranked 22nd in the world by Swedish research company UBI Index in its Global Top 25 University Business Incubators 2014. “These rankings demonstrate that the investment in these facilities, and the research expertise we are able to offer our industry partners is drawing attention from around the world and benefitting the local economy,” said Paul Paolatto, executive director of Western Research Parks. The facilities performed exceptionally well compared to UBI’s global benchmark on post-incubation performance indicators, meaning clients generate positive economic impact for the region and have higher survival and growth rates than the global average. Western’s Collider Centre for Technology Commercialization, housed within Western’s Research Parks, also opened earlier this year. It is anticipated to become one of North America’s go-to centres for research, testing and commercialization of advanced manufacturing technology.

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Angie Mandich, Acting Associate Vice-Provost (Student Experience)

Angie Mandich is not new to Western, though her current position is. The Health Sciences professor was named Western’s first associate vice-provost (academic programs and students) for a three-year term. Her new role hones in on issues affecting student experiences on campus and is meant to showcase Western’s commitment to student success, inside and outside the classroom. For the past five years, Mandich was the director and graduate chair in the School of Occupational Therapy. She is an internationally respected researcher with a distinguished record of service at the university. Mandich has worked as an occupational therapist in pediatrics and adolescent mental health for almost a decade.

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Marta Dyczok, History and Political Science

Marta Dyczok, a Western professor joint appointed in History and Political Science, specializes in international politics and history, with a focus on east central Europe and Eurasia – specifically Ukraine. Her efforts to bring news of Ukraine’s unrest not only to campus, but across the globe, have been herculean in the last year. She has penned a handful of commentary pieces about the nature of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine to major publications (including a few for this one). She has also been involved in a number of initiatives to inform the local community of issues affecting Ukraine and its people, and has organized public lectures and events to contribute to the dissemination of information. As part of a Canadian election monitoring mission, Dyczok visited the Sumy Region in Ukraine this fall.

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Kelly Jazvac, Visual Arts

Kelly Jazvac, a Visual Arts professor and artist, who works primarily in installation, sculpture and collage, was longlisted for the Sobey Art Award this year, joining 24 other artists from across Canada, all of them under the age of 40. The Sobey Art Award is among the most prestigious honours for young artists in the country. Jazvac received her BA from the University of Guelph in 2003 and her MFA from the University of Victoria in 2006. She has exhibited extensively in Canada, and her mostly abstract works explore possible connections between material quality, surface, consumerism, and desire.

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Eric Arts, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry

With a belief that curing HIV/AIDS is an achievable goal, Eric Arts, one of the most important researchers studying the deadly disease in the world today, made Western his new home this year. Arts, a Western alumnus, serves as chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. Arts and his research team have provided the international medical community with a better understanding of how different strains of HIV mutate in different parts of the world, causing not only major differences in disease development, but also varying timelines in terms of progression to a patient with AIDS. A recently announced $5-million Imaging Pathogens for Knowledge Translation Facility, led by Arts, will facilitate the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for the treatment of infectious diseases.

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Caroline Ehrhardt, Western Mustangs Track & Field

Caroline Ehrhardt not only ran circles around opponents on the track, but the fourth-year Health Sciences student lapped many in the classroom as well. In November, Ehrhardt won the Governor General’s Academic All-Canadian Commendation for the 2013-14 season. The award recognizes student-athletes who have maintained an 80 per cent or higher average over the academic year while playing on one or more of varsity teams. A three-time member of the Dean’s List, she has received numerous academic accolades including the Western Scholarship of Excellence, Gordon Risk Athletic Award (twice) and Larry Shaw Scholarship. In the community, Ehrhardt has volunteered with Childreach, an early childhood development resource centre in London. She is also a volunteer track-and-field coach, and assists with a day camp for local indigenous schools.

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Kevin Vuong, Geography graduate student

Count on Kevin Vuong to get involved. A graduate of Western’s Bachelor of Management and Organizational Studies program, and currently working on a master’s degree in Geography, Vuong had a busy year. He was one of 175 postsecondary students from across Canada invited to a youth conference for sustainability leadership; a 2014 Western Green Award winner for his participation in rePurpose for Change; and part of the only Canadian team flown to Geneva, Switzerland, for the inaugural Geneva Challenge on Empowering Women for Development. Vuong represented Canada at the Commonwealth Games Legacy 2014 leadership program. He also was shortlisted as one of Canada’s emerging national leaders for the Prime Minister’s Volunteer Awards; named to Canada’s Top Under 30 Pan-Asian leader‎; and shortlisted for Samara’s Everyday Political Citizen project, which celebrates the un-sung heroes of Canadian democracy.

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Josh Morgan, Ward 7 Councillor

Josh Morgan is no stranger to politics. As the program administrator in Western’s local government program in the Faculty of Social Science, Morgan knew what he was getting into when he threw his name in the hat in this year’s municipal election. Running for councillor in Ward 7, Morgan walked away victorious and started his term at City Hall this month. He has previously been on the boards of Museum London, Western Fair District and London Public Library. The October election saw an overturning at City Hall, with three of 14 councillors elected staying from the previous council. The remainder, much like Morgan, is a younger, more diverse group of Londoners.

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The Parking Space

Construction of Ontario Hall, the reconfiguration of the Springett Parking Lot, as well as the ongoing expansion of Western’s buildings and facilities throughout 2014, made the Parking Space this season’s must-have accessory. As surface parking becomes less and less, yet demand continues to build, university officials this year even broached the subject of a parking structure to maximize the use of the land footprint – but don’t look for one any time soon. Until then, thanks to patience, and genuine Canadian politeness, Western commuters will continue to get along – for now.

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Alain Goldschläger, French Studies

Earlier this year, French Studies professor Alain Goldschläger received France’s Ordre des Palmes Académiques (Order of Academic Palms), a decoration originally founded by Emperor Napoléon, acknowledging major contributions to French national education and culture. Goldschläger, who established Western’s Holocaust Literary Research Institute in 1996, was honoured for his work with the International Task Force for Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research.

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Ingrid Johnsrude, Brain and Mind

Ingrid Johnsrude is among Canada’s most innovative neuroscientists, and now one of Western’s own. Johnsrude came to Western this year, joining the Brain & Mind Institute where she aims to advance her research into understanding human behaviour through speech, language and hearing. Upon her arrival, Johnsrude was named a Western Research Chair, the first of its kind announced since the chairs were established last year in support of Western’s Clusters of Research Excellence program. Johnsrude’s research focused on diagnosing and treating health problems, including hearing impairment and brain disease in the aging and elderly, garnered international media attention last year.

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Cam Tsujita, Earth Sciences

Cam Tsujita loves to teach – because he loves learning. It has been quite a year for the Earth Sciences professor. In March, Tsujita was recognized by 3M Canada and the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education as a 3M National Teaching Fellow, widely seen as the top national award for teaching leadership at the postsecondary level in the country. “I imagine this is what a Canadian recording artist must feel in receiving a Juno Award,” Tsujita said upon being named the 24th professor in Western’s history to earn this honour. More recently, Tsujita was also recognized with Western’s Edwards G. Pleva Award for Excellence in Teaching, the top teaching honour the university bestows upon faculty members.

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Jen Carter, USC Vice-President (External)

When the time came for the municipal election in October, Western students stepped up to the polling plate like never before, waiting to be heard on issues of housing and transportation, in particular. For this, you can thank Jen Carter, vice-president (external) of the University Student’s Council (USC). Carter is responsible for spearheading an aggressive campaign, called Western Votes, targeting students, encouraging them to get involved and see themselves as citizens of London, affected by city services such as the London Transit Commission. Campus debates, posters and information sessions were just some of the initiatives part of Western Votes.

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Lori Josephson, Western Mustangs women’s rugby

Lori Josephson put an exclamation point on a stellar Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) career last season. She was named CIS Player of the Year in women’s rugby – the second Western standout to merit the national MVP award, since the sport made its CIS debut in 1998. The fifth-year scrumhalf also earned a second consecutive all-Canadian nod, as well as a spot on the Ontario University Athletics Shiels Division all-star team for the third straight campaign. Josephson placed third on the Mustangs in scoring with 25 points – off of five tries – in five league games. In addition to playing with the Mustangs, Josephson represented Canada on the international stage with the national under-20 team.