Campus Digest, May 10

Western professor Alain Goldschlager, Department of French, recently received the Ontario Volunteer Service Award, recognizing 30 years of service with B’nai Brith Canada, the National Task Force on Holocaust Education and the League of Human Rights. For a man who started “as a simple soldier” conducting voluntary research during the trial of Ernst Christof Friedrich Zündel, his work evolved into a lifetime of local, national and international leadership positions.

Turns out, however, Goldschlager wasn’t even the first in his home to win the honour. His then-17-year-old daughter, Arielle, won the award in 2008 for her efforts with the United Way. “Normally, they say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. In this case, the tree grows not far from the apple,” Goldschlager said.

Plant sale springing up

Western’s Friends of the Gardens are preparing for its 19th annual Plant Sale. Organizers are hoping for a big turnout to help lighten their load prior to the group’s relocation.

The sale, which benefits Western’s Friends of the Gardens Student Bursaries, runs 12-2:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 15 in the Biological & Geological Sciences building courtyard, ground floor (between B&G rooms 0120 and 0187, across from Material Sciences Addition, Room 0203). Remaining plants will be sold 12-1 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, May 16-18.

Only cash or personal cheque are accepted.

For a complete listing of plants, visit the Friends website.

“This is always a much-anticipated and well-attended event, but we can really use the support this year, as we are being forced  by construction in the B&G Courtyard to move all our plant materials, etc. to new quarters,” said Lesley Tchorek of Friends of the Gardens. “We are hoping to sell as much of our plant inventory as possible through this year’s sale to lighten our load. Our new accommodations will be much more modest than at present.”

Western News takes pair of top honours

Two Western News staffers won Canadian Community Newspaper Awards in the organization’s annual national awards program celebrating the best in community publishing from across the country.

Reporter/photographer Paul Mayne won Best Campus Feature Story. Published on March 3, 2011, the story, Finding Private Lawless, chronicles how the remains of a First World War hero were identified thanks to Western research.

Editor Jason Winders won Best Campus News Story. Published on Jan. 6, 2011, the story, A Dream Unfolds, focuses on Western President Amit Chakma’s landmark visit to the Asian University for Women in Chittagong, Bangladesh.

Awards empower Africa-based research

Nine Western research projects, all with eyes on Africa, will be able to explore their ideas across the continent thanks to funding from The Africa Institute.

The 2012 Africa Institute Student Mobility Funding is awarded to meritorious undergraduate and graduate student projects that will be undertaken in Africa. The award supports students who plan to carry out activities in Africa with a research focus that benefits the student’s academic plan.

Political Science professor Joanna R. Quinn, The Africa Institute director, announced the awards on May 2. The funded projects include:

  • Blake Barkley, undergraduate student, International Relations/Anthropology ($2,500), Western Heads East Internship;
  • Riley Dillon, Ph.D. student, Geography ($500), Gender and Remittances to Zimbabwe;
  • Megan Enos, masters student, Microbiology and Immunology ($2,500), The Effect of Undernutrition on the Human Microbiota;
  • Kate Grantham, Ph.D. student, Women’s Studies and Feminist Research ($2,500), Assessing the Potential for a Positive Relationship Between Women`s Empowerment, Micro-enterprise, and Community Development in Tanzania;
  • Megan Lowthers, Ph.D. student, Anthropology ($2,500), A Feminist Anthropological Study of Migration and Sex Work at Kenya’s Cut Flower Industry;
  • John Bosco Mayiga, Ph.D. student, Media Studies ($2,500), Rethinking the Resource Curse: Informational Capitalism and the Oil Economy in Uganda;
  • Dina Najjar, Ph.D. student, Anthropology ($1,000), Women and Access to Land in Egypt’s New Lands;
  • Bethany Oeming, medical student, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry ($2,500), Utility of Rapid Antigen Detection Tests and Clinical Scores in Arusha, Tanzania;
  • Candie Thomas, Ph.D. student, Anthropology ($2,500), Archaeological Ethnography of Pottery Production, Use and Meaning in the Mnweni Valley, South Africa;

Raffle idea takes the cake


You didn’t have to have a heart to help Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry students last week. You could have a lung, heart or even kidney. Organizers Ryan McLarty, Sonika Kainth, Carolyn Travers and Jimmy Yan, all first-year medical students, raised $403 for the United Way through an anatomical bake sale raffle. Pictured are, from left, a heart cake by Lauren Forrest, kidney cake by Tara Thompson and lung cake by Laura Callan.

Early researchers earn funding

Five Western researchers look to find innovative solutions to global challenges, thanks to the province’s Early Researcher Awards program. A total of $700,000 will help these world-leading researchers make new discoveries while helping to build their research teams.

“We are thrilled to see five of our exceptionally talented new faculty members among the latest cohort to be rewarded for their hard work and scholarship, and we are very grateful to the province for continuing to provide this much needed support which is key to attracting and retaining these bright minds on our campus,” said Janice Deakin, Western provost and vice-president (academic) and acting vice-president (research).

The funding includes support for:

  • Clare Robinson. Using field studies and computer models, Robinson aims to gain a better understanding of how groundwater contributes to pollution in the Great Lakes. Her work will contribute to better strategies for protecting water quality in one of our most precious natural resources.
  • Manual Montero-Odasso. Montero-Odasso studies whether changes in the way a person ‘walks while talking’ can predict future dementia, and how dementia relates to the risk of falling. The ultimate goal is to develop new ways to enhance mobility and reduce the risk of falls among seniors.
  • Jessica Grahn. Grahn came to Western University from Cambridge University to advance her investigation into how the brain processes music. Her work could well lead to treatments for movement and balance disorders like Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease, stroke and traumatic brain injury.
  • Janice Forsyth. Forsyth is looking at the history of sports and games in the residential school system – specifically, how students’ involvement impacted on their understanding of health. Her work will help position Ontario as a leader in the field of Aboriginal health.
  • Peter Cadieux. UTIs are the most common infection in humans worldwide, and some develop into recurring infections as the bacteria develop ways to resist and tolerate these agents. Cadieux is studying antibiotic tolerance in UTIs with the goal of finding ways to overcome it.

A classic performance at Western


A performance by renowned Canadian poet and classicist Anne Carson kicked off the 2012 Classical Association of Canada (CAC) Conference, hosted by Western’s Department of Classical Studies from May 7-10. The annual CAC conference unites roughly 150 researchers from across North America. Professor Amy Richlin of the University of California at Los Angeles delivered the keynote address, Vox Clamantis in Deserto: Teaching Classics to the First Nations, Wednesday evening.