Profs, Students Making Headlines

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Prof. Emeritus Michael Keefer, English and Theatre Studies, wrote an op-ed column in the Toronto Star on Nov. 11. In the column, Keefer discussed his family’s history with World War II, as his father and uncle both served in the war. He also wrote about the need to care for veterans, and said many struggle with psychological trauma as a result of their experiences on the frontlines. He called on government to provide increased support for veterans and their families.

Prof. Evan Fraser, Geography, was interviewed on The Agenda with Steve Paikin on Nov. 9. In the interview, Fraser discussed how climate change and population growth could cause hunger and conflict around the world, and ways to promote global food security. He was also a speaker on transportation at The Walrus Talks in Toronto, part of a series of seven-minute lectures, with the online story airing on Oct. 22. He spoke on the value the global food system provide, noting the need to support local food systems. Fraser created “Feeding Nine Billion,” a project intended to spark discussion about feeding the Earth’s ballooning human population, and he studies food security, food prices and rural agricultural policy.

Prof. Sylvain Charlebois, Marketing and Consumer Studies, interviewed by Canadian Press on Nov. 6, by CTVNews.ca on Nov. 1, CBC News BC on Oct. 29, wrote an op-ed column for the Globe and Mail on Oct. 28, and was interviewed by CTV News Channel, CBCNews.ca and GlobalNews.ca on Oct. 26. In the Canadian Press article, he discussed TPP.  In the op-ed, Charlebois wrote about potential threat to Canada’s meat industry. In the CTVNews.ca and CBC BC interviews, he discussed the rising price of fruits and vegetables. In the CTV and CBCNews.ca interviews, he spoke about the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recent warning that eating processed meat is unhealthy and could lead to cancer. In the Global News story, he discussed a survey the Food Institute at U of Guelph conducted in which a number of participants said they are cutting back on eating beef, primarily because of cost. Charlebois studies food distribution and the economics of food retailers.

Holocaust Education Week was recognized at the University of Guelph last week, and CTV News – Kitchener reported on the students’ efforts on Nov. 6. Students from Guelph Hillel, led by Holocaust education committee co-chair Brodie Marks, organized the week. It included a cattle car exhibit, a talk from a Holocaust survivor that attracted more than 1,000 people, and a Shabbat dinner. The students had people sign a petition urging teaching about the Holocaust be made mandatory across Ontario.

Prof. Stephen Henigan, Languages and Literature, wrote a column for the Globe and Mail on Nov. 6 about the Giller Prize, viewed by many as Canada’s top award for non-fiction literature. Henighan wrote on how he had been a critic of the Giller Prize, but now would not be commenting on it as a book he edited is in the running for the award. Henighan studies new literature and his next novel, The Path of the Jaguar, will be published in 2016.

University of Guelph graduate student Tyler Valiquette was featured in Maclean’s  Nov. 5. He’s part of a special story celebrating the 25th anniversary of the magazine’s university rankings issue. The article highlights 25 Canadian 25-year-olds, looking at university through their eyes. Valiquette created the “Vote Savvy” initiative with fellow U of G graduate student Yvonne Su.  It involved using vote mobs, videos, social media and other efforts to engage young people to vote in the recent federal election. He’s also travelled the world with the NGO Free the Children, and is working on a master’s degree in international development and political science, with a focus on LGBT issues. Read about Valiquette here; scroll down to No. 18.

Prof. Jim Ballantyne, Integrative Biology, was interviewed by GlobalNews.ca on Oct. 31 for a story on a shark that was beached in Provincetown, Massachusetts. The shark regurgitated its stomach onto the sand. Ballantyne said this is a common occurrence in the water, and the stomach will generally go back in the shark’s body. He studies the biochemistry of aquatic organisms in both an adaptive and an evolutionary context.

Prof. Myrna Dawson, Sociology & Anthropology, was interviewed by Yahoo! News on Oct. 31 and the Canadian Press for stories that appeared in the Toronto Star, CTVNews.ca and the Toronto Sun on Oct. 28. The interview discussed Dawson’s research study on the issue of parents who murder their children. Dawson discussed how the findings could help policy makers when looking at parental-leave policies, the changing role of mothers and fathers in childcare, and potential interventions. Dawson studies criminal justice, violence prevention and public policy.

Prof. Emma Allen-Vercoe, Molecular and Cellular Biology, was featured in a new documentary, It Takes Guts, that aired on CBC Television Oct. 29 on The Nature of Things, hosted by David Suzuki. The show highlighted new research causing scientists and doctors to rethink health, diet and the obesity epidemic. It looked at how modern lifestyles, specifically a highly processed western diet and overuse of antibiotics, affect both gut microbes and human health. Allen-Vercoe was interviewed for the most recent issue of Canadian Living and appeared live on CHCH’s Morning Live show on Oct. 26 to discuss intestinal health and the role gut bacteria play in attempts to lose weight. Allen-Vercoe  Allen-Vercoe and her research team study how an imbalance of gut microbes can contribute to disease, and they have helped develop synthetic feces to treat patients with C. difficile. They created a “robo-gut,” a scientific laboratory at U of G that mimics the environment of the large intestine.

Prof. John Prescott, Pathobiology, was interviewed by the Toronto Sun on Oct. 28 to speak about leptospirosis — a bacterial infection commonly found in the urine of raccoons and skunks. Prescott has studied the infection, which can infect dogs, and advised that vaccinating dogs may be a wise move to protect against illnesses and high treatment costs. Prescott studies bacterial disease in animals and effective antimicrobial drug use.

Profs. Bruce McAdams and Mike von Massow, Hospitality, Food & Tourism, wrote a Globe and Mail op-ed column on Oct. 28 in which they discussed the issue of tipping. In the column, McAdams and von Massow called for an improvement in the wages of restaurant cooks and other back-room staff. McAdams worked in the hospitality for more than 20 years and studies restaurant operations, while von Massow also worked in the hospitality industry before becoming a faculty member. He teaches courses in operations and revenue management.

The Ontario Veterinary College’s (OVC) fundraising gala was featured in the Globe and Mail on Oct. 27. The event raised more than $4 million for OVC. U of G president Franco Vaccarino also announced that a new fundraising effort was being launched, seeking to raise $9 million for Pet Trust. OVC dean Jeff Wichtel discussed the need for more surgery and anesthesia facilities at the school. In addition, supporters and Pet Trust board members spoke about why OVC is important to them.

Prof. Emeritus Barry Smit, Geography, was interviewed on The Agenda with Steve Paikin on Oct. 26, and was part of CBC Radio’s Quirks and Quarks 40th anniversary show on Oct. 17. In the TVO interview, Smit spoke about how climate change could have an impact on Ontario’s wine industry. In the 40th anniversary show, he discussed how climate change has impacted the world and become more of a focus in the last few decades. Smit studies climate change, Canadian policies on the environment and global warming.

Prof. Matthew Hayday, History, was interviewed by Canadian Press for a story that appeared on CTVNews.ca, GlobalNews.ca and the Globe and Mail on Oct. 27. In the interview, Hayday discussed a proposed list of Canadian historical moments that federal officials are proposing to highlight during Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017. Hayday studies Canadian national identity and Canada Day celebrations.

Profs. Andreas Boecker, Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics, and David Ma, Human Health and Nutritional Science, were interviewed by CBCNews.ca on Oct. 26 to discuss consumer reaction to the WHO statement on processed meats. Boecker said it could cause a short-term impact, while Ma noted moderation is critical with anything people consume. Boecker has studied historical responses to food scares, while Ma, who is vice-president of research for the Canadian Nutrition Society, researches the impact of nutrition on health, particularly in relation to colon cancer.

University of Guelph science students were featured in a CTV News – Kitchener report on the Let’s Talk Science program they hosted for young elementary school students on Oct. 26. The day tied in to a Halloween and Harry Potter theme, as it focused on the science around “magical” acts such as levitation, invisible ink and how metal can make fire change colour. The U of Guelph students running the program are all volunteers.

Prof. Patricia Turner, Pathobiology, was interviewed by the Toronto Sun on Oct. 22 for a story on animal euthanasia and dealing with wildlife.  Turner discussed accepted methods for animal euthanasia, and said proper training and equipment for animals should be provided to law enforcement officials. She studies animal welfare and animal euthanasia.

A University of Guelph-Humber student was featured in the Toronto Star on Oct. 22 for a story on going back to school as a mature student. Justice Studies student Sandra Tassone discussed the benefits and challenges of returning to school 20 years after leaving university. She said she finds returning to school full-time to be invigorating, and is hoping to use her degree to provide an improved life for her three children and herself.