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Sarah Dobney collects recordings at a savannah sparrow nest Sarah Dobney, pictured here collecting recordings at a savannah sparrow nest in the Bay of Fundy, won a prize at the national meeting of the Society of Canadian Ornithologists.

Graduate students of ornithology deliver prize-winning talks

Two University of Windsor graduate students won prizes for outstanding talks at the recent annual meeting of the Society of Canadian Ornithologists.

Sarah Dobney, a PhD student in the Department of Integrative Biology, won the “Early Program Award” for an outstanding presentation from an early-career researcher. Her prize-winning talk was titled: “Quiet in the nest: Nest environment diminishes song transmission to nestlings.”

“I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to present my findings at the national meeting of the Society of Canadian Ornithologists,” said Dobney. “I am blown away that my talk was so well received.

“Most importantly, I am thrilled that I was able to communicate my research to a group of Canadian ornithologists, and to take part in a national conference focused on sharing research ideas.”

Camille Rondeau Saint-Jean, a Master’s student who studies sparrows under the co-supervision of professors Dan Mennill and Timothée Poisot of the University of Montreal, also won a prize. For her talk titled “Individual recognition of bird song using a deep neural network,” Rondeau Saint-Jean won the “Five-minute Talk Award.” 

Said Rondeau Saint-Jean: “It felt great to present my research alongside many other researchers who are as passionate as I am about studying birds. We really had the sense of belonging to a community of ornithologists across the country.”

In addition to Dobney and Rondeau Saint-Jean’s prize winning talks, undergraduate student Sarika Sharma from the School of the Environment delivered her first-ever conference presentation; and postdoctoral fellow Natalie Sanchez from the Department of Integrative Biology delivered her first conference presentation as a University of Windsor researcher.

Dr. Mennill said he was impressed with all four University of Windsor researchers who presented their studies at this virtual conference.

“They showed off outstanding ornithological research from the University of Windsor on a national stage,” he said.

Gordie Howe International BridgeCivil engineering student Farnaz Zahedieh explored lane configurations and tolling systems for the Gordie Howe International Bridge.

Tolling research completed through Community Benefits Partnership

A University of Windsor engineering student is one step closer to graduation after completing her thesis on advanced tolling systems related to the Gordie Howe International Bridge project. The research was supported by the Annual Research Partnership, an initiative of the project’s Community Benefits Plan.

As part of her Master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering, Farnaz Zahedieh tested the impacts of a new toll information system and various lane configurations on traffic performance and safety using a computerized simulation model, under the supervision of professor Chris Lee.

Available data and resources on potential tolling information systems and proposed lane configurations were provided by Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority’s engineering team.

Partnerships with post-secondary institutions are just one of many elements of the Workforce Development and Participation Strategy, a component of the Community Benefits Plan. It further includes commitments to engage elementary and secondary school students in classroom activities to raise awareness about the project and career paths in related industries, and engaging post-secondary students through lectures, presentations, and co-operative learning opportunities.

Learn more about the Gordie Howe International Bridge Community Benefits Plan.

Leah WebsterLeah Webster, a doctoral candidate at Imperial College London, sought out Windsor to be her academic home for three months.

Visiting scholar looking forward to broadening experience

Given the chance to study anywhere in Canada, British PhD candidate Leah Webster sought out the University of Windsor to be her academic home for three months.

Webster, from Imperial College London, will spend 12-weeks in professor Marcus Drover’s lab in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

The visiting chemist was awarded a UK-Canada Globalink doctoral exchange scheme — a collaborative venture between UK Research and Innovation and MITACS. The scheme provides each qualifying student roughly $22,000 along with another $3,000 for supplies and consumables to carry out research at any Canadian university.

“One of the reasons I picked Dr. Drover’s group is the ‘green’ chemistry aspect that his team is looking into,” says Webster.

“He’s exploring the problems you see in the news every day — directly using the experience and knowledge you get from a chemistry degree.”

While in the Drover lab, Webster will explore a project created specifically for her. She will be synthesizing new molecules and investigating those that can reduce carbon dioxide to methanol, with the aim of preparing fuel alternatives from waste.

“The research is quite a hot topic in the science world right now, and I am hoping to help push towards the long-term goals of this project in the few months that I’m here,” she says.

Webster says she reached out to Drover because of his online global inorganic discussions during the pandemic. The research project allows her to explore a completely different project from her doctoral studies in the UK.

“I really enjoy travelling and I want to stay in academia, so having this experience in a new lab is useful and I think it builds on the skills that I already have,” she says.

“This project takes me out of my comfort zone, to see how other researchers perform their work, and hopefully I can bring some of my ideas from London and help Marcus’ group. In turn, I intend to take a lot of ideas from Marcus’ group and improve my chemistry as well.”

Drover says that he is elated that Webster can spend time with his team. His group has extensive research interest overlap with that of her home supervisor at Imperial College. Drover says he hopes this research opportunity will serve as a seed for future joint research projects.

“We have excellent supports here at UWindsor in the areas of synthetic chemistry that offer ambitious young researchers a mechanism to target long-standing problems of societal relevance,” says Drover.

“Unlocking global perspectives, opportunities, networks, and expertise are fundamental building blocks to our success as an institution.”

Webster plans to travel with the Windsor researchers to St. Catherine’s in November for the annual Inorganic Discussion Weekend.

“It is difficult for people in the UK and Europe to get to North American conferences and it can be hard to break into that chemistry community,” she says. “Now I can meet with new chemists and get ideas that will advance my research aims.”
Meaghan WhattamAll-star golfer Meaghan Whattam is one of the outstanding Lancer athletes to be inducted in the Alumni Sports Hall of Fame on Sunday.

Athletics events to wrap up Alumni Week

Alumni Week will conclude this weekend with a couple of athletics events: the Lancer football game Saturday and the Alumni Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Sunday.

The Lancers will host the Laurier Golden Hawks at Alumni Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 1. Kick-off is at 7 p.m. In addition to exciting action on the field, the evening promises promos and giveaways for fans. Tickets are available at the gate or in advance at goLancers.ca/tickets.

The hall of fame will induct five Lancer grads:

  • Jessica Clemençon, women's basketball
  • Miah-Marie Langlois, women's basketball
  • Meaghan (Pototschnik) Whattam, golf 
  • Richard Holland, football
  • Drew Macaulay, track and field

The ceremony is set for 1 p.m. Oct. 2 in the Toldo Lancer Centre. Cost to attend is $20, with a $5 student rate. Click here for tickets.

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month.October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

Month dedicated to promoting awareness of cybersecurity

In recognition of Cybersecurity Awareness month, Information Technology Services will share best practices, tips, and information with the campus community throughout October. The campaign will serve to remind readers that cybersecurity is a team effort and shared responsibility.

“We are taking the opportunity to remind our Lancer community about best practices. It is important for faculty, staff, and students to know how to secure their devices, spot phishing attempts, and more,” says Marcin Pulcer, interim executive director of IT Services.

Cybersecurity Awareness Month is an effort by governments and organizations across Canada, the U.S.A., and the world, to highlight measures that individuals and businesses can use to protect themselves against cybercrimes. IT Services will share key cybersecurity themes weekly via DailyNews and on UWindsor’s social media channels.

More information is also available anytime at uwindsor.ca/cybersecurity.

students consulting computersStudents are seeking details on how to access income tax forms and academic transcripts.

Taxes and transcripts among top student queries

Campus partners are working to maintain a robust set of Knowledge Base Articles (KBAs).

The team will continue to compile a weekly digest of the most-referenced KBAs to streamline student-focused questions to ask.UWindsor to support consistent communication with current and future students.

These are this week’s top-five referenced KBAs:

You can submit common questions or make suggestions to the KBA team at askkba@uwindsor.ca.