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Patricia Okpara holding insect collection kitPhD student Patricia Okpara has distributed insect collection kits to students in the biology class “Applied Entomology.”

Insect collection kits to ease distance learning by entomology students

Just because the COVID-19 pandemic keeps students in the fourth-year course applied entomology away from campus doesn’t mean they have to miss out, says Patricia Okpara.

As the graduate assistant for biology professor Sherah Vanlaerhoven, Okpara has assembled and distributed kits that will enable the students to complete a full collection of insects.

“We’re doing everything we can to make sure the students get the most out of the experience,” says Okpara, a doctoral candidate of integrative biology.

She has already distributed more than 30 kits, both by mail and by pick-up through the Leddy Library. Each contains collection vials, pins, brushes — a full set of apparatus for students to prepare and display what they capture.

The students are graded on the variety of orders and families represented by the specimens they collect by the end of the semester, and Okpara notes that diligence pays off.

“It takes some dedication, but you have to get moving early,” she says. “It gets a lot harder to find insects once November rolls around.”

She will be available each week for an online lab to help students identify their samples, and will narrate dissections over a web camera.

“At the end of the course, the students will understand insect anatomy and their importance in ecosystems,” says Okpara. “It’s a really cool course for people who are geeked out about insects.”

computer displaying text “The Stream You Step In” University Players has commissioned four new works by Canadian playwrights for performance via Zoom in November.

Theatre company to livestream new Canadian works

Local restrictions may have closed Essex Hall Theatre for the time being, but the team at University Players has chosen an innovative solution to the problem of performance during a pandemic.

Partnering with Outside the March, an immersive theatre company based in Toronto, the 62nd season promises audiences an experience that brings live performances to them. Graduating students of the BFA acting program will present four new Canadian works via Zoom.

One of the hallmarks of University Players’ work is partnership with professionals in the theatre industry. The troupe has commissioned playwrights David Yee, Elena Eli Belyea, Karen Hines, and Marcus Youssef to create new works for the project, and directors Sébastien Heins, Kim McLeod, and Griffin McInnes will direct casts in these new works, along with Outside the March’s artistic director Mitchell Cushman, creative curator on the project.

Titled “The Stream You Step In,” this online theatre event draws inspiration from the words of ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus: “You can never step in the same stream twice.” In the act of stepping into it, you change the stream itself and in return, you are forever changed by your experience.

In this case, the stream isn’t a river of water, but performance. The festival will also serve as research material for faculty and students who will explore the challenges faced in making new work and engaging audiences during the current crisis. Drama professor Michelle MacArthur will guide a research team tasked with analysis of the creative process and audience experience through funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Cushman says that the work of Outside the March has never been more relevant.

“We are excited to explore all of the ways in which an online platform like Zoom can allow audiences a chance to have a two-way, implicated, intimate experience with these brand new works of theatre,” he says. “These are four of Canada’s most exciting and innovative playwrights — and the perfect voices to chronicle and make sense of these unparalleled times we are all living through.”

University Players will perform “The Stream You Step In” over two weekends: Nov. 5 to 8 and 19 to 22. Tickets to each double-feature performance are $20 and will be available through the online box office.

For more information, visit

—Kristen Siapas

woman engaging with laptopA practicum placement facilitating online sessions for ESL students will give teacher candidates valuable experience.

Facilitating sessions for English learners to provide experience for teacher candidates

A practicum placement facilitating online extracurricular sessions for students of the English Language Improvement Program (ELIP) will give teacher candidates valuable experience, say partners leading the project.

Anouchka Plumb, manager of language programs in Continuing Education, and doctoral candidate in education Anita Toronyi will direct the effort through the Faculty of Education’s service learning course in English as a Second Language.

“This is an exciting collaboration because it fulfils the service learning objectives of exposing mainstream teachers to learners with English as an additional language and giving them facilitation experience in the field,” says Toronyi.

Participants completing the 20-hour practicum receive a certificate of practicum completion evidencing their “learning by doing” and adding to their professional portfolios.

“For ELIP students, the extracurricular sessions support them in exploring topics of interest while continuing to focus on strengthening their communication skills,” Dr. Plumb says. “It was also imperative for the program to review creative opportunities for ELIP student social connection in the online community that can be sustained beyond remote learning days in response to the pandemic.”

The sessions will engage the students in discussions on:

  • Canadian Geography
  • Grammar Attack
  • Study Success
  • Confident Online Speaking 
  • Canada in the News
  • Critical Thinking Hub
  • Leadership Matters
  • Mini-Lecture Series

Plumb says Continuing Education seeks more faculty members interested in innovative cross-disciplinary collaboration. She encourages anyone with an idea to reach out at

webpagesThe provost’s office has put together a starter pack of links to information for new and returning students.

Info links a starter pack for students to launch semester

For both new and returning students, there’s a lot to navigate this fall. With advice from students across the University, the provost’s office has put together a starter pack of links to get them where they need to go.

  1. Get a UWin email account
    How-to instructions
    How to extend its use to other services
  2. Get your class schedule
    How-to instructions
  3. Find your online classes on Blackboard Learn
    How-to instructions
    Orientation module for Blackboard Learn: Blackboard Learn
  4. Find and buy your books
    How-to instructions
  5. Use library services
  6. Switch courses
    How-to instructions
    More information
    Last day to add or drop a course for Fall 2020
  7. Get a UWinID Card
    How-to instructions
    More info
  8. Pay tuition
    How-to instructions
    Tuition refund deadline
  9. Connect with an academic advisor
    Central advising
    Departmental advising
  10. Get involved:
    In your faculty
    In Lancer Recreation
    In student events

The University’s student-focused information source,, houses the answers to hundreds of questions. It is sortable for topics like “Fall 2020,” “UWinOnline,” and “COVID-19.” Can’t find the answer you’re looking for? You can submit your question here for a response.

Visit Current Students for one-stop access to key campus services and resources and for information about the University’s response to COVID-19. If you’re not sure how to proceed with online learning, this site will also allow users to connect via live chat with students who can help navigate the virtual campus, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

bowl of gazpachoIn his recipe for gazpacho, chef Paolo Vasapolli roasts the vegetables before puréeing.

Chilled soup makes most of local produce, says chef

The cold soup gazpacho is refreshing and cool on a late summer day, says Paolo Vasapolli, executive chef in Food and Catering Services.

“The best part is that is uses produce now in peak season here in Essex County,” he adds.

His recipe first roasts the vegetables to bring out their flavour.

Roasted Pepper Gazpacho


  • 4 lb plum tomatoes, halved
  • 5 large peppers, mixed in colour
  • 4 medium-sized red onions
  • ½-cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups water, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp sherry vinegar (optional, or subsitute red wine vinegar)
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, finely chopped (about 2 cups)


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Place tomatoes on large baking sheet.
  3. Cut four peppers into 1-inch pieces placing them on another baking sheet.
  4. Cut three onions into 1-inch pieces and add to peppers along with the garlic cloves.
  5. Drizzle 1/2 cup oil over vegetables tossing them together. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  6. Roast vegetables until soft and slightly charred, about 50 minutes, switching positions of pans after 25 minutes.
  7. Purée half of vegetables with pan juices in processor until smooth.
  8. Add 1 cup water and purée until very smooth. Transfer mixture to large bowl.
  9. Repeat with remaining vegetables and 1 cup water. Add fresh basil leaves at the end and cover the gazpacho to chill overnight.
  10. Mix remaining 1 cup water, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce into gazpacho. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Vasapolli recommends a garnish of the cucumber and the remaining pepper and onion, finely diced, topped with a drizzle of olive oil.

Find more recipes — as well as a place to submit your own — on the Healthy Eating website.