How I Spent My Summer

September 13, 2016

Incredible summer stories you may have missed

Our students and faculty members had a lot going on over the past few months. Get caught up on just some of the many stories that took place over the summer.

Fort Mac strong

The biggest story of the summer didn’t happen in Edmonton, but it mobilized people across the province and Canada to volunteer and donate to help families displaced by the Fort McMurray wildfires. When the city was evacuated in May, the university community pulled together to offer assistance. MacEwan Residence became the on-campus destination for citizens displaced by the fire.

Image-story-summer2016-BrandonBrain science

Not your typical summer vacation... Curious about the rehabilitation of concussions, former hockey player Brandon Craig (Bachelor of Science, Psychology Honours) wanted to know why brain damage is difficult to rehabilitate. “Just asking ‘why’ led me to doing research to find out the answer,” he says.

Working with Assistant Professor Christopher Striemer, Brandon received an NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award, which allowed him to go to the University of Waterloo to study cerebellum rehabilitation and conduct research on patients with cerebellar damage due to stroke.

RELATED NEWS: Physical sciences professors receive NSERC Discovery Grants—becoming the sixth and seventh MacEwan University faculty members to earn this prestigious funding.

Summer in the studio

Image-story-summer2016-MakenzieFine Art alumnae Vera Schnekenburger (right) and Makenzie Whittington (left) worked on their own studio-based projects over the summer. Their works, which received SURF funding, are on display at the Centre for the Arts and Communications. Makenzie has created a series of paintings inspired by family photographs, that she says “explored the concept of being foreign to your own life, including images I was not alive to experience as they carry the same distance yet unshakeable sense of connection.”Image-story-summer2016-Vera

Vera’s series is a combination of painting and sculpture using weathered pieces of metal, bone, wood and more that she has found and collected. Over the spring, she took a welding course in order to develop the technical skills required to meet her vision. “She hopes by combining and manipulating colour and textures [that she will] transform the original objective nature.”

RELATED NEWS: Fine Art alumna Brenda Draney gets closer to seeing her dream come true.

Connecting with chemistry students in India

Laurie Amundsen, chemistry lab instructor, travelled to India to prepare partners at the Mahatma Gandhi University for a project that will give environmental chemistry students at both universities a new global perspective. Students will analyze water from local sources and then share and compare their findings online.

RELATED NEWS: Computer Science students help the Edmonton Public Library find a new software solution.

Open data challenge

Image-story-summer2016-RafatEconomics Assistant Professor Rafat Alam (second from left) served as a team advisor as part of Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s Human Dimensions Open Data Challenge. The team (led by project manager Fahim Hassan, and included Rafat, editor/data analyst Lauren Chomyn and research scientist Mohib Khan) developed an interactive map and dashboard to help users explore open data, while seeing the relationship between Alberta’s energy industry and human services.

“We looked at macroeconomic data and energy-related data, and the idea is to create an interactive platform that will relate the energy-related swings in the economy with socio-economic indicators and the need for human services,” explains Rafat.

The team won second place in the challenge—not bad considering they entered late in the game with only a month to develop and create their project.

Preparing for the Paralympics

Griffins Women’s Volleyball Assistant Coach Nicole Ban spent the summer getting ready to take Team Canada’s Women’s Sitting Volleyball team to the Paralympics.

RELATED NEWS: Nicole Ban shares her story on Portraits of MacEwan.

Ready for showtime

Rather than spending his vacation time outdoors, artist and Assistant Professor Bruce Montcombroux prepared for two different, but complementary, shows in Saskatoon—a series of drawings called You are not here and the upcoming exhibit TL; DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read).

Intending to fill the gallery space, Bruce built the TL; DR using wood, wire and electrical sensors that bring a sculpture to life as audience members move around the exhibit.

What did you do this summer? Share with us @MacEwanU on Twitter or at

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