Category Research spotlights

Connection Grant 2023 with Sunny Man Chu Lau and Collaborators

Project: Language-friendly schools: Research-based linguistically and culturally inclusive equitable education practices.

Congratulations to Sunny Lau, co-investigator, along with colleagues Emmanuelle Le Pichon-Vorstman from the University of Toronto serving as the Principal Investigator, as well as Rahat Zaidi from the University of Alberta and Margaret Early from University of British Columbia on receiving the 2023 Connection Grant!

The Connection project aims to advance the use of inclusive and equitable language practices while disseminating research-validated pedagogy cultivated through the Language Friendly School initiative. Language Friendly Schools are committed to implementing a comprehensive approach that integrates evidence-based practices to promote linguistic and cultural inclusion. Presently, the global network of Language Friendly Schools comprises 35 institutions across four continents, including Indigenous, public, and private schools, as well as those situated in refugee camps.

Through the awarded grant, the team will organize a two-day conference for practitioners and the public to showcase exemplary inclusive language practices at the macro (school community), meso (school), and micro (classroom) levels. These practices will be drawn from the experiences and recommendations of educators affiliated with Canada’s five Language Friendly schools. Subsequently, the conference will be followed by a half-day meeting involving a core group of participants, including ministry and school board personnel and researchers. During this session, attendees will reflect on challenges identified in the conference, reflect on their research and experiential knowledge, and develop a strategic plan for advancing linguistic and cultural inclusion within the Canadian education system.

Dr. Emmanuelle Le Pichon-Vorstman

Dr. Emmanuelle Le Pichon-Vorstman,
OISE/University of Toronto

Dr. Sunny Man Chu Lau, Bishop’s University

Tri-Agency – Master’s Scholarships Recipients for 2023-24

The Office of Research and Graduate Studies is thrilled to announce recipients of the Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s as well as the Indigenous Scholars Award from the federal agencies for Bishop’s University for the 2023-24 school year.

For the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Bishop’s University was allocated a quota of two (2) for the Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s. The recipients for 2023-24 are:

  • Sophie Bass, M.A. in Educational Studies under the joint supervision of Dr. Dawn Wiseman (Bishop’s University) and Dr. Mitchell McLarnon (McGill University).
  • Josiane Tremblay-Ross, Individualized M.A. in Sociology and Justice under the joint supervision of Dr. Vicki Chartrand (Bishop’s University) and Dr. Alex Miltsov (Bishop’s University).

For the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Bishop’s University was allocated a quota of one (1). The recipient for 2023-24 is:

  • Jared Derek Sparr, Individualized M.Sc. in Biology under the supervision of Dr. Patrick Bergeron (Bishop’s University).

For the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Indigenous Scholars Award:

  • Megan Legare, Individualized M.A. in Psychology and Program Evaluation under the joint supervision of Dr. Heather Lawford (Bishop’s University) and Dr. Vicki Chartrand (Bishop’s University).

For the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Black Scholars Award:

  • Kyra Simons, Individualized M.A. in Psychology under the joint supervision of Dr. Catherine Malboeuf-Hurtubise (Bishop’s University) and Dr. Adrianna Mendrek (Bishop’s University).


Exploring the Impacts of Visual Arts on Student Engagement and Self-Efficacy

Sophie Bass

Sophie Bass, M.A. in Educational Studies under the joint supervision of Dr. Dawn Wiseman (Bishop’s University) and Dr. Mitchell McLarnon (McGill University).

The purpose of Sophie’s research is to describe and analyze the impacts that visual arts have on student engagement and self-efficacy at the elementary school level. Using aspects of arts-based educational research (ABER; Barone & Eisner, 2011) as her methodology, her study fuses artmaking and qualitative research strategies to gather student insights on the value of visual arts as it relates to their level of educational engagement and self-efficacy. This is the first study in Quebec that explores the beneficial nature of visual arts education from the perspective of student engagement and self-efficacy. Findings will be especially useful to teachers working with students who are disengaged from school, and students who are struggling with the current structure of Quebec schools that, ultimately, lead them to dropping out. Sophie received her B.A. in Educational Studies and B.Ed. from Bishop’s University. She has been an elementary school teacher for ten years and is currently working at Vision School, a private trilingual elementary school in Sherbrooke.


Comparative Thematic Analysis of Community-Based Approaches to Justice, Self-Determination, and Sovereignty

Josiane Tremblay-Ross

Josiane Tremblay-Ross, Individualized M.A. in Sociology and Justice under the joint supervision of Dr. Vicki Chartrand (Bishop’s University) and Dr. Alex Miltsov (Bishop’s University).

As conceptualized in the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, justice is traditionally conceived of as something that only resides in the hands of the state or the criminal justice system. The inquiry’s final report contains 231 Calls for Justice that must be enacted in the many areas of life, broad yet interconnected, from which the violence against First Nations, Inuit, and Métis women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA (MMIWG2S+) people is born. To broadly address the violence, justice needs to be understood as far more than a state response. As justice is so often conflated with the justice system, so is sovereignty frequently understood as synonymous with the state. From the premise that justice is inextricable from practices of self-determination and sovereignty, Josiane’s research will build on Dr. Chartrand’s publicly available 500+ Indigenous Grassroots Resource Collection to reconsider practices of justice, self-determination, and sovereignty through a comparative thematic analysis of the strategies enacted in Indigenous grassroots initiatives for MMIWG2S+ people. Josiane Tremblay-Ross is a Master’s student under the supervision of Dr. Vicki Chartrand and Dr. Alex Miltsov in the Department of Sociology at Bishop’s University, from which she also completed her Honours in Sociology in 2022.


Bioaccumulation and Physiological/Behavioral Effects of a Common Pesticide Mix on Pond Snails

Jared Derek Sparr

Jared Derek Sparr, Individualized M.Sc. in Biology under the supervision of Dr. Patrick Bergeron (Bishop’s University).

Modern farming and crop varieties heavily rely upon various agrochemicals that can accumulate in soil, water, and living organisms. Chemicals often also mix when entering a natural waterway due to agricultural runoff. Mixtures are generally more toxic than individual chemicals and can have unpredictable effects. Predators, parasites, and competitors can all receive exposure and accumulate chemicals through the ingestion of contaminated prey. To account for these components in an experiment designed to test the toxicity of a pesticide mixture, the focus must be placed on simple trophic interactions utilizing well-studied model organisms (such as the Great Pond Snail (Lymnaea stagnalis)) for a complete understanding of biological responses. Our experimental design includes outdoor mesocosms (enclosed pond environments) containing both pond snails and their food (microbial/algal communities that form a pond biofilm) to assess chronic (28 days) toxicity of a seven-compound common pesticide mix found in water surrounding corn/soybean farms of Quebec. Snails will be measured for growth, bioaccumulation, enzyme activity, protein composition, explorative behaviour, and reaction time. The potential of ecosystem recovery will also be assessed by evaluating low concentrations. This design aims to properly assess the environmental toxicity of these compounds and complement water survey data from the Ministère de l’environnement et de la lutte aux changements climatiques (MELCC) in southern Quebec. Results from this project will be directly translated to end user agronomists through the Réseau Québécois de recherche en agriculture durable (RQRAD) with evidence of the benefits of changing agricultural practices.


Engaging Indigenous Youth Using a Generativity Lens

Megan Legare

Megan Legare, Individualized M.A. in Psychology and Program Evaluation under the joint supervision of Dr. Heather Lawford (Bishop’s University) and Dr. Vicki Chartrand (Bishop’s University).

Megan Legare is Kanien’kehá: ka and her family has ties to Kahnawake. Her Indigenous identity informed a lot of her work in the last few years. She completed her undergrad in Psychology in 2022 at Bishop’s University with a Minor in Criminology, in addition to completing an honours. All of Megan’s research since her honours has been focused on Indigenous ways of knowing and amplifying Indigenous voices. Her supervisors, Dr. Heather Lawford and Dr. Vicki Chartrand, have been with her since her honours. Megan is currently working on multiple projects that focus on Indigenous youth, decolonizing spaces and generativity (leaving a legacy of the self behind by working with the next generation). With the Students Commission of Canada, she co-created the content for a conference on youth generativity and reconciliation, which is a central piece of her Master’s thesis. The conference centers on Indigenous voices and knowledge to discuss generativity and reconciliation. Megan’s projects focus on centring Indigenous youth voices and their experience at this conference. She is interested in understanding the relationship Indigenous youth have to Indigenous ways of knowing, in addition to youth generativity in the context of reconciliation. Lastly, decolonizing spaces is an important part of Megan’s work. Outside of her work in research, Megan has been delivering truth and reconciliation workshops across Canada and has been interning at the Justice Exchange Center. Megan hopes that her work can empower Indigenous youth voices and accurately represents them, to foster change.


Children’s perceptions of an art-based intervention on their mental health and well-being

Kyra Simons

Kyra Simons, Individualized M.Sc. in Psychology under the joint supervision of Dr. Catherine Malboeuf-Hurtubise (Bishop’s University) and Dr. Adrianna Mendrek (Bishop’s University).

The individualized program has allowed Kyra and her supervisors to create a degree that aligns with Kyra’s post-graduate plans. She has learned about art therapy and positive psychology through her courses, gained quantitative and qualitative research experience, presented at various international conferences, and led numerous guest lectures over the first year of her degree. Kyra’s master’s research focuses on the effects of art-based interventions on the mental health and well-being of children. Conducting this work has solidified Kyra’s passion for community-based research, as she has worked directly alongside a local after-school program to design this study. In addition to this project, she has additional research experience in positive psychology and eco-anxiety. Currently, Kyra is analyzing the data for her master’s thesis, and writing an article on her work in positive psychology that she aims to publish. Kyra hopes to pursue a PhD in cultural psychology following the completion of her master’s degree.

FRQ Summer-Internship Scholarship with Elisa Philibert: Creating Resources to Support Parents’ Conversations on Sexuality Education with their Young Children

Elisa Philibert

“My goal is to spread awareness surrounding sexuality.”

Elisa Philibert’s research aims to understand and improve sex education in the demographic of young children (aged 3 to 8 years old). Working with Dr. Jessica Prioletta, they first focused on how teachers were currently implementing the sexuality education program in schools. While researching the topic and looking into the academic literature on the subject, they noticed that the “parents” factor was always named as a barrier that prevented teachers from implementing courses about sexuality. The goal of Elisa’s research is thus to find ways to support teachers… by supporting parents!

Currently, Elisa is looking into how parents’ comfort levels in teaching sexuality to their own children can grow if they are provided with resources, training, and information on the subject. She was motivated to remove the discomfort surrounding sex education by finding ways to make parents comfortable with the topics of sexuality and encounters in a home setting as well as a school setting.

The idea of researching sexuality in young children came mainly from a desire to add to the academic literature tackling the myth of childhood innocence that often creates perceptions that children should not be exposed to sex education or would be “shocked” if they were to find out about their own bodies. The existing literature had been focused on parents teaching their teenagers about sexuality, but Elisa noticed little was available on educating the younger children. Moreover, most of the research on sexuality education of parents to young children does not provide ways of addressing the discomfort that has been found among parents.

Therefore, Elisa’s research contributes to the existing academic debate by addressing new ways of approaching the topic by putting the theory into action. The main objective is to cooperate with parents to create positive and inclusive resources that can help them support their young children by opening conversations on anatomy, consent, gender and sexual orientation.

Elisa gathered and created resources such as books and activities to put together a research-curated resources kit. She has 10 English-speaking parent participants from the Lennoxville / Sherbrooke area who have children between the ages of 3 and 8 years old. In the first phase, she interviewed them to understand their sex education background, what education they received as children and what subjects they were already talking about with their own children. In the second phase, Elisa provided them with group training and each parent received a box of resources that they had 1 month and a half to use at home with their children. In the final phase, parents brought back the boxes and participated in group interviews during which they provided feedback on the boxes and explained if and how it helped them address the topic of sex education with their own children.

Elisa is now analyzing the data and identifying recurring themes that parents touched on, as well as seeing how having the box tool kit and prior training helped.

After Bishop’s, Elisa plans to pursue a Master’s degree and would love to someday work with organizations that spread awareness surrounding sexuality.

Joannie St-Germain M.Sc.
Research Officer
Office of Research and Graduate Studies

FRQ Summer-Internship Scholarship with Jasmine Piché

Using art is a beautiful way to express and discover oneself.

Jasmine Piché is a fourth year undergraduate student in the Psychology program.

Jasmine Piché

The focus of Jasmine’s summer research internship was centered around art-based intervention programs designed, by Dr. Catherine Malboeuf-Hurtubise, for elementary students. The project investigates a diverse range of mediums, including drawing, painting, sculpting, and engaging practices like meditation and mindfulness, movement and dance therapy, and literature tailored for children. The study extends further to encompass areas such as positive psychology, philosophy tailored to children, outdoor-based activities, and the principles of self-determination theory. By investigating this multifaceted approach, the research seeks to uncover the potential benefits of these interventions in fostering creativity, emotional well-being, and personal growth among young learners. Jasmine chose this research topic from her love of working with children and the fascination that comes with them. The notion of art as an educative medium, particularly for children, further fueled her interest. Exploring how art-based interventions can nurture young minds, foster personal growth, and provide an alternative means of education became a compelling drive for her research interest.

The primary objectives and research questions driving the study revolve around several key areas: 1) explore the impact of art-based intervention programs on the mental health and overall well-being of elementary students, 2) seek to investigate children’s perceptions of art-based activities and 3) address the acceptability and feasibility of implementing such art-based programs within an educational context. By addressing these objectives and research questions, the study aims to shed light on the multifaceted benefits and implications of art-based interventions for elementary students. Dr. Malboeuf-Hurtubise’s research methodology uses a qualitative approach to incorporate elements of a mixed-methods strategy. Following each art-based session throughout the study, focus groups enabled a collective exploration of the experiences and insights gained by the elementary students. Additionally, individual interviews will be conducted with the children, allowing for a more in-depth understanding of their personal journeys and the impact of the art-based interventions on their well-being and development.

This research project contributes to the existing knowledge by acknowledging that art-based interventions can foster creativity and facilitate emotional expression among children, and this study offers a new perspective by examining the adaptation of such interventions specifically within a school setting. By focusing on the integration of art-based activities into the curriculum, the research advances our understanding of how these interventions can be effectively implemented as a structured educational tool. Moreover, the project explores which artistic medium holds the greatest appeal and efficacy for children, and one of the distinct contributions of this research lies in its exploration of adapting art-based interventions for children with various special needs, including learning disabilities and language impairments. By customizing these interventions to accommodate diverse learning profiles, the study contributes to a more inclusive and holistic approach to education and therapy.

This research project provided Jasmine with a valuable opportunity to gain hands-on experience working with children from diverse backgrounds. By working directly with children and observing the effects of these interventions, she applied the theoretical knowledge learned during her undergraduate program to real-world scenarios. Jasmine plans to pursue a path in clinical psychology: “I am considering the possibility of obtaining a Ph.D. or a Psy.D. in this field. My aim is to advance my knowledge and expertise in clinical psychology, with a particular focus on providing therapeutic interventions and support to individuals facing mental health challenges.”

Individualized Master’s with Rebecca Benyk, Bishop’s Graduate 2023: Impact of Injuries on Undergraduate Athletes’ Socioemotional Well-being, Coping Skills, and Athletic Identity

Rebecca Benyk

My professional interests lie in conducting research and engaging in clinical work pertaining to sport, exercise psychology, health psychology, as well as concussions and traumatic brain injuries.

Recently graduated with distinction from Bishop’s in June 2023 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (Honours) & Business, Rebecca will be starting a Master of Science program in the fall of 2023. During her undergraduate studies, Rebecca decided to embark on an Honours project with Dr. Emma Green that focused on the student-athletes’ socioemotional well-being, athletic identity, and coping skills. To gain a wide range of response data, the project utilized an online survey that asked participants for demographic information, athletic identity, psychological wellness at the time of the injury, and self-perception. The recruitment of the participants was achieved by an online survey, which collected over 450 responses in less than three weeks. This was achieved through social media outreach along with presentations to Sports Studies and Psychology classes on campus to further share the research. During the Winter 2023 semester, Rebecca had the opportunity to present her research at the Bishop’s University Congress of Sports Studies in addition to the Bishop’s University Research Week poster session.

At graduation, Rebecca received the Dr. Shannon Gadbois Prize for Psychological Research, which is awarded annually to two graduating Psychology students who wrote the best Honours dissertations. Her Master’s project will be a continuation from the findings of her undergraduate Honours Thesis. The aim of the project is to learn more about the differences between specific sports and injuries and how those factors, as well as individual and community support, affect the recovery process. Therefore, one of the questions Rebecca is asking during her research is if there are any significant differences between individual and team sports. Other questions include if specific coping mechanisms (e.g., emotion-focused versus problem-focused coping) play a role in protecting student-athletes’ well-being following an injury, how specific community support systems may influence the recovery process, and the roles of coaches, physiotherapists, teammates, etc. and their impact on the student-athletes’ post-morbid trajectory. This research will combine quantitative and qualitative methods via online data collection from student-athletes, as well as in-depth interviews to collect more detailed perspectives and knowledge. Furthermore, during her degree, she will be engaging in a practicum within a rehabilitative therapy setting to further understand and gain insight into the role of injury and recovery in individuals’ well-being and outcomes.

Being a dual citizen of the U.S. and Canada, the prospect of attending a Canadian university had always been a viable option for Rebecca. During her third year of high school, the realization dawned on her that urban and large campus environments did not align well with her personal preferences. Having decided against attending a larger school, her family remembered a conversation with a Bishop’s representative at an International University Fair near Rebecca’s hometown of Chicago. While visiting the Bishop’s campus, the magical architecture, smaller class sizes, and the professors’ unwavering commitment to student success immediately captivated her. As an individual who arrived from Chicago with no connections, the undergraduate experience at Bishop’s surpassed all of Rebecca’s expectations, and she feels a deep gratitude towards friends, colleagues, and the university for providing her with a warm environment to fit in and multiple growth opportunities.

While pursuing a Master’s degree at Bishop’s was not her initial plan, the anticipation to embark on this new journey remains exciting, especially with the presence of two trusted mentor professors, the Psychology Department, and B.U. as a whole. Dr. Emma Green, who served as a trusted mentor and supervisor throughout Rebecca’s undergraduate Honours Thesis process, will oversee the master’s degree program. Rebecca acknowledges that her accomplishments would not have been possible without Dr. Green’s invaluable guidance and support, for which she is immensely grateful. Additionally, Rebecca expresses deep appreciation for Dr. Joel Montanez, a highly regarded professor with whom she had the pleasure of studying Health Psychology I and II in the past year. Rebecca is honoured by Dr. Montanez’s eagerness to collaborate on this project and believes that his expertise will bring significant value. Rebecca looks forward to working closely with these professors and will do her best to make them both exceptionally proud. The Individualized Master’s program at Bishop’s offers the flexibility to adapt the curriculum to personal needs and aspirations. Firmly believing that everything happens for a reason, the continuation of her journey at Bishop’s and knowing that the time spent at this esteemed institution is far from over brings her immense happiness. She aspires to cultivate personal growth and further enhance her capabilities as an active member of the academic and research community. Her research endeavors are focused on making a positive impact on the student-athlete experience and providing valuable insights into the multifaceted aspects of their injury recovery process.

Following the completion of her Master’s degree, Rebecca envisions pursuing a PhD in either Clinical or Counseling Psychology with a specialization in Sports Psychology and her ultimate career goal is to become a Sports Psychologist. She wants to work closely with athletes and competitive teams, drawing from her background as a Team USA synchronized figure skater. Rebecca intends to provide comprehensive support to athletes through individual sessions, addressing concerns such as motivation, performance anxiety, and the challenges associated with returning to sports after an injury. Moreover, she aims to facilitate group sessions encompassing team building, resolution of interpersonal conflicts, and fostering mindset shifts. Recognizing the significance of mental health in athletes, Rebecca strongly believes in its parallel importance with physical well-being and advocates for its protection. Therefore, her professional interests lie in conducting research and engaging in clinical work pertaining to sport and exercise psychology, health psychology, as well as concussions and traumatic brain injuries. Within these domains, she is particularly intrigued by topics concerning rehabilitation and recovery from injuries, and she seeks to contribute meaningful advancements in these areas.

Rebecca received the Brenda Caruso Collegiate Scholarship, sponsored by the Chicago Figure Skating Club, every year of her undergraduate studies. She was also recently granted the Graduate Entrance Scholarship from Bishop’s University.

Joannie St-Germain M.Sc.
Research Officer
Office of Research and Graduate Studies
819-822-9600 ext. 2242

Promoting Summer Classes, Projects, & Research at Bishop’s

Olivier Domingue, Geneviève Levasseur & Marylene Boulet: Multi-Institutional Micro-nursery Project with PRESE. Olivier Domingue, biology professor at Cegep de Sherbrooke, obtained funding with Geneviève Levasseur and Marylene Boulet, Biology and Biochemistry department, at Bishop’s University through PRESE for an educational micro-nursery tree project. The goal is the conservation of the indigenous-declining trees in the Eastern Townships region by seeding, growing, and planting the trees. The project not only serves to create collaboration between two Sherbrooke institutions but also offers an opportunity for inter-linguistic exchanges. The tree project started last March in a biology class taught by Olivier at Cegep de Sherbrooke. The cegep students were able to sow more than 200 seeds and took care of the little seedlings. The native tree species the students selected are American chestnut, shagbark hickory, black walnut and hackberry. Bishop’s students from the Organic Gardening class will be taking on the relay: transplanting trees in larger pots, with their cegep peers. With PRESE funding, the team will be able to build the micro-nursery, that will be located in the future community garden, to house the trees until they are strong enough to be planted on both campuses and in the Sherbrooke/Lennoxville community. To have more details on PRESE, you can contact Sophie Vincent at or you can visit the PRESE website.

Professor Bruno Courtemanche Ph.D.: Spring Class: ESG 288 Underwater Environmental Assessment. This course examines human impact on the underwater environment, including limnology, and the monitoring and restoration of ecosystems affected by invasive species. It introduces students to the different tasks performed by a scientific diver: sample collection, environmental monitoring, and aquatic inventory and restoration operations. Specific scientific diving training, including PADI Open Water certification, can lead to Diver-in-Training certification from the Canadian Association for Underwater Sciences (CAUS). This class is also open to everyone, not only students. To have more details on this course, you can contact Bruno Courtemanche at

Dr. Vicki Chartrand: Justice Exchange is a collective of academics, students, and volunteers who seek to advance collaborative and community justices. They approach justice as a collective concern with the aim of cultivating, as well as connecting people and communities together. The Centre for Justice Exchange offers an internship program through the Department of Sociology at Bishop’s University. The course integrates students’ research skills and interests with the activities of the center to provide students with a practical insight and experience working in the field of justice. Students must have taken at least one Criminology-related course to qualify for the Internship. For more information, visit the Justice Exchange website.

Individualized Master’s with Jared D. Sparr: The Snail Project

Snails is a cool model to use as snails are found everywhere and are easy to manipulate, evaluate and determine the overall health of the environment.

Jared D. SparrConventional agriculture dominates current practices, comprising over 90% of total crop production. But the pesticide mixtures used in agriculture can end up in watersheds and eventually reach natural systems in multiple pulses in the environment. The effects of these chemicals have consequences for the wider community by increasing nitrates levels and having a toxic effect. One of the consequences is the destruction of basal food sources like biofilm which can lead to a trophic cascade or the accumulation of pollutants. While individual chemicals’ effects on aquatic life have been studied, little research has focused on quantifying the combined effects of commonly used pesticide mixes (used for crops) on freshwater ecosystems. To address this scientific gap, Jared D. Sparr’s M.Sc. objectives are to investigate the health of the great pond snail (Lymnaea stagnalis) and biofilm in relation to three different concentrations of pesticide mixtures by using 12 outdoor mesocosm bins containing snails and an environment that mimics natural bioaccumulation from contaminated water and food sources.

Jared will analyze the snails’ shell growth, activity/response time, fatty acid composition, and oxidative stress as indicators of chemical effects. Additionally, he will measure the snails’ fecundity through a standardized reproduction test. The experiments will be conducted during summer 2023, and the data will be analyzed in the fall of 2023 and winter of 2024. With the finalized data analysis, he will write a scientific publication in 2024.

The snail project works in collaboration with the Institute national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) who have extensive experience working with freshwater and biofilm. The outdoor experiment at Bishop’s contributes to bridging laboratory results with the natural environment by analyzing toxicology and larger trophic dynamics in an exposed setting. Both biofilm and gastropod groups serve as the basis of food webs for freshwater systems, making them essential to the long-term health of the ecosystem. Their environmental significance makes these organisms foundational to research surrounding biotoxic effects. Learning how to properly assess total toxin effects can aid future survey efforts to understand the dynamics of human impacts within the natural world. This branch of research will empower communities by providing ways to assess water health through the organisms and provides stakeholders with tangible data on the consequences of pesticides.

Joannie St-Germain M.Sc.
Research Officer
Office of Research and Graduate Studies
819-822-9600 ext. 2242


Donovan Faraoni, Undergraduate Student: Recipient of the 2023 CAUS Scholarship

Donovan FaraoniEnvironmental Science B.Sc. Honours student Donovan Faraoni has been awarded a national scholarship from CAUS, the Canadian Association for Underwater Science. His project involves investigating the impact of invasive aquatic plant colonies on fish habitat in the Eastern Township’s freshwater lakes. Donovan will be conducting scientific diving to collect data, employing technologies such as continuous-transmission profiling buoys and acoustic doppler current profiling. This research contributes to ongoing projects, led by Dr. Elisabeth Levac and Professor Bruno Courtemanche, on building geo-spatial models to monitor the changes in the distribution of Eurasian watermilfoil, a non-native species that has invaded lakes across Canada.

Receiving this award holds significant meaning for Donovan. The CAUS Scholarship “aims to support excellence in early-career researchers while advancing a culture of safe scientific diving practices,” both important aspects of Donovan’s fieldwork. It allows him to further develop his skills in water safety, building on his previous work as a Student Shoremaster at Pearson College UWC in British Columbia. In addition, the scholarship offers Donovan a nation-wide platform for sharing how scientific diving can be a flexible tool in studying environmental policy challenges involving freshwater ecosystems.

Donovan benefits from the practical research experience, fieldwork opportunities, and networking between various departments that Bishop’s University (BU) provides. For instance, Donovan took the ESG 288 Underwater Environmental Assessment course, which paved the way for his scientific diving journey. In collaboration with Professor Bruno Courtemanche, Olivia Fasan and Amber Hewett from the UBERG group, Donovan has also worked on designing and 3D-printing custom circuit boards for remote sensing devices used on water quality profiling buoys, which he is currently deploying in local lakes. This kind of in-depth BU experiential learning has led him to his current USRA summer job, with NSERC funding.

The interdisciplinary nature of Donovan’s studies — combining Environmental Science, International Political Economy, and Biodiversity & Ecology — is preparing him for a future career in environmental policymaking involving multiple fields and complex projects, while interacting with exceptional professors and engaging with students and community members further enriches Donovan’s learning experience at BU.

Joannie St-Germain M.Sc.
Research Officer
Office of Research and Graduate Studies
819-822-9600 ext. 2242


Individualized Masters’ Degree with Neil Dempster: Brewing Science

Neil Dempster

The passion for brewing was sparked during the time Neil reached the legal drinking age, in the early 2010s and the rise of the craft beer industry in Ontario and Quebec. Attending exposition and events that showcased the region’s craft beers allowed him to engage with brewers and develop a keen interest in the field. He came to Bishop’s University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and successfully completed it in June 2022.

During his time at Bishop’s, Neil had the opportunity to get involved with the Bishop’s Arches Brewery, where he learned about the brewing process as an active participant on days the beer was being brewed. In his third year, Neil decided to enroll in the Graduate Certificate in Brewing Science, and even began taking courses within the program. However, when he discovered the chance to pursue an Individualized master’s degree in Brewing Science with Dr. Alexandre Drouin and Dr. Dale Wood, he eagerly seized the opportunity.

This unique program allows him to build upon from previous experiences in Environmental and Analytical Chemistry, combining it with the knowledge gained during his B.Sc. degree, and apply it to the fascinating world of craft brewing and distilling. Neil firmly believes that this opportunity will provide him with invaluable experience in chemical and instrumental methods of analysis, all while pursuing his passion for craft brewing.

For the M.Sc. project, Neil is investigating the impact of adding a significant amount of oxygen to the wort before introducing Active Dry Yeast which is the industry standard for brewing yeast. Active Dry Yeast is designed to contain all the necessary oxygen-containing compounds for immediate fermentation upon addition to the wort, making the addition of oxygen unnecessary for optimal fermentation. The industry asserts that a beer produced from an oxygenated wort should taste no different from one produced from a non-oxygenated wort. Therefore, for his research thesis, he wants to determine if this claim holds true and, if not, how does oxygen affect the fermentation process with Active Dry Yeast.

To conduct this study, he is brewing identical wort batches and fermenting them in the presence and absence of added oxygen. Through qualitative analysis using a tasting panel and quantitative analysis utilizing instrumental methods such as High-Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) and Gas Chromatography Mass Spectroscopy (GCMS), significant differences were found in flavor and aroma between the oxygenated and unoxygenated beers. These preliminary findings not only challenge the manufacturer’s position but may also challenge accepted theories on yeast metabolism, which is incredibly exciting.

Acquiring proficiency through analytical instrumentation has also led to another project involvement focusing on the formation of ethyl carbamate (EC), a probable carcinogen, in fermented beverages. As part of a larger research effort involving multiple researchers, Neil will be analyzing samples for EC and precursor molecules using the same instruments utilized during his original project, while also developing new methods for EC analysis.

Neil’s journey in the field of brewing science has been both intellectually stimulating and personally fulfilling, and he looks forward to further exploration and contribution to this dynamic industry.

Joannie St-Germain M.Sc.
Research Officer
Office of Research and Graduate Studies
819-822-9600 ext. 2242

George Dufresne, Bishop’s Graduate 2023: Accepted in PhD program in Physics and Astronomy at Dartmouth College

I’ve always had an innate curiosity about the universe – why objects fall, why stars twinkle, and why do planets orbit the sun.George Dufresne

His inspiration to pursue physics was sparked by a variety of sources. The first glimpse into the world of science came during his childhood visits to museums and planetariums, where he was captivated by the mysteries of the universe. Another catalyst was his deep appreciation for applied mathematics, recognizing its crucial role in the study of physics. However, it was his initial physics class at Bishop’s University, taught by Professor Nelson, that truly ignited his passion and set him on his educational journey. George specially chose Bishop’s for its smaller class size, which fostered close interactions with professors. These one-on-one engagements significantly contributed to his academic growth, allowing ample time for discussions and critical thinking. Beyond the confines of the classroom, Bishop’s offered numerous undergraduate research opportunities, particularly in the field of physics. This invaluable experience allows George to conduct research during his undergraduate studies and gain practical knowledge in his scientific domain. Professors Nelson, who had become George’s undergraduate advisor, played an integral role in nurturing his enthusiasm. Physics, for George, has always been a whirlwind of relentless questioning and an unwavering quest for answers, fueling the scientist within him.

George Dufresne has received acceptance into the esteemed PhD program in Physics and Astronomy at Dartmouth College, a moment that fills him with immense excitement and gratitude for this remarkable opportunity. Dartmouth’s status as an Ivy League institution, its unwavering commitment to academic excellence, and its provision of world-class research prospects make it an ideal destination for pursuing a doctoral degree. Among the key reasons George chose Dartmouth College, the exceptional faculty stands out prominently, as he holds a keen interest in collaborating with many of them and benefiting from their expertise. Additionally, Dartmouth’s intimate learning environment and smaller size closely align with the academic experience he valued during his time at Bishop’s University, making it an appealing continuation of his educational journey. Looking ahead, George envisions two potential career paths following the completion of his PhD. The first involves academia, where he aspires to become a professor, imparting knowledge to and inspiring the next generation of physicists or astrophysicists. Alternatively, a career as a research scientist, working in laboratories or even prestigious organizations like NASA, where he can contribute to groundbreaking scientific endeavors.

Georges Dufresne

Big summer news before leaving for his new adventure:

This summer, George has an incredible opportunity ahead as he prepares to embark on an internship at NASA. He stumbled upon this opportunity and decided to apply on a whim. Following a successful interview, he was thrilled to receive an offer for the summer internship. His prior research experience with Dr. Nelson played a pivotal role in securing this prestigious opportunity, demonstrating the value of his academic background. Throughout the internship, George will be involved in a project that investigates the turbulent dynamics of the sun and stars. Employing a data-assimilation approach with 3D radiative Magnetohydrodynamic models, the project aims to unravel the intricate workings of these celestial bodies. Additionally, George will have the privilege of utilizing NASA Ames’ state-of-the-art supercomputing system and as part of his responsibilities, he will also contribute to the development of codes for data processing and analysis, allowing him to refine his skills in these crucial areas of scientific exploration.

Joannie St-Germain M.Sc.
Research Officer
Office of Research and Graduate Studies
819-822-9600 ext. 2242