YFile’s Year in Review: Top headlines at York University, April to June 2017

As a new year emerges, YFile takes a look back on 2017 to share with readers a snapshot of the year’s highlights. “Year in Review” will run as a four-part series, and will feature a random selection of top news stories published in YFile. Here are the stories and highlights for April to June 2017, as chosen by YFile editors.


Schulich student launches non-profit to help declining bee population
A fourth-year bachelor of business administration student in York’s Schulich School of Business created a non-profit organization to help save the declining bee population. Ilan Kogan launched Feed the Bees (feedthebees.ca), which provides bee-friendly seeds to anyone who registers.

Schulich announces state-of-the-art expansion: The Graduate Study & Research Building
A state-of-the-art expansion to the Schulich School of Business complex is under construction on the northeast side of the current building and is the centrepiece of the Leading Change Campaign. The new Graduate Study & Research Building was designed by award-winning international architectural firm Baird Sampson Neuert and is expected to open in the spring of 2018.

The balloon carrying the instrumentation

Up and away part two: York U spectrometer flies high
Alice Springs, Australia was the setting for a successful flight of a stratospheric balloon operated by Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES). The balloon carried six Canadian payloads, including one from York University. The mission took place April 9 and landed about 100 kilometres (km) from the launch site. The balloon carried the instrumentation 37km into the atmosphere. Carried aloft in the payload was the Imaging Fabry-Pérot Spectrometer from York University.

Biologist tracks climate change drivers from as far back as medieval era
York biology Professor Sapna Sharma is interested in predicting the effects of environmental stressors – for example, climate change, invasive species, land use change and habitat alteration − on ecosystems, and improving the scientific approaches used to generate these predictions. Some of her research, funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and others, and published in Scientific Reports, suggests that environmental stressors are driving the long-term changes in ice seasonality.

Glendon’s Andrew Dawson awarded Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation Grant
Glendon College Assistant Professor Andrew Dawson was awarded $24,517 U.S. to research why some societies consistently more violent than others. The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation will fund Dawson’s project, which compares historical homicide rate trajectories in Canada and the United States in order to identify factors that caused the rates in the two countries to diverge.


Glacierclean Technologies Inc., an Innovation York supported startup, secures first round of seed funding
Focused on developing an affordable, rapid and portable water testing and treatment solutions to prevent outbreaks of waterborne diseases, Glacierclean Technologies Inc. has raised $50,000 in seed funding to further develop and test its technology, Mobile Water Kit 2.0 (MWK 2.0). Developed in the laboratory of Professor Sushanta Mitra in the Lassonde School of Engineering, MWK 2.0 is a portable water testing kit that will enable millions of people around the world to test water at the source and determine whether or not it is contaminated.

Osgoode Hall Law School appoints two journalists in residence
Osgoode Hall Law School of York University announced May 15 the appointment of two award-winning journalists in its inaugural Journalist in Residence program. Gail J. Cohen, former editor-in-chief of Thomson Reuters-owned Canadian Lawyer magazine and its family of publications, and Roxana Olivera, a Canadian investigative journalist of Peruvian heritage, will each spend time during the 2017-18 academic year pursuing journalistic projects that will engage the Osgoode community, involve law students and enrich our understanding of law and its impact.

Savena Ramnarain won free tuition

This is free tuition: York announces winner of First Year for Free Contest
One small phrase will have a giant impact on Savena Ramnarain’s first year of studies at York University: “This is free tuition.” Ramnarain was selected the winner of the First Year for Free Contest and will began undergraduate studies toward a BA in psychology at York in fall 2017. Her name was selected by a random draw that had 12,098 entries. As the contest winner, she will have up to $7,100 in first-year tuition fees covered by the University.

Summer Abroad launches at York University’s Eco-Campus
Professor Ravi de Costa, the associate dean of research for the Faculty of Environmental Studies; a handful of colleagues; and 53 York students spent time in May and June at York U’s Eco-Campus, Las Nubes, located in a Costa Rican cloud forest, for the Faculty of Environmental Studies’ inaugural Semester Abroad program.

Faculty of Education first in Ontario to launch master’s program in leadership and community engagement
The first cohort of students enrolled in the Master of Leadership & Community Engagement (MLCE) program in York’s Faculty of Education gathered on campus on May 6 for an orientation, and to participate in their first courses. The MLCE degree program, the first of its kind in Ontario, is a professional master’s degree offered by the Graduate Program in Education that prepares graduates to advance in leadership roles in public sector organizations and communities, with a focus on community engagement and innovation.


Students from Kiiwednong Aboriginal Head Start planted hand-made hearts in the Heart Garden at Skennen’kó:wa Gamig

York University’s Hart House renamed to create safe space for Indigenous peoples
At a ceremony during National Aboriginal Day at York University on June 21, Hart House was renamed Skennen’kó:wa Gamig, the House of Great Peace. And with that renaming comes the hope for further understanding and reconciliation. Skennen’kó:wa Gamig is a welcoming, safe and supportive space for Indigenous students, faculty and staff to come together in the spirit of Skennen’kó:wa (The Great Peace) to celebrate, and to share knowledge and teachings.

Accounting student wins prestigious 2017 Murray G. Ross Award
Administrative Studies student Alamgir Khandwala received the Murray G. Ross Award, one of York University’s greatest honours for a graduating student. Khandwala, who received the award at spring convocation, has graduated from the program’s accounting stream. He was honoured for academic excellence and his significant contributions to life on campus.

York PhD candidate named assistant deputy minister, Anti-Racism Directorate
York University PhD candidate Akwatu Khenti has been named to the position of assistant deputy minister, Anti-Racism Directorate in the Inclusion, Diversity and Anti-Racism Division, Cabinet Office of the provincial government, effective June 26. Khenti holds a masters in political science from the University of Toronto and is a PhD candidate in health policy and equity at York University.

MPP Michael Chan (at the podium) announces the Ontario Government's funding commitment. Looking are students from Ashton Meadows Public School and dignitaries
The official announcement of a $127-million investment for the Markham Campus

York University welcomes $127 million in Ontario government funding for new Markham Centre campus
On Friday, June 9, York’s then-President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri joined representatives from the Government of Ontario, the Regional Municipality of York, the City of Markham and Seneca College for the official announcement of a $127-million commitment by the Ontario government that will enable York University to open a Markham Centre campus in 2021.

President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri closes out a decade of impact
York President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri bid the York University community an early farewell June 1 during a reception hosted by Faculty of Health Professor Lesley Beagrie, chair of the University Senate. Shoukri greeted many of the more than 500 guests who came to deliver their thanks to him for 10 years of service to the University.

Check back in the next edition of YFile for Year in Review: Top headlines at York University, July to September 2017.