2015 program

The 2015 Fresh Minds Symposium included the following presentations and workshops.


Keynote presentation: Empathy and visual literacy

Empathy and visual literacy

Communication in the world today is increasingly reliant upon image rather than text. A picture is instantly grasped and is worth "a thousand words." Art education can teach us to critically engage with pictures and more fully interpret their messages. Perhaps visual literacy's most important contribution is to teach us to read one another, to understand others by imaginatively putting ourselves in their place, of viewing the world through their eyes. Empathy is an essential human quality and art can help to develop that skill.

Presenter: Dr. Robert Dalton

Dr. Robert Dalton is an associate professor of Art Education at the University of Victoria, with a wealth of experience teaching students in university, college and high school. He holds a BA in Fine Arts from the University of Calgary, a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Washington, and a PhD from the Ohio State University.

Bob is a practicing studio artist and also an academic researcher/lecturer who examines the periphery of the art world. He brings attention to areas such as outsider art, the art of ethnic minorities, popular culture and child art, seeking to introduce the "low art" of mainstream, modern life into school curriculums that tend to focus on the "high arts" normally found in museums and gallery settings.

Closing presentation: Nurturing our brains for awesomeness

Nurturing our brains for awesomeness

Discover some of the amazing things that our brains can do! We'll talk about how versatile our nervous system is across the lifespan, and discuss some of the best things we can do for our brains (including exercising and eating the right foods) and how this can influence how our brain functions.

Presenter: Dr. Anna Patten

Dr. Anna Patten is a postdoctoral fellow and sessional instructor in the Division of Medical Sciences at the University of Victoria. She received her BSc in Pharmacology and Toxicology from the University of Otago, in New Zealand, and her PhD from the University of Victoria in 2013.

Anna's research focuses on the hippocampus, an area of the brain important for learning and memory, and how diet and exercise can influence hippocampal structure and function across the lifespan. Her PhD focussed specifically on the changes that can occur in the hippocampus following prenatal alcohol exposure, which results in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, and how dietary supplements may be able to reverse some of the devastating effects of alcohol on the developing brain.


Session A: The fantastic and sometimes perplexing properties of light and lasers

The fantastic and sometimes perplexing properties of light and lasers

Learn about the interesting (and sometimes strange) properties of light in different situations. Students will be guided through the process of questioning their own understanding of light and building new connections through intriguing and fun experiments, working with current UVic students.

Presenters: University of Victoria Optical Society

The University of Victoria Optical Society (UVOS) promotes student research in the optics and photonics fields. The organization currently has two sponsors: the Optical Society of America and the International Society for Optics and Photonics.

This session will be facilitated by Maryam Alizadeh, Abhay Kotnala and Skyler Wheaton, graduate students conducting research in nano-photonics, plasmonics and optics.

  • Maryam's research is in Raman substrates for improved and cost effective Raman spectroscopy
  • Abhay works with optical tweezers to trap and investigate single nano particles and their interactions
  • Skyler works with optical tweezers to trap nano particles and excite their vibrational modes as a method of identification

Session B: Elucidating Eulerian graphs

Elucidating Eulerian graphs

In the 18th century, Leonhard Euler (one of the most prolific mathematicians of all time) pondered the question of the Seven Bridges of Koenigsberg. This was a puzzle that had been bothering tourists: is it possible to take a scenic walk through the city while crossing each bridge one time? Euler answered the question, and then generalized it with a now-famous theorem that has applications to all sorts of planning problems.

Learn how to use Euler's theorem to plan trick-or-treat routes, patrol buildings and design Elizabethan embroidery patterns.

Presenters: Dr. Jane Butterfield and Chloe Lampman

Dr. Jane Butterfield is an assistant teaching professor in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics and the Learning and Teaching Centre. She studied mathematics as an undergraduate at the University of Puget Sound and earned a masters in the teaching of mathematics and PhD in mathematics at the University of Illinois. Her mathematics research is in the area of graph theory, and her educational research is in mathematics assessment. She really loves talking about graph theory, and has taught it to 3rd-graders, 14-year-old math campers, high schoolers and anyone else who will listen. Jane is also interested in the intersection of art and mathematics, and has most recently become interested in mathematical fiber art.

Chloe Lampman is an undergraduate student studying mathematics at the University of Victoria, and is interested in graph theory (among other things). She is also co-organizer of the Students in Undergraduate Mathematics and Statistics (SUMS) group.

Session C: Simulating high-efficiency homes

Simulating high-efficiency homes

Learn more about methods and tools for building high-efficiency homes that minimize heat loss. In this hands-on workshop, you'll use your limited supplies (representing different building materials) to minimize the heat loss in a scale-model house. How will you balance your available resources to find the best solution?

Presenters: Canadian Society for Civil Engineering - UVic Student Chapter

The UVic student chapter of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (CSCE) facilitates the acquisition and exchange of professional knowledge among its members, organizing activities and events that foster connections within the community of civil engineers at UVic. The group promotes civil engineering to the larger world while maintaining a lighter side to the profession.

This session will be facilitated by Simon Citerneschi, Adham El-Newihy, Kristina Frolova, Kear Porttris, Zach Bye and Erin Janzen:

  • Simon is an undergraduate engineering student and chair of the CSCE - UVic Student Chapter. He is an undergraduate engineering student, and also holds a degree in economics from UVic.
  • Adham is a graduate engineering student and secretary of the CSCE - UVic Student Chapter. His current research involves material health monitoring of concrete structures using new technology sensors.
  • Kristina is an undergraduate engineering student and co-treasurer of the CSCE - UVic Student Chapter. She plans to specialize in construction engineering with a minor in business and in psychology.
  • Kear's meandering journey through education and life has led him to become an undergraduate engineering student at UVic and co-treasurer of the CSCE - UVic Student Chapter.
  • Zach is an undergraduate engineering student in the department of civil engineering, and is currently the vice-chair of the CSCE - UVic Student Chapter.
  • Erin is an undergraduate student in the department of civil engineering, currently studying bio-retention cells and permeable pavement structures.

Session D: Taking a closer look with the power of magnification

Taking a closer look with the power of magnification

The first time you magnify an object that you have never seen so close up before, it becomes an adventure into the unknown. Whether you use a magnifying glass, a light microscope or an electron microscope, there is always an excitement associated with the magnification of a specimen, from bugs and drops of pond water to bacteria and viruses.

Hear from Dr. Elaine Humphrey about UVic's Advanced Microscopy Facility and the Scanning Transmission Electron Holography Microscope, which is currently the highest resolution microscope in the world. You'll see images of objects right down to their individual atoms, and discover the small wonders of our unseen world.

Presenter: Dr. Elaine Humphrey

Dr. Elaine Humphrey discovered electron microscopy as a graduate student in biological oceanography in the United Kingdom. Marine biology is cool, but electron microscopy is way-cool. When you can put them together, it is awesome! She published five children's books of stereo electron microscopy pictures and hosted a session called "Small Wonders" for two years on Discovery Channel. As a STEHM technologist in the Advanced Microscopy Facility, Elaine studies a wide range of materials that range from the normal to the exotic.

Session E: Reaching new depths

Reaching new depths

The Fish Eye Project (FEP) enables viewers to visit the ocean floor from the comforts of their computers and mobile devices. Using live-streaming technologies, FEP broadcasts diving expeditions in real-time to entertain and motivate the next generation of underwater explorers, helping people to better understand, appreciate and protect our ocean resources.

Learn about the work that went into establishing a non-profit organization that educates thousands of people in thirty different countries, and whats next for FEP. You'll see video footage from live dives in areas such as Saturna Island, the G.B. Church shipwreck and "The Wall" at Willis Point, and get a sense of what we can accomplish when we work together.

Presenters: Fish Eye Project

This session will be facilitated by Mike Irvine, Maeva Gauthier, David Monk, Valerie Mucciarelli and Jesse Oshanek:

  • Mike is a graduate student at UVic and co-chair of FEP. He is currently researching underwater web cameras as tools for inquiry-based learning and ocean stewardship.
  • Maeva is co-chair of FEP, combining her passion for citizen science and marine conservation with her background in marine ecology, biology, tourism and filmmaking.
  • David is a graduate student at UVic and FEP's education director. For David, The Fish Eye Project is about sharing learning and appreciation of the ocean and all it has to offer.
  • Valerie serves as a diver and ocean educator for FEP. She is a UVic graduate with extensive experience delivering marine education to both students and the general public.
  • Jesse is a political-science student at UVic with a strong interest in political engagement. He conducts media relations and communications for FEP.

Session F: Medieval treasures

Medieval treasures

Get up close to rare books and manuscripts from medieval and renaissance times that are housed in UVic's Special Collections. In this session, you'll have the chance to interact with some of these rare books and documents while learning about how they were made and who might have used them.

Please note that due to the extremely sensitive nature of these materials, participants will be required to leave their personal belongings in a separate, secure room, including food, drinks, gum, pens and other potentially damaging items. Pencils and paper will be provided.

Presenters: Dr. Jamie Kemp, Dr. Gregory Rowe and Bailey Arnholz

Dr. Jamie Kemp has been teaching in the departments of Medieval Studies and Art History & Visual Studies at the University of Victoria since 2010. Her research revolves around late-medieval manuscripts and how the images found within them influence the thinking patterns of their readers. Introducing students to the amazing manuscripts found within UVic Library's Special Collections is one of her favourite things to do! Kemp is a recipient of an Andy Farquharson Teaching Excellence award and is a Flipped Classroom enthusiast.

Dr. Gregory Rowe is an Associate Professor in UVic's Department of Greek and Roman Studies. He teaches Roman History and also runs the Latin for Teens program through the Greater Victoria Public Library.

Bailey Arnholz is a fourth-year UVic student specializing in art history and medieval manuscript studies.

Session G: Sharing your story

Sharing your story

Learn how to find and tell stories from your own experiences and adventures. Through a combination of writing, improv and performance, students will learn techniques for choosing, sharing and telling their own stories.

Presenter: Mark Leiren-Young

Mark Leiren-Young is a UVic graduate with a degree in creative writing and theatre, who worked as a newspaper reporter and book author before becoming a full-time freelance writer working in a variety of mediums and genres. His plays have been produced throughout Canada and the US, as well as in Europe and Australia, and he has written for a variety of fiction, non-fiction and live television shows including Psi Factor, The Collector, The Juno Awards, Life and Times, ReBoot, Class of the Titans and Transformers: Beast Wars. He has toured Canada with his musical comedy duo, Local Anxiety, and written articles for publications such as TIME, Maclean's, The Hollywood Reporter, The Vancouver Sun, The Georgia Straight and The Walrus.