2016 program

The 2016 Fresh Minds Symposium included the following presentations and workshops.


Ask a UVic student

Ask a UVic student

Meet a group of current UVic students who will share their personal experiences and answer questions from symposium participants.

  • What's it like to live and study at UVic?
  • How does co-operative study work?
  • What leadership opportunities are there on campus?

These are just a few of the questions that might come up during the session. What do you want to ask a UVic student?

That Chemistry Show!

That Chemistry Show!

That Chemistry Show illustrates modern chemistry research with cool tricks to delight students of all ages. The show features lights, colours, smoke and explosions to demonstrate the power and beauty of chemistry.

Presenters: Dr. Scott McIndoe and Corrina Ewan

Scott McIndoe completed his PhD in synthetic organometallic chemistry at the University of Waikato. His academic journey has taken him from New Zealand to the UK and on to Canada, where he is now a professor in UVic's Department of Chemistry.

Scott is focused on getting large classes engaged, enthused and thinking. He has primarily taught first-year chemistry and at higher levels, inorganic and organometallic chemistry. He is a recipient of the Faculty of Science Award for Teaching Excellence (2012/13), and in his spare time, he enjoys Antipodean sports, strategic games, good books, building character in his three children, and making stuff.

Corrina Ewan is a chemical demonstrator, lab instructor and scientific assistant, and has worked with UVic's Department of Chemistry for over 19 years.


Session A: The Illuminating World of Music Videos

The Illuminating World of Music Videos

Learn about the history of music videos and what they tell us about our society. We'll look at what makes a video go viral, and think about what the future holds for music videos in a social media world. Are you a Belieber, or are you in the Beyhive?

Presenter: Dr. Melissa Avdeeff

Dr. Melissa Avdeeff is a scholar of all things popular. She is a lecturer in the School of Music, and teaches a popular course on Beyoncé. Her research looks at the relationships between music, music technology, and society.

Session B: Understanding the Balance Between Delivery Value and Profitability Within a Business Operation

Understanding the Balance Between Delivery Value and Profitability Within a Business Operation

Every day, entrepreneurs busily go about delivering goods and services to their respective customers without fully understanding or appreciating how their internal processes or actions impact profitability. On the surface, the connection seems obvious, yet many business owners struggle to prevent profit being eroded by sloppy operational practices especially when faced with a growing demand. This session is aimed at you building an appreciation of the key factors illustrated using a simple and interactive production model. Be ready to problem solve and keep an open mind.

Presenter: Reg Beniac, BA, CPA, MBA

Reg is a faculty member in UVic’s Gustavson School of Business and Continuing Studies, and is a principal consultant with ProfitEdge Consulting.  

Prior to ProfitEdge, Reg was a Senior Consulting Manager at the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) for many years. The position was responsible for reviewing client operational and financial performance seeking out improvement opportunities to companies in a variety of industries. Before the BDC, Reg was a senior manager responsible for building an FX capital markets regulatory reporting program for the US, UK, Singapore and Australian markets. His experience also includes creating and releasing new services nationally.

Session C: Globalization and Diversity: What Does It Mean For You?

Globalization and Diversity: What Does It Mean For You?

UVic is a culturally diverse community with close to 3,000 international students. In this workshop, a group of UVic international and domestic students will share their lived experiences of leaving their homelands, family and familiarity to embark on an international academic adventure! Participants will engage in activities that explore diversity, globalization and internationalization.

Presenters: Anne Cirillo and student-members of the UVic Global Community

Anne Cirillo is the Coordinator of International Student Programs at UVic. In addition to her professional work in program development, she is an applied drama practitioner, facilitator, educator, puppeteer and actor. Anne holds a Master of Arts degree in Applied Theatre from UVic, and is passionate about embodied learning: using our bodies to explore knowledge, narrative and relationship (to each other, our diverse cultures and the land). Raised in Ontario, she is of French and Italian ancestry. Anne is devoted to the collective pursuit of global peace and unity.

Session D: Filling Sudoku-like Puzzles

Filling Sudoku-like Puzzles

Almost all of us have encountered a Sudoku puzzle at some point in our lives, but did you know that solving these sorts of puzzles addresses important problems in statistics and electrical engineering? In fact, long ago, farmers used to rotate crops to balance out the nutrient usage in their soil. This essentially discovered the mathematical structure we now know as a "Latin square": a square array of symbols in which each row and each column contains each symbol exactly once.

Today, Latin squares are used in coding theory, bioinformatics, and network scheduling. This workshop explores the question of completing partial Latin squares, in which there are a few pre-filled cells and the rest are empty.

Think Sudoku, but with no constraint on 3-by-3 cages, and with different overall sizes than 9-by-9.

Presenters: Dr. Peter Dukes and Charlie Watson

Peter Dukes is an associate professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. Whether researching or teaching, a guiding principle in Peter's work is the search for mathematical beauty. He believes, perhaps slightly over-optimistically, that beautiful mathematical structures underlie practical solutions to our real-world challenges. In fact, nature seems to discover mathematics on its own: for instance, the petal counts on flowers tend to approximate a famous sequence of numbers. Peter loves talking to family, friends, colleagues, and students of all ages about the "fun" side of math. 

Charlie Watson is a graduate student in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. He studied mathematics and physics at the University of the Fraser Valley before coming to UVic. He studies graph theory and combinatorics, with a special love for problems arising from the physical sciences. Charlie enjoys finding mathematical simplicity in seemingly complicated problems.

Session E: Rooftop Gardens and the Science Behind Them

Rooftop Gardens and the Science Behind Them

This fun simulation project helps in understanding how rooftop gardens are designed and what benefits they provide to energy consumption in buildings. The idea of such gardens provides a more sustainable community, staying as close to nature as possible. Science of structures took a step further in developing rooftop gardens for keeping houses cooler during hot summer days while balancing energy consumption to reduce household energy bills. Join the team to design your own rooftop garden and to find out more about the science behind it!

Presenters: Adham El Newihy, Kristina Frolova and Kear Porttris

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. The UVic student chapter of the American Concrete Institute (ACI), is a student organization dedicated to promoting concrete construction and design through educational, industrial, and community involvement.

  • Adham El Newihy is a graduate engineering student, Secretary of the CSCE - UVic Student Chapter and a member of the ACI - UVic Student Chapter. His current research involves material health monitoring of concrete structures using new technology sensors.
  • Kristina Frolova is an undergraduate engineering student, Co-Treasurer of the CSCE - UVic Student Chapter and a member of the ACI - UVic Student Chapter. She plans to specialize in construction engineering with a minor in business and in psychology.
  • Kear Porttris's meandering journey through education and life has led him to become an undergraduate engineering student at UVic, Co-Treasurer of the CSCE - UVic Student Chapter and a member of the ACI - UVic Student Chapter.

Session F: Heroines and Heroes in Greek Myth

Heroines and Heroes in Greek Myth

Immerse yourself in the fascinating world of ancient Greek myth by learning to recognize the names of ancient Greek heroines and heroes in the original ancient Greek, by learning a few of the most important Greek myths, and by interacting with visual representations of various myths connected with the heroes and heroines. In this session, we will discover the ancient Greek alphabet; handle some replicas of ancient Greek vases; and read the myths themselves (in English) from the original ancient contexts.

Presenter: Dr. Ingrid Holmberg and Dr. Gregory Rowe

Dr. Ingrid Holmberg is an Associate Professor and the Acting Chair of the Department of Greek and Roman Studies. She has been teaching in the Department of Greek and Roman Studies at the University of Victoria since 1991. Her research focus is ancient Greek epic (the Iliad and the Odyssey) and early Greek poetry in general. Dr. Holmberg also enjoys teaching ancient Greek and Roman mythology to students at the University of Victoria and beyond.

Dr. Gregory Rowe is an Associate Professor and Graduate Adviser 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.

Session G: Making Medieval Manuscripts

Making Medieval Manuscripts

Discover how medieval people wrote and decorated beautiful hand-made manuscripts! In this hands-on class, you'll learn how to cut a feather into a quill, how to prepare parchment (animal skin) as a writing support, how to make medieval paint out of eggs and pigment, and how to apply and polish gold leaf. While we experiment with these processes, we'll ask: how did these production methods influence how people read and valued books in the middle ages?

Presenters: Dr. Jamie Kemp with Bailey Arnholz, Drew Beard, Ravana Eagleheart, Arnold van Roessel and Baylee Woodley

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. She enjoys experimenting with historical art-making practices as a method of inquiry. Kemp is a recipient of an Andy Farquharson Teaching Excellence award and is a Flipped Classroom enthusiast.

Session H: From the Roof: Asteroids, Planets and Stars

From the Roof: Asteroids, Planets and Stars

Have you ever looked at the stars and wondered where they came from? Do you know what happens when you fall into a black hole? In this workshop, students will have the opportunity to visit the largest telescope on any Canadian university campus, learn about deep space objects, and have their hands on this impressive technology!

Professional astronomers will host a question/answer session about anything space-related and if the sun is out, we will look for sun spots using our solar telescope.

Presenters: Steve Mairs and Maan H. Hani

Steve Mairs is a PhD student in astronomy at UVIC and the Department of Physics & Astronomy’s outreach supervisor. He has been involved in a variety of astronomy projects, including researching remnants of supernova explosions, studying pulsars in an effort to make a detection of gravitational waves, and investigating the evolution of the physical properties of giant star-forming regions in the Triangulum Galaxy. Steve's PhD thesis is centered on the formation of stars in the Orion molecular cloud.

Maan H. Hani is also an astronomy PhD student at UVic, and is particularly interested in understanding the big picture of how galaxies form, evolve, and interact with each other and their environment. His past research has focused on modelling star formation and BH activity in galaxy simulations. Both, star formation and black hole activity, are thought to be closely tied to galaxy evolution making proper models of such processes essential to our understanding of how galaxies evolve.