Message from the Dean

The Faculty prepares for a special alumni celebration on Friday, June 10, for the classes of 2020 and 2021 Spring. Credit: UVic Photo Services

Greetings from the UVic Faculty of Science,

I am happy to present to you, once again, a smorgasbord of newsclips and updates. To many visitors of our beautiful campus the summer appears to be the slow time of the year – undergraduate students have largely left the campus and many of our dining facilities have shut down. Meanwhile, to many researchers this is the busiest season: the time when field studies are undertaken, lab-based research projects run at full speed, and many of us travel to conferences to present our work and get new ideas.

Convocation celebrations
First, congratulations Class of 2022! Today you walk across the Farquhar stage, transitioning from student to alum. The connections you’ve made at UVic can last a lifetime. I speak from experience: I am still in touch with my university friends and even married my university girlfriend!

Last week we hosted alumni convocations for the classes of 2020 and Spring 2021. Since in-person convocations were not possible in the last two years, we invited the classes of ’20 and ’21 back to campus for a proper convocation ceremony. There appears to be a lot of pent-up demand for celebrations..!

Jam-packed June newsletter
Our June newsletter highlights four alumni. Astrophysicist Julie Claveau (BSc ’09) is a Program Scientist with the Canadian Space Agency, working on the newly launched James Webb Space Telescope. She’s also a mother of three, blogger, YouTuber, World of Warcraft gamer—challenging the stereotypes of the field.

Julian Smazynski (PhD Biochemistry ’22) also showed resilience in the face of adversity. Julian didn’t have the university experience he was hoping for the first time around, but he took a second run. Now he is a Research Associate at the BC Cancer Deeley Research Centre working on the next generation of cancer therapies.

Jason Fisher (PhD Biology ’10) co-authors a piece in The Conversation about fragmented wolverine habitats and what they mean for resiliency. And don’t miss our latest Q&A with Karl Swannie (BSc ’99), chair of our inaugural Alumni Advisory Board.

Our success as mentors is measured by the success of our students. Chemistry prof Scott McIndoe focuses his efforts on improving the undergraduate experience for the larger student body rather than showcasing star pupils. For his innovative, inclusive teaching, he was just named a 3M National Teaching Fellow, one of 10 post-secondary educators recognized nation-wide.

McIndoe’s passion for teaching is shared across our departments. Amanda Bates, Impact Chair in Ecosystem Change and Conservation, says we need to support the next generation of leaders to better tackle the grand challenges we face. Check out a special video on her work—and oceans research happening across campus—in celebration of World Oceans Day.

And in our research update we learn about two science-led solutions for current global issues. These new discoveries in biochemistry and microbiology could lead to big changes.

Community comes to campus
Our first in-person Science Rendezvous event was a hit. We estimate over 1300 participants attended the activities at UVic and Camosun Interurban. Before coming to UVic, I have been part of Science Rendezvous since about 2012 and this was among the best (if not the best) and busiest event we have ever participated in. What an awesome success!

You’ve heard it here first: our 2022 Lipson Lecture speaker is Dr. Roberta Bondar. Astronaut, physician, scientist, and photographer, Dr Bondar is still exploring 30 years after her historic space voyage. The first Canadian woman and neurologist to fly in space joins UVic to present “Moving Beyond the Familiar to Reach for the Extraordinary” this Fall, Oct. 26. We will contact you about alumni presale tickets later this summer.

As always, please feel free to , drop me a line, or meet me for coffee or lunch.


Peter Loock
UVic Dean of Science