Canada – Still a safe place to live and study

TOSHIBA Exif JPEGFriday, October 24, 2014

The recent act of violence that occurred in Ottawa on Wednesday, October 22, 2014, was shocking to our nation. While our office building here at Fulbright Canada was on lockdown, we watched the news unfold and followed the twitter feed in disbelief.

As Canadian citizens, we don’t know how to react or deal with this type of situation, and maybe that’s a good thing. Watching the news reports the day of the shooting I noticed two interesting points. First, a number of bystanders rushed to help Corporal Nathan Cirillo and perform CPR. Second, people did not have the instinct to drop to the ground; according to CBC “…people were running and hiding behind poles.” This demonstrates that Canadians are willing to help, even if it puts them in harm’s way, and that we are so seldom exposed to gunfire, at least in Ottawa’s downtown core, that we actually don’t know how to react. This may mean that we need emergency preparedness training, but to me it sends the message that Ottawa is generally a safe place to live. As Moscrop and Watson stated yesterday “…before Wednesday’s shootings, many of us assumed we would wake up in the morning and go to bed at night without physical threat. The same is still true today. Wednesday’s attack, whatever it was […] changes very little about how we conceive of the security of the state and its inhabitants as it relates to political violence” (Ottawa Citizen).

In fact, CNN reporter, Chris Cuomo, seemed surprised when he stated that there were only ‘four homicides’ in Ottawa last year. Ottawa Police’s official Crime, Police and Traffic Statistics 2013 actually states that there were 9 homicide incidents in 2012 and 2013, which is still very low for a major city. As a preventative measure to reduce firearm related violence, the Ottawa Police Service, in collaboration with Henry’s and Olympus Canada, launched the “Pixels for Pistols” gun amnesty program in 2013, encouraging residents to trade their guns for free digital cameras. In a four-week period, they had seized 1035 firearms in Ottawa alone. Unfortunately, this type of program, along with other preventative measures certainly can’t eliminate all violent crime. What happened here on Wednesday was unsettling and surreal, but

I for one still feel that Canada is a safe and lovely place to live and study. Ottawa residents have taken matters into their own hands and are sharing positive pictures and stories with the #MyOttawa hashtag.

nathan cirillo__900W
In the aftermath, what has affected our nation the most is the death of Corporal Nathan Cirillo who was standing guard at the War Memorial. As Senator Jim Munson said “When we lose one soldier, we all hurt”. Our hearts go out to Cpl. Cirillo’s family and friends.

Michèle Phillips

Dropping the Puck: Fulbright 2014 Orientation Mixes Scholarship and Canadiana

Fulbright Canada CEO Michael Hawes drops the puck between Killam fellows Sean Leonard and Lukas Larsson

Fulbright Canada’s annual Fall Orientation, a three day extravaganza which began this year on Friday September 5th, is the first step in an exciting adventure for the incoming cohort of US Fulbright scholars and all of the incoming Killlam fellows. 68 students, young professionals, and scholars descended on Ottawa for a program packed with lectures, opportunities to share research and scholarly plans, networking with new colleagues and potential partners, cultural activities, and, of course, hockey.

Registration was followed by a lunch session designed to introduce the Fulbright Canada team. Next up, the group attended an inspiring lecture by Fulbright Canada alumnus Joel Spicer. Joel, who is currently President of the Micronutrient Initiative, spoke passionately and with great conviction about global health issues and the ways that change can manifest itself through small acts of collaboration, communication, and humility. Through personal reflection and real life examples, Joel set an uplifting tone that carried the group through the weekend.

Joel Spicer, Micronutrient Initiative
Joel Spicer, Micronutrient Initiative

The scholars left the lecture with added purpose to their step, some headed for a classic tour of Canada’s Parliament while others were off to the Supreme Court. While inside taking their tours, the pleasant fall day gave way to a torrential downpour and thunderstorms. Unfazed by the weather, our brave scholars sprinted through the storm and made it back to the Lord Elgin Hotel with enough time to change their wet clothes and head out to an event at the official residence of the US Ambassador. Deputy Chief of Mission Richard Sanders hosted Fulbright Canada with a beautiful cocktail reception at the historic home as the sun set over the Ottawa River. Mr. Sanders welcomed and congratulated the Fulbrighters on their awards, reminding them that they too had their own ambassadorial role to play.

Reception at the US Ambassador’s Residence with Deputy Chief of Mission Richard Sanders

Friday evening closed with dinner at Sidedoor in the Byward Market, one of Ottawa’s trendier restaurants. The light and festive atmosphere encouraged networking and celebrated the achievements of the Fulbright group. Andreas Weichert, the new Director of the International Education Division at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada, joined the group for dinner and affirmed the Government of Canada’s investment in and commitment to the success of Fulbright scholars in Canada.

Saturday morning was completely focused on academic events. Five panels were set up, with lead scholars from the Chairs Program discussing their research and responding to moderated questions. The panels provided an opportunity for the entire group to learn more about the work that each of the Fulbright scholars would be pursuing while in Canada. Afterwards, the Killam fellows (undergraduate students from both the United States and Canada) had a chance to engage in a roundtable with the Fulbright scholars of their choosing for a more informal question and answer session. This format gave students and scholars the opportunity to build new academic connections and consider future collaborations.

Social Justice Panel including (left to right) Alex Kamath, Margaret Moss, Alexandra Delano Alonso, and Claudia Chaufan

The remainder of Saturday was dedicated to Canadian culture. Trips to the renowned National Gallery of Canada and award winning Canadian Museum of History were followed by the true highlight of the trip, hockey! True to form, and in keeping with local culture, the group boarded iconic yellow buses and headed off to the Carleton University Ice House. Canadian-born Killam students and Fulbright scholars gave impromptu lessons to the American Fulbrighters and Killam Fellows on how to skate and how to properly hold a hockey stick. Fulbright Canada CEO Michael Hawes refereed a spirited match, which was the perfect capstone to the orientation program. After a relaxed dinner at Colonnade Pizza, the team boarded the buses for their final trek back to the hotel. One last chance to network at breakfast on Sunday, then back to their homes (new and old).

The Fulbright and Killam “team” ready to engage in Canada’s favorite pastime

On balance, the 2014 Fulbright Orientation was an extremely successful and fun event. The group distinguished themselves by their flexibility, their positive energy, and their openness to share ideas and experiences with their peers. We look forward to the scholarship that this talented group of academics will produce in the coming year and count on them to fulfill the promise of the Fulbright program… building mutual understanding, growing capacity, and creating long-term personal and professional relationships.


A special thanks to Michelle Emond and Brad Hector, co-chairs of the 2014 Fulbright Canada Fall Orientation Program, and to our indefatigable York University summer intern Matthew Farrell for all their hard work in making Orientation 2014 such a success!


A New EducationUSA Advisor for Fulbright Canada

My name is Jenika Heim. I joined the Fulbright Canada team as the Education USA Advisor at the beginning of September, just in time to attend the 2014 Fall Orientation for Fulbright Canada’s Fulbright scholars and Killam students. My predecessor, Michael O’Shea, has returned to graduate school and is pursuing a M.S.Ed in Higher Education at the University of Pennsylvania. I will be working with both Fulbright Canada and the US Embassy in Canada to provide advising services to prospective US bound students and to identify and promote educational opportunities for Canadians in the United States. I look forward to connecting in person, at fairs, and through the various social media tools.

Lake Tahoe, California
Lake Tahoe, California

I was born and raised in beautiful northern California, in the San Francisco Bay Area. I completed my B.A. in History and Communications with a Minor in Social and Ethnic Relations at the University of California, Davis (go Ags!). At UC Davis, I made the Dean’s List, volunteered as a campus disc jockey, worked as a double-decker bus driver, and competed on both the rowing and rugby teams. I went on to earn a M.A. in Women’s Studies at San Diego State University. There, I was honoured with a Graduate Teaching Associate award for my role in teaching introductory level Women’s Studies courses, something that I truly enjoy. Fully embracing my Southern Californian environment, I took a surfing course which gave me one unit towards my degree and entrenched my love for the ocean.

Canal Biking
Rideau Canal, Ottawa

I have always gravitated towards the academic world, both as a student and as a manager. I embrace putting students first and helping them reach their academic goals. Between 2006 and 2014, I worked for Kaplan Test Prep, specializing in pre-college exams (SAT, ACT, PSAT) and instructor management.Through my work with Kaplan, I bring a unique knowledge set to Fulbright and the US Embassy, especially in the area of standardized testing and US college admissions. I look forward to advising students and helping them find their best academic fit, and I also look forward to working with all of you!

“Skill Should Be The Only Bottom Line”: Level the Ice Community Leadership Program

In early July, 20 young elite Canadian hockey players from disadvantaged backgrounds got a rare opportunity—a chance to receive elite hockey coaching and training thanks to Level the Ice.

Made possible by a Community Leadership Program Grant from the Embassy and Fulbright Canada, Level the Ice was a weeklong hockey training camp at the Sensplex in Kanata, Ontario. Open to deserving players with strong character who have overcome, or currently face, beyond average economic challenges in playing the game of hockey, the camp combined on- and off-ice instruction with mentorship that brought in community leaders from hockey, business, academic and other successful backgrounds.

The motto of Level the Ice is “Skill should be the only bottom line”. Coordinated by Fulbright alumni Ian McGrath, Robin McLay and Scott Delaney, the camp came from a shared vision that the best hockey players deserve an opportunity to compete at the highest levels irrespective of their financial ability. With the assistance of Andrew Stewart (Executive Director, Level The Ice) and Evan Brownrigg (Director of Player and Program Development, Level The Ice) the dream became reality for 20 deserving hockey players.

Skills Training in Action!
Skills Training in Action!

Next Generation Hockey, Ottawa’s elite-level hockey performance camp and clinic provider, developed an intensive conditioning and development program for the players.

Generous volunteers from Next Generation Hockey created an amazing program, the timing and focus of which will enable these elite young players to compete at the highest levels in the upcoming season.

A key component of the camp was showing the kids what it would take to realize their dreams. Guest speakers like Brad Shaw (Former captain of Ottawa Senators and Assistant Coach of the St Louis Blues) and Marc Dorion (Canadian gold medallist Paralympian sledge hockey player) spoke to the passion and hard work required to make the pros. Michael Hawes (CEO Fulbright Canada) spoke about college hockey and the importance of an education. Cody Ceci (Defenseman for the Ottawa Senators) inspired the players and spoke to the need for total dedication.

Encouraging the Kids off the Ice
“You play one of the greatest games around, make sure you find the passion.” – Brad Shaw

The support for the camp in the area was outstanding. July 7, 2014 was proclaimed as “Level The Ice Day” by Deputy Mayor Steve Desroches. The US Embassy took video of the on-ice action and interviews.

Ian McGrath and Andrew Stewart spoke about their vision for the hockey camp in an interview with the US Embassy available on YouTube. The photographs taken by Shattered Memories Photography brilliantly captured the on-ice energy and will be featured on the Level the Ice website,

Given the support and positive reactions of all involved, Level The Ice will seek to hold another camp next year. Many thanks to Fulbright’s Community Leadership program for the opportunity to give something back to those deserving young hockey players in our community. Follow us on twitter (@leveltheice) or on Facebook (Level The Ice).


Post by Fulbright Alumni Ian McGrath, co-coordinator of the Community Leadership Program “Level the Ice”

Ian McGrath_cropped

Ian McGrath is a former student-athlete. As an athlete, Ian brings his hockey playing and coaching experience to the program. Ian played his Junior hockey with his hometown Kemptville 73’s and played for Carleton University between 2000-2004. From 2010-12 he was a certified skating instructor with the City of Ottawa, running skating courses for underprivileged youth as part of the City’s “Love to Skate” program.

Community Leadership Logo

Ian’s academic background is in refugee settlement and integration issues. In addition to having published his own studies on these issues, he has also been named a Fulbright Visiting Scholar to Georgetown University, a Transatlantic Fellow for Migration and Integration by The German Marshall Fund and most recently a member of the McGill University Institute for the Study of International Development ’ s Leadership Council. Ian currently works for the federal government in Ottawa.

Field Notes from a Fulbright Scholar: In Kahnawà:ke Territory


 Cam Terwilliger is a Fulbright Scholar at McGill University, working on a project titled Yet Wilderness Grew in My Heart, a historical novel set in New York and Québec during the Seven Years War. His fiction has appeared in a variety of publications, such as West Branch,Post Road, and Narrative, where he was selected as one of the magazine’s “15 Under 30.” He tweets at @CamTerwilliger.
This article first appeared on Electric Litand is reprinted here with permission.

Seeing into the Past at the SPIE 2014 Conference

My name is Patrick McGarey and I am a Fulbright Canada STEM Scholar (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) studying space robotics at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies. It was my pleasure to be invited to present a poster/paper at the SPIE 2014 Conference  (International Society for Optics and Photonics) in Montreal this week. I presented a recent publication entitled  “A 16 Channel Flex Circuit for Cryogenic Microwave Signal Transmission”, which introduces a new and  improved method to transmit multiple high frequency signals from a telescope sensor array that is both flexible and small.

Fulbright Canada - STEM
Fulbright Canada – STEM

Essentially, using an instrument like this, we can get higher resolution images of interstellar gas clouds radiating in the radio frequency. These celestial remnants offer clues to the origin of matter in the universe moments after the big bang and prior to the star forming period. In a way, a telescope is a time machine that allows us to peer back in time billions of years. My circuit design improves upon prior methods of connecting camera components which were costly in both time and money.

Presenting my poster at SPIE 2014
Presenting my poster at SPIE 2014

Montreal was the perfect host city for the biennial event, and after talking about space all day it was relaxing to partake in the sights and sounds of the world famous Montreal Jazz Festival. Of course, I have to thank Fulbright Canada for the continuing opportunity to collaborate internationally with top researchers from Canada and around the world.




Post by Patrick McGarey, 2013-2016 Fulbright Canada Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Scholar

Patrick McGarey graduated summa cum laude from the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. His focus concerned the development of interdisciplinary solutions to complex systems design problems, especially in robotics. Patrick has made significant contributions to many projects including the ASU Lunabotics Mining Rover, High Altitude Turbine Survey, Stereo Near-Infrared Camera, Exploration Geology & Geophysics Sensors, and the Kilopixel-Array Pathfinder Project.