International Conference Draws "¨Researchers from around the Globe

The 5th International Conference on Digital Information Management (ICDIM 2010) takes place at Lakehead University from July 5 - 8.

Co-sponsored by Lakehead's Faculty of Engineering, this event follows successful conferences previously held in Bangalore (2006), Lyon (2007), London (2008), and Michigan (2009). Approximately 80 researchers from 33 countries converge in Thunder Bay to dialogue on digital information management, science, and technology. Two well-known researchers, Dr. Harold Boley and Dr. Irma Becerra-Fernandez, present keynote addresses. Dr. Boley is co-inventor of the programming language RuleML. He is also a pioneer of the Semantic Web. Dr. Becerra-Fernandez has been integral in the development of Knowledge Management (KM) and KM systems for organizations and facilities such as the National Sciences Foundation, NASA, and the Air Force Research Lab.

This conference features original research and industrial papers on the theory, design, and implementation of digital information systems, as well as demonstrations, tutorials, workshops, and industrial presentations

An official opening ceremony takes place in Lakehead's ATAC 1003 from 9:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, July 6. The full conference schedule (including keynote details) and additional information are available at

Orillia High School Students Win Lakehead Math Contest

Orillia students win TD Canada Trust Lakehead University Math Contest

Students from Orillia high schools participated for the first time this year in Lakehead University's TD Canada Trust Northwestern Ontario High School Mathematics Competition, held this past spring.

The competition is divided into two divisions - Thunder Bay high schools and high schools outside of Thunder Bay. The Orillia students performed extremely well among the 73 participants from outside of Thunder Bay, winning first place in each of the individual and team events.In addition, each of the three schools participating from Orillia, including Twin Lakes, Patrick Fogarty and Park Street, had contestants who placed in the top ten.

The annual contest has taken place since 2003 as part of Lakehead University's Department of Mathematical Science's commitment to promote mathematics and sciences.

Trophies and medals are awarded to winning students, while all participants receive T-shirts. A $500 scholarship to Lakehead University is presented to the student with the best performance who decides to attend Lakehead University.

Awards were presented to students in June by Dr. Grazia Viola, Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics and Interdisciplinary Studies, Lakehead University - Orillia. All three schools say they look forward to participating in the contest again next year.

Park Street Secondary School

Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School

Twin Lakes Secondary School

Orillia's Award-Winning Graduates

Hard work and passion pay off for Lakehead - Orillia's award-winning graduates

Published in the Orillia Packet and Times, June 30, 2010

"If you embrace Lakehead, it will embrace you back. Lakehead University became part of me." This is how recent Lakehead University - Orillia graduate, Shannon Green, describes her experience at Lakehead's Orillia Campus.

At the Lakehead Orillia Convocation on June 5, Green was awarded both the Orillia Campus Dean's Medal and the Poulin Award.

The Dean's Medal is awarded to the highest-ranking student in the Bachelor of Arts and Sciences program. Green graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Arts and Sciences degree.

The Poulin Award is awarded for outstanding citizenship and presented to the student who contributed most to the welfare of the University through student activities.

Green was a Lakehead Student Ambassador and a founding member of the Orillia Campus ThunderCATS club - the University's "Community Action Team." She served as the club's first president and under her leadership the club spearheaded a number of successful community initiatives.

Of the many projects led by the ThunderCATS, Green is most proud of the Walk for Memories event, which was initiated in cooperation with the Alzheimer Society of North East Simcoe County. "It was an amazing event," says Green. "We raised over $6,000, surpassing all our expectations." Other events led by the ThunderCATS under Green's leadership included "Trick-or-Eat," which collected food items for Orillia's Sharing Place Food Bank and a "30-Hour Famine," which donated over $3,000 to Haiti and other international aid projects.

"Shannon exemplifies what we are most proud of at Lakehead," says Campus Dean, Dr. Kim Fedderson. "Her enthusiasm, professionalism, and willingness to contribute - both on campus and in the community - are simply spectacular."

Green came to Lakehead with an impressive range of experience and credentials. She earned her BA degree from the University of Western Ontario and then a Legal Assistant diploma from Fanshawe College. While working for a law firm in London, Green realized she may be better suited to a career in health care and decided to pursue a new profession. She enrolled in the D'arcy Lane Institute of Massage Therapy and completed her three-year residency in the U.S. Most recently Green ran her own massage therapy practice in Bracebridge.

Green says she loved the person-to-person interaction involved in her work as a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT), but thought there was only so much she could do in that role. Her goal was to become a medical doctor. With her husband Mike's encouragement, she made what has become a life-changing decision. "My husband was my biggest advocate," says Green. "He said, 'you have to do this!'"

The couple came to Orillia three years ago to find out if Lakehead's Orillia Campus could offer what Green needed to pursue her new ambition. "Once we met Kelli Gray in Student Affairs, I knew Lakehead was the University for me. When Kelli heard what my goals were, she said, "we'll help you - we'll work together to help you get there. My goal then became our goal."

This summer, Green is confident in as she prepares for her Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) exam. "My experience at Lakehead, especially the Institution's interdisciplinary approach and focus on inquiry-based learning, has taught me how to think and evaluate critically. These are some of the traits medical schools look for in candidates."

Green currently volunteers at the Emergency Department of Orillia Soldiers' Memorial Hospital and is completing a course in Biomedical Ethics. Her goal is to practice family or emergency medicine and to specialize in palliative care and gerontology.

Janet Earle is another award-winning student who returned to university to pursue a long-time dream. She graduated with a Bachelor of Education degree and was the Orillia Campus recipient of the William A. West Education Medal, awarded to the highest-ranking student in Education.

Earle graduated from Carleton University in 1989 with an Honours BA in Law and Political Science. "I was considering law at the time, but then got married and had children." She and her husband Tom moved to Orillia when he was offered a teaching position in the area.

Over the years, Earle worked on and off with her family's land-surveying business, but says she always wanted to be a teacher. Because she wasn't willing to move away from home, Earle didn't consider going to teachers' college - until she noticed information in the local paper about a new one-year Bachelor of Education degree offered at Lakehead - Orillia. "I decided to apply and when my application was successful, I was just over the moon - this meant I could fulfill my dream and stay at home with my family."

Earle says she loved being back at school, even though she found it difficult to manage the large volume of work, along with a busy life at home. Her kids were 9, 15 and 17 years of age and very active. "During the time I studied, my son Lucas played 68 games of hockey! My husband was a major factor in making it work; he took over many of the "taxi" duties." In spite of the challenges, Earle says Lakehead was everything she wanted it to be. "I loved the experience and commend the instructors for doing such a superb job in preparing us for teaching placements." Earle said she felt confident and prepared to be in the classroom. "Most of our instructors were retired teachers and were able to provide a wealth of experience."

One of Earle's professors, Dr. Fiona Blaikie, says she was not the least bit surprised when Earle won the Education Medal. "She was extremely hard-working. She not only got the top mark, but was very responsible and helpful. She was an absolute pleasure to have in the program."

Earle hopes to begin teaching this fall as a supply teacher and ultimately hopes to have her own classroom.


Tanya Clark came to Lakehead - Orillia with a college diploma in Business Administration and took the University's one-year professional program to turn her diploma into a degree. Clark graduated from Lakehead with a Bachelor of Administration degree and was awarded the Dean Braun Medal as the highest-ranking student in the program at the Orillia Campus.

After completing a three-year diploma program in Business Administration at Georgian College, Clark began looking for jobs and discovered that many positions required a degree. "I decided to go back to school so I could take advantage of additional opportunities and higher rates of pay," says Clark. "I grew up in Orillia, so it made sense to go to school here and avoid the expense of living away from home."

"I wasn't sure what to expect at Lakehead, especially after already studying business for three years," says Clark. What she found was a program that taught her how to think differently. "There is a strong focus on analyzing and problem-solving. This made the courses I took interesting, and taught me valuable skills that I will be able to use, no matter what kind of work I do in the future."

Clark says she also enjoyed the small class sizes. "I was able to have a more personal relationship with my professors, who were all fantastic."

Professor Jo-Anne Ryan, Coordinator of the Business Administration College Transfer Degree program, says Tanya excelled because she was open to learning and embraced the different thought processes presented in the program. "She was willing to explore. This makes a big difference and allows students to see new perspectives," explains Ryan.

Clark is working with the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) in Orillia this summer and plans to travel before pursuing her career goals. She looks forward to working in the field of event planning in the future.

2010 Shad Challenge asks Students to Design for Canada's Aging Population

(June 28, 2010 - Thunder Bay, ON) Today, Lakehead University officially welcomed some of the brightest young minds in Canada to Shad Valley 2010. This year, astute Shad entrepreneurs will work to identify a niche that fills a specific need for the aging population.

Shad Valley attracts international
students from Saudi Arabia
The Shad Valley program attracts students from across Canada and around the world. This year, two Shads hail from Saudi Arabia: (L-R) Taha Aljishi and Sondus Bellow.

Over the course of their month-long Shad experience, students will leverage their scientific, engineering, and technological knowledge to design a product that benefits Canada's older residents while also considering its economic, environmental, and social implications.

2010 Shads gather in Lakehead University's Senate Chambers where they are officially welcomed by University representatives.

Statistics Canada figures indicate the number of seniors across the country will almost double from 4.3 million to 8.0 million over the next fifteen years. Since more than 40 percent of the nation's working population is now aged 45 to 64, these baby-boomers will begin their departure from the workplace in 2011, resulting in a shift in spending patterns, housing, mobility, health, social support, and other issues of magnitude never previously encountered in Canada.

Shads will be exposed to local businesses in Thunder Bay, and will live in residence at Lakehead throughout the duration of the program.

"The interesting part of this year's theme is that Shads will be faced with realizing they too will age, and in so doing, may develop enhanced appreciation of the preferences of today's seniors."

- Dr. Sultan Siddiqui, Director, Lakehead's Shad Valley Program.
"At Lakehead University we educate students to think critically and independently. Faculty and staff repeat this mission statement message with pride and it is central to the university's 'I think for myself'' campaigns. I can't think of a better way for prospective university students to develop their individual critical thinking than by working alongside our high-calibre faculty members. And each year I delight in the break-away solutions the Shad Valley students invent when they work together to address key problems of our times."

- Dr. Laurie Hayes, Vice-President (Academic & Provost)


Lakehead University has been a proud Shad Valley participant since 1999

  • The Shad Valley Program is geared to developing innovative leaders of tomorrow
  • Grade 11 and 12 Shad Valley participants from across Canada and abroad are housed at 10 Canadian university campuses
  • Shad students are selected based on rigorous criteria that include their academic performance and community involvement
  • The Shad Valley program focuses on academic areas such as Engineering, Entrepreneurship, Information Technology, Medicine, and Science
  • During the month-long experience, Shads attend presentations on various topics, participate in workshops, and complete projects in different areas
  • Local community and business leaders are often involved in workshops and seminars, and in judging Shad competition



MEDIA: For more information, please contact Heather Scott, Communications Officer, at (807) 343-8177 or, or Eleanor Abaya, Director of Communications, (807) 343-8372 or

About Lakehead
Lakehead is a comprehensive university with a reputation for innovative programs and cutting-edge research. With a main campus located in Thunder Bay, Ontario and a campus in Orillia, Ontario, Lakehead has over 7,700 students and 2,250 faculty and staff, and is home to the west campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. In 2006, Research Infosource Inc. named Lakehead University Canada's Research University of the Year in the undergraduate category. For more information on Lakehead University, visit

Research Led by Lakehead University Archaeologist Receives International Attention

An archaeological team led by Dr. Scott Hamilton of Lakehead University's Department of Anthropology has recently made media headlines all over the world. Dr. Hamilton and his team members are working with the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation after a 4,600-year-old burial was discovered at the mouth of the Bug River, located on the south side of Big Trout Lake in northern Ontario.

The south shore of Big Trout Lake, where 4,600-year-old
burial remains were discovered.

It is reported that last fall, a group of fishermen came across the bones at a time when water levels were high, which caused the shoreline to erode and the burial site to become exposed.

Because the skeleton was found mostly intact from the knees and forearms upward, it was possible for team members to determine the remains are those of an adult male, likely in his late 30s or early 40s, and measuring at roughly 5' 5" in height with an extremely robust and muscular build.

This man would have lived during roughly the same period as when the Great Pyramids were being built in Egypt.

It is not known how this individual died, though he appears to have been given a formal burial. As Dr. Hamilton notes, a flat slab of granite is associated directly with the bones, and "It looks very much like a purposeful grave."

Learn more by reading Rare 4,600-year-old Ontario burial lifts lid on prehistoric Canada.

New Student Advising Workshops

Orillia Student Affairs office is offering students, who are entering the first year of their program, an opportunity to come to for an academic advising workshop.

More details and registration information can be found here:

Lakehead Grad Presents Research Poster

Lakehead graduate presents research at International Conference

(Orillia, ON - June 18, 2010) When Michael Thorn enrolled at Lakehead University's Orillia campus four years ago, his intention was to become a teacher. It was the school's Concurrent Education program that had attracted him, in addition to the entrance scholarship it offered - that was more enticing than those offered by other universities. It was also an easy commute from his home in Midhurst.

This past June 5, Thorn was among the 312 students who received degrees at the Lakehead - Orillia convocation. But it wasn't a Bachelor of Education degree that he earned. Instead, he graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Arts & Science (HBASc) degree. Thorn graduated with First Class Standing and was the recipient of the prestigious President's Award.

It was the opportunity to do undergraduate research and the practical application of biology that motivated Thorn to switch from the education program to arts and sciences. "Once I was exposed to research opportunities, I was hooked," he says. "I think the small class sizes at Lakehead helped give me the kind of experience that brought out my true interests. Professors were accessible and had the time to provide the kind of information I needed to learn about specific areas of study."

Thorn began working as a research assistant and during the past two years worked alongside his professor, Dr. Nandakumar Kanavillil, on projects funded by Environment Canada and a grant from the Senate Research Council of Lakehead University. The focus of the research projects is to improve the water quality of Lake Simcoe and the surrounding watershed.

This week, Thorn presented a poster at the CanadianSociety of Microbiologists Conference held at McMaster University. The presentation was a summary of research findings, to date, on a study that looks at the dynamics of biofilm communities in freshwater ecosystems. Findings will help determine the potential of diatoms (a significant living component of biofilms) as indicators of water quality. Earlier this spring, a scientific abstract on this study was accepted by the International Association for Great Lakes Research. Thorn presented a poster, summarizing the findings of research conducted by Lakehead - Orilllia last summer, to the participants at the association's conference.

A group of Lakehead University - Orillia faculty members, including Dr. Nandakumar Kanavillil, nominated Thorn for the President's Award. According to Kanavillil, Thorn has all the attributes that make him worthy of the Award. "Michael did exceptionally well in all of his courses, and he demonstrated outstanding leadership skills in his volunteer and research-related activities within the University."

The President's Award is given annually to "graduating students who have occupied positions of responsibility in student organizations and who, by their activities and achievements, have earned the gratitude of the University."

Dr. Kanavillil said that Thorn, like many students, was a bit hesitant to embark on research activities because of his unfamiliarity with the process. "He picked it up quickly and became very comfortable about what to do and how to do it. In fact, Michael is now taking the lead among newer students in our programs."

In addition to his research responsibilities, Thorn acted as Student Ambassador for two years and assisted with Orientation and other Student Affairs' activities. He also volunteered at the campus' Writing Centre. In this role, Thorn assisted students with their writing projects by reviewing their papers and offering suggestions for improvements.

Thorn says he hopes to continue working in a research setting and is looking forward to pursuing research activities in the area of wildlife biology. He reaffirms that Lakehead University - Orillia gave him a unique university experience, and is grateful for the undergraduate-research opportunities he received. "I'm not sure I would have come out of a larger institution with nearly as much experience as I've gained here," Thorn says. Thorn plans to study at Lakehead University's Thunder Bay campus next year to prepare for post-graduate studies.

FedNor Funding Illuminates LED Laboratory

Kenora MP Greg Rickford, on behalf of the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry and the Minister responsible for FedNor, recently announced that Lakehead will become brighter with more than $260,000 going toward a new research laboratory that supports the development of light emitting diodes (LEDs).

This announcement was made as part of the Canadian Government's $1.1 M investment in support of ten projects involving community economic development, information and communications technology, and youth initiatives in the Thunder Bay region.

Visit the Industry Canada website for more information.

Civil Engineering Steel Bridge Team Maintains Third Place National Standing Overall

(June 8, 2010 " Thunder Bay, ON) Lakehead University's Civil Engineering Steel Bridge Team fared well in all seven scoring categories at the 19th Annual AISC/ASCE US National Student Steel Bridge Competition, hosted by Indiana's Purdue University at the end of May. Among the 46 universities that competed, Lakehead's team won awards in four categories, placing second in Construction Speed, Construction Economy, and Display, and taking Third Place Overall.

Canadian Institute of Steel Construction President observes as Lakehead's 2010 Steel Bridge Team loads iron lengths onto bridge to test its strength and deflection.

Prior to the competition date, all qualifying teams are faced with fabricating a 21-foot-long scaled model of a proposed bridge that satisfies the 40-page hypothetical specification given to all teams. This year's specification stated the bridge was a means of providing access to a new oil field located in the Arctic Tundra, and had to span a river and adjacent floodway. The Lakehead team's faculty advisors, Drs. Tony Gillies and Timo Tikka, note the second place Display ranking is particularly satisfying. "This indicates that Lakehead's team produced what, through the eyes of the judges, was one of the most elegant solutions to the design statement," says Dr. Gillies.

"Although Lakehead's teams are veterans of the competition, we still feel a nervous thrill when spectators watch our students assemble their bridge as quickly as possible," explains Associate Professor (Civil Engineering) Dr. Tikka, adding that nerves also come into play after the bridges are assembled and are loaded with 100 lengths of angle iron, each weighing 25 lbs, in order to simulate a loaded truck crossing the bridge. With a total applied load of 2500 lbs, which equals more than ten times the weight of the bridge, the strength and deflection (or stiffness in lay terms) of the bridges are tested. All teams' bridges are then unloaded and weighed to determine which weighs the least, and then scores are converted into an equivalent dollar amount. The bridge with the lowest cost wins the competition.

"Team members are grateful to the numerous sponsors whose support made it possible for us to participate in this year's national event," adds Chair of Lakehead University's Civil Engineering Department Dr. Gillies. "It's a wonderful feeling to know we continue to do our sponsors proud." Lakehead is the only Canadian team to place in the top five overall since the inception of the competition.

Proud Lakehead team members accept their awards
Proud Lakehead team members and faculty advisors (L-R) Dr. Tony Gillies, Lisa Nguyen, Zack White, Fred Lavoie, Andrew Pearson, Dane Parent, and Dr. Timo Tikka accept awards.

A new team of students hopes to maintain Lakehead's tradition of excellent performance, and will work to qualify for the next national competition, to be hosted by Texas A&M University in May 2011.

About Lakehead University's Civil Engineering Steel Bridge Team

Lakehead's 2010 Civil Engineering Steel Bridge Team competed against more than 190 universities in order to make it to the national competition. Prior to the national competition, Lakehead placed first at the Mid-West Regional Competition in Brookings, South Dakota.

Lakehead's teams have done consistently well at the national level, placing tenth in 2001, second in 2002, fifth in 2003 and 2006, fourth in 2007, third in 2009, and again third in 2010. This year, four Canadian universities participated in the national competition, which is the largest Canadian representation to date.

Members of this year's Steel Bridge Team were Frederic Lavoie, Lisa Nguyen, Dane Parent, Andrew Pearson, and Zack White.


1. North Dakota State University$2.183M
2. UC Berkeley$2.307M
3. Lakehead University$2.516M
4. UC Davis $2.648M
5. University of Akron$2.664M
6. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
7. Lafayette College
8. University of Florida
9. Washington State University
10. Drexel University
35. University of British Columbia
39. Universite Laval
DNF Ecole de Technologie Superieure


MEDIA: Drs. Gillies and some team members are available for media interview. Contact Heather Scott, Communications Officer, at (807) 343-8177 or for more information.

About Lakehead
Lakehead is a comprehensive university with a reputation for innovative programs and cutting-edge research. With a main campus located in Thunder Bay, Ontario and a campus in Orillia, Ontario, Lakehead has over 7,700 students and 2,250 faculty and staff, and is home to the west campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. In 2006, Research Infosource Inc. named Lakehead University Canada's Research University of the Year in the undergraduate category. For more information on Lakehead University, visit

Lakehead Student's Rock-Solid Thesis takes One of Three National Awards

(June 7, 2010 " Thunder Bay, ON) Lakehead University Honours student Rob Cundari has been awarded one of only three medals from the Volcanology and Igneous Petrology (VIP) Division of the Geological Association of Canada. Each year, the Association presents three medals for the most outstanding theses written by Canadians or submitted by Canadian universities. At least 50% of the thesis material must be related to the study of volcanology and igneous petrology. A gold medal is awarded for the best PhD thesis, a silver for the best MSc thesis, and an antique copper medal, which Mr. Cundari received, for the best BSc thesis.

Nominated theses are evaluated on the basis or originality, validity of concepts, organization and presentation of data, understanding of volcanology and petrology, and depth of research.

Cundari's study provides clarity surrounding the classification of a unit of rock found in Devon Township, which is located south of Thunder Bay. In 1931, it was thought the rock had erupted in a volcanic setting " on top of the earth's crust. In the 1970s, the same unit of rock was reclassified very differently as an intrusive unit that was erupted within the earth's crust, much like the rocks observed on Mt McKay and the Sleeping Giant. Additionally, Rob was faced with determining the age of the rock, and whether it was 1850 Ma like the underlying shales or 1100 Ma like the nearby midcontinent rift-related rocks.

As Cundari explains, the purpose of his thesis was to construct a map of the unit in question and identify it properly. "By analyzing the rocks, I was able to conclude the rock unit was erupted as a lava in a volcanic type setting." This conclusion was primarily based on the observation of a ropy texture called pahoehoe, which is often seen in the lavas currently erupting in Hawaii. Also, by analyzing the chemistry of the rocks and comparing it to others in the area, Rob was able to conclude that the lava had likely erupted approximately 1.1 billion years ago.

Rob's study involved spending time mapping the rocks in the area in order to find geological clues that would allow him to determine whether the rocks were intrusive or extrusive. In addition to the detailed observations Rob made in the field, he also collected samples for further analysis. His first step, once back from the field, was to make thin sections of the rocks and examine them under the microscope for clues about their origins. The samples were then crushed to powder and shipped off to a lab which analyzed their geochemistry, results which allowed Rob to compare the rocks to databases of other units in the area, ultimately helping him reach his conclusions that the rocks were erupted on the Earth's surface 1.1 billion years ago.

Rob's supervisor, Dr. Pete Hollings of Lakehead's Department of Geology, notes, "Rob has done and outstanding job throughout the year, and on this particular project. I am proud that his achievement has been recognized by the VIP, and that Lakehead can boast yet another student of superb calibre."


MEDIA: For more information, please contact Heather Scott, Communications Officer, at (807) 343-8177 or

About Lakehead
Lakehead is a comprehensive university with a reputation for innovative programs and cutting-edge research. With a main campus located in Thunder Bay, Ontario and a campus in Orillia, Ontario, Lakehead has over 7,700 students and 2,250 faculty and staff, and is home to the west campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. In 2006, Research Infosource Inc. named Lakehead University Canada's Research University of the Year in the undergraduate category. For more information on Lakehead University, visit