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Department of Economics team proceeds to final round of Bank of Canada’s Governor’s Challenge

photo of group

The team members, from left to right, are Laura Polcyn, Weiqi Shi, Scott Magill, Derek Patterson, and André Gagné.

This fall, the Department of Economics took part in the fifth annual Bank of Canada Governor's Challenge. Twenty-eight universities from across Canada took part in the competition, which is designed to promote the understanding of the role that monetary policy plays in Canada's Economy.

This competition is a great example of the way the Department of Economics is engaging in experiential learning. We are happy to announce that the Lakehead team will be moving on to the final round in Ottawa in February.

Scott Magill, Laura Polcyn, Weiqi Shi, Derek Patterson, and André Gagné will visit Ottawa in February where they will compete to become the winner of the competition. The team was supervised and mentored by Dr. Karl Skogstad, Dr. Bakhtiar Moazzami, Dr. Michael Shannon, and Dr. Robert Petrunia

The team spent the semester preparing a presentation that they delivered via video conference to judges from the Bank of Canada. Given the high quality of the universities the team faced, moving on to the final round is an outstanding achievement and demonstrates the quality of Lakehead students and the quality of Economics training available at Lakehead.

Lakehead University dares to be bold with Report to Community

November 20, 2019 – Orillia, Ont.

The theme of Lakehead University’s 2019 Report to the Community was Dare. Defy. Discover.

Emceed by fourth year Lakehead criminology program student, Courtney Holmes, the annual event featured students, faculty and alumni of the Orillia campus who dare to defy constraints and expectations to make discoveries about themselves and the world through unconventional scholarship and independent thinking.

“Through the Report to Community we have the opportunity to meet the people who make Lakehead Orillia such a special place – students, faculty and alumni,” stated Lakehead Chancellor Lyn McLeod. “Lakehead University is extremely honoured to serve the people of Orillia and Simcoe County and our students, both those who live here and the many who come from elsewhere to access a quality postsecondary education.”

Guests at this year’s event included Gia Spiropoulos, Master of Education student, alumna Dana Clark, and Lakehead’s Dr. Cheryl Lousley, Associate Professor and Research Chair in Environmental Humanities.

Dr. Lousley spoke passionately about storying the climate change emergency and provided examples of how environmental concerns have been woven into the narrative of Canadian fiction.  

In her talk, Spiropoulos shared her journey to Lakehead, her passion for basketball, and documented the incredible research opportunities she has participated in during her master’s program. Working with lecturer and SSHRC post-doctoral fellow Dr. Ellen Field, Spiropoulos is working on developing hands-on, inquiry-based learning resources for teachers to help introduce education around climate change into today’s classrooms.

Clark, a graduate of Lakehead’s media studies program, talked about her global social impact movement, Heroic Humans. The online platform inspires, celebrates, empowers and acknowledges acts of heroism big and small all over the world.  To date, it has featured almost 200 people from around the globe who show exceptional examples of courage, bravery, love, and resilience in everyday life.  Clark’s work on Heroic Humans earned her the 2018 Mindful Millennial Award from The Notable Life.

“This year’s Annual Report shows the exceptional impact our students, faculty, and alumni are having on the economy and society,” said Dr. Moira McPherson, Lakehead’s President & Vice-Chancellor. “Today was an opportunity to meet some of the people who learn, teach, and advance research, scholarly and creative work at Lakehead—each empowering themselves and our learners to become the next generation of leaders.”

“At Lakehead University we have a deep and authentic commitment to education, innovation and the dreams of our diverse population of students,” explained Dr. Dean Jobin-Bevans, Principal of Lakehead Orillia. “This is supported by the significant milestones we’ve celebrated in 2018-2019.”

Those milestones included being named ‘Research University of the Year’ in the undergraduate category for the fifth year in a row by Research Infosource, and being included among Canada’s Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities by Maclean’s 2020 University Rankings.

In addition to celebrating the academic, research, and community accomplishments, Lakehead also celebrated the incredible financial impact it has on the province. Lakehead University adds approximately $1.4 billion per year to Ontario’s gross domestic product. The annual economic impact of the University’s Thunder Bay campus on the province was $1.3 billion, while its Orillia campus contributed $122.7 million. Lakehead University is responsible for 6,277 full-time equivalent jobs.

“The Report to the Community is a chance to celebrate the year’s successes and connect with the communities within Northwestern Ontario and Simcoe County,” said Ross Murray, Q.C., Chair of Lakehead University’s Board of Governors.

Visit to view Lakehead University’s 2018-2019 Report to the Community.

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Media: For more information or to request an interview, contact Jaclyn Bucik, Media, Communications and Marketing Associate, 705-330-4008 ext. 2014 or

Lakehead University is a fully comprehensive university with approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and over 2,000 faculty and staff at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead has ten faculties, including Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Graduate Studies, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Law, Natural Resources Management, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Science & Environmental Studies, and Social Sciences & Humanities. In 2019, Maclean’s 2020 University Rankings, once again, included Lakehead University among Canada’s Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities, while Research Infosource named Lakehead 'Research University of the Year' in its category for the fifth consecutive year. Visit

Lakehead Orillia's report to community student, faculty and alumni speakers

Raag-Rung contributes toward student scholarships at Lakehead University

Group photo with cheque

The Raag-Rung Music Circle held its 36th annual Fundraising Evening of Fabulous Food and Marvelous Music on Saturday, Oct. 19 at the Italian Cultural Centre, which raises funds for student scholarships and the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra.

Dr. Inder Nirdosh, front right, Raag-Rung President, and members of the Executive, Tammy Holmes, front, second from right, Kevin Sidlar, back left, and Rajesh Talpade, back middle, presented Lakehead's President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Moira McPherson, Deb Comuzzi, Vice-President, External Relations, and Dr. David Barnett, Interim Provost and Vice-President (Academic), with a cheque for $5,000 for student scholarships.


The Aboriginal Mentorship Program is looking for Volunteers and Tutors

The Aboriginal Mentorship Program (AMP) matches experienced university students with Indigenous youth to create a positive connection of learning about post-secondary educational opportunities.

Thunder Bay Holiday Gathering

Senior Administration along with Lakehead Events and Community Council would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who attended this past Friday's Holiday Gathering in the main cafeteria.

Special thanks to all the donors, sponsors and volunteers for helping to make this event such a success.

Two raffle prizes from the event remain unclaimed and can be picked up at Printing in the Ryan Building. Orange tickets #943325 and #943339. Have a wonderful holiday break and best wishes for the New Year.

Retirement celebrations for Mary Lysenchuk, Department of Psychology

Photo of Mary Lysenchuk

The Department of Psychology at Lakehead University will sadly say farewell to Mary Lysenchuk who has worked at the University for 52 years. We welcome you to wish her a happy retirement on her last day, Friday December 13th, in SN 1042 from 10-12. Join us for coffee and treats and reminisce as she celebrates her upcoming retirement.

Mary will be missed by many at the University – her reach has gone well beyond the Psychology department. We hope the University community can join us for her retirement party to celebrate her dedication and contributions on January 24th at The Study from 3-6. If you would like more information, contact the Program Coordinator by emailing

Many may not know that Mary began working in the Library in August of 1967. She says she still remembers her first day as Library Assistant, typing catalogue files, which was how they kept track of where each book was located. In 1969 the administrative assistant position became available in Psychology, and she has worked for the department every day since.

She fondly remembers a smaller University then, where “everyone knew one another and there was a family-like atmosphere. Everyone was engaged in helping the university grow and prosper.”

Psychology has grown from offering a Master’s program in 1968 to now also having an accredited PhD program, which the department began offering in 1995.  

Technology also changed a lot over the years. When she started working as a Departmental Assistant, Mary worked on a typewriter. Every memo and letter was dictated and then transcribed.  Research papers were typed and retyped because if there was a change in the first page, then the whole paper had to be retyped. 

In the 1980s, Mary got the first computer in her department, which may have been the first on campus. “A technician from the University’s computer department came to show me how to use it. All the faculty stood around the computer in awe. I was in the doorway and could not see a thing.  That was OK because I asked the technician to come back the next day to give me the real training.” 

Mary ended up teaching other employees how to use the computer. She has also been very helpful to the 10 very different Psychology Chairs that she worked with.

“One time when I was first Chair, she asked me if there was anything she could help me with,” said Dr. John Jamieson, a former Chair of Psychology.

“I was struggling with a difficult administrative decision and I described it to her. She gave me the solution! I learned from then on always to consult with Mary when faced with a complex issue, since she knew how similar issues had been resolved in the past,” he said. “She is a pillar of strength and wisdom, quietly doing her job.”

Mary has worked with thousands of students, many of whom are now employed in Mental Health Services in Thunder Bay. She offers some advice for young people starting out in a new job. “Stay if you enjoy it. It is rare that you find a job that you enjoy for 50 years. If you like where you are, stay there.”

“You come to work and you’ve got people coming into your office; happy, friendly, young students, fresh minds, what more could you ask for? It’s a good working environment.”

“The first Chairman that I worked for told me that it does not matter what position you hold, everyone is important to the team.  After working at Lakehead University for 50 years I have received nothing but respect and friendship.

“It has been my pleasure to be a member of this institution’s community, surrounded by warm, kind and thoughtful people.”

Congratulations Mary on your upcoming retirement. The Psychology department and University community thanks you for your hard work and dedication, and the many contributions you have made. You will be missed!

Summer research internships in Germany

What did you do last summer? For 4th-year engineering students Mohammed Elshaer and Jonathan Hamilton, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. They were Lakehead's first participants in the RISE-Globalink summer research internship program in Germany. The program offers Canadian undergraduates in all STEM fields the opportunity to apply to research internships at universities across Germany. Internships are held during the summer, usually between students' 3rd and 4th year. (There is another program for graduate students, DAAD RISE Professional, for STEM-related internships with German companies like Siemens, BASF, or Merck).  Successful applicants are funded by Mitacs with a $6,000 award.

Mohammed´s internship was at the Nuremberg Campus of Technology at the Technische Hochschule Nürnberg. As part of the interdisciplinary research group “Human Centric Ambience,” his work focused on ways that smart building technology can contribute to human health. He also contributed to preparing and submitting a literature review for publication, learning about research publishing in the process. For his internship, Jonathan worked with the Hybrid Energy Technologies research group at the Institute of New Energy Systems, Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt. In Germany, the electric power grid must integrate energy inputs from multiple renewable sources such as solar, wind, and biogas, which results in fluctuations that need to be smoothed to ensure a stable power supply.  Jonathan worked on modelling controls for the electrical distribution grid. 

Both men emphasized that the benefits of the experience extended well beyond the learning gained from the research projects. For example, neither had previously considered graduate study or research as a potential career path. But now, they are both considering graduate school and are open to research-related careers. “Seeing how they worked, it brings you a new view point, different from Canada," said Jonathan. “It was not just the research – it was about becoming more well-rounded, an open-minded engineer.”

Both agreed that the experience expanded their horizons, and they would strongly recommend the program to other students.

Applications are currently being accepted for Summer 2020, for both the undergraduate and graduate internship programs in Germany, with a deadline of December 15, 2019. To see internship descriptions and apply online, you need to register on the DAAD website and log in to the portal at

For more information about the program or how to apply, please contact Jill Sherman,

Save the Date and plan to join this year's Research and Innovation Week 15th Anniversary Celebrations!

Save the Date and plan to join this year's Research and Innovation Week 15th Anniversary Celebrations!

  • Thunder Bay dates: February 28 to March 5, 2020
  • Orillia dates: March 9 to 11, 2020

2020 Theme, Our Creative Mind

When we think about "creativity," we may imagine artists/scientists conjuring up fantastic ideas that come from the depths of their inventive minds. Collectively, we connect our ideas, knowledge, and curiosity to create our realities. Using our creative mind, we focus on what exists, and strive to look at reality from different perspectives. Together we imagine, innovate, and discover ways through our research to improve our lives, and better our world.

Some of our confirmed events in Thunder Bay include:

  • February 29 - "Festival of Ideas" at Intercity Shopping Centre,
  • March 2nd - Public Talk: Tim Caulfield: Battling the Bunk Machines,
  • March 3rd - "Thinking Outside the Box" Research Panel,
  • March 4th - Northern Ignite Breakfast,
  • March 4th - Indigenous Business and Reconciliation Panel, and
  • March 5th - Awards Reception.

In the coming weeks, please refer to our Research and Innovation Week web page to learn more.

For additional information, please contact Rena Viehbeck, Events Coordinator, Research Services at

Meet 30 outstanding women engineers in commemoration of the 1989 tragedy at Ecole Polytechnique

Moving Forward, Building Strength, Inspiring Change

December 6th, 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the mass shooting of fourteen women (almost all of whom were engineering students) at École Polytechnique de Montréal (now Polytechnique Montreal).

This year, Engineering Deans Canada commemorates this tragic event by celebrating the outstanding work of female engineers across Canada who were touched by this event, but survived and forged a path forward for other women to follow. Engineering Deans Canada invited each of the Canadian engineering schools that offered an accredited engineering program in 1989 to put forward the story of an engineering alumna whose career exemplifies the changes that women have brought to the engineering profession and to Canadian society. These profiles can be seen at

Our intention on focusing on these new stories is to move forward from what was lost in the form of young lives, and to put a spotlight on the strength and resilience of those whose lives were touched by the event, but spared to continue their life’s work, and to inspire the expanded inclusion of women in the profession by showcasing the stories of how they have changed the way we think and practice.

In terms of social media we will use the following hashtags
#30Years30Engineers and


image of story about Colette Lepage
#30Years30Engineers: Meet Colette Lepage, a graduate from Lakehead University

Colette Lepage was born and raised on the outskirts of Sudbury, Ontario in a hardworking, blue-collar family. 

She spent much of her youth gazing at the stars, reading astronomy and science fiction books and wondering endlessly about the mysteries of the universe.  She had a passion for science and technology so she completed her Chemical Engineering Technology diploma at Cambrian College in 1994. 

After working in her field for a few years, she decided to return to school to earn her Bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering at Lakehead University in 1999.  Shortly after graduating, she was hired by a contracting company as an entry level engineer in the field of Contamination Control at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center near Washington DC. 

After a few years of acquiring experience in her field, she would eventually go on to manage the SSDIF (Spacecraft Systems Development and Integration Facility) Cleanroom, one of the largest cleanrooms in the world that housed the Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission space flight hardware and eventually, the James Webb Space Telescope (Hubble's successor) space flight hardware. 

Over the course of her two decade long career, Colette also provided her expertise at other notable facilities like the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida, NASA Glenn Research Center's Plum Brook Station in Ohio and Northrop Grumman Space Park in California to name a few.

For 20 years, Colette has enjoyed the privilege and honor of being a part of a world class team of scientists and engineers responsible for making new discoveries regarding the universe that continue to re-writing astronomy books.   

Presently, Colette continues to support space flight projects on a part-time basis through her own consulting firm which allows her the opportunity to pursue another lifelong passion of full-time travel.  Colette now enjoys the best of both worlds.  While visiting a National Park with very little light pollution, she can still gaze at the stars and wonder about the mysteries of the universe all while being part of a team of dedicated professionals working hard to unlock those mysteries.