Lakehead Student Hadenko Crosses Borders on Back of a Motorcycle

13 December 2003 - Thunder Bay
Lakehead Student Hadenko crosses borders on back of a motorcycle By David Trifunov - The Chronicle-Journal (republished with permission) December 15, 2003 Mandy Hadenko struggles to make ends meet like many students. She works part-time -- harder over the summer -- studies during the day and lives modestly. Well, except for that gigantic red, white, blue and gold trophy.
The Lakehead University history student is also a champion motocross racer who claimed the monstrosity (she admits it's a little tacky) at the Women's Motocross League Championship Cup last month near San Antonio, Texas. "I had an incredible trip and I'm still enjoying my six-foot high trophy," she said with a hint of irony. "It's taller than me. . . . I worked hard for that trophy and I'm quite proud of it. It's in a corner of my living room. You can't miss it." The master's student started racing competitively at 17 after riding her first dirt bike at eight. Now 26, she's a veteran of the Canadian championships who won both of her amateur class races in Texas and finished 15th overall. But it didn't begin as she would've hoped. Hadenko crashed the Thursday before racing was to start and went into the weekend wasn't sure how she would rebound. Her worries proved unnecessary as she crossed the line first in the first race. "I couldn't believe I'd just won," she said from her Toronto home yesterday, "and it just sort of snowballed from there."
Having such success was ultimately gratifying for Hadenko, who is researching cancer screening methods in post-war Ontario for her master's degree. Already a certified teacher who is supplying in Toronto, Hadenko worked all summer promoting the sport across Canada for Inside Motocross magazine. "This year was the hardest," she admitted. "I bought a brand-new motorcycle in the spring and I didn't ride it until the fall." But there is no way she's going to stop. There was $20,000 US prize money for the professionals in Texas. Racers ranged from age four to 40, amateur and professional, during the largest women-only racing event in the world. "I've never seen that many women racing in one event," she said. "It was really quite amazing. "It's an amazing facility and the people there are very supportive of women," she added. "I will go again, for sure." Speed Vision produced a one-hour broadcast featuring highlights of the championship weekend. It is scheduled to air on Tuesday.

Lakehead History Student Mixes Academics and Mud

12 December 2003 - Thunder Bay
Mandy Hadenko knows the value both of working hard on your academics and still finding time to balance your life with extracurricular activities. And when not immersed in her studies as a Lakehead University Master's student, she can be found balancing her life by playing in the dirt. "I started racing when I was 17, but I have been riding motorcycles since I was 8," says the accomplished motorcrosser. "It has been hard to ride in the past few years due to the demands of school, not to mention not having the finances to afford gear, race fees, travel expenses, etc. But I am fortunate to have gained sponsorship support recently, which has lifted some of the stresses that the average rider has to face."
This motorcycling History graduate student, with a specialization in Women's Studies, just came back from the Altex Computers WML World Cup in Texas (the world's largest women's motocross event), where she was a part of the Canadian Team. Each class has two motos (races) and the points combination between the two give you the overall. Mandy won both of her 250 B motos for the overall win (250B refers to the skill level). Between the two motos in her Amateur Open class she finished 15th overall.
"We're very proud of how Mandy can achieve so well academically and in her sport," says Dr. Ron Harpelle, a professor in Lakehead's History Department. "This is a success story, and students should look to Mandy as an example of maintaining a balanced life during university." "I think in order to lead a balanced life, especially in the academic world, one needs to use extracurricular activities as an avenue to rest the brain, work the body, and relieve stress," Mandy says. "Motocross has been a passion for me for years and I wouldn't be as happy, healthy, and motivated as I am today without it. "The history department has always supported me in my school work and my extracurricular activities. They get enthusiastic when I write a strong paper and when I win a race."
Mandy says to get to the level of racing she has attained, it has taken "lots of practice, the odd lesson, and some personal drive. Motocross is a sport that not only challenges your body to its limits, but it also tests your ability to focus and be positive." Mandy is expecting to graduate next May. She has finished both her Honours Bachelor of Arts (HBA) and a Bachelor of Education (BEd) at Lakehead University. Her sponsors for the Altex Computers WML World Cup were: IM/IMX, Wrex Wear, Scott Goggles, RB Graphics, Machine Racing, and Niagara Vacation Rentals.
MEDIA: Mandy is available for telephone interviews. To contact her, please call Marla Tomlinson at 343-8177.

History Student Robert Rombouts Wins National Award

11 December 2003 - Thunder Bay
Jay Nichol, Robert Rombouts, and Kerry Stevens were second level winners of the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation National In-Course Awards.
The in-course awards were established "to recognize and foster academic excellence and active citizenship in upper-year post-secondary students," according to the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation's website. Students who win this award have demonstrated both their academic qualifications and also have been active in the qualities of excellence the award is designed to recognize and foster. There were up to 200 of the second-level in-course awards handed out this year. Each student received a $4,000 scholarship, which is renewable for one additional year upon maintenance of a B+ Grade Point Average (GPA) and continued demonstration of the leadership, innovation, and service to the community for which the student was originally selected.
Rombouts, a third-year Concurrent Education/Honours History student, says he feels privileged to receive the award. "It feels great to get something back for giving to the university community," he says. "It is a great reward for the time I spent on extracurricular activities. But more than that, the monetary portion of the award has allowed me to continue my participation in these programs and strive to improve Lakehead in any way I can."
"I am extremely grateful for the scholarship and am glad to see that the Millennium Foundation has decided to begin this particular series of awards," says Nichol, a third-year Psychology major. Stevens, a third-year General BA student, says that earning these kinds of awards are an important part of the university experience. "Yes, the financial incentive is important and an excellent reason to strive for a high academic standing," he says. "But it's also important for students to be active in their University community."
MEDIA NOTE: All three students are available for media interviews. To contact them, please call Marla Tomlinson at 343-8177.   

Book Launch honouring Dr. Min-Sun Chen’s latest publication

20 November 2003 - Thunder Bay
Dr. Min-Sun Chen, Professor Emeritus of History, continues to contribute to teaching and research long after his retirement. Dr. Chen (PhD Chicago, 1971) was one of the earliest members of the History Department, coming to Lakehead in 1966, only one year after the University's formal foundation. He was Chair of the History Department from 1978 to 1984 and one of the founding members of the Thunder Bay Branch of the Canadian Institute of International Affairs.
For many years before his retirement in 1988, and in the fifteen years since then, Dr. Chen has been the Department's only specialist in Asian History, teaching courses in the history of both China and Japan, which he continues to do, in some cases through Distance Education. On Thursday, November 20, 2003, the History Department sponsored a formal launch of Dr. Chen's latest publication, entitled "Mythistory in Sino-Western Contacts: Jesuit Missionaries and the Pillars of Chinese Catholic Religion," which brings together the results of many years of his research, examining the various ways in which seventeenth-century Chinese scholars and European Jesuits interacted with and attempted to understand one another. "It is heartening to know that there is, indeed, intellectual life after retirement, and Dr. Chen is living proof of that fact," says Ron Harpelle, Chair of History.
Copies of Dr. Chen's book are available at the University Bookstore.

Lakehead Social History Institute Sponsors Project

1 November 2003 (Lakehead University Agora) - Thunder Bay
"Swedes in Canada" by Ryan Sigurdson Very little is known about the Swedish experience in Canada. The Lakehead Social History Institute aims to remedy this by sponsoring the five-year Swedes in Canada Project that will produce a comprehensive history of the Swedish people in Canada, right up to the year 2000.
Spearheaded by Lakehead History Professor Dr. Ernie Epp and local historian, writer, and researcher Elinor Berglund Barr, the Swedes in Canada Project aims to cover many aspects of Swedish-Canadian history such as the migration experience, cultural changes, development of Swedish communities, and the attitudes of descendants towards their heritage. "Many people feel that such a book is long overdue," says Barr. Research for the project has been extensive to date, and Barr is continuing to travel throughout Canada to gather information. Perhaps the most important trip is planned for the spring of 2004--a trip to Sweden with airfare provided by the Swedish Embassy. Some of Barr's goals while in Sweden are to find documentation unavailable in North America, to renew old contacts as well as make new ones, to meet with scholars who have pursued or are pursuing similar projects, and to get a feel for the cultural "baggage" that immigrants brought with them.
Financial support for this project has been strong, with contributions coming in from individual donors and cultural societies. However, some of the most important contributions have been copies of diaries, memoirs, minute books, newspaper clippings, photographs, printed family trees, genealogical information about an immigrant, and other documents. Barr says she will gladly accept any copies in either English or Swedish. "I feel tremendously encouraged by the support we have received," says Barr. "There have been so few diaries and memoirs deposited in archives that it would have been impossible to get a clear, overall picture without the help of the hundreds of people who have shared their personal stories, knowledge, and insights."
For further information about the Swedes in Canada Project, please contact Dr. Ernie Epp at 343-8341 or online at

Banana Split Accepted into International Environmental Film Festival

6 October 2003 - Thunder Bay

Banana Split, a film produced and directed by Dr. Ron Harpelle and local filmmaker, Kelly Saxberg, was accepted for competition at the Ökomedia International Environmental Film Festival in Feiburg, Germany, October 30 to November 2, 2003. Since 1984, Ökomedia has presented the latest environmental film productions and film and television trends from around the world. An average of 40 to 50 feature films, documentary films, and experimental and animated films take part in the competition. An international jury awards eight prizes annually

Members of the Department Receive Funding for Film Project

1 June 2013 - Thunder Bay
Peter Raffo, Michel Beaulieu and Ron Harpelle of the Department of History, along with other members of the "Fatal Flower Project," have been awarded the 2003 Burrit/Thompson Award to facilitate the completion of "The Fatal Flower," a silent film shot at the Lakehead in 1929 by the Port Arthur Cinema Society. The Burrit/Thompson Award is handed out annually by the Canadian Federation of Film Societies. Other members of the Fatal Flower Project include Heather Esdon, Kelly Saxberg, and Danny Johnson. 

History Faculty Member's Documentary Film Shown in France

7 May 2003 - Thunder Bay
"Banana Split," a documentary film by History Professor Ronald Harpelle and independent filmmaker Kelly Saxberg examining international development issues by offering a social analysis of the banana, was shown on May 7 at the Agropolis Museum at the University of Montpellier, France. The Agropolis Museum is a science centre that focuses on food and agriculture of the word. Harpelle and Saxberg attended the screening along with Emile Frison, Director of the International Network for the Improvement of Banana and Plantain. The 45-minute film was made with funding support from CIDA, IDRC, and the Canadian Independent Film and Video Fund. It premiered last year on Canadian Learning Television. 

Stepping to the Forefront

1 February 2003 - Thunder Bay
"Stepping to the Forefront Lakehead Graduate Students on the Frontier of Success"
by J. Andrew Deman
Michel Beaulieu and Andrea Collins Although their personal experiences place them worlds apart, there are two things that you will find in common between Michel Beaulieu and Andrea Collins: they are both graduate students at Lakehead, and they are both distinguishing themselves, as well as their university, at the highest level of their respective disciplines.
In History, Michel Beaulieu is conducting important research into early 20th century moving pictures, specifically 1896 to 1930 in the Thunder Bay region. Dr. Ron Harpelle, Beaulieu's thesis advisor, acknowledges that "his look at the social aspects of film at the Lakehead will make a valuable contribution to our understanding of the impact of moving pictures on Canadian society in the early 20th century."
Equally impressive, Andrea Collins's work in English revolves around the study of how Boethius' "Consolation of Philosophy" informs William Shakespeare's "Timon of Athens." This work is described as "extraordinarily promising and original" by her own thesis advisor, Dr. Mike Richardson.
Collins, 42, born and raised locally, spent some 20 years in the military before returning to further her education at Lakehead. Beaulieu, 25, raised in Caledon, Ontario, was drawn to the university through the reputation of its English and History departments as well as the smaller size of the school. "I feel part of the university community here," he says, "There's a sense of home." There have been challenges along the way. For Beaulieu, it has been resources. The materials required for studying local film are, ironically, most often located elsewhere, sometimes as far away as British Columbia. This he has overcome with the help of an Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) as well as two prestigious Vast and Magnificent Land research grants. Currently he has a paper in consideration for Papers and Records, and an abstract under consideration for a University of Chicago conference.
For Collins, also a recipient of an OGS, the challenges have been more internal. Diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, her first two years as an undergrad found her seeking help at the Learning Assistance Centre (LAC). Through the aid of LAC, combined with the guidance of Professor Lisa Richardson, Collins has overcome this obstacle and achieved scholastically, having attended an international conference, and having won the Ishak Book Prize, awarded annually to the best graduate student within the Department of English. For Collins, the personal trials have only made her stronger. She describes the study of such notable bi-polar and depressed writers as Charlotte Gilman, Virginia Woolf, and S.T. Coleridge as "therapeutic." In regards to Collins' ability to draw on personal experience in her work, instructor and mentor, Dr. Alice den Otter, agrees: "There were times, in fact, when I felt she knew the 'inside' of Coleridge's or Anna Barbauld's experience more fully than I could ever know."
Meanwhile, Beaulieu's work has allowed him to thrive not only in the collegial realm, but within the community as well. He is a board member of the Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society, a department representative of the Canadian Historical Association Grad Council, co-chair of "Flash Frame" (the Lakehead Cinema Society) and the former chair of the Communications Across Curriculum Committee. In the words of Dr. Harpelle: "Michel's work goes a long way in fulfilling Lakehead University's obligation to the region and the people who live here."
For both Collins and Beaulieu, the future is bright, pointed firmly at PhD studies, and eventual professorships. Of Collins, Dr. Gillian Siddall says: "I know she will enjoy great success in her doctoral studies." Of Beaulieu, Dr. Ernie Epp foresees "considerable success at the PhD level." A credit to their respective disciplines, and to the Lakehead graduate program as a whole, Michel Beaulieu and Andrea Collins are two students on the frontier of success.
Andrew Deman is one of several students taking part in SPARK, a student writing program sponsored by The Chronicle-Journal. From Lakehead University Agora (February 2003)