Canada’s Minister of Science visits UPEI
The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, visited the University of Prince Edward Island campus on Monday, as part of a whirlwind tour through the Maritime Provinces.
Minister Duncan first met with President and Vice-Chancellor Alaa Abd-El-Aziz and Interim Dean of Science Kathy Gottschall-Pass and discussed several topics including climate change, women in science, and growth in science programming at UPEI.
“We were so pleased to welcome Minister Duncan to our campus to advise her of the tremendous work we are doing to create unique programming, such as with the School of Mathematical and Computational Sciences and the School of Sustainable Design Engineering,” said President Abd-El-Aziz. “It was a great opportunity to highlight our recent successes as well as introduce some plans for the future.”
President Abd-El-Aziz and Dr. Gottschall-Pass were then joined by Vice-President Academic and Research Robert Gilmour who accompanied the Minister to the UPEI Climate Research Lab.
Dr. Adam Fenech, associate professor and director of the UPEI Climate Research Lab, introduced the Minister to several of his graduate students and outlined some of the Lab’s initiatives including CLIVE (Coastal Impacts Visualization Environment) and climate change monitoring programs. Dr. Fenech worked previously with Minister Duncan as part of the Nobel Peace Prize award-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a scientific body established under the auspices of the United Nations.
The brief visit also included a presentation by Dr. Amy Hsiao, associate professor in the School of Sustainable Design Engineering. Dr. Hsiao explained how the four-year degree program is set up like an engineering consulting firm where students serve as junior engineers working on real-world challenges for their real-world clients. She described the distinctive features found in the 76,000 square-foot facility that houses both the sustainable design engineering program and UPEI Department of Physics, and invited the Minister to come again for a tour. The building opened a month earlier than scheduled in August 2016. Dr. Hsaio also serves on the board of the Wind Energy Institute of Canada and is currently working on a research project with Dr. Fenech examining the effects of climate conditions on windmill efficiency and designing solutions to minimize those effects.
Minister Duncan left the Island mid-afternoon for Moncton, and then will travel to Halifax for an announcement on Wednesday that involves the UPEI Climate Research Lab.