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Year in Review 2022 | University of Northern British Columbia

February

Dr. Kendra Furber, Assistant Professor, UBC Northern Medical Program and the Division of Medical Sciences at UNBC, is working to pinpoint the causes of brain aging and how we can prevent or reverse the damage of time. She is using the Mid-IR beamline at the Canadian Light Source facility at the University of Saskatchewan, to look at biochemical changes in the brain.

UNBC researchers install new and improved weather stations that will help us better understand atmospheric rivers storms and their impact. The Monitoring Extreme Climate and Hydrometeorological Events project led by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada/Rio Tinto Industrial Research Chair in Climate Change and Water Security Dr. Stephen Déry includes new monitoring equipment in Terrace and at the site of the Huckleberry Mine near the Tahtsa Narrows in the Upper Nechako Watershed. 

March 

Four students stand in the kitchen in the Agora Dining Hall A group of UNBC students create Eco-Living Kitchen in response to a call from the Fraser Basin Council for youth to create climate solutions in a province-wide project called Co-Creating a Sustainable BC. Students Ann Duong, Helga Holler-Busch, Shauna Kelly, Hannah Lawrence (pictured on the right) won the largest prize in the Nourishing Innovation: Campus Nutrition and Food Security Contest. 

Men’s basketball player Vova Pluzhnikov organizes the Run for Ukraine and runs 44 kiolmetres, one kilometre for every one million Ukrainians. Pluzhnikov was born and raised in Krhakiv, Ukraine. Through the run, he raises funds to support people displaced by the war. Pluzhnikov graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance in 2021. 

April

Dr. Geoff Payne begins his term as UNBC President and Vice-Chanceller after having served as the interim President since 2020. A founding faculty member at UBC’s Northern Medical Program (NMP) at UNBC, Dr. Payne came to UNBC in 2004 to teach physiology following a post-doctoral fellowship at Yale University. His term runs until June 2025. 

Wildlife and Fisheries student Rachelle Foubert becomes the first Canadian student to participate in the Student Wildlands Adventure program. Based out of the United States, the program brings together young people interested in natural resource conservation. As part of the program, Foubert visits Booker T. Washington State Park in Tennessee, as she learns about everything from black bear management in Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the diverse aquatic organisms in Cherokee National Forest.

Geography Professor Dr. Catherine Nolin and Adjunct Professor Grahame Russell from Rights Action are finalists for the Jim Deva Prize for Writing That Provokes for their book Testimonio: Canadian Mining in the Aftermath of Genocides in Guatemala. This prize is dedicated to writers whose work embodies a spirit of perseverance and a commitment to pushing boundaries and changing the status quo. Testimonio, co-edited by Nolin and Russell, documents Canadian mining company-linked human rights violations, forced evictions, repressions and corruption in Guatemala.

May 

Sports Information Officer Rich Abney wins the video of the year and social media campaign of the year awards from Canada West for his work related to the launch of the new UNBC Timberwolves Indigenous logo and uniforms in 2021.
For the video, Abney wins the award along with 6ixSigma Productions, Marcel Gagnon, and the Lheidli T’enneh. The social media award is shared with Trevor Angus, 6ix Sigma Productions, Christos Sagiorgis, the First Nations Centre, the Lheidli T’enneh, and Marcel Gagnon.

Dr. Sean Maurice earns a 2022 3M National Teaching Fellowship. Maurice, a senior laboratory instructor with the Northern Medical Program, earned the prestigious honour for his excellence in educational leadership. 

The Ceremonial Fire Circle at our Prince George campus officially opens. Under the guidance of the Office of Indigenous Initiatives the circle is a place where we can join together in ceremony and celebration and share stories as we learn about our shared history.

A group of graduates in cap and gown

The Class of 2022 crosses the stage at UNBC’s first in-person Convocation in three years. The event marks a significant milestone as the ranks of UNBC alumni grows to more than 16,000, mirroring the 16,000 petition signers who advocated for the creation of UNBC in the late 1980s.
Valedictorians Mackenzie Bouchard Hooker and Dyra Pridham share their stories. 
Pictured on the right are the Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduates from the South-Central campus in Quesnel. 

June

Dr. Wendy Rodgers becomes UNBC’s new Vice President Academic and Provost. Rodgers joins UNBC from the University of Alberta. In her new role, she leads the comprehensive strategic planning, development, and implementation of academic priorities at UNBC. 

UNBC, the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine and Northern Health announce the new Northern Centre for Clinical Research. It is focused on enabling clinical trials and research as well as biomedical science that is relevant to northern, remote and Indigenous populations.   

Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada provides $1.9 million in funding to support the establishment of the Environmental Solutions Innovation Hub.
The new hub is housed in the Northern Analytical Laboratory Services lab and allows UNBC to procure the advanced analytical instruments and personnel needed to meet an ever-expanding demand from local and regional natural resource-based firms to perform chemical and analytical work.

July

The National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health and the Health Arts Research Centre, both housed at UNBC, receive a $1-million federal grant to support a two-year project focused on promoting cultural safety and Indigenous knowledge in health care. The Hearts-based Education and Anticolonial Learning (HEAL) initiative is anchored in training and educating health care students and professionals to create better health outcomes for Indigenous people. “We need to remember transformational change, including much-needed anti-colonial change in health care, requires shifts in both feelings and thoughts,” says Dr. Sarah de Leeuw, Research Director at the Health Arts Research Centre. “It’s about head and heart work. We’re excited to put arts and humanities to work in the service of cultural humility and anti-oppression.”

A shared passion for preserving their Nisga’a culture bridged any generational gap between the youngest and oldest graduates in the history of the Wilp Wilxo’oskwhl Nisga’a Institute. Kaitlyn Nyce and Hubert Haldane both earned their Bachelor of Arts in First Nations Studies degrees from WWNI, which has a federated agreement with UNBC.

UNBC finds a meaningful way to support community efforts in hosting the Prince George 2022 BC Summer Games, including a tuition credit to athlete participants. “This is an exciting ‘first’ for the Games,” says Host Society President Renee McCloskey. “It would be wonderful to see these young athletes have their experience at these Games spark their post-secondary journey.”

Chancellor Darlene McIntosh in McCaffray Hall

Lheidli T’enneh Elder Darlene McIntosh, pictured on the right, is named UNBC’s eighth Chancellor. “I am honoured to serve as UNBC’s Chancellor and to be the first Chancellor in UNBC’s history from the Lheidli T’enneh Nation. The immense responsibility UNBC has to the region it serves is important.”

August

UNBC Faculty Member and UBC Northern Medical Program Professor Dr. Nadine Caron is appointed to the Order of British Columbia. “From student mentorship to groundbreaking research to ensuring Indigenous voices and perspectives on health care are acknowledged and hear, Dr. Caron has dedicated her career to helping foster important and critical changes to norther, rural and Indigenous health service,” says UNBC President Dr. Geoff Payne.

Kyndra Farrell, a UNBC Bachelor of Commerce student, uses Fellowship from the Herrendorf Family Foundation to intern with the Fraser Lake Eco Co-op. Farrell spends the summer creating a pilot project aimed at encouraging young entrepreneurs in rural communities.

UNBC partners with Mitacs, a national not-for-profit research organization, to offer a set of new research internships and scholarships. The Indigenous Research Ambassador Program and Mitacs Indigenous Research Award will engage students in experiential learning opportunities; connect them with researchers and communities; and facilitate leadership and mentorship opportunities.

Environmental Engineering student Madeline Clarke puts a new spin on a standard machine as her summer project with Northern Analytical Laboratory Services at UNBC. Clarke designs and builds a rotating indoor Workplace Atmosphere Sampler, believed to be the first of its kind in Canada and one of only a handful in the world.

September

Civil Engineering Assistant Professor Dr. Ramla Qureshi receives a $132,000 for a five-year project through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Discovery Grant program to put wood-steel hybrid building designs to the test. Qureshi will examine how hybrid buildings handle fire, earthquakes and other cascading events.

UNBC announces three honorary Doctor of Laws degrees will be handed out during a special ceremony to celebrate the Classes of 2020 and 2021 at our Prince George campus in October. The recipients are: acclaimed northwest coast Indigenous artist Ron Sebastian, longtime advocate for Indigenous children and families, Carrier Sekani Family Services Executive Officer Warner Adam and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami President Natan Obed, a leader committed to improving social equity for Inuit in Canada.

The art gallery at UNBC is re-named the Robert Frederick Gallery after the accomplished Lheidli T’enneh carver, storyteller and educator.

Simon James presents the artwork Reconciling Light

Kwakwaka’wakw artist Simon Daniel James, who also goes by the name Winadzi, unveils his piece, Reconciling Light, in the Learning Commons of the Geoffrey R. Weller Library. “Reconciling Light has been an extremely emotional piece of artwork, probably the most emotional piece I have ever been asked to do,” Winadzi says. “In order to get into the right frame of mind, I had to remember the stories told to me by my parents about their experiences in residential school.”
The unveiling ceremony is pictured on the right. 

October

UNBC retains its position in the top echelon of small Canadian universities, placing second in the latest edition of the Maclean’s magazine rankings. 

Dr. Hossein Kazemian and his research team at UNBC are collaborating with the seafood industry to create plant-based solutions to Styrofoam and other petroleum-based packaging. Kazemian and Brown Bay Packaging Company Limited are awarded a $300,000 Ignite grant from Innovate BC to continue their research. 

School of Planning and Sustainability Adjunct Professor Dr. Theresa Healy is recognized for her years of community-building work in Prince George, receiving the Drug Awareness Recovery Team’s inaugural Bob Scott Award. “I am truly honoured to be selected as the first recipient of the annual Bob Scott award. I knew Bob well and he was an inspiration to me, as well as a friend and colleague,” Healy says. “He was a man of faith who understood forgiveness, he was a man of action who understood the necessity of patience and a tower of strength in believing change was possible, from the individual wrapped in struggles with addition to the larger collective and policy questions that need our best as a society.”

The entire UNBC community joined together to celebrate the special in-person ceremony for the Classes of 2020 and 2021 at our Prince George campus. It was wonderful to see graduates have the opportunity to cross the stage, gather with friends and family and receive congratulations for achieving their personal academic milestones.

November

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appoints Dr. Margo Greenwood to the Senate of Canada. Greenwood joined UNBC in 1997 and is currently the Academic Director of the National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health and the Interim Scientific Director of the Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. “The entire UNBC community is celebrating with Dr. Greenwood on this tremendous achievement,” says UNBC President Dr. Geoff Payne. “For 25 years, Dr. Greenwood has been one of the difference makers in our community. Now that she’s joining the Senate of Canada, the rest of the country will benefit from her extensive knowledge, wisdom, commitment to research and advocacy.” 

After a record-setting season on the pitch, men’s soccer player Michael Henman earns the Canada West men’s soccer player of the year award, a first for the UNBC Timberwolves. Henman tied the Canada West single-season record with 19 goals. Men’s soccer coach Steve Simonson earns the Canada West and USports coach of the year award after leading the Timberwolves to their best-ever result in Canada West. 

Environmental Engineering student Aur Hager earns a Women in Technology Scholarship from the BC Scholarship Society. “Receiving this award is a great honour, but I also see it as a responsibility to help pave the way for other women and gender non-conforming people to get an education and start a career in science, technology, engineering or math,” Hager says.

UNBC launches its strategic renewal process. After maturing into a celebrated research-intensive and learner-centred university, community input is being sought to shape UNBC’s unique path forward.

The Laxgalts’ap Cultural Dancers travelled from their home community in the Nass Valley to UNBC’s Prince George campus to share some of the Nisga’a Nation’s rich history through singing, dancing and drumming. The performance was an opportunity for students, staff and faculty to witness Nisga’a tradition and culture.

December

UNBC and Northern Health renew their partnership in learning and research with the signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding. The MOU recognizes a shared commitment to furthering knowledge and developing capacity for the advancement of the health of northern British Columbians through the integration of practice, education and research.

UNBC joins with the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club to offer an exceptional experience to cross-country ski athletes coming to Prince George to compete in the Nordiq Canada Selection Trials and Nordiq Cup in January 2023. The athletes will be eligible for a $2000 tuition credit to UNBC – a first in Nordiq Canada event history!

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