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Campus Life - Kamloops  

Show us your research photos

A western rattlesnake eating a squirrel

Once again, we are asking TRU students, staff and faculty to show us what research looks by submitting photos to the Worth 1000 Words: Research in Pictures contest.

Open the door, and let us see what goes on in your lab, let us walk with you in the field, or bring us with you into the community. Show us how your work impacts the world around us. 

This contest, now in its second year, aims to demystify the research process. Last year, the contest drew dozens of entries, some of them poignant and serious, while others captured unexpected surprises and the humour and fun to be found in such a serious enterprise. 

All eligible entries will be adjudicated by a committee led by Donald Lawrence, Professor, Visual Arts. Judges are looking to create an online exhibition that reflects research in all stages, and that showcases research from all disciplines. Judges will also consider images that move us beyond the limits of the human eye and are captured through the use of scientific tools.  

“The photographer has to be right there in the action, and in many cases, there is only one moment in which that photo could have been taken,” Lawrence says, reflecting on the types of photos submitted in 2020.

Learn More

  • Deadline to submit, Feb. 15
  • Top prize, $500
  • Second-place prize, $250
  • Two additional cash prizes of $100 will be awarded for best caption, and people’s choice 


Fellowships support students studying snakes, bacteria

Graduate students Breanne McAmmond and Chloe Howarth are this year’s recipients of the Environmental Science and Natural Resource Science Fellowship Awards. The pair received the prestigious $7,500 awards as a result of ongoing research that contributes to our understanding of the natural world.

McAmmond completed her undergraduate degree at TRU and began working as a research assistant in her second year, during which time she used genomic tools to better understand how bacteria degrades harmful chemical compounds in the environment. Today, McAmmond is working with Dr. Jonathan Van Hamme in TRU’s Applied Genomics Laboratory on research that explores using bacteria to degrade per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAs, which are known as “forever chemicals,” and found in military fire-fighting foam and Teflon products. The chemical compounds of PFAs bioaccumulate in humans and other animals and can cause health issues; currently, there are no known means of removing PFAs from the environment. 

Chloe Howarth, Master of Science, Environmental Science

Howarth, who completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Victoria, is working with Dr. Karl Larsen on research that explores migration patterns of BC’s western rattlesnake. While building off of ongoing research, Howarth will also be conducting novel research that involves tracking juvenile rattlesnakes to determine whether young snakes have the same migratory patterns as adults. 

Grants validate ongoing research programs

Receiving these grants has been hugely beneficial for these students, not only financially, but also by acknowledging their previous research excellence.

“This takes the financial stress away from being a student and allows me to fully focus on my research,” said McAmmond. “It’s also nice to have my research recognized, and to have that extra confidence knowing that, even in a small way, I have contributed to this field of research.”

“It is always so great to know that other people think what you’re working on is worthwhile. This is so validating,” said Howarth.

These fellowships were generously created by an anonymous donor. Students who receive these awards are selected based on their potential for future contributions to our understanding of the environment.



Meet TRU Law’s new dean

TRU Dean of Law Daleen Millard

In November, Professor Daleen Millard, LLD, joined Thompson Rivers University as the new Dean of Law. Millard comes to TRU from the University of Johannesburg (UJ), where she held the position of vice-dean of the Faculty of Law since 2016 and was concurrently vice-dean of Teaching and Learning until 2019. Her work focused on quality control, decolonization and the effective use of technology in teaching and learning.

Here, we asked her about her new role as dean.

Why were you excited to join TRU’s Faculty of Law?
The Faculty of Law is at a turning point in its history. It is not the youngest law school anymore. After a decade, the time has come to build on the firm foundation that was laid by the founders of the faculty and to renew the commitment to quality legal education, community service and cutting-edge research.

What is your vision for the Faculty of Law?
My vision may be set out in three points. First, as I believe that law schools must take the lead in dismantling systems of institutionalized racism in our society, I will work with the faculty to contribute productively to the ways in which these issues are addressed in the curriculum. Lawyers have a crucial role to play in providing access to justice and this is important work that I want to promote.

Second, it is imperative for the faculty to answer the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action. I want to build on the strong foundation that has been laid over the past decade and ensure that TRU Law answers this call.

In the third place, the Faculty of Law’s task is to deliver graduates who have those attributes that will enable them to serve the legal profession in the future. The Fourth Industrial Era influences the way in which human beings live, learn, communicate and work. The legal profession, albeit more conservative than most, will not remain untouched by advancements in technology. The automation of routine tasks and the virtual workplace bring about new challenges and opportunities. Law schools have a responsibility to review graduate attributes and to consider how to better build those skills that cannot be automated: that which makes us human. My vision is therefore to partner with the profession and peer institutions and to incorporate learning opportunities into the curriculum to adequately prepare graduates for their careers.

You are taking the helm of the faculty at an interesting time: students will be learning remotely during your first months as dean. How do you plan to connect with them?
Remote learning creates the opportunity for me to connect with the students in different ways. One of these is regular interaction with the Student Law Society. Another is to schedule virtual meetings for the 1L, 2L and 3L groups. In addition, students are always welcome to contact me via email, should they need to connect with me.

What are you looking forward to most?
I am really excited to be part of our virtual awards ceremonies that will take place early in 2021. Most of all, I cannot wait for students to return to campus. I miss that energy!

What are your impressions of Kamloops so far? How has your experience been?
Colleagues and members of the community have welcomed me in various ways. I have had welcome gifts delivered to my guest house whilst in isolation and I have received so many cards, emails and phone calls that I feel very welcome in Kamloops. I enjoy the dramatic scenery and the warmth of the town’s residents. The mountains remind me of the Magalies, a mountain range in South Africa. It is such a privilege to be part of this community.



Arts grad finds path through research

 srcset="https://inside.tru.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Luke-Kernan-photo2-800x600.jpg 800w, https://inside.tru.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Luke-Kernan-photo2-480x360.jpg 480w" sizes="(max-width: 800px) 100vw, 800px" /><p>Teacher, nurse, accountant, journalist—these are just some of the more typically sought-after career paths of university students. However, <a href="http://www.tru.ca/distance/programs/arts/bachelor-of-arts-general-program.html">Bachelor of Arts (BA)</a> grad Luke Kernan had other plans.</p>
<p>Kernan, an anthropologically trained <a href="http://luke-kernan.com">mythographer and artist</a>, got his start at TRU and carved out his own unique career path thanks to the <a href="http://www.tru.ca/research/undergraduate-research/ureap-award.html">Undergraduate Research Experience Award Program (UREAP)</a>, directed study opportunities and access to faculty and mentors.</p>
<p>As a mythographer, much of his time is centred around research, focusing on how myths, symbolic thought and poetics integrate into our daily lives. After graduating with his BA, he went on to complete a MA in Interdisciplinary Studies and Anthropology at UBC, where he studied “dreamtime” narratives, myth and story revitalization while conducting community-based fieldwork in Wadeye, the northern territory of Australia, and with the Kanamkek-Yile Ngala Museum.</p>
<p>“Attending a smaller university like TRU to do my BA was really advantageous,” said Kernan.</p>
<p>“Smaller schools allow for greater access to undergrad research, faculty mentorship and the ability to build important relationships and networks. There is also less competition for national-level grants like the <a href="http://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/home-accueil-eng.aspx">SSHRC (Social Science and Humanities Research Grant)</a>—you just need to have the drive to take advantage of the opportunities available.”</p>
<p><div id="attachment_2270524" style="width: 410px" class="wp-caption alignright"><img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-2270524" src="https://inside.tru.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Luke-Kernan-3.jpeg" alt=

Kernan in the Wadeye region of Australia’s northern territory, Yederr camp, doing story revitalization work with an Elder and family members.

Kernan is an SSHRC scholar, literary anthropologist, graphic novelist and published poet. SSHRC supports high-calibre Canadian graduate students in building global linkages and international networks through the pursuit of exceptional research experiences abroad.

I met Luke in an upper-level English class, but it quickly became clear that his interests were broader than what could be contained in a scheduled course. That led to a directed studies project under the auspices of UREAP on gift giving in epic literature from Beowulf and the Nibelungenlied to the Odyssey, the Aeneid and Paradise Lost,” said arts faculty member Ken Simpson.

“Luke’s passion for the subject and his ability to see connections across disciplines and time periods was exhilarating for me as a teacher—I am not surprised that he has been so successful since then.”

Despite following a non-linear path, Kernan has been able to capitalize on his passion for research to advance his education and career. He is currently working toward his PhD in anthropology, where he will conduct ethnographic fieldwork on psychosis narratives and publish an innovative, multimedia volume of comics and poetry to accompany his dissertation and highlight its findings.

“The idea is to diversify my options,” said Kernan. “I would love to work in academia as a professor. I am passionate about research, writing and creating, and there are opportunities within medical anthropology, neuroscience, art therapy and teaching that I would like to explore as well.”



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