Check out these impressive Sault SSMARt-y pants!Wednesday, July 11, 2012 by: SooToday.com Staff
SAULT STE. MARIE
Local talent recognized at Innovation Awards
Gala dinner showcases impressive talent from Algoma region
On July 10, the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC) honoured the outstanding achievements in local science and technology at the seventh annual SSMARt (Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma Region) Innovation Awards.
Members of the community supported local business, students, graduates and academic researchers by attending the gala dinner and awards ceremony at the Grand Gardens ballroom.
“The talent continues to exceed any expectations,” said Tom Vair, executive director of the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre. “The nominees were outstanding and the judges had tough decisions.”
The eight award winners were:
Innovation Company of the Year: Catalyst Fitness Inc.
Catalyst Fitness Inc. is a local fitness business focused on delivering results through research.
The Ignite program is the company’s system of delivering cognitive training through the incorporation of exercise.
Schools, insurance companies, clients with autism, and the parents of gifted children use Ignite to accelerate learning, rehabilitation, behavioural adaptation, and extracurricular educational opportunities.
Since launching the program in 2010, Catalyst has published a book and have a few licensed Affiliates throughout Canada and the northeastern United States, with new Affiliates launching in South Africa, Australia, Texas, MA, and ON within the next six months.
Currently, research exists showing benefit to the brain from exercise.
However, Catalyst has connected the 'dots' between the fields of neuroplasticity; education; psychology; physiotherapy; occupational therapy; speech language pathology; optometry; audiology; and fitness to provide the best opportunities for cognitive improvement.
Catalyst has seen monumental growth over the past two years.
Innovation Project of the Year: Sault Area Hospital
Jim Adams and Bob Filipowicz of the Sault Area Hospital IT department, in collaboration with Judith Edwards from the Sault Area Hospital Infection Prevention and Control department, designed and built a web-based application to be used when doing hand hygiene audits.
All Ontario hospitals are required by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) to conduct audits of staff compliance with cleaning their hands.
Previously in paper form, designed and distributed through the MOHLTC, the form was used to collect the data, which then had to be entered into the database and spreadsheet.
The development of this new web-based app, when used with a suitable device such as a tablet or notebook, eliminates the need to copy the data from paper worksheet onto the computer, which increases Judith's time to spend on other Infection Control activities, such as educating staff, patients and visitors.
Created and implemented by Judith and the Department, this project is in its early stages – but in its infancy provides a cost-effective and efficient means of conducting hand hygiene audits.
Innovation Researcher of the Year: Dr. Pedro Antunes (Algoma University)
Dr. Antunes is an internationally recognized researcher of invasive species.
His approach to research is innovative through leadership, community organization and outreach and his work internationally.
As research director for the Invasive Species Research Institute (ISRI), he coordinates nearly 20 workers and volunteers.
He actively worked to grow ISRI, to establish the North American Invasive Species Network and to host an international conference on terrestrial Invasive Species.
His innovative researcher on an international scale combines field and lab research to explore whether plant invaders have an advantage over native species because of their unique relationships with microorganisms.
This innovative approach considers complex interactions between many species as the possible key to why some species become invasive.
In the community, this researcher leads research and public education programming, including the production of information pamphlets on invasive plant species, the development of a book on Ontario's invasive species for woodlot owners, and generating the first comprehensive review of invasive species in boreal forests.
Dr. Antunes has worked hard to inform residents of Sault Ste. Marie about invasive species and his research.
This has involved giving numerous presentations to visiting students, at the Engaging Our Community Conference, to maple syrup producers on St. Joseph’s Island, to the Sault Ste. Marie Rotary Club, to the Ontario Forestry Research Institute, and to the Governor General’s Leaders Conference.
As an associate professor and research chair in Terrestrial Invasive Species at Algoma University, he contributes directly to the vision of the university.
He has published ten research papers in internationally recognized peer-reviewed journals in 2011-2012, was awarded an increase to his five-year Federal research grant.
His research web page has received 3841 visits from individuals in 97 different countries.
Innovation Educator of the Year: Dr. Brandon Schamp (Algoma University)
Dr. Schamp has creatively instructed biology students in innovative ways through a series of YouTube videos on how to calculate different measures of biodiversity.
The video series was viewed by more than 23,000 people worldwide.
In his community ecology class this educator engaged his students in a collaborative experiment.
The students worked as a team using Google Documents to upload, share data and corroboratively write a manuscript to be submitted for publication.
Most recently, this educator received a grant from the Teaching and Academic Standards committee for the Biology department to visit the Michigan Biological Station with the intent of developing an innovative intensive learning field course.
He consistently participates as a judge in the annual science fair, which is another example of his enthusiasm as an educator, going above and beyond the requirements of his position.
Dr. Schamp is constantly sharing news articles about interesting research findings on Facebook, along with an engaging website for students to access with photos and descriptions of past projects.
Innovation in Web and Social Media Award: Sault College
Sault College has creatively used digital and electronic means through web, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to appeal to students by interacting with them in their own language and on a personal level.
This level of ongoing promotion has helped to increase enrollment and drive student to a school that feels welcoming, engaging and less like a corporation.
Their web presence works to increase enrollment; their @SaultCollege account on Twitter has grown to over 700 users and the Sault College Facebook page reaches well over 1,000 potential students since it was created in 2010.
Innovation Student/Graduate of the Year: Ben Oliver and Michael Kendall
This year, our judges selected two winners in the category of Innovation Student/Graduate of the Year.
Ben Oliver is a recent graduate of McMaster University in Engineering.
He was involved with the Mechanical Contractors Association of Hamilton Student Chapter, taking over as President for the 2011-2012 school year.
While in this position, this young man introduced fellow engineering students to the contracting industry and helped organize a Grade 8 youth outreach program for two years to encourage younger students to begin thinking about career choices after high school.
As his final year thesis project supervised by a professor at McMaster University, he worked on a project focused on harnessing waste heat to generate both pure electricity and preheat incoming air to a heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system.
The heat recovery system was being designed for a commercial business with the eventual goal of releasing the product for manufacturing and distribution.
In January of 2010, Ben won the ASHRAE, American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers Reuben Trane Scholarship worth $10,000.
He was the first Canadian to ever win ASHRAE’s highest scholarship award.
He went on to found the first ASHRAE student chapter at McMaster University.
The next recipient of the Innovation Student/Graduate of the Year award is Michael Kendall, a biology student at Algoma University with an impressive overall undergraduate average of 96.5 percent.
This student was awarded a Federal Student Research Award in 2011.
He used funding from this award to conduct research in Dr. Brandon Schamp’s Algoma University lab.
His project sought to understand how natural systems can simultaneously be both highly competitive and extremely diverse, containing many species with different characteristics.
This is a complex question that would require decades of field research.
The candidate took an innovative approach to this problem that involved designing and implementing a plant community simulation model.
With this model, he was able to test whether, across hundreds of generations, different kinds of competitive relationships among species, and common disturbances can contribute to making natural systems more diverse.
This project required him to read more than 100 research papers, learn to code within the Matlab environment, and conduct complex statistical analyses.
The student’s approach is novel, complex, and powerful – and what his professor calls “research that would be impressive at the graduate level.”
He is the recipient of the Governor General’s Academic Medal, Seme II Memorial Scholarship Award, Algoma University IV Essay Award, McGrath Entrance Award, Hogg Scholarship Award, and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Undergraduate Student Research Award.
Michael’s research will contribute to a publication in a peer reviewed science journal.
Innovation Youth of the Year: Andrew Ault (Korah Collegiate)
A young entrepreneur, Andrew started his own company at the age of 16 and developed the Energy Boss unit and EnergyBoss.ca, a patent pending technology that actively monitors and improves the power usage in one’s home.
The technology reduces power and kilowatt demands, while providing stabilization by storing excess energy, resulting in energy savings of 8-20 percent.
His portfolio of work includes website and marketing projects for a variety of companies around Sault Ste. Marie.
At just 17, he started AKR Global Group, his own marketing company.
He has also volunteered his time at Knights of Alloy and Casata Technologies.
In 2009, he ranked 5th in a city-wide math contest.