Vandana Shiva, MA ’76, wrote the book Reclaiming the Commons: Biodiversity, Indigenous Knowledge and the Rights of Mother Earth, published this year by Synergetic Press. An Indian scholar and world-renowned environmental activist, she founded the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy, which aims to develop sustainable agriculture, and is a leader in the global ecofeminist movement.
Mark Lautens, B.Sc. ’81, a professor in the University of Toronto’s department of chemistry, has received a U of G Alumni of Honour Award for outstanding achievements and commitment to excellence. His research in organic chemistry has led to the design of new medicinal molecules.
Kenneth Mitchell, BLA ’98, will move on from his role as the fierce and temperamental Klingon commander Kol in the TV series Star Trek: Discovery to play a human role in the series. He will also appear in the upcoming miniseries The Old Man, currently filming.
Mitchell announced earlier this year that he has ALS – amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
He has worked steadily as an actor for about 20 years, including roles as the father of the namesake superhero in the popular 2019 film Captain Marvel, and in six episodes of the TV series Nancy Drew. Born in Toronto, Mitchell studied landscape architecture and played varsity soccer at U of G.
After studying biophysics at U of G, followed by master’s degrees in chemistry from the University of British Columbia and journalism from Carleton University, Sarah Everts, B.Sc. ’98, went on to a successful 17-year career as a science journalist.
Everts has landed back at Carleton University in Ottawa. In early 2019, she became an associate professor in the School of Journalism and Communication, where she is the CTV Chair in Digital Science Journalism.
One of her goals is to help journalism students identify legitimate science. When COVID-19 arrived, she launched a research project to look at how journalism is consumed across Canada during the pandemic and where Canadians are turning for their information – and misinformation – on the disease.
Harpreet Kochhar, PhD ’99, was appointed as Canada’s associate deputy minister of health during efforts to fight COVID-19. He studied animal biotechnology at U of G and became a professor in the Ontario Veterinary College’s Department of Biomedical Sciences.
Adam Cegielski, B.Sc. ’99, is founding president and CEO of Eyecarrot Innovations Corp. based in Toronto. Following studies in applied biochemistry, he worked as a consultant and executive, mostly for resource-sector companies. Eyecarrot’s Binovi technology helps vision therapy and training providers improve client performance and is used in numerous locations in more than 20 countries. The company partners with leading optometric associations and sports teams, including the Dallas Stars and Sporting KC.
Dan Seider, BA ’15, created an app that helps people understand how their mood is affected by computer information overload.
Seider launched Misu, a free mood-tracking macOS desktop app, because he wanted to understand how information overload affects our well-being.
The mood tracker takes photos of users while they are on a computer, analyzing their emotions using artificial intelligence technology. All photos are instantly deleted. The software observes micro-changes in facial expressions – subtle squinting, a furrowed brow, the curve of a smile.
Misu can tell users which websites cause them anxiety and which ones make them happy.
“If we’re informed that we’re actually spending a lot of time on some social platform that is not helping our wellness, then we’re empowered to be more mindful and change our behaviour,” Seider says.
Mariam Abeid, B.A.Sc. ’18, a single parent of three children, earned a degree in early childhood education and teaching at the University of Guelph-Humber before completing an MA in child study and education at the University of Toronto.
From a young age, Abeid dreamt of getting a good education, but that dream proved nearly impossible to fulfill in her home country of Kenya, where the education of girls was not a societal priority.
She faced seemingly insurmountable barriers to education even after marrying a Canadian man and settling in this country. When her husband died suddenly about 10 years ago, Abeid was left destitute and was separated from her children by family members. At one point, she lived in a shelter for women.
But she met people who recognized the injustice of her situation, as well as her exceptional way with children, her strong work ethic and her drive for excellence. A lawyer helped her win back her children and her home, and a teacher encouraged her to start post-secondary studies.
Tony D’Amato Stortz, BA ’20, used funding from his COVID-19-related Canada Emergency Relief Benefit to build raised garden beds for his neighbours in Guelph and Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont., enabling them to grow their own food during the pandemic.
As a Fullerton post-doctoral researcher at California State University, physics grad Philippe Landry, PhD ’17, helped detect an extraordinary cosmic event this past summer. Gravitational wave detectors in the U.S. and Italy received an unusual wave signal from the merger of a black hole with a smaller object. The signal arrived from a previously unknown cosmic system about 800 million light years from Earth. Landry was part of the research team and co-author of a paper in Astrophysical Journal Letters.