Student Success

Ancient vapours are helping researchers identify gold deposits in Nova Scotia

Kevin Neyedley, left, and Dr. Jacob Hanley of Saint Mary’s University in Halifax are doing research supported by Nova Scotia’s Mineral Resources Development Fund. (Photo: Kelly Clark/Communications Nova Scotia)

Kevin Neyedley, left, and Dr. Jacob Hanley of Saint Mary’s University in Halifax are doing research supported by Nova Scotia’s Mineral Resources Development Fund. (Photo: Kelly Clark/Communications Nova Scotia)

Vapour trails from an ancient volcano may point the way to an economic opportunity in modern-day Nova Scotia.

Researchers at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax are using the composition of ancient volcanic vapours, trapped in tiny fragments in rocks, and other geological features, to learn more about a type of precious metal deposit called epithermal gold. Their work over the past year was supported by the province’s Mineral Resources Development Fund.

Geology professor Dr. Jacob Hanley said the project’s goal is to gather information on how and when the gold deposits formed, and to generate exploration criteria that may predict where the highest concentrations of gold may be found in the province. Giving companies a better idea where to explore has financial and environmental benefits.

“The more information we gain about where the deposits are sitting in this vast array of rocks which we have in the province, the better off the environment will be. The overall footprint is smaller in terms of that activity.”

Hanley and PhD student Kevin Neyedley received a $47,500 grant from the development fund in 2018 for their project, which focuses on deposits in the Eastern Cobequid Highlands. The area is about 50 kilometres north of Truro, Nova Scotia.

Continue reading the full article from the Department of Energy and Mines.

SMU Model UN group returns from New York with two awards


They came home with a gold and a silver! If the National Model United Nations conference was a sporting event, that would be the equivalent.

The Saint Mary’s delegation left Halifax on March 23 and returned from New York earlier this week with two new awards for the university’s collection:

  • Overall, the group of 20 students won a Distinguished Delegation Award (silver) for its excellent week-long performance representing Kuwait across 10 Model UN committees; and

  • Students Yankun Li and Hannah Shuttleworth won an Outstanding Position Paper award for their pre-conference preparations for the UNFCCC COP (Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change).

Dr. Marc Doucet, Chair of Political Science and professor of SMU’s Model United Nations course, said it was a terrific outcome, especially considering that many other delegations get to practice at other Model UN simulations prior to the international conference. The event typically attracts more than 5,500 students from some 200 universities around the world.

“In our case, we had four students who participated last year but for the majority of our students, this was all new to them. So the fact that they’re earning awards in their first go at this is quite impressive. They were very dedicated and worked really hard,” he said. 

Alyssa Frampton, president of SMU’s Model UN Society, had the opportunity to give a 30-second speech from the podium at the UN General Assembly. View the video online – Alyssa’s speech is at the 37:58-minute mark. Each delegation had selected one of its members to briefly address the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Alyssa did phenomenally well, and the speeches are now in the UN’s official archives,” said Dr. Doucet.

Another highlight of the week was visiting the UN Permanent Mission for the State of Kuwait and meeting with diplomatic attaché Ali Abdullatif Ali Al-Yahya, who graciously answered all of the team’s questions. After the briefing, the young diplomat posted kudos on his Twitter feed: “It was an absolute pleasure hosting a group of bright and inspiring students from @smuhalifax, very impressed by the research they did on Kuwait. I hope I answered all your questions. Thanks for such a nice gift. All the best at your MUN conference! Do Kuwait proud!” 

The Saint Mary’s students represented Kuwait on 10 different model UN committees this year, including the Security Council. Our team itself was quite an international group this year, with students from the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Britain, Canada, China, India, Mauritius and Turkey.  

Yankun Li said that representing Kuwait was an opportunity and a challenge at the same time, and admits she didn’t know much about the country prior to this experience. 

“During the research and class discussion, I gradually got a clearer overall image about Kuwait,” she said. “Also, since my committee was about climate change, it was fascinating to see how Kuwait struggles between gaining profit from oil production and combating climate change and how they made their policies due to this struggle. Representing Kuwait in such a big MUN conference gave me the chance of closely studying a country that I almost knew nothing about. It provided me another perspective of viewing global issues.”

Submitted by Marla Cranston, Faculty of Arts.

Huskies goalkeeper Christian Oxner signs with the HFX Wanderers FC

Big news for Saint Mary’s Huskies soccer fans. The HFX Wanderers FC have added Saint Mary’s goalkeeper Christian Oxner to their roster.

Oxner, is putting pen to paper to become an official Wanderers player after being chosen by the club at the CPL-U SPORTS draft last November.

“Christian is another player who has worked tremendously hard to get where he is, he deserves this opportunity,” said Wanderers coach Stephen Hart.

Christian Oxner (image from

Christian Oxner (image from

Halifax-born Oxner said he was expecting to fight for a spot on the Wanderers squad in preseason trials, until Stephen Hart called him with the offer he had been dreaming of.

“It feels good, I was so glad to get drafted but now I’m getting the chance to represent the city I grew up in so now I can play with freedom and I’m excited,” he said.

Oxner grew up in Clayton Park and played for local team Dunbrack as a youngster, before establishing himself as one for the future while playing for Saint Mary’s Huskies and Western Halifax FC.

He was a big part of the dominant Western Halifax FC team that won three provincial championships and a national title, which Hart has also been impressed with.

Now he’s looking forward to playing in front of his family and friends at the Wanderers Grounds, as well as being an example to potential future stars in the Halifax region.

Read more about the signing of Christian Oxner and Alex De Carolis at the Halifax Wanderers website.

Student entrepreneurs from across Atlantic Canada at Saint Mary’s for business development conference


Student entrepreneurs from across Atlantic Canada will be working closely with experienced entrepreneurs to help develop their businesses at the Starting Point Entrepreneurship Conference taking place at Saint Mary’s University.

The conference begins on Tuesday, Feb. 19, and will bring student entrepreneurs from post-secondary institutions and high schools from multiple provinces together to work with entrepreneurs, CEOs and startup experts. The students have the chance to work directly with the entrepreneurs to help brings their business ideas to fruition or grow an existing business. Events include keynote speakers, master classes with successful businesspeople, funder speed dating and the Iron Entrepreneur Tournament.  At the end of the conference, students have a chance to win cash investments for their businesses.

This year’s conference theme is “From Vision to Venture.” The theme is about encouraging and inspiring students to bring their ideas to reality by giving them the confidence and tools to do so. Conference proceedings such as master classes, the iron entrepreneur competition and the keynote speaker will focus on helping students to realize that vision and help them to bring it to fruition through actionable advice and inspiration.

Since it began in 2015, the conference has hosted 590 student entrepreneurs from post-secondary institutions and high schools from across the country and given over $40,000 in funding and prizes. The conference is organized by the Saint Mary’s University Entrepreneurship Centre. Over the past five years, SMUEC programs have provided opportunities to more than 4,500 students, allowing them to be engaged in curricular and extra-curricular activities. 

To learn more about the Starting Point Conference visit