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Martin Sénéchal (Kinesiology) and Danielle Bouchard (Kinesiology) are two of the Harrison McCain Foundation Young Scholars Awards Recipients for 2016-17

Harrison McCain Foundation announces awards for 2016-17

Faculty members at UNB have increased research and teaching support, thanks to the generosity of The Harrison McCain Foundation. The awards, initially established in 2006 with a grant of $1 million, and renewed with an additional $1.25 million in 2016, have four different areas of focus. They provide each recipient with funds to support research projects, additional study, travel, equipment, the hiring of research assistants and other key components for research success.

The awards include:

  • The Harrison McCain Young Scholars Awards, which provide up to $25,000 to support new or recently hired faculty who have received their highest degree within the last 10 years;
  • The Harrison McCain Visitorships, which offer up to $50,000 to UNB faculty to enable them to participate in the academic life of another institution;
  • The Harrison McCain Visiting Professorships, which offer up to $50,000 to allow UNB faculty to bring colleagues from other institutions to enrich the UNB experience; and
  • The Harrison McCain Grant in Aid of Scholarly Book Publishing, which provides up to $5,000 in funding to assist faculty with the costs of publishing their research.

Following are the recipients for 2016-17:


Danielle Bouchard (Kinesiology) aims to examine the aerobic intensity of older adults who participate in walking groups, with the overall goal to increase the proportion of Canadians who reach Canada’s physical activity guidelines. Her award will be used to purchase equipment and hire a top graduate student to work with her on the project. Read more.

Ryan Hamilton (Psychology) will explore the link between physical activity and the improvement of physical and emotional problems associated with cancer survivorship. Funds will be used to hire a graduate student research coordinator, as well as a videographer and video editor to record and edit interviews with participants.

Lyle Hamm (Education) will research the impact that immigration has on educators and students in New Brunswick high schools, with the goal of developing more effective training for educators. The award will cover the cost of hiring a graduate student to assist with the project, as well as conference travel and publication.

Martin Gabriel Hrynick (Anthropology) will perform an archeological investigation of the traditional cultural area of the Passamaquoddy people in Maine, a project that is particularly urgent due to rising sea levels. The award will be used to hire a graduate student assistant, as well as cover the cost of lodging and stipends for the survey crew hired to undertake this project.

Anna Ignaszak (Chemistry) aims to develop new functional materials for energy storage and conversion so that Green Energy can be adapted and incorporated into the energy grid. Funds from her award will be used to hire a graduate student assistant, and cover the cost of materials and travel.

Amirkianoosh Kiani (Mechanical Engineering) aims to design, synthesize, and commercialize new biomaterials that will improve the attachment of medical implants to the bone and cartilage of patients. His award will be used to cover the cost of hiring graduate students, materials, conference attendance and publication.

Janine Olthuis (Psychology) plans to explore how transdiagnostic psychological treatments can target underlying risk factors, such as anxiety sensitivity, which are common across mental health disorders. Funds from her award will be used hire research assistants, and cover the cost of materials and supplies.

Suprio Ray (Computer Science) aims to address the challenges associated with data processing, including the increased volume, velocity and variety of Big Data, which is so large and complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate. His award will enable him to recruit research assistants and attend conferences.

Martin Sénéchal (Kinesiology) will research the impact of physical activity and exercise training on the cardio-metabolic health of obese individuals. Overall, he aims to determine if exercise intensity is important for this target group. His award will allow him to purchase the necessary equipment for this project. Read more.

Hilary Young (Law) will pursue research in Canadian defamation law, which is in great need of reform due to the rise of digital communications technologies, as well as the creation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. She plans to hire research assistants, a student statistician and travel to conferences with funds from her award.


Tillmann Benfey (Biology), an applied fish physiology specialist, will be working with Dr. Tony Farrell, Canada Research Chair in Fish Physiology, Culture and Conservation at the University of British Columbia. There, he will pursue research that assesses the physiological responses of fish to environmental challenges.

Keith Dewar (Business), who specializes in hospitality and tourism, will travel to Holar University College in Iceland to collaborate with Dr. Laufey Haraldsdóttir on research in the field of rural, coastal and marine tourism. He will also contribute to Holar’s business program by delivering lectures and participating in other projects.

Thom Erdle (Forestry & Environmental Management) will travel to the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand to work with Dr. Bruce Manley. They will collaborate in teaching a forest management course and develop material for future courses using software developed by Fredericton-based Remsoft Inc.

Gordon Holloway (Mechanical Engineering) will strengthen existing collaborations with the University of Queensland in Australia to examine methods of minimizing the amount of pesticide introduced into the environment in the management of forests and agricultural crops.

Jeff Houlahan (Biology) will travel to the University of Ottawa to work with Dr. Scott Findlay on a proposal for a Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) grant to start the Big Data and Environmental Science program. The proposed program would train young environmental scientists to use large, complex datasets to make science-based decisions.


Dennis Tokaryk (Physics) will be hosting Dr. Amanda Ross from the Institut Lumière Matière at Université Lyon in France. Dr. Ross’s studies focus on the electronic spectra of small polyatomic molecules. Her expertise is both similar and complementary to that of the UNB laser spectroscopy group and it will benefit greatly from her visit.

Karen Kidd (Biology) will be hosting Dr. John Gunn, a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Stressed Aquatic Ecosystems at Laurentian University. He offers a tremendous breadth of expertise and experience in how aquatic systems respond to and recover from human activities and has spent his career examining the ecology of fish and their supporting food webs.


Cheryl Fury (History) will publish The Social History of English Seamen, vol. II, 1649-1815, which examines the lives of seafarers who sailed on the dangerous voyages of commerce, exploration, and privateering. The first volume, which focused on the Tudor period, was published in 2012 and was very well received. She will use her award to cover the cost of copy-editing the book manuscript.

Anna Hamling (Culture & Media Studies) is expanding her comparative study on the religious views of the literary giant Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) and the Spanish philosopher Miguel de Unamuno (1864-1936), who considered Tolstoy his kindred spirit. Religijne eseje Lwa N Tolstoja i Miguela de Unamuno (Religious essays of Leo N Tolstoy and Miguel de Unamuno) will be published in Poland, where no books on this subject currently exist.

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