Welcome from the Chair – September 2013

back2schoolBy the time you read this message, the school year will be well under way.  The first few labs will be done (and hopefully marked), exam schedules are probably posted at most institutions, and we are well into the routine of classes.  It always surprises me how easily we fit into two very different grooves – from September to April it’s tough to recall those halcyon days of summer when time was (more) available.  But from May to August, we just as easily slip into a routine of pursuing our own curiosity and interests, ever mindful of the pressure of time as we try to get past discoveries written up.

I hope your summer was profitable in your line of investigation.  Science Atlantic has enjoyed an exciting summer with several projects advanced and completed.  Prasad Rajandran, a Computer Science co-op student at Acadia, created on an online certificate generator for use at the student conferences.  By pulling data from the registration database and sponsorship activity from the files, the certificate generator can quickly produce attractive .pdf files of personalized certificates for the awards generously provided by our sponsors and by Science Atlantic.  Now the certificates can be printed and presented right at the conference. Prasad also worked on a regional research equipment database, which you’ll hear more about later this year.

James Curtis, a Dalhousie Informatics co-op student, also contributed greatly to our service.  He has been working on customizing the software we use for conference websites and registrations.  While this project does not have the visibility of the awards generator, it is core behind-the-scenes work for improving the way students can register for conferences (among other things, it ensures students complete their registration accurately so that those certificates can be generated!) and it should make the process of organizing a conference a little bit smoother!

Finally, after several years of existing in what used to be a small, poorly insulated bedroom on LeMarchant Street, the Science Atlantic office has moved to much more luxurious facilities in the Life Sciences Building at Dalhousie.  We are extremely grateful to Dalhousie for supplying this vastly improved space, which has allowed Executive Director Lois Whitehead to work with the summer students, an experience she enjoyed (and Science Atlantic benefited from).  In fact, because of the successes of James and Prasad, she has now hired two more students, Eric Naylor and Jasmine Golf, both from Dalhousie’s Commerce program, for the fall term.  We look forward to continuing improvements in our ability to grease the wheels of the Science Atlantic engine through the next several months!

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Rob Raeside
Chair, Science Atlantic