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Graduate Studies

Grad student recognized for work on groundwater remediation

A man wearing glasses and a dark striped shirt smiles at the camera.

Kevin Mumford, a PhD candidate in civil engineering, was recently recognized for his work in groundwater remediation. Photo courtesy of engineering.
It seems so bountiful that many take it for granted. Not Kevin Mumford. He understands that water is a precious resource that needs to be nurtured in order to sustain life and the societies we’ve developed around it.
Mumford, who will graduate this spring with a PhD in civil engineering, was recently recognized by his peers and colleagues with a series of awards for his work in groundwater remediation.
It began with a win at the 2008 southern Ontario graduate student presentation competition organized by the Canadian Geotechnical Society. Mumford then moved on to the national competition, which he won. Capping it off, Mumford was invited to present his doctoral research to the hydrology section of the American Geophysical Union fall meeting in San Francisco, where he was presented with an outstanding student paper award.
“It’s nice to have engineers winning communications awards,” said Mumford. “It’s important that engineers are able to communicate highly technical work.”
Mumford’s research is focused on identifying contaminants polluting groundwater and finding ways to address problems encountered. Specifically, he studies remediation of non-aqueous phase liquids, such as gasoline, PCBs, creosote, and chlorinated solvents such as degreasers and dry cleaning fluid.
“It’s about understanding the chemistry and physics of how contaminants behave,” said Mumford. “You can’t see the problem since the water is underground so you’re trying to find out what is there, how it moves and how to address it.”
Mumford credits several people at McMaster for assisting him with his research, in particular his PhD co-advisors Sarah Dickson, assistant professor of civil engineering, and Jim Smith, associate professor in the School of Geography and Earth Sciences.
“Sarah and Jim are internationally known, I was familiar with their work, and they came highly recommended,” explained Mumford on his decision to pursue PhD studies at McMaster.
Prior to enrolling for the PhD program, Mumford was working for an environmental engineering consulting firm on projects throughout North America. He earned his B.A.Sc. in Environmental Engineering-Chemical Branch and Master’s of Civil Engineering from the University of Waterloo. He is currently working on an NSERC post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Western Ontario, commuting from Hamilton.
“Kevin is exceptionally talented in his communication, academic and interpersonal skills,” said Dickson. “This is a very rare combination, and both Jim and I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to supervise him.”
Mumford has his sights set on an academic career in order to combine teaching and research. While studying at McMaster, he was awarded the Graduate Student Association Teaching Assistant Excellence Award in 2005 in recognition of his contributions to undergraduate education. […]

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McMaster partners with Maastricht University to produce health leaders of tomorrow

A woman with short wavy hair smiles at the camera.

Andrea Baumann, associate vice-president, International Health, McMaster University. File photo.
International bodies such as the United Nations, the World Economic Forum and the G-8 have made the improvement of global health a priority. Dr. Jong-wook Lee, former director-general of the World Health Organization, has said that “in the face of today’s global challenges of poverty, inequities, disease and epidemics, there is an increasing demand for dynamic health leaders with sound technical skills.”
To meet these global needs effectively, McMaster University and Maastricht University in the Netherlands – internationally respected in health sciences, social sciences and business – are partnering in the development of an innovative Masters in Global Health degree program. Graduates of the program are expected to become the much-needed health leaders of tomorrow.
The 12-month program officially begins this September (upon Ontario Council on Graduate Studies approval) with a maximum of 25 students admitted each year at McMaster and another 50 at Maastricht. Student exchanges between the two universities will take place during the winter term.
“The foundation courses will be delivered simultaneously at McMaster and Maastricht. At both institutions, graduate students will have the opportunity to learn from guest lecturers who are well-known experts in global health and to study in small groups as both McMaster and Maastricht are highly regarded internationally for their focus on small group, problem-based learning,” said Andrea Baumann, associate vice-president, International Health, McMaster University.
At McMaster, the program includes globalization and development, global health management and global diseases. Maastricht will offer a program on implementing innovations on a global scale and an epidemiology/field methodology program. The program is designed to provide students with a solid foundation in global health issues.
Students will take their first term (September – December) at their “home” institution. During the winter/spring term (January – April) students have the option of travelling to their sister institution or staying “home.” At the end of the winter term, all students from McMaster and Maastricht join in a three-to-four week learning symposium and field orientation in Hamilton or Maastricht or on site in a developing or underdeveloped country. Students return to their “home” institutions to complete their final research reports.
For more information about the program, please visit: […]

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Trades establish $1-million heavy-construction chair at McMaster

One woman and four men sit at a long table, while two men stand behind them. All are smiling.

(Front Row, L to R) Joe Mancinelli, Laborers’ International Union of North America, Local 837; Wendy Fountain, John Deere Foundation Canada; Jon Brown, Hamilton and District Heavy Construction Association; Paul Shewfelt, Mechanical Contractors Association – Hamilton; Mike Gallagher, International Union of Operating Engineers; Gerry Mulhern, Ontario Concrete Pipe Association; (Back Row, L to R) David Wilkinson, dean of the Faculty of Engineering; President Peter George. Photo courtesy of the Faculty of Engineering.
Twelve organizations in the heavy construction industry have pledged $1,127,500 over five years to establish an endowed chair at McMaster University. It is believed to be the first such chair in Canada.
Among the key duties of the chair will be to provide leadership in advancing innovation in the heavy-construction sector, attracting and developing talent, and contributing to the advancement of a modern and durable infrastructure in Ontario.
“This chair is a vital step in ensuring strong growth and a progressive future of our industry,” said Jon Brown, president of the Hamilton and District Heavy Construction Association. Brown, along with Leo Laviolette who was general manager of the Association at the time, initiated the endeavour.
The organizations involved include: Hamilton and District Heavy Construction Association, Ontario Road Builders’ Association, Ontario Sewer and Watermain Construction Association, John Deere Foundation of Canada, Ministry of Transportation Ontario, Laborers International Union of North America – Ontario Provincial District Council, Mechanical Contractors Association – Hamilton, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 793, Ontario Concrete Pipe Association, Greater Toronto Sewer and Watermain Contractors Association, Battlefield Equipment Rentals The Cat Rental Store, and the Heavy Construction Association of Toronto.
“We need to develop more intelligent infrastructure,” said Ghani Razaqpur, chair, Department of Civil Engineering at McMaster. “That means more efficient, safer, and greener construction methods. It means longer lasting, sustainable infrastructure that needs less maintenance. But we need to attract and develop a pool of highly qualified engineers and engineering technicians who can provide the leadership and management skills to make it happen.”
The chair in heavy construction will have an academic appointment in the Department of Civil Engineering at McMaster with instruction responsibilities at the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as in the McMaster-Mohawk Bachelor of Technology civil engineering technology program.
Heavy construction includes the development of transportation networks such as roads, bridges, and harbor facilities; municipal infrastructure such as water supply and sewer systems; and the sustainable supply of power such as hydro-electric facilities. […]

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Province commits to graduate expansion

Allison Sekuler, associate vice-president and dean of Graduate Studies. File Photo.
More than 330 new graduate student spaces are being created at McMaster as part of the province of Ontario’s new investment in graduate expansion.
John Milloy, minister of Training, Colleges and Universities announced the province is committing $52-million to create nearly 3,300 new spaces over the next three years at Ontario’s universities.
At McMaster, a total of 338 new graduate spots will be created in both Master’s and PhD programs, representing an investment of about $5.25-million to McMaster’s graduate programs.
“Graduate expansion is of critical importance to McMaster and is one of our strategic goals in Refining Directions,” says president Peter George. “With this investment, we will be able to meet anticipated student demand while supporting research and innovation that will fuel our economic recovery.”
In announcing the expansion, Milloy said there will be a strong return on the investment. The government estimates that seven out of 10 new jobs created in Ontario over the next decade will require post-secondary education or training.
“Ontario’s highly skilled work force is our province’s greatest asset,” he said. “By helping more Ontarians pursue higher education we can strengthen our economy and attract the kind of jobs and investment that will build prosperity for all Ontario families.”
Allison Sekuler, McMaster’s associate vice-president and dean of Graduate Studies says the provincial investment will have an significant impact on campus and highlights McMaster’s contribution to cultural, social, and economic prosperity.
“We’ve seen increased interest in graduate studies across the entire University compared to this time last year, with increases in application rates as high as 30 per cent in areas such as Engineering and our MBA program,” she says. “The allocation of 338 new graduate spaces enables McMaster to meet this rising demand by developing and growing new programs, and continuing to build our traditional areas of excellence in research and graduate training.”
Combined with previously allocated spots for graduate expansion, McMaster plans to increase graduate enrollment by more than 530 students over the next three years, resulting in overall growth to graduate programs of nearly 70 per cent since the expansion program began in 2002. […]

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