SPICES

Student Proposals for Intellectual Community & Engaged Scholarship (SPICES). A SPICES proposal is an exceptional, new, or creative idea that has not been done before. It addresses a campus/grad student/community need or opportunity, and it is not academic research.

Current Initiatives

Initiatives from 2013 to 2016

Spices was introduced in 2013. Since then, graduate students have been designing and implementing short-term projects on campus and beyond the campus gates.  

1. 3KeyWorks: What do leaders read?

The Goal

To create a website that curates lists of professors and community leaders' top ten books. Students and other readers can get to know their professors, learn more about a niche field, become leaders themselves by reading peer-reviewed book lists.

The Team

  • Aimee Castro

Learn more about 3KeyWorks.

See @3KeyWorks on Twitter.

Visit 3KeyWorks on Facebook. 

2. Cerebral Coffeehouse

The Goal

To organize a series of three themed coffeehouse evenings in order to promote discussion and exchanges between McMaster researchers and the greater Hamilton community.

The Team

  • Dominique Beauregard Cazabon, Master's, Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour
  • Aimee Battcock, Master's, Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour

Visit Cerebral Coffeehouse on Facebook 

3. Unpacking "diversity" in the classroom

The Goal

To examine curricular and pedagogical practices of professors, instructors and teaching assistants in the Faculty of Social Sciences. 

The Team

  • Rochelle Wijesingha, PhD, Sociology
  • Roger Pizarro Milian, PhD, Sociology 

4. Student Wellness Workshops (SWW)

The Goals

To enhance the mental and physical health and well being of graduate students at McMaster University through interactive and informative wellness workshops.

The Team

  • Matthew Stork, PhD, Kinesiology
  • Marie-Josee Perrier, postdoctoral fellow, Kinesiology
  • Sari Isenstein, Master's, Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour
  • Denver Brown, PhD, Kinesiology

Learn more about Student Wellness Workshops.

Visit Grad Wellness Initiative on Facebook.

5. A short documentary film about international graduate student life

The Goals

To enhance the awareness and develop international graduate student life.

The Team

  • Charmini Wimalasena, PhD, French
  • Udayakumar Sivalingam, MBA
  • Sanaz Vaghei, PhD, French

6. Wellness for Academic Success: Grad Student Wellness Outreach

The Goals

To collaborate with departments and associations that cater to the needs of graduate students to offer innovative, engaging, interactive, and needs-based health/wellness outreach programming to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows at McMaster University. Wellness for Academic Success promotes overall wellness, community-building, and academic performance.

The Team

  • Sujane Kandasamy, Master's, Health Research Methodology
  • Rachel Kelly, Master's, Biology
  • Manraj Kaur, PhD, Rehab Sciences 

7. iClimate Video Competition

The Goals

  • To publicize and raise interest in climate research at McMaster.
  • To encourage interdisciplinary cooperation and learning among researchers.
  • To increase interest in our research programs among current and prospective students.

The Team

  • Katelynn Daly, Master's, Earth & Environmental Science Rachel Skubel, Master's, MSc, Earth & Environmental Science
  • Myroslava Khomik, postdoctoral fellow, Science
  • Kelly Biagi, Master's, Earth & Environmental Science

Learn more about iClimate.

Visit iClimate on Facebook.

Check out more on Vimeo

8. MacBulb, the Lightbulb App

The Goals

To fundamentally change the way society accesses information by developing a new search engine that allows free access to information at the touch of a button, a 'stream engine.'

The Team

  • Charles Burke, PhD, Geography and Earth Sciences
  • Chris Higgins, PhD, Geography and Earth Sciences
  • Ryan Garnett, PhD, Geography and Earth Sciences
  • Matt Adams, PhD, Geography and Earth Sciences
  • Justin Hall, Master's, Geography and Earth Sciences

9. Interdisciplinary Speaker Series

The Goals

To run a series of six interdisciplinary talks at McMaster University during the 2015/16 academic year

The Team

  • Michael Hemmingsen, PhD, Philosophy
  • Beverley Anger, Master's, Philosophy
  • Laure Benacquista, PhD, Philosophy
  • Ben Prus, PhD, English & Cultural Studies
  • Justin Morris, PhD, Philosophy

10. The Behind the Scenes of Academia (The BS of academia)

The Goals

  • To develop critical edification and innovative learning practices regarding the journey to academia.
  • This project is envisioned as a way to place failures of the brightest, celebrated and successful academics at the centre of the graduate experience, rather than at the periphery.
  • To bridge McMaster resources and academics across disciplines in collaboration with the Graduate Students Association, creating opportunities for graduate students to learn about academic struggles - a narrative excluded from the stories of McMaster's "scholar-cum-victors."

The Team

  • Manraj Kaur, PhD, Rehab Sciences
  • Talena Rambarran, PhD, Chemistry
  • Graduate Students Association Faculty Reps

11. Mind.Me Promoting Youth Mental Wellness

The Goals

The mind.me program is a collaboration between McMaster and the New Generation Youth Centre (NGen) which is an youth-run and led organization that offers a positive space and programs for youth in the Hamilton community. The objective of this project is to evaluate (pilot test) the impact of mind.me, a new mental health promotion program on the mental health literacy and mental well-being of young adults in the Hamilton community. A secondary objective is to gather feedback from program participants about the program. The mind.me program will use videos and group discussions to talk about mental illness and mental wellness, decrease stigma and focus on strategies for positive mental health.

The Team

  • Nosheen Akhtar, Master's, Occupational Therapy
  • Ramanjit Garcha, Master's, Occupational Therapy

Visit NextGen Youth Centre on Facebook

See NextGen on Twitter.

12. Personal Development Groups

The Goal

To create forums for graduate students to learn and support each other in their personal and professional growth and development

The Team

  • Irena Radisevic, PhD, Humanities
  • Carmina Angelica Perez Romero, PhD, Health Sciences 

1. Graduate/Undergraduate Collaboration for Experiential Learning (GUCEL)

The Goal

To foster collaboration between graduate and undergraduate students within the McMaster community, resulting in the development and implementation of sustainability-related projects, while enhancing the overall student experience.

The Team

  • Kate Whalen , PhD, Geography
  • Melissa Gallina, Master's, Geography

To learn more about GUCEL, visit the website.

Read more about this project

2. McMaster’s Sidewalk Astronomy

The Goal

Get the public excited about astronomy ... by bringing astronomy to the public!

The Team

  • Kazimierz (Kaz) Sliwa, PhD, Physics & Astronomy
  • Rachel Ward-Maxwell, PhD, Physics & Astronomy
  • Aaron Maxwell, PhD, Physics & Astronomy
  • Maximilian Schirm, PhD, Physics & Astronomy
  • Jonathan Newton, M.Sc., Physics & Astronomy
  • Damien Robertson, M.Sc., Physics & Astronomy
  • Gwen Eadie, PhD, Physics & Astronomy
  • Ben Keller, PhD, Physics & Astronomy
  • Adam Royle, M.Sc., Physics & Astronomy
  • Robert Cockcroft, PDF, Physics & Astronomy

To learn more about Sidewalk Astronomy, visit the website.

Follow @AstroSidewalk on Twitter

Like McMaster's Sidewalk Astronomy on Facebook

Read more about this project

3. Healthy Active Living in the Hamilton Muslim Community

The Goal

Improve accessibility and understanding of healthy active living by Muslim communities in the Hamilton area.

The Team

  • Safoora Fatima, M.Sc., Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics / Health Research Methodology
  • Naushin Sholapur, M.Sc., Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics / Health Research Methodology
  • Asim Siddiqi, M.Sc., McMaster Integrative Neuroscience Discovery & Study program (MiNDS) & Walter G. Booth School of Engineering Practice
  • Kashmala Qasim, M.Sc., McMaster Integrative Neuroscience Discovery & Study program (MiNDS)

Read more about this project

4. The Elephant in the Room: Racism and Anti-Racism in Hamilton in the 21st Century – the struggles and successes

The Goal

To foster a strong ant-racist and inclusion culture at McMaster University and the Hamilton community through media.

The Team

  • Ismael Traore, PhD, Sociology
  • Lisa Watt, PhD, Social Work

To learn more about The Elephant in the Room, visit the project on Facebook.

5. Making McMaster Mad(ness) Positive: Learning and Doing Peer Support and Mad Studies

The Goals

  • To enhance community - social and intellectual - among students who have mental health disabilities.
  • To contribute to the broader intellectual community at McMaster by fostering Mad(ness) Studies on campus.
  • To identify and address systemic barriers to inclusion of students with mental health disabilities in McMaster's social and intellectual community. 

The Team

  • Alise deBie, PhD, Social Work

To learn more about Making McMaster Mad(ness) Positivevisit the Hamilton Mad Students Collective website.

Visit Hamilton Mad Students Collective on Facebook.

See @HamOntMadSchool on Twitter.

Read more about the Hamilton Mad Students Collective

6. Graduate Management Consulting Association (GMCA) McMaster Chapter

The Goal

To provide graduate students with real-world skills to help them succeed in a professional or business setting. More specifically, GMCA McMaster will focus on providing graduate students and post-doctorates with skills and resources to prepare them for a career in management concuslting, and the daunting application and recruitment process required for careers in that field. These skills are transferable across a breadth of post-graduate careers, making the resources GMCA provides attractive to many graduate students who are considering non-academic careers.

The Team

  • Erica Tatham, Master's, Neuroscience
  • Omid Dadoo, PhD, Biochemistry
  • Mark Fuller, PhD, Biochemistry and Biomedical Science
  • Jason Boulet, PhD, Neuroscience
  • Janice Kim, PhD, Medical Science
  • D'Andra Parker, PhD, Medical Science
  • Sepandar Sepehr, PhD, Information Systems
  • Emma Sherwood, PhD, Biology
  • Kyle Salci, PhD, Biochemistry and Biomedical Science

Visit the GMCA on Facebook.

Learn more about GMCA events at GMCA Canada.

7. Mini Social Sciences and Humanities School

The Goal

Connecting graduate students across the social sciences and humanities with members of the metro-Hamilton community in a public forum aimed at: 

  • demonstrating the value of social scientific theory and practice for understanding and addressing everyday social problems,
  • jointly indentifying and reflecting upon key themes and issues surrounding the related topics of health and sustainability in Hamilton and abroad, and
  • providing an opportunity for building realtionships that may bring about community-based and collaborative research projects into the future.

The Team

  • Amanda Peters, PhD, Sociology
  • Rachel Barken, PhD, Sociology
  • Katie Steeves, PhD, Sociology
  • Alyson Holland, PhD, Anthropology
  • Rachel Weldrick, MA, Health, Aging & Society
  • Priscilla Medeiros, PhD, Anthropology
  • Kaitlyn Quigley, MA, Communication Studies & Multimedia
  • Alise deBie, PhD, Social Work

8. Lost in translation: an innovative new language tool to facilitate professional language proficiency

The Goal

Convene a symposium to disseminate an innovative new language tool to facilitate professional language proficiency and skills development among graduate students, particularly international graduate students.

The Team

  • Tram Nguyen, PhD, Rehabilitation Science

9. Personal Development Groups

To create forums for graduate students to learn and support each other in their personal and professional growth and development.

The Team

  • Katie Wong, MA, Occupational Therapy
  • Rachel Martini, MA, Occupational Therapy
  • Nadeida Zaharieva, MA, Neuroscience
  • Irena Radisevic, PhD, Linguistics and Language

10. Conversations in Academia

The Goal

To hold a year-long series of events that generate discussion about professional issues that affect graduate students and professionals in academia.

The Team

  • Lorrain Chuen, M.Sc., Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour
  • Haley Kragness, PhD, Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour

11. Steel Cut Queer

The Goal

By creating an accessible avenue to produce artistic works of expression (intermedia-writing/visual arts) for the purposes of knowledge production for queer residents of Hamilton we hope to create new understandings of the realtionship between University and City.

The Team 

  • Mitchell Peterson, MA, Gender Studies and Feminist Research/CSCT
  • Amy Verhaeghe, MA, Gender Studies and Feminist Research
  • Nikki Brown, PhD, Sociology
  • Jack Page, MA, Cultural Studies and Critical Theory
  • Elise Milani, BA Honours, Communication Studies and Multimedia
  • Tobi Abdul, BA Honours, Communications 

12. Graduate Community Outreach Program

The Goal

Train six graduate students in CPI/ABA based methodology to provide therapy for a child who has autism.

The Team

  • Jessica Lenchyshyn, MA, MiNDS
  • Rachael Hardy, MA, Cognitive Science of Language

13. Art & Research: How to turn the PhD work into a creative process

The Goal

To open up discussion about the PhD thesis writing process and different possibilities and approaches to reading, writing and learning from texts.

The Team

  • Irena Radisevic, PhD, Linguistics and Language

14. Mini Interdisciplinary Planning Certificate

The Goal

  • Expand the skills set of Geographers without Borders members and attract students from other faculties                         
  • Transfer knowledge and skills to the greater grad student community at McMaster

The Team

  • Randy Bui, PhD, Geography
  • Charles Burke, PhD, Geography
  • Matt Adams, PhD, Geography
  • Ryan Kelly, MA, Geography
  • Justin Hall, MA, Geography 

To learn more about the Planning Certificate, visit the project at Geographers without Borders

Assessing the Factors Influencing Female Youth Engagement in Science and Engineering

There is tremendous academic interest in the effectiveness of female-only settings versus co-ed settings in promoting careers in science to girls. This project will conduct research by offering female-only and co-ed science workshops to inter-city Hamilton children.

Building Intellectual Community through Engaging the Hamilton Community

This project team facilitates the organization of volunteer groups who hope to make a positive impact on the greater Hamilton community, through their regular community work. An end-of-year roundtable will encourage the volunteers to speak about their experiences, and allow students from across the university to discuss the larger issues facing Hamiltonians, and how McMaster students can contribute to solutions.

Graduate-Undergraduate Collaboration for Experiential Learning (GUCEL)

Students from across the university will have an opportunity to work together on experiential projects that enhance the McMaster and greater Hamilton communities. GUCEL is based on an existing internship program run by the Office of Sustainability. Initially, GUCEL projects will focus on sustainability on campus and in the local community. It is hoped that the pilot program will build a framework that can expanded to include other departments from across McMaster campus. In future, these projects may allow students to contribute their expertise to issues faced by the broader Hamilton community.

Healthy Active Living in Hamilton: Making research in health promotion and disease prevention accessible to members of the Muslim community

Healthy active living is important to the well-being of a family, yet it can be difficult to achieve while maintaining a lifestyle rich in cultural traditions. This project team aims to promote a healthy lifestyle in the Muslim community by offering practical and culturally sensitive health alternatives to Muslim families.

Sidewalk Astronomy

The McMaster Sidewalk Astronomy Project aims to increase public knowledge of celestial objects by organizing after-dark sky observation with two of McMaster's telescopes – a larger telescope pointed at more exotic vistas, such as other galaxies, and a smaller telescope focused on brighter objects in the more immediate galactic neighbourhood, such as the moon and nearby planets. Sidewalk Astronomy will happen every Wednesday starting in March and running through Spring, Summer and Fall, as long as weather permits.

Graduate students will answer questions and explain in plain language, what members of the McMaster and broader communities are seeing through the telescopes. It's an opportunity for students to meet their peers and for members of the Hamilton community to visit the McMaster campus.

Skills Share for Women In Production and Engineering (SSWIPE)

SSWIPE is a workshop-based event designed to close the glaring gender gap in the music production industry by empowering women to develop their skills in music production capacities. SSWIPE will also help to foster lasting relationships between McMaster students and potential mentors in the field, as industry representatives would be invited to take part in SSWIPE. 

McMaster Indigenous Graduate Students - 'Advancing the Indigenous Learning Experience'

Although several McMaster groups currently provide support services to McMaster's Indigenous students, it is unclear why there is hesitation among this minority to self-identify and take advantage of these services. This SPICES group hopes that through their efforts, the university will be able to better quantify and aid the Indigenous student body that exists at McMaster.

Networking - How to make connections and avoid the social stigma of being a wallflower

This project offers students an opportunity to gain hands-on experience by networking with past McMaster alumni at an event featuring a guest speaker and a 'speed-dating' style networking component. At such an event, students will hone their communication skills, having only limited time to make an effective connection with alumni. Effective and concise communication is a skill needed as students move into their professions.

Stay Sharp

Stay Sharp is a community outreach program to promote healthy, active lifestyles to Hamilton seniors using a monthly educational blog and public lecture series. The program aims not only to help improve the quality of life for Hamilton seniors, but provide graduate students with useful knowledge translation skills.

Steel-Cut Queerz

This project team is initiating a punk-themed queer-zine as a way to promote queer arts, culture and events in Hamilton, as well as provide a medium to discuss issues facing the queer community. All of the team's efforts will be documented in video format to provide a resource for future activists.

Apply

Applications are now closed. Visit Current Initiatives for more about this year's projects.

 

Adjudicating SPICES proposals

Proposals will be reviewed within the School of Graduate Studies. Proposals that meet the criteria will be invited to participate in an informal interview. Interviewees will be notified within a week or two as to whether their project is funded. 

Informal Interviews

If your proposal meets the SPICES criteria, your team will be invited to discuss your idea informally with a small advisory group who can give you feedback and further adjudicate the proposal.  After the interview, a decision will be made as to whether your project will be funded for SPICES. 

KEY DATES:

Deadline to submit proposals: Feb 27, 2017

Adjudication period: Feb 27-March 3, 2017

Shortlisted proposals invited for interviews: March 6, 2017

Informal Interviews: March 6-17, 2017

Funded projects Announced: March 20, 2017

 

Project cycle begins: May 1, 2017

Project cycle ends: April 30, 2018 (all funds must be disbursed)

Activity Report and Budget Narrative due to SGS by: May 31, 2018

*Projects cannot start before May 1, 2016, and must be completed by April 30, 2017. Planning and groundwork can begin prior to May 1, however funds cannot be disbursed or back-dated prior to May 1, 2017. In other words, don’t spend money between the time your project is approved and May 1, 2017.

Questions? Email Andrea Cole at spices@mcmaster.ca or call 905 525-9140 ext. 23437

Eligibility

Who can apply for a SPICES grant?

  • Master's or PhD students registered and in good standing at McMaster
  • Postdoctoral Fellows

*Please carefully review the Guidelines, Criteria, and Exclusions for SPICES before applying.

Guidelines

What is a SPICES project?

  • Something that does not already exist.
  • An original idea – fills a need.
  • Includes team members who identify as part of the community it engages.
  • Involves great people trying to make a difference.
  • Driven by grad students and/or postdocs.
  • Allowed to fail.
  • Inspired by clear vision and leadership.
  • A passion project for those involved.

A SPICES project is not

  • income for individual graduate students;
  • initiated by a department, staff, faculty, or professor;
  • CV- or resume-motivated (resume items will build themselves as a result of vision);
  • a way to fund an already existing group, club, seminar, conference, speaker’s series, or other activity that is already happening or has happened before;
  • academic research.

Guidelines

  1. Each SPICES project will have up to 12 months to deliver one or a series of activities.
  2. The maximum sponsorship awarded to any one project is $3,800.
  3. Awardees are required submit a report by May 31, 2018
  4. All funds are fully accountable. Awardees are required to submit original receipts accounting for the full sum of the award within 30 days of completing their project.
  5. A team member in the role of Treasurer must remain enrolled as a student (or on staff if a postdoc) for the entire duration of the project
  6. Students should have the support of their academic supervisor before undertaking a SPICES-funded project.

Criteria: Is your proposal spicy?

SPICES can approve proposals that best meet a combination of the following elements:

  • Is unique and/or novel in nature (for example, proposals that request funds for graduate student conferences will not be accepted)
  • Creates a new initiative to enhance the experience of a given community/communities
  • Includes collaboration, particularly across academic disciplines, or with off-campus partners beyond the university’s traditional boundaries
  • Considers its governance model and models of community engagement
  • Considers equity and accessibility measures in its approach
  • Advances the mission and vision of McMaster University, in the spirit of Forward with Integrity

Exclusions

Funding will not be provided for:

  • travel or academic conference costs;
  • individual graduate student tuition;
  • research-related costs;
  • cost-of-living expenses;or
  • other forms of personal income.

Reporting

Awardees must complete an Activity Report and Budget Narrative, due by May 31, 2018.

This information could be used for publication and should be written in plain language suitable for the general public.

1. Activity Report

  1. Project Name
  2. Project email address, website, FB page etc
  3. Team Members (Name, Dept/Faculty, Program (MA/PhD/Postdoc), email)
  4. Collaborators (identify any collaborators who were involved in supporting your project)
  5. Project Goal
  6. Describe
    1. the activities that were carried out and results achieved;
    2. any ongoing activities resulting from the project
    3. any unanticipated benefits derived
    4. obstacles/challenges encountered
    5. advice for any students/postdocs considering taking up a SPICES project in future (optional field)
    6. suggestions on how the SPICES funding opportunity could be improved (optional field)
    7. contact info for any group members who would like to be contacted about their project (optional field)

2. Budget Narrative A breakdown of your actual expenses, relative to your proposed budget.