SAS Grads Pen Children’s Books to Inspire Grenada’s Youth

Photo courtesy Grenada Schools Inc.

The newest reading options on shelves throughout Grenada’s 56 primary schools come courtesy of a weeklong writers workshop coordinated by the non-profit organization Room to Read and Grenada Schools Inc. Of the seven books recently published, three were written by St. George’s University School of Arts and Sciences graduates.

Alyssa Bierzynski, BA SAS ’08, Kissandra Smith, BSc SGU ’09, and Christal Radix, BSc SGU ’13, celebrated when their books were handed over to school directors at a ceremony held at Grenada Trade Center in October. The mission of the initiative is to strengthen the foundation of early literacy by building and improving libraries at primary schools in Grenada and its sister islands, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.

Twelve Grenadians were invited to participate in the workshop, during which they were instructed on all elements of book writing. Scripts for the stories were created, edited, and finalized in October 2017, and came to life a month later with the work of artists participating in a local illustrators workshop.

Although each SAS grad entered with at least some modicum of writing experience, the workshop proved challenging.

“I’ve written many press releases and articles, but writing for children isn’t anything like writing for adults,” Ms. Bierzynski said. “You have to get straight to the point and let the action happen.”

“We were trying to capture children’s imaginations with these books, so in order to do so, we couldn’t write from an adult’s perspective; we almost had to pretend to be a child again,” added Ms. Smith.

In “Keara’s Kite”, Ms. Smith told the story of a young girl who tried relentlessly to build a kite that could fly high during kite season in Grenada. She named the book after her 4-year-old niece, who Ms. Smith can already see shares her sense of adventure.

“I wanted to create a story that younger nieces and nephews could learn from and hopefully inspire them to go on and do bigger things,” Ms. Smith said.

Ms. Bierzynski penned “Carla Dances Soca”, a 24-page story about a young ballerina who strove to learn a new dance despite her friends’ skepticism and jeers. The author admits that Carla’s background as a ballerina mirrors her own upbringing in Grenada, where she attended Westmorland Junior School.

“I was always walking on my tippy toes as a child,” said Ms. Bierzynski, who’s now an instructor in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at SGU.

According to Ms. Bierzynski, her story came together during the workshop hours but she continued to refine it each night afterward. It underwent many waves of revisions, including cutting a once 600-word story down to just 200.

“I am really excited that we have written a series of culturally relevant picture books for children,” she added. “As an English teacher, it breaks my heart when a child struggles with reading or can’t identify his or her favorite book. Being part of this project shows them that reading can be fun. Also, with Carla doing ballet at the beginning of the book, it also exposes them to a world that they may not have been exposed to before.”

Ms. Radix, who earned her degree in tourism and hospitality management in 2013, created a story titled “Red Car vs. Blue Ball”. Because Grenada Schools Inc., is a not-for-profit organization, the books cannot be sold at retail stores or online, but each author expressed gratitude for being allowed to play a role in shaping Grenada’s future. The workshop was the second of its kind in Grenada. In 2015, Grenada’s authors wrote six new books that were put on schools’ libraries throughout the country in 2016.

“It was a very rewarding experience,” Ms. Smith said. “Writing a children’s book is something that I have dreamed about doing for a long time.”

– Brett Mauser

St. George’s University Welcomes Dr. Richard Liebowitz as New Vice Chancellor

Today, St. George’s University announced that Dr. Richard Liebowitz will assume the role of Vice Chancellor effective September 17.

As Vice Chancellor, Liebowitz will be the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at St. George’s University, with responsibility for all academic affairs at the Schools of Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Graduate Studies, and Arts and Sciences. He will work closely with faculty and staff as well as members of the senior leadership team to promote student success, faculty development, and academic excellence.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Dr. Liebowitz to the St. George’s University community,” said Charles Modica, Chancellor and Co-Founder of St. George’s University. “We’re fortunate to be able to add someone with his depth of experience in academic medicine, clinical training, and strategic development to our leadership team.”

“St. George’s University has produced thousands of graduates who have distinguished themselves as leaders in medicine, veterinary science, and other fields,” Liebowitz said. “I look forward to advancing the work of St. George’s University, upholding the highest standards of academic excellence, and preparing our students for lives of service and leadership.”

Liebowitz most recently served as president of NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital. Before taking the helm, he also served as senior vice president and chief medical officer at NewYork-Presbyterian Medical Center, one of the leading academic medical centers in the world.

Previously, Liebowitz served as medical director of strategic initiatives and network business development at Duke University Health System; section chief of general medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine; and medical director of the Massachusetts-based Fallon Clinic. He has been deputy editor of the Archives of Internal Medicine and is also a fellow of the American College of Physicians.

“Our students will benefit enormously from the insight that Dr. Liebowitz has gleaned from his decades of experience leading major hospital systems,” St. George’s University President Dr. G. Richard Olds said. “He’s the ideal person to help our students prepare for successful careers in medicine and the sciences, and I am eager to begin working with him.”

Dr. Stuart Noble-Goodman Appointed Dean of School of Arts and Sciences

Education can not only empower students but change entire communities. Dr. Stuart Noble-Goodman has witnessed it firsthand, having spent the last quarter century as an administrator and faculty member at universities across the United States. His students have built a foundation of skills and knowledge, putting them into a position to serve as the “economic engine” for the cities and towns in which they go on to work.

Named the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at St. George’s University this month, Dr. Noble-Goodman brings a wealth of experience and ideas that can help prepare students to become leaders in their professions and in turn enhance businesses in Grenada and throughout the surrounding islands.

“I am looking forward to serving the Grenadian and Eastern Caribbean community by creating pathways for students to earn degrees and advance professionally,” Dr. Noble-Goodman said. “This work is extraordinarily attractive to me and aligns with my deeply held belief in the transformative power of education for the individual, and of the value of education to the community as a whole.”

Dr. Noble-Goodman’s academic experience has included stops at Benedictine University, North Carolina State University, the University of Redlands, and Marylhurst University. In addition to working with tertiary level students, he has successfully built and developed online degree programs and adult education programs, as well as integrated liberal arts into business training.

“We are delighted to have Dr. Noble-Goodman join St. George’s University as Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences,” said Dr. Glen Jacobs, Interim Provost, SGU. “Throughout his impressive career, he has exhibited a commitment and dedication to both educating and elevating students in the arts and sciences to reach new heights. We look forward to welcoming him on campus and to the continued growth and success of our students in the SAS.”

The School’s service to the people of the island heavily influenced Dr. Noble-Goodman to accept the position, and will also be the impetus for his efforts as dean.

“We need to focus on allowing people to really generate an economic engine and energy that’s centered specifically on Grenadians and the people of the Eastern Caribbean. I want to start by meeting the educational needs of Grenadians, but I also want to attract students from across the EC and then internationally,” said Dr. Noble-Goodman. “Looking forward, I believe that with what I would call Grenada’s brand—the original Spice Island with world-class education, incredible beaches, and a culture of safety, friendliness, and respect—that we should aspire to become the premiere university in the Caribbean for all tertiary education. That is what I’m aiming for.”

At SGU, he will focus on maintaining the already strong programs available to students but also on expanding these opportunities.

“I would like to broaden and enhance the School of Arts and Sciences signature programs in the sciences, humanities, social sciences, business, and nursing, but I also want to create new programs to give our students access to professions in areas such as hospitality management, construction management, and social entrepreneurship,” said Dr. Noble-Goodman. “It is very important to me that Grenadians benefit directly from the development of these industries on the island. I want to prepare our graduates for management and leadership positions in those industries.”

Currently, the School of Arts and Sciences is heavily staffed by Caribbean professionals. SGU has pointedly stacked the faculty role with professors who are from the region to educate the region. According to Dr. Noble-Goodman, comparatively to the other Schools within SGU, the SAS is the most endemic. He believes one of the strengths of the School is creating capacity within the region while also pulling from that same capacity to help build the next generation.

“We certainly encourage the students we educate here as undergraduates, or even in our graduate programs, to continue their education elsewhere if that is their goal,” stated Dr. Noble-Goodman. “Yet, we also hope that these individuals come back to the island and establish themselves in whatever field, contributing to the island’s economy, resilience, and culture. This is an issue every island faces—after we educate our citizens, where are they going to work? Will they stay here or are they going to have to go abroad? By effectively preparing our students to work in Grenada’s expanding range of professional fields, we are creating opportunities for them to stay right here, with their families, and help us grow this economy.”

Dr. Noble-Goodman earned a Bachelor of Arts in English at UC-Berkeley and a Doctor of Philosophy in American Literature at Duke University. Among his academic roles prior to SGU was a 16-year tenure at the University of Redlands, the majority of time spent as Dean of the School of Business, a stint that included creating a successful industry mentorship program and International MBA program with students from India and China. He also served as the Dean of the School of Continuing Studies at Redlands. While in his most recent position as the Director of the School of Business at Marylhurst, Dr. Noble-Goodman was instrumental in helping launch a new bachelor’s degree program in hospitality management, the first of its kind in the Portland metro region.

In addition, Dr. Noble-Goodman’s past research efforts have focused on a broad range of sustainability issues facing humanity and the planet. As the former Chair of Environmental Studies at Redlands and a professed nature lover, he looks forward to exploring the forests and reefs in Grenada, and is eager to help with the conservation efforts on the island.

– Ray-Donna Peters

SGU Student Wins Business Challenge at X-Culture Business Symposium

Dominic Gaspard, a student of the School of Arts and Sciences at St George’s University, aided by his team of international students, was presented with one of the four company challenge trophies at the 2018 Global X-Culture Conference and Symposium held at the University of Macerata in Italy.

Mr. Gaspard, a finance and international business major was among 140 students from 29 countries spanning different continents to attend the summer event, which saw the students participate in both theoretical and practical sessions. Mr. Gaspard stated that the award is not only individual but also one for team members Gillian Chan, Lauren MacPherson, and Dominique Scalisi as well.

“I feel proud and humbled at the same time,” said Mr. Gaspard, the President of the Business Students Association at SGU. “Our team had good synergy and it was one of the things the company noticed and complimented us on. This, together with our presentation, I think brought it home for us.”

European companies involved in the challenge included Tenuta Cocci Grifoni, Eurosole, Macerata Opera, and Nuova Simonelli. Mr. Gaspard’s team competed with several others teams in the Nuova Simonelli challenge, which required them to develop a brand strategy for the Victoria Arduino coffee brand.

The company wanted the brand to appeal to their customers’ emotional side and create a “cool” image for their specialty coffee and espresso machines. The brand appeal was to young adults (18-35 years old) in Europe, North America, South America, and Asia.

“X-culture provides a real-life platform in that you work on real-life businesses, work with real people, and deal with things like language barriers,” he said. “It is working around these things to actually get the project together. So I will recommend X-Culture to all business students because business is what will bring the world together.”

X-culture, a component of the International Business course at SGU, allows students working in global virtual teams to develop solutions to international business challenges that are presented by the X-culture corporate partners. Students also participated in development workshops that gave instruction on cover letter and resume writing, interview skills, and elevator pitches.

This year’s visit marks the third time that students from the School of Arts and Sciences have participated in the X-Culture international conference, and each year an SGU representative has been bestowed an award. At the 2016 event in Mexico, SGU student Renee Latouche was recognized for her elevator pitch, and last year in Miami, Marlon Horsford and his team won the Hard Rock Challenge.

“The X-Culture program presents that opportunity for students to get a firsthand approach to the international business world, which places an added value to the degree obtained at SGU,” said Dr. Reccia Charles, Professor of International Business at SGU. “It also falls in line with the slogan of St. George’s University which is Think Beyond.”

Launched in 2010, X-culture is a large-scale international experiential learning project administered by X-Culture, Inc., in collaboration with more than 150 universities around the world. Approximately 5,000 students from 150 universities in 40 countries participate in X-Culture every semester.

– Gennil Reuben

Caribbean Professionals Mentor Future Conservation Leaders at St. George’s University

With an eye toward the future, St. George’s University welcomed the second cohort of future Caribbean conservationists at the Conservation Leadership in the Caribbean (CLiC) workshop, an intensive 18-month program aimed at assisting 18 young professionals from 13 Caribbean countries in launching, developing, and implementing successful conservation campaigns.

“CLiC is a fellowship program offered free of cost to Caribbean nationals and professionals in the wider Caribbean,” said Dr. Leo Douglas, Assistant Professor, New York University and Immediate Past President of BirdsCaribbean. “This much-needed program was designed to help young people who are trying to get established in environmental careers and have a broad passion for the environment but really are lacking in the resources, institutions, and the training to actually advance their careers.”

Originally funded by a $125,000 grant from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in 2014, CLiC’s collaborating partners include St. George’s University (the base of the training program) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), along with the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF), another important collaborator, administering the program in its second year.

“We’ve been incredibly fortunate to be able to partner with SGU and use its facilities here because the University offers the ideal setting to meet all of our needs,” added Dr. Douglas, CLiC Coordinator. “When CLiC was formed, we wanted to keep it entirely Caribbean. We needed a location that was accessible, and not prohibitively expensive, that we could have our fellows come and be a part of a community of scholars, a place where there would be accommodations but also have access to classrooms and state-of-the-art technology.”

This second cohort completed a three-day leadership and project management planning workshop, followed by a 10-day (in-person and virtual) short course on Advanced Conservation Planning based on the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation. Participants were broken up into five teams, and each team launched a research conservation initiative with the help of an assigned mentor. Over the next two years, through workshops, online and in-person courses, and hands-on project implementation exercises, fellows would be provided with the knowledge and training of best practices in conservation, potential funding mechanisms for their projects and proposal writing and networking skills both with their advisors and each other.

Having worked for four years as a conservation officer at a local nature center in Trinidad, Kimberly Chu Foon, a PhD candidate at the University of Prince Edward Island was eager to join CLiC’s training and become a better conservationist. Along with her teammates from Team Macaw, Ms. Chu Foon’s conservation campaign focuses on Trinidad’s reintroduced population of blue and gold macaws, which had been extirpated in the wild since the 1960s.

“Our project is centered on looking at the main reasons why pet owners acquire these birds, where the birds are coming from illegally, and trying to find ways to develop a behavior change program to make sure that people are no longer hunting or poaching these birds from the wild,” said Ms. Chu Foon. “As a PhD student, a lot of the methods I’ve been using to conduct my research are some of the same ones I’ve been using on this project. So, this has really been helping me to build my skills in such areas as qualitative data analysis and data collection and in giving me the experience that I need to further my research career.”

Continuing to expand upon a two-year pilot leadership-training program, Caribbean Emerging Wildlife Conservation (CEWCL), which mimicked the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders (EWCL) training program, a successful venture in the US for more than a decade, CLiC’s current cohort of fellows will also be the first to achieve certification.

“We’re very excited about this. Thanks to SGU, these fellows will be receiving graduate-level, degree-type certification which is a huge deal when trying to find jobs and move on to the next level,” Dr. Douglas said. “We’re also offering an increase in funding to our next batch of cohorts because we want them to work with a broader, deeper, more extensive network of partners than ever before especially in terms of working on projects that have on-the-ground benefits such as recycling, endangered species, and climate change projects, so that they can access people with specific types of training.

“CLiC’s future is bright, as it continues to provide its fellows with greater resources that they can use to advance themselves and their careers, all while benefitting their local environments and habitats in the Caribbean.”

Class of 2018 Encouraged to be Fearless in Pursuit of Greatness

Face your fears and press on with courage. That was the advice of Dr. Timothy Antoine, Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and keynote speaker at St. George’s University’s 2018 Grenada commencement.

Serving the Government of Grenada for 22 years, 14 of which as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Governor Antoine’s advice to the graduating class on how to become valuable contributors to their community by serving humanity rang true even more so because of the life he has led. Having received The Order of Grenada Gold Award for Excellence in recognition of his outstanding service to Grenada, Governor Antoine’s life serves as a shining example of just that.

“Graduands, I charge you today to become people of value. So how does one become a person of value?” asked Governor Antoine. “First, focus on service by making it one of your top life values.  Second, develop a flexible skillset to stay relevant. You must keep learning. Remember, you cannot lead if you do not read. Third, face your fears. Consider this question: what would you do if you were not afraid? May God guide and bless you on your journey to make a difference and help change our region and our world.”

In recognition of his outstanding contribution to Grenada and to St. George’s University through his service on the Monitoring Committee, the University also conferred Governor Antoine with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.

Representing 28 countries from across the globe, the almost 400 graduates from the Class of 2018 in attendance at the Grenada ceremony, included nearly 200 students from the School of Arts and Sciences, more than 120 from the School of Graduate Studies, and 74 new physicians graduating from the School of Medicine. Ceremonies for the Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine will take place in June at New York City’s Lincoln Center.

Echoing the keynote speaker’s message about fearlessness in her valedictory address, Haley Noel, BSc ’18, reminded her fellow students that although today signaled the start of a new journey in their lives, they were well prepared to go out into the world and apply the skills and toolsets they acquired at SGU.

“Fellow graduands, we can do anything. We are not afraid of the challenges that are to come. We are part of a generation that is changing the course of history,” stated Ms. Noel. “I challenge you to push yourselves harder and always aim higher because in doing so you will be successful. So, Class of 2018, let us commit ourselves to the belief that we can accomplish anything and work every day to do so.”

St. George’s University also recognized Dr. Theodore Hollis with its highest award for service to the University, The Distinguished Service Medal. Dr. Hollis first came to St. George’s University as a Visiting Professor in Physiology in 1979, while serving with great distinction for a quarter of a century as Professor of Physiology at Penn State University. He then joined SGU full time in 1995 as the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and Graduate Studies. He served as the Dean of Graduate Studies until 2003 and as the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences until 2017, making numerous important contributions to the University during his tenure.

“I came to Grenada 25 years ago, and this country embraced me and I it. Soon, I realized that the beauty of Grenada is not just the beauty of the country but the beauty of the people,” said Dr. Hollis. “My SGU family has made me feel at home here—it has been a pleasure working with you, for you, and sometimes helping you. I really believe that my change in career to come here might have actually prolonged my life. So, I accept this medal with great humility and thank all of you very much.”

Clean Sweep for Hillsborough Secondary School at SGU Knowledge Bowl

Holding the record for both the most victories and the only institution to three-peat in the SGU Knowledge Bowl competition, the pressure to win was on for Presentation Brothers College (PBC). However, finals newcomer Hillsborough Secondary School (HSS) dominated this season, defeating the five-time champion and earning their first-ever win.

The final match held at SGU’s Charter Hall on April 14, seemed like a battle between David and Goliath as the winningest team in the secondary school competition, PBC, was the crowd favorite to win. Nevertheless, it was the underdog HSS, who had not lost a single match throughout the entire season that came out on top. With only a handful of supporters in the audience but hundreds more cheering them on from Grenada’s sister island, Carriacou, HSS continued its dominance, remaining undefeated in Season 13.

“Over the last 13 years, this competition has been embraced by the schools, corporate Grenada, and the general public. There have been continuous improvements to ensure that this important feature of the academic calendar gets the respect that it deserves,” stated Colin Dowe, Associate Dean of Enrollment Planning, SGU. “SGU Knowledge Bowl has cemented itself within the Grenadian community, and along with the involvement of our corporate partners, who play a key role in its success, SGU Knowledge Bowl is testimony to our shared commitment to academic success and youth development in general.”

For its school, the HSS team was presented with the coveted Knowledge Bowl Challenge trophy and awarded $15,000 from St. George’s University. Additionally, each of the five team members—Lené Mitchell, Roshaun Lendore, Anthony Matherson, Teja Patrice, and Cristel Belmar—received a laptop and six months complimentary broadband service from FLOW, along with $500 in a Super Starter Investment Plan from Grenada Co-operative Bank, a certificate of distinction and a supply of Ribena from Geo F. Huggins. Their coaches were awarded a laptop and six months complimentary broadband service from FLOW, $500 in a Super Starter Investment Plan from Grenada Co-operative Bank and each received a two-night stay for two at Spice Isle Beach Resort or Maca Bana Resort.

SGU Knowledge Bowl remains a source of great anticipation, garnering huge support each year as students, faculty, and fans come out to cheer for their favorite teams. The high-profile quiz competition continues to encourage and promote friendly competition between Grenada’s secondary schools, while also serving as an excellent preparatory tool for their CSEC exams. In addition to primary sponsorships from St. George’s University and FLOW, local businesses Grenada Co-operative Bank, George F. Huggins, and Glenelg Spring Water sponsor the SGU Knowledge Bowl, which is regarded as the “Intercol of Academia.”

– Ray-Donna Peters

Wildlife Conservationist Envisions a Future for Tigers in Northeast Asia

At present, the Siberian tiger is at the tipping point for its recovery or extinction, this according to Dr. Dale Miquelle, Director for the Wildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS) Russia Program. With an estimated 3,500 tigers remaining in the world today, the goal of conservationists is to double that number by 2020, while the cost of inaction would mean their extinction by 2040.

In his recent lecture at St. George’s University, titled, “Dreaming of Donuts: A vision of tiger conservation in northeast Asia”, Dr. Miquelle pointed to poaching, loss of prey, and habitat loss/degradation as the primary reasons for the tiger’s decline. However, Dr. Miquelle believes that the Siberian tiger can be saved, detailing a plan for tiger conservation in northeast Asia.

“First, we should let ‘good’ science drive policy decisions, then secure source sites or protected areas for tigers, as well as secure habitat/populations outside of these protected areas because they represent the majority of tiger habitat,” advised Dr. Miquelle. “We also need to resolve tiger-human conflicts—these conflicts between people and tigers remove animals from the wild and turn public opinion against tigers.”

“Lastly, we need to expand tiger habitat/tiger distribution, and train the next generation of conservationists,” added Dr. Miquelle. “In the Russian Far East and northeast China, there are very few young biologists/conservationists. In Russia especially, the next generation is missing. Hence, we seek to identify, support, and train the next generation of specialists, and provide them stimuli to stay involved.”

Dr. Dale Miquelle was invited to the True Blue campus by the Department of Biology, Ecology and Conservation in the School of Arts and Sciences (SAS). Dr. Andrea Easter-Pilcher, Interim Dean of SAS, met Dr. Miquelle during a two-month sabbatical trip to Siberia and the Russian Far East as Visiting Scientists in 2015. Housed for five weeks in the WCS house in the small village of Terney on the Sea of Japan, she spent time in the field with Dr. Miquelle and other Siberian tiger, leopard, and Musk deer biologists at this biosphere reserve, which is the last stronghold for the Siberian tigers.

“We are preparing our Marine, Wildlife and Conservation Biology students for work on the global stage, as our graduates hail from Grenada, other Caribbean countries, the US, Canada, and Europe,” stated Dr. Easter-Pilcher. “Likewise, Dr. Miquelle knows how to succeed on that level, by leveraging funds, building local professional capacity, and implementing data-driven programs, all in difficult international political environments.

“Hosting someone of Dr. Miquelle’s caliber, in the wildlife and conservation biology sciences, is a testament to SGU’s intellectual breadth and global reach and is a tremendous benefit for our students and the SGU community,” she continued. “We were indeed fortunate to have Dr. Miquelle with us here at SGU.”

Trained as a biologist at Yale, University of Minnesota, and University of Idaho, Dr. Miquelle focused on moose in Minnesota and Alaska for his degrees. However, working for a year on the Tiger Ecology Project in Chitwan National Park, Nepal, with a Smithsonian-led tiger research team changed his focus and cemented his interest in both international conservation efforts and large carnivore research. In 1992, he led the field team of a joint Russian-American Siberian Tiger Project, during which time he became a passionate conservationist, using science as a platform for policy change, working in both China and Russia to ensure a future for big cats.

Currently, Dr. Miquelle also serves as Coordinator for the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Tiger Program, coordinating research and conservation actions to protect large carnivores and the ecosystems upon which they depend, focusing mainly in northeast Asia.

– Ray-Donna Peters

SGU Marine and Wildlife Students Help Recovery Efforts in Dominica

Dominica—the first island hit by the full category-five force of Hurricane Maria last September—continues to call upon its Caribbean neighbors during its ongoing recovery efforts. Answering that call was a seven-member team from the Marine and Wildlife Department at St. George’s University. The group, comprised of two faculty lecturers and five students, spent 10 days in Dominica, lending its expertise in its post-hurricane ecology impact assessment of the country’s forest and endemic parrots, Amazona Imperialis and Amazona Arausiaca.

“As one might expect after a hurricane, the government’s resources are really stretched thin in regard to man power, so Dominica appreciates all the assistance it can get,” said Stephen Nimrod, lecturer at SGU. “Following a natural disaster, we now have the opportunity to document and measure the time it takes for forest regeneration and wildlife recovery. This is the kind of technical assistance that SGU was there to provide.”

Aiding the Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Parks, the SGU team conducted rapid assessment surveys while collecting quantitative data detailing the extent of the damage done by the hurricane. Additionally, the team documented the hurricane’s impact on Dominica’s flagship species, the Imperial Parrot. Most of the bird’s natural habitat had been destroyed, forcing it to leave the forest in search of food in the nearby villages.

“Our focus while there was on the regeneration of the forest and the conservation of the island’s native parrot,” added Mr. Nimrod. “The data collected will be analyzed and compiled into a comprehensive report together with real-time recommendations as a guide forward. This includes continuous monitoring of the rainforest and the change in behavior of the island’s endangered parrots in particular. We hope that by recording these lessons learned in Dominica, we can now create a network that will be beneficial to other islands going through the recovery process.”

Unsurprisingly, the mission was met with a few challenges. Much of Dominica’s population was left stranded without power, running water, or communications. The island was stripped of vegetation, and according to team leader Leon Radix, approximately 60 percent of its rainforests have vanished.

“Dominica markets itself as the Nature Island of the Caribbean so therefore its forest is one of its major resources,” stated Mr. Radix, lecturer at SGU. “However, following the passage of Hurricane Maria, as you can imagine, conditions on the ground are not good. Many vehicles were damaged and the road network is broken, making it time consuming for us to arrive at the various sites, which resulted in limited time for us to work in the field. Generally speaking, we can see that the island has been ravaged.”

“When we got there, it was clear that the people were still traumatized,” commented fourth-year marine and wildlife biology student Quincy Augustine. Yet, armed with their binoculars, field vests, and notebooks, the team quickly went to work conducting wildlife surveys and generating a post-hurricane impact assessment of the area in Dominica. “Overall, the trip was a really good experience,” added classmate Amonie Holas, also a fourth-year marine and wildlife biology student. “We got to apply the various skills and methods that we learned from our courses here at SGU into a professional setting, and working with different people from the same field was really inspiring.”

Funded by the Office of the Dean within St. George’s University School of Arts and Sciences, GAEA Conservation and EC $4,000 in funds raised by Education Conservation Outreach (ECO), the Dominica outreach provided an opportunity for SGU students to gain invaluable real-life experience with wildlife rescue work and a glimpse into their future careers in conservation.

“Being a part of the outreach in Dominica will serve as both hands-on training in the field and will also elevate the status of our students, especially when sending out their resumes,” said Dr. Andrea Easter-Pilcher, Interim Dean, School of Arts and Sciences, SGU. “Highlighting that they were involved with the recovery efforts on the ground will be extremely beneficial for them. SGU had a big role to play in that. The fact that the University provides funding for student development speaks volumes about its commitment to the international education of its students.”

– Ray-Donna Peters

Future Nurses Welcomed at Spring 2018 Induction Ceremony


Joining the largest group of health care professionals, the Class of 2021 was recently inducted into the School of Arts and Sciences Nursing Program at St. George’s University’s third Nursing Induction Ceremony.

The future nurses were presented with lamps, a symbol of the care and devotion administered by nurses, and recited the International Council of Nurses Pledge along with the practicing nurses in the audience.

“You have done well thus far; however, the journey continues,” said Kathleen Collier, MPH SGU ’09, Master of Ceremonies and Clinical and Simulation Instructor, Nursing and Allied Health Sciences, SGU. “Please understand that life is full of complexities and the road to success is never easy. There will be obstacles along the way, but don’t get bowed down to circumstances rather make circumstances bow down to your power and perseverance.”

These words resounded with Kalifha Morris, a new inductee of the SAS nursing program. Ms. Morris too faced tough circumstances that caused her to walk away from her dream of becoming a nurse 10 years ago. However, she didn’t let them defeat her. She moved from New York to Grenada and spent the next five years trying to get her start in the nursing profession.

“To get into the SGU nursing program has been like a dream come true. I feel like I am meant to be here, and I’ve got big plans for my nursing career,” said Ms. Morris. “I decided to become a nurse about 15 years ago because I found that I’m always helping somebody. I’m always putting the needs of others before myself, sometimes to my own detriment, but I can’t help it. I find that I always feel the desire to help someone in need.”

The evening’s keynote speaker, Dr. Debra Porteous, Head of Nursing and Midwifery, Northumbria University, shared insight from her more than 35 years of experience teaching in a professional nursing/healthcare practice setting with the class of aspiring nurses. Relating the characteristics of a nurse in order to be successful, she stressed the importance of a caring nature, empathy, adaptability, communication, a strong work ethic, and both physical and mental endurance.

“Nursing is a truly inspiring and thoroughly rewarding career like no other,” she said. “However, for all of the amazing things we experience on a daily basis, there are also tough parts to deal with, like stress, long hours, and struggling to make time for family. Yet despite these struggles, nursing is full of exceptional people that do amazing life-changing work.”

“Nursing is a noble profession filled with wonderful people, and with the support of each other, you can go on providing great care to vulnerable patients all over the world,” added Dr. Porteous.

Uniquely structured, the nursing program at St. George’s provides an opportunity for students to be taught by professors from both the School of Medicine and the School of Arts and Sciences, as well as international visiting professors. In addition, student nurse training experiences include working at the Grenada General Hospital, lab work at SGU’s Simulation Center, and community-based learning opportunities. Currently in their third year, students of the Class of 2019 will end their training with the completion of regional and international licensing exams, and become fully fledged Registered Nurses as approved by the Caribbean Nursing Council.