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Fall 2018
Sir Tom Devine (Image: Blueskyphotography)

McEuen/St. Andrews Chair Presents Sir Tom Devine Lecture at McGill

On September 20th, The McEuen St Andrews Chair in Canadian-Scottish Studies, along with the Montreal British History Society, had the privilege of hosting a lecture by Sir Tom Devine followed by a reception. The lecture centered around interpreting the extent and importance of Scottish influence in 19th century Canada while also contextualizing Scotland’s place through a wider historical and geographical lens.

Canadian Scottish Chair Don Nerbas introduced Sir Tom Devine, OBE and Professor Emeritus at the University of Edinburgh. As Scotland’s preeminent historian, Sir Tom lends his analysis of Scottish issues both past and present to the media and through his own research and publications.

 While his credentials assured a captivating talk, Sir Tom’s air travel was uncertain until the last hours as a severe storm hit Glasgow on the day of departure.

The talk, which we highly recommend, is available in its entirety below.

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Scholar Updates From St. Andrews 

It is our pleasure to relay news on the summer happenings and fall ambitions of our scholars currently in Scotland.

Kasey Killam, 2015

I started the summer working for Moosehead Breweries in Saint John, New Brunswick in the Quality Control department, thanks to a referral from Foundation President John Aylen who is a friend of Andrew Oland, the President of Moosehead. My main role was to perform regular quality checks on the products and packaging to ensure that they were of sufficient quality. It was really interesting to see how much work goes in to a product enjoyed around the world! Towards the end of July, a new opportunity came up a little closer to home at the Magnetic Hill Winery in Moncton, New Brunswick. My main project during my time there was to make a blueberry wine which that I look forward to enjoying while I’m home over Christmas! It was very exciting to work at such a rapidly growing small business, as each day was different and brought new challenges.

My main focus this year is a research project within the School of Chemistry. My task is to synthesize a never-before-isolated molecule, and then to characterize it by a variety of different methods. My project will be the topic of my dissertation, and I’ll also be presenting my findings at a forum next spring. Another module I’m taking is called “Teaching and Communications in Science," for which I’ll be volunteering one day a week at a local school, helping with activities, and eventually planning my own chemistry lesson and practical.

 Currently I’m spending a lot of my free time applying to both Graduate Schemes and Masters’ programs, both in Canada and here in the UK. I’m very much looking forward to graduation in June, and I’m very excited to see what next year will bring!

Isaac Bonisteel, 2016

After winning a provincial soccer title in Newfoundland, I boarded a plane that same evening and headed back to St Andrews to begin preseason for soccer here. Getting over my initially tired, jet-lagged legs, it was a week of many new faces and new responsibilities with the first team that culminated in me becoming captain for this year. Soccer has basically become a constant in my day-to-day routine, as I am also flying to Saskatoon in a week for five days of the Senior Men’s National Challenge Cup competition. I’m very grateful to the Medical School for helping me make this a reality by rearranging my missed classes.

I’ve also been heavily involved with Students for Global Health as Vice President again this year. I’m currently working on developing a global health component to Teddy Bear Hospital, a charity that teaches local primary school children about health and cleanliness, and developing ideas for a conference within the Medical School on the role of medicine and the healthcare profession in politics/policy. On top of these two things, I’m hoping to sort out the topic for my dissertation next semester. Currently I’m leaning towards researching how to implement infection control procedures in resource poor crises settings such as refugee camps. All of this hasn’t left much room for spare time, which has mostly been filled with studying neurology this semester. Despite being busy, I’m really looking forward to this autumn and I’m hoping to approach these involvements with enthusiasm and positivity.

Malcolm Risk, 2017

I spent the bulk of my summer at my school back in Toronto teaching debate at summer camp. I’d been a counsellor at the camp in previous years, but this was a big change because I was moving to director and had previously taught lacrosse. Although it was a lot more stressful in terms of making a curriculum from scratch and dealing with parents, I think it was more fulfilling. Seeing kids improve in the two weeks we had them was awesome to see. I learned a lot, especially since it was my first experience hiring employees – I never thought job interviews were still stressful from the other side of things. We also had a significant number of students staying overnight at the school from China and various other locations around the world. Teaching debate to kids who learned English as a second language was a significant challenge. I certainly got a lot better at expressing myself in simple terms and using hand gestures!

I also did a ton of reading over the summer – probably the biggest standout was reading George Eliot’s Middlemarch for the first time, which was super enlightening. I try to read exclusively for enjoyment and leave the analysis to the experts, but I was struck by how ahead of her time Eliot was in terms of commentary on marriage and the restrictions put on women’s intellectual pursuits at the time. Another great read was The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald, a sad ode to the death of independent bookstores, which convinced me even more of my moral obligation to buy more books at the store in St Andrews.

I’ve been greatly enjoying my courses thus far – especially analysis (the pure math underlying calculus) and probability. In particular, how much I’ve liked probability has had a big impact on my future career aspirations. Combined with my debating and how much I’ve been paying attention to the political situation in the US with regards to the upcoming midterms, I’ve decided that I should take a closer look at statistical journalism as a career. So I plan to try doing some writing for the Saint to get some experience in that area and also brush up on my programming skills in R and Python. 

Should I make the team again, I’m planning to go to South Africa for worlds in debating, which would be an incredible experience given I’ve never visited anywhere like it. We’ve already had our first lacrosse game and beat Edinburgh 12-9 on the day of Varsity. Given our much higher talent level as compared to last year, we think an undefeated season is in reach if we put in the practice time. In service of that goal, the rest of the committee and I are pushing to get the team out for an additional practice each week, and thus far we’ve been successful.

Katherine Carsley Lacroix, 2018

I boarded a plane for Scotland with my parents on September 1 after spending the summer anticipating my big move. My first weeks in St Andrews have been radically different from what I had imagined they would be… It’s sunny and warm…

I had the great fortune of interning at Mile Wright & Co., a boutique business law firm in Montreal’s up and coming Mile Ex, over the summer. This experience allowed me to foster my ever-growing interest in law while learning about branches of the profession I was not yet acquainted with, such as patent law, data protection law, technology and startups, while benefiting from mentorship from young female lawyers and businesswomen.

 I therefore arrived in Edinburgh on the morning of September 2 and was immediately taken with the beauty of Scotland’s culture and heritage, cityscape and landscape, and hospitality. The University of St Andrews has been more than welcoming through its innumerable societies and sports clubs, longstanding traditions of academic families, and bright, open-minded teaching corps. 

I’ve selected International Relations, Philosophy and Art History as my modules this year and have chosen to complement them by joining the French Society, the Law Society, the Union Debating Society and the Hillwalking Society. I am quite excited to see what this year will bring!

McEuen Foundation Scholarship Website

Thank you to our 2018 donors to date:

Cynthia Carsley and Vincent Lacroix, parents of 2018 Scholar Katherine Lacroix
Dr. Jeannie Callum, mother of 2017 Scholar Malcolm Risk
John Aylen
Sandra MacPherson

Are you in touch with any of these past winners of the McEuen Scholarship? If so, please pass this on and encourage them to contact us to get on our email list and join our Facebook page.


1978 Robert A. MacLean

1981 Mary C. Hunisett-Stewart

1982 Catherine Joy Archibald

1984 James Maitland Campbell

1986 Brenda Susan Rapley

1987 Margaret Rhiannon Purdy (Purdie)

1991 Hannah Cathleen Grant

1992 Suzanne M. Neilson

1993 James Alexander Irvine

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