Quest Feature with Julie Miller, Counsellor

Julie’s Top 5 Tips for Relieving Stress

  1. Be in the moment and tackle what’s in it.
  2. Self-care! (Whatever that means to you: tend the cactus garden, go for sushi, or if you’re Julie, a wee 25 km run across Black Tusk.)
  3. You know it’s coming…know what works for you. Plan ahead for stress.
  4. Find your strengths.
  5. Don’t compare yourself to others. When we do, we lose track of what makes us great.

Julie’s Top 3 SOS Tips (Supporting Other Students)

  1. Advice not required. Be a good listener.
  2. Remind people of their self-care.
  3. Become a good referral service. Whether that be suggesting your friend take a yoga course or a seat in the (huge and comfy) counselling chair in Julie’s office—it’s not up to you to fix the woes of the world.

What Julie does for the Quest community: Supervises the health clinic, supervises the interns, counsels students, writes (policies and the Stall St. Journal)

What Julie does in fewer than 10 words: Makes sure health & wellness is a priority on campus

Busiest time of year for counselling services: November. Students are deep into Third Block with a long way to go before spring.

Question: How can sport impact body positivity? (Instead of, What does my body look like?, ask yourself, What am I capable of doing with my body?)

Quote: You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and more beautiful than you could ever imagine.

Passion: Ultras. For those uninitiated, that’s any footrace longer than a marathon. Not necessarily racing for Julie, though. Sometimes it’s just a three-day adventure into the backcountry with a pal, 50 km at a time, and seeing where they end up!

Why Quest, Julie? I love working with university-age people. They are resilient. They are open to learning new tools. They are willing to make changes. At Quest, 60% of students have seen a counsellor. I think that’s a good sign that Quest students prioritize their mental health. With everyone living on campus, we are in a type of family system. We impact each other. We learn to support each other. We find out how to contribute our strengths and value the areas we can grow.

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario

University: University of Victoria (Bachelor of Social Work) UBC (Masters of Social Work)


Thank you all very much for this award. It is my honour to accept it, and I do so on behalf of many other people who have contributed to the relationship between Big Brothers/Big Sisters (Squamish) and Quest University Canada; a relationship that has existed for more than five years now and began as a student initiative. And that is why, in my opinion, the relationship between Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Quest has worked so well, because that symbiotic relationship between mentee and mentor is identical in nature to the relationships we have on our campus. Our students generate ideas for changing the world for the better, and our faculty and staff support their agency and provide guidance to their actions. And this is what it is all about; relationships … those deep personal connections we enrich our communities and make the world better for the next generation.

So in addition to all my colleagues and students at Quest, I would like to thank Ann Marie MacKenzie, Karen Tapp, and team. Our program would not have been as successful as it has been without the support of these wonderful humans. You are all excellent role models and have made my work easier.

Thank you for this award. I am truly looking forward to many more years of this partnership.

Beakerhead is a self-described “smash up of art, science and engineering” at the “intersection where ingenuity lives”. Quest recently hosted one of Beakerhead’s signature offerings, a four-day intensive Science Communications course taught by Jay Ingram, one of Canada’s most well-known science broadcasters, and expert guest faculty. The goal of the immersive program was for participants to begin with a rough draft of a science-communication project and emerge with a piece or script ready to pitch. Participants ranged from graduate students to established academics hailing from five Canadian provinces. The first day involved art work, improv, and personal story sharing to help loosen any inhibitions and get the creative juices flowing. Sessions on crafting the pitch and understanding the structure of different forms of scientific writing provided conceptual frameworks, and participants refined their pieces through intensive one-on-one writing and editing sessions with faculty. The final presentations were an energetic and entertaining demonstration of the power of creativity unleashed. Physical Sciences tutor Dr. Steve Quane presented his video script, and Mathematics tutor Dr. Richard Hoshinopresented a final draft of an op-ed piece that he successfully published the following week. One of the highlights of the course was the keynote presentation, where Jay Ingram spoke about his 30 years in science communication across radio, television, and print. The talk was attended by approximately 50 members of the Quest community.

President and CEO Mary Anne Moser co-founded Beakerhead with Jay Ingram, beginning with a two-week immersive Science Communication Program at the Banff Center. With its vibrant integration of arts and sciences, it is no coincidence that founding Life Sciences tutor Dr. Annie Prud’homme-Genereux, and current tutors Dr. Negar Elmieh, Dr. Marjorie Wonham, and Dr. Richard Hoshino, are alumni of that program.

Farrokh Elmieh: (CNC) Milling Machine

Quest University Canada is proud to have been the recipient of a donation of a computer numerical control (CNC) milling machine from Mr. Farrokh Elmieh. This report details projects undertaken by students and faculty and supported by the use of the CNC milling machine since 2015.

Two versions of a prototype belay device have been developed and tested for basic functionality.
Rock climbing is a popular and relevant activity among Quest students and their safety relies upon mechanical equipment intended to arrest a fall. The device under development is designed to remove or reduce human error in equipment operation during the arrest of a fall and to combine other functionality not currently available in a single device on the market. This project is faculty led with tangential student interest.

A prototype linear bicycle pedalling device has been designed, built, and awaits testing. 
Bicycle pedal mechanisms typically require circular motion. While linearly-activated pedal mechanisms have been created as novelties, the long term goal of this project is to garner human performance data comparing linear to circular pedaling action, which is currently unavailable empirically. This project is cross-disciplinary between engineering, physics, biophysics, and human performance disciplines.

A prototype, market-ready ground-glass joint adapter has been created.
Interfacing stainless steel pipe and lab-grade glassware is becoming a common requirement for small-scale natural products extraction—a growth cottage industry in BC. Currently there is no off-the-shelf way to mate these two types of apparatus and the design and build of this product provided a perfect introduction to CNC machining in a real-world context.

Multiple cross-sections of turbine blades for an optimization experiment have been created.

Wind power is of great interest to energy producers and Quest students alike. In this project, a student investigated the nuanced difference between turbine cross-sections in terms of the lift and drag forces generated. Due to the computationally generated curvature and precision requirements, this kind of work could only be done with CNC support.

“Trial turbine blade cross sections for lift and drag measurements.” 
Photo credit: Jordan Lewis, student.


High-precision parts for a sub-surface ocean current drifter device were created, and the drifter was tested in Howe Sound.
Ocean currents have different directions depending upon where in the water column they are measured. Surface currents are easy to track by monitoring the location of a floating body. Sub-surface current measurement requires a drifter that actively maintains a particular location in the water column then rises to the surface periodically to acquire GPS location information. The instrument developed during this project was used to compare surface to sub-surface currents in Howe Sound and the work won the student a Keystone distinction award. Mechanical parts for the active control of the instrument’s density needed to be custom built and were machined from aluminum and plastic on the CNC milling machine.

Student Kyle Martin standing in boat. 
Photo credit: Tony Martin.

“Custom piston apparatus for density control of sub-surface drifter” Photo credit: Kyle Martin, student.

A production run gave rise to ~100 critical parts for a prototype short-path distillation wiper apparatus.
High molecular weight natural products are often separated from heavy oils by short-path distillation apparatuses whose mechanical geometries are specific to the requirements of the particular product. In this project, a proto-type distillation apparatus novel in design and scale was built that incorporated teflon wipers used to propel thick oils along the heated wall of the still. These wipers were custom built and required a high-production approach on the mill involving jigs and fixturing. A student was involved in the design of the fixtures and mill operation during the production run which exposed them to the intricacies of short-run, high precision machining operations.

A tour of the machine and its capabilities was given to the astronomy club and will likely lead to future projects.



Tributes to David Strangway

tributes to david strangway 


As Quest University Canada gathered Testimonials honoring Dr. David Strangway, our Founder who passed away December 13, we decided to add a number of quotes from David’s own blogs on our Quest website. They are highlighted in blue throughout this segment. We sincerely thank our additional contributors for their thoughts and anecdotes about our dynamic and legendary Canadian academic and research-oriented icon.

“For all of the things I have learned and experienced in my life, it is a passion for challenge, for inquiry, for discovery, and for experiencing all that this incredible world has to offer, that has shaped who I am today.” DWS.


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When David Strangway left as head of the University of Toronto to become President of UBC Nov. 1, 1985, I was in my second of six years as a member of the UBC Board of Governors. We met during his first afternoon on the job and David revealed he relished a challenge. The BC government had just made major cuts to the transfer payments to all provincial universities and the attrition continued: for the period 1985-1997, B.C.’s universities lost more than 30% of their provincial transfer grant on a per-student basis.

David responded with a detailed mission plan, and I pledged my personal support consisting of donors from Hong Kong to sponsor new state-of-the-art campus facilities. I proposed to both the President, and the Board of Governors, that we should form a UBC real estate company to develop the 500 acres of surplus campus land, which was to be leased and not sold freehold. UBC Properties Trust was founded in 1988 to commence the development of market housing to secure the university’s future. The Trust has since generated more than $1.4 billion on leased land for endowment, and is projected to reach $3 billion.

David also was pro-active in UBC helping itself. He brought aboard Peter Ufford, renowned as one of Canada’s premier fund-raisers, and—with W.R. Wyman as Chair — they unleashed an imaginative, aggressive World of Opportunity Campaign that raised a remarkable $262 million between 1989-93 — at the time, the largest campaign in Canadian fund-raising history. The UBC Endowment Fund that stood at $85 million in 1985 had risen to more than $500 million by 1997, second only to the University of Toronto.

In total during these remarkable Strangway years, the UBC campus underwent $900 million of new construction…some wags said UBC’s favorite “bird” during this period was “the construction crane.”

The grand Chan Centre for the Performing Arts…the Liu Institute for Global Issues…the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery…the Choi Building for the Institute of Asian Research…the Sing Tao building for the School of Journalism…the Robert H. Lee Graduate School…plus 15 other new facilities make up the completely transformed, state-of-the-art UBC campus of today.

The one man of extraordinary vision and leadership who made all of this possible was UBC President David Strangway. And to his beloved wife, Alice, and their adult offspring Richard, Susan and Trish, please accept love and best regards from Lily and me during this difficult time.

Finally, I salute Dr. Peter Englert, President of Quest University Canada, who has vowed that Canada’s first and only independent private university will continue to observe the precepts and concepts laid down by David Strangway, its founder, 10 years ago. Our best to Quest and its remarkable student bodies which, through the years, have led so many of the vital categories of the annual Maclean’s Magazine university student rankings, including 2016.

—Robert H. Lee, Chancellor UBC 1993-1996; Chairman UBC Foundation 1997; Chairman UBC Properties Trust 1988-2011, and Director, Sea to Sky Foundation Board, 2006.


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I am most fortunate to have worked so closely with David at UBC and Quest University. His remarkable contributions to post-secondary education and research, together with his dedicated efforts to both NASA and its moon rocks, and to the Canada Foundation for Innovation, are well documented.

Of equal significance is the tremendous impact he has had on the lives of people around him. My family and I are very saddened by David’s death. Our thoughts and prayers are for Alice and the family.

Peter Ufford, Founding President & Director, Quest University Canada Foundation, and former Vice-President External Affairs, UBC, for David Strangway.


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David Strangway without question was one of the most successful presidents in the history of Canadian universities. His impact on UBC was truly transformative; he took a good provincial University and turned it into a research powerhouse that could compete with the great public universities in the world. He built UBC’s endowment, raised record private funds, developed research excellence, and introduced UBC onto the international stage. As important, after leaving UBC in 1997 after 12 years at the helm, David transformed the research landscape of the country through his leadership role at the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI). It is not possible to look at either UBC or the country today without seeing the results of David Strangway’s vision for excellence at every level of academic pursuit.

—Martha Piper, President Emeritus, UBC


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My clear recollections of David start when we both took part in research generated by NASA’s Apollo missions to the moon. David’s leading role in researching the magnetic properties of lunar samples took him to NASA’s laboratory near Houston while I remained in Ottawa. On his return to the University of Toronto to become chair of the geology department he demonstrated his entrepreneurial skills by bringing with him an impressive array of geomagnetic laboratory equipment for which he successfully won generous operating grants.

By the 1980s he clearly had larger ambitions and won the presidency of UBC. There his reputation as a research-oriented builder grew apace and was later enhanced when he founded Quest University.

From a national perspective his period as president of the fledgling Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) was equally impressive. Through the Academy of Science of the Royal Society of Canada I had helped organize the Partnership Group for Science and Engineering to discuss research policies. David faithfully gave the Group an annual presentation on the CFI program that demonstrated his impressive grasp of the broad scope of research in Canada and his vision for providing infrastructure for future progress. He characteristically flavored his talks with good humored comments and clear-eyed accounts of the process CFI developed for allotting support. There is no doubt that David’s leadership and comprehensive understanding of the needs of the Canadian research community secured the success of CFI and was of great benefit to the growth of science and engineering research in Canada.

—Michael R. Dence, O.C., D. Sc., Fellow, Royal Society of Canada


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From 1985 through 1997, David’s time as UBC President, I was Provost. He mobilized teams of leaders in the top research universities around the Pacific Rim, drew in McGill and the U of T and encouraged us to establish international collaborations to engage students and faculty from our own areas of strength.

There was nothing small about David’s thinking. He challenged B.C.’s Premier to provide matching funds that stimulated individual and corporate philanthropy across Canada and around the world to far outstrip Canadian fundraising records. Two residential graduate colleges (Green and St. John’s) are elements in his legacy.

When he was overseas, members of his executive received long faxed communications daily and when he was on campus David liked nothing better than to brainstorm at the end of the day about what he could do to fill a void in Canadian higher education, i.e. the absence of private, secular, not-for-profit, liberal arts and sciences universities which he saw as the pinnacle of undergraduate education in America. This aspiration was realized in his founding of Quest University Canada.

To know and work with this idea-a-minute man enriched my life forever and to have him respond to my own ideas was a thrill.

—Dan Birch, Chancellor, Quest University Canada


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When David and his team selected Squamish as the site of what became Quest University Canada, he Invited some of our Squamish Nation personnel to dinner and said he envisioned members of our band becoming Quest students. Dr. Peter Englert, Quest’s new President, endorsed that outreach at an introductory get-together earlier this year.

On behalf of our Squamish Nation, elders and community, I send our love and prayers to David’s wife, Alice, and members of the Strangway family, and extend further condolences to QUC faculty, staff and students.

—Pekultn Siyam (Chief Dale Harry) Squamish Nation and Member, QUC Board of Governors


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“We need to rekindle enthusiasm for intellectual integration. We need to encourage students to read between the disciplines and to develop the special skills of synthesis. We need to revive the generalist approach to personal growth and intellectual development. Quest University Canada is inspired by precisely this kind of thinking.” DWS.


I met Dr. Strangway when I was a student at UBC in the 1980’s and he was President. I couldn’t believe that someone starting out like me could meet someone like him. He makes an impression upon people. He seemed to be of UBC, as well as for UBC.

His vision for Quest University changed how the community, the region and the world viewed Squamish. Traditional industry was struggling and the need for a more diverse local economy was evident. Dr. Strangway was not content with the status quo. He and other leaders brought the world to Squamish through learning, employment, diversity, community building and personal and public engagement with the ideals that underpin a liberal arts and sciences education. Whenever I participate in something at Quest, I find I stand a little taller.

In 2010, Dr. Strangway championed another visionary idea. Based on his experience in Canada, where the Canada Foundation for Innovation and Canada Research Chairs were tremendously successful in strengthening Canadian universities and countering the loss of our best minds to other countries, Dr. Strangway proposed that the G8 endow 1,000 research chairs with $100,000 at several hundred universities in Africa. This would ensure that the best and the brightest be attracted back to Africa, or stay in Africa to develop university teaching and research that is essential to addressing the (then) Millennium Development Goals.

Kofi Annan said, “This suggested concept is a timely and very worthy initiative and I would be pleased to lend my support towards strengthening African faculties and reversing the continent’s brain drain.” Perhaps this will be his next legacy.

Dr. Strangway, thank you for the education and inspiration you have provided to all Canadians.

—Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, M.P., West Vancouver + Sunshine Coast + Sea to Sky Country


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The District of Squamish expresses deep sadness over the passing of Dr. David Strangway, the founder of Quest University Canada (QUC).

One cannot underestimate Dr. Strangway’s positive impact on our local community. He imparted his great ideas for education, learning and academia and our residents nurtured them. He also instilled in us the fact that learning and knowledge do not reside only at QUC, but can become part of a community’s vernacular as the university, and its diverse family, daily contribute to our local economy.

As a result, QUC has become foundational in our community, and will continue to be integral to our District’s well-being. And for that, by the way, our District residents of today owe enthusiastic thanks to our then-Mayor, Corinne Lonsdale, and her Councils of those days between 1998-2004 after Dr. Strangway and his team members had visited municipalities throughout B.C. and had selected Squamish as the ideal location for Canada’s first private, independent and not-for-profit university.

Apart from agreeing to mandatory by-law and OCP changes, our Squamish representatives made much of the grandeur of our Sea to Sky location as the Outdoor Capital of Canada. They were so persuasive that Dr. Strangway and his team chose the interim name of Sea to Sky University for the successful Private Member’s Bill that MLA Ralph Sultan placed before Premier Gordon Campbell’s B.C. government in May 2002 to officially establish the university. The geographical name became Quest University Canada in October 2005.

Dr. Strangway was a Squamish resident for several years while the university was being developed, and also sat on the Oceanfront Development Board.

David obviously saw something special here as Squamish became the backdrop for Quest’s distinctive curriculum that will equip our students with the critical thinking, intellectual breadth and worldly perspectives they will require to succeed in their ever-challenging world.

For that enlightened preparation the District of Squamish sincerely thanks Quest founder David Strangway, and extends heartfelt condolences to his wife, Alice, and their three adult children and families.

—Patricia Heintzman, Mayor, District of Squamish.


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It was with sincere sadness that I learned of David Strangway’s passing. I knew David well for more than 30 years as president of UBC, a member and Director of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, and as founder and first president of Quest University Canada. He was a gifted visionary, a tireless worker and an outstanding citizen of Canada and the world.

I always remember when he was asked what he thought about global warming and its impact in 100 years; he said, “You must understand I am a moon scientist and am trained to think in terms of millions and billions of years. I cannot comment on 100 years.” And yes, his own laughter led all of us…

I was honoured to be appointed to David’s International Academic Advisory Council for Quest University in 2006 in support of his extraordinary effort and success in establishing the historic institution. He was an amazing human being who touched so many; we who had the pleasure of knowing and working with David are especially grateful because we came away so much better for it. Truly a historic leader; Canada has lost one of its heroes.

Darcy Rezac, Managing Director, Vancouver Board of Trade (Ret.)


“Watching a university take shape is like watching a great work of art come to life.”
DWS, Spring, 2007. QUC opened in September, 2007.



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Open House December 3, 2016

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Conservation Biology

Second year Quest student Elijah Cetas and Social Sciences Tutor Maï Yasué recently had a paper accepted for publication by Conservation Biology, one of the highest impact factor conservation journals. Their paper looks at “a systematic review of motivational values and conservation success in and around protected areas.” Elijah was a Quest Summer Fellow at the end of his first year during which time he researched and wrote the proposal—a new topic for him—reading close to 200 articles to complete the project. “This really is a testament to what a student can produce through the very close working relationship/mentoring that Quest students receive from faculty,” said Maï, who served as faculty host for Elijah’s fellowship.

Conservation Biology is a bimonthly peer-reviewed scientific journal of the Society for Conservation Biology, published by Wiley-Blackwell. It covers the science and practice of conserving Earth’s biological diversity, including issues concerning any of the Earth’s ecosystems or regions.