Beauty under pressure: winners of USask Images of Research announced

SASKATOON – Despite unprecedented challenges, University of Saskatchewan (USask) students, faculty, staff, and alumni snapped images of what research looks like from their side of the lab bench, dig site, and desktop, and submitted more than 70 images to showcase the beauty of that work. 

A total of 15 images—spanning subjects critical to society such as the changing climate, food and water security, and understanding the nature of the world around us—have been named the 2021 USask Images of Research.  

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“Our researchers have stepped up to the challenge again this year, adapting how they do their critical work while sharing the surprising, breath-taking beauty they encounter,” said Dr. Baljit Singh (MVetSc, PhD), USask’s Vice-President Research. “It is a testament to their talent and ingenuity.” 

In this the seventh edition of the annual photography and imaging competition, the online platform pages were viewed nearly 14,000 times, and visitors from across Canada and around the world cast a total of 1,579 votes for their favourite images. 

The submissions from seven colleges, one school, one global institute, and one administrative unit were judged by juries composed of students, faculty, staff, and community members to crown winners in five categories, as well as for overall Best Description, and Grand Prize. 

The grand prize was awarded to Mark Lepitzki, master’s student in geological sciences, for Stew-pendous views, his beautiful star-filled image of doing field work in Northern Ontario. 

·         Stew-pendous views!—Grand Prize winner 
“I've completed field work in all reaches from 6,800m in the Andes to the outback of Australia.  The camp in this image was used by me and my best friends collecting geophysical data in Northern Ontario last fall.  The camp was affectionately named 'Camp Stew' due to a grocery flight not bringing the entire order. We vowed to live off an 'infinity stew' for the remainder of the project.  We saw the seasons turn from fall to winter with many beautiful aurora displays and this will forever be my favorite field experience. Pickle Lake, Ontario will always be among my favorite places.” 

Academia in Unprecedented Times, an image submitted by doctoral student Andrea Wishart—grand prize winner in 2018—artfully captures the experience many researchers have moving their work to an all-online environment, and was named winner of the Research in Action category. 

·         Academia in Unprecedented Times—Research in Action (winner) 
“One year since campus shut down. I mourn those lost to COVID and its ripple effects. I mourn my grandfather (I spent the year telling you how much I miss you). I extend unconditional love to those who haven’t found themselves well under the weight of this world. I mourn the lost moments making memories. But I celebrate frontline workers, our flexibility, vaccines. I am thankful for the technology with which I connect with my family, my students as a sessional lecturer, and my fellow graduate students as a PhD researcher. I find solace in lukewarm coffee and the company of my home officemates; even if it means our conversational meows lead to longer editing sessions. I miss you all.” 

The other major winner of this year’s competition is alumna Alana Krug-MacLeod, a former biology student, whose submissions won the More than Meets the Eye and Community Impact categories, as well as being named runner-up in the Arts in Focus category. 

See all submissions here, and winners here.

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