Final Results & Online Exhibition

Worth 1000 Words: Online Exhibition and People’s Choice

Worth 1000 Words provided an incredible opportunity for TRU faculty, students and staff to illustrate their research. The photo competition was designed as a creative way of sharing and celebrating ground-breaking innovations, life-changing collaborations, and transformational creative journeys. A panel of adjudicators, which included Donald Lawrence, Professor, Visual Arts, Emily Hope, Education and Public Programs Director, Kamloops Art Gallery, and Dr. Nancy Van Wagoner, Professor, Geology, poured over the entries, and made their selections, which you will see below. Please continue to photograph your research journey. We look forward to seeing your entries in Fall 2020.

Congratulations to People's Choice winner: Marcus Adkins for A Squirrely Meal

Art in Action

Man and Rock Illuminated

Man and Rock Illuminated

Photographer: Ryan Collins

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Man and Rock Illuminated


Photographer: Ryan Collins


Caption: Through my research and practicum work at Thompson Rivers, I have learned an extensive amount of guidelines regarding current rock climbing media. When taking a commercial rock climbing photo there are three main principles to keep in mind:

I. Show where the climber has been and where they are going, the viewer must be able to see what is being climbed.

II. Use the surrounding environment, ropes, or rock features to create 'leading lines' that guide the viewers eye to the subject.

III. Ensure to include the subjects face or a minimum of one eye to provide connection between the subject and the viewer.

This photo stands out to me as it does not follow a single one of the traditional climbing photography guidelines, yet is still visually appealing. There is little indication of what is being climbed, no leading lines or environment, and the climbers face is turned away. Despite this, the emotional lighting of the scene (done by headlamps), draws the viewer in and highlights the athleticism of the climber against the rock in a way that can almost place the viewer in the moment themselves. This photo is one of my best attempts at bridging the gap that I have been investigating between traditional sport photography and fine art.

Community Engagement

Service Learning in Oaxaca, Mexico

Service Learning in Oaxaca, Mexico by TRU Trades and Tech Students: Solar Panel Installation in Low Income Homes

Photographer: Monica Sanchez-Flores

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Service Learning in Oaxaca, Mexico by TRU Trades and Tech Students: Solar Panel Installation in Low Income Homes

Photographer: Monica Sanchez-Flores

Caption: TRU's School of Trades and Tech organize annual practicums for their Electrical Foundation students in Oaxaca, Mexico. Students and instructors travel to small rural villages that lie outside the electricity grid in order to install solar panels in 8 to 10 low-income homes each trip. My research project explored the impact on the beneficiaries, who reported a considerable improvement in their standard of living by simply having access to light. However, on top of fine-tuning their electrical skills, this service learning work has had transformational effects in Trades and Tech students, in the perception of themselves and the world, their own personal growth, and the joy of service for those in need.

From the Field

A Squirrely Meal

A Squirrely Meal

Photographer: Marcus Atkins

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A Squirrely Meal


Photographer: Marcus Atkins


Caption: Tracking rattlesnakes is often not particularly exciting. When successfully located they are almost always coiled up hiding in tall grass, under trees or shrubs, or basking under the security of a well-placed rock. However, all that hiding and camouflage is for a reason - to ambush a tasty, warm-blooded meal. On this day in July we got our timing just right and located this male rattlesnake just as he had acquired himself a juicy Red Squirrel for lunch. Another one of the many moments that make field work worth every kilometer of elevation hiked, every drop of sweat perspired, and every prickly pear sat on worthwhile.

Microscopic Mysteries

Grey and White Matters

Grey and White Matters

Photographer: Claudia Gonzalez

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Grey and White Matters


Photographer: Claudia Gonzalez


Caption: Functional magnetic resonance is an excellent tool to understand the links between brain activity and behaviour. This anatomical scan provides a high resolution reference image so areas of activity or lack of activity can be measured when performing a task while in the MRI scanner. The resolution of this image is given by the voxel size (1 x 1 x 1 mm) and the power of the scanner (3 Tesla). The scan takes about 5 minutes to complete. Students in my lab learn to categorize scanned images and perform analysis of the active areas (voxels) relevant to an event - in this case, aiming at a target using a joystick. Students then identify the active area and investigate the associated role of each area of activity, while also understanding the limitations of imaging techniques (e.g., what is that area actually doing?). Student Nick Alcantara presented such data at the TRU undergraduate conference in 2019. He found areas associated with attention and tracking in this aiming task. The data were collected at the Birmingham University Brain Imaging Centre (BUIC) in the UK, and will be further analyzed at TRU by undergraduate students keen on learning about brain areas and what they do.

Best Caption

Snake Fight

A Dangerous Dance

Photographer: Marcus Atkins

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A Dangerous Dance


Photographer: Marcus Atkins


Caption: Two adult male rattlesnakes engage in the rarely observed 'combat dance' in competition over breeding rights with a nearby female. The males lift half of their muscular bodies off the ground, intertwining in attempt to become taller than the other only to then use all the force they can muster to slam their competitor to the ground. This contentious tango continues until the weaker submits and retreats — affording the victor and observing female some private romantic time. In nearly a decade of intensive rattlesnake research conducted through TRU this is the only recorded instance of this behaviour, made possible by intensively tracking the movements of these animals via radio-telemetry — lots of hiking and a bit of good luck.

Honourable mention

Aranka Pollak: Still life

Aranka Pollak: Still life

Photographer: Jeff McLaughlin

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Aranka Pollak: Still life


Photographer: Jeff McLaughlin


Caption: In a Jewish Cemetery located in Graz, Austria (the first to declare itself ‘Jewish Free’ during World War II) you'll find this tombstone. Although Aranka Pollak’s name is here, she is not. For she was one of the millions who perished in the Holocaust. The engraving (in German) reads: "In commemoration of our mother who, 78 years old, sick and helpless was carried off to the Theresienstadt concentration camp and died in 1942." These simple words from her family remind us that research regarding the Holocaust is not just about serving those who are in the present and those in the future, but also those who lived in the past. They were not abstract numbers or statistics. They were human beings who had, and who still have, a name.


Aranka Pollak: Still life

Study heat stress in cattle without getting heat stressed

Photographer: Justin Mufford

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Study heat stress in cattle without getting heat stressed


Photographer: Justin Mufford


Caption: Similar to dogs, cattle pant and breathe faster than normal to cool down. So determining how fast they breathe by counting their breaths will provide an objective measure of heat stress. This is a common way to research heat stress because it’s easy and provides reliable data. But is it really that easy? What if I need to study thousands of individuals? What if the cattle are spread out kilometers apart in a giant pasture? Perhaps I can use an ATV, but I don’t think the grasses nor the cattle would like that. With the use of drones, I can record video of cattle and analyze their behavior later in the comfort of my air-conditioned office. I can also set up a little bed in the trunk of my car, sit back in the shade, and let my trusty drone do all the work as I listen to my favorite tunes. Of course, convenience was not the real reason why I used a drone for my research (although it sure was nice!). From an animal researcher perspective, drones are practical and effective research tools. I was able to collect more insightful data compared to what I would have collected with a pair of binoculars and a notebook. The goal of my research was to identify cattle breeds that may be susceptible to heat stress. The results would help inform best management practices for cattle producers. I also believe that the study technique that I have developed will benefit future research.


Iron Curtain cave stalactite, a microbial miracle

Iron Curtain cave stalactite, a microbial miracle

Photographer: Solenn Vogel

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Iron Curtain cave stalactite, a microbial miracle


Photographer: Solenn Vogel


Caption: The goal of this caving expedition was to collect different stalactite samples and isolate the bacterial communities growing on them back in Ann Cheepthams lab at TRU. Ann explained that we were lucky this year because we didn't have to submerge ourselves in water to get into the chamber of the cave with untouched formations! We stayed relatively dry, but our sterilized bright orange caving onesies were turned brown with mud by the time we crawled back to the surface. This picture captures the delicate nature of these mineral deposits that take thousands of years to grow just a few centimeters.


Was it because there were no graves?

Was it because there were no graves?

Photographer: Amanda Ewanyshyn

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Was it because there were no graves?


Photographer: Amanda Ewanyshyn


Caption: This photograph was taken from a canyon’s edge. It has been processed to convey a sense of connection between the world of ecology and the human body by making manifest the sense of human breath through a botanical network. I am a University Instructor in the Visual and Performing Arts Department here at TRU, and this piece stems from a body of research that examines cycles in wilderness that are framed to parallel that of human existence.


Clowning around with Mockus

Clowning around with Mockus

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Clowning around with Mockus


Caption: My play Mockus, first produced by Chimera Theatre in Kamloops in 2017, represents a unique collaboration between a faculty member and a TRU alumnus. I taught Andrew Cooper playwriting, and he graduated from the Theatre Arts program at TRU. He then directed Mockus, and I engaged a research apprentice, Morgan Benedict, who played Sofia in the production. Several other TRU alumni performed in the play as well, including the lead character Mockus Aurelius, played by Brittany McCarthy. In the photo she confronts a poor driver with a thumbs-down sign in Cooper's imaginative expressionist interpretation of my script. I got the idea for Mockus from a talk I attended at TRU by activist Mary–Wynne Ashford who spoke about the anti-politician Mayors of Bogotá, Colombia, particularly Antanas Mockus, and I found out more in her book Enough Blood Shed: 101 Solutions to Violence, Terror and War. Mockus employed creative antics, such as replacing corrupt traffic cops with street mimes and developing a “vaccine against violence” to encourage people to overcome the city’s severe social and environmental ills, with varying degrees of success. Thus, Mockus is a 100% made in Kamloops production, but has received international recognition as a Second-Rounder in the Austin Film Festival Stage Play Competition in 2019. Cooper is now directing Mockus again in Calgary from Mar. 26-Apr. 4th, 2020, and he plans to tour it after that.

Photo by Lynn Sunderman

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