This year occurring on April 7th in the Student Union Building (SUB), the 10th Annual Lett Symposium is a day-long event organized by biology graduate students for biology graduate students. This year our keynote speaker will be Dr. Ford Doolittle.
The purpose of this event is to give graduate students a chance to showcase their research and be recognized for their accomplishments and hard work during their years here at Dalhousie. Although many of us have presented our research at national and international conferences, there are not many opportunities for us to come together in a formal setting at Dalhousie to show others in the department what we have done during the course of our studies.
This symposium was named after Dr. Patrick Lett because of his contributions to the Biology Department and particularly because of his long-time support of biology graduate students here at Dalhousie. Dr. Lett has had a very positive influence on the lives of many graduate students here, and aid from the Patrick F. Lett Graduate Students Assistance Bursary (sometimes called the “Lett Fund”) has enabled many students to complete their degrees by providing financial resources when other means of support were unavailable.
Dr. Lett was invited to attend the first annual Dr. Patrick Lett Biology Graduate Student Symposium in May 2008 to help commemorate the event. There, we were able to once again formally recognize and honor his contributions to the department with a plaque presented to him during the luncheon.
About Dr. Patrick Lett
Dr. Patrick Lett received a B.Sc. in Biology and Mathematics from the University of Guelph, and subsequently a Ph.D. in Biology at Dalhousie in 1979. In May of 1992, Dr. Lett was also awarded an honorary Doctorate of Law from Dalhousie. Dr. Lett has been active in Biology, Finance, and Applied Mathematics.
The focus of the Lett Symposium is research done right here at Dalhousie by biology graduate students. Graduate students from the various biology steams in the department are invited to give oral or poster presentations about their current research throughout the day at the Symposium. The day also typically involves coffee and snacks between presentation sessions, a luncheon, and a post-symposium reception.
In 1992, Dr. Lett set up the Patrick F. Lett Graduate Students Assistance Bursary to provide additional funding for biology graduate students. Its purpose is to assist biology graduate students in financial need either in emergency situations or with the loss of previous sources of support. Awarded bursaries can be used to support the student's research, living expenses, tuition, books, lodging and travel that relates to his or her research. The criterion is need. Application forms and guidelines are emailed to all graduate students several times a year and are available in the Biology Department Main Office. Many graduate students in our department have completed their degree thanks to his support.