Winston says bye to bees

September 21, 2006, volume 37, no. 2
By Diane Luckow

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SFU is all abuzz with the news that SFU professor of biology Mark Winston, one of the world's most eminent bee researchers, is giving up his research after 31 years. He plans to concentrate more on his teaching with the semester in dialogue program and to pursue his interest in science communication.

Winston avows that he'll always remain a scientist, "I'm an incredible nerd that way." But he says the bees and his research have really been a mechanism for something more important—teaching.

"My real passion is mentoring and working with students to help them to discover who they are and how much they can contribute to the world," he says. "And I wanted an opportunity, in the remaining years of my career, to explore issues that go beyond bees."

Winston wants to expand the semester in dialogue program and develop new directions. "It's a considerably greater challenge at this point in my life to take part in this kind of endeavour than to continue in bee research."

Still, it has been a long goodbye. He has presented at his last conferences and symposia, wound up his experiments and is now analysing the last of his data. His last graduate student is about to convocate. And he has just bottled his last batch of Heavenly Honey, which he has always given as gifts to a variety of departments on campus. That is the most poignant goodbye for Winston. "The last of the Heavenly Honey really marks the end of an era in my life."

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