Bowles-Mortley graduated with the Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical and Materials Engineering, writing a thesis on Application of Polymer Coatings for the Fabrication of Copper-based Containers for the Ultimate Disposal of Canada’s Spent Nuclear Fuel. The Governor General is of Haitian heritage, and the beautiful medal bears her coat of arms, on which a sea shell and broken chain allude to the famous sculpture “Marron inconnu”, displayed in Port au Prince, Haiti, depicting an escaped slave blowing a sea shell to gather and call to arms his fellow sufferers around the whole island.
This image evokes the victory of Michaelle Jean’s ancestors over barbarism and, more broadly, the call to liberty.
Following this ceremony, Dr Bowles-Mortley received the RE Jervis Award at the Canadian Nuclear Achievement Awards in Montreal, from Elodor Nichita, a member of the Canadian Nuclear Society, for having successfully completed an eight year graduate research programme on addressing the issue of radioactive waste management, concentrating on the design of containers intended to isolate radioactive materials from the biosphere for several centuries.
The former Bishop Anstey High School student who grew up in Tacarigua, first obtained a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Chemistry at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.
During the first term of her Master’s degree at the RMC, she came home and married Canadian, Ted Bailey. They now have an 18-month-old son Wyatt, and live in Kingston.
While pursuing her doctorate, Bowles-Mortley published several articles in scientific journals and presented at international conferences throughout Canada, the United States, Brazil and Turkey.
Explaining the unusual choice of attending a Military College for her post-graduate work, Dr Bowles-Mortley, who is in Trinidad spending three weeks with family said: “This was because research involves using a nuclear reactor to look at how radiation affects the properties of materials, and there are only a few institutions in Canada that have nuclear research reactors, also there was a good programme in Kingston, and I was awarded the Defence Research and Development Branch (DRDB/ RMC) scholarship.”
She also explained her interest in the design of containers suited to the disposal of nuclear waste.
“Fifty percent of Ontario’s electricity is generated by nuclear power and so I was looking at materials used to store the waste generated from that process.
Polymer containers and coatings was one aspect of storage and I felt it was something relevant because we have to store the current waste generated from the nuclear energy process, and so I thought I might as well look at something that would be efficient and have longevity because this is a valid problem that needs a solution.
“I wanted to do research on a topic that is relevant today rather than a more abstract concept that may not be relevant for several years to come.
People are looking for green alternatives and nuclear energy provides a solution because it does not produce carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases, so it is considered to be a green source of energy and especially in times like this where we are trying to clean up BP’s oil spills.
This is an option as it doesn’t produce emissions and doesn’t require the use of fossil fuel.”
Dr Bowles-Mortley is her mother, Cheryl Bowles’ right hand in the production of the Cher Mere line of natural beauty products at The Herbarium.
Cheryl, a biochemist graduate from Concordia University, is now known internationally for her advancement in wellness and production of a wide range of products.
Aba was still in kindergarten when she would assist in distributing programmes at Cher Mere functions.
Today she is still helping by doing projects from abroad.
“I have done everything in the business, and although in the near future I plan to apply for a professorship position at Queen’s and the RMC, I will continue in the long term to carry on the legacy of Cher Mere.
We have been working more recently on a quality and environmental management system so that Cher Mere can become an International Standards Organisation (ISO 14001 and ISO 9001).
This makes it a recognised company as if somebody stamps ISO there is a certain level of standard of quality, health and environment management that is recognised worldwide.
“Our goal is to become more environmentally friendly in the processes we use in the factory with the products, and at the spas in Trincity, Woodbrook and Chaguanas, meaning that we reduce the paper trail and use more environmentally friendly materials that degrade easily once disposed, and try to follow principles of reducing, reusing and recycling, while ensuring the highest quality of service and products.”