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Dean’s awards

Students, staff and faculty honoured at Faculty of Science awards

Student Life

By Kelly Foss

The dean of the Faculty of Science recognized 283 students representing the top 10 per cent in the faculty during the annual Dean’s Awards ceremony recently.

Dr. Mark Abrahams presents a certificate to Phoenix Tashlin Clifford.
Dr. Mark Abrahams presents a certificate to Phoenix Tashlin Clifford.
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

During the Sept. 16 event, Dr. Mark Abrahams also presented the Dean of Science Book Prize, awarded annually to one student in each department offering a B.Sc. program. It is awarded based on the recommendation of the head of the department on the basis of demonstrated academic excellence in the declared major.

The recipients for the 2018-19 academic year are Emily Benteau, Biology; Zoe Breen, Biochemistry; Sarah Cross, Psychology; Sophie Drolet, Ocean Sciences; David Drover, Earth Sciences; John Healey, Physics; Ben Morrison, Computer Science; Meghan Power, Geography; Neil Power, Economics; Brady Ryan, Mathematics and Statistics; and Pauline Seviour, Chemistry.

Dr. Abrahams also presented the Lou Visentin Award, the highest award for undergraduate achievement in the Faculty of Science. It recognizes students who have held a place on the Dean’s List for four consecutive years. Twenty students were honoured for this accomplishment.

Co-op Student of the Year

From left are Tiffany Small and Dr. Mark Abrahams.
From left are Tiffany Small and Dr. Mark Abrahams.
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

This year, for the first time, two students received the Science Co-op Student of the Year Award. It recognizes a full-time undergraduate co-operative education student who has demonstrated exceptionality in all aspects of his or her academic program and work-term performance.

Tiffany Small, a biology student, and Freddie Pike, a computer science student, each received the honour. Ms. Small worked with the Ecological Science Section at Fisheries and Oceans Canada from May-December 2018. Her employer said she showed a great deal of leadership during her co-op placement, suggesting ideas for improvement to several procedures and generally contributing positively to the team’s efforts.

Freddie Pike completed a 16-month internship with CoLab software from Sept. 2017 to Dec. 2018. He was one of the company’s first employees and built core parts of CoLab’s issue tracking, reporting, user settings and design review technology. Portions of the application he built are currently in use with some of the biggest energy and automotive companies in the world.

Distinguished Service

Dr. Rick Goulding
Dr. Rick Goulding
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

Dr. Abrahams also honoured Dr. Rick Goulding, the Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography’s undergraduate academic program officer, with the Dean of Science Distinguished Service Award. It recognizes service to the Faculty of Science superior to the normal expectations of the position.

Dr. Goulding’s many administrative responsibilities and consistent interactions with students as a per-course instructor of first-year physics courses has made him the “face” of the department. His ultra-engaged approach and holistic, big picture guidance has made the department, and the university, a better place for students to learn and grow.

A former colleague said, “On dozens of occasions, whenever any type of problem arose with a student, his response was invariably, “send them to me.” He never passed the buck, tackling any issue head-on with extraordinary pragmatism and solutions, which revealed a deep understanding of student life and student mindsets, and a deep concern for student welfare and success. He never gave up on students, often finding solutions that others had missed.”

Distinguished Scholar

Dr. Annie Mercier
Dr. Annie Mercier
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

The Dean of Science Distinguished Scholar Medal recognizes an individual with a sustained, outstanding record of both research and teaching at Memorial. The 2019 recipient is Dr. Annie Mercier, the Department of Ocean Sciences academic program officer and deputy head.

Dr. Mercier is internationally recognized for her contributions to the ecology of cold water and deep-water organisms and has an outstanding publication record.

One international researcher wrote, “The research that comes out of her lab is impressive in terms of productivity and quality. I have seen many of her innovative findings come across my desk, including transformative publications that have answered long-standing questions in marine biology and ecology.”

When the Ocean Sciences Centre became an academic unit in 2012, Dr. Mercier developed the department’s foundation course, which went on to win a national award. She also chaired the committee charged with developing a marine science degree program, resulting in a full academic B.Sc. program for the department.

Distinguished Teacher

Dr. Ronald Hayes

The Dean of Science Distinguished Teacher Award recognizes faculty members with an extended record of excellence, creativity and commitment to teaching and learning in the Faculty of Science. This year the award was presented to Dr. Ronald Haynes, a professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

Dr. Haynes is an effective and thoughtful teacher who is in great demand and highly ranked by his students.

One of his colleagues said, “Dr. Haynes encourages all of his students (even in 100-plus student classes) to consult him after they complete their first mid-term. This often means lineups in the corridor, as he gives each student a chance to talk about their progress. For struggling students, he tries to chart a course for them, explaining what they need to do to survive and thrive.”

What students don’t see is the time Dr. Haynes spends on curriculum development. He’s been critical to developing and re-developing a number of courses and programs and as chair of the board of study for scientific computing, he was heavily responsible for the creation of a PhD program in that interdisciplinary group.

A full list of student award winners is available here.

Photos from the ceremony can also be found on the Faculty of Science Facebook page.

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