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Our newest alumni

Memorial University holds spring convocation ceremonies on West Coast

Student Life

By Melanie Callahan

Close to 200 graduates became Memorial University’s newest alumni at the May 17 Corner Brook session of spring convocation.

Undergraduate degrees were awarded in the areas of arts, science, education, nursing, fine arts, technology and business; graduate students were awarded in arts, science, education and nursing.

From left, Meghan Bush, Maria Dussan and Olivia Leblanc were all smiles after winning University Medals for Academic Excellence.
Photo: Melanie Callahan

Archaeologist emerita of Parks Canada, Birgitta Wallace, an advocate for Newfoundland and Labrador’s rightful place in Viking history, was recognized with an honorary degree.

Dr. Wallace participated in excavations in the 1970s and worked with Parks Canada as an archaeologist until her retirement in 1997.

Dr. Birgitta Wallace
Photo: Submitted

Dr. Wallace is the author of Westward Vikings: The Saga of L’Anse aux Meadows and more than 80 articles and chapters in books. In 2015 she was the first female archaeologist to receive the Smith-Wintemberg Award of the Canadian Archaeological Association for outstanding contributions to Canadian archaeology.

A graduate degree first

This convocation ceremony marked the first graduate of Grenfell’s only master of science program. Emmanuel Badewa, of Nigeria, was the first to earn a degree in boreal ecosystems and research science.

University medals for academic excellence were presented to Ketirn Alfred, business administration; Brittany Pittman, computational mathematics; Maria Dussan, two awards for English and humanities; Nickolas Lake, environmental science; Olivia Leblanc, environmental studies; Janine Hancock, general science; Meghan Bush, historical studies; Jillian Ryan, nursing; Nathan Sheppard, physics; Savannah Bennett, psychology; Tim Collier, social/cultural studies; Leahdawn Hiscock, theatre; and Ashley Hemmings, visual arts. Bethany Bernier was the winner of the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Award for Grenfell Campus.

From left are Dr. Jeff Keshen, Iris Petten, the Honourable Judy Foote, P.C., O.N.L., Dr. Susan Dyer Knight, Dr. Gary Kachanoski and Dr. Noreen Golfman on May 17 in Corner Brook.
Photo: Lori Lee Oates

Awards presented

The Grenfell Campus Teaching Award, awarded annually to eligible faculty, instructional assistants and laboratory instructors, recognizes excellence in teaching, teaching innovation and teaching leadership.

Dr. Erin Fraser, assistant professor of biology, School of Science and the Environment, was one of two recipients honoured with the award. As her nominator outlined, Dr. Fraser sets a high standard for coursework, lecturing and classroom activities, and has received feedback from her students with respect to the exceptional structure and clarity presented in her material. Dr. Fraser was also said to exhibit excellence in student guidance and supervision, as well as in the development and application of new methods, approaches and technology.

The second teaching award recipient was Dr. Jennifer Buckle, associate professor of psychology, School of Arts and Social Science. Dr. Buckle regularly exceeds performance expectations in teaching effectiveness, teaching innovation and teaching leadership, her nomination letter outlined. Dr. Buckle was recognized for her teaching style, community engagement, high professional standards. Her passion for teaching and learning has gained her respect and praise from her students and colleagues. In the words of one of her students, “her compassion, professionalism, ethics, dedication and influence positively influence her students, peers, the Grenfell community and the general public.”

Members of the Grenfell community were also celebrated for excellence through the vice-president’s engagement awards.

Sien van der Broeke, middle, poses with award nominators Darrian Washinger and Jenna McDermott.
Photo: Submitted

Sien van der Broeke, School of Science and the Environment, master of arts, environmental policy, is the president of the Waste Management committee and has led many ‘green’ initiatives on campus, including composting and extended recycling, propelled by community partnerships.

Dr. Brett Holfeld, School of Arts and Social Science, psychology, was recognized for the partnerships he has fostered in disseminating his research on cyberbullying to parents, students, schools and community groups.

Steven Day, School of Science and the Environment, physics, has been instrumental in making Grenfell’s astronomical telescope accessible to school children and community members.


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