GSA awards recognize achievement

The University of Saskatchewan Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) held its first awards gala March 8, recognizing and celebrating not only the research achievements of students but also the work of faculty and staff who support them.

By Kris Foster
"The award winners tonight epitomize the extensive work graduate student engage in at various units," said Ehimai Ohiozebau, GSA president. "In essence, today's award goes to all graduate students at the U of S who work constantly trying to find solutions to the unresolved hypothesis and questions of life."

Over 270 students, faculty and staff attended the event. Speakers included U of S President Ilene Busch-Vishniac, Don Morgan, minister of advanced education, and Acting Dean of Graduate Studies and Research Adam Baxter-Jones.

Below is a list of GSA award winners.

Research Excellence in Aboriginal Research:

Maya Basdeo, a master's student in the School of Environment and Sustainability, whose work focuses on the intersection of water issues and First Nations in Saskatchewan.

Research Excellence in Humanities:

Adam Pottle, a doctoral student in English who studies how persons with disabilities are portrayed in literature, hoping to reduce the stigma of disability and present it as a necessary perspective of humanity.

Research Excellence in the Sciences:

Rita Orji , a doctoral candidate in the Dept. of Computer Science where she focuses on design and evaluation of technological interventions for promoting healthy lifestyle.

Advising Excellence:

Julita Vassileva, professor of computer science who as NSERC Chair for Women in Science and Engineering from 2005-2011, created a program for Aboriginal science outreach called Science Ambassadors.

Excellence in Community Service:

Tracy MacDonald, a PhD candidate in the Toxicology Graduate Program. Her research focuses on using both synchrotron and lab techniques to understand the uptake and accumulation of inorganic mercury in the developing embryo.

Exceptional Course Counsellor Award:

Sarah Purdy, a PhD candidate at the University of Saskatchewan working on materials processing, modifying crystalline materials to grow nanoparticles trapped in solids.

GSA Champion:

Dr. Jay Kalra, a pathology professor who helped revitalize the graduate program in his department, and subsequently served as director of the MSc/ PhD and Clinical/Post-doctoral Fellows Training Program and as program director of the General Pathology and Anatomical Pathology Residency Training Program.

Outstanding Partnership:

Student Employment and Career Centre, recognized for its positive ongoing collaboration with the GSA to improve grad student resources.