Research under way by graduate students is the product of a community of risk takers who understand the value of setting minds alight, said Murray Knuttila, Brock’s Provost and Vice-President Academic.
Knuttila applauded the collective courage of about 125 guests, including graduate students, donors, faculty and staff, during the Faculty of Graduate Studies 2013 Graduate Student Awards and Donor Recognition Reception. The annual event was held recently to celebrate the success of approximately 234 graduate students in winning a total of about $2.4 million in internal and external scholarships and awards.
“Setting minds alight is a risky business because when you encourage people to think freely, and give them the resources and opportunity, they tend to ask all kinds of questions – questions that probe every aspect of the universe and thus our physical, biological, social, cultural, political, and spiritual being,” Knuttila said.
Knuttila recognized the more than 1,600 students in 42 programs at Brock for “risking time, energy, material and emotional well-being as they strive to preserve and enhance the stock of knowledge that is our human heritage.”
“Risk takers take the risk of honing those very attributes and capacities that distinguish humans from other species – the critical spirit, the ability to think systematically, and the capacity to understand the world as a totality,” he said.
“I thank parents, family and friends who have encouraged these students and I thank the donors and supporters who have risked their resources on this enterprise.
“The ultimate return on that investment is manifest in new knowledge and understanding, a more intelligent citizenry, a more civil society and world, and a brighter future than had these students not taken a risk.”
Award-winning students Michelle Przedborski, Kevin MacDonald and Jennifer Brant spoke about their research and the importance of graduate awards and scholarships in supporting their success.
Przedborski is beginning her PhD studies in Physics and is pursuing research on the theoretical aspects of superconductivity.
MacDonald is in his first year of the master’s program in Psychology with research focused on the relationship between sleep and memory.
Jennifer Brant is a PhD student in Educational Studies. Her research focuses on enhancing aboriginal women’s educational experiences in university.
This year’s reception marked the presentation of a new award, the Jeffery Hamelin Memorial Scholarship, to Courtney Bishop, recognizing excellence in the Applied Disability Studies program.
The award is named in honour of Jeffery Hamelin, the program’s first graduate, who is fondly remembered as a mentor, researcher, student and friend to many in the Centre for Applied Disability Studies. His parents, Yvonne and Brent Hamelin, shared a touching tribute to their late son, emphasizing his love of life and his love of learning.
“I urge the students here today to work hard to achieve dreams through the memory of those whose names these awards possess,” Brent said.
Mike Plyley, Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies, officially announced the naming of the Jack M. Miller Research in Excellence Awards to recognize Miller for his tireless work in building Brock’s reputation for graduate education and research excellence.
The naming marks the 10th anniversary of this award that was first established in 2003 by Miller when he served as Dean of Graduate Studies and Vice-President Research. The Faculty has expanded the number of awards from two to as many as 12 to be presented each year to the best and brightest graduate student researchers from Brock’s six academic faculties.
Recipients of the Jack M. Miller Excellence in Research Awards are:
Faculty of Applied Health Sciences: Tyler Weaver (MSc), Izabella Ludwa (PhD)
Faculty of Education: Christine Rougoor (MEd), Kate Cassidy (PhD)
Faculty of Humanities: Malisa Kurtz (Interdisciplinary Humanities – PhD)
Faculty of Mathematics and Science: Michelle Przedborski (Physics – MSc),? Dimitrios Alexandropoulos (Chemistry – PhD)
Faculty of Social Sciences: Sierra Holtzheuser (Child and Youth Studies – MA),? Cara MacInnis (Psychology – PhD)
Goodman School of Business: Asma Zafar (Management – MSc)