Math and Science celebrates faculty and staff accomplishments

Noteworthy feats in teaching, research and experiential education were among the many staff and faculty accomplishments recognized last week by the Faculty of Mathematics and Science.

Family, colleagues and students gathered at Pond Inlet Jan. 25 for the Faculty’s fifth annual Celebration of Excellence, which shone a spotlight on the achievements of some of Brock’s best and brightest in Math and Science.

“I am extremely proud of the work that is being done both here at Brock and in the scientific community,” Math and Science Dean Ejaz Ahmed said during the event. “The Faculty would not be what it is today without all of your hard work and dedication. It gives me great pleasure seeing you gain the recognition you deserve in front of everyone here today.”

Remarks were also given by special guests Gary Comerford, Board of Trustees Chair; Greg Finn, Interim Provost and Vice-President, Academic; and Tim Kenyon, Vice-President, Research. In addition to presenting the awards, each speaker took a ­few moments to highlight and commend the Faculty’s research enterprise and quality of education.

In total, 11 deserving recipients took home awards in eight ca­tegories.

Recent retirees Peter Barclay and Beulah Alexander, who worked at the University for 50 and 32 years, respectively, were co-recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award — Staff.

When Barclay first joined Brock as an assistant storekeeper in 1968, a mere 700 students were attending the University — a stark contrast from the more than 19,000 students enrolled today. He later took on the role of senior storekeeper for the Department of Earth Sciences, and became the first employee to reach 50 years of service in Brock’s history.

Alexander began her time at Brock in 1986 with the Faculty of Education and eventually found her permanent home within the Faculty of Math and Science in 2001. She took on various roles and responsibilities over the years and became the Faculty’s first, and to date only, graduate officer.

This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award — Faculty went to David Hughes from the Department of Computer Science. Hughes was recognized for his work as Undergraduate Curriculum Committee Chair and with Brock University Senate, and previous work serving as Department Chair and President of the Brock University Faculty Association. He was also involved in the designing of various degrees with partner departments and institutions.

Additional awards presented at the celebration include:

Distinguished Teaching Award: Rick Cheel (Department of Earth Sciences) for his implementation of no cost, high quality online instructional materials, and continuous support in helping students understand course material.

Distinguished Research Award: Alexandre Odesski (Department of Mathematics and Statistics) for his international reputation for work in various interconnected areas of modern mathematics.

Distinguished Staff Award: Donna Phelps (Department of Computer Science) for excelling after recently taking on an increased workload that required her to act as the Department’s Student Support Co-ordinator in addition to her Administrative Assistant role.

Student Experience, Recruitment and Outreach Award: Steve Trussler (Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute) and Paul Zelisko (Department of Chemistry). Trussler earned the award by representing the University at various recruitment events and by leading labs during Scientifically Yours — a two-day conference that helps prospective students understand what being a science student at Brock is like. Similarly, Zelisko has travelled across the country to several universities representing Brock and communicating the University’s research activities in hopes of recruiting graduate students. He is also the author and publisher of the Department of Chemistry’s newsletter.

Experiential Educational Leadership Award: Jacinta Dano (Department of Biological Sciences) and Dorina Szuroczki (Department of Biological Sciences). Dano was recognized for helping design Lab Skills Plus, a program that offers tutorials on a variety of lab techniques through readings, quizzes and hands-on learning. Szuroczki has also been involved with the program in addition to playing a pivotal role in the introduction of BIOL 1P96, a course that provides students with many basic lab and important statistical analysis skills.

Math and Science Council Excellence in Teaching and Student Engagement Award: Amanda Lepp (Department of Biological Sciences) was selected based on her passion for math and science education and going beyond the requirements of her profession while striving for student success. The Council believes that Lepp’s Bachelor of Science and Doctorate degrees from Brock have helped her in reaching out to students and offering advice to assist them in their studies.

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