How people engage with their families, communities, governments and environments, as well as each other, helped inspire the exciting and diverse research recognized at the annual Celebration of Excellence in the Social Sciences.
Held at Pond Inlet on Jan. 29, the event was an opportunity to recognize achievements on both sides of the education spectrum, celebrating both teachers and learners.
“Although the Celebration of Excellence is focused on individual accomplishments, I want to acknowledge the collective effort that goes into supporting each of those individuals,” Ingrid Makus, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences (FOSS), told the crowd of students, staff, faculty members and supporters who gathered for the event.
She thanked the many staff and faculty within FOSS, members of Brock’s service departments and the University’s senior administration for their support.
Makus was delighted to recognize the outstanding student research and writing happening within the Faculty and to formally announce two faculty honours.
Professor Rebecca Raby from the Department of Child and Youth Studies was presented with the Distinguished Researcher award. Raby serves as the Director of Brock’s Social Justice Research Institute (SJRI) and is affiliated with master’s programs in Social Justice and Equity Studies and Sociology.
“It is an honour to receive this award,” Raby said. “It reflects the shared creativity, commitment and hard work of incredible faculty and student collaborators that I have been able to work with, as well as excellent mentorship, most notably from Jane Helleiner in Sociology and from all of the past and present members of the SJRI’s Faculty Steering Committee.”
Nicole Goodman, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, received the Untenured Researcher of the Year award.
Goodman was humbled by the honour.
“I’m very grateful for the opportunities and support provided to me by the Department of Political Science and the Faculty of Social Sciences at Brock, which has allowed my research to have a bigger impact in the communities it serves.”
The two faculty awards were created to recognize FOSS members with consistent records of outstanding research achievements as reflected in the quality and quantity of refereed publications, grants awards and other research activities.
The Distinguished Researcher award for tenured faculty considers accomplishments from the last five academic years. The Untenured Researcher of the Year award considers accomplishments within the previous academic year.
Associate Dean Graduate and Research Dawn Zinga presented certificates to graduate students in the Faculty who exhibited exceptional research or writing skills in the past year.
Alexandra Perna, a master’s student in Geography, was among the recipients of a Graduate Student Research Excellence award.
Perna said the faculty and staff in Geography and Tourism were a big factor in her success.
“As much as it’s my award, this is really a reflection of my whole department,” she said. She credited her “amazing” supervisor, Associate Professor Ebru Ustundag, with “making me feel that I can accomplish anything.”
Perna is now thinking of pursuing a PhD, something she said she wouldn’t have considered without Ustundag’s encouragement.
According to Perna, the most significant benefit of the award may be the feedback from the adjudication committee.
“Getting feedback was so awesome,” she said. “It shows their dedication in reading all these proposals. They aren’t just skimming through them. They’re actually helping the students learn in a different way and become better.”
Lisa Michelle Whittingham, who calls herself a community-based researcher, also received a Research Excellence award. The master’s student in Child and Youth Studies was grateful to have her work validated by the Faculty.
“I feel this shows they have faith that my research can make positive impact on the community,” she said.
During the event’s closing remarks, Tim Kenyon, Vice-President Research, marvelled at the breadth and depth of the research represented in FOSS.
“What particularly impresses me is that your research and scholarship address a range of challenges we face as individuals, a society and a global community,” he said.
“I would like to congratulate those who were recognized today and extend my appreciation to all faculty, students and staff for creating such a dynamic community that makes a difference.”
The Celebration of Excellence program listing all award recipients is posted on the Faculty of Social Sciences website along with a PDF of the Powerpoint presentation that accompanied the event. Photos of the event are available on the BrockUFOSS Facebook page.