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Awards of Excellence 2015 Recipients

U OF T’S MOST DISTINGUISHED AWARDS PROGRAM

The Awards of Excellence celebrate members of the University of Toronto community who, through their individual efforts and accomplishments, have contributed to the University’s vision of becoming a leader among the world’s best public teaching and research universities. Those honoured through the program have stepped up to the challenge of making rich and meaningful contributions to the University, the community, and to the world.

Congratulations to all of this year's Awards of Excellence recipients!

 

Faculty Award
Professor Brian Corman, Department of English, Faculty of Arts & Science

Northrop Frye Award (Individual)
Professor Pamela Klassen, Department for the Study of Religion, Faculty of Arts & Science

Carolyn Tuohy Impact on Public Policy Award
Professor Morley Gunderson, Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources, Faculty of Arts & Science
Carol Rogerson, Faculty of Law

Vivek Goel Faculty Citizenship Award
Professor Doug Reeve, Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering

Ludwik and Estelle Jus Memorial Human Rights Prize
Professor Lisa Forman, Dalla Lana School of Public Health
International Human Rights Program, Faculty of Law

Joan E. Foley Quality of Student Experience Award
Professor Brenda McCabe, Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering

Chancellor’s Award – Emerging Leader
Andrea Carter, Office of Vice-Provost, Students & First Entry Divisions and Human Resources
Melinda Scott, University College

Chancellor’s Award – Influential Leader
Judith Chadwick, Office of the Vice-President, Research & Innovation

Adel S. Sedra Distinguished Graduate Award 
Alexandra Harris, Faculty of Nursing

UTAA Graduate Scholars
Vincy Chan, Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Science, Faculty of Medicine
Daniel Felsky, Institute of Medical Science, Faculty of Medicine
Matt Gordner, Department of Political Science, School of Graduate Studies

John H. Moss Scholarship 
Jozef Kosc, Trinity College

UTAA Scholars
Moustafa Abdalla, Victoria College
Misha Boutilier, St. Michaels College
Alexander Lozano, Trinity College
Muhammad Qureshi, University of Toronto Mississauga

 

 

2015 Awards of Excellence Recipients

Faculty Award

Professor Brian Corman

For more than 40 years, Brian Corman has deepened understanding of Restoration and 18th-century literature while advancing the role of the humanities and upholding the importance of education and research at the University of Toronto. His influential monographs convey sharp critical insight in accessible prose. His 2008 book Women Novelists before Jane Austen: The Critics and their Canons – which revisits the widespread belief that these authors were marginalized by male critics in the 19th century – has been acclaimed for both its thoroughness and originality.

Professor Corman has written numerous articles, reviews and encyclopaedia entries and worked as the editor of important anthologies. From 1996 to 2009, while serving as Chair of the Department of English, he was also the editor of the University of Toronto Quarterly, one of the oldest and most prestigious general literary journals in Canada. Professor Corman has also organized international conferences, served on journal boards and done extensive refereeing.

Students speak glowingly of his clarity and commitment as a teacher and his excellence as a graduate supervisor is attested to by the fact that he has produced the highest percentage of winners of the Woodhouse Prize, which is awarded annually to the best dissertation written in the Department of English.

Despite all these activities, Professor Corman has served with distinction in many administrative positions, including Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Vice-Provost, Graduate Education from 2009-2014, during which period he instituted important changes with wisdom and tact. He chaired the Sedra Award Committee for five years and served on the Academic Board of Governing Council for 16 years, including six years as its Vice-Chair. His experience has led to service on many tenure and promotion reviews, chair and dean searches and external reviews of English departments elsewhere.

 

Northrop Frye Award (Individual)

Professor Pamela Klassen

Pamela Klassen joined the Department for the Study of Religion in 1997. As a full professor cross-appointed to Anthropology and founding director of the Religion in the Public Sphere Initiative (RPS), she has consistently integrated her own research with an impressive schedule of teaching and public outreach.

Not only has Professor Klassen proven an exceptional mentor and supervisor, she has brought academic research to broader audiences through the RPS and greatly facilitated student engagement with the community. Her RPS Service-Learning course includes a 40-hour practicum that places students in such real-world settings as MPP offices, shelters, law offices, the Tony Blair Faith Foundation and the Ontario Human Rights Commission. In this and other courses students work with Professor Klassen on research projects while gaining course credit and acquiring transferable skills.

In the course Museums and Material Religion, in which Professor Klassen and Professor Ajay Rao consider the ways in which museums display religion in a public context. Another example of her boundary-crossing approach is a storytelling website dedicated to the interconnected history of missionaries and Indigenous communities in northwestern British Columbia. Participating students acquire training not only in the humanities but in GIS mapping and digital scholarship. They also collaborate with consultancy firms, libraries and museums.

Professor Klassen’s work has had an international impact. In July 2014 five U of T students joined her in a workshop on religion, law and economy at Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen in Germany. Close to home she has developed the Elements Experiment, which gives young Canadians the opportunity to discuss the importance of religion in the public sphere. These activities have not slowed her work as a scholar. Professor Klassen won the American Academy of Religion Award of Excellence in Analytical-Descriptive Studies for her 2011 book Spirits of Protestantism: Medicine, Healing, and Liberal Christianity.

 

Carolyn Tuohy Impact on Public Policy Award

Professor Morley Gunderson

Professor Morley Gunderson is considered the most accomplished, well-rounded and influential labour economist and industrial relations scholar in Canada.

The description comes from Arthur Donner, one of the country’s best known economists who was asked by the federal government in the 1990s to chair the Advisory Group on Working Time and Distribution of Work.  He immediately sought out Prof. Gunderson, whose impartial research was respected by everyone in the group.

Economics professor Gunderson, a faculty member in the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources, and the Department of Economics at U of T, has built a reputation for doing research that is influential in affecting public policy.

In addition to working with Donner on two task forces, his work with Rosalie Abella on her Task Force on Employment Equity was influential in establishing employment equity in Canada.  He has played a role on several other major economic task forces.

And Prof. Gunderson played a significant role in the mandatory retirement decision by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1990. His ongoing research into this area, which began in 1980, has been cited in numerous court decisions and it has spawned a major debate over mandatory retirement and the impact of legislative bans on the practice.

The Masters and PhD programs in Industrial Relations and Human Resources at U of T were designed by Prof. Gunderson – the first programs of their kind in English-speaking Canada. Both programs have a strong emphasis on public policy and are considered among the best in the world.

Some of his 42 PhD students are teaching or have taught throughout the world, including the London School of Economics. Three of the students he supervised won major awards for their policy-oriented dissertations.

 

Carolyn Tuohy Impact on Public Policy Award

Professor Carol Rogerson

No legal academic in Canada has had a greater impact on the development of Canadian family law and policy than Professor Carol Rogerson.

Prof. Rogerson, with U of T’s Faculty of Law since 1983, has played a pivotal role in shaping family law in Canada. Her early work on the financial consequences of divorce contributed to the articulation by the Supreme Court of Canada of a generous basis for spousal support in compensating for the economic impact of marital roles, in particular the economic consequences of one spouse assuming disproportionate responsibility for child-rearing.

More recently, she co-directed a federal Department of Justice project, along with Professor Rollie Thompson of Dalhousie University that developed the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (SSAG), a set of formulaic guidelines intended to bring more consistency and predictability to spousal support and to improve the operation of the family justice system. The SSAG are the most ambitious and comprehensive scheme of spousal support guidelines that have been implemented in the common law world.

Although they are “advisory” and not formally legislated, the SSAG have proven to be an enormously useful tool in spousal support determinations and are now widely used by lawyers, judges, mediators and divorcing spouses. Since the draft version of the guidelines was released in 2005, they have been approved by appeal courts across the country and have been cited in more than 2,000 legal decisions.

Since the release of the final version of the SSAG in 2008, Prof. Rogerson has continued to monitor their operation as part of her research agenda, and to disseminate information about their operation to legal professionals and the public at large.

Professor Rogerson’s research and dedication to improving family law has brought her international acclaim and the SSAG have become a model for law reform other jurisdictions.

John Eekelaar, an Emeritus Fellow at Pembroke College, Oxford, said her work “is truly innovative,” and after hearing her speak at a seminar in London in December, 2012, the English Law Commission proposed developing a similar approach there.

 

Vivek Goel Faculty Citizenship Award

Professor Doug Reeve

Professor Doug Reeve made a great name for himself in the pulp and paper industry, but his love of mentoring and developing young people drew him back to teaching at the University of Toronto.

Prof. Reeve is the 2015 winner of the Vivek Goel Faculty Citizenship Award. He is former chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry and Director of the Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering (ILead).

He is a double alumnus of U of T, obtaining his MASc in 1969 and PhD in 1971. He worked in industry for several years and was an adjunct professor in ChemE from 1978-89, joining the faculty full time in 1989.

Prof. Reeve founded the Pulp and Paper Centre at U of T in 1987 and served as director until 2001. During his term as director the centre created more than $25 million in research programs with financial support from 45 companies in seven countries. When he stepped down as director in 2001 associated with the centre were: 50 graduate students, 12 research staff and 23 faculty members.

During his tenure as chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering  Applied Chemistry, he expanded the undergraduate and post-graduate enrolment; renewed faculty and staff; increased endowments and annual giving; created a board of advisors and oversaw the renovation and expansion and space and facilities.

He also assisted in the creation of BioZone and developed a framework of research clusters with the department. During his term more than $10 million in donations was received and the department budget moved form a deficit to a surplus.

Prof. Reeve worked tirelessly to establish ILead, the innovative program that has been recognized national and internationally as being at the forefront of engineering education. U of T is the only non-U.S. school to participate in the MIT-led community of top universities offering engineering leadership programs.

Prof. Reeve has won many major awards, including being inducted into the International Pulp and Paper Hall of Fame. His contributions to public policy have been recognized with the Carolyn Tuohy Impact on Public Policy Award (2009) and his leadership in education led to the 2014 Alan Blizzard Award from the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. He has been inducted into U of T’s Engineering Hall of Distinction and is a Senior Fellow at Massey College.  

 

Ludwik and Estelle Jus Memorial Human Rights Prize

Lisa Forman

Professor Lisa Forman has dedicated her academic career to establishing and clarifying how human rights can advance health and respond to inequities in this area. She earned a Doctor of Juridical Science degree from U of T Law with a dissertation on the role played by international human rights law in increasing access to AIDS treatment in South Africa.

After further postdoctoral work on rights, trade and essential medicines she was appointed Lupina Assistant Professor in Global Health and Human Rights at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and director of the Comparative Program on Health and Society at the Munk School of Global Affairs, a position in keeping with her cross-disciplinary perspective.

A native of South Africa, Professor Forman earned her BA at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg in 1990, before the official repeal of apartheid, and her Bachelor of Law degree in 1993, while the National Party was still in power. In 1995, she qualified as an attorney of the High Court of South Africa, and took up work with the AIDS Law Project at the Centre for Applied Legal Studies in Johannesburg responding to the human rights violations experienced by people with HIV and AIDS.

Professor Forman earned her Master’s degree in Human Rights Studies at Columbia University with work focusing on international legal obligations around HIV medicines. She completed her Doctorate in Juridical Science at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law in 2006.

Professor Forman has acted as a consultant for the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, the Ontario Working Group on Criminalization and HIV and the Office of the UN High Commission on Human Rights in Geneva. She has published 30 journal articles, 21 book chapters and one edited book collection, two thirds as sole or lead author. Professor Forman has attracted $800,000 in grant funding as a principal investigator and more than $3 million for projects in which she is co-investigator.

 

Ludwik and Estelle Jus Memorial Human Rights Prize

International Human Rights Program, Faculty of Law

Founded in 1987 to support human rights summer internships, the Faculty of Law's International Human Rights Program (IHRP) has expanded into a significant force in human rights advocacy in Canada and abroad. The program intervened in Supreme Court cases such as Khadr v. Canada, and contributing to important legal struggles in Kenya, Uganda, Syria and beyond. 

A few crucial advances have brought the program to its present impressive state. In 2002, the IHRP launched Canada’s first international human-rights clinic, and in 2008 expanded to include Rights Review, a publication run by students. The clinic won a Lexpert Zenith Award in 2010 for pro bono service.

In the last five years, under the directorship of Renu Mandhane and with the support of faculty advisor Professor Audrey Macklin, the IHRP has joined forces with NGOs to create invaluable learning opportunities for students while making a real difference to the promotion of human rights. These collaborations have led to such timely reports as A Girl’s Right to Learn without Fear, prepared with Plan Canada. IHRP volunteers have assisted to successfully challenge impunity for child rape in Kenya.

In 2013 the IHRP received funding from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council to support an international conference on sexual violence in Libya and Syria. The program has also done extensive work in the areas of discrimination against sexual minorities and the suppression of press freedom in Mexico and Honduras.

Recently the IHRP received a $75,000 grant from the Elton John AIDS Foundation to spearhead an investigation into Canada’s treatment of asylum-seekers with HIV. The remarkable expansion of IHRP activities has resulted in increased benefits for students, about 50 of whom are now involved annually as volunteers, clinic students, and interns.

 

Joan E. Foley Quality of Student Experience Award

Professor Brenda McCabe

A member of the Department of Civil Engineering since 1997, Professor Brenda McCabe has demonstrated her creative outlook and commitment to the student experience in a series of senior positions.

As Associate Chair, Undergraduate, a post she assumed in 2004, Professor McCabe introduced a Guidelines for Instructors manual that is still in use today. Another of her innovations, quickly adopted by other departments, was the Yes Event, which brings top recruitment prospects and their parents together with faculty and students.

In 2006, Professor McCabe became Vice-Dean, Graduate Studies for the Faculty. In that role she introduced ELITE (Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Innovation and Technology in Engineering) courses to the MEng curriculum. As Chair of Civil Engineering from 2008, Professor McCabe created five undergraduate scholarships, named after the first five women to graduate from the department. Apart from the admiration she inspired as the first woman vice-dean and first woman chair in Faculty history, Professor McCabe welcomed direct contact with students, who were inevitably impressed by her warm manner.

She was equally influential in curriculum development, introducing and teaching an Introduction to Civil Engineering course for second-year students and spearheading the new Master of Engineering in Cities Engineering and Management program. Professor McCabe placed strong emphasis of sustainability both in the curriculum and beyond. She encouraged the creation of student clubs promoting conservation and facilitated the Sky Garden. One student-driven initiative, A Promise to Future Generations, is a voluntary pledge that more than 250 students, faculty, and alumni have now signed.

Professor McCabe was also central to the revitalization of the Survey Camp at Gull Lake and initiated the annual CIV/MIN/GEO alumni event, an outstanding forum for interaction between students, faculty and alumni.

 

Chancellor’s Award – Emerging Leader

Andrea Carter

Andrea Carter has been a courageous, unfaltering leader and team player since she assumed the role of Director, High Risk & AODA at the University of Toronto.

As Director of High Risk, Ms. Carter provides direction on institutional crisis and critical incidents involving faculty, staff and students across three campuses (St. George, UTM, and UTSC). The University, with just over 80,000 students and approximately 20,000 employees is virtually a small municipality in and of itself. Issues may involve legal complexities, the mental health needs of individuals on our campus, or the safety of faculty, staff and students. Ms. Carter directly manages the Student Crisis Team in High Risk Matters, co-ordinates with the tri-campus Campus Police Offices and the Community Safety Office, as well as working with Director, Office of the Vice Provost Students on controversial student events and issues.

Professor Jill Matus, Vice-Provost, Students & First-Entry Divisions noted there are manifold examples of Andrea’s decisiveness and leadership under very trying and highly sensitive and consequential matters. Her professional training and good judgment equip her to reach out to the right people and ensure that necessary steps are taken in a wide variety of matters.

Ms. Carter holds a Master of Education (Counselling Psychology) from the University of Western Ontario and is a U of T alumnus. Her research interests are concentrated on institutional matters related to organizational policy, risk management and legislative compliance. Prof. Matus said Andreas “is efficient, thorough, personable, and when necessary, firm. Her advice and expertise are widely sought and her clinical psychology background, as well as subsequent training, is well utilized in her role.”

Professor Cheryl Regehr, Vice-President and Provost describes Andrea as a leader in assessing system-wide risks to the University and coordinating the University’s response to such threats.

Representatives of the Office of the Assistant Vice President for Student Life said “as Director of High Risk, Andrea has broken new ground in areas where there is no blueprint and has done so with great dedication and creativity.

Her involvement with ongoing institutional priorities, particularly the Mental Health Framework, is just one example of her devotion to the well-being of our students and the University.”

 

Chancellor’s Award – Emerging Leader

Melinda Scott

During her time at the University of Toronto, Melinda Scott has demonstrated a quality of relationship building that puts students, staff and faculty at ease.

In her role as Dean of Students at University College, Ms. Scott has created significant improvements to business processes; shown leadership and dedication to service and the support of students; and displayed an ongoing commitment to the University that goes well beyond her job requirements.

One of her accomplishments is developing the University College student sUCess Centre through partnering with Central Student Life services to provide students with onsite access to international student advising, career development workshops, health and wellness programming and one-on-one counseling.

Ms. Scott has also played a primary role in the development and implementation of several initiatives designed to ease students’ academic transition to the University.  One such project, PRE U of T, was a collaborative event launched during Orientation 2014 involving student orientation co-ordinators, faculty and administrative staff from across the Faculty of Arts & Science that provided first-year students with an orientation to their area of academic study.

In addition, Ms. Scott spearheaded the development of Thrive, an alternative orientation program for UC students with a primarily academic focus, and also worked collaboratively with student leaders to increase the number and quality of academically-oriented events included in the traditional UC Orientation Week.

Beyond her recent work related to orientation and transition support for students, Ms. Scott is recognized as a leader in assessment and evaluation in student affairs and services.  In her previous role as Assistant Director of the Office of Student Life, she designed and implemented a learning outcomes and assessment framework for the Division of Student Life Programs and Services, and lead several large, institutional assessment projects.  She regularly presents on the topic of assessment – both within the University of Toronto and at institutions across Canada.

In addition to her professional role at the University, Ms. Scott is currently a PhD student in higher education in the Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

Lucy Fromowitz, Assistant Vice-President, Student Life, said Ms. Scott has all the key attributes of a leader – honesty, the ability to communicate, a commitment to positive change and creativity. “And most importantly, she is the person people want to work with. She is a dynamic leader who brings energy to everything she does, and in turn, derives energy from those who work with her.”

 

Chancellor’s Award – Influential Leader

Judith Chadwick

In her 32 years of service to the University of Toronto, Judith Chadwick has exemplified the personal and professional attributes of leadership, innovation, commitment, integrity, accountability, thoughtfulness and generosity.

Ms. Chadwick is Assistant Vice-President Research Services and Chief Administrative Officer of the Vice-President Research and Innovation portfolio.

She is known for her consistent and talented leadership, knowledge, attention to detail without losing sight of the big picture and a collaborative and collegial approach, especially in three specific areas:

  1. Administrative Leadership of Large Scale Institutional Research Initiatives.  She has helped faculty members and research staff to build U of T’s success in high priority, internationally lauded government programs including the Canada Research Chairs (CRC) program and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).
  2. Cultivating Relationships Across Central Portfolios. Ms Chadwick is highly regarded for her ability to bring diverse U of T groups together in order to advance the University.  She has developed especially strong business relationships with Planning and Budget, the Provost’s Office, Office of VP Operations and Government, Institutional and Community Relations.
  3. Committed University Citizen. Ms. Chadwick has been a respected mentor in the U of T Mentoring Partnership for more than a decade.  Through this contribution, she has assisted a variety of U of T managers as they have built their careers.  In 2007 she was admitted into the inaugural cohort of the University’s Higher Education Leadership Program at OISE, graduating in 2010. Her pursuit of the advanced degree is a great example of her dedication to personal and professional growth.

Ms. Chadwick has been involved in the management of the Connaught Fund for most of her career at U of T. The internal research funding program is well known for its emphasis on supporting young investigators, providing seed funding for innovative thinking and supporting research that addresses a diversity of global challenges. More recently, Ms. Chadwick has played a senior role in guiding the University’s application to the Canada First Research Excellence Fund. For the first round of competition, U of T submitted a single proposal valued at $120million. Her leadership on the project has been exemplary and has been performed with her inimitable energy, foresight, fairness and good humour.

 

Adel S. Sedra Distinguished Graduate Award 

Alexandra Harris

Alexandra Harris is a gifted leader, global thinker and as a PhD student is already an innovative builder in the health care profession.

Ms. Harris has exhibited some extraordinary talents while completing her Doctor of Philosophy, Nursing Health Systems, at the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing.  But her work began several years before coming to the faculty.

Early in her nursing career, she was an intern for the Chief Nurse Scientist at the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva where she aided in the development of a report entitled: Framework for Action on Inter-professional Education and Collaborative Practice.

In 2008 she moved to Toronto to begin work as a newly-graduated nurse and soon became a research assistant to Linda McGillis Hall, Professor and Associate Dean of Research and External Relations at the Bloomberg faculty.

When Ms. Harris enrolled in the combined Masters of Nursing / Masters of Health Administration program Prof. McGillis Hall saw her work in the classroom learning environment, interacting with other students and learning new concepts.  “Both her written work and her ideas and integration of the class concepts were at a very high level,” Prof. Hall says. The professor then recommended her to the national professional nursing organization of Canada, the Canadian Nurses Association, to lead the conduct of a critical synthesis of the literature of nurse staffing and patient outcomes.

While working on her doctoral studies, Ms. Harris developed the Toronto chapter of the Emerging Health Leaders, a peer network of professionals from different sectors in health care. And she has volunteered with several community organizations, including the IMAGINE clinic, which provides health access to vulnerable populations, and the board of a local senior seniors organization.

Ms. Harris has been selected as a prestigious Junior Fellow at Massey College, received an Ontario Graduate Scholarship, a CIHR Doctoral Training award and serves as a graduate student governor on Governing Council at U of T. In 2013 she received the Dean’s Medal honouring the student with the highest academic record in the Master’s program at the Faculty of Nursing.

 

UTAA Graduate Scholars

Vincy Chan

Vincy Chan, a PhD candidate in the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute (formerly Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Science), believes her program work can provide policy relevant information for decision makers and knowledge users to direct healthcare needs for children and youth with acquired brain injury (ABI). Her goal is to generate new knowledge concerning the number of ABI cases among children and youth and their use of healthcare services, including home care and physician services.

Dr. Angela Colantonio, senior research scientist at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, UHN and a professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at U of T, said in her opinion Ms. Chan “may rank among the top or be the top graduate student in Canada.” Her doctoral work has attracted more than $280,000 in awards and she has 14 peer-reviewed publications and 20 published abstracts.

Dr. Colantonio said she was so impressed with Ms. Chan she asked her to take on the role of Project Manager for an ABI Dataset Project, the world’s first population based project on acquired brain injury across the healthcare continuum.

Ms. Chan was invited to present her thesis at the Brain Canada 2014 annual general meeting. She also took a leading role in organizing and presenting at symposia at international meetings with senior researchers, including those at U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

Ms. Chan was also the co-president and secretary of the Rehabilitation Science Graduate Student Union and was previously a member on the Mentorship committee. Dina Brooks, a professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at U of T, met Ms. Chan when she was co-president.

“I believe Vincy is a brilliant young researcher with the intellectual and personal attributes necessary to excel in a health research career,” Prof. Brooks said.

Daniel Felsky

Daniel Felsky, seeking his PhD at the Institute of Medical Science at U of T, is focusing on how genetic risk factors influence brain susceptibility for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

He is leading the first-ever study examining structural brain changes due to mutations in a gene involved in brain inflammation, and it has found that a single mutation within this gene may confer protection against the development of Alzheimer’s-associated brain pathology that is roughly equivalent to a six-year reduction in age.

Felsky’s on-going studies are in collaboration with field-leading scientists at Rush University in Chicago and Harvard Medical School in Boston. He is working closely with them as he continues to dissect interactive relationships between risk genes in disease-related pathways as well as the effect of lifestyle and environment on the activity of such pathways.

His plan as a researcher is to pursue post-doctoral training aimed at accelerating the pace of mental health research, facilitated largely by the availability of new collaborative large-scale datasets. Felsky believes this approach promises transformative breakthroughs in the coming years

He hopes his future work will yield a new understanding of why and how diseases such as Alzheimer’s develop, leading to novel biologically-informed and individually-tailored intervention strategies.

Felsky has won 15 awards and scholarships during his PhD program, including a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (the top available doctoral scholarship in Canada), a Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement, an Alzheimer’s Association Research Program Doctoral Award, and three Ontario Student Opportunity Trust Fund awards.

Prior to his graduate studies, he spent four consecutive summer terms in the Psychiatric Neurogenetics Laboratory at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). Felsky’s PhD co-supervisor and head of the lab, Dr. James Kennedy, said “Daniel is among the most capable students I have ever supervised, and in terms of the potential he shows, I have no doubt that he will have a profound impact in the field of mental health research and an extremely successful career.”

Kennedy said “the impact of Daniel’s research could potentially change the way we assess early risk for Alzheimer’s, in that he has identified a novel gene system that may synergistically predict the onset of disease several decades before symptoms appear.”

Matt Gordner

While at the School of Graduate Studies, Matt Gordner has devoted much of his time as an analyst and political consultant to issues of democracy and human rights promotion.

He is the Founder and Executive Director of the Peace by Peace Initiative, a non-profit organization which encourages and facilitates meaningful, constructive, inclusive and respectful inter-personal and communal dialogue in promoting mutual understanding of sensitive political, social, and economic issues.

Paul Kingston, Director and Associate Professor of Political Science, Centre for Critical Development Studies at University of Toronto Scarborough, said he has been impressed with Gordner’s “breadth of knowledge, his drive and openness to learn as much as he can about the history and political economy of the Middle East region in particular.”

Gordner organized a symposium on the Arab Spring at the University of Toronto last winter, and he spent this past summer at Middlebury College’s Arabic Immersion Institute. Gordner received the Trudeau Scholarship and the Dorot Fellowship prior to entering his doctoral degree in Political Science at U of T.

He is relocating to Tunis for two years in September, 2015 for field work and to help organize workshops and seminars with civil society groups and academic institutions, the first of which will focus on consolidating the Tunisian transition.

He has lived in the Middle East and North Africa for more than five years, giving him a unique perspective on building bridges between communities and organizations striving for meaningful and lasting solutions that recognize the intertwining need for security and justice for all peoples in the region.

As a not-for-profit worker and community organizer, Gordner hopes to build larger networks with peace-building organizations and individuals in an effort to facilitate and promote ever-more effective and robust forms of dialogue on the political issues that are most threatening to local and international peace and security. 

 

John H. Moss Scholarship 

Jozef Kosc

A history and political science major from Trinity College, Jozef A. Kosc has maintained stellar grades while assembling a resume of extracurricular activities that would credit a scholar in mid-career. Among the positions he has held are editorial assistant for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), president of UN Youth Canada, junior research fellow for the NATO Council of Canada, international security analyst for the Atlantic Council of the United Kingdom and marketing manager for the Paris Globalist Magazine. This last publication is associated with Sciences Po Paris, the famed French academy, where Kosc earned three top-of-class finishes during two semesters abroad.

The son of refugees and pro-democracy organizers from Soviet-era Poland, Kosc grew up with an appreciation of the freedoms enjoyed by his fellow Canadians. He has pursued his ambition to follow a career in public service as a visiting student at the University of Cape Town, School of Education and as an exchange summer student at the Rothberg International School at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Later, as a youth diplomat, he represented Canada at the UNESCO General Conference, and at the Nuclear Knowledge Summit in Amsterdam.

A member of the Hart House Debating Club, Kosc gave addresses in the French Assemblée Nationale, and at the British Ambassador’s residence in Paris. He was also, under the auspices of the Atlantic Council, the world’s youngest student to be invited to NATO headquarters to hear briefings on the Ukrainian crisis along with NATO, European Union and military officials. Despite all this travel, Kosc has published more than 30 essays and commentaries in peer-reviewed journals and other publications, including the Toronto Globalist and the Journal of International Relations, Peace & Development. He has written a chapter on South African literacy in the recently published book Modern Dilemmas: Understanding Collective Action in the 21st Century and has presented published work at graduate-level conferences in Paris and Bucharest.

Kosc intends to use his Moss scholarship to pursue graduate work in international relations at the University of Oxford.

 

UTAA Scholars

Moustafa Abdalla

Moustafa Abdalla has the uncanny ability to draw together the practical elements of patient care with community needs and complicated scientific research.

In the final stages of an HBSc in Biochemistry and Physiology at Victoria College, Abdalla is a model of student leadership and scholarship, maintaining a 4.0 CGPA throughout his studies.

Last summer, he wrote his first scientific peer-reviewed publication over the course of three months, which was quickly followed by two more. As an interdisciplinary researcher, with one foot in the world of the electron and the other in the medical realm, Abdalla has led most projects he has worked on.

He believes medicine is entering an exciting phase of development; technology with its underlying mathematical principles is being integrated into patient care and clinical research. A computational biologist, he believes, is necessary to bring to fruition the abundance of theoretical solutions in the computational world.

Dr. Andrew Advani, a Clinical Scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital, was Abdalla’s academic supervisor for two years. “He is head and shoulders the best student that I have ever interacted with and feel truly privileged that he has been involved in my lab over the past several months,” Dr. Advani said.

Abdalla is not only exceptionally intelligent but tremendously charismatic, Dr. Advani said. He is a born leader and accomplished teacher who taught computing to children and adults and other students and technicians in the lab -- “all in a truly humble and unassuming way.”

Abdalla is committed to the interdisciplinary field of computational biology. In a supporting letter for the scholarship written by Paul Gooch, President and Vice-Chancellor of Victoria College and Angela Esterhammer, Principal of Victoria College, they say Abdalla “speaks passionately about the potential of this cutting-edge research to enhance human health and well-being.”

Abdalla will pursue his DPhil in Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, and his MD at Harvard Medical School.

Misha Boutilier

Misha Boutilier’s deepest aspiration is to provide policy leadership on Canada’s approach to helping prevent mass atrocity crimes, through a career in the federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development.

Boutilier, an Ontario Rhodes Scholar finalist in 2014, will graduate this year from St. Michael’s College in the Department of History and International Relations Program.

He has had a love of history since elementary school and the brutal conflicts ongoing in Libya and Syria intensified the strong sense of justice and ethical responsibility he feels towards the world’s most vulnerable people. This inspired him to join the Canadian Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, a student-led research and advocacy group based at the Munk School of Global Affairs. In 2014 Boutilier participated at a young leader’s roundtable with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

He plans to devote his life to public service in support of the fight to prevent mass atrocities. Boutilier is currently planning to study for a JD at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law, though he may defer this to pursue a MPhil in International Relations at Cambridge University.

Boutilier worked for the Ontario government last summer on Aboriginal policy, and is a member of the NATO Council of Canada. He is also President of the History Student’s Association at U of T.

Robert Bothwell, Professor of History at U of T, said “Misha has training on both politics and history. He is very well trained in research – a point of contact between historical training and the study of law. He communicates the results concisely and elegantly. He is very skilled in argumentation, as I have observed in seminar this year.”

Domenico Pietropaolo, Principal, St. Michael’s College described Boutilier as not only intelligent and diligent but also compassionate. He is genuinely interested in finding solutions to problems that cause social conflict and human suffering. He has a keen sense of social justice and is moved by a very strong sense of personal ethics and is regarded as a student of distinction, in intellect as well as character.

Alexander Lozano

Alexander Lozano’s ambition to become an inventor in the field of energy led him to pursue a physics and chemistry double major, three research experiences and an entrepreneurial endeavour.

Working towards an Honours BSc at Trinity College this year, Lozano has impressed in the manner in which he moves between the academic world in which he is so comfortable and the worlds of entrepreneurship and volunteerism.

In April, 1011 he co-founded PowerSole Inc. Energy Harvesting Shoes, a company dedicated to designing and commercializing energy harvesting footwear. Its goal is to license technology in America in order to fund distribution in the developing world, and the venture has received a significant investment. He led the company’s filing of US provisional and utility patents, and developed the proof of concept prototype. PowerSole is currently seeking to license its technology to a shoe manufacturer. 

Lozano is also co-president of the U of T chapter of Children of Hope Uganda, which won a grant from the U of T model UN club.

He worked for two consecutive summers in a lab at Caltech on nano-structured lithium ion batteries. He also drafted a U.S. provisional application for a U of T start-up called Allergen Free Inc., founded by graduate students.

Nazir Kherani, a professor in the Departments of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Material Science and Engineering at U of T, said “given his strong background in science and his experience in translating an invention into business, Alex has a strong foundation for innovating in materials. During his time in my lab Alex has proven he has the drive and capacity to overcome challenging problems and present new ideas required for success in a top PhD program. His creativity combined with skills developed both in my group and during his undergraduate career have prepared well him to undertake the research challenges in his field of interest.”

Lozano hopes to obtain a PhD at Stanford University and an MD at the University of Toronto.   

Muhammad Qureshi

Muhammad Qureshi’s future academic goal is to conduct ground-breaking research into the new field of photocatalytic water splitting, which involves turning sunlight into fuel products.

Qureshi is set to graduate this year with a double major in Chemistry and Environmental Science at the University of Toronto Mississauga, and then pursue a doctorate at one of the flagship programs for solar fuels research the University of Cambridge or at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia.

His future career plans involve pursuing an academic career in chemistry as a researcher and teacher at a global research-intensive university.

And in the long term, he hopes to become a global leader in the field of sustainable chemistry and become a public advocate for transitioning from an unsustainable carbon cycle to a sustainable solar fuel economy.

Qureshi founded EnviroHub at U of T to share sustainable ideas and best practices across 20 university campuses, and wrote grant applications to fund new programs for nine campus environmental clubs.

He has been recognized for his conservation leadership in Canada with several major awards, including the Lieutenant Governor's Award, the Canadian Youth Environmental Leadership Scholarship, and is currently a 2015 Clean50 Emerging Leader and a Top 25 Environmentalist Under 25.

And Qureshi’s volunteer contributions on the UTM campus have been recognized with the Gordon Cressy Award, the Green Ribbon Award, and the Principal’s Involvement Award. He has worked as both a research assistant and a teaching assistant at U of T, rare for an undergraduate student. He won two NSERC awards to research methods for catalytic lithium-halogen exchange and activating adamantane for pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Monika Havelka, in the Department of Geography at UTM, said she chose Qureshi to be her teaching assistant for a new research methods course for first-year students. “He was and continues to be very active in the development of the course, and the students find him to be extremely knowledgeable, approachable and an effective communicator.”

She described him as an outstanding and engaged student with a genuine passion for the environment, and a true commitment to improving life on his campus and in his community.

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