Jonas Roberts awarded prestigious Chancellor's Award with the Fry Family Foundation Leadership Award

Sep 8th, 2015

By Jackey Locke

Jonas Roberts awarded prestigious Chancellor's Award with the Fry Family Foundation Leadership Award

When Jonas Roberts crossed the stage at spring convocation to receive his doctor of philosophy degree, he had more than one reason to be proud. Dr. Roberts not only received his doctoral degree but he also received the Chancellor’s Graduate Award with the Fry Foundation Leadership Award.

While wearing the floppy hat was a lot of fun for him, Dr. Roberts said the moment was a culmination of lots of hard work and sacrifices.

“It was a very proud moment for me,” he said. “Convocation seemed so far away for a long time so receiving my PhD after the many years of hard work was extremely satisfying. To be given the Chancellor's Graduate Award and the Fry Family Foundation Leadership Award was simply amazing. I'm pretty sure I could hear my family cheering above the crowd when I walked across the stage.”

The Chancellor's Graduate Award is awarded to given at convocation to the student of the graduating class who has demonstrated the greatest leadership contribution to graduate student life and other areas of the community during his or her university years. The Fry Family Foundation Leadership Award is presented to a graduate student who has been selected as Memorial University of Newfoundland’s most outstanding graduate student leader. This award is given at convocation to the student who has been selected to receive the Chancellor Award which is the most prestigious leadership recognition awarded by Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Dr. Roberts led quite a few initiatives during his time at Memorial. Some highlights include co-founding the Memorial University chapter of Engineers Without Borders and serving on several committees. He gave much of his time and energy to social and political movements outside the university as a member of NL Climate Change and Energy Working Group. Their work ultimately led to the provincial government’s “Turn Back the Tide” campaign to raise climate change awareness and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He is a founding board member of “JustChange St. John’s,” an organization that pools their personal financial resources to provide grants to local groups trying to make lasting positive social, environmental and/or economic impacts within their communities.

For his PhD, Dr. Roberts partnered with Nalcor Energy and investigated the impacts of climate change on the Lower Churchill Project.

“Along the way, I made some interesting discoveries related to climate model uncertainty and sources of error,” said Dr. Roberts. “I hope my discoveries will help in the development of the next generation of models.” 

Dr. Ken Snelgrove, who supervised Dr. Roberts and nominated him for the award, is extremely proud and was thrilled to hear the news.

“I have known Jonas since his undergraduate studies. I have always been impressed with Jonas both for his academic performance and his strong social conscience,” said Dr. Snelgrove. “When he expressed a desire to study at the doctoral level, I was keen to supervise his studies. Throughout his time at Memorial, Jonas has shown both great academic accomplishments and significant leadership within his community that has both distinguished him and our institution.”

Dr. Roberts is now working on global projects as a climate change consultant.