Faculty of Medicine learners recognized with top convocation awards

Jun 4th, 2024

Kelly Foss

Three learners in the Faculty of Medicine picked up a little something extra when they crossed the stage during convocation ceremonies last week.

Drs. Christie Costello, Lisa Fang and Alison Haynes are being recognized for their leadership and academic excellence with three of the university’s highest convocation honours.

Dr. Christie Costello

In addition to her PhD in medicine (human genetics and genomics), Dr. Costello holds a bachelor of science (hons.) degree in biochemistry.

She received the Chancellor’s Graduate Award, the most prestigious leadership recognition awarded by Memorial University.

It is given to a learner who has demonstrated the greatest leadership contribution to graduate student life and other areas of the community during their university years.

The recipient of this award also receives the Fry Family Foundation Leadership Award. It recognizes their contribution to student life at Memorial University.

“I really hope I was able to make an impact on the students around me and everyone’s experience in our programs.”— Dr. Christie Costello

Dr. Costello, who is currently completing her third year in the Doctor of Medicine Program at Memorial, was president of the Human Genetics Student Society for four years and continued as past president until finishing her graduate degree.

She was also involved in the Medical Graduate Students’ Society for two years as program representative and secretary and was a member of the executive planning committee for the annual Monte Carlo Charity Gala.

Formerly an active volunteer with the Newfoundland and Labrador Sexual Assault Crisis and Prevention Centre, Dr. Costello enjoys participating in high school outreach programs.

“It was very meaningful to hear that I had won this award,” said Dr. Costello. “It was a great pleasure to be involved so much in student life throughout my program and I really hope I was able to make an impact on the students around me and everyone’s experience in our programs.”

Dr. Lisa Fang

Dr. Fang holds a joint honours B.Sc. in behavioural neuroscience and biology degree from Memorial and completed a PhD in medicine (neuroscience).

She received the Governor General’s Gold Medal, which is given to the graduate student who achieves the highest academic standing in their program.

Currently a post-doctoral research associate at Washington University in St. Louis, Dr. Fang is investigating transcriptional differences that underlie drug addiction in the hope of finding a better, more precise treatment for those with substance use disorder in the future.

“My parents did not have the privilege of getting an education and immigrated to Canada in hopes of giving their children that opportunity,” said Dr. Fang. “Growing up, they were always my role models and I watched them persevere through so many challenges. They really defined what working hard and resiliency was for me.

“Winning this award means so much to me, but I think it means even more to them. It is a reminder that no matter our background, we are capable of great things,” she added. “Being recognized at this level is such an honour to me, and I know I would not be where I am today without the amazing support of my family, friends and the Memorial University community.”

Drs. Costello and Fang are best friends who met as undergraduate students while working in Dr. Michiru Hirasawa’s lab. They even defended their theses within one week of each other and were thrilled to cross the stage together during spring convocation.

Dr. Alison Haynes

Dr. Haynes received the University Medal for Excellence in an All-Course Master’s Program.

It is awarded by the dean of the School of Graduate Studies to a student who has demonstrated academic excellence in course work throughout their graduate program.

Dr. Haynes has a long history at Memorial, including a bachelor of kinesiology (hons.) degree, an MD and a pediatric residency.

After completing a fellowship at the University of Toronto, Dr. Haynes returned to the province to practise as a clinical immunologist and allergist. She also holds an academic position with the Faculty of Medicine as an assistant professor in the Discipline of Pediatrics.

“This award is not just a recognition of my individual efforts, but also a tribute to the dedicated faculty and mentors who have inspired and guided me.”— Dr. Alison Haynes

While balancing her clinical, academic and personal responsibilities, she took on the additional challenge of the Master of Public Health Program at Memorial. It opened the doors to several new challenges including a contact with the Public Health Agency of Canada National Advisory Committee on Immunization.

“Receiving this award is a profound honour and privilege,” said Dr. Haynes. “It acknowledges my commitment to lifelong learning as a physician, medical education leader and most recently as a student in the Master of Public Health Program at Memorial.

“My pursuit of lifelong learning has opened new doors and fostered my personal and professional growth,” she added. “This award is not just a recognition of my individual efforts, but also a tribute to the dedicated faculty and mentors who have inspired and guided me along my educational journey, and the unwavering love and support from my friends and family, especially my parents, Helen and Roger Haynes, my husband, Eddy Brockerville, and my children, Alexander, and Catherine.”