Students, staff and faculty honoured at Faculty of Science Awards

Oct 19th, 2023

Madeline Meadus

The Faculty of Science hosted its annual Dean’s List and Awards Ceremony last month. The Dean’s List recognizes the top 10 percent of students.

Dr. Travis Fridgen, Dean of Science, and Dr. Donna Hardy-Cox, Associate Vice President (Academic) Students, presented the awards.    

This year, 356 students made the Dean’s List.  

During the ceremony, Dr. Fridgen also presented select students with the Book Prize Award and The Lou Visentin Award.    

The Book Prize is presented to one student from each department offering a B.Sc degree. It is awarded based on demonstrated academic excellence.  

This year’s recipients were Katie Burt, Biology; Anders Cornect, Mathematics and Statistics; Robyn Grandy, Chemistry; Shah Labib Hasan, Economics; Siyue Hu, Psychology; Alexis Johnson, Earth Sciences; Kathryn MacDonald, Ocean Sciences; Abby Pace, Biochemistry; Vikentiy Pashuk, Physics and Physical Oceanography; Siobhan Quinn, Geography; and Jielong Yao, Computer Science.


The Lou Visentin Award is the highest academic achievement for students pursuing an undergraduate degree in the Faculty of Science. It recognizes students named on the Dean’s List for all four years of their program. This year, 23 students received the Lou Visentin Award.


Co-op Student of the Year   

Rafia Akter and Yaksh Haranwala received the Co-op Student of the Year award. It recognizes a co-op student who has demonstrated exceptionality in all aspects of their B.Sc academic program and work term performance.  

Ms. Akter has completed work term placements with Seafair Capital and Memorial University’s Centre for Institutional Analysis and Planning. Her employers spoke highly of her performance during work terms, citing her eagerness to learn and willingness to take on challenges.

Mr. Haranwala completed a work term at Verafin where his work focused on contributing to analytics that alert banks to money laundering. His supervisor said he demonstrated strong technical skills and was a great addition to the team.

Graduate Leadership    

The Graduate Leadership Award recognizes graduate students who contribute positively to the campus or community life. Brianna George, Francine Burke and Arshad Shaikh were the inaugural recipients. 

Ms. George is completing a Master’s in Experimental Psychology. She is the Canadian Psychological Association Campus Representative and a member of the Department of Psychology Social Media Committee. 

Ms. Burke is completing a Master’s in Experimental Psychology with a research concentration in behavioural neuroscience. She has received many awards, including the M.Sc. Oral Presentation Award at the Brainwaves Convention and Award for Academic Excellence from the Graduate Psychology Society. 

Shaikh is completing a Doctor of Philosophy in Biology. He primarily conducts research in the Tahlan Lab. He currently serves as a Student Representative on Memorial’s Board of Regents. He also served a year as President of Memorial’s Indian Youth Association. 

Distinguished Service Awards   

The Distinguished Service Awards recognize faculty and staff who demonstrate outstanding performance. The Faculty Service Award is a new award.  

This year’s staff award was presented to Andrea Darby-King, a laboratory supervisor with the Department of Biology. Her nominators highlighted her tremendous efforts during the department's move to the Core Science Facility. 

Two faculty members received this year’s Distinguished Service Award. Dr. Patrick Gagnon from the Department of Ocean Sciences, and Dr. Yildiz Yilmaz, from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

Dr. Gagnon’s colleagues recognized his dedication to advancing the department, citing his efforts in developing an action plan outlining the goals of the department.

Dr. Yilmaz’s nominators highlighted her commitment to advocating for creating inclusive and diverse spaces in academia.  

Distinguished Scholar Medal   

This year’s Distinguished Scholar Medal was presented to Dr. Ian Fleming from the Department of Ocean Sciences. The award recognizes outstanding and sustained contributions to scholarly activities in teaching and research.  

Dr. Fleming has been recognized internationally for his world-class contributions to the management and conservation of fish populations. He is one of Memorial's most cited scholars.

Distinguished Emerging Scholar   

This award is presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to teaching and research in the Faculty of Science before receiving tenure. Dr. Jane Stockmann and Dr. Michael Babechuk were this year’s recipients.     

Dr. Stockmann leads a thriving research group and is a strong mentor for her many graduate and undergraduate students. All the papers she has published at Memorial include student co-authors.  

Dr. Babechuk is a high-impact researcher with a positive reputation and has made many contributions to environmental geochemistry, chemical weathering and sedimentary processes, and reconstructing ancient Earth surface environments 

Team Science  

Introduced this year, the Team Science Award honours a team, group or committee that demonstrates extraordinary collaboration and creative approaches to support the Faculty of Science’s vision and goals.

The inaugural winners were the Faculty of Science Grants Facilitation Team – which includes Dr. Lynn Frizzell, Dr. Jennifer Major and Phillip MacCallum.  

Their mission is to support the research goals of the faculty, which historically has meant they review grants and contacts – providing professional feedback on sections like highly qualified personnel training, knowledge translation plans, and equity, diversity and inclusion. 

Distinguished Teacher   

Dr. Valerie Booth from the Department of Biochemistry was this year’s recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award. It is presented to an academic staff member whose sustained commitment and creative approach to teaching have contributed to the improvement of the overall quality of teaching within the faculty. 

Dr. Booth has been instrumental in enhancing the learning experiences of undergraduate and graduate students in their biochemistry and nutrition programs.


Photos from the ceremony are available on the faculty’s official Facebook page