April 27, 2023

The GSA honouring Award Recipients for the 2022-23 academic year 

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Keira Gunn and Ariel Kim awarded the prestigious Leadership Awards at the GSA Awards Gala 2023

Challenging times produce exceptional leadership. The GSA is grateful to witness numerous graduate students and community members have taken on leadership roles to ensure that graduate students thrive with mental health, financial, and community support. 

On April 26, the GSA hosted its annual Awards Gala to recognize twenty three exceptional individuals, including graduate students, senior researchers, support staff, and supervisors. The GSA expresses its sincere appreciation as they have gone above and beyond to support the UCalgary graduate student community. 

Leadership Awards Recipients

Two exceptional leaders awarded the GSA Leadership Award this year are Keira Gunn, former AVP Labour and Chair of the GSA Graduate Labour Union (formerly known as the GSA Labour Relations Committee,) and Ariel Kim, Chair of the GSA Gender and Sexuality Alliance Subcommittee. Keira brought great changes to the GSA Graduate Union Labour to improve the experience of academically employed graduate students at the University of Calgary. They established a strong foundation that will sustain the work and operations of the union moving into the future. Under Ariel’s leadership, the GSA Gender and Sexuality Alliance Subcommittee hosted the GSA’s first ever Drag Show and the GSA Intersectionality Symposium in collaboration with other GSA committees. Because of their work, Ariel and her team had brought more visibility to under-represented groups in our UCalgary community and advocating for them to the University of Calgary and the larger Calgary community. 

The Emerging Leader Award was presented to Imran Basha Soudagar Abdul Khadar, Master’s Student at the Haskayne School of Business. Imran is also a member of the GSA Governance and Sustainability Committees. They are currently serving as the president of the MBA Society Departmental Graduate Association. They have worked with the UN as a Project Coordinator for the Sustainable Cities Integrated Approach Pilot Project in the home country of India. They have also volunteered with the City of Calgary and have served as a mentor for fellow University of Calgary graduate students.   

Twenty other exceptional individuals received GSA Awards for their unweaving support for UCalgary graduate students. The GSA is truly honoured to recognize them during its 2023 Awards Gala and celebrate their excellence. 

The GSA would like to thank the Awards Committee and the GSA Vice President Academic, James Steele, for their work on the awards’ terms of reference, application, and adjudication process. 

Please join the GSA to honour the recipients of the 2022-2023 GSA Awards:

Excellence in Administrative Support – Support Staff 

Lori Somner, Graduate Program Advisor, Department of History 

Excellence in Research – Graduate Students 

Joel Burma, PhD student in the Department of Kinesiology 

Excellence in Research – Research Affiliate 

Shahina Wiehler, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology 

Excellence in Supervision 

Dr. Andrew Szeto, Department of Psychology and Director of the University of Calgary Campus Mental Health Strategy 

Excellence in Teaching – Graduate Student 

Tanisha Henry, PhD student in Biological Sciences 

Excellence in Teaching – Senior Instructor 

Dr. Kim Koh, Professor at the Werklund School of Education 

Leadership Award 

  • Keira Gunn, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, former GSA AVP Graduate Labour Union 
  • Ariel Kim, Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Infectious Diseases, GSA Gender and Sexuality Alliance Subcommittee Chair

Emerging Leader Award 

Imran Basha Soudagar Abdul Khadar, Haskayne School of Business 

GSA Champion Award 

Thao Nguyen, GSA Marketing & Communication Manager 

Lifetime Achievement Award 

Alex Paquette, former GSA Vice President Academic 

Graduate Representative Council Distinguished Service Award 

Brett Nelson, PhD student, Department of Linguistics 

Volunteer Excellence Awards 

  • Pamela Farrell, Chair of the Food Housing Working Group 
  • Leah Mercier, Chair of the Awards Committee  
  • Nneka Jk-Onyeka, Vice-Chair the Governance Committee  
  • Colin McKenzie, Chair of the GSA Mental Health and Wellness Subcommittee 
  • Pavana Bollu, Chair of the Finance Standing Committee 

Graduate Student Sustainability Award 

Micky (Sangwook) Ahn  (Honourable Mentions: Kulsum Fatima, Milanpreet Kuar) 

Graduate Representative Council Initiative Awards 

  • Meg Monisit and Daniel Adebesin  
  • Hanna Thai 
  • Navid Maddahi 
  • Miao Wang 

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