2019 Partners In Research National Award Winners



Dr. Oyedeji Ayonrinde Biomedical Ambassador Award
Dr. Ayonrinde is a cannabis education expert whose focus is on cannabis literacy and risks of harm across different demographics, as well as the gaps in knowledge among health care professionals. His research has helped produce initiatives such as developing social media marketing strategies and targeted knowledge translation initiatives. Through these ventures and working with organizations such as the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University, Health Canada and PIR, he has promoted understanding of cannabis among youth and families.  His team has received a marketing award for his social media project, as well as in 2018, the Knowledge Award from the Kingston Health Sciences Center.

Dr. Ayonrinde is committed to reaching as many demographic groups as possible. He has delivered educational programs at universities and colleges, and he has worked with both students and parents at high schools. He has led sessions for the Canadian Armed Forces, for fire and rescue professionals, hospitals, emergency workers and paramedics, among other groups. He has also delivered a program at the Tyendinaga Reserve in order to reach the Indigenous population near Kingston.

Dr. Ayonrinde has been especially focused on reaching high school students, who are a particularly at-risk group with the recent legalization. To help reach this demographic, he has utilized highly innovative approaches to knowledge translation, such as webinars and marketing campaigns, which he has collaborated on with students and faculty from the Queen’s Smith School of Business.

Recognizing the significance of his efforts, Dr. Ayonrinde’s work has been covered by the media over a dozen times. This fact speaks to the importance of his outreach activities, and the media coverage has certainly enabled him to reach an ever larger audience.

 2018 - Ayonrinde
Dr. Philip Currie Science Ambassador Award
World-renowned palaeontologist Dr. Philip J. Currie is a passionate and effective popularizer and educator of science. He has written 172 popular articles for magazines such as National Geographic and Natural History, and his 23 books on dinosaurs have been published in English, Czech, Dutch, German, Japanese and Polish. The Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs (edited by Currie and Kevin Padian) was the primary reference for both the public and fellow scientists for more than a decade after its publication in 1997. Dr. Currie’s outstanding reputation, dedication, and willingness to communicate his science to the public are manifest in the more than 900 invited public talks he has given worldwide. He is frequently consulted by the media, and has more than 600 primary television, magazine and newspaper credits, including ABC, BBC, CBC, CBS, CTV, National Geographic, The New York Times, and Time Magazine. A Google search of “Philip J. Currie dinosaurs” produces more than a quarter of a million hits. Dr. Currie was closely involved in the construction and development of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller, Alberta. As a destination for an international public, the museum is a major economic generator for the region, and attracts up to half a million tourists per year. Dr. Currie was directly responsible for the dinosaur galleries of the museum, and for the development of the museum’s Field Station in nearby Dinosaur Provincial Park. Additionally, he has been the scientific consultant for several major traveling exhibitions, including the Canada-China Dinosaur Project display (Australia, Canada, Japan and Singapore), Hitachi Dinoventure (several cities in Japan), and the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum (Japan). In 2015, he was honoured with the creation of the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, located between Grande Prairie, Alberta, and a major dinosaur site west of that city.  2018 - Currie
Dr. Catherine Mavriplis Technology & Engineering Ambassador Award

Dr. Catherine Mavriplis is the NSERC Chair for Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) for Ontario and Professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Ottawa, Dr. Mavriplis is an accomplished researcher in computational fluid dynamics and passionate promoter of advancing women in science and engineering (S&E). Her prolific research program has provided high accuracy computational tools for flow simulations: in aerodynamics, which provides validation for the Canadian aircraft industry; and for blood flow, to better understand pathological diseases and ultimately benefiting patients who will soon experience personalized medicine and reduced blood test wait-times.

As WISE Chair and Manager of the national WISE Chair network, Dr. Mavriplis has led several high-impact projects aimed at advancing women in S&E in Canada that have contributed to the development of new lines of interdisciplinary research. In collaboration with historians, she has investiagted the gendering of the relatively new profession of computer scientist, thereby opening up a rich area of exploration on the development of technology in Canada in collaboration with Ingenium, the national network of science and tech museums. An international workshop co-organized by Dr. Mavriplis in 2014 led to the establishment of a permanent Archive of Women in S&E in cooperation with Library and Archives Canada. Dr. Mavriplis has also worked with communications researchers to develop widely attended workshops on negotiation skills for women in industry, including Pratt & Whitney Canada. In collaboration with sociologists and Statistics Canada, she studies the transition of engineering graduates to the workplace. She has also partnered with management and electrical engineering researchers, and Invest Ottawa to study how women engineering students are motivated for entrepreneurship. The resulting Women’s Startup Network has produced a number of strong women entrepreneurs, among them, Midia Shikh Hassan, winner of the 2018 Queen’s Young Leader Award. Dr. Mavriplis’ sustained presence in the media, social media and at various events testifies to her strong commitment to impacting Canadian society beyond academia. Her important contributions earned her the 2016 Elsie MacGill Northern Lights Award for Education for her dedication to women in aerospace.

Dr. Rina Zazkis Jonathan Borwein Mathematics Ambassador Award
The research of Dr. Rina Zazkis on teachers’ knowledge and her work in teacher education strengthens the preparation of mathematics teachers at different levels. In turn, this enhances the mathematical preparation of students and their readiness to pursue further studies towards careers in STEM. As such, the downstream impacts of her work are transforming educational practice in Canada to better equip our youth to find their place in the knowledge economy. 

Michael Pruner, past president of the BC Association of Mathematics Teachers, comments that “much of Rina’s influence on her students involving reinforcing (or building) our own knowledge within mathematics so that we can better teach our students.” While it is difficult to quantify, he has been struck by the far-reaching influence she had had on mathematics teachers across British Columbia. Similarly, Gila Hanna, a Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto, comments on how Professor Zazkis’ research is consistently discussed in graduate mathematics education courses across Canada. Through her research and teaching, she is building a community of practice around mathematics teaching from coast to coast. 

She makes a particular effort to reach teachers in remote locations and thereby improve the quality of mathematics education in Canada’s most vulnerable communities. Since 2006, she has been involved in the SFU’s Master of Education program in Numeracy, a two-year program designed around the definition of numeracy as “mathematics in action.” She initiated the program and served as its coordinator for the first four rounds. It first ran in White Horse, Yukon from 2006 to 2008, followed by Kelowna (2008-2010), Prince George (2010-2012), Grande Prairie (2012-2014, 2018-), and the Lower Mainland of BC (2014-2018, attracting teachers from nearby small towns such as Oliver and Kamloops). She often teaches the first course in the program, and occasionally an additional course. She focuses on enhancing the personal problem-solving skills of teachers, which she views as an essential component of furthering teaching competence. Her former graduate students (16 PhD and 15 Master’s completed as senior supervisor; three PhD students in progress) are extending the reach of her work across Canada. One of her former students Sandy Bakos has submitted a letter in support of this nomination. In sharing her story, Sandy gives voice to many others for whom taking a class with Professor Zazkis was their first positive experience in a mathematics classroom, inspiring them to pursue further studies in mathematics and to careers as educators. 

2918 - Zazkis
Ms. Andrea Reid Young Researcher Ambassador Award
Prior to joining the lab of Dr. Steven J. Cooke at Carleton University, Andrea Reid completed her MSc at McGill where she studied the ecophysiology of fish in central Africa and generated two first author publications in peer reviewed outlets. However, she was already active in research as an undergraduate where she studied primate behaviour and earned authorship on two publications. For her PhD Andrea is working in British Columbia where she is studying the migration biology of Pacific salmon. She has completed several field seasons during which she coordinated teams of assistants and collaborators in a remote part of the province. Her thesis includes a large social science component focused on understanding Indigenous perspectives. She interviewed 50 elders from across the province in an attempt to capture and preserve oral histories related to Pacific salmon. Beyond these core thesis activities Andrea has also taken lead on other activities: For a graduate course, Andrea led a group that considered how the environment had been “forgotten” in the most recent UN Sustainable Development Goals that generated a paper that was just published in a top-shelf environmental policy journal; She also led a team of 10 or so academic elite from around the globe (people like Drs John Smol, Klement Tockner, Steve Ormerod, Julian Olden) to assess emerging threats to freshwater biodiversity. That paper was just published in “Biological Reviews”. To date, she has conducted peer reviews for five academic journals and one granting agency.

Andrea has been recognized with a variety of accolades totalling more than half a million dollars. Andrea’s background with a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Engage Grant and her experience with securing competitive funding from National Geographic have prepared her for the world of grantsmanship.

2018 - Reid
Dr. Sandeep Raha Ronald G. Calhoun Science Ambassador Award
Dr. Sandeep Raha is the founder of McMaster Child and Youth University that offers a series of eight lectures each year designed for children and delivered by faculty from McMaster University. These lectures allow children and parents to experience the university classroom environment, and provide children with the opportunity to interact with professors, as well as graduate and undergraduate students from McMaster. Dr. Raha co-founded MCYU in 2012, and since that time over 9000 children and parents from the Hamilton area have participated in this lecture series.

Dr. Raha works with community programs – such as the Boys & Girls Club of Hamilton, Wesley Centre, North Hamilton Community Health Centre, and Hess Street School – to make sure children in Hamilton’s priority neighbourhoods have the opportunity to attend the MCYU program. Last year, MCYU provided busing to children from these community programs, twenty-three of whom attended 80% of the lectures.

The MCYU program gained provincial recognition in the 2014-2015 Council of Ontario Universities Report, Change Agents. A front-page article inThe Hamilton Spectator recently noted the positive influence MCYU has had inspiring girls to pursue STEM-related studies.

The In the City Program is designed to engage children throughout the Hamilton community in STEM-related workshops facilitated by undergraduate and graduate students from McMaster University.  The university students who take part in these workshops participate in MCYU’s training program to help them develop and facilitate STEM-related, inquiry-based workshops in the community. The design and implementation of this unique training program, coupled with its effectiveness, earned Dr. Raha the 2017 Presidents award for Outstanding Teaching and Learning at McMaster University.

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) Partnership is a pilot project designed and implemented by Dr. Raha to provide opportunities for children at Dundas Central Public School to meet and work with undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in the Sciences and Engineering. Children in Grades 5 and 6 are participating in a range of workshops and experiments with these university students, where both groups get to learn and interact with one another. The impact of these interactions is being studied, with a focus on the children’s changing attitudes towards the Sciences.

2018 - Raha