2017 Convocation & Travel Award Recipients

Convocation Awards


Governor General’s Gold Medal & McGill Alumni Association Graduate Award

Laura Risk earned the 2017 Governor General’s Gold Medal, awarded to the top graduate in Human Sciences (Social Sciences and Humanities). She also received the McGill Alumni Association Graduate Award.

Laura received her PhD in Musicology in the Department of Music Research. Her dissertation research, under the supervision of Dr. David Brackett, explores the intersection of musical genre, nationalism, recording technologies, and performance practice in fiddling cultures from Quebec to the British Isles.

You can read more about her research here.

McGill University News and Events interviewed Laura shortly after her graduation. You can read the interview here.

Governor General’s Gold Medal

Annie Kwan

Annie Kwan is the 2016-2017 recipient of the Governor General’s Gold Medal, an award presented to the most outstanding McGill graduate receiving a Master’s degree.

Pursing the entirety of her post-secondary education at McGill, Ms. Kwan graduated with her Master’s degree from the department of Biomedical engineering this past spring. Under the supervision of Dr. Kathleen E. Cullen, her research focused on how galvantic vestibular stimulation (GVS) activates the brain. Her Master’s thesis, entitled Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation in Primates: Recording Vestibular Afferents during Transmastoid Stimulation, has been praised as innovative and original in the field. Her work will soon result in five publications, including three first authorships. Ms. Kwan has also presented her research on GVS at conferences both nationally and internationally.  There is no doubt that Ms. Kwan will continue to make great contributions to biomedical research in the years to come. 

Gordon A. Maclachlan Prize

Yazan Abbas - Gordon A. Maclachlan PrizeDr. Yazan Abbas is the 2017-18 recipient of the prestigious Gordon A. Maclachlan Prize for his outstanding scholarship in Biological and Health Sciences.

Dr. Abbas pursued his Graduate studies at McGill from 2009-2017 in the department of Biochemistry, under the supervision of Dr. Bhushan Nagar. His research, which specializes in structural biology and protein-RNA interactions, has made major contributions to the field including providing insight into the development of anti-viral vaccines. Dr. Abbas’s thesis, entitled The structure of IFIT proteins and their recognition of viral RNA, was defended early this year to a panel of impressed examiners. Under the supervision of Dr. Bhushan Nagar, he has succeeded both academically and in his research, publishing first authorship articles in leading journals including Nature and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Abbas has also met success while presenting at conferences and poster presentations around the world. Beyond this, peers and superiors praise Dr. Abbas as a highly dependable colleague and collaborator, and a strong mentor to his juniors.

Dr. Abbas is currently at The Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute in Toronto to pursing post-doctoral work in electron cryomicroscopy under the mentorship of Dr. John Rubinstein.

D.W. Ambridge Prize

Leila Bridgeman received the D.W. Ambridge Award in 2017, an award honouring one exceptional graduate student in the area of Physical Sciences and Engineering. 

Leila Bridgeman completed her doctorate in mechanical engineering in 2016. Her research centered on exploiting and extending one of the foundational results in robust control of George Zames, a former professor at McGill. She is currently a postdoctoral associate within the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Duke University, where she will be an assistant professor starting in 2018. Her research interests include robust control, stability theory, and model predictive control with applications to robotic systems.


Travel Awards


Delta Upsilon Memorial Scholarship

Amélie Bernard received the Delta Upsilon Memorial Scholarship in 2017, an award created to commemorate the fraternity’s brothers who were killed during the Boer War and the First and Second World Wars.

Currently a PhD candidate in the department of Psychology, Ms. Bernard is a researcher at the McGill Infant Development Centre. Her research interest is in statistical learning and the mechanisms by which statistical patterns are generalized. In the domain of language, she studies how infants, toddlers and adults learn about the allowable sequencing of their language, and how they generalize newly-learned sequences. In the domain of physical reasoning, she is interested in how children track statistical patterns and generate mechanisms that can explain these patterns and allows them to generalize the patterns across events.

Philip F. Vineberg Travelling Fellowship & Delta Upsilon Memorial Scholarship

Niyousha Bastani, Philip F. Vineberg Travelling Fellowship & Delta Upsilon Memorial ScholarshipNiyousha Bastani received the Delta Upsilon Memorial Scholarship in 2017, an award created to commemorate the fraternity’s brothers who were killed during the Boer War and the First and Second World Wars. In the same year, she was also awarded the Philip F. Vineberg Travelling Fellowship in the Humanities. 


J.W.F. Peacock Memorial Scholarship

Kays Haddad is the 2017 recipient of the John Williamson Frederick Peacock Memorial Scholarship. This award was established in the memory of Flight Lieutenant J.W.F. Peacock, a member of the Delta Upsilon Fraternity who was killed in action over Normandy in 1944.

"I am a second year Masters student working in particle physics on beyond-the-standard-model phenomenology. My research focuses on a popular theorized particle that is similar to the famous Higgs boson, but carries an electric charge whereas the Higgs boson does not. I am trying to quantify the likelihood of observing this charged Higgs boson in current particle collider experiments."