2022 Convocation & Travel Award Recipients

Convocation Awards

Governor General's Gold Medal and Gordon A. Maclachlan Prize

Photograph of recipientDr. Anne-Julie Tessier is a registered dietitian (BSc‘16) and completed her Ph.D. in Human Nutrition at McGill University under the supervision of Dr. Stéphanie Chevalier in December 2021.

During her training she led studies of various designs in nutritional epidemiology and a clinical trial at the Montreal General Hospital and Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal. Her dissertation entitled “The interplay between sarcopenia, physical and cognitive functions and the role of nutrition as a modifiable risk factor in aging” establishes the first Canadian cut-points for the diagnosis of sarcopenia (low muscle mass), it provides novel understanding of risk factors for sarcopenia and cognition, and lays out groundwork for future dietary interventions aimed to delay the loss of independence in older adults, including the most vulnerable. Her Ph.D training was supported by the McGill University PhD Graduate Excellence Fellowship and the Fonds de Recherche du Québec en Santé (FRQ-S).

Dr. Tessier’s interest is also toward novel mobile applications for dietary tracking. She is the cofounder and CEO of Keenoa, an intelligent food diary tailored for dietitians and researchers, that serves over 70,000 users worldwide.

Building on the findings of her thesis and entrepreneurial work, Dr. Tessier recently joined Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Department of Nutrition as a Postdoctoral Fellow to study nutritional epidemiology, metabolomics, and aging. She is also developing and studying the use of cutting-edge technology for dietary assessment. Her research training is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).


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

Photograph of recipientAnne Iavarone-Turcotte est avocate et docteure en droit. Après trois ans de pratique en litige, lors desquelles elle a représenté des victimes de fautes médicales et hospitalières dans des poursuites en responsabilité civile, elle a entrepris une maîtrise en droit à l’Université McGill (2013), puis un doctorat (2015), qu’elle a complété à l’été 2021. Dans sa thèse, réalisé sous la supervision de l’éminent professeur Daniel Weinstock, elle propose un modèle théorique permettant de reconceptualiser et d’encadrer le choix de pratiques comportant un potentiel d’oppression sexiste. Elle teste ensuite ce modèle dans une étude de cas : le règlement religieux des divorces et son équivalent « séculier », dans le cadre de médiations ou d’arbitrages privés. Il s’agit là d’avenues parfois choisies par les femmes, mais qui menacent de leur faire perdre des droits durement acquis, notamment en matière de pension alimentaire, de partage du patrimoine familial et de garde des enfants. En amont de cette réflexion, Anne élabore une méthodologie réflexive – unique en son genre – pour tenter d’atténuer les risques découlant de son positionnement par rapport à une partie de son objet d’étude : les oppressions multiples et croisées subies par les femmes membres de minorités religieuses.

Anne entreprendra à l’automne 2022 un stage postdoctoral au Centre de recherche en éthique (CRÉ) et à la Chaire de recherche du Canada en éthique féministe (CREF). Dans ce cadre, elle entend explorer le potentiel de son modèle dans d’autres contextes mettant en cause les droits des femmes, tels le travail du sexe, le consentement en matière sexuelle ou la chirurgie esthétique.

En parallèle de ses activités de chercheuse, Anne coordonne l’OBNL « Thèsez-vous? », dont la mission est de soutenir les étudiant.e.s aux cycles supérieurs dans leurs projets de rédaction scientifique et de repenser, pour les transformer, les pratiques du milieu universitaire.


D.W Ambridge Prize

Photograph of recipientDr. Georgia Pierrou obtained her PhD from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering under the supervision of Prof. Xiaozhe Wang.

Georgia’s Ph.D. thesis entitled ‘Long-term Voltage Stability of Power Systems under Uncertainty: Analytical Methods and Data-driven Control’ systematically investigated the impact of uncertainty of renewable generation and electric loads on the secure operation of sustainable electric energy systems and proposed novel solutions against the occurrence of unwanted power outages in modern power grids. Georgia has made original and significant research contributions in analyzing and enhancing the voltage stability of electric power systems with high penetration of renewable energy sources. The research results were disseminated through 8 peer-reviewed high-quality papers and leading conference proceedings in the field.

Because of her research contributions and potential, Georgia received the competitive Green Talents award hosted by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (2021) and was selected as a finalist of the Student Contest: ‘3 minutes to change the world’ organized by l'Association Québécoise de la Production d'Énergie Renouvelable (2020). In addition, she was a recipient of the McGill Stavros Niarchos Foundation Fellowship (one awardee per year at McGill), McGill Engineering Doctoral Award (2017-2021), Hellenic Scholarships Foundation Award (2019), and McGill Graduate Research Enhancement and Travel Award (2019). Throughout her PhD studies, Georgia was also active in campus and community engagement activities including teaching assistantships and invigilation positions and committed to work towards the integration of the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion by attending relevant workshops.

Georgia continues her academic research career as a Postdoctoral Researcher at ETH Zurich, Switzerland working with Prof. Gabriela Hug in ETH Power Systems Laboratory.


D.W Ambridge Prize 

Photograph of recipientJianbin Li completed his doctoral studies in Prof. Chao-Jun Li's group at McGill University in 2021 [Department of Chemistry]. His research focused on Green Chemistry and applied its principle to confront important synthetic challenges and improve future sustainability. He was passionate about exploring innovative chemical means that could harvest renewable feedstock and sustainable energy from nature. His thesis presented the design of several highly enabling catalysts and reagents that could activate strong chemical bonds, especially the naturally abundant C-H and C-O bonds. The C-H and C-O functionalization strategies developed by him have been applied in multiple synthetic contexts, and his contribution to the scientific community was recognized by more than 20 papers in international peer-reviewed journals.

He is now the postdoctoral fellow in Prof. Jared Lewis's group at Indiana University Bloomington, where he strived to leverage biocatalysis and directed evolution to access non-native reactivities and solve challenging interdisciplinary problems.


McGill Alumni Association Graduate Award

Photograph of recipientKeena Trowell earned her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at McGill University under the supervision of Jeffrey Bergthorson and David Frost. Her research focused on high-temperature and supercritical metal-water reactions for hydrogen and heat production. Long duration energy storage, to offset the seasonal variability of renewable energy, is a major bottleneck in the transition to a carbon–free energy system. Using excess renewable power, when it is available, to produce metals is a mechanism for storing energy. In the form of metals, renewable energy is safe and easy to store and transport. When the stored energy is needed, the metal can be reacted with water to produce heat and hydrogen. The resulting hydroxides are easily collected and recycled using existing technology, thereby creating a closed fuel cycle.

In her research, Dr. Trowell developed a method, which uses high-temperature liquid water and supercritical water, to produce hydrogen by efficiently oxidizing coarse particles of aluminum, magnesium, and zinc. Through this research, Dr. Trowell demonstrated that the catalysts commonly used in low-temperature reactions are unnecessary. By removing the need for catalysts, the fuel cycle is safer, less costly, and the reaction products are easier to recycle. Her research lays the groundwork decarbonizing sectors of the economy that have proven difficult to shift away from hydrocarbon fuels.

In addition to metal-water reactions, Dr. Trowell’s research interests include energy storage, energy for remote regions, the water-energy nexus, and the techno-economic aspects of zero-carbon energy carriers. In July, Dr. Trowell will join the Department of Mechanical Engineering at McMaster University as an Assistant Professor.


K.B. Jenckes Prize

David Collins obtained his PhD in McGill’s Department of Philosophy under the supervision of Profs. David Davies and Alia Al-Saji, after having come to philosophy from a background studying, teaching, and creating in film and theatre. His dissertation proposed a process-based account of the nature and value of art that was developed by drawing on ideas from philosophers working in different philosophical traditions, most notably R.G. Collingwood, John Dewey, Henri Bergson, and Simone de Beauvoir. On this account, works of art are taken to be expressions of ways of experiencing (feeling, perceiving, understanding, etc.) the world, with these ways of experiencing being both created and discovered by artists in the process of making art, and where both artistic value (i.e., what makes a work of art good qua art) and the value of art (i.e., why art is valuable or important to create and engage with) are understood in terms of what could be called ‘perspectival sharing’, where artworks make available to their audiences new ways of experiencing the world, thereby expanding their audience members’ cognitive and affective horizons. This account not only presents a unified theory of what art is, what makes for good art, and why good art is valuable, but offers an explanation for how talk of artists creating artworks is compatible with ideas of artists discovering the perspectives which they express in their work. Moreover, by bringing together compatible ideas from a number of philosophers working in diverse traditions in order to develop an account of art that goes beyond, but is compatible with, the theories of each of the philosophers in question, David’s dissertation exemplifies a distinctively ‘synthetic’ approach to doing philosophy. 
 


Travel Awards

Delta Upsilon Memorial Scholarship

Jillian Schneidman, Medicine and Health Sciences

Juanyu Yang, International Development Studies & Psychology

John Williamson Frederick Peacock Memorial Scholarship

Emily Yan-Wai Tam, Computer Science

Philip F. Vineberg Travelling Fellowship

Holly Anne Wethey, English


Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International License.
Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, McGill University.

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