Faculty of Science Excellence Award winners announced

Published: 31 May 2021

The Faculty of Science Excellence Awards recognize outstanding performance and contributions made by members of the Faculty’s administrative and support staff.

2021 award winners

Jean-Marc Gauthier, Director of Undergraduate Teaching Laboratories & Building Director, Chemistry.
“A” class recipient (Academic Associate)

This year’s winner in the inaugural Academic Associate category is Jean-Marc Gauthier, from the Department of Chemistry.

Jean-Marc has been with the Department of Chemistry for almost 21 years. He began his McGill career in 2000 as a General Chemistry (CHEM110/120) Lab Coordinator. He became the Director of Undergraduate Teaching Labs in 2012, overseeing and contributing to delivery of 12 undergraduate lab courses. In 2013, after the retirement of Normand Trempe, Jean-Marc took on the additional major responsibility as our Building Director.

Jean-Marc is valued by his students, faculty and staff for his passionate dedication, fine-tuned logistics, consummate professionalism, extraordinary enthusiasm, and dedication to our university and the community.

The nomination letters emphasized that Jean‐Marc is largely responsible for the revitalization of undergraduate teaching (both academic program and lab infrastructure). He has contributed to several innovation/renovation projects including the org chem, integrated and general chemistry teaching labs, as well as the Green Chemistry renovation in Pulp and Paper. Prof. Perepichka and 4 former Chairs can all attest that under JM’s watch the Chemistry undergraduate labs have become the McGill showcase to the Government and an example to other Universities in Canada and US (several of whom visited our labs while planning their own renovations).

Others noted that “Jean-Marc has always worked tirelessly for the benefit of the department, but never more so than this year. He was instrumental in setting up protocols to ensure a safe working environment for all staff and students in the Department of Chemistry to allow academic research to continue. He led the transition of our undergraduate chemistry lab to virtual labs operation, e.g., inventing online activities…. and introducing remote control of the physical lab instruments.”

His colleagues also noted that Jean-Marc does so much for our Department, the Faculty, and the University, and most importantly, he does it with a smile.


Susan Gabe, Undergraduate Student Affairs Coordinator, Biology.
“C” class recipient (Clerical)

Susan began working at McGill in 1975 as Chief Technician in the Redpath Museum. In 1999, Susan joined the Biology Department where she is currently Undergraduate Administrative Student Affairs Coordinator. She carries within her a rich history of the department, the staff, the professors, the courses, and the various changes that have occurred during her work at McGill.

Faculty praise Susan’s professionalism, and collegiality, and describe her as “reliable”, “extremely knowledgeable”, “passionate”, “dedicated”, “a problem solver”, “someone who encourages open dialogue”. They also noted:

“Susan works in the Undergraduate Advising office, a very fast‐paced environment in which everything is time critical. She is in constant communication with students and faculty for course approvals, student advising, liaising, coordinating, and hiring approximately 150 TAs every term. “

“Susan does all of this with patience, diligence, good humor, friendliness, and satisfaction because she cares”.

“She sets a high standard by starting early in the morning, by staying in good physical and mental shape, and treating everyone kindly and fairly”.

“Seen with her bicycle whenever Montreal's weather allows it, Susan is conscientious and practical when it comes to sustainable practices.”

“Everyone in the department depends heavily on Susan's expertise and abilities and contribution to the department's ability to deliver on its education mission and she does it with patience and a smile on her face.”


Ingrid Birker, Coordinator of Public Programming, Redpath Museum.
“M” class recipient (Management)

Ingrid started with the Redpath Museum in 1981, where she held the official position of Curator of Invertebrate and Plant Fossils. She was promoted to Public Programme and Science Outreach Administrator in 2005 and in 2019 became the Redpath Museum Public program and Education Coordinator. She has developed a variety of programs including Freaky Friday, Mini‐Science, STARS, and the Sunday Family Discovery Workshop series.

Ingrid’s ability to bring natural science alive for non‐scientist McGillians is renowned. This is best illustrated by feedback the Redpath Museum has received from both the public and her colleagues.

Here are some sample comments:

“Ingrid is a powerhouse!”

“Ingrid is naturally a ‘people’s person’ totally committed to sharing natural history with the public. She personally interacts with more than 1,000 people per day in the Redpath Museum and has taken her natural history courses to daycares, schools, afterschool libraries and to young adults under supervisory care. “

“Ingrid's efforts in the organization of the various Museum events for children popularizing science have been a huge success with the grandchildren of our family.”

‘Her workshops are the best in town!’; ‘The whole family participates…crafts make us remember what we learned.’; ‘I never realized that cephalopods could be so interesting and important.’

“Undeterred by COVID-19 restrictions, Ingrid has enthusiastically embraced the virtual world and now runs a host of interactive programs online.”

“The most telling demonstration of Ingrid’s community spirit is that of the 47 McGill Science students she hired and worked with in the Sunday Discovery Program she has inspired about a third of them to pursue careers as science educators or communicators.”

In the nomination letters her colleagues expressed that they cannot think of a better way “to honour this extraordinary person – or anything that would make her more proud – than to award Ingrid with a Faculty of Science Excellence Award”.

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