Staff and Faculty Awards

Celebrating scholars, teachers, innovators and leaders the world needs

Our university community recognizes the outstanding contributions of our 2024 staff and faculty award recipients – individuals who exemplify USask's commitment to be the university the world needs.

Please note, the Distinguished Researcher Award and USask Distinguished Teacher Award will be recognized and presented at Convocation.

President's Staff Excellence Award

Greg Oster

Greg Oster, Technical Team Lead, Department of Computer Science, College of Arts and Science

"I believe that my job is really about enabling others to grow and to achieve their goals.  For a student, that might mean guiding them through a learning experience or providing some other resource (e.g. space for their data, a physical room, or a virtual computer) that allows them to complete some task.  My hope is that in 'leading by example' the students will then go on to help others in the same way."

Natalia Rudnitskaya

Natalia Rudnitskaya, Manager, Analytical Laboratory Services, Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences, College of Agriculture and Bioresources

"Our wonderful team has an opportunity to collaborate with researches and students from various departments, colleges, and external clients to support academic and research activities, and to contribute to shaping the next generation of scientists and researchers. When students, technicians and faculty members from various department and colleges are engaged in joint research projects, share facilities and equipment, such collaboration enhances research outcomes and drives innovation."

Provost's College Award for Outstanding Teaching

Natacha Hogan

Dr. Natacha Hogan (PhD), Associate Professor, Department of Animal and Poultry Science, College of Agriculture and Bioresources

"My research program bridges many scientific disciplines – animal health, toxicology, environmental stress, biotechnology – and it is really exciting when I can contribute to new knowledge and understanding in my field of expertise. To anyone who has the opportunity to share their knowledge: Be genuine and open-minded when teaching! If you show your passion for your area of expertise and explain why you love it, others will engage and want to learn with you."

Amy Stevens

Dr. Amy Stevens (DPhil), Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, College of Arts and Science  

"I relish invoking my research experiences to inspire and enliven my teaching. My research involves studying certain properties of molecules with pulsed lasers. Showing students how visually striking some molecules can be when you 'light them up' with a laser is particularly satisfying. Placing teaching material in a context that shows its relevance to everyday life, while also conveying how it is still used in cutting-edge research, enriches my chemistry courses and helps students to persevere even when the teaching material becomes quite challenging!"

Maggie FitzGerald

Dr. Maggie FitzGerald (PhD), Assistant Professor, Department of Political Studies, College of Arts and Science

"Everyone has their own strengths that they bring to the table. Try and understand what your strengths are and find others with strengths that compliment your own. Building, sustaining, and contributing to a team that is working towards a shared goal is incredibly rewarding."

Gregory Kost

Dr. Gregory Kost (DMD), Interim Assistant Dean of Clinics, College of Dentistry

"The atmosphere at the Dental Clinic in the College of Dentistry, created by students, patients, colleagues and staff creates a vibrant work environment that is inspiring. Each day I am motivated to share my clinical experience and knowledge to mentor students during every clinical experience."

Geraldine Balzer

Dr. Geraldine Balzer (PhD), Associate Professor of Curriculum Studies and Department Head and Graduate Chair, Educational Foundations, College of Education 

"Build relationships with your students and always learn alongside them. I am motivated by the joy of learning and the awareness that the students I work with, future and current teachers, have the capacity to use the knowledge they are exposed to make a difference. My teaching and research focuses on social justice issues, and I hope that the ideas shared in my classroom can bring equity to a small corner of the world."

Michael Hernik

Michael Hernik, Lecturer, Edwards School of Business

"As an educator, I am motivated by teaching others the knowledge I have accumulated over the years. More importantly, I am passionate about getting others interested and excited about accounting, even if they have no interest in the subject matter." 

Ebrahim Bedeer Mohamed

Dr. Ebrahim Bedeer Mohamed (PhD), Assistant Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering

"What motivates and inspires me about my work is the constant challenge of pushing boundaries in wireless communication to see how they can impact the world."

Paul Gustafson

Paul Gustafson, Sessional Lecturer, College of Kinesiology

"I am always excited to hear from past students and learn how they continue to reflect on their post-secondary experience and the influence this has had on their professional lives. It inspires me to see them in the community as educators, businesspeople, and professionals."

Jaime Lavallee

Dr. Jaime Lavallee (SJD), Assistant Professor, College of Law

"What motivates and inspires me about my work is being able to bring context to ‘the law’ through mine and others’ lived experiences and expertise. Maybe one day, one person will re-consider one belief, issue, answer or viewpoint – and that could be a ripple that turns into a tsunami of change."

Nassrein Hussein

Dr. Nassrein Hussein (MD), Assistant Professor and Division Head, Endocrinology and Metabolism, College of Medicine  

"When I was a first year medical student I was assigned a student mentor from the year above me. He was incredibly helpful with tips and advice on surviving medical school and clerkship. I found it very valuable to have the perspective and guidance of someone who was so "fresh" from the same experiences I was going through. We still get in touch occasionally to this day, which I think it speaks to the powerful connection of student peer mentorship."

Tania Kristoff

Dr. Tania Kristoff (PhD), Assistant Professor - Academic Programming and Undergraduate Academic Lead, College of Nursing

"The one piece of advice I would give my colleagues is that learners genuinely try to do their best and want to improve and succeed. Their mistakes should be viewed as puzzles to be solved, and learners should be encouraged to think about their decisions, reflect on their actions, and offer alternative approaches to solving their puzzles."

Allison Cammer

Dr. Allison Cammer (PhD, RD), Assistant Professor, Human Nutrition, College of Pharmacy and Nutrition

"I am inspired by the enthusiasm and creativity that the students bring to their courses. I enjoy challenging the students and myself to think critically, ask tough questions, dwell in ‘the grey’, and engage in reflective practice. I love working with our community of dietitian preceptors and stakeholders to support the students through meaningful experiential learning projects that make a difference to dietetic practice and health in the province."

Tasha Epp

Dr. Tasha Epp (DVM, PhD), Professor, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, Western College of Veterinary Medicine

"Take the opportunity to network with others outside of your field as we can always learn from those with different perspectives. My work allows me to be involved with students and faculty doing very different research projects every week, from bees to bison to companion animals. In my specific projects, I have been able to make contributions to the real-world issues that individuals, industry, veterinary practices or communities have today which is very meaningful for me."

Martin Boucher

Dr. Martin Boucher (PhD), Lecturer, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy and Associate Member, School of Environment and Sustainability

"A great career is about figuring out how you can best serve others. I love seeing students see themselves in a new light and realize they can do more than they once thought. It is wonderful to see someone overcome a limiting belief in themselves."

Provost's Outstanding Teacher Award

Shannon Forrester

Shannon Forrester, Lecturer and USask Sustainability Faculty Fellow, College of Kinesiology

"I am passionate about igniting curiosity and fostering a love of learning. As an educator in the field of Kinesiology, I have the incredible opportunity to empower students not only as learners, but as advocates for personal and societal health and well-being.  Ultimately, my goal is to contribute to and promote a more sustainable world where health and wellness are accessible to all."

Provost's New Teacher Award

Kyle McLeister

Dr. Kyle McLeister (PhD), Lecturer, Department of History, College of Arts and Science

"Working with students is the best part of my job. Having discussions in class, talking one-on-one with students, reading their essays – I love hearing students’ perspectives on history. They’re constantly opening my eyes to new ways of understanding the past. And students’ questions continually prompt me to think about aspects of historical events that I had never considered before. I feel so lucky to get to spend my days working with students."

Provost’s Award for Collaborative Teaching and Learning

Erika Dyck, Simonne Horwitz and Scott Napper

Dr. Erika Dyck (PhD), Professor and Canada Research Chair in the History of Medicine, Department of History, College of Arts and Science

"This class is particularly interesting to me because students get to see in real time how health crises require interdisciplinary cooperation, and it has been exciting to be part of this dynamic teaching team that reinforces this reality as we work through historical and present disease challenges."

Dr. Simonne Horwitz (DPhil), Associate Professor, Department of History, College of Arts and Science

"Take the risk in doing something across disciplines which might be more difficult and outside of your comfort zone because the rewards are so worth it.  Meeting and working with very different students to those who usually end up in my classes has also challenged me to interrogate my assumptions and be a better teacher and person."

Dr. Scott Napper (PhD), Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Immunology,
and Senior Scientist, Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO)

"I am inspired by Drs. Simone Horwitz and Erika Dyck, two history professors who were willing to take a chance on teaching a history class with a biomedical scientist. Brilliant scholars with an unfaltering commitment to their students as well as being incredibly kind and patient."

Provost's Support of Teaching and Learning Award

Elaina Guilmette

Dr. Elaina Guilmette (PhD), Curriculum Development Coordinator, School of Environment and Sustainability

"I am motivated and inspired by working with new people and making positive changes in teaching and learning.  Connect with others on campus as much as possible and don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone."

Sandy Bonny

Dr. Sandy Bonny (PhD), Team Lead, Indigenous Student Achievement Pathways and STEM Access Initiatives, College of Arts and Science

"I began working at USask in 2012, just prior to Idle No More and before the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action in 2015. It is inspiring to witness the sea change of awareness these movements have brought to Saskatchewan, motivating to reflect on how far we have to go as a Treaty community."

Provost's Graduate Student Teacher Award

Danielle Spence

Danielle Spence, PhD student, School of Environment and Sustainability

"My motivation for studying in the field of Environment and Sustainability is the desire to make a positive impact on our world. However, making a difference in sustainability is challenging and often takes many years and incremental changes. Through teaching, I feel like I can have a more immediate impact by shaping the way students think about the complexities of, and strategies for, addressing problems of sustainability."

Sylvia Wallace Sessional Lecturer Award

Layla Gould

Dr. Layla Gould (PhD), Assistant Professor, Neurosurgery, College of Medicine

"What motivates and excites me about my work is the chance to make a positive impact on students' lives. I love sharing my passion and enthusiasm for the brain with my students, and I've found that by sharing this excitement, I can inspire them to become excited and motivated learners."

Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award

Erika Dyck

Dr. Erika Dyck (PhD), Professor and Canada Research Chair in the History of Medicine, Department of History, College of Arts and Science

"My favourite part of mentoring is helping people find their academic voices: whether in writing, speaking, explaining concepts to peers, or displaying history through public exhibits. I try to model an empathetic approach to teaching and learning history by activating voices from the margins of history and by listening to those seldom heard or trusted, sometimes even putting these voices on stage or at the centre of a study."

Global Research Leadership Award for Faculty

James Robson

Dr. James Robson (PhD), Assistant Director Academic (External) and Associate Professor in Human Dimensions of Sustainability, School of Environment and Sustainability

"I feel blessed to have the opportunity to visit and collaborate with rural communities in different parts of the world that are doing amazing things to advance sustainability practice, and to take those lessons into the classroom at USask."

J.W. George Ivany Internationalization Award for Faculty

Vicki Squires

Dr. Vicki Squires (PhD), Associate Dean (Research, Graduate Support and International Initiatives) and Associate Professor, Department of Educational Administration, College of Education

"Be constantly curious. Look for opportunities to engage in international work, through exchanges and study abroad programs, international conferences, networking events, and visiting scholar presentations. Aligning what you are passionate about and what you are intensely curious about with international opportunities will open whole new vistas for exploration and connection."

International Engagement Service Award for Staff

Greg McJannet

Greg McJannet, Associate Director, Saskatchewan Educational Leadership Unit, College of Education

"Challenge yourself. Six years ago, I was a school principal with 25 years in public education.  My career was amazing and rewarding.  I made a drastic change and today I connect with people around the world. I have an amazing position at the university, I have been exposed to so much new learning and I am finishing a doctorate."

Global Research Leadership Award for Students

Anurag Sakharkar

Anurag Sakharkar, undergraduate student, Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology, College of Medicine

"The interconnectedness of space medicine and human health on Earth deeply fascinates me. Understanding spaceflight’s effects on the human body have huge applications to disease treatment, longevity, and quality of life improvements for patients on Earth, and these have already been put to use in certain places. It’s this dual benefit, of pushing the boundaries of human understanding while advancing healthcare, that truly excites me about my work."

New Researcher Award

Sarah Donkers

Dr. Sarah Donkers (PhD), Assistant Professor, School of Rehabilitation Science

All drug therapies [for MS] to date have addressed the immune component and essentially stopped the recurring inflammatory attacks. Now there’s more focus on the neurodegenerative and neurorecovery components, so the role of rehab has never been more important. As we develop that expertise, it becomes a community of practice, Then, as we learn from our research—BOOM—we have a network for faster dissemination, and we keep moving the two trains forward. It highlights the importance of a network. In my little lab I can do my little research, but we are going to be doing better research, faster, when we have these teams working together.

Publicly Engaged Scholarship Team Award

Jennifer Lang

Dr. Jennifer Lang (PhD), Acting Vice-Dean Academic and Associate Professor of Music Education and the Director of Choral Activities, Department of Music, College of Arts and Science

"What motivates me is seeing the impact of the work that I do directly with the participants involved, and the far-reaching benefits it has for them in their lives. Music is such a uniquely human experience, there’s an opportunity to work with people across every age, every country, every language... Music can really remove those barriers and boundaries."

Stuart Skinner and the Wellness Wheel Team

Dr. Stuart Skinner (MD), Assistant Professor Division Head, Infectious Diseases, College of Medicine and Founder and Executive Director, Wellness Wheel. 

"The benefit of working in partnership with the community is that when community members are bringing in their strengths with health practices – whether that be Elders with traditional medicines or the community itself in providing care to the patient – then we’re all working on the same team together and using all our strengths."

The Wellness Wheel team includes Dr. Kieran Conway (Board of Directors), Dr. Megan Clark (Board of Directors), Dr. Cara Spence (Research Director), Susanne Nicolay, RN (Clinical Director/Board of Directors), Dr. Mamata Pandey, Maria Folk, RN, Vicky Schultz, RN, Nikki Williamson, RN, Trisha Campbell (research), Mary Zettl (research), Danita Wahpoosewyan (Peer Lead South), Dessie Jo Sutherland (Peer Lead North), Michelle Dornan, RSW (project coordinator), and Noreen McLenaghan (administration).