2024 Honourees

Meet the 2024 recipients of the Community Connections Awards

Community Scholar

Lise Gotell

Lise Gotell, Community Scholar

Lise Gotell

Professor, Women's & Gender Studies

Dr. Gotell is internationally recognized for her expertise in sexual assault law and public policy on violence against women—expertise which she has persistently dedicated to the public good throughout her 30-year career. Not only has she helped shape her field and educate future public leaders, but she has also helped governments in Canada, Scotland, England, Australia, and New Zealand to find innovative approaches to addressing sexual violence. Equally engaged with non-governmental organizations across the country, she represents a national voice on the vital issue of sexual assault, especially on Canadian campuses. Dr. Gotell devotes unparalleled effort to translating her considerable knowledge into policy, advocacy, and legal reform that helps to prevent sexual assault and violence against women, and improve the lives of survivors.

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Community Leader — Individual

Peter Johnson

Student, MD Program

A first-year medical student, Peter’s affinity for leadership and ability to tap the power of communities have already generated several student-led organizations with regional and national impact. Whether it’s building networks to help fellow students get published, launching physical literacy programs to teach healthy habits in local daycares and schools, or mentoring the next generation of global health researchers, Peter excels at convening his colleagues around critical issues to make a difference. When COVID-19 hit, he engaged hundreds of his peers across the country to fight misinformation on the disease. Together they produced more than 50 books, articles, and multimedia publications in one summer, providing accurate public information on the social, economic, and cultural issues of the pandemic.

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Community Leader — Team


DiscoverE, Community Leader — Team


Founded in 1993, DiscoverE engages current students and recent graduates to promote diversity and inclusion in engineering and science. Today DiscoverE reaches more than 26,000 youth each year in 70 different communities across Alberta, BC, Saskatchewan, and the Northwest Territories. The program strives not only to spark a sense of curiosity for science and engineering, but also to enable young students from all backgrounds—especially underrepresented groups—to envision a future for themselves in STEM. In less than three decades, DiscoverE has brought its passion for lifelong learning to half a million Canadians. With many former participants now studying at the U of A and volunteering through the program, DiscoverE has excelled at building and sustaining a supportive STEM community in Western Canada.

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UAlberta Advocate

Two members of the Human Ecology Practicum Program Field Supervisors

Human Ecology Practicum Program Field Supervisors, UAlberta Advocates

Human Ecology Practicum Program Field Supervisors

For the past 50 years, the Human Ecology practicum program’s field supervisors have created high-quality work-integrated experiences for U of A students across the province and country, and around the globe. This diverse group of professionals from the private, nonprofit and government sectors generously contribute their time, energy and creativity to enable U of A students to seamlessly transition from classrooms to professional settings. They form the bridge between learning and practice, connecting U of A students with surrounding communities to promote scholarship and work experience that benefits everyone involved. Not only do they connect students with world-class experiences and prepare them to become exceptional professionals, but they champion Human Ecology’s mission to enhance everyday life.

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Community leader

Kyungsook Kim


Kyungsook Kim occupies a legendary position with the Korean-Canadian community and is beloved and cherished both on campus and within the community. Under Kyungsook’s leadership, the Korean Language Program (KLP) grew from offering only two Korean language courses to offering 31 classes including 8 levels from beginner to advanced, with a steady enrollment of over 600 students.  Today, the University of Alberta’s Korean Language Program is regarded as one of the most successful Korean programs in Canada. In addition to growing the program, she has organised, coordinated, facilitated, and supervised many programs and events within the community. She has developed a variety of community programs that connect KLP students with the Korean-Canadian community through language exchange, cultural activities, volunteering with seniors, and mentoring youth from the Korean community who are struggling with language barriers and cultural differences. She has built and fostered a close relationship between the Department of East Asian Studies and the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea, through which the two organisations began hosting as series of annual community events including the Korean Cultural Festival, the K-POP contest, the Korean speech contests, the Test of Proficiency in Korean, and Korean and origami sessions. Kyungsook is an exceptional educator who makes a positive impact on students, the university, and the surrounding community every single day.

Community SCHOLAR

Colleen St. Clair


Colleen St. Clair is a nationally recognized leader in behavioural and urban ecology, and in human-wildlife conflict and coexistence. Since 2009, her expertise in resolving human-wildlife conflict using non-lethal methods has informed the City of Edmonton’s wildlife management strategies and has helped the community to understand what it takes to coexist with wildlife. Through the “Edmonton Urban Coyote Project”, she helped to identify and advance public education, supported municipal bylaw changes, and experimented with new methods to manage urban coyotes to maximize human coexistence. Her most recent collaborative project, “WildEdmonton!” monitors the movement of wildlife across urban gradients to inform open space management and reduce negative human-wildlife interactions. She has designed and delivered specialized education sessions for at-risk individuals through her “Coyote Conversations” at the Bissell Centre and has provided a number of other target community programming ranging from “Family Fun Nights” to Nature Alberta seminars for Rotary Clubs. Over the last 14 years, Colleen has given an estimated 80 presentations, created and monitored 10 integration community-oriented webpages, and published over 20 peer-reviewed articles. Through her work in the community, Colleen has influenced hundreds of thousands of people to date, contributing to their interest in and knowledge of urban biodiversity, facilitating their coexistence with urban coyotes, and positioning them to educate others. 


Lana Whiskeyjack


Lana Whiskeyjack is an Indigenous female leader whose work is deeply committed to addressing and counterbalancing the enormous intergenerational harms of colonization. Her work is focused on supporting marginalized individuals who have been separated from cultural teachings, language and land-based knowledge, and rites of passage. Her project, “Strengthening Kinship Relations”, resulted in the collaborative development of culturally appropriate ceremony and rites of passage for Two-Spirit Indigenous youth as well as a naming ceremony for the participants and the project - which was given the name tapahtêyimôkamik or ‘Humble Lodge’. The Humble Lodge project also resulted in the official establishment of a heart-shaped clearing in the forested river valley that acts as a site for land-based experiential learning. It is an exciting and innovative site of gender-inclusive land-based ceremony and transformative learning. Lana also played an instrumental role in the “Walls to Bridges University” collaborative initiative between the University of Alberta and the Edmonton Institute for Women. The model developed through this initiative is unique across Federal Correctional facilities, in that it is Indigenous developed, lead, and focused, maintains a minimum 80% Indigenous enrollment, and has an Elder/Spiritual advisor attached to all of the university credit courses sessions to provide ceremony and cultural knowledge. Lana’s insightful and progressive efforts have helped Indigenous women to experience stability, self-worth, success, and provided a platform to highlight and realize their true potential. She is a scholar who models an innovative interdisciplinary approach to de-colonizing, Indigenous-centered research that is grounded in ceremony and oriented toward the development of cultural knowledge that will strengthen relationships, build cultural connections, decolonize language and return rites of passage to youth and elders alike.