2023 Honourees

Meet the 2023 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 Scholar

Dr.Nathalie Kermoal

Nathalie Kermoal

Professor, Faculty of Native Studies

Nathalie Kermoal is a true model of ethical engagement, embodying the “4 Rs” of Indigenous research (respect, reciprocity, relevance and responsibility) with the goal of creating mutually beneficial partnerships between the university and the Métis, and between Métis scholars, students and community members locally, regionally and nationally. As Director of the Rupertsland Centre for Métis Research, Nathalie has transformed the centre into a major research hub by collaborating with the Métis Nation of Alberta and its affiliate the Rupertsland Institute. The centre’s community engaged research projects are not only informing future policies and procedures for staff training and education, they are also informing future research directions. Nathalie regularly organizes a broad range of events including semi-annual Métis Talks that welcome Indigenous community members to campus and create necessary space for interdisciplinary and intersectoral conversations. In her teaching, Nathalie has created a number of innovative courses that allow students to learn with Métis elders and other traditional knowledge holders. Most recently, she partnered with Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak to design an online Métis Women’s Leadership. Nathalie works to catalyze and support research that addresses Métis priorities and interests, while sharing her expertise and time for the benefit of the Métis nation and the public good more broadly.

Community Leader

Monty Ghosh

Monty Ghosh

Monty Ghosh is a Doctor of Internal Medicine, addiction specialist, patient advocate, researcher and policy developer specializing in community capacity building for vulnerable populations in Alberta who uses his research skills to better communities who do not have access to traditional harm reduction resources. Through his mentorship, his students and trainees not only learn about working with vulnerable populations but also how to conduct community-based participatory research to support communities. He helped establish Alberta Health Services’ Rapid Access Addiction Medicine program, a comprehensive outpatient addiction treatment program. His work with marginalized communities continued through the launch of a nationwide overdose prevention hotline and the subsequent development of a province-wide app-based version known as the Digital Overdose Response Service. Dr. Ghosh strongly believes that healthcare is inequitable for many of the populations he works with, including those experiencing homelessness and addiction. His community-based work has helped save lives and has been transformative for the fields of addiction medicine and harm reduction.

U of A Advocate

The Friends of the University o Alberta

Friends of the University of Alberta

Friends of the University of Alberta Society (The Friends) is a volunteer organization that has committed itself to promoting, advocating for and supporting the University of Alberta since 1943. Through its generous support of programs like USchool and HUM-101, The Friends help to open doors and build connections between the university and equity denied communities. Each year, Friends volunteers contribute to USchool’s welcoming environment for students from socially vulnerable, rural and Indigenous schools. Their support for USchool has helped enable learning for hundreds of students and allowed them to imagine post-secondary in their future. The Friends have also developed several programs, including the annual Henry Marshall Tory Lecture. This free public lecture series connects the university to the broader community and has featured ambassadors, prime ministers and many other distinguished guest speakers. Similarly, their “Raise The Bar” program brings University of Alberta professors into a local bar or restaurant to present on topics designed to interest, educate and entertain people from the broader community who might not otherwise connect with the university. For 80 years, The Friends have used their positive engagement, advocacy, and financial contributions to continue to strengthen and support the university and the community at large.