Community Connections Awards

See the past recipients of the University of Alberta's Community Connections Awards.

Past Recipients

2018

Community Scholar: Michael Frishkopf

Professor (Arts, Medicine & Dentistry), Dr. Frishkopf has used music to build cultural understanding and awareness across campuses, cities, and even continents. His efforts have supported cultural connections and promoted health and education in regions as far away as Africa and the Middle East to bring about positive social change.

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Community Leader: AlbertaSat

Composed of more than 50 undergraduate and graduate students, the AlbertaSat team brought our province into space for the first time. They have proudly represented the U of A, served as ambassadors to alumni across the country, and educated and inspired thousands of school-aged children in Alberta through community outreach. 

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UAlberta Advocate: Michael Aherne

A proud alumnus, Michael Aherne has helped to inspire a new generation of leaders at the U of A. Volunteering his time and expertise as a Peter Lougheed Leadership College mentor, he has guided  U of A students on their personal leadership journeys, and helped share their efforts with the broader community.

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2017

Community Scholar: Elaine Hyshka
Assistant Professor (School of Public Health), Elaine Hyshka approaches the issue of substance use through a public health lens.She works with policymakers, healthcare providers, and public health organizations to conduct research and improve health services. 
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Community Leader: University Health Centre Nursing Team
(Crystal Hoven, Carly Lang, Terry Scott, Melissa Williams, Beth Woytas)
The team quickly set up a triage station, providing essential medical and emotional support for the displaced persons whose lives had been devastated by the Fort McMurray fire.
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The UAlberta Advocate: Shirley Ross

Professor Emerita, Faculty of ALES, Shirley Ross is an instrumental volunteer at the U of A’s Green and Gold Community Garden. She shares her experience and knowledge freely, and is a friend and mentor to everyone involved in the project. 

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2016

Community Scholars: Catherine Chan and Rhonda Bell
Catherine Chan and Rhonda Bell, professors of human nutrition in the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences, have used their scholarship to create The Pure Prairie Eating Plan to support people living with chronic disease.
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Community Leader: The Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Advocacy Committee
The SOGIAC was formed as a support group for Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry students struggling with issues related to their sexual orientation or gender. Their advocacy work has brought about change to the medical school curriculum, fostering a new generation of health-care professionals who are better informed, more sensitive, and better able to help change the lives of LGBTQ individuals throughout the community.
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UAlberta Advocate: Calder Bateman
Calder Bateman's work on the “Pride Tape” and NoHomophobes.com initiatives through the U of A’s Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services (iSMSS) has brought international media coverage and attention to these issues and was performed completely as an in-kind donation of time, talent, and passion.
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2015

Community Scholar: Candace Nykiforuk
An Associate Professor (School of Public Health), Candace Nykiforuk has built and nurtured strong collaborations with local, provincial, and national partners, making key contributions to the health of our communities. Her “Community Health and the Built Environment” suite of projects explores how changing the built environment influences healthy decisions.
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Community Leader: Adopt a Heritage Chicken Program
Operated by the Poultry Research Station (Faculty of ALES),  the program gives community members an opportunity to adopt a chicken from the program and, in return, receive a dozen eggs every other week while also giving them an easy way to become connected with the world of agriculture, and highlights the importance of biodiversity and genetic preservation of our food resources.
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UAlberta Advocate: Jack Francis
After a distinguished career as an animal technician in the Faculty of ALES, Jack Francis saw an opportunity to preserve agricultural history. Jack proposed starting an agricultural museum on the U of A’s South Campus to collect and store agricultural artifacts. His dedication to the project has strengthened the connection between the university and the province’s agriculture and food industries.
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2014

Community Scholar: Cindy Blackstock
Cindy Blackstock has used her research to empower First Nations children and youth to create social change through the Shannen’s Dream movement for education, to gain Parliamentary support for Jordan’s Principle protecting access to government services to First Nations children in need, and to lead a historic human rights case on First Nations children's equity. Her research and advocacy activities have been used as models for children’s rights movements around the world.
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Community Leader: The University of Alberta Mixed Chorus
The University of Alberta Mixed Chorus is a musical tradition spanning seven decades, all the while remaining wholly student-run. In addition to a roster of community performances in and around Edmonton through the academic year, the chorus takes annual spring tours throughout Western Canada and beyond, acting as ambassadors for the university and drawing alumni virtually everywhere they perform. 
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UAlberta Advocate: Jim Hole
From his days as a student leader and athlete to becoming one of Alberta’s most respected business leaders, Jim has devoted thousands of volunteer hours to advocacy for his alma mater. He has served as President of the Alumni Council, honorary co-chair of the university’s centenary celebrations, a member of the U of A Senate and, most recently, as a member of the U of A Board of Governors. He has also been an integral contributor to the Senate's U School program.
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2013

Community Scholar: Lola Baydala
Dr. Lola Baydala is a pediatrician, University of Alberta associate professor, and an advocate for the well-being of children. Her work goes far beyond her medical practice, focusing on the promotion and development of health education. By inviting community members to share their beliefs, protocols and input, she has helped Aboriginal communities create child-focused health programs designed to meet the unique needs of each community.
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Community Leader: Sharon Morsink
In addition to Sharon's regular teaching duties as an associate professor (Faculty of Science), she and her team of student volunteers have co-ordinated the U of A’s campus observatory program, working together to make the facility accessible for all ages. Through those efforts, members of the public experience stargazing, free lectures and demonstrations on campus. 
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UAlberta Advocate: Renée Vaugeois
Renée Vaugeois serves as executive director of the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights and has helped launch a number of human rights initiatives at the community level, including the U of A’s Peace and Post Conflict Studies Certificate program. She has spearheaded projects such as the Ainembabazi Children’s Project, the Ignite Change Now! Global Youth Assembly, and “Get Out and Stay Out” a two-day event held in conjunction with the U of A's Kule Institute for Advanced Study.
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