Prof, Student, Grad Named 2008 Women of Distinction
Director of Health and Performance Centre serves as event's honorary chair
Three members of the University community were among the recipients of the YMCA-YWCA of Guelph's 2008 Women of Distinction Awards last week. Cyndy McLean, director of the Health and Performance Centre, was honorary chair of the 13th annual event.
The U of G recipients are Prof. Belinda Leach, Sociology and Anthropology, who holds the University Research Chair in Rural Gender Studies; Kate Smolina, a graduating biomedical sciences student and Rhodes Scholar; and Mary McEwen, who earned a bachelor's degree in agricultural economics and business from Guelph in 1967 and a master's degree in 1981.
They were among 34 women who were nominated for their achievements in the following categories: arts and culture; business, labour, the professions and entrepreneurs; education and training; public service; science, technology and research; voluntary community service; wellness and health; and young woman of distinction.
Leach received the science, technology and research award for her efforts through her research and volunteer work to improve women's lives and empower and inspire them to achieve their goals.
“I want to thank the YMCA-YWCA for putting together this very important event because it recognizes the work of women in our community,” she says. “I think it's wonderful to give that work the significant recognition it deserves.”
Leach is program director and lead researcher for Rural Women Making Change, a community/university research alliance. She has also volunteered her time and skills at Oxfam Canada, where she was a member of the Women and Work Policy Working Group and the gender development policy team.
Smolina was named young woman of distinction for her academic excellence and volunteer work. She arrived at U of G as a President's Scholar in 2004 and won the Lionel Bradley Pett Scholarship for the highest average in biomedical sciences during her third year.
Besides her academic achievements, Smolina is dedicated to volunteering and has been involved in a number of organizations related to health care, peace building and international development. She also travelled to India and Costa Rica, where she helped communities with construction work, taught English and volunteered in rural hospitals.
McEwen received a lifetime achievement award for dedicating more than 30 years of service and being a tireless advocate and mentor for women. She has been involved with fundraising efforts at U of G since graduation, is a member of the board of directors of the Homewood Health Centre and sits on the executive of the Volunteer Centre of Guelph-Wellington.
Ten other members of the U of G community were nominated for Women of Distinction Awards and were recognized at last week's ceremony.
They are: Profs. Judith Thompson and Ann Wilson, English and Theatre Studies; Prof. Dale Smith, Pathobiology; Prof. Kathleen Brophy, Family Relations and Applied Nutrition; Prof. Deb Stacey, chair of the Department of Computing and Information Science; Angela Orton, manager of intercollegiate programs in the Department of Athletics; Lynda Davenport, director of Student Health Services; and students Kira Kumagai, Shannon Westgarth and Momina Mir.