CBS Graduate Student Wins Prestigious Award

Posted on Friday, April 30th, 2021

Written by College of Biological Science

Photo provided by Dani Nowosad.

Danielle (Dani) Nowosad, a College of Biological Science (CBS) graduate student who is currently transitioning from a MSc to a PhD, has been awarded the Kishaadigeh “She Who Guards the Lodge” Award for her commitment to fostering community connection and inspiring other Indigenous learners. 

Dani, who is Red River Métis, has been an active community advocate for many years, but this award came as a surprise to her.

I was taken totally by surprise when Dr. Melissa Perreault, (Associate Professor of BioMed at the University of Guelph) contacted me to say she was nominating me for this award,” said Dani. “I recently began a project with Melissa that aims to mitigate barriers that Indigenous undergraduate students face in CBS and am so happy to be working with a fellow Métis who is working to Indigenize academia.” 

This award is especially important to Dani because of its dedication. The annual award, founded in 2012 and created to recognize community connection and mentorship, was named in honour of Dr. Jaime Cidro, Vice-President, Research and Innovation at the University of Winnipeg, and Canada Research Chair in Health and Culture, who previously served as an Indigenous student advisor at the University of Guelph.

“Dr. Cidro's work around developing Indigenous research protocols and strengthening Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion within the research ecosystem - besides all the incredible work she does in health research and in the greater community - is a major inspiration to all Indigenous women.”

Maz Fallah, Dean of the College of Biological Science, was thrilled to see a student within CBS receive this recognition. “Dani’s commitment and efforts are making a difference as this well-deserved award shows.”

The CBS community recently participated in a community drive led by Dani.

“In winter 2020, pre-pandemic, I reached out to the science teachers in the community of Cambridge Bay, Victoria Island, Nunavut to inquire if local youth could use a donation of hygiene products,” she recounts.

“I then contacted companies in Canada and ended up with a donation of 100 menstrual cups, medical broches, and workbooks from Diva Cups. Despite the momentum, I shut down the drive as the pandemic hit. Last month, I decided to re-open the hygiene drive when I saw that a brand-new Youth Shelter opened up, and the outpouring of support from peers and colleagues within U of G, as well as the greater Guelph and Kitchener-Waterloo community, was incredible. In just one week I received $675 in cash donations and 325 lbs of hygiene items. The donations were shipped via Air Canada cargo in 5 suitcases and 3 boxes.”

“Dani is an exceptionally engaged and compassionate student,” said Ryan Gregory, Chair of the Department of Integrative Biology. “We’re very fortunate to have her in the department. This award is richly deserved.”

Additionally, Dani is a member of the newly formed Indigenous Belonging and Connections Committee in the Department of Integrative Biology, where she hopes to affect positive change and advocate to update the current policies around co-authorship in dissertations and publications in order to allow Indigenous community members to receive well-deserved authorship credit.

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