2020 Convocation Awards

Posted on Thursday, July 16th, 2020

Joint image of headshots of Fatima and Ryan

Two CEPS students receive top U of G graduate student convocation awards.

Each year, the University of Guelph recognizes a select number of outstanding faculty and students during the convocation ceremonies. These university-level honours and awards are conferred by Senate and recognize the achievements and contributions of community members, faculty, staff, students and volunteers.

CEPS is proud to announce that PhD students Fatima Haque, School of Engineering, and Ryan Dunlop, Department of Physics, have received two of the top University of Guelph convocation awards.

D.F. Forster Medal

The Forster Medals, U of G’s top convocation award for graduate students, are awarded annually to one convocating master’s student and one convocating PhD student. Named for the late Donald Forster, a former U of G president, the medals recognize academic achievement, motivation, leadership, and citizenship. 

Fatima Haque received numerous honours during her time as a biological engineering PhD student. She received an Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS), an International Doctoral Tuition Scholarship Award, an International Graduate Tuition Scholarship, and an A&WMA scholarship for her doctoral studies. She is also a former Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP) Scholar.

Haque’s doctoral research explored the sequestration of carbon in Ontario agricultural soils for the purpose of climate change mitigation. She used a unique approach via the application of carbon-capturing minerals. The first of its kind in Ontario, her research could have significant impacts on carbon retention in soil. Haque has already had a significant impact in biological engineering, with seven first-authored peer-reviewed papers on her doctoral work alone and presentations at numerous conferences.

Haque’s impressive research activities led to funding from the Low Carbon Innovation Fund (MEDJCT), Accelerator Guelph program; Gryphon’s LAAIR funding received from OMAFRA; and Food from Thought funding received from the University of Guelph via a Canada First Research Excellence Fund.

Beyond her academic and research achievements, Haque is a born leader who is actively immersed in community services and is a strong advocate for educational opportunities. She has created experiential learning opportunities for students as a teaching assistant and was frequently appointed to leadership roles representing the School of Engineering (SOE). Haque volunteers for educational programs; develops educational content and curricula for Aikarthya, a not-for-profit organization in India; was a full-time teacher at Teach for India; and has helped raise funds for children in India during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Governor General Gold Medal

The Governor General Medals are one of the most prestigious awards for high school and university students in Canada, with the gold medal awarded to the graduate student with the highest average from approved college or university programs. The Governor General Medals were created by Lord Dufferin, Canada’s third Governor General, to encourage academic excellence across the nation.

Ryan Dunlop achieved a superb academic record during his doctoral studies in the Department of Physics. Dunlop received a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Canadian Graduate Scholarship and an Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) during his PhD studies; he also received these scholarships during his masters studies at U of G.

Dunlop has proven himself to be a highly competent and innovative experimental physicist throughout his academic studies, having made remarkable achievements in subatomic physics through leading research efforts at TRIUMF, Canada’s national laboratory for research in nuclear and particle physics. Dunlop had a major impact on the successful development, commissioning, and scientific exploitation of the new GRIFFIN facility, a world-leading $12.5 million gamma-ray spectrometer funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, TRIUMF, the University of Guelph, the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, and the British Columbia Knowledge Development Fund.

Dunlop was an instrumental participant in bringing the GRIFFIN project to fruition and was a key person on the vast majority of GRIFFIN experiments, resulting in achievements that went far beyond expectations for a PhD student and contributed to the advancement of scientific knowledge at the forefront of nuclear physics. 

To date, Dunlop has already published 26 papers with two under review in respected research journals, and where he was first author on four. He has presented his work at national and international conferences in both oral and poster form, including an invitation to present at the 2019 Canadian Association of Physicists. He has won numerous awards for his work, including the Carl H. Westcott Memorial Fellowship.

Congratulations, Fatima and Ryan!

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