Past Winners 2018

Early in Career Award: Edōsdi / Dr. Judy Thompson, University of Northern British Columbia

Edōsdi, which literally means someone who raises up pets and children, or more simply, “someone who is a teacher,” was born and raised in La̱x Kxeen (Prince Rupert, BC) on Ts’msyen territory and is a member of the Tahltan Nation. Her clan is crow and her crest is frog.

For almost 25 years, as a student, educator and researcher, Edōsdi has built relationships with Aboriginal communities, which includes connections with youth with their Elders. Edōsdi  has developed many courses and programs, which have often included ways to Indigenize curriculum, decolonize teaching, and provide support for Aboriginal learners.

Edōsdi / Dr. Thompson completed her PhD at the University of Victoria, where she also completed an MSc in Environmental Studies. Edōsdi’s doctoral dissertation, Hedekeyeh Hots’ih Kāhidi – “Our Ancestors Are In Us”: Strengthening Our Voices Through Language Revitalization From A Tahltan Worldview, employed a Tahltan research paradigm and spoke to the ways in which the voices of her people can gain strength and healing through the revitalization of her language. Dr. Thompson’s doctoral research guided the development of a Tahltan Language and Culture Framework, which focuses on governance, programming, documentation, and training and professional development. Since 2012, she has also been the Tahltan Language and Culture Lead for her Nation.

Commenting on the impact of her work, one of her nominees describes Edōsdi as follows:

Edōsdi is a remarkable woman. A member of the Crow Clan of the Tahltan Nation, through her mother’s side, she was born and raised in Prince Rupert on Ts’mysen territory. I got to know all of her family over the years, including her Tahltan grandparents Charlie and Judith CallBreath.  Edōsdi spent many hours with these wonderful elders and travelled with them several times to Telegraph Creek where they were raised. The time she spent with these and other elders gave her exceptional insights and experiences and, I am convinced, gave her the determination and commitment to become the wonderful teacher and researcher she is today. She also gained many of the traits and skills that make her so successful: integrity, thoughtfulness, compassion and empathy, and a delightful sense of humour.

Ehor Boyanowsky Academic of the Year Award: Dr. William Cheung, University of British Columbia

Dr. William Cheung is Associate Professor at the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, UBC and the Director (Science) of the Nippon Foundation-UBC Nereus Program. His main research areas include understanding the responses and vulnerabilities of marine ecosystems and fisheries to global change, and examining trade-offs in managing and conserving living marine resources. His works cut across multiple disciplines, from oceanography to ecology, economics and social sciences, and range from local to global scales.

William has published over 150 peer-reviewed publications, including papers in leading international journals. William is also actively involved in international and regional initiatives that bridge science and policy. For example, he was a Lead Author in the Working Group II of the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a Coordinating Lead Author of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and Global Biodiversity Outlook. He serves as a member of the editorial board of Fish and Fisheries, Fisheries Oceanography and Frontier in Marine Sciences, and as scientific advisors in a number of international and local organizations including BioDiscovery, IUCN and WWF Canada.

William obtained his BSc in Biology and M.Phil. from the University of Hong Kong. He worked for WWF Hong Kong for two years, after which he completed his PhD in Resource Management and Environmental Studies at UBC. From 2009 to 2011, he was Lecturer in Marine Ecosystem Services in the School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia.

Commenting on the impact of his work, one of his nominees describes Dr. Cheung as follows:In relation to the specific requirements for this award, William’s research has had a substantial effect outside the academic world. His approach to research and communication throughout his career … influences advice and advisory processes and is accessible to society. As a direct result of William’s work, issues linked to marine climate change are higher on the societal and policy agenda than they would otherwise be…In 2016 alone he published over 21 peer reviewed articles including research in prestigious publications such as Science and Nature.  In addition, William’s work has been covered in 40+ major media outlets, and has had a higher profile than any marine work linked to the Paris process. Outside academia he has also continued to lead and contribute to major international assessments including the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services and the Global Biodiversity

Paz Buttedahl Career Achievement Award: Dr. Cecilia Benoit, University of Victoria

Dr. Cecilia Benoit was born and raised in Newfoundland, with Mi’kmaw and French ancestry. She is Professor (Retired) in the Department of Sociology at the University of Victoria and Scientist at the Centre for Addictions Research of BC. Her research examines the multiple dimensions of health inequities embedded in laws, policies, programs and research agendas and searches for evidence-based solutions. In addition to research focused on the historically-suppressed occupation of midwifery and the organization of maternity care in Canada and internationally, she has been involved in a variety of projects that employ mixed methodologies to investigate the social determinants of health inequities of marginalized groups, including Aboriginal women in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, young people confronting health stigmas linked to obesity and asthma, street-involved youth in transition to adulthood, pregnant women and their families dealing with poverty, substance use, and other challenges, and people involved in the sex industry. Dr. Benoit is currently leading two CIHR-funded projects that adopt an intersectional lens: “Team Grant on contexts of vulnerabilities, resiliencies and care among people in the sex industry” (2011-2017) and “Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act: A structural intervention impacting health equity for sex workers” (2016-2018). 

For these accomplishments, Dr. Benoit has received, among other honours, the Royal Society of Canada’s Ursula Franklin Award in Gender Studies, Fellowships in the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS), and most recently the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Person’s Case.

Commenting on the impact of Dr. Benoit’s work, one of her nominees describes her as follows:

In sum, over the course of her career, Professor Benoit has excelled as a scholar, collaborator, advocate and change-maker. Indeed, she stands as a model for upcoming generations of scholars seeking to make a difference beyond the academy.

Through its impact on program, policy and legislative development, Dr. Benoit’s research has been translated into tangible opportunities for hundreds of sex workers in this region and elsewhere to improve their health and well-being. Her research program, has [also] trained countless students and research assistants, many of whom were people in the sex industry or who occupied other marginalized identities, enabling these individuals to better engage with their communities for the purposes of social change. There are very few researchers who have had such a distinguished career of community based research and have had such a role in shaping our societal response to marginalized populations.