Top graduate students celebrated with Governor General’s Gold Medal

Spring Convocation 2014
David Moffette
David Moffette

David Moffette, a PhD graduate in sociology, and Sarah D’Amour, a master’s graduate in psychology, are this year’s recipients of the Governor General’s Gold Medal – awarded to the graduate students with the highest academic standings.

Prof. Lorna Erwin, graduate program director in sociology, said Moffette’s dissertation, “Governing Irregular Migration: Logics and practices in Spanish immigration policy,” is “by any standard an exceptional piece of scholarship. The intellectual creativity with which Moffette deals with his topic is stunning. His grasp of political sociology, governmentality studies, critical policy studies and the sociology of the law is likewise remarkable.”

While at York, Moffette’s academic excellence was recognized with seven prestigious awards and scholarships. Erwin outlined these achievements, noting “he has been remarkably productive, having published five articles in top-rated, peer-reviewed journals, two book chapters, several book reviews and a number of online reports, in addition to presenting his research at national and international conferences.”

Sarah D'Amour
Sarah D’Amour

In nominating for the master’s prize, Prof. Adrienne Perry, graduate program director in psychology, said D’Amour’s “research productivity has been nothing short of remarkable.”

“She has already four publications (three as first author) in good journals and several others in preparation,” said Perry.

D’Amour, who graduated last October, has received awards for both her master’s thesis and her honours thesis – last month she received the Marian Regan Prize for the best master’s thesis on a vision-related topic.

D’Amour’s supervisor, Professor Laurence Harris, said he recommended her “because of her exceptional productivity, the quality of the work that has gone into her multiple papers, the importance that they represent for psychology in general – the representation of the body in the brain and embodied sensory processes is finding far-reaching implications – and because of the high hopes I have for Sarah as a psychology graduate student in the immediate future and as a career scientist.”

Lord Dufferin, Canada’s third Governor General after Confederation, created the Academic Medals in 1873 to encourage academic excellence across the nation. Over the years, they have become the most prestigious awards that students in Canadian schools can receive. Medals are presented on behalf of the Governor General by participating educational institutions, along with personalized certificates signed by the Governor General. There is no monetary award associated with the medal.