Social Sciences and Communication Studies students honoured at awards ceremony

Smiles, words of praise, tears of joy, and gratitude filled the room as 51 recipients received awards of distinction recognizing their academic achievements and dedication to civic engagement at York University and beyond. The annual awards reception was hosted by the Departments of Social Science and Communication Studies at The Underground Restaurant on York University’s Keele Campus.

Professors Amanda Glasbeek, chair of the Department of Social Science, and Mary-Louise Craven, undergraduate program director in Communication Studies, welcomed the award recipients, their families and friends, faculty and staff. As well, many families of deceased faculty members attended the event to present memorial awards. Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS) Associate Dean Peter Avery, attending on behalf of Dean Ananya Mukherjee-Reed, offered his congratulations to the recipients recognizing the significance of community-engaged scholarship for teaching and learning in LA&PS.

York University student awards and accolades

This year, the Department of Communication Studies honoured 10 of its top students. One of the highlights of the evening was when Hailey Sarsam received the Eric Koch Award presented in person by Professor Emeritus Eric Koch. He regaled the audience with his witty sharp remarks on the difference between “truth” and “facts” in the media landscape under the Trump regime.

Communication Studies Professor Anne MacLennan presented the Penny Jolliffe Award to Ira Famarin and Olivia Graham, and the Reva Orlicky Memorial & Founding Friends Award to Bahlelisiwe Ngeti Luhlanga and Miri Vinitski. Craven presented the Dalton Kehoe Prize to Christopher Zikos, and the Arthur Siegel Memorial Award on behalf of Prof. Siegel’s daughter Alisa Siegel, to Khadijah Malik. Professor Natalie Coulter presented two Fokus Media Awards to Sin Ying Denise Cheung and Cheyenne Alexander-Legerton. Reccia Mandelcorn presented the Jerry Durlak Prize, in memory of her partner to Yordel Jackson.

The Department of Social Science presented 30 program-specific awards and 11 departmental awards to 41 students. Many of the awards presented honour former professors and students in the department and loved ones of program grads who have died. The awards were presented by faculty members, family members and community partners, and the accompanying inspiring stories and words of praise shed light on the academic merits of the recipients and the diverse ways these students are making changing their communities at the University and beyond. As recipients received their awards, many offered words of appreciation and gratitude to the professors that nominated them and to their programs.

Professor Carla Lipsig-Mumme along with Ed Nelson, former vice-president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, presented the Neil Reimer Scholarship to Christopher Michael Flynn.

The Business and Society Honours Award was presented by Professor Caroline Shenaz Hossein to Nadine Ganesh, and Jun Chen presented the Alterna Social Economy Scholarship in honour of Haswell B. Iron to Kinsha Francis.

Professor Uwa Idemudia presented a number of awards for African Studies, International Development Studies, and Latin American and Caribbean Studies: the Esiri Dafiewwhare Scholarship to Angela Ouma; the Stevenson Scholarship in African Studies to Jennifer Katshunga and Alexandra Koster-Pickerin; the International Development Studies Honours Award to Hunter Delorme; the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Honours Award to Israel Ceron Alsibar; and the Lydia Covenay Burnett Bursary to Jessica Ashby.

Professor Lykke De la Cour honoured the memory of Professor Gina Feldberg by highlighting her legacy, accomplishments, and contributions both to the Health and Society Program and the York Centre for Health Studies (now the York Institute for Health Research) before presenting the award in her honour to Michelle Noorzad. De la Cour and Professor Peggy Keall followed with the presentations of the Fourth Year HESO Book Prize which went to four recipients this year: Maria Mardirosian, Victoria Francavilla, Amanda Pierre, and Ai Yamamoto, and the Second Year HESO Book Prize to Ryan Moisan.

Professor Anita Lam presented the Joshua Yasay Memorial Award in honour of Joshua Yasay, a Criminology major killed in the 2012 Danzig Street shooting, to Andre Harriott for academic excellence and commitment to community service. Lam also presented the Criminology Honours Scholarship to Antonnia Kiana Blake and the Criminology 1650 Book Prize to Carly Downs.

For the Law and Society Program, Professor Laura Kwak presented the Jane Banfield Prize to Zack Goldford and Laura Sannuto. Professor Allyson Lunny presented the Law and Society Award to Margarita Grup and the Law and Society Honours Prize to Salisha Purushuttam.

The Urban Studies program honoured six students at the ceremony. Bryan Mark, who is currently completing his master’s degree in geography at York University, received the Urban Analysis Prize adding to the three awards he won last year, and Justin Mott, who is currently completing his master’s degree in environmental studies at York University, received the Fourth Year Marion Miller Urban Studies Award. Professor Douglas Young presented the following awards: The Third Year Marion Miller Award went to Marlon Gullusci; the Frances Frisken Urban Studies Prize to Michael Quan; the Lynn M. Bell Urban Studies Achievement Award to JC Elijah Bawuah; and the Christine L. Sgro Entrance Award to Xavier Pineda-Aguirre.

Professor Matthew Tegelberg presented the Interdisciplinary Social Science Award to Rebecca Singh and accompanied it with a proper high five.

Six Social Science Department awards recognizing students’ high grade point averages, exceptional written research papers, and their commitment to social justice through social theory, planning, the arts, or activism were also presented. Carl Baar presented the Ellen Baar Award in Social Sciences, in memory of his late wife, to students Carly Downs from Criminology and Kelly Ponte from Law and Society. The David L. J. Sealy Award went to Aria Kamal. The Lillian Lerman Book Prize was shared with Dania Al-Adhami, Okello Mark Oyat, and John Lugtu. The Department of Social Science Award went to Shukri Abdullahi. The Gordon Lowther Scholarship was awarded to Carlo Panaro, and the Otto Friedman Memorial Scholarship was shared between Mehedi Khan, Indervir Kooner, and Monica Aves.

The awards event took place late in November. It was organized by Jacqueline Selman, undergraduate student coordinator in the Department of Social Science, and to Joëlle Reid, undergraduate program assistant in Communication Studies.