Two professors honoured with Postdoctoral Supervisor Award

Image announcing Awards

The Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) awarded York University Professors Petros Faloutsos and Ellen Bialystok with the Postdoctoral Supervisor of the Year Award.

This honour is bestowed annually on a postdoctoral supervisor who provides an exemplary environment of support for professional skill development, promotes a climate of respect and collegiality. They offer advocacy and guidance in long-term personal and professional development and is a role model for intellectual leadership and professionalism.

On Dec. 2, Lisa Philipps, provost and vice-president academic, kicked off the celebration during the FGS faculty council meeting to announce the recipients and recognizing their contributions to postdoctoral research and development at the University. Faloutsos received the Postdoctoral Supervisor of the Year Award for 2020 followed by Bialystok for 2021.

From left (top): Petros Faloutsos and Ellen Bialystok. From left (bottom): Provost and Vice-President Academic Lisa Philipps and Faculty of Graduate Studies Dean and Associate Vice-President Graduate Thomas Loebel.

In the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Faloutsos is well-known for his work composing controllers for virtual characters, which resulted in a prototype virtual stuntman that has received international media attention. In 2011, Faloutsos co-founded the Graphics and Media at York (GaMaY) Lab, at the Lassonde School of Engineering. The lab is the site of several research projects that concern themes of computer graphics and interactive media, including autonomous agents for computer games and virtual world applications, computer graphics, facial animation and more.

“I’m lucky in my career to work with excellent researchers and good people. I work with a small number of postdocs and students, to work closely with them to help them build their research and their career,” says Faloutsos. “York is an excellent environment where postdocs can find success, and nothing is more rewarding than seeing my postdocs succeed.”

Bialystok is a Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Psychology, the Walter Gordon Research Chair of Lifespan Cognitive Development at York University, and an associate scientist at the Rotman Research Institute of the Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care. Bialystok has supervised more than 10 postdoctoral Fellows since 2007. Her discoveries include identifying the differences in the development of essential cognitive and language abilities for bilingual children, the use of different brain networks by monolingual and bilingual young adults and the postponement of symptoms of dementia in bilingual older adults.

“I’ve had a lot of awards, but there is something very special about this one. There is no higher praise than hearing that gratification from those you are responsible for,” says Bialystok. “My students and postdocs that I collaborate with, and work through problems with, are part of the family, and we all benefit from it.”

The Postdoctoral Supervisor of the Year Award accepts nominations annually. To learn more, visit Nomination letters for 2022 recipients are due June 1, 2022.