Year in Review 2021: Top headlines at York University, May to August

2021 stamped on a journal

As a new year emerges, YFile takes a look back on 2021 to share with readers a snapshot of the year’s highlights. “Year in Review” will run as a three-part series and will feature a selection of top news stories published in YFile. Here are the stories and highlights for May to August, as chosen by YFile editors.


A group of people wearing face masks
York researchers tested several materials to find which one is more efficient at filtering aerosols and more breathable

York researchers test best materials for filtration and breathability in mask inserts
York University researchers tested several materials to find which one is more efficient at filtering aerosols and more breathable for use as a middle layer or filter for cloth-based masks.

York University advances plans to establish a new School of Medicine supported by GTA health and government leaders
York University and Greater Toronto Area (GTA) health sector and local government leaders signalled positive momentum and growing support for a new School of Medicine at York that will focus on training family and community doctors in an integrated setting.

School of Nursing creates new approach to mentorship
An initiative out of the School of Nursing in York University’s Faculty of Health enhanced professional development during the pandemic and shows holds promise for post-pandemic learning and mentorship.

Indigenous students shine online in virtual pilot program
This eight-week virtual pilot program brought together 16 Indigenous students from various countries and communities to learn about their commonalities and differences.


An injection of hope: Herd immunity – where are we now?
In this three-part series, YFile investigates the COVID-19 vaccine as an injection of hope for recovery. Read part two, An injection of hope: What we learned from the vaccine rollout; and part three, An injection of hope: COVID-19 and the road to recovery.

York University graduate student receives Trudeau Doctoral Scholarship
Cristina Wood, a PhD candidate in York University’s Department of History, was awarded the prestigious Trudeau Doctoral Scholarship, presented by the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, which recognizes top doctoral students in Canada and abroad in the fields of humanities and social sciences. This was the first time since 2016 that a York student had been chosen for this scholarship. Several other students were recognized with awards in June, including Health Studies graduate Hanaa Ameer who earned the Murray G. Ross Award, three undergraduate changemakers who received Governor General’s silver medals, and three York graduate students who were awarded Governor General’s Gold Medals.

Schulich Professor David Johnson
Schulich Professor David Johnson is the George Weston Ltd Centre for Sustainable Supply Chains inaugural director (image: Gordon Hawkins)

Schulich launches George Weston Ltd Centre for Sustainable Supply Chains and announces its research Chair
Building on Schulich’s unique Master of Supply Chain Management (MSCM) program, its deep relationships with industry and George Weston Ltd’s world-class expertise in supply chain management, the new centre is poised to be a global leader in supply chain education. David Johnston, program director of the MSCM, was named the new George Weston Ltd Chair for Sustainable Supply Chains and is the centre director.


Morgan Fics and Nicole Alexander
Morgan Fics (left) and Nicole Alexander (right)

Like mother, like son: Introducing the first mother-son MFA screenwriting graduates in York history
As many York University graduates geared up for the final hurrah of their academic careers, Nicole Alexander breathed a sigh of relief after defending her four-years-in-the-making master’s thesis. She followed rather untraditionally in the footsteps of her eldest son, Morgan Fics, making them the first mother and son in York history to both graduate with their MFA in screenwriting.

York scholars receive Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships
York University Postdoctoral Fellows Mohammad Naderi and Vasily Panferov were recipients of the prestigious Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship awarded by the Government of Canada. The Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship is valued at $70,000 per year for two years, supporting postdoctoral researchers who will positively contribute to Canada’s social, economic and research-based growth. As well, York PhD students Debbie Ebanks Schlums and Maureen Owino were awarded prestigious Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships and 11 students received the Robert J. Tiffin Student Leadership Award.

Eleven athletes with ties to York University are competing in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan
Athletes with affiliation to York University included Jason Ho-Shue (Badminton), Katie Vincent (Canoe-Kayak), Brandie Wilkerson and Melissa Humana-Paredes (Beach Volleyball), Shady El Nahas (Judo), Brittany Crew (Shot Put), Pierce Lepage (Decathlon), Bismark Boateng and Khamica Bingham (Track & Field), Arthur Szwarc (Indoor Volleyball) and Syed Muhammad Haseeb Tariq (Swimming). Alumna Andrea Prieur, a certified athletic therapist, was part of the Health Services team and alumna and former Lion Natalie Ghobrial was an athletic therapist with the Women’s Softball team.


Funding supports York project to advance gender equality in pandemic recovery
A project out of York University that will advance gender equality in the social and economic response to COVID-19 was one of 237 projects that received funding under Women and Gender Equality Canada’s $100-million Feminist Response and Recovery Fund.

The prototype household filtration unit developed by Pratik Kumar and Professor Satinder Kaur Brar
The prototype household filtration unit developed by Pratik Kumar and Professor Satinder Kaur Brar

Lassonde postdoctoral Fellow earns award for research that improves drinking water
Pratik Kumar, a postdoctoral Fellow in Professor Satinder Kaur Brar‘s lab in the Lassonde School of Engineering, won an award for his work on improving the quality of drinking water.

Children’s health course tackles SDGs with an assist from globally networked learning
Pairing York University students with Universidad San Francisco de Quito students for a rich and meaningful learning experience focused on children’s health was the the work of Cheryl van Daalen-Smith, associate professor in the Children, Childhood and Youth Studies program, with support from the globally networked learning team in York International.

Check back in the next edition of YFile for Year in Review 2021: Top headlines at York University, September to December. To see part one, January to April, go here.