By Joseph Mathieu
Photos by Chris Roussakis
Carleton University honoured researchers who go above and beyond at a Passion for Research lunch on Tuesday, Oct. 18 attended by about 90 people and hosted by Nimal Rajapakse, vice-president (Research and International).
“These awards celebrate excellence in research and a contribution to the community that goes beyond their work,” said Rajapakse.
Four awards were presented to individuals and a group of managers, and two researchers were asked to share their thoughts on their experiences at Carleton.
Leslie Pal of the School of Public Policy and Administration accepted the Faculty-to-Faculty Mentoring Award for his mentorship of colleagues and grad students throughout his prolific work on domestic public policy.
Two Building Connections Awards were offered to researchers creating and maintaining relationships with communities across Canada.
Three managers of the Public History Program – Shawn Graham, Paul Litt and James Opp – accepted their plaques for work in engaging the public in their archival project. The program’s other managers – David Dean, Bruce Elliott, Del Muise and John Walsh – were not able to attend.
Sarah Todd of the School of Social Work accepted her award for her work in community development and youth organizations across Ontario.
Peter Ricketts, vice president (Academic) presented the final award to Andy Adler of Systems and Computer Engineering. Known as the “all-rounder” award, Ricketts said Adler makes an outstanding contribution to the university, even the country.
“Very often we think about professors as being good teachers or good researchers,” he said. “As we know, there are also those who excel right across the board.”
Adler, a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Biomedical Engineering, is an internationally recognized expert in electrical mapping. He also served on the Carleton University Research Ethics Board and was instrumental in establishing two bachelor programs at the university.
Sonia Chiasson and Susanne Klausen also offered insight into their work and tips from hard-earned lessons along the way.
Chiasson, associate professor of the School of Computer Science and Canada Research Chair in Human Oriented Security, touched on her interdisciplinary research into cybersecurity.
“We keep thinking that users are the main problem in cybersecurity,” she said. “But if we absolve ourselves from fixing the technical problem by just blaming the users then we’re not going to be able to move forward.”
Klausen, in the History Department, reflected on how she developed her own passion for research.
At a young age she realized social justice was incredibly important to her. Her first academic paper focused on abortion and her recent studies have focused on the politics of sexuality and reproduction in South Africa during apartheid. These findings are chronicled in her award-winning 2016 book Abortion Under Apartheid.
“It was not always easy to reach out, to bear witness,” she said. “But I have a responsibility to be a compassionate observer to moments or events that were important in a person’s life.
“As one author writes: ‘Bearing witness says, you are not alone, I see you. What you are experiencing matters to me.’”