Killam Awards
Amy LeBlanc, Killam Pre-doctoral Laureate, thanks the Killam Trustees on behalf of the winners. Riley Brandt photos, University of Calgary

Oct. 23, 2023

2023 Killam Awards winners shape the future through high-impact scholarship

34 UCalgary students and faculty members celebrated for academia and leadership

From examining mental health on campus to monitoring natural disasters around the globe, the sky is the limit for the 2023 Killam Award winners. With more than 30 recipients, the Oct. 19 ceremony was a celebration of academic excellence and transdisciplinary research at the University of Calgary.

Presented in partnership with the Killam Trust, the Killam Awards honour students and faculty for distinguished scholarship and research at the university. Established in 1965 in memory of Canadian philanthropists Izaak and Dorothy Killam, the awards are a distinction only given by five post-secondary institutions including UCalgary.

Brittany Lindsay, BA’16, BSc’16, MSc’20, a PhD candidate in the Department of Psychology, says she was honoured to win one of 17 Killam Pre-doctoral Laureate awards. Her research dives into the creation and evaluation of a suicide stigma-reduction program for post-secondary students. Lindsay says being awarded by the Killam Trust is especially meaningful considering Dorothy Killam’s interest in encouraging compassionate mental-health care.

“This recognition from the Killam Trust just reminds me of how important this work is,” she says.

Lindsay was also presented with the Donald N. Byers Memorial Prize at the awards ceremony. 

Faculty members were also celebrated for their academic contributions both as instructors and researchers. Dr. Suzette Mayr, BA’90, PhD, won one of the Annual Professor Awards for her exceptional mentorship and expertise as a professor in the English department. Mayr, an award-winning novelist and recent recipient of the Scotiabank Giller Prize, focuses her work on research creation within creative writing.

“The University of Calgary has been a massive influence on my path,” she says, citing supportive colleagues and enrichening creative work with students as big platforms for her success as a professor.

In the research sector, Dr. Dan Shugar, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Earth, Energy and Environment and director of the Environmental Science program, won a Killam Emerging Research Leader Award. Each award in this category relates to one of Canada’s major federal research agencies, such as the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, for which Shugar received his award.

Shugar’s work is related to a rapid form of geology known as geomorphology, an area of study that examines changes on the surface of the earth on an observable scale of seconds to years. His work focuses on rapidly changing glacial environments and mountains, often linked to hazards and geological disasters such as the Shovi landslide in the Georgian Caucuses in August 2023.

Shugar says to be honoured by the Killam Trust and UCalgary is “humbling” and “validates that the kind of work [my team and I] are doing on geo-hazards, in particular, is important.”

As Canada’s entrepreneurial university, UCalgary continues to encourage both students and faculty to be bold and remain curious throughout their academic endeavours. UCalgary President Ed McCauley spoke during the ceremony and says he is proud to see so many bold innovators changing the academic landscape.

“Congratulations to all the award winners who continuously strive for a better world through their unparalleled research and scholarship. The quality of work and innovation put forth by the UCalgary community never ceases to amaze me,” he said.

To learn more about the Killam Awards and see the full suite of awards, visit the Killam Awards web page.

2023 Killam Awards recipients

Killam Annual Professor Awards

  • Dr. Nicole Culos-Reed, PhD – Kinesiology
  • Dr. Suzette Mayr, BA’90, PhD – Arts
  • Dr. Susan Skone, PhD’99 – Schulich School of Engineering
  • Dr. Marcello Tonelli, MD – Cumming School of Medicine
  • Professor Lana Wells, BSW’96, MSW’97 – Social Work

Killam Emerging Research Leader Awards

  • Killam CIHR Emerging Research Leader Award: Dr. Braedon McDonald, PhD’13, MD’13 – Cumming School of Medicine
  • Killam NSERC Emerging Research Leader Award: Dr. Dan Shugar, PhD – Science
  • Killam SSHRC Emerging Research Leader Award: Dr. Kathleen Sitter, MCS’02, MSW’08, PhD’12 – Social Work

Killam Research and Teaching Awards

  • Killam Graduate Supervision and Mentorship Award: Dr. Steven Boyd, MSc’97, PhD’01 – Cumming School of Medicine
  • Killam Undergraduate Mentorship Award: Dr. Maria Victoria Guglietti, MA’04, PhD – Arts
  • Killam Research Excellence Award (SSHRC): Dr. Shelly Russell-Mayhew, BSc’94, MSc’98, PhD’03 – Werklund School of Education
  • McCaig-Killam Teaching Award: Dr. Ahmad Ghasemloonia, PhD – Schulich School of Engineering

Killam Postdoctoral Scholars

  • Dr. Perri Tutelman, PhD – Cumming School of Medicine
  • Dr. Michelle Asbury, PhD – Cumming School of Medicine


  • Dr. Meaghan Perdue, PhD – Cumming School of Medicine

Killam Pre-doctoral Laureates
First Year

  • Hebatallah Mohamed Shawky Elsayed Abdelmoaty – Civil Engineering
  • Ruth Damilola Alli – Chemical & Petroleum Engineering
  • Abdullah Salahuddin Bernier, BA’19, MSc’21 – Educational Psychology
  • Rebecca Ann Booth, BEdP’07, MSc’21 – Physics & Astronomy
  • Dylan Xiao Ming Guan – Medical Science
  • Chetna Khandelwal, MA’22 – Sociology
  • Ashley Kolstad, BSc’19, MSc’21 – Kinesiology
  • Brittany Lee Lindsay, BSc’16, BA’16, MSc’20 – Psychology
  • Aloysius Nwabugo Maduforo – Educational Research
  • Shazia Hafiz Ramji – English
  • Sandy Rao – Social Work
  • Mijail Rojas-Carvajal – Neuroscience

Second Year

  • Dana Lowry – Kinesiology
  • Farzaneh Zangeneh Nejad – Geomatics Engineering
  • Rachel Eirich, BA’18, MSc’21 – Psychology
  • Amy LeBlanc, BA’17, BEd’19, MA’21 – English
  • Owen Paetkau – Physics & Astronomy

Killam Memorial Chairs

  • Killam Memorial Chair: Dr. Kathy McCoy, PhD – Cumming School of Medicine
  • Killam Memorial Emerging Leader Chair: Dr. Melanie Noel, PhD – Arts