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24 Mar 2014

CAGS/PROQUEST Distinguished Dissertation Winners: Where are they now?


For the past 20 years CAGS judges have reviewed some of the country’s best PhD work in search of Canada’s most distinguished dissertation.

This year, nominations close on March 31.

Each year, we are amazed at the curiosity, creativity and discipline evident in the nominated work. It got us to wondering where their graduate work has led them. The answer is as diverse and fascinating as the winners themselves.

Dr. Andrew Gillett was one of the earliest winners. He took the prize in the fine arts, humanities and social sciences category in 1995. He taught briefly at the University of Toronto and at the University of Melbourne. He is currently an associate professor of ancient history at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. He is also a member of the Ancient Cultures Research Centre.

Dr. Thomas Waddell remained in Canada after he won the prize in 1996 and is a senior scientist for the University Health Network, one of the largest cancer research centres in North America. He is also a professor of surgery at the University of Toronto.

Shortly after winning the CAGS prize in 2012, Dr. May Chazan became the Canada Research Chair in Feminist and Gender Studies at Trent University. She remains interested in how older women around the world are participating in social change networks in their communities and globally. And the winner in 2013 Dr. Laura Bisaillon, has also received an appointment as an associate professor at the School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. She continues her work with research teams in Ethiopia and Iran.

Dr. Patrik Nosil is a European Research Council fellow and runs the Nosil Lab of Evolutionary Biology out of the University of Sheffield. Since his award in 2007, he has worked bring a more complete understanding of how biodiversity is created and maintained. He will return to Canada this summer to talk about his work at the Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution.

As an associate professor of psychology at Queen’s University, Dr. Caroline Pukall continues her research and teaching on the topic of human sexuality. She won the CAGS prize in 2004.

Dr. Gary Kuchar is an associate professor of English at the University of Victoria where he is also a graduate program adviser and expert in renaissance literature.

These are only a few examples of the amazing work the previous winners are doing.

CAGS will announce the 2014 winners this summer. The awards are sponsored by Proquest-UMI (University Microfilms International). They include a $1,500 prize, a Citation Certificate, and travel expenses of up to $1,500 to attend the 2014 CAGS Annual Conference in St. John’s, Newfoundland.