Oct. 23, 2019

Annual event celebrates esteemed 2019 Killam Laureates

Faculty, doctoral and postdoctoral scholars applauded for exceptional research and leadership
Killam awards
Killam awards

From addressing paediatric traumatic brain injury, tissue regeneration and infectious diseases to exploring two-spirit and Indigiqueer identities through Indigenous literature, as always, this year’s University of Calgary Killam Laureates are leading ground-breaking research in diverse disciplines to improve the quality of life for people across Canada and around the world.

Held on Oct. 17 in the MacEwan Ballroom, the annual Killam reception offered an opportunity for Killam Trustees and honoured guests to meet the 2019 Killam Laureates and learn about their ongoing research. In addition to celebrating the achievements of the laureates, the faculty members, doctoral and postdoctoral scholars were able to personally express their gratitude to the Killam Trustees in attendance.

Established by Dorothy J. Killam in 1965 in honour of her late husband, Izaak Walton Killam, the Killam Trusts are the largest private endowment for higher education in Canada. The prestigious funds recognize exceptional-calibre scholars at only five universities across the country, UCalgary being one.

“Through the years at the university, I have seen the incredible impact of the Killam awards time and time again,” says Dr. Ed McCauley, president and vice-chancellor.

“This program enables our scholars to focus their time and skills in critical areas of research, and it empowers them to pursue the very highest level of excellence in their fields, work that ultimately leads to new ideas and understanding with critical impacts for society.” 

According to Haley Vecchiarelli, pre-doctoral scholar in neuroscience, pictured above, being a Killam Laureate provides both financial stability and validation for research interests.

“My research focuses on understanding the endogenous cannabinoid system. Until recently with cannabis legalization, the field was relatively understudied, so having the importance of this work acknowledged by the committee is a real honour,” she says.

“Being a queer woman, I don’t often see many people like me, or other more marginalized people represented in higher levels of academia. Through receiving a Killam scholarship, I have the financial security and safety to be my full self while I undertake my PhD.”

First-year pre-doctoral scholar Celso Neto similarly echoes his gratitude for the Killam Trusts. “I am so grateful to be a recipient of a Killam scholarship,” he says. “To be a PhD student is a hard job and involves a lot of sacrifice. This recognition has not only validated my work as a PhD scholar in philosophy and given me the freedom to go into great detail in my research, but has also opened up many new pathways in my academic career that I never thought were possible.”

For more information, visit the Killam Trusts webpage.

Killam awards

Annual Professor Herman Barkema, centre, with Killam Trustee Jim Dinning and President Ed McCauley.

JM Photography

This year’s Killam Scholars and Killam award holders are:

Killam Pre-doctoral Laureates (First-Year Scholarships)

  • Celso Neto, philosophy
  • Ania Zuba, immunology
  • Joshua Whitehead, English
  • Roberta Mota, computer science
  • Sarthak Sinha, veterinary medicine

Killam Pre-doctoral Laureates (Second-Year Scholarships)

  • Lizandra Herrera, chemistry
  • Ian Blanchard, medical science
  • Samantha Jones, geography
  • Keith Lau, microbiology and infectious diseases
  • Jahanara Rajwani, biochemistry and molecular biology
  • Ali Zeraati, chemical and petroleum engineering
  • Haley Vecciarelli, neuroscience
  • Simon Barrick, kinesiology
  • Chelsea Christie, community health
  • David Maira, computer science
  • Williams Miranda, biological science
  • Diego Nobrega, veterinary medicine
  • Nasser Sabet, engineering
  • Kirsti Toivonen, clinical psychology

Killam Postdoctoral Laureates

  • 2018-2020
    Hailey Jansen, Cumming School of Medicine
  • 2019-2021
    Ashley Ware, Arts
    Jordan Squair, Cumming School of Medicine

Killam Annual Professors

  • Nigel Bankes, Law
  • Herman Barkema, Veterinary Medicine
  • Warren Piers, Science
  • Keith Yeates, Arts
  • Hude Quan, Cumming School of Medicine

Killam Research and Teaching Awards

  • Ebba Kurz, Cumming School of Medicine, McCaig-Killam Teaching Award
  • Donna Slater, Cumming School of Medicine, Killam Undergraduate Mentorship Award
  • Jennifer Lock, Werklund School of Education, Killam Graduate Supervision and Mentorship Award
  • Voon Wee Yong, Cumming School of Medicine, Killam Research Excellence Award

Killam Emerging Research Leader Awards

  • Catherine Lebel, Cumming School of Medicine
  • Sam Yeaman, Science
  • Lucija Meuhlenbachs, Arts

Killam Visiting Scholars

  • 2019-2020
    Heidi Stark, Political Science

Killam Memorial Chair

  • Walter Herzog, Kinesiology