Celebrating staff achievements

Special Recognition for Staff Awards

Celebrating staff achievements

Two teams and six individual staff members are being celebrated for their excellent work and accomplishments at Queen’s.

April 22, 2024


Headshot of six recipients of the 2023 Special Recognition for Staff Awards

Individual recipients of the Special Recognition for Staff Awards, included, clockwise from top left: Angela James, Rebecca Sweetman, Deanna Morash, Sonia Nobrega, Mona Rahman, Kim Moore.

The Special Recognition for Staff Awards recognize staff, nominated by their peers, who have gone above and beyond their day-to-day activities to create a lasting positive impact across the Queen’s community. For 2023, two teams and six individual staff members are being celebrated for their excellent work and accomplishments. Award recipients and their guests are invited to a private reception in May with Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane to celebrate their tremendous achievements.

“These awards honour outstanding staff who have exceeded expectations by doing remarkable things,” Principal Deane says. “On behalf of the university community, I congratulate all of the recipients for their accomplishments and thank them for their contributions and dedication to their work at Queen’s.” 

“These awards have always been highly competitive, and this year was no exception,” says Lisa Walsh, Interim Associate Vice-Principal, Human Resources. “All recipients should be incredibly proud of their contributions and the impact they’ve had across the university.”

The recipients of the 2023 Special Recognition for Staff Awards are:

Angela James, Director of the Centre for International Management, Smith School of Business

Angela James is described by her peers as an indispensable figure at Smith School of Business, renowned for her dedication to advancing international opportunities. With more than two decades of service at Queen's, including 18 years at Smith, Angela’s profound impact is evident in the flourishing international programs. Under her leadership as the Director of the Centre for International Management (CIM), Smith has expanded its global network from fewer than 40 to more than 130 prestigious partner schools worldwide. Her efforts have not only enhanced the student experience but also improved student access to global opportunities. Angela is passionate about people and empowers those around her, serving as both a formal mentor and an informal source of guidance. Continuously seeking avenues to enrich Smith’s international portfolio, Angela’s visionary leadership has pushed the Centre for International Management forward, fostering a culture of global engagement and innovation.

Rebecca Sweetman, Associate Director of Educational Technologies, Faculty of Arts and Science

Rebecca Sweetman is known for her supportive leadership and innovative nature. In her current role as Associate Director of Educational Technologies in the Faculty of Arts and Science, Rebecca has championed collaboration and transparency across departments, founded essential support groups, and spearheaded innovative projects such as the Indigenous Community Research Partnerships training modules. She was instrumental in both crafting university-wide consent protocols for multimedia production and ensuring their accessibility to all Ontario universities. Rebecca’s commitment to advancing I-EDIAA is evident in her advocacy for ethical technology use and her co-authorship of an open-access course in activist design. Despite her demanding schedule, including pursuing a PhD in cultural studies and managing a farm, Rebecca consistently goes above and beyond in her day-to-day work. Her unwavering dedication to advancing educational technology and promoting social responsibility has had a profound and far-reaching impact across the university community. 

Deanna Morash, Executive Director of Finance and Administration, Faculty of Law

Deanna Morash stands as a cornerstone of excellence within the Faculty of Law where her dedication and leadership have left an indelible mark. Throughout her tenure, which spans more than a decade, Deanna has consistently demonstrated a commitment to academic and operational success, particularly in her current role as Executive Director of Finance and Administration. Her strategic decision-making and keen oversight have steered the Faculty of Law through challenging times and ensured its continued stability and growth. Deanna cares deeply about students, faculty, and staff, evident in her unwavering commitment to cultivate a welcoming, inclusive, and respectful environment. She played an instrumental role in a multi-year project to introduce Indigenous art into the Faculty of Law’s atrium, honouring both Canada’s Indigenous legal traditions and the principles of reconciliation. Above all else, Deanna makes people feel valued and supported, and helps them achieve their personal and professional best.

Kim Moore, LIMB Lab Manager, Faculty of Health Sciences 

With more than 30 years of experience, Kim Moore’s contributions as a highly skilled veterinary technologist have been foundational to the success and efficiency of research endeavors within the academic community. As LIMB Lab Manager, Kim goes above and beyond to provide compassionate care for animals, evident in her daily commitment to their well-being and enrichment. Beyond animal care, Kim manages all research facilities and finances for the LIMB Lab, including major grants and applications. Her meticulous attention to detail and adept management have been instrumental in advancing the lab’s mission for excellence, while contributing to the development of groundbreaking technologies with potential applications in clinical practice. Outside of the LIMB Lab, Kim plays a pivotal role for research involving Kinarm technology and has supported countless faculty across Queen’s in their research endeavors. Her work ethic, leadership, and drive for excellence are just a few qualities colleagues referenced when nominating Kim. 

Mona Rahman, Research Awards Officer, Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)

Mona Rahman exemplifies excellence and dedication in her role as Research Awards Officer. With nearly a decade of experience, Mona has earned the reputation of being the ‘secret weapon’ in competitive academic awards and competitions. Her meticulous attention to detail and unwavering commitment to the Queen’s community is evident in the effort she invests in preparing all award nominations. Despite the demanding nature of her position, Mona always ensures that each nomination reflects the candidate’s strengths and qualities in the best possible light. She takes a proactive approach by actively seeking different insights and perspectives to refine and enhance future nominations. Mona’s initiative, dedication, and foresight have significantly contributed to Queen's strong track record of success in winning prestigious awards and fellowships, further enhancing the university’s reputation nationally and internationally. Her exceptional contributions to the university community are felt by many. 

Sonia Nobrega, Senior Manager, Queen's University Biological Station

Sonia Nobrega’s remarkable contributions have played an integral role in advancing the Queen’s University Biological Station’s (QUBS) core mandate of facilitating experiential learning opportunities, cutting-edge research, and active land stewardship. As Senior Manager, Sonia’s influence extends far beyond overseeing budget and staffing; she has brought order, process, and efficiency to QUBS operations while fostering a welcoming environment. Her expertise in grant writing has been instrumental in securing significant funding for transformative projects, including incorporating Indigenous perspectives into STEM curricula and developing environmental DNA tools for aquatic diversity assessment. Outside of her role, Sonia works to raise the profile of QUBS while contributing to regional conservation efforts through her membership on several boards including the Organization of Biological Field Stations and the Algonquin to Adirondacks Collective. From spearheading innovative programs to fostering international partnerships, Sonia continues to make a meaningful difference in the field of environmental sciences at Queen’s.

Headshots of Queen’s Doctoral Internship in University Administration (QDIUA) Team

Queen’s Doctoral Internship in University Administration (QDIUA) Team, from top row, left to right: Katie Fizzell, Heather Merla, Alison Cummings, Cathy Keates, Ryan Curzon, Alexandra Pedersen, Ishana Gopaul, Katie-Marie McNeill, Ying Zhang, Shannon Hill, Colette Steer, Dora Nomikos.

Queen’s Doctoral Internship in University Administration (QDIUA) Team

  • Ishana Gopaul, Manager, Special Projects, Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration)
  • Alexandra Pedersen, Manager for EDII Capacity Development, McDonald Institute
  • Ryan Curzon, Associate Director, Investment and Treasury Operations, Investment Services
  • Dora Nomikos, Manager, Office of Clinical Trials Management, Canadian Cancer Trials Group
  • Ying Zhang, Undergraduate Laboratory Coordinator, Chemical Engineering
  • Alison Cummings, Learning and Development Specialist, Human Resources
  • Shannon Hill, Learning and Development Specialist, Human Resources
  • Heather Merla, Academic Affairs, School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs
  • Colette Steer, Manager, Graduate Experience, School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs
  • Katie-Marie McNeill, Coordinator, Postdoctoral Affairs, School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs
  • Katie Fizzell, Experiential Learning Strategist, Career Services
  • Cathy Keates, Assistant Dean, Student Affairs

Launched in 2021 and sponsored by the Vice-Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs, the Queen’s Doctoral Internship in University Administration (QDIUA) program is the first-of-its-kind in Canada. The program provides professional development and experiential learning opportunities for PhD candidates by placing them within administrative units to engage in meaningful projects and tasks over the course of a term. The team was comprised of diverse representation from groups across the university including the Foundational Leadership Program, the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs, and Career Services. Drawing inspiration from similar programs in the United States, the team conceptualized and tailored the program to prepare students for diverse career paths while meeting the evolving needs of the job market. Since its launch, the QDIUA program has employed 33 students across five faculties within 14 administrative units. Both students and administrative units who have participated in the program have advocated for its continuation, noting the positive impact and experience they have had. 

Headshots of the Smith Engineering Implementation Team

Smith Engineering Implementation Team, clockwise from top left: Christa Camirand, Kyle Strike, Sarah Kauffman, Kate Spoljaric, Kate Minor, David Yokom, Stephen Hunt, Jane McMillan, Paul Hiles.

Smith Engineering Implementation Team

  • Christa Camirand, Director, Human Resources, Smith Engineering
  • Paul Hiles, Associate Director, Information Technology, Smith Engineering
  • Stephen Hunt, Senior Director, Information Technology and Facilities, Smith Engineering
  • Sarah Kauffman, Executive Director, Community and Strategic Priorities, Smith Engineering
  • Jane McMillan, Special Advisor, Smith Engineering
  • Kate Minor, Manager, Office of the Dean, Smith Engineering
  • Kate Spoljaric, Manager, Organizational Development and Engagement, Smith Engineering
  • Kyle Strike, Facilities Manager, Smith Engineering
  • David Yokom, Director, Innovative Educational Initiatives, Smith Engineering
  • Matt Shepherd, Director, Marketing and Communications, Smith Engineering

Tasked with overseeing the implementation of a groundbreaking $100-million gift from alumnus Stephen J.R. Smith, the Smith Engineering Implementation Team demonstrated remarkable agility and adaptability for this ambitious project. The team formed quickly and comprised of experts from various units within Smith Engineering as well as more broadly across Queen’s including University Relations and the Office of Advancement. An implementation of this size within this timeframe required significant collective effort and truly demonstrates an unparalleled level of collaboration. One example of this incredible coordinated effort was seen on campus when all signage was immediately updated following the announcement to display the new name of the faculty - Smith Engineering. Through meticulous planning, communications, change management, and problem-solving, the team successfully coordinated the efforts of hundreds of community partners, ensuring a unified approach to reimagine engineering education. The team’s strategic decisions and commitment to excellence serve as a testament to the transformative power of an innovative mindset, and proof that effecting change across an entire faculty is possible.

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