Congratulations to PhD student Trinda Penniston, and incoming MSc student Mayah Palmer, on both receiving Black Scholar’s Excellence in Mentorship Awards! Trinda Penniston is a student in Dr. Caroline Pukall’s Sexual Health Research Lab, and Mayah is a student in Dr. Vera Vine’s Emotion, Mind & Body Lab.

The Black Scholars Excellence in Mentorship Award is a new annual award through the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (with a 3-year funding commitment) to acknowledge and celebrate the mentorship work undertaken by Black scholars at Queen’s University.

“I am honoured to win this award,” Trinda explains. “I love being a mentor in both formal and informal capacities. Even so, it does take a lot of work, and to be recognized and appreciated for that work means so much to me.”

Trinda says the award is especially important for her as someone who is aiming for a career in academia and clinical consulting. “I didn’t have any Black mentors in my academic journey until very recently”, she recalls. “So, I can only hope to be the type of mentor to others, that I wish I had while navigating these spaces.”

Trinda’s supervisor, Dr. Caroline Pukall says that working with Trinda has been inspiring in many ways, given that Trinda’s approach to her work and relationships in the lab is one that clearly demonstrates investment, equality, mentorship, and openness. “Her program of research, which focuses on Black Canadian women’s sexuality, will serve as foundational in the field of sex research and will have important implications for representation of racialized groups in science”, explains Dr. Pukall.

Mayah Palmer says she is honoured to have received this award and is grateful to be able to contribute to her academic environment in a meaningful and positive way. “This award will help me pursue my academic and professional career goals and continue my studies at Queen’s in the Clinical Psychology program,” Mayah explains. “I am excited to continue to build on creating an inclusive environment within the community and continue to learn through mentorship of, and by my peers and colleagues.”

Mayah’s supervisor, Dr. Vera Vine says that even while pursuing her own goals, Mayah has worked tirelessly to care for everyone in their lab. “Mayah has supported other marginalized members of our lab, advocated for inclusive practices in research, and educated all of us about how to be better allies in our DEI efforts, Dr. Vine recalls.”

Black Scholars Excellence in Mentorship Award is open to Black Faculty (inclusive of continuing and term adjuncts), graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and staff in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, who individually or as a team, contribute to an inclusive and supportive research environment at Queen’s University. This award is funded through the portfolios of Associate-Dean of Research and Director of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Indigenization, and the Associate-Dean of Graduate Studies.

More information about the Black Scholars Excellence in Mentorship Award is available through Faculty of Arts & Science Funds and Awards.

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