Exceptional grad students recognized at annual Graduate Student Awards Ceremony

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

This week Waterloo Pharmacy honoured six top-achieving graduate students and one faculty member at the annual Graduate Student Awards Ceremony.

Our graduate students tackle complex problems across diverse fields like medicinal chemistry, neurology, and mobile health technologies. Janet McDougall, the donor of one of the awards, recognized this variety in her opening remarks at the event. Janet spoke to the ability of pharmacists and researchers to “change their communities and environments in positive ways.”

This year's winners certainly demonstrate that ability to make positive change.

Donald J. and Kathleen D. McDougal Graduate Scholarship: Alexandra Durocher

Dave, Janet, Alex and Shawn smiling

Alex is a consistently positive influence in the graduate program. Impressively, she combines repeated success in the classroom with meaningful engagement in the community. It is that combination that made her an ideal fit for the McDougall Graduate Scholarship, an award granted on the basis of scholastic excellence and commitment to community service. 

This scholarship was established by Janet McDougall, BSc’71, to honour her parents, Donald Joseph and Kathleen (Kay) Donihee McDougall. Don was a practicing pharmacist from 1934 through 1993, and loved his profession.  Both Don and Kay were community leaders, dedicated volunteers, and civic activists.  This award honours their contributions and their belief in service to the community.

Highest Grade in the Course Topics in Drug Development: Kathryn Mercer and Gokul Pullagura

Kate, Gokul and Shawn, smilingCourse Topics in Drug Development is a core class for all Waterloo Pharmacy graduate students, and it was offered twice in the award period. Kate and Gokul achieved the highest grades in each of their classes. Their impressive scores in the class testify to both their mastery of content and their dedication to their studies.

Best Mentor as a Graduate Student Teaching Assistant: Monica Hoang

Monica and Shawn smilingMonica’s tireless dedication was noted by both faculty and students. Students of her class described Monica as a positive person and a consistently available teaching assistant, and the faculty she supported praised her for taking her role seriously, repeatedly going above and beyond expectations.

Best Thesis Defence in the Pharmacy Graduate Program: Nawaz Ahmed

Mike and Shawn smilingNawaz’s success has been apparent throughout his academic career. He has demonstrated excellence in undergraduate research and in participation in health clinics, and that record of excellence continued with his thesis defence.

Nawaz was attending a conference during the time of the ceremony. Dr. Michael Beazely accepted the award on his behalf.

Special Merit Award for Substantial Impact on our Overall Research Mission: Jessica Nicastro

Shawn and JessicaJessica has demonstrated dedication and talent both inside and outside of the classroom, and is a consistent supporter and positive advocate for our graduate program. A meticulous researcher and accomplished scholar, Jessica personifies the qualities recognized by the Special Merit Award.

Outstanding Faculty Mentor in the Graduate Program: Praveen Nekkar Rao

Praveen and ShawnStudents who work with Praveen have described him as kind, patient, always available, and brilliant. The steady and supportive relationships he builds with his graduate students enable them to achieve success, and he does all of this while maintaining a positive attitude and demonstrating humility.  Congratulations, Praveen!

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