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Annual Awards

The Department of Philosophy hosted its eighth annual award ceremony on April 12, 2017. This year, two new prizes for Women's Studies students were added, a first year prize and an upper year prize. The event celebrates philosophy and women's studies students' achievement over the past year and includes the Angus Kerr-Lawson prize in American or Naturalistic Philosophy, and the Sandra Burt Essay Prize in Women's Studies.

The award winners this year are:

First year prize
Manjot Kaur Dhindsa
Recognizes outstanding performance in Women's Studies by a first year student.

Trevor Holmes and Mary Synnott present the first year award to Manjot Dhindsa

Trevor Holmes and Mary Synnott present the Women's Studies first year prize to Manjot Kaur Dhindsa.
From Trevor Holmes: In 12 years... I have rarely seen such consistently high-level creative work that stages the debates from the textbook so well, and so concisely. Ms. Dhindsa has handled assignments in the course with a personal and conceptual maturity that is rare among her peers at any year level.


Upper year prize
Megan Whalen
Recognizes outstanding performance in Women's Studies by an upper year student.

Carla Fehr and Mary Synnott present the Women's Studies upper year award to Megan Whalen.

Carla Fehr and Mary Synnott present the Women's Studies upper year award to Megan Whalen.
From Women's Studies Undergraduate Advisor, Shannon Dea: Megan is passionate about Women’s Studies, and about doing excellent scholarly work. It is no surprise that she was nominated for this prize by more than one of her professors. Her professors praise her engagement in class discussions, her high caliber written work, and her dedication to her courses and to social justice.


Citizenship Prize
Nicole Sandford
This special award recognizes the recipient's distinguished contributions to the Department, both as a scholar and as a citizen.

Greg Andres presents Nicole Sandford with the Citizenship Prize.

Greg Andres presents Nicole Sandford with the Citizenship Prize.
From Women's Studies Undergraduate Advisor, Shannon Dea: Nicole was nominated for a Philosophy class prize, for the inaugural Women’s Studies upper year prize, and for this “special prize.” That her professors found her academic contributions in both Philosophy (her major) and Women’s Studies (her minor) worthy of nominations is already an impressive feat, and evidence of her scholarly excellence. But Nicole is not just an excellent student in both of her chosen disciplines, she is also an amazing departmental citizen. From her service to Phil Soc last year to her leadership this year in the Women’s Studies Society, Nicole has made the Department a better place for students in both disciplines.


Sandra Burt Essay Prize in Women's Studies
Sara Radley
for her paper, "Using the Pedagogy of the Oppressed to Queer Gender Norms"
The Sandra Burt Essay Award honours Dr. Sandra Burt, the first Coordinator of Women’s Studies at Waterloo. It is awarded to an upper year Women’s Studies major who has written an outstanding paper.

Sandra Burt and Carla Fehr present the Sandra Burt Essay Award to Sara Radley.

Sandra Burt and Carla Fehr present the Sandra Burt Essay Award to Sara Radley.
From Women's Studies Undergraduate Advisor, Shannon Dea: In her paper “Using the Pedagogy of the Oppressed to Queer Gender Norms” Sara combines the frameworks of Paolo Freire and Maria Lugones to “queer” gender. One of her professors wrote: “I think that she does good work with Freire in this paper. The combination of Lugones and Freire is creative and has potential to have legs a longer-term research project. I like that she is using this combination in a way that tackles a problem that is real and that is personal to her.”


This year we also honoured Mary Synnott for 30 years of outstanding service, particularly to the Women's Studies program.

Gerry Callaghan presents Mary Synnott with a commemorative plaque honouring her for her service to Women's Studies.

Gerry Callaghan presents Mary Synnott with a commemorative plaque honouring her for her service to Women's Studies.

The text of the plaque reads:

Mary Synnott made an enormous contribution to Women's Studies at Waterloo over the course of her career. She joined the program in 1985 as its first full-time staff member. She remained its only staff member until her retirement in 2016. Three decades of students, instructors and program directors benefited and learned from Mary's wisdom, passion, professionalism and generosity. Women's Studies is indebted to this exemplary feminist leader.

The photo on the plaque is a quintessential Mary photo in which she holds up a sign which reads:

"I need feminism because equality is for everyone! I was a feminist before I had ever heard the word!"

To see our full gallery of photos, visit the Department of Philosophy 2017 Awards Ceremony Gallery.
2017 Awards Ceremony Program.