Excellence and Awards

The Department of Physics & Astronomy celebrates its faculty and staff as they demonstrate excellence learning, teaching, research, service, leadership, and initiative.

Teaching Excellence Award

The nominee has demonstrated evidence of outstanding teaching, which enhances student learning and promotes deep and diverse learning outcomes. It also results in the creation of engaging and effective learning environments and motivates and challenges students.

Sean Stotyn accepting the Teaching Excellence Award

Sean Stotyn

Teaching Excellence Award - Early Career

Physics and Astronomy

Sean, in his fourth year in the Faculty of Science, is being recognized for the creation of engaging and effective learning environments, for being the first Instructor in Physics and Astronomy to teach a graduate course (in fact, he taught three), mentoring and offering teaching workshops, involvement with TA training, engagement with various faculty-level committees, outreach involving high school teachers, and supporting various outreach activities such as Rollercoasterology. To quote a former student: “Sean’s teaching has had a profound impact on my studies, and I credit him for stimulating my interest to pursue graduate studies.”

Mike Wieser accepting the Teaching Excellence Award

Mike Wieser

Teaching Excellence Award - Established Career

Physics and Astronomy

Mike is a passionate teacher who has e in the classroom throughout his career. He takes student experience and feedback seriously, and it shows, with consistently very high Universal Student Ratings of Instruction (USRI) scores in a large number of courses. He is also a classroom innovator, having initiated group poster presentations in his signature course, Modern Physics (PHYS 325). This activity has become somewhat of an institution in itself, where departmental members are enticed with donuts and coffee to attend and review posters. Recently, Mike updated the format to digital posters in the Taylor Institute, and the tradition remains popular.

John Kendall Doctoral Thesis Award

The John Kendall Doctoral Thesis Award is presented to the graduate student who is adjudged to have written, and defended, the best doctoral thesis in the Faculty of Science, in a given calendar year.

Kerri Miller accepting the John Kendall Doctoral Thesis Award

Kerri Miller

John Kendall Doctoral Thesis Award

Thesis title: Application of copper isotope abundance measurements to study copper trafficking in vivo

The announcement for Kerri’s award went like this: “All members of the examination committee unanimously, and independently, nominated Kerri for a thesis award on their examination reports. All commented on the clarity with which the thesis was written, most saying that is was one of the best, if not the best, PhD thesis they had ever read. Additionally, they all said that they anticipate Kerri will continue to be a significant and impactful researcher in her field.”

Community Engagement Award

In recognition of excellence in community outreach initiatives falling outside the traditional roles of teaching and research, which result in the creation and enhancement of effective and diverse relationships between the Faculty of Science and its stakeholder communities.

Phil Langill accepting the Community Engagement Award

Phil Langill

Community Engagement Award - Established Career

This award recognizes “an exemplary history of community service which is continuously supportive of Science and enhances the long-term reputation of the University in the community.” Phil’s nomination package contained a four-page primary letter and five support letters, which speaks volumes on its own. In those six letters, it was amply demonstrated that Phil’s record satisfies these criteria at local, national and international levels. It’s difficult to pick a single thing to comment on, but he has done a tremendous amount of work to preserve the dark night-time environment around the observatory, throughout Municipal District Foothills, with numerous highway signs reminding drivers that they reside in Dark Sky Country.

Alumni Association Award

To be awarded to the best Graduate Student Teaching Assistant in the Department of Physics & Astronomy on an annual basis. The winner is chosen by the Department and will be based on student and faculty input, including undergraduate student surveys.

Bipinmeet Singh Chawla accepting the Alumni Association Award

Bipinmeet Singh Chawla

Alumni Association Award

Results of TA evaluations for Bipinmeet are always very positive and students express their satisfaction from his performance and appreciation for Bipinmeet for enhancing their learning and sparkling their curiosity. He makes Physics appealing for students who are not in Physics major and often struggle with the subject at the beginning of the term. He is very enthusiastic about Physics and about teaching.

Leadership in Internationalization

The Faculty of Science Leadership in Internationalization Award recognizes individuals who have shown leadership in one or more areas that contribute to the goals identified in the International Strategy of the University of Calgary. The award seeks to recognize outstanding achievements in the areas of:


· Establishing academic networks with international partners,

· Developing international academic research and/or industry collaborations,

· Internationalizing the curriculum,

· Promotion of overseas mobility for both staff and students,

· Involvement with international students on campus,

· Development of cross-cultural competencies among University of Calgary domestic students, and

· Mentorship of colleagues or students in the above internationalization activities

Barry Sanders accepting the Leadership in Internationalization award

Barry Sanders

This award recognizes the prestigious international positions Barry holds, his organization of international conferences, and his support for science in developing countries. He holds a Thousand Talents Chair Professorship at the University of Science and Technology of China (one of China’s top universities) and a Visiting Advanced Joint Research (Vajra) Chair Professor position at the Raman Research Institute (one of India’s top research institutes). He has initiated conference series in Iran and South Africa, supported interns from China, India, Pakistan and Iran, and taught in summer schools in countries already mentioned and also Brazil, Morocco, and Russia.