May 29, 2023

Class of 2023: Meet our spring 2023 President’s Award winners

Inspiring graduates recognized for academic achievement, leadership, and contributions to community

The University of Calgary is pleased to announce the spring 2023 recipients of the President’s Award for Excellence in Student Leadership. The award was established in 2008 to recognize exceptional graduating students who have a record of outstanding academic achievement and leadership, and who have made significant contributions to our community.

Mathieu Chin

Mathieu Chin

Doctor of Medicine

During his time at the University of Calgary, Mathieu Chin has demonstrated that he is a gifted student and a natural leader who thrives while supporting his fellow students and the broader community.

Dr. Chin dedicated a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and time to student government in both the Faculty of Kinesiology and the Faculty of Medicine. He was president of the MD Class of 2023 and the Calgary Medical Students’ Association. In these roles, he represented the Cumming School of Medicine provincially and nationally, and led multiple advocacy initiatives. For example, he enhanced student education and accessibility by obtaining $225,000 of Students’ Union Quality Money funding for various projects, the most recent being UpToDate subscriptions for medical students. In addition, he served as the chair for the Ice Bowl, an ice hockey tournament for medical students in Western Canada.

He also volunteered for various UCalgary organizations and programs including the Peer Assisted Student Session program (PASS) and at the Thrive Centre, Faculty of Kinesiology. He was a mentor to high school and undergraduate students through the Calgary Medical Students’ Association and the Pathways to Medicine program. Chin also provided vaccinations to the public throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chin has received many awards throughout his academic career including the prestigious 3M National Student Fellowship and a CFMS-MD Financial Leadership Award. His academic achievements include a first-authored peer-reviewed publication analyzing the biomechanics of an ankle injury, multiple abstracts in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, and poster presentations given in Canada and internationally. Additionally, he has participated in 12 research projects exploring diverse topics from wearable technology to cannabis legalization.

He is excited to give back to the Calgary community as an incoming internal medicine resident physician beginning this July.

Caroline Dawoud

Caroline Dawoud

Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering

Caroline Dawoud is a mobilizer, community builder and innovator. She has shown excellence in academics, while finding ways to support her fellow students and create opportunities for them to impact the world.

While at UCalgary, Dawoud developed, led, and grew three Students’ Union clubs (Go Baby Go, ENOVA and the Senior Wellness Association), each encompassing a distinct theme of caring for our wider communities. Under her direction, Go Baby Go grew from 20 to 60 dedicated volunteer engineering students who design and manufacture affordable power wheelchairs and ride-on toy cars for toddlers with disabilities. As the president of ENOVA (Emulating Nature in Innovations), she recruited 30 new passionate members, won the SU Club Award for sustainability, won accolades in the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge, and tripled the number of annual outreach events. In 2018, Dawoud founded and developed the Senior Wellness Association after she heard candid stories from seniors about feelings of isolation and medical deterioration. In a few short years, she built a diverse executive team and recruited 250-plus student volunteers.

Dawoud was a mentor for the Schulich Scholars and the Maker Multiplex, in addition to being an orientation leader. She also volunteered and lent her voice to the Schulich Dean’s Office in many roles, often championing sustainability in engineering and equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility initiatives, and speaking to thousands of audience members during presentations at the Girl Guides’ STEM days, Women in Engineering events, and You at UCalgary. Dawoud also served as the undergraduate student representative on the Sustainability Transformation Task Force that developed and launched the new Sustainable Systems Engineering major.

Her strong academics and community contributions have been recognized by awards such as the Jason Lang Scholarship and the Women in STEM Scholarship. She also achieved the maximum renewal for the Seymour Schulich Community Service/Entrepreneurial Entrance Award.

Dawoud will be travelling in the summer before joining Ovintiv as a field safety engineer-in-training.

Pamela Farrell

Pamela Farrell

Doctor of Education

In addition to her exceptionally strong academic achievements, Dr. Pamela Farrell, EdD, has demonstrated outstanding co-curricular contributions to the university and the community at large, particularly in the areas of social justice and wellness.

Inspired by her doctoral research at UCalgary, she started the GROW Community Food Literacy Centre in Niagara Falls, Ont., which is Canada’s first community food literacy centre. As executive director, she collaborated with all levels of government to raise more than $1 million in funding and donations to turn an abandoned building into a vibrant good-food centre. The centre, which offers a low-cost/subsidized market and food literacy programs, has been accessed more than 20,000 times.

At UCalgary, Farrell continues to co-chair the Nourish to Flourish working group, a role that enhances food security for students. She also held several roles with the Graduate Students’ Association and was elected student representative for the Language and Literacy Specialization Area.

During her studies, Farrell taught two undergraduate courses and was a research assistant in the Werklund School of Education. As a research assistant, she created a series of custom seminars on topics relevant to graduate students. She also presented to community groups on many occasions and was a guest lecturer at UCalgary and the Toronto Metropolitan University. In the past year, she has provided more than 18 food literacy and food security presentations and published two peer-reviewed articles.

Currently, Farrell is a sessional instructor at the Werklund School of Education and is working on an entry for The Elgar Encyclopedia of Food and Society. She has also recently been appointed by Global Affairs Canada as the Swiss Honorary Consul for Alberta where she promotes educational, scientific, social, cultural, and economic trade between Alberta and Switzerland.

Melody N. Grohs

Melody N. Grohs

Doctor of Philosophy (Neuroscience), Doctor of Medicine

Dr. Melody Grohs, PhD, MD, demonstrated excellent academic achievement alongside leading change within the university and greater community. Her efforts improved the academic, professional, and social experiences of graduate students at UCalgary. She strengthened the university’s teaching and research capabilities while also improving the quality of life for children and their families in and around Calgary.

Grohs was a student representative on various university committees throughout her studies. Notably she was chair of the Leaders in Medicine Program (LiM). She served as a member of the LiM Symposium and social committees. Grohs developed a LiM Mentorship Program, as well as being a member of the P4 Medicine Course Committee, leading the development of a course on predictive, personalized, preventive, and participatory medicine. More recently she joined the Cumming School of Medicine’s Student Advocacy and Wellness Hub (SAWH) Mental Health and Wellness Committee to help enhance supports for graduate students.

Grohs achieved a 4.0 GPA during her PhD and has carried impressive grades throughout her academic career. She has received many notable academic awards, including a Leaders in Medicine CIHR Award. She has 15 peer-reviewed publications to her credit, including six as first author and has presented her findings locally, nationally, and internationally. Grohs’s research focused on child neurodevelopment, including identifying therapies for children with neurodiversity. Some of her other work included prenatal exposure to bisphenol A (BPA), which provided the first evidence that prenatal exposure affects children’s brains and behaviour.

Grohs has a long history of community leadership and volunteerism. She established a mentorship program for students with disabilities and was an active volunteer with the Rotary Flames House, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the Alberta Children’s Hospital Clinical Ethics Committee.

Grohs has been matched to the family medicine residency program at the University of Calgary, with the goal of becoming a clinician-scientist in the field of palliative medicine.

Join our celebration as another class of enterprising University of Calgary students marks the milestone of graduation and begins making a difference in society, in fields such as health care, engineering, business and the arts. Spring Graduation and Convocation takes place May 29 to June 2, 2023. Learn more 

Read more inspiring stories about the accomplishments and journeys of the Class of 2023.

A note for soon-to-be UCalgary alumni: As you prepare to transition from student life, we encourage you to check out our Life Kit for Recent Grads — custom-built to inform you about the programs, benefits and services available to you as a member of the UCalgary alumni community.


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