2018 Alumni of Influence
Eleven new recipients were recognized on March 16, 2018.
Honouring our Alumni of Influence
The Alumni of Influence Awards are a public way for the College of Arts & Science to recognize and celebrate our very distinguished alumni. The awards signal to today's students that they are part of a vibrant and accomplished college.
At the Alumni of Influence Dean's Gala & Award Ceremony on March 16, 2018, the college honoured 11 new recipients of the Alumni of Influence Award. Three hundred people came together in Saskatoon to recognize and celebrate the achievements of these esteemed graduates.
2018 Alumni of Influence Gala
Photos from the 2018 College of Arts & Science Dean's Gala and Award Ceremony, held at TCU Place in Saskatoon on March 16, 2018
Our 2018 Alumni of Influence
BHSc’35, BA’65, PhD’71 (d. 2016)
Margaret Brooke was a Canadian naval hero, a military nurse (nursing sister) and an accomplished paleontologist.
Raised at Ardath, Sask., Brooke moved to Saskatoon in 1933 to attend the University of Saskatchewan. After earning her Bachelor of Household Science, she joined the Royal Canadian Navy in 1942 as a nursing sister dietitian and served in naval hospitals across Canada during the war.
In October 1942, Brooke was aboard the ferry SS Caribou when it was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine off the coast of Newfoundland. Brooke and her fellow nursing sister, Agnes Wilkie, clung to a capsized lifeboat throughout the night. When Wilkie lost her grip, Brooke held onto her friend’s arm until daybreak. Wilkie did not survive, but for her courageous efforts Brooke was named a member of the Order of the British Empire.
After retiring from the navy in 1962 at the rank of lieutenant-commander, Brooke returned to Saskatoon and reenrolled at the U of S. She earned her BA and later her PhD in biostratigraphy and micropaleontology, and then worked as a College of Arts & Science instructor and research associate until her retirement in 1986.
During her time on campus, Brooke coauthored several landmark papers on the geology of Saskatchewan and Alberta with Prof. W.K. Braun. Their discoveries have guided oil and gas exploration across western North America.
On Brooke’s 100th birthday in 2015, it was announced that one of Canada’s new Arctic patrol ships would be named the HMCS Margaret Brooke in recognition of her wartime heroism. She became the first woman and the first living person to have a Canadian naval ship named for her. Brooke passed away in Victoria, B.C., in 2016.
BA’39, MA’40 (d. 1981)
Alexander Douglas was a physicist and renowned researcher in the field of molecular spectroscopy.
Douglas was born on a farm near Melfort, Sask. He graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a bachelor’s degree in 1939 and went on to complete a master’s degree under the supervision of Nobel Laureate Gerhard Herzberg.
In 1940, Douglas began work on his PhD at the University of Minnesota, but returned to Canada to join the war effort. Encouraged by Herzberg to serve his country through research, he joined the National Research Council (NRC) in Ottawa, where he became involved in anti-submarine work. Before going to Ottawa, Douglas spent the summer working with Herzberg on spectroscopic research. During their brief collaboration, the pair achieved several advances in the field.
After the war, Douglas completed his PhD at Pennsylvania State University and accepted an offer from Herzberg to start a new spectroscopy laboratory at the NRC. He remained there for the next 27 years, working his way up to principal research officer and director of the Division of Physics. He left his directorship in 1973 to return to full-time research.
Douglas’s research touched almost every facet within the field of molecular spectroscopy. Throughout his career, he developed many new techniques and made many critical contributions to the interpretation of molecular spectra. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Royal Society of London, and received the Canadian Association of Physics Medal for Achievement. Shortly before Douglas’s death in 1981, the Royal Society of Canada awarded him the Henry Marshall Tory Medal.
Katrina German is an award-winning entrepreneur specializing in communications, technology and digital strategy.
During her 15 years in communications, German has worn many hats: tech startup CEO, digital strategist, writer, television producer/host and professional speaker. She is named in the CBC’s Future 40 and has won a YWCA Saskatoon Women of Distinction Award and the Startup Canada Prairie Award for Innovation. In 2017, she was among the representatives of Canada at the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance summit in Germany.
As the former CEO of a technology company, German helped international clients—such as United Nations Women, the PGA Golf Tour and the Dalai Lama Fellows—share their stories digitally. Her company was chosen as one of six Canadian companies to attend the World’s Best Technology Summit in San Diego and was named one of Canada’s top 15 startups by the National Angel Summit.
German is passionate about encouraging women and young people to pursue careers in technology and entrepreneurship. She has been a keynote speaker at many business and career training events and has been featured in numerous blogs and magazines. In 2016, German spearheaded a #WomeninTech campaign that was seen by 2.8 million people in one day and collected inspiring videos from around the world. She was nominated for a national DigiAward for another social media campaign that encouraged families to read to children, reaching 2.4 million people in one day.
German sits on the board of directors for UNICEF Canada and is one of the founding members of Seeds for Dreams, a group dedicated to helping women entrepreneurs in Saskatchewan.
Karla Guyn is chief executive officer for Ducks Unlimited Canada and one of Canada’s leading conservation scientists.
As a child, Guyn would wander through the limber pines and grassy hills near her grandparents’ ranch in southwestern Alberta dreaming of what it would be like to become a biologist. Wild places and the creatures that inhabit them sparked a curiosity she couldn’t shake. Decades later, completing her MSc and PhD degrees in biology from the University of Saskatchewan fanned that spark into a flame.
Her more than 20 years of experience have seen Guyn travel across North America in pursuit of wetland and waterfowl conservation. As CEO for Ducks Unlimited Canada, she leads more than 350 staff across the country to deliver on-the-ground habitat conservation, scientific research, education and public policy efforts.
Guyn also serves on international conservation committees, including the North American Waterfowl Management Plan and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. In 2006, she was awarded the Outstanding Alumni Award from Lethbridge College. She is a member of the Wildlife Society and received its Fellows Award in 2016. In 2014, she was nominated as a YMCA-YWCA woman of distinction.
Conservation has always been more than just work for Guyn. From chasing radio-marked ducks around the prairies as a U of S graduate student to meeting with international leaders and government officials on issues of conservation policy, she is in her element and living her dream.
Lindsay “Eekwol” Knight is an award-winning Cree hip hop performing artist and activist.
Originally from Muskoday First Nation, Sask., Knight has dedicated many years to the culture and craft of hip hop with a goal of creating something unique to give back to her community. She has released eight albums under the name Eekwol since 1998, earning accolades including the Best Hip Hop Album Award at the 2005 Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, along with nominations at the Indian Summer Music Awards and the Aboriginal Peoples’ Choice Music Awards.
Knight has performed across North America and uses her profile as an artist to speak on issues of social justice, women’s rights and reconciliation. Through her music and words, she spreads a message of resistance and revolution, and speaks on the importance of keeping Indigenous languages, lands and cultures alive for future generations.
In 2013, Knight completed her MA in Indigenous studies at the University of Saskatchewan with a focus on Indigenous music. She has been a lecturer and guest speaker at the U of S and is involved in workshops, speaking events and conferences across the country. A frequent mentor to youth, Knight offers young people motivation and inspiration to pursue their dreams of art and education. She was named a CBC Future 40 winner in 2016.
Knight is active in Saskatchewan’s arts community as an advisor, promoter and adjudicator. Since 2015, she has been the Saskatchewan Arts Board’s program consultant on Aboriginal arts and community engagement, a role in which she helps the board respond to Saskatchewan’s Indigenous communities.
1. What is your favourite memory about your time in Arts & Science?
There’s a few, but mostly spending time in the archives where I felt like I was going back in time to treaty signing and visiting with my ancestors during those first decades. I learned about the foundations of Indigenous/settler relationships within our territory. I used to just hole up in there with old documents and read, read, read!
2. How did your Arts & Science education help you in your career?
I learned about discipline and organization more than anything. If you don’t do the work, you don’t get the grades/degrees. I also learned to be critical and always research before making decisions. That is essential in any career!
3. What advice would you offer to current students in Arts & Science?
Always be respectful of others around you. It’s good to be critical and to question everything, yet be mindful of perspectives and experiences when doing so. Also, practice discipline—make a schedule that balances your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual, and stick to it.
Gordon Kurtenbach is a pioneer in the field of human-computer interaction and one of Canada’s leading industry-based computer science researchers.
Kurtenbach obtained his BSc from the University of Saskatchewan in 1984, followed by his MSc and PhD in computer science at the University of Toronto. As a PhD student, he designed a new gesture-based technique for interacting with computers that became hugely influential. These “marking menus” helped shape modern software and are a forerunner to the gestural interfaces of today’s tablets and smartphones.
Following his PhD, Kurtenbach worked in the research labs of Apple’s Advanced Technology Group, Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Centre and Alias, where he led research into advanced technologies for software products such as Maya, AliasStudio, SketchBook and PortfolioWall.
Today, Kurtenbach is head of Autodesk Research, the industrial research group of Autodesk, Inc. In this role, he oversees a large range of research concerning how software is used to design, make and operate the built world. Under Kurtenbach’s leadership, Autodesk Research has grown from a small team into an elite industrial research group with a reputation for successfully translating research into commercial products. The only lab of its kind in Canada, Autodesk Research is a magnet for top computer science talent from around the world.
Kurtenbach has published numerous research papers and holds more than 50 patents in the field of human-computer interaction. In 2005, he received the UIST Lasting Impact Award for his early work on gestural interfaces. In 2011, he shared the NSERC Synergy Award for Innovation in recognition of collaboration between Autodesk and the University of Toronto.
Gregory Nelson is an award-winning writer and producer for television, theatre and radio who has dedicated his career to creating characters and stories that are uniquely Canadian.
Nelson found his theatrical roots studying under Henry Woolf and Ronald Mavor at the storied Hangar building, graduating from the College of Arts & Science with a BA (Honours) in English and drama in 1988 and going on to earn an MFA from the University of Alberta.
A prolific playwright, Nelson’s works for the stage have been published and produced across Canada and have won multiple awards, including two Alberta Book Awards and first prize in the Canadian National Playwriting Competition. He has served as playwright-in-residence at Theatre Calgary and the Canadian Stage Company, as well as at the University of Saskatchewan. Nelson’s 1995 play Spirit Wrestler is being remounted by the U of S Department of Drama’s Greystone Theatre for its spring 2018 season.
Nelson is currently one of Canada’s leading television writers and producers. Recent credits include writer and co-executive producer on the Emmy Award-winning series Orphan Black and on the Netflix fur-trade drama Frontier. He has also written and produced for Remedy, Saving Hope and Rookie Blue. Nelson’s work on the CBC Radio drama Afghanada received two Canadian Screenwriting Awards along with gold and silver medals at the 2008 International Radio Festival of New York.
In addition to his extensive artistic and creative work, Nelson cofounded and continues to invest his time in the Ponheary Ly Foundation Canada, a charity devoted to educating impoverished Cambodian children.
Edward Neufeld is an economist of international renown and the author of multiple seminal works in his field. His career has had profound influence over Canada’s academic, public and private sectors.
Raised near Nipawin, Sask., Neufeld graduated from the University of Saskatchewan in 1950 with a bachelor of arts and completed an honours degree in economics the following year. He went on to obtain his PhD in economics from the London School of Economics in 1954, receiving the Hutchinson Silver Medal for the school’s best PhD thesis over a two-year period.
Neufeld’s dynamic career has seen him employed by the Bank of England, teaching and researching at the University of Toronto and serving the federal government in several roles, including assistant deputy minister of tax policy and legislation and federal director of the International Finance Division. In the private sector, he has held several executive roles at the Royal Bank of Canada, including chief economist and executive vice-president of economics. Since his retirement in 1994, Neufeld has served on the boards of numerous organizations, among them the Canadian National Railway Company.
The author of many articles and four influential books, Neufeld has offered economic insight to local and foreign governments, giving specialized advice on a wide variety of projects and parliamentary committees in Ottawa and globally.
For his contributions to his field, Neufeld has been made an honorary fellow of the London School of Economics. Today, he sits on the national council of the C.D. Howe Institute and is a member of the institute’s Financial Services Research Initiative Council.
1. What is your favourite memory about your time in Arts & Science?
My favourite memory of Arts & Science relates to the extraordinary professional quality of the economics and political science staff when I was there—Professors Britnell, Timlin, Fowke, Reid, Buckley, Ward and Eastman—and their assistance to me and overall treatment and consideration of their students. Two of many examples: Professor Timlin invited us into her own apartment for her senior economics seminar, which I and the others greatly appreciated; Professor Eastman one day at class thrust a new book on inter-war Europe into my hands, asked me to review it for him since he did not have time—as if I was his equal in European history! What a confidence builder it was even though my comments on the book, I am sure, were very amateurish.
2. How did your Arts & Science education help you in your career?
The strong foundation in economic theory and economic policy generally, in the functioning of government and in learning how to write well and organize longer research projects—these made successful postgraduate studies possible for me and have remained the base foundation of the whole of my career.
3. What advice would you offer to current students in Arts & Science?
Drawing on my experience, I would recommend that students reflect carefully on the details of the study program they choose before committing themselves to it. Know as well as possible the reasons why you are thinking about pursuing a particular field of study and inform yourself objectively about the career opportunities in the field when you graduate. Do not avoid courses just because they are difficult, for they may be what you will carry with you beneficially throughout your career. Learn to write well and be rigorous and logical in what you say and write, and accurate with the facts. In this, the dissertation option in the honours course was enormously beneficial to me. Try to seek perfection in your assignments as far as your innate abilities and hard work can take you. Never worry about shortcomings of individual classes and professors, for learning how to learn by yourself is one the greater benefits of being at the university. You will be faced with doing it throughout your career.
Arthur Slade is an acclaimed author and activist who dedicates his spare time to the advocacy of youth literacy.
Raised on a ranch in the Cypress Hills of Saskatchewan, Slade graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a BA (Honours) degree in English in 1989. He spent five years working in radio and advertising before becoming a full-time author. He has written more than 20 novels for young readers such as Tribes, The Hunchback Assignments and Dust.
Slade’s national reputation as an outstanding author of books for children, young adults and adults is reflected in the awards he has won, including the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, France’s Grand Prix de L'Imaginaire and the Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature.
Slade is also deeply engaged in the local and national literary community. He has made hundreds of presentations to aspiring authors across Canada and taught writing at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and the University of Toronto. Slade has been a mentor in the MFA in Writing Program at the University of Saskatchewan and a writer-in-residence at the Regina Public Library, mentoring dozens of writers in that community. He speaks regularly before groups of school-aged children, offering them a look at the possibilities that a love of literacy can offer. He has also appeared multiple times as a featured author at events such as Saskatoon’s annual Literacy for Life Conference, which engages more than 4,000 children each year.
Slade lives in Saskatoon and is currently self-publishing his most recent series of works.
Sherman Wiebe is a neuroscientist, mathematician and business professional who has contributed to revolutionary advancements in the neurotechnology industry.
Wiebe grew up in Regina, Sask., and chose to study physics and mathematics at the University of Saskatchewan in order to better understand how the universe functions. In 1993, he completed BSc (Honours) degrees in both subjects, and then turned his attention to another great challenge of humankind: the investigation of the brain and mind.
In 1993, Wiebe moved to Manhattan to study the then-new field of systems neuroscience at New York University. After obtaining a PhD in neuroscience and an MBA from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, he began a successful career in the neurotechnology industry. His career designing and selling equipment for recording and stimulating neurons using depth electrodes in the brain has taken him around the world, to neuroscience research labs in Europe, North America and Asia.
Wiebe has made significant contributions to the development of neural electrodes, electronic circuits and software that have advanced our understanding of the brain and mind. Tools he helped develop to simultaneously record the activity of large numbers of neurons have been credited with launching a conceptual revolution in neuroscience. These products are in use today at top universities and clinical research laboratories around the world.
Wiebe is currently a senior advisor at Blackrock Microsystems and managing director at NeuronautX in Brussels, Belgium. Together with a team of engineers and scientists, he works to push the frontiers of modern neuroscience, human neuroprosthetics and brain-machine interfaces.
Alice Wong is the senior vice-president and chief corporate officer for Cameco Corporation.
Wong was born and raised in Quill Lake, Sask., and earned a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 1984, followed by a Master of Arts degree in economics in 1990. She began her career at Cameco before the completion of her MA, going on to hold diverse and increasingly senior leadership roles at the company.
Wong has been integral to establishing Cameco’s position as Canada’s largest industrial employer of Aboriginal people. She also led negotiations of groundbreaking collaboration agreements with Cameco’s home communities in the North.
Dedicated to developing a more welcoming environment for women in male-dominated industrial settings, Wong spearheaded a diversity and inclusion initiative at Cameco, which included meeting with more than 400 women across all the company’s sites to hear about barriers and opportunities to improve inclusion. From these women’s input, a multi-year diversity and inclusion program was developed and is being implemented. Wong has also led Cameco’s multiple Canadian operations through complex regulatory and licensing systems, upholding safety and environmental performance to high standards.
Wong has achieved distinction in the nuclear industry overseeing Cameco’s regulatory and stakeholder relations. Her career has seen her make outstanding contributions to Cameco and beyond through her passionate work to advance diversity and inclusion.
In addition to her leadership roles at Cameco, Wong serves on the boards of SaskEnergy, the Mining Association of Canada, the Canadian Nuclear Association, the Saskatchewan Mining Association and the Uranium Producers of America.
Arts & Science Alumni
With more than 50,000 alumni, the College of Arts & Science is everywhere. Our former students are helping cure diseases, composing beautiful music, excavating ancient ruins, acting and creating films in Hollywood … name your field, and chances are an Arts & Science graduate is working there.
Alumni are our greatest source of pride, and we sincerely hope you stay in touch. Contact the Dean’s Office, stop by for a visit, or nominate a colleague for an Arts & Science Alumni of Influence award.
We’d love to hear from you, and stay updated on what you’re doing. If you’ve moved, please make sure your contact information is updated so we can reach you with important updates and materials, such as the Arts & Science magazine.
As a former Arts & Science student, you are truly part of one of Canada’s most diverse and accomplished alumni groups. Thanks for visiting us online. We hope to hear from you soon!