The Governor General’s Gold Medal is an opportunity to honour the best in the graduating class within the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. One gold medal is awarded to the graduate student who has achieved the most outstanding academic record as a master’s student completing a thesis. And a second gold medal is awarded to the student who has achieved the most outstanding academic record as a doctoral student.
This year’s master’s recipient is Ellen Jopling from the Psychology program. Under the supervision of Dr. Joelle LeMoult, Ellen investigated whether the ability to disengage from emotional information is associated with biological responses to stress in preadolescents. During her Master’s studies, Ellen has excelled as an academic and as a researcher, including lead authoring or co-authoring a number of peer-reviewed journal articles, a book chapter, and delivering a high number of conference presentations. Ellen has been widely recognized for her outstanding contributions to her graduate program and to UBC.
“It was an incredibly surreal moment when I found out that I had been awarded with the Governor General's Gold Medal. It is deeply validating. I love the work that I do, and it is so rewarding in and of itself - but receiving this kind of recognition really reinforces that I am on the right path, and only increases my determination to spend my career working to make a difference for youth struggling with mental illness,” said Jopling.
This year’s doctoral recipient is Dr. Rebecca Sherbo from the Chemistry program. Under the supervision of Dr. Curtis Berlinguette, Dr. Sherbo’s research discovered cleaner ways to perform common chemical transformations, with a focus on hydrogenation reactions. Her research has made ground-breaking contributions to the fields of clean energy, including the application of two provisional patents. Dr. Sherbo has distinguished herself as an expert and leader in her field and her work has had a meaningful impact on the globally important topics of energy and the environment.
“To me, this achievement indicates that I’m on the right path and that I’ve had the chance to do research that I was passionate about during my Ph.D. That research also led me to new ideas in a different field I’m now pursuing as a postdoctoral fellow, and this award gives me more confidence to pursue that work in a completely different area. It’s really important to note that science is a team effort and everything I’ve been able to do during my Ph.D. has been with the help and support of the Berlinguette Lab and collaborators within and beyond UBC,” said Dr. Sherbo.