CFES Mentorship Medal
The CFES mentorship award was created in 2008 to recognize the sustained and inspirational mentorship of colleagues and employees including peers, graduate students, undergraduate students and technicians. The award was set up in honour of Paul F. Williams, a geologist known for scientific and mentoring excellence, candour and integrity.
Mentorship is recognized as a critical part of professional and academic development and is vital to the health of any professional community. With this award, CFES/ recognizes an earth scientist from Canadian industry, academia or government. The award is given annually, provided someone who meets the criterion is nominated.
The sole criterion for the award is excellence in mentoring over a sustained period of time. Nominations for the 2020 CFES Mentorship Medal will be accepted until January 15, 2020. Guidelines and nomination process are included in the nomination form which is available to download here.
2019 Recipient: Georgia Pe-Piper
Citation by Iain Samson:
Professor Georgia Pe-Piper of Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, is the winner of the 2019 CFES Mentorship Medal. The award is made in recognition of her unwavering and selfless dedication to mentoring and her focus on creating research opportunities for undergraduate students. She has promoted the importance of research and experiential learning, particularly for undergraduates, while maintaining excellence in research, teaching, and administration.
Georgia holds a B.Sc. from the University of Athens (Greece) and a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge (UK). She is internationally known for her work on shoshonitic volcanic rocks, shear zone granites, the petrographic recognition of the Montagnais impact crater, her book on the Igneous Rocks of Greece, and in the last decade the provenance and diagenesis of the Scotian Basin.
Maintaining a breadth of interests, spanning petroleum, mining, and environment, has made Georgia a versatile mentor, capable of offering students opportunities to work on many aspects of geology depending on their goals, strengths, and interests. It is her commitment to undergraduate research, her strategic approach and the permanent impact she has had as a mentor that makes Georgia truly deserving of this award.
Left: Dr. Georgia Pe-Piper receives the CFES mentorship medal from CFES Past President Iain Samson at the GAC-MAC-IAH conference in Québec City in May 2019.
Response by Dr. Pe-Piper:
I was very surprised when Shoufa called me, because I did not expect to get an award for what I regarded as part of the job I was paid to do. But let me say how much appreciate the efforts of Kathleen Gould, Steve Ingram and many other former students and colleagues who thought it worth the considerable effort to prepare my nomination.
As a very shy child, much younger than my siblings, I learned to listen to people and to observe their character and abilities. As a university professor, I have valued those skills in working with students, and have tried to guide students in the most appropriate directions for their careers. When I started at Saint Mary’s University, it was a small, undergraduate focussed university that seemed to regard research with suspicion, fearing that by having faculty do research it might detract from their attention to undergraduate teaching. This seemed like nonsense to me! I had become interested in research as an undergraduate at the University of Athens from the part-time jobs I had taken on in order to support myself. The observational and organisational skills, the problem-solving approach, and the ability to communicate results that are necessary in research do not suddenly appear when starting a graduate degree. They are life skills needed by most professional geologists. So I did involve undergraduates in research, through summer field and part time lab jobs, Directed Studies, honours theses, and by finding them appropriate Coop jobs, through what is now known as experiential learning. And while they were learning, these students helped spread my load. I could not work in the rivers of the Cobequid Highlands or the mountains of Greece on my own, nor did I have time to do all my own electron microprobe and SEM work.
As other Mentorship Medal recipients have said, mentorship is developed by experience and is very different from both teaching on the one hand and human resource management on the other. It is a gradual and progressive activity. I had empathy from my own experience of both the financial challenges of being an undergraduate student and the occasional loneliness of being an international student. My own work experience as a student helped fill these needs and allowed me to gain valuable skills. Mentoring students has allowed me to pass on my experiences to a wide array of students over the years.
David and I had no relatives in Canada, so generations of students became our extended family. International students and post-docs would always have Christmas dinner with us. And as I do with our own children, I feel immense pride and satisfaction from seeing so many former students excel in an amazing range of geological jobs. I thank all of you for your continuing friendship and appreciation.
Past Recipients of the Mentorship Medal
Dr. Herb Helmstaedt
Left: Dr. Shoufa Lin (Chair of the Medal Award Committee) presents Dr. Herb Helmstaedt (left) with his medal on September 29, 2018 in Saint Martyrs Canadiens, Quebec, during the annual field trip and meeting of the Canadian Tectonics Group of the Geological Association of Canada.
Citation by Kathryn Bethune.
Prof. Anthony E. (Willy) Williams-Jones, McGill University
Left: Iain Samson presented Dr. Williams-Jones with his medal at SGA (Society for Geology Applied to Mineral Deposits) meeting in Québec City in August.
View the citation here.
Acceptance by Dr. Williams-Jones.
Valerie Jackson, Northwest Territories Geological Survey
Left: Scott Swinden presents Valerie Jackson with her Mentorship Medal at GAC-MAC 2016. Photo credit: James Conliffe (GAC).
Citation read by Scott Swinden.
Acceptance by Valerie Jackson.
Professor John Thompson, Cornell University
Left: CFES President Scott Swinden (right) presenting Professor John Thompson with National Earth Science Mentorship Medal at GAC President's Reception during the Joint Assembly in Montreal on May 4, 2015. Photo by Vivien Cummings.
Citation read by Scott Swinden.
Acceptance by John Thompson.
Fred Longstaffe, Western University
Left: Dr. Fred. J. Longstaffe (left) receives the CFES mentorship medal from CFES President Scott Swinden at the Geological Association of Canada Presidents' Reception in Fredericton, May 20, 2014.
Andrew Hynes, McGill University
Left: Mentorship Medal Committee Chair Shoufa Lin (left) and Andrew Hynes.
Otto van Breemen, Geological Survey of Canada.
Left: Otto van Breemen (left) and Mentorship Medal Committee Chair Shoufa Lin.
2011: Douw Steyn, University of British Columbia
2010 : Bob Hodder, University of Western Ontario
2009 : Paul Williams, University of New Brunswick
On the occasion of awarding the inaugural CFES Mentorship Medal to Paul Williams, a symposium celebrating his contribution to the Geosciences was held at the annual GAC-MAC Convention in Toronto. This symposium resulted in a special issue of the International Journal of Structural Geology. The foreword to this issue can be found here.