The Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) honoured two exceptional professors, Alison Crosby and Amro Zayed, with the Postdoctoral Supervisor Award. The celebration took place during the FGS council meeting on Thursday, December 7th.
The Postdoctoral Supervisor Award is presented annually to a faculty member in any department and program at York University, who demonstrates exemplary support for postdoc scholars. Nomination letters should provide evidence that the nominee: is a role model for intellectual leadership and professionalism in research; fosters an environment of support for professional skill development; promotes a climate of respect and collegiality; and offers advocacy and guidance in long-term personal and professional developments. Lisa Philipps, Provost & Vice-President Academic, said “This is the kind of work that places York in the Top 40 globally in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings, through our work as a progressive research-intensive institution.”
Screenshot of the Council meeting with Vice-Provost & FGS Dean Alice MacLachlan, Provost & Vice-President Academic Lisa Philipps, Professor Amro Zayed, and Professor Alison Crosby
Both Crosby and Zayed exceeded general supervisory expectations through their mentorship creativity, excellence and dedication to their postdoc fellows. This annual award serves to applaud and acknowledge all the important work performed by both professors and their postdoc fellows. Alice MacLachlan, Vice-Provost & Dean, Graduate Studies, said the two recipients embody the award's dedication to mentorship creativity, excellence and dedication. "You serve as a role model for all of us to follow," she added.
Crosby is an Associate Professor and Interim Chair of the School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies. Her research projects and publications use an anti-racist, anti-colonial and transnational feminist lens and participatory methodologies to support protagonists’ multifaceted struggles to redress and memorialize harm in the aftermath of political violence, with a particular focus on Guatemala where she has worked for over 30 years.
Crosby is currently working on the SSHRC-funded research project Remembering and Memorializing Violence: Transnational Feminist Dialogues. The project brings together feminist scholars, artists, activists, and community practitioners from a wide range of contexts and disciplinary perspectives to explore the transnational dimensions of how we collectively remember and memorialize colonial, militarized and state violence. The project also offered Crosby’s postdoc fellow, Dr. Ruth Murambadoro, with a space to house her research and become a part of this digital community.
“Prof Crosby embodies Ubuntu principles of communitarianism, humility, mutual respect, hospitality and so much more, which have enabled me to integrate and chart a new pathway for my career in Canada. She remains a key player in my life and role model, who taught me fundamental lessons on collegiality, humanness and effective mentorship,” noted Murambadoro in her letter of nomination. “I value the contributions that Prof Crosby has made in my research, scholarly and personal development over the time we have worked together.”
In response to the award, Dr. Crosby said, "It's my pleasure, privilege and honour to work with postdoc fellows." Of her nominator, Dr. Murambadoro, she said, "I look forward to my collaborations with her for many years to come."
Zayed, a Professor in the Department of Biology and York Research Chair in Genomics, is equally an exemplary intellectual leader, role model and mentor. He is currently the inaugural Director of York University’s Centre for Bee Ecology, Evolution and Conservation (BEEc), leading a research program on the genetics, genomics and behaviour of social insects using the honey bee as a model organism.
Zayed’s lab provides ample opportunities to conduct high-quality research as well as network with academics and industry partners worldwide. The collective achievements of postdocs in his group are commendable, with a total of 28 peer-reviewed publications and 71 conference presentations. Through this dedicated work, Zayed equips postdoc fellows with the skills necessary to successfully navigate the increasingly competitive job market. Since 2009, Zayed has supervised eight exceptional postdoc fellows.
“His approach to leadership has inspired us to seek creative solutions in research and to collaborate with diverse groups of stakeholders. To this end, Amro exemplifies all of the characteristics one would expect of an intellectual leader and role model. He provides a unilateral environment of support to his research group. He is personally invested in our success and well-being, going above and beyond to help with professional skill development. He is actively involved in our career development, prioritising our long-term success over our short-term role in his group,” stated Dr. Sydney Wizenberg and Dr. Sarah French in their letter of nomination.
Dr. Zayed was caught off-guard by the award. "I was really surprised by this. When I started my career I never appreciated the joy of having postdocs." He said he has come to enjoy the contributions made by postdoc fellows and exceptional graduate students.
The Postdoctoral Supervisor of the Year Award accepts nominations annually by no later than June 1 of each year. For more information, please visit: gradstudies.yorku.ca/postdoctoral-fellows/supervisor-award/.