Yesterday Michelle was presented with the L’Oreal-UNESCO for Women in Science-NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship supplement award. For context, UNESCO and L’Oreal invite the top 3% of female post-docs that have received an NSERC PDF award (across all areas of science in Canada – this is already a hard award to get, o apply for this award, and from those applicants they select a single winner (Michelle).
The award was presented to her personally by Mario Pinto, president of NSERC. The Canadian minister of science, Kirsty Duncan also read over Michelle’s bio and offered her congratulations. The event took place at the French embassy in Ottawa, and both before and after the award ceremony, Michelle had the opportunity to talk with many members of the embassy, NSERC and other high-level academics across Canada (e.g., the presidents of UOttawa, UCalgary). There were nearly 200 attendees, all dressed much fancier than I. She had a chance to speak with many of them about her research, Autodesk Research, U of T, U of A, and the importance of CS in general. The importance of CS may sound trivial or obvious, but the reality is most of these awards go to people curing cancer, heart disease or working on nano-polymer-robot-panaceas, so having it go to someone who studied how fast your stylus can ink on a tablet before you don’t notice is a bit of a departure from the norm.