They are intelligent, giving and accomplished women and now they are officially Women of Distinction.
Six women who are staff and graduates of the University of Manitoba were honoured at the 36th Women of Distinction awards ceremony held on May 2, 2012 at the Winnipeg Convention Centre.
The YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg presents the awards every year to recognize the outstanding contributions made by local women to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and the world.
Winner of the Women of Distinction Culture Award:
Tina Chen, Associate Professor in the Department of History, moved to Winnipeg in 1999 when she was recruited by the University of Manitoba as its first historian with a research specialization in modern Chinese history, Tina has been enriching the understanding of Chinese culture and history. She has developed and taught a comprehensive and wide-ranging set of courses for undergraduate and graduate students in the areas of Chinese history and culture. Her writings on Chinese cultural history in the fields of film, fashion, cultural politics and Chinese migration have also been published in national and international publications. Tina has also been an active community volunteer, organizing and participating in a number of cultural showcases and community events, including the Chinatown Street Festival, Folklorama, the Canada-China Friendship Association and serving on the board of the Winnipeg Chinese Cultural and Community Centre. With a colleague, she was the project manager for a digital archive and oral history project on Chinese immigrants in Manitoba.
Winner of the Women of Distinction Leadership Award:
Dr. Jeannette Montufar, Department of Civil Engineering, has revolutionized the accommodation of all transportation users by explicitly incorporating the needs of older pedestrians and people with physical disabilities in road engineering in Canada. Her groundbreaking work on the development of the National Guide for Pedestrian Crossing Control has increased the safety of pedestrians using our transportation system, which has, in turn, significantly increased the mobility of aging Canadians. Her work is followed internationally and has placed Winnipeg at the forefront of equitable transportation. Complementing her research achievements, Montufar founded a unique consulting firm which has attracted public agencies and private companies from across Canada, the U.S., Latin America, France and Australia. Montufar was the first Manitoban to receive the Engineers Canada Young Engineer Achievement Award in 2004, and in 2008, at 37, she became the youngest female Fellow of the Institute of Transportation Engineers of nearly 17,000 members in 90 countries.
Winner of the Women of Distinction Science Award:
Dr. Maureen Heaman [BN/78, MN/87, PhD/01], Faculty of Nursing, has a stellar record of research achievements, including being awarded a five year research chair in New Perspectives in Gender, Sex and Health by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, over 70 peer-reviewed publications, 3 book chapters and over 100 conference and scholarly presentations to her credit. Although her work has had an impact nationally and internationally, Heaman has remained focused on issues relevant to women in Manitoba. Most recently, her research has focused on the factors associated with inadequate prenatal care among inner-city women in Winnipeg. In this, she has engaged women in identifying ways to improve access to prenatal care and ensured that the experiences and perspectives of marginalized women, including Aboriginal, inner city, immigrant and low-income women, were represented in her findings. She has also been co-leader of a multi-site study to test a new questionnaire to measure quality of prenatal care and participated in development and implementation of the Canadian Maternity Experiences Survey.
Winner of the Women of Distinction Education Award:
Karen Botting [BA/66, CertEd/69, BEd/77, MEd/85], who has a passion for education, with a focus on community development, has been a part of her lifelong journey as a teacher, administrator and innovator. In retirement, Botting has co-founded and implemented the CSI (Community Schools Investigators) Summer Learning Enrichment Program, developed as a way to prevent the ‘summer learning loss’ which acts as a barrier to high school graduation for students living in poverty. This 5 week intensive full-day program has grown from 2 to 13 inner city schools in just six years, with over 800 children participating. This was a natural progression for Botting, who, as Director of Student Services in the St. Boniface School Division, initiated a poverty intervention strategy to strengthen the school-home-community connection. In addition, Botting is a committed advocate for strong early years education, most recently co-producing the DVD Early Childhood Matters to create awareness about the importance of investing in the early years of a child’s life.
Winner of the Women of Distinction Voluntarism Award:
Emergency Medicine's Chau Pham [BSc/00, MD/05] made the journey from a refugee camp to emergency room physician at HSC and St. Boniface Hospital. It is an inspirational story, but what is even more inspiring is that through it all Pham has remained committed to caring for others. At 5 years old, she fled Vietnam and spent the next year and a half in a refugee camp, arriving in Winnipeg at age 7. She says that from her very first days in Winnipeg she knew she wanted to give back to Canada and Canadians. She is also determined to give back to the country of her birth, founding Canadians Helping Kids in Vietnam in 1995. Over the last 17 years, her charity has supported over 250 families living in extreme poverty in Vietnam, built nine new schools, provided hundreds of bicycles and Pham has personally led two Canadian medical teams to Vietnam, offering clinical services and providing education and training to local doctors.
Winner of the Women of Distinction Arts Award:
Catharine Teichroew [BEd/98, PBDipEd/06], a full-time educator, has brought the arts to life for her own students at Westwood Collegiate. As an arts advocate, community leader and volunteer she has reached out to hundreds more students, creating unique and innovative materials for other educators to use in their classrooms. Her 36 “Art in an Envelope” projects, along with 6 for dance and 6 for drama, are designed to help non-specialist elementary teachers teach the arts effectively. Another impressive innovation was Teichroew’s creation of “Evening Out With the Arts” packages, providing students and their parents the opportunity to attend five arts events in Winnipeg at an accessible cost. Last year, Teichroew had her first gallery show at Cre8ery gallery.
Also nominated from the University of Manitoba were: Zana Lutfiyya (Education, Training & Mentorship); Usha Mittoo (Education, Training & Mentorship); Colleen Plumton (Education, Training & Mentorship); Lorna Turnbull (Leadership & Management); Cheryl Rockman-Greenberg (Science, Technology and the Environment); Judy Chipperfield (Science, Technology and the Environment).