The award was granted to USask staff members whose actions best exemplified CGPS’ three 2025 aspirational areas: achieving inclusive academic excellence by mobilizing exceptional graduate student experiences, creating knowledge and skills that supports graduate students beyond traditional degree outcomes, and emboldening USask’s internal and external graduate community.
“As the Graduate Programs Coordinator for our department, I have contact with students right from the time they originally contact a supervisor for a graduate position on through to defense,” explained Linda, “While I can’t help with the research side of their program, I do whatever I can to make the other aspects of their program run smoothly, eliminating what stress I can from their academic lives.” From scheduling thesis advisory committee meetings to updating students on their program progress to simply providing a listening ear and friendly smile, Linda is a champion of helping grad students feel supported and welcome at USask.
For many grad students within her department, particularly international students, Linda is known for her warm and supportive approach to graduate studies. “As an international student, I was lucky to have Linda at the department. She was sometimes a mom, friend, and sister, to everyone in the department,” said one former student. Linda is often the first person students share their successes and challenges with, and the last person they say good-bye to when leaving USask. Her humility and kindness creates an atmosphere of inclusivity for students during each step of their programs.
“This award is so meaningful to me, firstly, because it is an award in honour of Kelly. She was so dedicated to her work, to CGPS, and most especially to the student experience,” said Linda, “To be considered to possess some of the characteristics she embodied is very humbling.” In addition, Linda was honoured to find that she was nominated by an abundance of current and former colleagues and graduate students, “To know that my students, faculty, and my colleagues appreciate the work I do means the world to me.”
"I owe this award in part to the wonderful example set by the faculty in my department, most particularly by my first Department Head, Dr. Vikram Misra, my current Department Head (and former Grad Chair) Dr. Janet Hill, and my current Grad Chair, Dr. Joe Rubin. They are so dedicated to a positive student experience, and I have truly learned from the very best. I am grateful also to my colleague Lana Abrey, who has always been so supportive and encouraging. While in a different role in the department, she is as dedicated as I am to our students and their academic experience. Lastly, I am grateful to 'my' students, both past and present, who have made my experience as a Grad Admin such a joy!"