OVC Professor Receives Provincial Excellence Award
February 04, 2022
An Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) professor has received a 2021 Minister’s Award of Excellence from the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU).
Dr. Melissa Perreault, a professor in the Ontario Veterinary College’s Department of Biomedical Sciences and adjunct professor in the College of Biological Science’s (CBS) Department of Integrative Biology, is one of three University of Guelph recipients of the award.
Perreault received the award in the category of equality of opportunity, along with Gemma Victor, recently appointed manager of academic programs and special projects in the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences (CSAHS).
Dr. Christine Baes, an animal biosciences professor in the Ontario Agricultural College, received the award in the category of innovation and entrepreneurship.
Perreault, a citizen of the Métis Nation of Ontario, has led U of G initiatives to improve the experience of Indigenous students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Since arriving in 2017, she has developed a University-wide mentorship program for Indigenous STEM undergraduates and helped to introduce an undergraduate Indigenous summer research assistantship in CBS.
She is using an equity, diversity, and inclusion grant to improve communication with and inclusion of Indigenous students. Perreault has co-led a Truth and Reconciliation Day project to install a memorial outside U of G’s Summerlee Science Complex.
As a member of the Indigenous Knowledge Holders Group for the Canadian Brain Research Strategy, she is working with others to ensure provision of supports for Indigenous neuroscience researchers and trainees across Canada.
“This award highlights some amazing initiatives that are really necessary for inclusion of Indigenous students in a university setting,” said Perreault, who was named in 2021 to the Royal Society of Canada College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists. Her studies of markers of sex-specific brain wave differences are intended to improve diagnosis and treatment of depression and other mental health disorders.
“I work in STEM programs where there are low numbers of Indigenous students. If we want to support and retain these students in science, we have to make sure they feel welcome here and have proper supports.”
Introduced in 2020, the awards recognize the work of faculty and staff at Ontario universities and colleges. This year’s winners were chosen from almost 700 nominees.
The MCU Awards of Excellence were presented in an online ceremony on Jan. 21.
Read the entire news release on the University of Guelph website.