President’s Extraordinary Service Awards

The President's Extraordinary Service Awards celebrate the outstanding contributions of our people. This year, 15 nominations—representing 38 people (10 individuals and five teams)—were received from across campus in the five award categories. Two winners were from the Faculty of Science. 

I sincerely congratulate each of the nominees on their extraordinary service and dedication to UVic. It's always such a pleasure for me to celebrate our staff and faculty. Year after year I'm impressed by the quality of the submissions for these awards. Each of this year's nominees is deserving of our thanks and our recognition.
—UVic President Jamie Cassels

Brittany Halverson-Duncan (Department of Mathematics and Statistics), Connector Award

In the two years that Brittany Halverson- Duncan has been a senior lab instructor, she’s connected the Department of Mathematics and Statistics with communities on and off campus.

Thanks to her dedication, a pilot tutoring program at First Peoples House has quickly developed a loyal following. “Brittany’s gentle approach allows her to find ways to build trust with the students in a respectful and non-judgmental way,” says Crystal Seibold in Indigenous Academic and Community Engagement.

Off campus, Halverson-Duncan is building partnerships to establish community mathematics and statistics help centres. Working with the WSÁNEC´ School Board’s Saanich Adult Education Centre, she’s helping Indigenous Education Language Keepers upgrade their math courses. And she’s working with the Victoria Native Friendship Centre to assist carpentry students with the math portion of their program.

“Brittany saw an opportunity to have a lasting impact on the way all of us in the department engage with Indigenous students, how we welcome them into our learning community, and how we foster intercultural understanding,” says mathematician Kieka Mynhardt.


Neil Honkanen (Department of Physics and Astronomy), Collaborator Award

When the new telescope was mounted on the roof of the Bob Wright Centre, it quickly became apparent that there was a problem with viewing. So the department turned to electronics shop supervisor Neil Honkanen. He and his team spent days running between the Wright and Elliott domes, carefully monitoring and comparing temperatures within both structures. From their meticulous data, they proved that the unpainted Wright dome had temperature issues that required a permanent solution. This is just one example of Honkanen’s commitment, resourcefulness and ability to trouble-shoot.

Over his 36 years in the electronics shop and 12 years as supervisor, Honkanen has gone above and beyond to provide invaluable service across campus—from assisting Facilities Management with a failing lighting system, to developing demonstrations for undergraduates, to designing and fabricating electronics for international particle physics collaborations.

“His whole approach encourages people to work together,” says physicist Michael Roney. Although Honkanen is retiring in April, his leadership will ensure the electronics shop stays in excellent hands.

Read about all of the 2017 PESA Winners.