Category Archives: Awards

Award for Dr. George Lamont

George Lamont
Congratulations to UWaterloo English’s Dr. George Lamont, who is the recipient of a 2020 Arts Awards for Excellence in Teaching. Those who have worked with Dr. Lamont can attest to the dedication he brings to his position, his advocacy for student experience, and his commitment to student learning.

Award for Dr. Ashley Rose Mehlenbacher


Congratulations to UWaterloo English’s Dr. Ashley Rose Mehlenbacher, who has won the 2020 Rhetoric Society of America Fellows’ Early Career Award.

The Rhetoric Society of America (RSA) Fellows’ Early Career Award is a prestigious award that is given to a member who “has established an innovative and robust research record within eight years of having earned the Ph.D. degree.”

Dr. Carolyn R. Miller (North Carolina State University), Dr. Mehlenbacher’s doctoral supervisor, and Waterloo English’s Dr. Randy Allen Harris, a long-time mentor of Dr. Mehlenbacher, co-wrote the nomination letter for her. Since the 2020 Biennial Meeting of the Rhetoric Society of America has been cancelled due to COVID-19, a virtual celebration of RSA’s award winners will be held.

The Rhetoric Society of America is a professional organization that unites the different fields contributing to rhetorical studies, including English and Communication studies, and hosts a biennial conference and a biennial summer institute.

Award for Dr. Sarah Tolmie

little animals
Congratulations to English’s Dr. Sarah Tolmie, whose novel The Little Animals (Aqueduct Press) won the Special Commendation at the Philip K. Dick Awards last week. The annual Philip K. Dick Award recognizes distinguished science fiction published in paperback original form in the United States during the previous calendar year. While the award ceremony was–of course–held remotely, you can watch it all on online.

Celebrating our Students: Awards!

In March, just before the cancellation of on-campus activities, the English awards committee was in full swing preparing for our annual Awards Ceremony. The English Awards are an opportunity to celebrate the outstanding work our undergraduate and graduate students have produced in the previous calendar year (for this cycle, January-December 2019). Certificates are given out, hands are shaken, photographs are taken, poetry is read, and faculty try to describe to the audience, in a few broad brushstrokes, the exceptional qualities of each student’s winning work.  The awards ceremony has always been a highlight of the winter term, celebrating its end in a convivial environment with English students, faculty, and the family and friends of award winners.

While the ceremony has been cancelled, we still wish to celebrate the achievements of our students.  To that end, we would like to take this opportunity to announce the names of the winners with our English community as a small way to ensure that our students’ talents and achievements get the recognition they deserve.

So, without further ado, this year’s award winners are:

Undergraduate Academic Awards
Albert Shaw Poetry Prize: Kurt Dutfield-Hughes
English Society Creative Writing Award for Poetry: Philip Hohol
English Society Creative Writing Award for Prose: Kristie Shannon
Andrew James Dugan Prize in Rhetoric and Professional Writing Award: Sarah Casey
Rhetoric and Digital Design Award: Danielle Griffin
Rhetoric and Professional Writing Award: Jonathon Jackson
Walter R. Martin English 251 Award: Joyce Kung
Diaspora and Transnational Studies Prize: Linhui Luo
Hibbard Prize for Shakespeare Studies: Rachel Zehr
Canadian Literature Prize: Eden McFarlane
Award in American Literature and Culture: Tristan Mills
Andrew James Dugan Prize in Literature Award: Wajiha Parvez
Masternak Foundation Undergraduate Scholarships in English: Philip Hohol and Julianna Suderman

Graduate Awards
Graduate Professional Communication Award: Marion Gruner
Rhetoric Essay Prize, Master of Arts: Jordan Kam
Rhetoric Essay Prize, PhD: Shannon Lodoen
Beltz Essay Prize, Master of Arts: Ryan Van Til
Beltz Essay Prize, PhD: Shannon Lodoen
Graduate Creative Writing Award, Poetry: Masa Torbica
Graduate Creative Writing Award, Prose: Chelsea La Vecchia
Masternak Foundation Graduate Scholarship in English: Jin Sol Kim
Jack Gray Graduate Fellowship Award: Zachary Pearl
David Nimmo English Graduate Scholarship: Lindsay Meaning

Co-op Awards
Undergraduate Co-op Work Report Award: Hanna Colbert
Graduate Co-op Work Report Awards: Carmen Barsomian-Dietrich and Pamela Schmidt

Teaching and Professionalization Awards
Lea Vogel-Nimmo English Graduate Professionalization Awards: Neha Ravella and Jerika Sanderson
TA Award for Excellence in Teaching: Valerie Uher
Independent Graduate Instructor Award for Excellence in Teaching: Hannah Watts

Pictured above: Masa Torbica, Danielle Griffin, Jin Sol Kim. Thank you to Dr. John Savarese and Dr. Andrea Jonahs for facilitating the awards. The awards committee would also like to offer a big thank you to our English office staff—Jenny Conroy, Tina Davidson, Deb Nahlik and Margaret Ulbrick — who do so much work behind the scenes, and all the faculty that served as adjudicators this year.

Alumna Sarasvathi Kannan wins HeForShe Contest

Congratulations to UWaterloo English alumna Sarasvathi Kannan, who participated in the HeForShe writing contest, winning not one but two categories! In Poetry, her piece “The Student and the Goose” was awarded; in fiction, it was “Divine Intervention.” You can read her award-winning pieces on the HeForShe website. The HeForShe competition is open to students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Other English Department people contributed to the anthology this year, from undergraduates Juliana Suderman, Nadia Formisano, and Julia Cowderoy to PhD alumnus Morteza Dehghani.

Philip K. Dick Nomination for UWaterloo Professor

Congratulations to UWaterloo English Professor Dr. Sarah Tolmie. Her 2019 novel The Little Animals (Aqueduct Press) has just been nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award. The Philip K. Dick Award is presented annually with the support of the Philip K. Dick Trust for distinguished science fiction published in paperback original form in the United States during the previous calendar year. Renowned author Ursula K. Le Guin described The Little Animals as “A vigorous, satisfying historical novel full of interesting and likable characters. To people who do truly unusual things, such as discover microscopic life, or paint Vermeer’s pictures, or hear what plague bacilli are saying, these things are just what they do. Sarah Tolmie’s novel catches this intersection of the everyday with the unearthly and holds it for us like a drop of pond water under the lens, vibrant with life and activity, fascinating in its strangeness and its familiarity.” As some may recall, last year Dr. Tolmie’s poetry collection, The Art of Dying, was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize.

Top Ten Posts of 2019

Art Deco Billiard Ten
It’s that time of year again, when everyone posts a top ten list, including the UWaterloo English blog. This year, I’ve deviated from previous lists, including posts published in previous years which still made our top ten for 2019. Some made sense–whenever the weather is miserable everyone wants to know how to get coffee without going outside–but some were confusing. Feel free to speculate about why a particular post from 2013 made a surprise comeback!

10) Attention X-Men Fans! Or, why is Neil Gaiman tweeting a UW researcher?

9) Congratulations to our six new PhDs!

8) Faculty Teaching Recognized

7) They did it! Class of 2019!

6) Alumna Sara Kannan: Making a Difference

5)The Englies, 2013

4) 11 Novels about Syria

3) Waterloo Tunnel Tour (Or, how to get coffee without going outside)

2) Special Honour for 2 PhD Candidates

1) Honours for Dr. Randy Harris