Meet the McMaster staff recognized with President’s Awards for Outstanding Service

A group of 6 people and President David Farrar pose for a photo holding a trophy.

The McMaster Institute for Research on Aging received on of this year's 13 President’s Awards for Outstanding Service.

Employees from across McMaster University were recognized, in a celebratory ceremony last week, with President’s Awards for Outstanding Service.

Since 2016 the annual award acknowledges employees for their exceptional service to the community including their contributions to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of university operations and their positive impacts on McMaster’s reputation.

Read more about the recipients below

Individual recipients

Bipasha Bose | Program Manager and Senior Research Engineer, Mechanical Engineering

Circular headshot of Bipasha boseSince joining McMaster in 2016, Bose has risen from a postdoctoral fellow to a senior principal research engineer and program manager, spearheading the establishment of the Material Property Assessment Laboratory (MPAL) — evaluating materials used to conduct diverse research projects.

Through MPAL and the McMaster Manufacturing Research Institute (MMRI), she has fostered collaborations with numerous research groups, start-ups, and industry partners, demonstrating leadership in promoting industry-oriented research and development of innovative technologies. Beyond research, Bose uses her skills and experience to mentor graduate students and robotics teams and contributes to industrial training programs.

Rachel Couban | Research Coordinator, Michael G. DeGroote National Pain Centre

Circular headshot of Rachel CoubanCouban plays a pivotal role in the department of Anesthesia and the Michael G. DeGroote National Pain Centre. Her expertise in delivering systematic reviews has led to the discovery of substantial bodies of evidence, contributing significantly to 94 publications to date. These publications have influenced critical projects such as reviews of drug treatments for COVID-19 and acute COVID-19, supporting the development of new World Health Organization guidelines.

Recognized for her efficiency and quality, Couban actively supports prominent research groups and student projects, positively impacting their research outcomes.

Samantha Couch | Program Manager, Cooperative Education, Faculty of Science

Circular headshot of Samantha CouchWith over fifteen years in the Science Career and Cooperative Education team, Couch’s dedication, impact and focus on building personal relationships has affectionately labelled her “The Mom of Co-op.”

During the pandemic, her efforts were especially notable as she provided extensive support to 136 students, demonstrating her commitment to their success even in challenging circumstances. Couch’s leadership extends beyond the university walls, as she has contributed to initiatives at the University of Toronto and volunteered for Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL).

Stephanie Haak | Program Coordinator, Faculty of Engineering

Circular headshot of Stephanie HaakHaak has been with the Faculty of Engineering since 2012 and has earned a reputation for taking care of the little things that can easily accumulate into significant impact. As the Program Coordinator, she has played a critical role in organizing various initiatives including hackathons, the redesign of McMaster’s Engineering website and the launch of MacBill — a system to better manage external vendor payments. Committed to student welfare, Stephanie actively engages in mental health education programs, mentors student societies, and volunteers for community services.

Renata Hall | Manager, Inclusion and Anti-Racism Education, Equity and Inclusion Office

Circular headshot of Renata HallHall truly is a leader in equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility (EDIA), working tirelessly to mentor colleagues and foster a supportive community of practice. A cornerstone of Hall’s work is building supportive alliances with on-campus groups including the President’s Advisory Committee on Building an Inclusive Community — Race, Racialization and Racism Working Group.

She also shares her knowledge with others as a sought-after speaker on EDIA issues and by contributing to the Inclusive Teaching and Learning Resources webpage and strategic EDIA plans for various McMaster departments.

Ben O’Connor | Acting Assistant Dean, Faculty of Science

Circular headshot of Ben O'connorSince 2016, O’Connor has had a significant impact on the faculty’s recruiting efforts, particularly for international students. Of note, he has developed and refined digital learning tools including the New Student Guide and, which allows students to map out personalized pathways from admission requirements to their undergraduate learning options.

As the acting assistant dean, O’Connor continues to lead recruitment initiatives, forging partnerships across campus and making improvements in academic regulations and student support services.

Dennis Tian | Lead, Systems, Office of the Registrar

Circular headshot of Dennis TianHaving been at McMaster since 2002, and with the Office of the Registrar since 2006, Tian has been invaluable in managing mission-critical information systems at the university. He has seen his work recognized with several awards, including the Registrar’s Office You Make a Difference Award and the Ontario University Registrars’ Association’s Award of Excellence.

A relentless innovator, Tian has built a block enrolment tool, introduced a chatbot for inquiries to help enhance the student experience, and leads a community of practice for business system analysts.

Lisa Villeneuve | Administrative Coordinator, Pediatrics

Circular headshot of Lisa VilleneuveVilleneuve’s role as administrative coordinator for the Rheumatology-Allergy-Immunology Division in Pediatrics spans over 15 years, and she has become an indispensable asset to the division’s operations. From managing patient bookings to facilitating education and research activities, her contributions are diverse and essential.

Villeneuve is a leader in establishing the division’s work culture and takes a proactive approach to enhancing patient care – developing new clinical services and participating in the pilot program for the new Hamilton Health Sciences hospital information system.

Lifetime achievement award

Jackie Osterman | Assistant Dean, Faculty of Humanities

Circular headshot of Jackie Osterman Osterman was appointed the assistant dean of the Faculty of Humanities in 2015 as the latest step in a McMaster career that began in 1989. Through her work she has spearheaded additional Humanities personnel, integrated key functions in the Student Experience Office, introduced new technological systems for student advising and helped advance mental health, accommodations, and various EDI initiatives.

She is a strong advocate for student wellness across the campus co-founding MACADA — the cross-campus academic advising support group –—and serving on numerous committees including mental health and well-being groups.

Early achievement award

Jessica Anderson | Recruitment Officer, Office of the Registrar

Circular headshot of Jessica AndersonSince joining the Registrar Office three years ago, Anderson has made a profound impact in helping the university attract prospective students. Her innovative approach to the design of recruitment materials including the “We love Mac, of course…” campaign have played a key role in the university’s successful recruitment. She has also redesigned the recruitment fair booths with visually striking and interactive elements, pioneered online events like Financial Transparency Week, and revitalized campus tour experiences through multimedia enhancements.

Special achievement award

ACCESS Tech Working Group | Carlos Figueira, Kate Whalen, Greg Iarusso, Megan Bieksa, Craig MacDonald and Alec Schaap

A collaboration between McMaster’s Academic Sustainability Programs Office, University Technology Services, and Facility Services, the ACCESS Tech Working Group has made significant strides in reducing IT waste and promoting technology reuse in the community. Since 2019, they have diverted over 8.3 tonnes of IT waste, provided over 300 pieces of reused technology to McMaster students, and donated more than 150 computers to organizations in Hamilton. Their innovative approach, including hiring McMaster students and engaging experiential learning teams, has garnered recognition, positioning McMaster as a leader in effective e-waste management among Canada’s U15 universities.

Team awards

McMaster Institute for Research on Aging (MIRA) Team | Gésine Alders, Allison Dubé, Casey Irvin, Amy Ladouceur, Alison Outtrim, Audrey Patocs, Ine Wauben

The McMaster Institute for Research on Aging (MIRA) team has significantly advanced aging research both within and beyond McMaster University. Their efforts have contributed to a notable expansion and increase in scholarly publications related to aging. In 2023, they enhanced community engagement through initiatives like the Older Adult Open Campus Day and ongoing work through the MIRA Dixon Hall Centre, a unique partnership with Dixon Hall, a multi-service agency focused on addressing poverty, social injustices and isolation in Toronto’s downtown East.

Research Data Management Services Team | Danica Evering, Isaac Pratt

In recent years, the two-person Research Data Management (RDM) Services Team has revitalized the University’s approach to managing research data. This ongoing reinvention of the portfolio includes an institutional RDM Strategy, development and launch of the Data Management Plan Database, and the creation of a community of practice for the McMaster and Hamilton research communities. Outside of the university, they’re actively involved in provincial, national, and international RDM communities to further learning, growth, and leadership in advancing research data management practices more broadly.