Two exceptional students receive Governor General’s Academic Gold Medal

A graphic that reads, ‘Governor General’s Academic Gold Medal | Fall Convocation 2022.’ It features headshots of Tanner Stokes and Peter Ho set against a backdrop of a photo of McMaster’s campus.

(Left) Tanner Stokes and Peter Ho (right) are the recipients of the Governor General’s Academic Gold Medal, which is awarded to a student who achieves the highest academic standing at the graduate level. 

Every year, two outstanding McMaster students receive the Governor General’s Academic Medal, one of the most prestigious student awards in Canada.

Established in 1873, the award recognizes exceptional academic achievement. Earning this accolade not only places this year’s recipients among the top students to graduate from McMaster; it places them among the top students in all of Canada.

This year’s winners — Tanner Stokes and Peter Ho — are being awarded the Governor General’s Academic Gold Medal, which is awarded to a student who achieves the highest academic standing at the graduate level.

Tanner Stokes

Tanner Stokes obtained his PhD in the department of kinesiology. His dissertation research deployed stable isotopes, ultrasound imaging and transcriptomic methodologies to gain a better understanding of how skeletal muscle mass is regulated by loading (resistance exercise) and unloading (limb immobilization).

A headshot of Tanner Stokes“I am deeply honoured to receive such a prestigious award and to be recognized alongside so many talented people that have come before me,” says Stokes.

“I am grateful to my thesis supervisor, Dr. Stuart Phillips, my family and friends, and the Department of Kinesiology for nurturing my curiosity throughout graduate school.”

Stokes says McMaster has been instrumental in shaping the person he has become and that he will remember the strong relationships he forged during his time here.

“The faculty, staff and students are some of the most passionate, driven and compassionate people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting,” says Stokes. “They have pushed me to be better in every way, whether it be academically, socially or personally.”

Stokes, whose work has led to several key discoveries in the field that are now published in top tier scientific journals, intends to pursue a medical degree.

“I wish to work as a clinician-scientist with a strong emphasis on developing countermeasures to combat metabolic ill health in aging adults,” says Stokes.

Peter Ho

Peter Ho obtained his PhD earlier this year in the department of chemistry and chemical biology. He also completed his B.Sc. degree in honours chemistry CO-OP at McMaster.

A headshot of Peter Ho“Winning this prestigious award to me is just an absolute honour,” says Ho

“To be fair, half of this award belongs to my supervisor professor Ignacio Vargas-Baca for his invaluable support and guidance. The other half should be shared with the department of chemistry and chemical biology here at McMaster with its supportive faculty members and staff.”

Ho’s thesis involved the investigation of supramolecular chemistry of iso-chalcogenazole N-oxides and related compounds to augment our knowledge of chalcogen bonding.

He says he will fondly remember his time at McMaster, which included serving as the president of his department’s graduate student society.

“McMaster has taught me the importance of teamwork and has polished my communication, critical thinking and problem-solving abilities,” says Ho. “While they seem fundamental, some including myself argue that these are the foundation of excellent leadership.”

Ho is currently a senior research scientist focused on the solid-state research and development of pharmaceutical ingredients in the industry.

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