(Illustrator: Sébastien Thibault)

Alum Notes

Alum Notes: Winter 2021-22

Story by McGill News

December 2021


Martin Olivier, PhD’88, a professor of medicine, microbiology and immunology at McGill, received the Bernhard Cinader Award from the Canadian Society for Immunology. The award is presented each year to a “Canadian scientist who exemplifies distinguished scientific leadership and accomplishments in immunology.” His research focuses on the parasites responsible for malaria, leishmaniasis and trypanosomiasis. He is also interested in the bacterial and viral agents that cause Ebola, HIV, tuberculosis, and Lyme disease.


Olivier Vallerand, MArch’10, PhD’14, is an architect and educator. He joined the Université de Montréal’s École de design as an assistant professor in August. This followed three years of teaching at The Design School at Arizona State University, where he received the International Interior Design Association’s 2021 Educator of the Year Award. He also received the Interior Design Educators Council’s 2021 Book Award for Unplanned Visitors: Queering the Ethics and Aesthetics of Domestic Space (McGill-Queen’s University Press).


James Archibald, BA’67, is a visiting professor at the University of Turin’s Department of Foreign Languages, Literatures and Modern Cultures for the 2021-22 academic year. He is working with faculty there on developing a new diploma in cultural diplomacy and management to be offered in French. He was also a member of the university’s delegation to the European Commission’s conference on Translating Europe. He continues to serve as an expert in translation for the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and as a member of the Conseil supérieur de la langue française and the Office des professions du Québec.

Robyn Sarah, BA’70, MA’74, is the author of Music, Late and Soon, a book that chronicles her return to the study of the piano after spending 35 years as an “on-again, off-again, uncoached closet pianist.” Now an award-winning poet and short story writer, she had once spent a decade at the Conservatoire de Musique, where she initially dreamt of a career as an orchestral musician. Music, Late and Soon is a meditation on the creative process in both music and literary art, and was a finalist for the Quebec Writers’ Federation’s Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-fiction.

Chad Gaffield, BA’73, MA’74, will become the new executive director of the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities on April 15, 2022. He is a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Ottawa, where he also holds the University Research Chair in Digital Scholarship. Between 2017 and 2019, he served as president of the Royal Society of Canada. He was president and CEO of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) between 2006 and 2014. The U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities is a collective of some of Canada’s most research-intensive universities.

Alison Gopnik, BA’75, a professor of psychology and affiliate professor of philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley, received the 2021 Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization. The author of several popular books including The Scientist in the Crib and The Philosophical Baby, she writes the “Mind & Matter” column for the Wall Street Journal and has also written articles for The New York Times, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books and Slate. Her TED Talk “What do Babies Think” has received more than four million views.

Charles Clark, BA’76, recently published two books about history. George Washington Parke Custis: A Rarefied Life in America’s First Family (McFarland Books) is the first full-length biography of Custis, who was raised by George and Martha Washington, and who later became the father-in-law of Robert E. Lee. His life dramatically bridged the American Revolution and the Civil War. Lost Arlington County (The History Press) examines the history of Arlington County in Virginia, perhaps best-known today for Arlington National Cemetery and the Pentagon. Clark spent 40 years as a Washington journalist. Now retired, he continues to write the weekly “Our Man in Arlington” column for the Falls Church News-Press.

Judy Polumbaum, BA’76, is a professor emerita at the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Her recent book All Available Light: The Life and Legacy of Photographer Ted Polumbaum explores the life of her father, a prominent freelance photojournalist, whose work regularly appeared in Life, Time, Sports Illustrated, People and other publications. A former writer, he was blacklisted during the McCarthy era for refusing to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), and turned to his childhood hobby of photography to earn a living.

Cindy Wahler, BA’80, a leadership consultant who has worked with Fortune 100 businesses, recently published 20 Effective Habits for Mastery at Work, a book that provides a roadmap for learning new skill sets to improve one’s quality of work, overcome negativity, and become adaptive. She is a frequent contributor to Forbes and other publications. 20 Effective Habits is available for order through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple Books.

Andrew Karolyi, BA’83, who had been the acting dean of Cornell University’s SC Johnson College of Business since last March, will serve as dean of the college for a term ending on June 30, 2024. The college includes the Charles Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management, the SC Johnson Graduate School of Management, and the newly-named Nolan School of Hotel Administration. He is also Cornell’s Harold Bierman Jr. Distinguished Professor of Management.

Sergio Martínez, MA’83, a retired humanities teacher who helps produce the radio program Tiempo Latino / Latin Time for CKUT Radio McGill, and Roberto Hervas, BA’88, a writer/researcher and history teacher, collaborated on the book Chilean Presence in La Belle Province (Livres CACTUS Books), a collection of texts that portray the experience of the Chilean community in Quebec. The book is also available in French as Présence chilienne dans la Belle Province.

Paul Rochon, BA’83, joined Deloitte Canada as an executive advisor. Based in Ottawa, he will deliver strategic advice on projects and engagements, focusing on infrastructure, energy transition, and digital identity. He had a 20-year career in the federal civil service and served as deputy minister of finance between 2014 and 2020.

Peter O’Brien, MA’85, is the editor of Dream Visions: The Art of Alanis Obomsawin, a 90-page hardcover featuring 42 large-format reproductions of artwork by the award-winning documentary filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin. The book, published by the Glenn Gould Foundation in partnership with Perceval Press, includes a preface by Oscar-winning singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie, and appreciations by composer Laurie Anderson, Ojibwe filmmaker Victoria Anderson-Gardner, Canada Council chair Jesse Wente, and others.

John Bidwell, BA’86, is the co-author of Shores Beyond Shores: from Holocaust to Hope, a Second World War memoir about Irene Butter, a survivor of two concentration camps, who has been teaching students about the Holocaust since the late eighties. Shores Beyond Shores was a finalist for a National Jewish Book Award in the U.S. in 2019.

François Daigle, BA’87, became the deputy minister of justice and deputy attorney general of Canada on August 23, 2021. He had been serving as the associate deputy minister of justice since 2017.

Ray Berard, BA’88, is an author based in Christchurch, New Zealand. His 2016 crime novel Inside the Black Horse was adapted into Vegas, a six-part TV series that recently aired in New Zealand. Inside the Black Horse won the 2016 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best First Crime Novel.

Tomas Mureika, BA’88, is the artistic director of Realwheels Theatre, a theatre company based in Vancouver that creates and produces work that deepens understanding of the disability experience. An award-winning playwright, director and actor, he is an entertainment veteran with more than 30 films and theatrical productions among his credits. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in his mid-40s.

Tim Mak, BA’09, a Washington investigative correspondent for NPR, is the author of Misfire, an exposé of the National Rifle Association (NRA). Misfire is the result of a four-year investigation by the author, who scoured thousands of pages of never-before-publicized documents and cultivated dozens of confidential sources inside the NRA’s orbit to paint a picture of corruption and slow decline, marking a sea change in the battle over gun rights and control in America.

Adriana Kugler, BA’91, was nominated by U.S. president Joe Biden to become the U.S. executive director of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development for a two-year term. A full professor at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University, she was chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor during the Obama administration between 2011 and 2013. She served as vice provost for faculty at Georgetown University between 2013 and 2016.

Anne Beaulieu, BA’92, MA’94, has been appointed the Aletta Jacobs Chair of Knowledge Infrastructures at the University of Groningen’s Campus Fryslân. Since 2011, she has contributed to various interdisciplinary initiatives at the University of Groningen, including the Groningen Energy Summer School for PhDs and Energysense. She has been associate professor of science and technology studies and director of the university’s data research centre since 2018.

Ned Blackhawk, MA’92, an expert on the history of Indigenous people in North America, was appointed the Randolph W. Townsend, Jr. Professor of History and American Studies at Yale University. A member of the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians of Nevada, he first joined Yale’s faculty in 2009. In 2010, he received the Book of the Decade award from the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association for Violence Over the Land: Indians and Empires in the Early American West.

Susan Gold, BA’92, is the co-founder and head of the Feynman School, a school for gifted learners in the D.C. metro area that educates children from preschool through grade 8. The school’s program offers a blend of science, math, language arts, foreign language, social studies, and visual and performing arts.

Lisa Howie, BA’92, is the founder of the Atlantic World Art Fair, an initiative aimed at showcasing contemporary art makers in the Caribbean, the Atlantic Islands and the region’s wider diasporas. She is the owner and curator of Black Pony Gallery, and the former executive director of the Bermuda National Gallery. The inaugural edition of the Atlantic World Art Fair, which began last May 31 and ran to June 21, presented an online program including studio visits, critical conversations and panel discussions.

Jeffrey Veidlinger, BA’93, recently published In the Midst of Civilized Europe: The Pogroms of 1918-1921 and the Onset of the Holocaust (HarperCollins). Between 1918 and 1921, over 100,000 Jews were murdered in Ukraine and Poland by peasants, townspeople and soldiers who blamed them for the turmoil of the Russian Revolution. Drawing upon long-neglected archival materials, including thousands of newly discovered witness testimonies, trial records and official orders, the book shows how this wave of genocidal violence created the conditions for the Holocaust. Veidlinger is the director of the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan. His books, which include The Moscow State Yiddish Theater and In the Shadow of the Shtetl, have won a National Jewish Book Award, two Canadian Jewish Book Awards, a J. I. Segal Award and the Barnard Hewitt Award for Outstanding Research in Theatre History.

Jonathan F.X. O’Brien, BA’96, joined Sherin and Lodgen as a partner in the firm’s business law and real estate departments. He has experience in representing clients in corporate formation, contract negotiation, joint ventures, licensing, resolution of shareholder and director disputes, mergers and acquisitions, and the purchase and sale of assets. He is licensed to practice in Massachusetts, Paris, and New York.

Dean Rosenthal, BA’96, is an American composer, performer, writer and theorist. His music has been performed internationally. When he was still a McGill student, he organized and conducted a concert in Redpath Hall of music from British composer Cornelius Cardew’s The Great Learning. The concert, performed by the Montréal Scratch Orchestra and involving several other McGillians, was recorded by student engineer Joel Natanblut, BMus’90, MMus’96. Tone Glow Records recently released a special archival recording of that 1996 concert that NPR Music’s Lars Gotrich described as “music that sinks to the abyssal plain and finds light in the sublime darkness.”

Dan MacKenzie, BA’97, became the deputy clerk of the Executive Council and associate secretary to the Cabinet of Newfoundland and Labrador last September. He had worked since 2014 with the province’s Intergovernmental Affairs Secretariat as both director of intergovernmental policy and more recently as assistant deputy minister.

Jonathan Montpetit, BA’03, MA’16, a digital journalist with CBC Montreal, has spent the last several years reporting on Quebec politics, and has written extensively about the province’s secularism debates and about the rise of far-right groups. He was chosen to be a 2021-2022 William Southam Journalism Fellow. The Canadian and international journalists selected for the program spend a year at the University of Toronto’s Massey College, taking advantage of its unique multidisciplinary environment for their professional development.

Hillary Brenhouse, BA’07, is now the editorial director of Bold Type Books. She was previously the editor-in-chief of Guernica, an award-winning magazine of global art and politics. In 2019, she edited The Guardian’s “Antiracism and America” series. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Vice, Time, and The New York Times.

Marguerite Bravay, BA’12, created the “Berlin & Around” travel blog to help other expats discover the off-the-beaten-path pleasures of Berlin and Germany. She also offers tips on how to settle down in the German capital. She studied German language and literature at McGill and credits the intensive German summer classes and movie nights she took part in for helping to prepare her for life in Berlin.

Anna Silman, BA’12, is a senior features writer with Insider. She previously worked as a senior writer at New York magazine’s The Cut. She has also written for Elle, Salon, Cosmopolitan, and other publications.

Daniel Lombroso, BA’15, is a director and journalist who specializes in documentary films. His film White Noise about three key figures in the alt-right movement in the U.S., was named Best Documentary Feature at the Raindance Film Festival. It was also a finalist for a Livingston Award for Excellence in National Reporting. He is a senior producer for The New Yorker.

Hirshel M. Hall, BA’16, recently joined Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP as an associate in their Bankruptcy and Creditors’ Rights Practice Group. He has a J.D. from the University of Alabama School of Law, where he was the lead editor for The Journal of the Legal Profession and a member of the Duberstein Bankruptcy Moot Court Team.

Alex Kiss-Rusk, BA’17, helped guide Keltern to the championship in the Damen Basketball Bundesliga (DBBL), the top women’s professional league in Germany. In seven playoff games, she scored 70 points to go along with 63 rebounds, 17 assists, eight blocks and four steals. As a member of the McGill Martlets basketball team in 2017-18, she received the Quebec league’s player-of-the-year honours and won the Gladys Bean Trophy as the University’s female athlete of the year.

Mayumi Sato, BA’19, received a Gates Scholarship to the University of Cambridge. Each scholarship covers the cost of a postgraduate degree at the university and includes funding for academic and professional development. She began a PhD in sociology at Cambridge last fall. Her research focuses on the intersection between environmental, health and racial injustice in the prison industry amidst the climate crisis.

Yuv Sungkur, BA’21, Lena Östlund, BA’21, and Tristan Gerolami, BCom’21, are among the co-founders of FWH Mauritius, a youth-led NGO that helps vulnerable people in Mauritius by distributing boxes with food, water, hygiene products and feminine hygiene products.


Myriam Carrier, DipPubRelationsMgmt’15, recently became a communications manager with Mediabrands, a media and marketing group active in more than 130 countries. She was a public relations specialist with Reitmans before joining Mediabrands, and has also worked for the Just For Laughs Festival, Blue Metropolis, and the St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival.


Tino Bordonaro, MA’94, DipEd’95, became the new chairperson of the Advisory Board for English Education at the Ministre de l’Éducation du Québec last September. A course lecturer for McGill’s Department of Integrated Education, he is a retired teacher, administrator and pedagogical consultant.

Jason R. Wiles, PhD’08, an associate professor of biology at Syracuse University, received a 2021 Friend of Darwin award from the National Center for Science Education (NCSE). A specialist in evolution education, he also conducts science education research related to climate change and the nature of science. The Friend of Darwin award is presented annually to a select few scientists whose efforts to support the NCSE and advance its goals of defending the teaching of evolution and climate science have been judged to be outstanding.

Rikki Bowles, BEd’09, is the head coach of the McGill Martlets basketball team after serving in the role on an interim basis during the 2020-21 season. During her time as an assistant to former head coach Ryan Thorne, the Martlets won six Quebec conference crowns and the 2017 Bronze Baby national championship. While earning a physical education degree at McGill, she spent five seasons as a guard with the Martlets and was a team captain in her senior year.

Alyssa Cecere, BEd’11, is the head coach of the McGill Martlets hockey team after serving in the role on an interim basis. She had been a full-time associate coach with the Martlets since 2014. She played five years for the Martlets during her days as a student, serving as an alternate captain for three years. She also played for the Montreal Stars of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, helping them win a Clarkson Cup title in 2012.


Lorne M. Trottier, BEng’70, MEng’73, DSc’06, was named an Honorary Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering. He is the co-founder of Matrox Electronic Systems Ltd., a multinational company known for its innovative computer graphics products. He has also been a prominent philanthropist who has been especially supportive of McGill. He was elected as a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering in 2009.

Mohan Munasinghe, PhD’73, was one of the 2021 recipients of the Blue Planet Prize, awarded to individuals or organizations whose work has contributed significantly to the improvement of the global environment. He was the vice-chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. He also chaired the Presidential Expert Commission for the Sustainable Sri Lanka 2030 Vision and Strategic Path. The Blue Planet Prize was created by the Asahi Glass Foundation in 1992, the year of the Rio Earth Summit.

Marc Donato, BEng’76, MEng’78, PhD’82, an aerospace consultant with Expert-Conseil Donato Inc., was elected as a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering. He was recognized for the leadership role he played in the development of Canadian communication satellites, remote sensing satellites, and space-based robotics. Fellows of the CAE are nominated and elected by their peers.

James Johnson, BEng’82, the director of the Bioengineering Research Laboratory at the Hand and Upper Limb Centre at St. Joseph’s Health Centre, was elected as a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering. An expert on the biomechanics of the upper limb, he is the co-inventor of widely used implants, and his research has led to significant changes in surgical techniques and rehabilitation protocols for patients.

Catherine Mavriplis, BEng’84, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Ottawa, was elected as a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering. An expert in computational fluid dynamics, she has been the NSERC Chair for Women in Science and Engineering since 2011, a program that aims to recruit, retain and advance women to leadership roles.

Priti Wanjara, BEng’93, PhD’00, a principal research officer with the National Research Council of Canada, was elected as a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering. She is also an adjunct professor of materials engineering at McGill. Her work focuses on the physical metallurgy of metals/alloys, and, in particular, on how this knowledge can be applied to welding process design for advanced manufacturing in the aerospace, automotive and power generation industries.

Dongyang Li, PhD’95, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Alberta, was elected as a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering. His research covers a wide range of topics, including material design, surfaces and interfaces, wear and corrosion, and computational materials science. He has published more than 360 peer-reviewed scientific publications, and serves on the editorial boards of 18 international journals.

Zhen Fang, PhD’04, a professor at Nanjing Agricultural University, was elected as a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering. He has made major contributions to the fields of biomass hydrolysis, biodiesel production, nanocatalysts for biofuel synthesis, and hydrothermal process. He is the founding editor-in-chief for the Springer Book Series – Biofuels and Biorefineries.

Ihab Ragai, PhD’07, an associate professor of engineering at Penn State Behrend, was named one of the 20 most influential academics in ‘smart manufacturing,’ as chosen by SME, the former Society of Manufacturing Engineers. He was selected, in part, for his development of a design-for-manufacturing platform that uses process parameters and other data to predict tooling fatigue and failure during the manufacturing process. The top 20 list appeared in the June issue of SME Media’s Smart Manufacturing magazine. It was compiled with input from manufacturing experts and industry peers.

Tychon Carter-Newman, MUP’17, was named the winner of the ninth season of the reality television series Big Brother Canada, becoming the first Black participant in the series to end a season as the victor. He also became the only player through nine seasons to never be nominated for eviction. The show involves strangers living together in a house with no communication with the outside world while regularly competing against each other in a series of challenges. He received $100,000 for his victory.

Dominic Talbot-Tassi, BEng’21, the all-time top-scoring defenceman for the McGill men’s hockey team, helped lead the Nottingham Panthers to the British Elite Ice Hockey League’s Elite Series championship. He was signed to a pro contract by former McGill forward Guillaume Doucet, BEd’11, who serves as Nottingham’s director of hockey operations.


George Lengvari, BCL’66, was one of the inaugural winners of the Mitchell Family Alumni of the Year Awards, a national prize celebrating former varsity athletes who have become leaders in their communities and who have made contributions to their alma maters. As a student, he played basketball for both Loyola College (now Concordia) and McGill, serving as McGill’s team captain in 1964-65. Over the course of his career, he practiced international fiscal and transactional law, served as the vice-chair of Weider Health and Fitness, and worked as an agent representing Montreal Canadiens icon Jean Béliveau and baseball great Gary Carter. He has been a very generous donor to sports programs at both Concordia and McGill.

Norman M. Steinberg, BSc’71, BCL’75, joined the board of Atco in September 2021. He is the vice-chair of BFL Canada and serves on the boards of BFL Canada, Dorel Industries and Fiera Capital. He chairs the McGill University Health Centre Foundation, co-chairs Women in Governance, and is involved in various other organizations.

Bartha Maria Knoppers, LLB’78, BCL’81, received the 2021 Canadian Bioethics Society Lifetime Achievement Award. The prize recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions to healthcare ethics through their scholarship and leadership. She is McGill’s Canada Research Chair in Law and Medicine and the director of the Centre of Genomics and Policy in McGill’s Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences. She is also the chair of the Ethics Advisory Panel of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Jennifer Stoddart, BCL’80, LLD’15, was named a Knight of the Ordre national du Québec. A strategic advisor with Fasken law firm and a member of the board of directors of Génome Québec, she was the privacy commissioner of Canada from 2003 to 2013 and the chair of the Commission d’accès à l’information du Québec from 2000 to 2003.

Marie Deschamps, LLM’83, a former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, became the new chair of the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA) last August. Since retiring from the Supreme Court, she has taken on several high-profile roles, including chairing the United Nations External Independent Review Panel on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by International Peacekeeping Forces in the Central African Republic, and chairing the Council of Canadian Academies Expert Panel on Medical Assistance in Dying. The NSIRA works to ensure that Canada’s national security agencies are complying with the law and that their actions are reasonable and necessary.

Brian Bronfman, BA’86, LLB’91, BCL’91, was named an Officer of the Ordre national du Québec. He is the president of the Brian Bronfman Family Foundation, a philanthropic organization that supports practical peace-oriented initiatives.

Marie Christine Kirouack, BCL’91, was appointed independent ombudsman by the Archdiocese of Montreal to follow up on complaints of abuse or other inappropriate behaviour. Her role involves examining cases of all forms of abuse, be it sexual, physical, psychological, spiritual or financial, committed by any priest, deacon, staff member or volunteer working within the Archdiocese of Montreal. A lawyer for almost 30 years, she has served as president of L’Entre-Deux (a mental health resource for women suffering from depression), has provided teacher training on child abuse for the Commission scolaire des Patriotes, and has taught at McGill.

Daniel Urbas, BCL’91, LLB’91, was appointed a puisne judge of the Superior Court of Quebec for the district of Montreal. Before founding Urbas Arbitral in 2017 to work exclusively as an arbitrator and mediator, he had more than 25 years of experience in dispute resolution. At Borden Ladner Gervais (2005–2017), Woods (2000–2004) and Heenan Blaikie (1992–2000), his practice included IP and IT, energy and natural resources, contract disputes, administrative and public law, product liability, real estate and construction, Indigenous law, and telecommunications and broadcasting.

Chile Eboe-Osuji, LLM’92, joined Ryerson University as a distinguished international jurist at its Lincoln Alexander School of Law and as a special advisor to the President’s Office. He recently completed his term as president of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. He was also concurrently serving as a senior judge in the Appeals Division of the ICC from March 2018 to March 2021. In his role at Ryerson, he will share his extensive knowledge on the workings of international systems including institutions such as the UN and its agencies, as well as the ICC. He will also lead discussions on the international human rights regime, the role of international courts/tribunals, and the rule of law.

Marie-Claude Rigaud, BCL’92, LLB’92, was appointed a puisne judge of the Superior Court of Quebec for the district of Montréal. A professor of law at the Université de Montréal since 2010, she served as faculty secretary and associate dean for external affairs and communications at U de M’s Faculty of Law, and more recently as associate secretary general for equity, diversity, inclusion and First Peoples relations. Her research has focused on dispute prevention and resolution methods, as well as professional ethics and conduct.

Louis Charette, BCL’94, LLB’94, was appointed a puisne judge of the Superior Court of Quebec for the district of Montreal. At the time of his appointment, he was a partner at Lavery de Billy, LLP in Montreal, practicing in the litigation and dispute resolution group. His practice focused on product liability, transportation and aviation, professional liability, and insurance. He has been actively involved in the Canadian Bar Association, where he was the chair of the Young Lawyers Section and a member of the national executive of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Community Section.

Jill R. Presser, BA’90, LLB’94, was appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario. She was the principal lawyer at Presser Barristers, focusing on appellate criminal defense, mental health, digital privacy, and artificial intelligence law. She was a staff lawyer for the Inquiry into Pediatric Forensic Pathology in Ontario, is a former adjunct professor at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law, and is the co-editor of Litigating Artificial Intelligence.

Robert Korne, BCom’92, BCL’96, LLB’96, was appointed honorary consul of Iceland in Montreal last May. He is a lawyer with Spiegel Sohmer, specializing in Canadian private corporate taxation.

Alex Johnston, BA’92, BCL’99, LLB’99, is the author of Inconceivable: My Life-Altering, Eye-Opening Journey from Infertility to Motherhood. The book, which stems from her own multi-year struggle to become pregnant, examines the misinformation around infertility that is still widely offered to women today, and the barriers that exist to accessing treatment. She is the CEO of 360 Concussion Care Inc., an integrated concussion clinic network providing accessible, evidence-based care.

Vanessa Rochester, BA’01, BCL/LLB’04, was appointed a judge of the Federal Court. She spent most of her career with Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP, and practiced in maritime and transportation law for close to 20 years. Her other areas of practice included intellectual property, energy, and privacy and data protection. She is the past president of WISTA Canada, whose mission is to promote gender diversity and equality in the shipping industry.

Sarah Ross, BA’07, BCL/LLB’12, was named one of Canadian Lawyer’s Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers in Canada for 2021 in the category of Government/Non-profits/Associations. An assistant professor at Dalhousie University’s Schulich School of Law, she was described as a leading scholar of “urban legal anthropology” by Canadian Lawyer. She is the co-editor-in-chief of the Canadian Legal Education Annual Review, the book review editor for the Canadian Journal of Law and Society, and the vice-president (conferences) of the Canadian Law and Society Association.

Kimberly Lee-Louis, BCL/LLB’13, is the new assistant dean (inclusion – Black and Indigenous flourishing) for McGill’s Faculty of Law. She plays a leadership role in her Faculty’s efforts towards recruiting and supporting Black and Indigenous law students. She has worked as an educator with Inuit youth in Nunavik, as well as for the provincial health and social services department (CIUSSS) and the English Montreal School Board, where she supported at-risk youth. She has worked as a specialist in course content and consultant at Dawson College and the Kativik School Board in Nunavik.

Étienne Cossette-Lefebvre, BCL/LLB’14, was one of 15 doctoral researchers selected for the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation’s leadership program as 2021 Trudeau Scholars. He is currently pursuing a doctorate at the University of Toronto, and his dissertation focuses on a novel trans-systemic account of the concept of self-ownership to explain a person’s rights in her body, image, voice and personal information. He is the assistant director of McGill’s Paul-André Crépeau Centre for Private and Comparative Law.

Raphaël Grenier-Benoit, BCL/LLB’19, was also chosen as a 2021 Trudeau Scholar. He is a doctoral student at the University of Oxford’s Faculty of Law, and his research focuses on constitutional interpretation and the role of the judiciary in harmonizing law to social change. Before studying law, he worked as an actor in the Radio-Canada series Les Parent. He also co-developed and hosted a documentary series highlighting the community involvement of young francophones.


Christine Rodriguez, BCom’89, MBA’94, is a playwright and screenwriter. Her play Simone, Half and Half, produced by Black Theatre Workshop in 2020, received five Montreal English Theatre Award nominations. She was selected as part of the first cohort of the WarnerMedia Access x Canadian Academy Writers Program, an initiative that assists experienced Canadian writers from underrepresented communities. With support from the program, she will be writing a feature version of FUEGO, a short film from 2020 that she wrote, directed and produced.

Samira Sakhia, BCom’90, DPA’94, MBA’01, became the new president and chief executive officer of Knight Therapeutics last September. She had previously served as Knight’s president and chief operating officer. Jonathan Ross Goodman, BA’89, LLB’94, MBA’94, the company’s founder and the former CEO, is now Knight’s executive chairman. Headquartered in Montreal, Knight Therapeutics focuses on acquiring, in licensing, out-licensing, marketing, and commercializing prescription pharmaceuticals in Canada and Latin America.

Victoria Lakers, BCom’01, recently became a partner with Calibre One, a global executive search firm. Before joining Calibre One, she was a partner at a boutique search firm focused on C-suite and board placements for private equity-backed portfolio companies. She also led its diversity practice. She is on the board for both the San Diego Air & Space Museum and the San Diego chapter of Tech Coast Angels, the largest angel group in the country. She has been recognized by the San Diego Business Journal as one of San Diego’s 40 Business Leaders Under 40.

David Urquhart, BCom’08, MA’19, is the head coach of the McGill Redbirds hockey team. A 2018 inductee to the McGill Sports Hall of Fame, he spent the previous three seasons as an assistant coach of the San Diego Gulls, an American Hockey League affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks. During that span, he helped guide the team to a 92-60-17 record in regular season play and three playoff berths. A former McGill hockey player, he was a three-time OUA all-star.

Anastasia Bezrukova, BCom’12, recently launched Minori, a vegan makeup brand founded on “the ethos of minimalism.” It emphasizes ingredient transparency and is committed to sustainable practices. The CEO and her young company have received coverage in Allure, Elle Canada, Teen Vogue and other publications. She is a certified Marie Kondo consultant.

Alyssa Favreau, BCom’12, recently published Janelle Monae’s The ArchAndroid, part of the 33 1/3 series of short books about influential music albums. The book examines the literary merit of Monáe’s multimedia body of work, the political relevance of her album’s science fictional themes and Monáe’s role as an Atlanta-based pop cultural juggernaut. A Montreal-based writer, Favreau’s work has appeared in Hazlitt, Popular Science, and the Los Angeles Times. She also co-hosts the Broad Science podcast.

Ryan McKiernan, BCom’14, was named Volkswagen Tournament MVP while leading Berlin to the Deutsche Eishockey Liga championship, a German professional league more commonly known as the DEL. During his playing days with the McGill men’s hockey team, he was a two-time recipient of the Bobby Bell Trophy as team MVP.

Daniel Aleman, BCom’16, is the author of the recent YA novel Indivisible about a Mexican-American teen’s efforts to keep his family together after his undocumented parents are detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He was born and raised in Mexico City and now lives in Toronto.

Julie Segal, BCom’17, recently earned first prize ($8,000 USD) in the Ethics & Trust in Finance Global Prize for her paper “Justice and Sustainability: Pricing in Physical Climate Risks.” She was also recently named by Corporate Knights as one of its Top 30 under 30 Sustainability Leaders in Canada. A senior manager, climate finance, with Environmental Defense, she previously worked as a senior analyst for impact investing at the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation.


Ian M. MacDonald, BSc’72, MSc’74, MDCM’79, received the Canadian College of Medical Geneticists Founders’ Award for career achievement. An ophthalmologist and clinical geneticist, he is an emeritus professor at the University Alberta and the former chair of its Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. He is also the former branch chief for Ophthalmic Genetics and Visual Function at the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health in the U.S. Much of his research has focused on inherited ocular disorders.

Isa Milman, MSc(A)’83, recently published Afterlight: In Search of Poetry, History, and Home, a memoir of war, genocide and displacement that investigates her family’s life before, during, and after the Holocaust. The book focuses on the story of two sisters: Sabina, Milman’s mother, who survived the war, and Basia, Sabina’s twin, who did not. Milman has previous published three books of poetry – each of which won a Canadian Jewish Book Award for Poetry.

Graham Elder, BSc(PT)’88, MDCM’95, Medical Resident’00, is the author of A Covid Odyssey and Second Wave, two recent medical thrillers that focus on how a northern Ontario doctor and his family contend with the COVID-19 pandemic landscape in Canada and in other countries. The books are part of a planned trilogy that provide some medical education along with a suspenseful storyline. He is an assistant professor at Northern Ontario School of Medicine and the chief of orthopaedic surgery at Sault Area Hospital.

David Saint-Jacques, Medical Resident’07, was named an officer of the Ordre national du Québec. A Canadian astronaut, he took part in a 204-day mission aboard the International Space Station, the longest Canadian space mission to date. He is an adjunct professor of family medicine at McGill.

Michael Seidler, BSc’05, MDCM’09, joined Rhode Island Medical Imaging (RIMI) as a radiologist. Prior to RIMI, he was a partner in Medical Imaging Consultants, and was an associate clinical professor in the Department of Diagnostic Imaging at the University of Alberta. His memberships include the Canadian Association of Radiologists, American Roentgen Ray Society, Radiological Society of North America, and American College of Radiology.


Jenny Perron, BMus’91, a pianist, recently released Music for Piano, a collaboration with composer Paul Paccione, who wrote the solo piano pieces on the album specifically for her. Her recitals have been broadcast on Radio-Canada FM, CBC Radio-Canada and National Public Radio on programs such as Opus: Classics Live, Tout pour la musique, Jeunes Artistes, and Serie Debut.

Maria Diamantis, BMus’95, was awarded the Medal of the National Assembly of Quebec for her contributions to the musical education of children. Along with her husband Dimitris Ilias, she is the cofounder of Chroma Musika. Together, they developed a specialized vocal workshop for children and served as the musical directors for many children’s choirs. Through books and CDs, they introduced children to symphonic music and mythology, while providing unique opportunities to young choristers to sing with renowned Montreal symphonic orchestras and to learn how professional CDs are recorded.

Solon McDade, BMus’02, MMus’17, GradDipPerformance’18, and Jeremiah McDade, BMus’02, make up two-thirds of the McDades, a Juno Award-winning folk music band known for its Celtic and roots-inspired music. The group’s latest album, The Empress, includes a Celtic-bluegrass cover of the Gordon Lightfoot classic “Sundown.” The album features contributions from Richard Irwin, BMus’20, and Paul Strofel, BMus’04.

Frédéricka Petit-Homme, BMus’02, MMus’04, is the host of Choral Concert, a CBC Radio program highlighting choral music sung by the top choirs in Canada and around the world. The Montreal-born soprano has distinguished herself as a performer in roles such as Annie in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess (Opéra de Montréal). She has performed with l’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal.


Cyril Kay, BSc’52, was named to the Alberta Order of Excellence for his contributions to protein chemistry. He co-led the first major protein research group in Canada, the Medical Research Council Group on Protein Structure and Function. Between 1974 and 1995, the MRC Group published over 1,600 peer-reviewed articles. He has also chaired the scientific advisory board of the Protein Engineering Network of Centres of Excellence, developed a health research plan for Alberta for the Alberta Science and Research Authority, and has served as the vice president of research for the Alberta Cancer Research Board.

David Mulder, MSc’65, McGill’s H. Rocke Robertson Professor of Surgery, received an honorary doctor of laws from the University of Saskatchewan. He has served as the team physician for the Montreal Canadiens for more than 50 years and was the chief surgeon at the Montreal General Hospital from 1977 to 1998. He was a driving force in developing a province-wide trauma treatment system in Quebec in the 1980s that helped reduce the trauma-related mortality rate in the province by 50 per cent.

Alan Rauch, BSc’77, is a professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. His TedX Talk, which explores the role that humans play in creating and defining the animal world, is available online. He earned degrees in biology and zoology before receiving a doctorate in English literature from Rutgers University. His most recent book, Dolphin, is part of the Reaktion “Animal Series.” The subjects of his courses range from Victorian literature to graphic novels.

Deborah Slipetz, BSc’86, MSc’91, PhD’07, became the new vice president of the RTW Charitable Foundation last February. Before joining the foundation, she held different senior positions at Merck. She has more than three decades of experience in pharmaceutical development and research. The RTW Charitable Foundation provides funding to research efforts with a focus on rare diseases. It also offers support to humanitarian causes, initiatives that raise disease awareness, and programs with a direct patient impact.

James Robar, BSc’94, MSc’97, was one of the recipients of the 2021 Governor General’s Innovation Awards. He was recognized for integrating 3D printing into the treatment of skin, breast, head/neck and gynecological cancers. This technology enables the design of patient-specific radiotherapy accessories that improve treatment accuracy. He is the chief of medical physics at Nova Scotia Health Authority, a professor of radiation oncology at Dalhousie University, and the co-founder and chief science officer at Adaptiiv Medical Technologies. Also receiving a Governor General’s Innovation Award was Sheila Wang, a dermatology resident at McGill, who created artificial intelligence-driven technology for monitoring wound care patients remotely.

Jade Savage, BSc’99, PhD’04, a professor of biology at Bishop’s University, was awarded the Research and Creative Activity Award by Bishop’s Senate Research Committee. She is an internationally recognized expert on muscoid flies and has contributed to a better understanding of Canadian insect pests and parasites. She also created the eTick citizen science initiative, a web platform that invites the public to participate in the monitoring of ticks in Canada by submitting tick photos for identification by trained personnel. The prize recognizes the accomplishments of Bishop’s finest researchers, scholars and creators, and is presented to recipients who are well-established in their fields.

William Thompson IV, BSc’01, an anesthesiologist and pain medicine specialist at the CORE Institute, was appointed by Arizona governor Doug Ducey to that state’s Telehealth Advisory Committee. As a committee member, he helps determine which telemedicine services are reimbursed by insurers throughout the state, and helps define the best practice guidelines within telemedicine.

Yvonne Bombard, BSc’02, received the Canadian Cancer Society’s William E. Rawls Prize for her work and advocacy in making genetic testing safer, more ethical and more effective. She is a genomics health services researcher and scientist at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s Hospital. She is also an associate professor at the University of Toronto in the Institute of Health Policy Management and Evaluation. Her research focuses on evaluating the adoption of new genomic technologies in clinical practice.

Prativa Baral, BSc’14, was one of 15 doctoral researchers selected for the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation’s leadership program as a 2021 Trudeau Scholar. A doctoral student at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, she has worked for the World Bank, monitoring essential services during COVID-19. Her research explores transnational issues such as coverage measures, antimicrobial resistance, climate change, and pandemic preparedness through an interdisciplinary lens.

Yacine Mahdid, BSc’17, is the chief operating officer at Axya, an outsourcing platform that helps simplify the subcontracting process for manufacturing companies and allows buyers to discover new suppliers and work with them on custom contracts. He is also a PhD student at the Biosignal Interaction and Personhood Technology Lab (BIAPT) lab at McGill. Axya recently raised $1.5 million in seed funding that will help the company expand its reach to Ontario and the Northeastern U.S.


Ai Thien Tran, BSW’09, is a social worker and frontline healthcare worker with the Albertan government. Last May, he was one of the distinguished Asian Edmontonians to be featured on an Edmonton Catholic Schools site marking Asian Heritage Month. He was named one of the RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrants in 2012 and received the McGill Alumni Association’s James G. Wright Award in 2018.

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