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OISE PhD student Gary Pluim wins two prestigious U of T awards

By Jennifer Sipos-Smith

April 15, 2011


On Wednesday, April 6, Gary Pluim stood in good company. Together with fellow University of Toronto PhD students Jovana Kaludjerovic (Comparative Nutritional Sciences) and Mubdi Rahman (Astronomy and Astrophysics), Pluim was recognized as a University of Toronto Alumni Association Graduate Scholar at the UTAA Awards of Excellence. The award recognized “academic excellence in a doctoral program at the University of Toronto, and outstanding extra-curricular and community leadership" and was presented by U of T President David Naylor and David Peterson, U of T’s Chancellor.  Winners of the graduate category were also awarded $1000.

The three graduate award winners were also finalists for the Adel S. Sedra Distinguished Graduate Award. This year, the committee chose not to select a single winner, and instead recognized each of these three outstanding PhD students as UTAA scholars.
“I was just completely honoured to have been selected as one of the(se) three scholars, and the ceremony itself was quite a treat,” said OISE winner Gary Pluim when he spoke of the event.  “I think we are all indebted to Adel Sedra’s commitment to U of T graduate students during his tenure as vice-president and provost, not just for his visionary, long-range planning through the 1990s, but also for how he enhanced doctoral programs at U of T.  To be recognized for academics and leadership under his legacy is a unique honour.”
The awards require winning graduate students to demonstrate an outstanding academic record and to make exceptional progress in their graduate research programs. Further, winners must be involved in work that reflects an effort to understand and respond to the changing intellectual landscape in his/her field of study. Gary Pluim’s doctoral research in the Curriculum Studies and Teacher Development program is described as “fascinating and of critical importance.”  His inquiry into the role that Canadian civil society organizations play in education focuses specifically on the reconstruction in Haiti.  Gary’s nominees described his research as having “tremendous importance in both theoretical and practical forums.”
Graduate students honoured with these awards must also demonstrate how they enhance the student experience of their peers. They must show a commitment to community outreach and involvement, as well as demonstrate outstanding academic and extracurricular leadership. Gary Pluim’s contributions to curricular and co-curricular life at OISE have been described as “tremendous” and as having “strengthened the culture” of his program.