Graduate Coordinator Kristen Edwards honoured for outstanding achievement

Western Engineering News | May 19, 2020

The Sharon A. Ling Award of Excellence for Outstanding Achievement by a Staff Member is presented annually to a Western Engineering employee to recognize their exceptional long-term contributions in support of the academic, research, innovation, public service or administrative missions of the Faculty of Engineering.edwards-350x467.jpg

This year’s recipient, Kristen Edwards, Graduate Coordinator in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), received tremendous support from faculty, staff and students for being incredibly deserving of the award.

“I am so grateful to have received this award and feel honoured to be in the company of all the amazing staff who received it before me,” said Edwards. “When I started in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, my focus was on building and fostering strong relationships with my colleagues, professors, and students. I feel very blessed to work as part of such a strong and supportive team, and that I have the privilege of playing a small part in the lives of our amazing and brilliant students.”

Edwards is responsible for managing the logistics of the graduate students interested in the program from their first inquiry email until their graduation. CEE has approximately 210 active graduate students (40% PhD, 20% MESc, 40% Professional MEng).

“Kristen is someone who my peers and myself rely on for more than just course registration and degree requirements,” said a graduate student. “She is invested in helping us solve problems, navigate the resources available to us, and achieve our individual goals. No matter the magnitude of the question or issue I bring to Kristen, I always leave her office with valuable answers and feeling uplifted.”

The Sharon A. Ling award is not the first time Edwards has been celebrated for her dedication to faculty and students. In 2018, Edwards received one of Western’s Awards of Excellence, the highest honour for staff member achievement.

Edwards consistently seeks to broaden her knowledge and skills to better support and understand her students and colleagues. She is a strong believer in lifelong learning, taking courses towards her Master’s of Education and completing professional development workshops such as safeTALK and ASIST. Edwards also advocates for graduate students and other members of the Western community as a member of various committees including the Graduate Education Council Committee, the Academic Policy and Regulations Committee, and the Western Engineering Wellness Committee. 

Professor and Associate Chair, Graduate in CEE Jason Gerhard touted Edwards for her can-do attitude, leadership qualities and creative problem solving.

“Kristen is an incredibly valuable staff member of the Faculty of Engineering,” said Gerhard. “It is impossible to overstate the value of such a caring person in such a critical role to the overall success of the Department and Western.”