The Wellness Committee is very pleased to announce this year’s winners of the second annual EEB Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Award. We have two absolutely stellar winners of this award: Madeline Peters and Maydianne Andrade.
The nominations for both Madeline and Maydianne highlighted the truly remarkable work they have both done as incredible leaders in these areas. To say that they have both gone above and beyond to improve EDI in their respective roles as graduate student (Madeline) and faculty/academic leader (Maydianne) is a massive understatement. All the more remarkable, their efforts and contributions have both only increased during the incredibly difficult times we have been in for the last 20+ months, and so the committee felt a joint award to both of them this year was particularly fitting. Below we draw from the nomination letters of both Madeline and Maydianne to highlight their remarkable contributions.
Madeline Peters is a PhD student in Nicole Mideo’s lab in EEB on the St. George Campus. As highlighted by the nomination letter, Madeline deserves this award many times over for her remarkable time and leadership she invests to make EEB a more accessible, diverse, and better place for all. Madeline is the founder and co-leader of EEB’s Proactive Action Subcommittee of the Wellness Committee, taking a lead role in organizing department programming on topics such as anti-black racism and accessibility. She has been de facto (and fearless) leader of the Statement of Values Subcommittee of the Wellness Committee, which drafted the department’s statement of values and code of conduct, and is working on developing more information on navigating the concerns and complaints process. Madeline is a vital member of the Mental Health Committee, where she has led numerous workshops and training in mental health. She has been an important contributor to BREWS, and co-leader of a new book club on Indigenous issues. Madeline has been a tireless supporter of both undergraduate and graduate students, including as graduate student peer mentor, liaison to the EEB Undergraduate Union, and award-winning residence don. Finally, she was a planning member of (and presenter at) the Symposium for Women Entering Ecology and Evolution (CSEE). Through these roles, and countless everyday interactions, Madeline is a force for positive change.
Professor Maydianne Andrade is a Professor in Biology at UTSC and faculty in EEB’s tri-campus graduate program, and has been a Canada Research Chair and Vice-Dean of Faculty Affairs and Equity at UTSC. As highlighted in the nomination, Maydianne is Co-founder and inaugural President of the Canadian Black Scientists Network, a coalition of Black Canadians in STEMM fields that aims to build community, visibility, mentorship, and support for Black scholars in STEMM. She is leading organization of their inaugural conference in January, which will feature multi-disciplinary research talks by Black scientists, a career fair, and free registration for all undergraduate and graduate students (https://blackscientists.ca/). She also Founded and served as the inaugural co-Chair of the Toronto Initiative for Diversity and Excellence (TIDE), a coalition of University of Toronto faculty that develops resources, gives talks and workshops, and consults with university leadership on EDI issues. In her critical administrative roles, Prof. Andrade designed and implemented programs aimed at improving diversity and inclusivity in faculty hiring, an area with substantial room for improvement at the University of Toronto. For example, Prof. Andrade created and launched an online education tool on Unconscious Bias which she wrote, narrated, and worked with an illustrator to produce, which have been broadly impactful throughout the university. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Prof. Andrade has also launched a podcast called The New Normal, which she hosts. The podcast explores how we have coped with the ’new normal’ brought about by the pandemic, and Prof. Andrade does so via an equity lens, exploring topics such as how the pandemic has intensified anti-Asian racism, and how people responded to the murder of George Floyd by protesting en masse against racism and police violence, despite COVID-19. Impressively, the podcast has been accessed over 500,000 times and won an international award for the best higher-ed social media campaign of 2021. Her efforts have directly improved diversity in faculty hiring at the University of Toronto, and substantially raised awareness about racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination in the Canadian academy. We are lucky to have her as a faculty member in EEB.
Both Madeline and Maydianne have enacted lasting change in the department and the university, and we are truly grateful for their contributions.