MI presents alumni, teaching and exceptional service awards
Friday, January 29, 2021

The Marine Institute presented its annual awards for alumni, exceptional service and teaching to a trio of recipients – Melissa Williams, Roy Gibbons and Paula Mallard – during individual ceremonies held Jan. 28.

“Melissa, Roy and Paula exemplify the best of our graduates, instructors and staff and their contributions to our Marine Institute community,” said Glenn Blackwood, vice-president of Memorial (Marine Institute).

“They each play an important role in supporting, mentoring and providing a productive environment in which our students, alumni and industrial clients excel. We are thankful for their commitment to the Marine Institute and the marine and oceans sectors we serve.”

Alumni AwardMelissa Williams

Ms. Williams, manager of marine operations and harbour master for the St. John’s Port Authority, received the 2020 Marine Institute Alumni Award. It recognizes the professional accomplishments of alumni, their service to society and commitment to the MI and Memorial communities.

She received a Diploma of Technology in Nautical Science in 2008 and a Bachelor in Maritime Studies in Maritime Management the following year. In 2015 she also completed a Master’s in Maritime Management.

At the St. John’s Port Authority, Ms. Williams is responsible for vessel activity, port security, traffic control and vessel berthing assignments. On average, the port authority handles 1,500 commercial vessel arrivals annually, as well as with 500-600 fishing boats. Appointed in 2017, Ms. Williams is first woman to hold the job and only the second at a Canadian port authority.

Last year, she was among the recipients of the annual Turning the Tide Marine Industry Awards. Ms. Williams received its inaugural Next Wave Leadership Award recognizing young professionals under the age of 35 who display great leadership qualities and make noteworthy contributions to the marine sector. For this award, she was described as “the youngest female leader at Canada’s oldest port.” 

Roy GibbonsTeaching Award

Mr. Gibbons, instructor with the School of Fisheries, received the 2020 Marine Institute Teaching Award. It recognizes the teaching excellence of instructors who have gone above and beyond in the pursuit of teaching and learning, innovation, and leadership at MI.

Mr. Gibbons spent two decades in the fishing industry working his way up to captain of an offshore fishing vessel before beginning a career as an MI instructor in 1994. Described by nominators as a dedicated, selfless and patient teacher, he presents difficult concepts in ways students easily understand and adapts his teaching style to accommodate diverse groups of learners.

He developed curricula and helped teach MI’s nationally recognized fishing masters program and embraced community-based training offered in rural communities throughout the province. Mr. Gibbons established fisheries courses in Nunavut that were relevant to Inuit culture and assisted in the development of northern fisheries.

Mr. Gibbons also engaged in partnerships and research to aid fishermen in their day-to-day work. He led the development of an interactive software training tool to help fishermen understand the dynamics of fishing vessel stability; led an initiative to aid fishermen in improving vessel energy efficiency and reduce fossil fuel consumption; and developed and taught workshops on new tackle regulations for the Canadian Coast Guard.

Exceptional Service AwardPaula Mallard

Ms. Mallard, custodian with the Department of Facilities and Technical Services, received the 2020 Marine Institute Award for Exceptional Service.

It recognizes employees who demonstrate exceptional service and make significant contributions to the Marine Institute and university communities beyond what is normally expected for their positions.

Award nominators credit Ms. Mallard with providing much more to MI than the tidy environment she creates – describing as super friendly, kind, colourful, witty and as someone who shares a joke or a story with fellow staff as she makes her rounds. Nominators says she is a professional who takes pride in her work and is willing to go the extra mile to get things done.

When students spend more time in the library prepping for exams, so does Ms. Mallard – wiping work surfaces more frequently, emptying garbage containers and making sure everything is order for anxious students. She also makes an effort to vacuum the library early in the day to avoid disturbing students.

As an important part of MI’s custodial team, her critical work provides a clean and healthy environment for teaching, learning and research to take place – particularly when more stringent COVID-19 cleaning and disinfecting measures have been introduced during the pandemic.