Bishop Townsend Medal awarded to outstanding Masters of Education

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Robyn Turgeon and Jennifer Ingrey were awarded the 2009 Bishop Townsend Gold Medals for highest academic achievement in their program at a luncheon reception on December 4. Bishop Bob Townshend (son of the late Bishop William Townshend) made the presentation and congratulated the recipients’. He related anecdotes about his father and reiterated the late Bishop’s love of education and educators and how fond he was of attending the annual celebratory lunch. The medals are presented to two recipients each year, one at Spring Convocation, one in the Fall.

Robyn Turgeon, the Spring 2009 recipient, was praised by Professor Cornelia Hoogland her co-supervisor with Professor Kathy Hibbert.

Robyn is a scholar who is not afraid to examine the dark side of experience – starting with her own. She writes in her thesis, “The more I dug, the more I found that other average every day women in countless other works were all struggling with similar identity issues. Trends started becoming apparent and common bonds were formed with women I would never meet. Should someone have to be a "bell hooks" to have a compelling story worth telling?”

I personally hope not, or none of us would get beyond the blank, white page. As it is, Robyn writes: “Although I have always loved writing personal narratives, this particular thesis was the hardest and most grueling process I have ever gone through.” And now, today, the great effort has emerged victorious. Thank you for all your hard work Robyn, and for sharing with us your research stories that form “She carries the earth on back”: scholar, teacher, mother, and Anishinaabekwe. With great joy we applaud you and your work.

Jennifer Ingrey, the Fall 2009 recipient, was introduced by Associate Dean Bob MacMillan who read a tribute prepared by Professor Wayne Martino who co-supervised Jennifer’s thesis with Professor Goli Resai-Rashti.

Jenny Ingrey is an outstanding student who is committed to addressing and challenging inequities in education. Her research is informed by a sophisticated engagement with queer-feminist and transgender theories that inform her understanding of gender expression and its impact on students in schools. Her research with young people reminds us of the realities of gender straight-jacketing and the harassment and the limitations that it inflicts on all students, but especially those individuals who do not conform to limiting and traditional ideas about what it means to be a boy or a girl. I have no doubt that her research will garner international scholarly attention. It also has the potential to inform current safe school policies. Jenny’s research illustrates how issues of gender identity and sexuality are inextricably linked to building deeper knowledge and understanding about the nature of bullying and harassment in schools.

Jenny shows initiative, is independent, passionate and critical in her approach to her studies. We are indeed excited that she is continuing graduate work in the doctoral program and believe that her research will make a significant contribution. This award truly reflects the caliber and high regard we hold for students such as Jenny who are committed to producing scholarly work of a very high standard.

Also in attendance at the lunch were, Pat Townshend, the Bishop’s wife, Robyn’s husband, Scott, and graduate office staff, Linda Kulak and Tina Beynan.