Discovery Awards Discovery Awards

2020 Discovery Awards

It was an evening of inspiration as Nova Scotia’s best and brightest were celebrated at the 2020 Discovery Awards for Science and Technology.

Co-presented by Dalhousie University and Saint Mary’s University and in support of the Discovery Centre, nearly 400 community members joined together for a virtual celebration to honour the finalists and recipients in four prestigious categories, introduce a new inductee to the Science Hall of Fame, and recognize this year’s inspiring Youth Award recipient. 


2020 Science Hall Of Fame Recipient:

Dr. Sandra Barr

Dr. Sandra Barr, a distinguished geoscientistProfessor and Bancroft Chair in the Geology Department of Earth and Environmental Science, Acadia University. Dr. Barr’s authoritative work on the geological evolution of the northern Appalachian mountain belt of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick has shaped our understanding of how the Maritime provinces have formed over the past billion years. During her 44-year tenure at Acadia University, she, along with over 100 thesis students, have amassed an immense volume of work, mapping the bedrock of nearly half of Nova Scotia.  

Published in over 160 peer-reviewed research journal articles, as well as hundreds of other publications (including book chapters, reports, and maps), Dr. Barr’s work – including her collection of tens of thousands of rock samples - is internationally recognized as the authoritative record of the geology of Nova Scotia.  

Dr. Barr is the recipient of numerous scientific awards including the prestigious Ambrose Medal from the Geological Association of Canada in 2015 for sustained and dedicated service to the Earth Science community in Canada, a Distinguished Service Award from the Geological Association of Canada in 2011, and the Gesner Medal from the Atlantic Geoscience Society in 1995 for contributions to geosciences in Atlantic Canada. She has served as President of the Geological Association of Canada, the Geological Society of America North-eastern section, and the Canadian Federation of Earth Sciences.  

2020 Youth Award Recipient:

Michelle Song

Michelle Song is a 2020 Horton High School graduate in the International Baccalaureate program from Wolfville, Nova Scotia. She is currently in her first year of the Life Sciences Gateway Program at McMaster University with plans to pursue an Honours Biochemistry  Biomedical Research Specialization 

Michelle’s Youth Award is based on her 2019 selection by Youth Science Canada, as part of Team Canada, which competed at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Arizona in May 2019. Her project was entitled “The Use of Yeast to Prevent Fungal Diseases in Horticultural Produce” which also won her a bronze medal at the 2018 CanadaWide Science Fair. 

While at Horton High, Michelle founded the school’s first environmental club and helped raise environmental awareness, promote sustainability, and organize several green initiativesTo educate fellow students and school staff, Michelle organized speakers to talk about the impacts of climate change and after the pandemic closed schools, Michelle organized a virtual Earth Week – providing daily activities for students to do safely at home. 

Michelle does not stop at academic achievements. Music has been Michelle’s passion from an early age, playing piano, clarinet, and saxophone, recently achieving an Associate Diploma from The Royal Conservatory of Music. Michelle participated in the senior concert and jazz bands, as well as the Acadia University Symphonic Band. Competitive sports have also kept Michelle busy winning Provincial Badminton Championships and competing as a member of the Wolfville Tritons Swim Club. Even with this impressive line-up of activities, Michelle found time to volunteer at Valley Regional Hospital in the medical and surgical units.  

2020 Award Category Recipients:

Emerging Professional: Dr. Mita Dasog

Dr. Mita Dasog joined the Dalhousie University Chemistry Department in 2016 as an Assistant Professor. Currently, her research focuses on developing nanomaterials for sustainable fuel production, desalination, and water purification, all using sunlight.  

Dr. Mita Dasog obtained a bachelor’s degree in chemistry with a minor in biomolecular structure studies from the University of Saskatchewan and a Ph.Din materials chemistry from the University of Alberta. Her doctoral contributions were recognized by two major national awards; the Canadian Society for Chemistry National Award for Outstanding Graduate Work in Inorganic Chemistry in 2014 and the Canadian Council of University Chemistry Chairs Doctoral Award in 2015 for the best chemistry doctoral thesis in Canada.  

Recently, Dr. Dasog’s research contributions have been recognized with numerous awards including Dalhousie University President’s Research Excellence Award for Emerging Investigators, was selected as one of 118 outstanding chemists from around the world for the IUPAC Table of Younger Chemists in honor of the International Year of the Periodic Table, the Canadian Journal of Chemistry Best Paper Award, and was chosen to be a member of the Global Young Academy. 

Beyond her research, Dr. Dasog is actively involved in public and government outreach and believes strongly in improving and promoting equity and diversity in STEMShe has mentored over 25 postdoctoral fellowsresearch assistants, graduate and undergraduate students from diverse backgroundsShe is also a strong advocate for women in science and was listed among the Top 150 Canadian Women in STEM fields by hEr VOLUTION, a non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging girls to pursue careers in STEM.  

Innovation: MacKenzie Healthcare Technologies

Over the past 14 years, Matthew MacKenzie has been setting new benchmarks for success in the manufacturing, medical technologies and, most recently, personal protective equipment sectors.  

After working in the long-term care sector to explore a patient/resident repositioning challenge, Matthew invented the now-patented technology – Paraglide®, which enables people in wheelchairs to reposition themselves at the touch of a button, independently and with dignity, eliminating the risk of injury to care giversTo develop this product and take it to market, Matthew and his wife, a health care and charitable sector communications professional, co-founded MacKenzie Healthcare Technologies 

Matthew’s invention Paraglide® took home the winning prize at the Maritime-wide 2016 Bio Innovation Challenge and won the Audience Choice Award for New Technologies at the Silver Economy Summit in Halifax in 2018. Paraglide® was one of five finalist start-ups from across the country at the Canadian Export Challenge Pitch Competition in Ottawa in 2018, and won the pitch competition at the 2019 Aging 2.0 Halifax Chapter Global Innovation Challenge and Showcase, and subsequently won the 2019 Aging 2.0 Boston Revolutionize pitch competition weeks laterMatthew was also awarded a Top 20 Under 40 Award at the Canadian Manufacturing Technology Show in 2015, and an ASQ Award for quality management practices at the Premier’s Quality Recognition Awards ceremony in 2019. 

Science Champion: Chantelle Cormier

Chantelle Cormier is the Chair of the Biology Department and Senior Biology Lab Instructor at Cape Breton University (CBU). Although her biology background is in entomology (the study of insects), her real passion is in teaching and science outreach education.

Chantelle believes science outreach is vitally important to combating misinformation and fostering an interest in science among youth. Working with CBU’s Integrative Science team, she gained experience working with Elders and developed curriculum to showcase both Indigenous and western knowledge systems using Two-Eyed Seeing as a guiding principle.

Her current NSERC PromoScience project: The Mi’kmaw Night Sky Story, Muin and the Seven Bird Hunters, reveals teachings about the cultural importance of knowledge systems, astronomy, and phenology. This project will bring together Indigenous and western knowledge systems to provide Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth the opportunity to engage with both knowledge systems in a respectful, reciprocal, and responsible way; fostering reconciliation in the classroom while at the same time inspiring an interest in science.

Chantelle is the driving force behind CBU’s Mall of Science initiatives which have grown to include five annual events. Since 2018, Chantelle has brought Let’s Talk Science to the forefront of science outreach and education at CBU by engaging over 5200 youth in 114 hands-on STEM activities in 13 communities.

Chantelle graduated from Cape Breton University in 2000 with her B.Sc. Honours in Biology and continued her M.Sc. in Applied Science studies at Saint Mary’s University.

Professional of Distinction: Dr. Linda Campbell

Dr. Linda Campbell is a professor and senior research fellow in Environmental Science at Saint Mary’s University (SMU) in Halifax. Her research and teaching at SMU focus on contaminants in the environment, as well as on sustainability and resilience issues with emphasis on aquatic ecosystems and water resources. 

She has conducted environmental research in South America, Africa, Asia, as well as North America. Dr. Campbell is now leading research examining environmental contaminants and the threat of invasive species across the Maritimes. The goal of this work is to understand contaminant transfer and improve environmental remediation approaches. Dr. Campbell proudly shares her findings and experience while mentoring many graduate and undergraduate students, as well as in countless research journals. 

As one of the few Deaf environmental scientists, Dr. Campbell has developed innovative approaches for inclusion of both Deaf and hearing team members in research and teaching. She has also worked closely with ASL-English interpreters to develop collaborative scientific and academic interpreting.   

Dr. Campbell’s professional contributions were recognized with the Ontario Association of the Deaf Professional of the Year Award in 2010 and Canada Top 40 under 40™ in 2011. Linda sits on the Gallaudet University Board of Trustees, the Saint Mary’s University Board of Governorsthe Nova Scotia Accessibility Directorate Advisory Boardthe Nova Scotia Accessibility Education Standards CommitteeEducation Standard Development Committee of the Accessibility Directorate, and the Halifax Regional Municipality Regional Watersheds Committee. However, Dr. Campbell is perhaps most well known for her work in accessibility advocacy as part of the provincial Bill-59 Community Alliance. 

Presenting Sponsors:

Dalhousie University
Award Sponsors

Science Hall of Fame

Emerging Professional

Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation

Science Champion

Youth Award


Professional of Distinction

Discovery Game Sponsor
Science Challenge Sponsor
Nova Scotia Power
Reception Sponsor
Media Sponsor
Raffle Sponsor
Discovery Awards Champions
Efficiency NS
Friends of the Discovery Awards



Centennial Building Investments Limited

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