Awards and recognition
Join us in congratulating PhD candidate Paula Littlejohn (she/her) for receiving the Faculty of Science Excellence in Service Award. Each year a select number of faculty, staff and students are recognized with this award for their service contributions which “…have a significant positive impact on achieving UBC Science’s mission”. A member of the Finlay lab since 2017, not only is Paula an exceptional scientist but also an outstanding advocate for Black representation in STEM and other Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) initiatives in the UBC community and beyond. Balancing a full family life as a mother of five, PhD research on the gut microbiome, educational outreach and entrepreneurial activities, Paula shows extraordinary dedication in all her endeavours.
Paula’s exemplary leadership in creating the “Where are the Black People?” 2020/21 UBC/UBCO Speaker Series, launched in October of 2020, merits her recognition. She recruited a diverse team of collaborators for this series which included, among others, Dr. Ainsley Carry (Vice President Students), Dr. Ninan Abraham (Associate Dean, Equity & Diversity) and Dr. Minelle Mahatani (then Senior Advisor to the Provost on Racialized Faculty). The series featured prominent Black academics from Canada and USA, including six senior university leaders (Dean, Associate/Vice Deans, VPs), to speak on topics of underrepresentation in leadership, STEM and Art History. The series garnered great interest with over 1000 participants from UBC and beyond subscribing to the series.
An experienced scientist and passionate educator, Paula is co-founder of non-profit STEM STEPS Leadership & Outreach Society and creator of Nutrigenomics Online Education. She also received the 2020 Teaching Award in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology. Paula has served on various UBC committees and working groups including: UBC Social Exposome Cluster Steering Committee, UBC Senate ad hoc committee Academic Diversity and Inclusion and the MSL EDI Committee, among others. Paula also contributes to a broader STEM community with her involvement in The Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology STEM Literacy Week, the Canadian Black Scientist Network and the Black in Microbiology Association in the USA. It is clear her passion for science and EDI translates effectively in her mentorship and teaching roles.
The positive impact Paula’s work has on individuals, communities and decision makers at UBC and beyond is exceptional. A compassionate leader and engaged scientist, we are thrilled to see Paula recognized for her important contributions. A deeply involved member of the MSL community, we are grateful to have researchers like her in our midst. Thank you Paula, for all that you do.
- the creation of the “Where Are all the Black People?” speaker series
- Paula’s work on the impacts of COVID-19 on gut microbiota and the double burden of malnutrition
- See the full list of UBC Science Excellence in Service Award recipients