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Physics & Computer Science
Laurier's Shohini Ghose and Debb Ritchie honoured at Women of Waterloo Region Awards
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Laurier professor Shohini Ghose and alumna Debb Ritchie (BA ‘78) were among the winners at the 2014 Women of Waterloo Region (WOW) Awards. Founded in 2005, the WOW Awards recognize the achievements of women in Waterloo Region by annually presenting awards to community leaders in eight different categories.
Ghose, an associate professor of Physics & Computer Science and director of the Laurier Centre for Women in Science, won the 2014 WOW Award in education at last Thursday’s gala in Kitchener. A leader and innovator in the field of quantum physics, Ghose is also a passionate teacher and in 2012, she co-authored ASTRO, Canada’s first introductory astronomy textbook. Ghose has also long been a champion for women in the sciences as well as academia more broadly, helping to launch the Centre for Women in Science in 2012.
“As an educator I get to share my passion for science with my students,” said Ghose. “That is not a job, it’s a privilege and it’s fun. I want my students to be wowed by our amazing universe, so this WOW education award has special meaning to me.”
Renowned for her work connecting quantum mechanics and classical chaos, Ghose is currently an affiliate member at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing.
Laurier sociology grad Ritchie took home the WOW award for community engagement and volunteerism. In 2008, Ritchie created Random Act of Kindness Day, an initiative that encourages people to “pay it forward” through acts of kindness towards strangers. The idea, which Ritchie came up with after a stranger in downtown Kitchener passed on his paid parking stub, has since spread to communities across Canada.
Ritchie has a long history of volunteering, working with the Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation and serving on the board of directors for YWCA Kitchener-Waterloo and Opportunities Waterloo Region, an organization that aims to reduce and prevent poverty through collaboration, advocacy and education. She has also been a strong advocate for opportunities for women, creating the Waterloo Region Small Business Centre Inspiring Women’s Event and serving as a committee member and co-chair for the Outstand Women of Laurier Award from 2006-08.