Professor receives Ontario Award of Excellence for promoting inclusive research

Head and shoulders of Caitlin Mullarkey speaking at a podium

Caitlin Mullarkey received the Equality of Opportunity award for developing and leading McMaster’s Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences Summer Scholars Program.

Caitlin Mullarkey, an associate professor in the department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, has received an Award of Excellence from the Government of Ontario.

The “Equality of Opportunity” award, presented today by Jill Dunlop, the provincial minister of colleges and universities, recognizes post-secondary faculty and staff who have excelled at creating new opportunities for marginalized and underrepresented groups.

Mullarkey is being recognized for her development and leadership of McMaster’s Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences Summer Scholars Program (SSP), of which she  serves as chair.

Supported by the university’s Global Nexus and Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research, the SSP promotes diversity in STEM research by providing full research scholarships to students who identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or 2SLGBTQIA+.

The scholarships require no previous research experience and cover the costs of virtually anything that could present as a barrier to participation, including training, mentorship, food, housing, transportation, parking and childcare.

“I am delighted that the minister is celebrating Dr. Mullarkey’s critical leadership of our Summer Scholars Program,” says Brian Coombes, chair of the department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences at McMaster.

“This award is not only a deserving recognition of her outstanding leadership, but also of McMaster’s deep commitment to promoting inclusive excellence in research, which allows a program like this to thrive.”

Under Mullarkey’s leadership, the SSP has graduated 17 diverse scholars in just two years, many of whom have gone on to continue their research activities at McMaster.

Several SSP alumni have also been recognized by competitive government and university awards programs, and eight new scholars will participate in the program in 2024.

“While I am so grateful for this recognition, it is the amazing young scholars who deserve credit for making the SSP such a resounding success story,” Mullarkey says.

“I’m immensely proud of our work as a group and I’m very much looking forward to seeing how the SSP grows in the years ahead.”

Mullarkey’s award was presented at a ceremony held at the First Nations Technical Institute in Deseronto, Ont, where 15 awards were announced from a pool of nearly 500 nominations.

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