Support for graduate awards makes big impact

Elizabeth Skoropata has always had an interest in how things work.

A graduate student in Physics, she is currently conducting her research on the magnetism of nanoparticles, an object 1/1000th the size of a human hair.

Skoropata is also the most recent recipient of the Ernst and Ingrid Bock Graduate Award. Dr. Bock [B.Sc. (Hons.)/56, M.SC./57, Ph.D./60] and Mrs. Bock [B.A./59] both worked in the Faculty of Science, and this award was established in their memory by colleagues, family and friends. Offered to exceptional graduate students in the Departments of Chemistry and the Department of Physics and Astronomy, award recipients are selected based on their research work, as well as high grade point average.

Skoropata has received the Bock award in 2012 for Chemistry and again in 2013 for Physics. It is especially fitting that Skoropata is the recipient of this award as Dr. Bock’s research also specialized in the area of magnetic resonance.

Considering the commitment needed to persevere and succeed as a graduate student, Skoropata notes that the Bock award has made a positive impact on her work.

“It takes a lot of time and personal dedication to make progress on your research project,” she says. “To be able to do that with less financial pressure allows you to concentrate on that.”

Skoropata is grateful for the support of donors and that the criteria for the Ernst and Ingrid Bock Graduate Award doesn’t focus strictly on a students’ grades, but also factors in publications and research work.

“The support is definitely appreciated and doesn’t go unnoticed,” Skoropata says. “It’s nice that they put the thought into what characteristics they’re looking for, not just straight grade point average. I don’t think a lot of awards consider the overall qualities of the student. As graduate students, our focus is really on research, building research ability and getting papers published. The Bock award really acknowledges that.”