The University of Alberta’s Augustana Campus is proud to announce the recipient of the 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award, Dr. Cheryl Bartlett.
Dr. Cheryl Bartlett is Professor Emerita at Cape Breton University in Sydney, NS, after retiring from her position as Professor of Biology and Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Integrative Science in December 2012.
Cheryl grew up in Duchess, AB – north of Brooks – in the traditional territory of the Blackfoot Confederacy. After being convinced that Camrose Lutheran College could offer considerably richer educational and personal growth opportunities than could her village’s public school, she graduated from high school at CLC in 1973.
“My first memorable “wow” moment was listening to Chester Ronning talk about China during orientation activities, in my first year at CLC,” Cheryl recalls. The College had a few international students at the time, and she has fond memories of coming to know them as good friends.
Cheryl worked in the cafeteria, served on the Student Council, and joined the varsity volleyball and canoe teams, both of which competed in the Alberta College Athletic Conference. Her favourite professors were the biology team – Dave Larson, Morley Riske and Don Pattie – as well as chemistry professor Peter Kneoss and Outdoor Education instructor Garry Gibson. She also held immense respect for varsity coach Di Lunde. She has fond memories of tobogganing in Jubilee Park and camping trips along Stoney Creek.
“I participated in two federally-funded “Opportunities for Youth” summer work/research projects – which we proposed ourselves,” says Cheryl. “The first saw six of us canoe and camp the entire length of the Battle River, mapping and analyzing the distribution of beaver dams on the river. The second saw four of us live in a lean-to along the Battle River while researching and writing a book on edible wild plants of the area. We also worked for the City of Camrose to develop a mosquito monitoring and abatement program. For all these projects and adventures, professors Larson, Knoess, Riske, and Pattie provided much appreciated advice and guidance.”
Cheryl went on to complete her Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Zoology at the University of Alberta in 1977. She followed these with an MSc in 1980 and PhD in 1984 from the University of Guelph; both degrees involved research on the nematode parasites of wild animals. She did post-doctoral work at the Laboratoire des Vers at the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle in Paris, France, and also served for several years as Assistant Editor for the international Journal of Wildlife Diseases.
Cheryl started at Cape Breton University in 1989, teaching biology, parasitology, and infectious diseases. She soon transitioned into Integrative Science, a transdisciplinary effort to bring Indigenous and Western scientific knowledge and ways of knowing together. She worked closely with Mi’kmaq Elders to create a unique degree program, which serves to attract more Aboriginal students into post-secondary sciences. Both the undergraduate program and Cheryl’s related research activities adopted Two-Eyed Seeing as a guiding principle. Over the years, Cheryl and Elders Murdena and Albert Marshall have given almost 200 formal presentations on Integrative Science and Two-Eyed Seeing for local to international audiences.
Cheryl was awarded the Canada Research Chair in Integrative Science in 2002. In recognition of her work, Cheryl was appointed as a Member to the Order of Canada in December 2011.
“At CLC, I discovered professors whose passion was biology – the area that I wished to pursue in university,” Cheryl says. “I found an excellent education from inspiring teachers. I met tremendous people and developed wonderful friendships. CLC was a safe, quality environment for my transition to a life independent of family home and beyond small town environment.”
Cheryl currently lives in Sydney, Nova Scotia with her husband, George, and their three dogs.