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Recognizing exceptional women

May 7, 2015 — 

The 39th annual YMCW-YWCA Women of Distinction Awards were held on May 6 in Winnipeg and three University of Manitoba community members were among the 12 women honoured and celebrated.

  • Chander Gupta, professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences, won the Eira “Babs” Friesen Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • Samar Safi-Harb, Canada Research Chair and professor of physics and astronomy,  won in the Science, Technology, and the Environment category.
  • Carly Scramstad, student in the College of Medicine, won in the Volunteerism category.


The YMCA-YWCA Winnipeg perfectly captured the selflessness of Scramstad with an anecdote they tweeted out from last night’s event: “Carly Scramstad, who exchanged an engagement ring for funds for a youth camp for underprivileged kids, wins Volunteerism.”

As for Professors Gupta and Safi-Harb, the Winnipeg Free Press reports:

“Gupta is known as a pioneer in performing Manitoba’s first tension-free vaginal tape (TVT) procedure, which has improved the quality of life for countless women suffering from stress incontinence. She was the driving force behind the provincial government allowing unrestricted funding of the procedure for all Manitobans who need it.”

“Dr. Samar Safi-Harb . . . came to the University of Manitoba after leaving a long-term Space Astrophysics NASA grant at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. At the U of M, she established a graduate research program in astrophysics, developed the astronomy and astrophysics curriculum and has played a key role in producing the first generation of U of M graduates in astronomy and astrophysics.”


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