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Education professor honoured for lifetime achievement in career development

By Geoff Ash | Feb. 16, 2012

A professor in Memorial’s Faculty of Education has been awarded the profession’s highest honour by the Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling (CERIC). Dr. Mildred Cahill was presented with the Etta St. John Wileman Award for lifetime achievement in career development during the recent Cannexus12 National Career Development Conference in Ottawa, Ont.

The Etta St. John Wileman Award for lifetime achievement in career development is designed to recognize and celebrate individuals who have devoted their lives to furthering the profession of career development. It is a high honour, said Dr. Rob Shea, deputy provost and associate vice-president (academic) pro tempore at Memorial, and editor of the Canadian Journal of Career Development.

“It’s important to realize that this isn’t an annual award that is presented each year," said Dr. Shea. "This is only the fourth time it’s been awarded, which truly speaks to Dr. Cahill’s commitment and dedication, and the impact of her life’s work."

Dr. Kirk Anderson, dean of education at Memorial, said he and all of Dr. Cahill's peers share the sentiment.

“In my short time since coming here I have come to see what the lifetime award attests." said Dr. Anderson. "Dr. Cahill is an exemplary scholar and teacher who motivates those around her to excel with a quiet and affirmative, yet determined, energy.”

For her part, Dr. Cahill said she was surprised to be chosen as the recipient of the award, and graciously acknowledged the many quality mentors and peers who supported her throughout her career.

“I am humbled and honoured to receive this award from CERIC," she said. "I feel fortunate to work with faculty and staff at Memorial University who have been supportive of my teaching, research and community involvement. I am most grateful for the privilege of working with so many creative and dedicated students, who are out there every day personifying the best of Etta St. John Wileman. They continue to motivate me.”

Fittingly, the award itself takes the shape of an Inukshuk, a prominent symbol of guidance which illustrates the core function of career counselling. Dr. Cahill’s work is a shining example of these principles. Always maintaining a student-centered focus, she is an advocate for connection of education to the community, and a pioneer of distance career counselling for students in rural Newfoundland and Labrador.