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Sandra, Pam, and Wendy

A million thanks to our staff

In the Faculty of Health Sciences, we are blessed with a very large staff of nearly 750 individuals who, day in day out, work extremely hard to enable our academic mission to thrive. One thing we don’t do often enough is say thanks. This blog is dedicated to all of our staff.

For many, the reason they work in the Faculty of Health Sciences is that the work we do, researching important areas for the health and well-being of our populations, and teaching and training the next generation of scientists and clinicians, resonates so strongly. To be sure, we could not do any of this without the support and dedication this amazingly talented and strong group of staff.

Last Thursday, Principal Woolf held his annual Staff Appreciation event at the ARC, where he handed out nine Special Recognition for Staff Awards. This year, those of us in the Faculty of Health Sciences were proud to learn that three of our outstanding staff members were being recognized by the principal this year: Sandra Turcotte, from the School of Rehabilitation Therapy, and Wendy Cumpson and Pamela Livingston, from the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences (pictured together above).

There were many cheers in the crowd as our three colleagues stood to accept their award from Principal Woolf for their “outstanding contributions to the learning and working environment at Queen’s at a level significantly beyond what is usually expected.” Principal Woolf was kind enough to share his remarks from the event with me below, which are based off of the nomination letters written by their colleagues and the students they support.

Sandra Turcotte, School of Rehabilitation Therapy

Since 1999, Sandra Turcotte has been the backbone of the School of Rehabilitation Therapy.

Imbued with compassion and a quiet leadership style, she also possesses the confidence to make hard decisions when required. Sandra does not back away from challenges. Instead, she gathers information, consults others and develops the best course of action.

Sandra nurtures her staff, ensuring that they have the required skills in a changing workplace through in-house education and continuing development opportunities. She recognizes ability and promise in new employees and mentors them through to positions of greater responsibility.

Sandra is fiercely loyal and will go to bat for her work colleagues, family and friends. Her zest for life is infectious and contributes to a happy, positive work environment. Sandra brings the school together. Sandra is content to stay out of the limelight and is happy to see that light shine on others.

Today, the limelight belongs to Sandra.

Pamela Livingston, Biomedical and Molecular Sciences

Pamela Livingston’s attention to detail ensures that the entire biochemistry laboratory teaching program runs like a well-oiled machine.

As a senior technician, Pamela provides a nurturing teaching environment for about 150 undergraduate biochemistry and life science students and eight teaching assistants. She is accommodating and willing to adjust her role to make the lab experience as positive and efficient as possible. Her detailed notes and “cheat sheets” help to keep everyone on track. Her approachable nature encourages one and all to reach out without hesitation.

Pamela is a huge advocate for her students. If an experiment does not yield the best results possible, she will troubleshoot and adjust the protocol until it meets her high standards.

Pamela’s vivacious spirit is renowned. She has been known to wear a tiara on special occasions and hand out gold star stickers for exceptional work. Her exemplary organizational skills make it easy for new staff to join the team and adapt quickly. She literally wants the university to shine and will come in to clean up after hours to prepare the labs for tours and the new school term.

Wendy Cumpson, Biomedical and Molecular Sciences

With her exceptional organizational skills, discipline, and capacity for hard work, Wendy Cumpson is known as the “go-to” person in her office – always willing to take on new challenges.

Last spring, when the department was accepting a flood of new applications for its new graduate programs, Wendy took the lead in processing that flood – on top of her other responsibilities.

Wendy demonstrates the highest standards of ethics and responsibility, and takes great pride in her work. She knows the regulations and has every nuance memorized. Graduate students know they can trust the information she provides without question. Wendy knows every single graduate student by name. That makes each one of them – and there are a lot of them – feel important.

Wendy is always willing to help others by lending an ear and giving expert advice. As one graduate student remarked, “I go to the fifth-floor office to freak out at least once a week, and Wendy is always there to provide warm words of encouragement. She calmly assesses the situation and provides me with the resources I need.”


Congratulations to Wendy, Pamela, and Sandra on this well-deserved honour. They are a shining example of the Faculty of Health Sciences staff who work tirelessly every day to support our faculty members, students, academic programs, and research initiatives. Thank you to each and every one of you.


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