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    • 09 NOV 23
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    Congratulations to Judy Shandler, 2023 Distinguished Award Winner

    Congratulations to Judy Shandler, 2023 Distinguished Award Winner

    On November 2, 2023, FSA Board of Directors member Judy Shandler received the Institute’s Distinguished Award–formerly the Distinguished Alumni Award–for her immense contributions to the FSA and BCIT. Below we’ve reproduced Judy’s acceptance speech as well as Vice President Shannon Kelly’s introduction.


    It is my great honour to present the FSA Distinguished Alumni Award to Dr. Judy Shandler.

    This particular award is named the “BCIT Faculty and Staff Award” because it is a partnership with BCIT’s Alumni Association and the BCIT FSA, designed to recognize outstanding BCIT alumni who have returned to the Institute for careers as faculty or staff members. The award is for achieving excellence and leadership in their respective fields, and also recognizes those who contribute to and embody the values of our Faculty and Staff Association, which is the largest faculty and staff union at BCIT.

    With that in mind, I would like to share a bit about why Judy was chosen for this award.

    Judy can be considered one of the ground breaking proponents of Women in STEM

    When I arrived at BCIT back in 2002, the lack of gender diversity in some of my courses, particularly in Technology, Computing, and Engineering fields, stood out to me immediately and was a concern. Now, over 20 years later, I can confidently and happily say that things HAVE changed and we see much greater gender diversity in our classrooms, with authentic efforts still ongoing to continue this positive trend. Always more to be done, but we have come a long way.

    That is one of the main reasons we wanted to recognize and celebrate Judy’s contribution to the BCIT community as a leader and role model. Coming to work at this institute of technology in 1988 as a part-time instructor teaching Computer Aided Design, and then launching her long and successful career in the Information Technology Services (ITS) department here, Judy can be considered one of the ground breaking proponents of Women in STEM, helping transform our community and others to be more diverse, inclusive, and equitable.

    With forty years of experience in academia, including a Masters and Doctorate in Education, she has dedicated her career to advocating for the success of all students:

    • here at BCIT,
    • at other post secondaries and in other communities,
    • with decades of service, including most recently by serving on the BCIT Board of Governors and on our Board of Directors at the BCIT Faculty and Staff Association.

    Dr. Shandler is truly deserving of this Distinguished Alumni Award, most importantly, as a proud member of our BCIT Alumni community and, especially, a proud graduate of BCIT’s Information Technology Professional program.


    Good evening to all of you and a special thank you to BCIT President Dr. Jeff Zabudsky, the BCIT Alumni Association Board, the BCIT Faculty Staff Association and those who supported my nomination for this award.

    I honestly feel so privileged and honored to be standing here before you.

    I come from a large family of 8 and 3 of my siblings are here with me tonight. Of those who could not be here, 3 live in Ontario and 1 on Vancouver Island. You could say I am used to being part of a large family, which is what I consider the staff and faculty at BCIT—a collective of incredible individuals making a difference to students as well as each other by creating an environment of equity, fairness, diversity, and collaboration that brings out the best in all of us. This is what People Powered means to me.

    I am used to being part of a large family which is what I consider the staff and faculty at BCIT

    I have been given some amazing opportunities during my journey here. When I took the Diploma in Technology Professional program, I was well into my teaching career, and I had no idea what I might do with this diploma. But I was told that the technological world needs people like me (people-people). That is those who can understand and translate technology for those who might not. That is what I have brought to the work I do at BCIT and it has influenced my teaching as well as my participation on committees and Boards.

    I have always strived to make a difference in people’s lives and at the same time challenge myself, which is why I have taken on whatever has come across my path. My family and friends will attest to that.

    This award affirms that the work, the opportunities that I have taken on in my life and at BCIT—as insignificant they may have felt at times—to the bigger challenges whether that is completing a doctorate, sitting on the Board of Governors, racing in International events, and even stand-up comedy have all made a difference.

    From the moment I heard I was being honoured, I have had an inner glow knowing that even without this award we all make a difference in ways we may not realize.

    This Distinguished Alumni Award has taken me back as I have no intention of slowing down. Leonardo Da Vinci wrote “it had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishments rarely sat back and let things happen to them, rather, they went out and happened to things.”

    For those of you who may be wondering what is next for you, continue moving forward in whatever way that looks like for you, and go out and happen to things.

    Thank you again from the bottom of my heart.

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