2019 Award Recipients
Capt Mary Cameron-Kelly
Capt Mary Cameron-Kelly was born in North Sydney, Nova Scotia. She was a member of 562 Air Cadet Squadron, having always being interested in flying. Mary joined the military in 1981 as an airframe technician. Her first posting was to Greenwood, where she acquired her private pilot license. She became the first female technical instructor in 404 Sqn in 1986. In 1988, she began military pilot training with the Canadian Forces. In 1991, Mary became the first female Aurora pilot in the CF. Three years later, Mary qualified as Aircraft Commander on the Aurora and, in 1995 the world’s first female Maritime Patrol Crew Commander.
Back at 404 Sqn, she became the first female pilot instructor on the Aurora and instructed for the next 5 years. Moving to 405 Sqn in 2001, she assumed new duties in Standards and Training. In May 2003, she flew to the Arabian Gulf and participated in Operation Apollo in the fight against terrorism.
Mary is currently the pilot instructor and a standards and training pilot at 404 Sqn. Her recent accomplishments include over 7200 hrs on the Aurora aircraft, a 2018 recipient of a stamp issued by the Ninety-Nines signifying 37 years of military service, and this year selected as one of the top 20 military women in defense.
Major Alexia Hannam
Flight Operations Award
Major Hannam is a RCAF helicopter pilot and the Commanding Officer of 417 Combat Support Squadron based in Cold Lake, Alberta. She flew the Chinook for 40 combat missions in Afghanistan and was the detachment commander in Operation LENTUS during the Fort McMurray and British Columbia wildfires on Search and Rescue Griffon helicopters. She is a vocal advocate for the Forces and women in aviation.
Kathrine (Kathy) Stewart
Kathy is a Regular Member Special Constable helicopter pilot with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who provides aerial support to front line RCMP members throughout Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories. Based in Edmonton, Kathy flies an Airbus AS350B3 which performs multiple public safety roles including search and rescue, mountain radio repeater access, aerial surveillance, patrols supporting border security along USA-Canada border, as well as pursuits and interceptions. The helicopter also provides tactical support for Emergency Response Teams, Police Dog Services and Explosive Disposal Units in a variety of high risk situations.
Kathy’s aviation career began in 1980 when she earned her private Fixed Wing license while also pursuing a HBSc at University of Toronto. In 1982, she completed a Commercial Helicopter license. She was hired by Okanagan Helicopters in 1988 and stayed with the company (now Canadian Helicopters) until 2002, obtaining her mountain, night and multi-engine helicopter endorsements. She currently holds a Canadian Private Pilot Fixed Wing license, a Canadian Helicopter Airline Transport license and a U.S. FAA Commercial Helicopter license. Kathy has flown throughout Canada and the U.S. doing forest fire fighting, wildlife management, diamond exploration, seismic exploration, high Arctic work including the Polar Continental Shelf Project and the Canadian military. Kathy supervised up to 80 pilots as an Operations Manager during her last 3 years with Canadian Helicopters.
In 2002, Kathy joined the RCMP Air Services Branch, as a Civilian Member. She obtained her instrument rating in 2005, tactical flight officer training, night vision goggle (NVG) rating in 2009, and advanced NVG rating in 2012. In 2017, Kathy completed conversion training to become a Regular Member. Kathy has over 13,000 flight hours and is endorsed on 8 helicopter types.
Wendy Tayler is the President and majority owner of Whitehorse-based Alkan Air Ltd. She is passionate about aviation and the vital part it plays in connecting communities in Northern Canada. She established Northern Canada’s first aviation-business diploma program at Yukon College, where she has introduced northern youth to careers in aviation.
Dr. Suzanne Kearns
Dr. Suzanne Kearns is an Associate Professor of Aviation at the University of Waterloo. She began flight training at the age of 15, flew solo on her 16th birthday, and had her private fixed and rotary-wing licenses on her 17th birthday.
She went on to earn her commercial multi-engine instrument pilot licenses (fixed- and rotary-wing), a College Diploma in helicopter flight training from Canadore College, a Bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Science and a Master’s degree in Human Factors and Systems Engineering both from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. She began working full-time as a professor at the age of 24 and simultaneously began studying for her PhD in Education, which she earned in 2007.
In her role as a professor, Dr. Kearns teaches, conducts research, and writes about aviation safety and training. Dr. Kearns is frequently invited as a speaker at international conferences, has written four books and many academic and industry articles, and is considered a leading academic in her field. Her textbook (published in 2018) is used in universities around the world to teach the next generation about the ‘Fundamentals of International Aviation’.
She also develops e-learning, including a free course on aviation fundamentals distributed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
Considering face-to-face teaching, the impact of her books, and students who complete her online courses, Dr. Kearns supports the education of thousands of aviation learners each year from every global region.
Growing-up in Oakville, Ontario, Lyndsey’s early interest in Space was kindled by trips to the Kennedy Space Centre, encouraging parents and teachers and a summer session at the US Space Academy in Huntsville, Alabama.
Since receiving a degree in Space and Communications Sciences from York University in 2000, Lyndsey Poynter has supported engineering and mission operations of Canada’s robotic systems on the International Space Station - Canadarm2 and Dextre (pictured on the Canadian $5 bill).
Lyndsey was the project engineer for the Robotic Workstation, which provides the crew robotic interface and was the first robotic element to be commissioned on-board the space station. In addition, Lyndsey prepared and tested space hardware for flight at Kennedy Space Center and has worked on a number of on-orbit satellite servicing initiatives.
As the current project engineer for MDA’s engineering support of Canadarm2 and Dextre, she organizes teams in Houston, St Hubert (Quebec) and Brampton (Ontario) to support robotic assembly and maintenance of the ISS and to utilize Dextre as a testbed for future robotic technologies to enable exploration beyond low earth orbit.
Lyndsey is currently a section lead and instructor for training astronauts and flight controllers on the use of Canada’s robotic systems and is the recipient of numerous awards from NASA and the Canadian Space Agency.
Lauren Egglestone graduated Seneca College’s Bachelor of Flight Technology program in 2013. After graduation, Lauren moved to The Pas, Manitoba to work for Missinippi Airways as Assistant to the Chief Pilot. After a year, Lauren moved to the flight line as Navajo and King Air 200 First Officer on the scheduled flight to Pukatwagan, a community 200km north of The Pas. Lauren also flew the King Air 200 doing medevac throughout Manitoba and Nunavut, before finally becoming Navajo Captain.
Lauren was at Missinippi Airways for 3.5 years, then continued her career at Canadian North in March of 2017. Initially she flew the Dash 8-100 as First Officer flying out of Yellowknife and Iqaluit to the communities in the Canadian Arctic. In January 2018, she transitioned to the 737-300 based in Calgary, flying to the oil sands, and also charters throughout North America.
At the end of 2018 Lauren’s lifelong dream to a pilot with Air Canada came true! Lauren now lives in Calgary and is currently a First Officer on the 737 MAX.
Dr. Joelle Thorgrimson is a private pilot, physician, physicist, and future flight surgeon from Kenora Ontario. Joelle started her career in the basic sciences with a BScH in astrophysics from Queen’s University, followed by a MSc in quantum computing from McGill University and the National Research Council of Canada. She pivoted her career and studied medicine at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) where she received a MD and the overall award of excellence in her graduating class.
Her lifelong dream of becoming a pilot was achieved by completing her recreational pilot license after graduating medical school. Joelle proceeded to join the Royal Canadian Air Force during her family medicine residency at NOSM. As elected chief resident, she upgraded to a private pilot license.
In June 2019, Joelle will graduate from her family medicine residency and has been posted to Cold Lake Alberta where she will complete her flight surgeon training and work as a medical officer with the goal of pursuing aerospace medicine.
Her current research interests involve a NASA funded research collaboration with NOSM, McMaster and Harvard Universities on non-technical skills for medical emergencies on long duration exploration missions, which Joelle presented at the International Aeronautical Congress in Germany and the Aerospace Medicine Association annual meeting in the United States. Mentorship has shaped her career, so she gives back to youth interested in pursuing science, medicine and aviation.
For fun, Joelle enjoys flying adventures to Northern Canada, fishing on Lake of the Woods with her family, weight lifting and exploring anything outdoors.
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