Melissa Coomber-Bendsten BEd’02 – 2022 Humanitarian and Community Service Award
Melissa Coomber-Bendtsen has been leading the YWCA Regina since 2015, and is the youngest CEO in the organization’s 110-year history, Prior to this, Melissa worked in a variety of community-based agencies such as Regina Alternative measures Program, RCMP Depot, and the YMCA of Regina.
Throughout her career, Melissa has demonstrated the capacity to exercise strategic leadership in response to community needs. In both her personal and professional roles, she is a passionate advocate for social justice and change.
Melissa is a tireless community leader and connector, who provides integral leadership and guidance in tackling community issues. She is often called upon to bring together service providers and community to work collaboratively and effectively in tackling issues that impact marginalized people in Regina and across the province. Her expertise on community issues, and her unique approaches to leadership and collaboration are a shining example of all that can be achieved when community comes together for the benefit and inclusion of all.
As a U of R alum, Melissa credits her time at the University for preparing her for her current role as CEO of the largest and longest-serving women’s organization in Regina. Melissa stands as a reminder that women’s voices must not just be heard but amplified.
Molly Thomas is an award-winning correspondent, anchor, and producer who works for CTV's flagship documentary program W5. She joined CTV National News in 2019 as a parliamentary reporter in Ottawa after serving as a national news anchor and reporter for CTV News Channel, CTV's national morning show YOUR MORNING, and the national faith-based current affairs show Context.
She started her anchoring career in Regina, where she was the co-host of CTV Morning LIVE, which soon became the highest rated per capita CTV morning show in the country. Molly has completed her Masters of Global Affairs from the University of Toronto and also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Regina.
Her commitment to social justice stories has taken her to Iraq, Somalia, Bangladesh, Jordan, Haiti, Rwanda, Uganda, France, and England. With impressive international experience, Thomas has been recognized for multiple awards, including a recent National Labour Reporting Award from the Canadian Association of Journalists for her W5 story Fields of Wrath, which highlighted the plight of migrant workers during the early days of COVID-19.
This year, RTDNA Canada also awarded her a National Award in Sports Excellence, for her profile on Toronto Raptors' head coach, Nick Nurse. She was an international finalist for the AidEX Humanitarian & Development Journalism Award for her feature on Syria's lost scholars, and a winner of the 2016 bronze Telly Award in religious reporting after the 2015 Paris attacks. In her spare time, Molly emcees several charity events, teaches Zumba, and is always up for a competitive game of basketball.
Dr. Kathie Cameron is a highly regarded mathematician and educator. She was one of the University of Regina's earliest mathematics graduates, and convocated with high honours in the spring of 1976.
Throughout her long and distinguished career, Kathie has proven to be a skilled and innovative researcher. Her work has been published in prestigious journals, is widely cited by researchers, and is significant not only to her own mathematical field but other fields such as operations research and software engineering.
A professor in the Mathematics Department at Wilfrid Laurier University, Kathie has held numerous continuous Research and Discovery Grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. In addition to her remarkable record of scholarship, Kathie is also a devoted teacher and mentor, and she has been particularly influential in representing, guiding, and encouraging women in STEM.