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Meet PAA award winners!

Awards are given in recognition of excellence in the field and these recognitions allow us to publicly acknowledge those contributions. PAA would like to acknowledges our own exemplars, honoring those who shape our profession in such meaningful ways.

The PAA Awards Ceremony is typically held with a banquet and a warmly celebrated time with family and friends. This year we have pivoted to host this online but have the added benefit of ‘” opening the doors” so much more broadly to our community as we are broadcasting live online on our YouTube channel which will capture this wonderful celebration. You can watch the Awards celebration here!

2020 PAA Award Winners


PAA Psychologist of the Year Award
Dr. Jac Andrews  

Dr. Andrews exemplifies the role of an academic psychologist, particularly these last two years. Over his 32-year career, Dr. Andrews has played a critical role in advocating for the profession of school psychology. In the past two years, Dr. Andrews led the University of Calgary’s School and Applied Child Psychology (SACP) program towards accreditation with the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA).  He played a critical role in liaising with faculty and university leadership to gain their support, provided leadership in updating and revising the vision, mission, and goals of our program, and created and maintained strong connections to community partners and leaders.




PAA Pettifor Lifetime Achievement Award
Dr. Jacqueline Linder 

Dr. Jacqueline Linder’s commitment to social justice, academic excellence, and ethical and compassionate clinical practice make her a worthy choice for recognition for the PAA’s Jean and Dick Pettifor Memorial Award. As an advocate and researcher, her work in the area of human trafficking and soul loss is groundbreaking. She has long been the voice for survivors of human trafficking and has publicly offered not only education but also testified on behalf of survivors. Dr. Linder also created an NGO to specifically work with this population.



PAA Excellence in Clinical Supervision Award
Dr. Nicole Kostiuk

Dr. Kostiuk has been supervising students for several years. She goes above and beyond to not only teach her students valuable therapeutic techniques and concepts but to also teach her students to engage in valuable self-reflection. She is cognizant of her supervisees’ level of knowledge and skill and adjusts her supervision to meet the supervisee where they are at. Dr. Kostiuk will also encourage her students to go outside of their comfort zones and try new techniques or deliver group material. She goes above and beyond to provide resources to her students to help them grow their knowledge base.



PAA Undergraduate Thesis Award
Jessie Swanek 

Jessie is receiving this reward in recognition of her research for her Thesis entitled “Baby It’s Cold Outside: Psychopathic Traits and Sexual Coercion” In her study, Jessie provided an in-depth analysis of sexually coercive behaviour in those with psychopathic traits. Jessie’s study is truly unique in its significance for our existing scientific literature.




2020 PAA Best Poster
Jonathan Dubue

Jonathan’s poster titled “Canadian Psychologists’ Experiences of Conducting Suicide Risk Assessment” showcased the psychologists list suicide risk assessments (SRAs) as one of their greatest clinical challenges. Recent literature suggests health professionals have diverse SRA practices, the study of which has led to better training and consequently less patient suicide. This phenomenological study examines five Canadian psychologists’ SRA experiences, the results of which inform ethical, training, and practical difficulties in assessing suicide.

You can view Jonathan’s poster presentation here.

Awards are given in recognition of excellence in the field and these recognitions allow us to publicly acknowledge those contributions. PAA would like to acknowledges our own exemplars, honoring those who shape our profession in such meaningful ways.

The 2019 awards were presented at the PAA Welcome to the Profession & Awards Banquet on 20 September 2019 at the Citadel Theater in Edmonton.

2019 PAA Award Winners

PAA Psychologist of the Year Award
Tamara Austin

Tamara (Tammie) Austin started her psychology career in her hometown of Thunder Bay, Ontario. She worked for 9 years at Sister Margaret Smith Centre, providing psychological assessments for the adults and the youth in their inpatient substance abuse treatment programs. She moved to Fort McMurray in 2004, worked briefly for Alberta Psych Systems (Ganz Ferrance), then for 6 years in Outpatient Mental Health at the Northern Lights Health Centre. While at the Health Centre, she was part of the Children’s Team of counsellors, supervised practicum students and Provisional psychologists, and then went on to become the Clinical Supervisor for Mental Health. Tamara has a special interest in Adult ADHD. Currently, she and her therapy dog, Raffi, are in private practice in Fort McMurray. They share an office with her partner for life, lawyer Allan Vinni. Tamara and Al live on an acreage with their horses, dogs, and cats. Her three adult children live in Edmonton.


PAA Excellence in Clinical Supervision Award
Dr. Steve Knish

Steve’s understanding of the profound importance of mentoring and how it can bring out the best in a person began while in competitive sport as a player and coach. He completed his doctoral degree in counseling psychology from the University of Alberta in 1994 which included an internship at the WCB Rehabilitation Centre. There he experienced a gold standard, student-centered, and relationship-focused training program that inspired him to pay it forward. He is currently a clinical supervisor at the University of Alberta’s Counselling and Clinical Services where he was previously the Coordinator of Training. He has had the good fortune to supervise close to 80 students – a career highlight. Steve has been practicing yoga and meditation since 2002 and received yoga teacher training in 2013. He has developed drop-in yoga classes and a yoga-based therapy group for the U of A students who have become part of the self-care and skills training components of the internship program.


PAA Excellence in Teaching Psychology
Dr. Mark Holden

Mark Holden was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, and completed his undergraduate degree in Psychology/Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta. He went on to complete his graduate work at Temple University in Philadelphia before moving back to Canada for post-doctoral studies at the University of Western Ontario. At Western, Mark taught his first official course in 2013 – the “small” section of Introductory Psychology (with “only” 500 students). This opportunity truly ignited his passion for teaching Psychology. He has since taught over 30 courses and is now happily settled at the University of Calgary.




John G Paterson Media Award
Avra Davidoff

Avra Davidoff is a Workplace Psychologist specializing in career and leadership development, diversity, and distributed teams. She is a Senior Associate at Calgary Career Counselling and the Leadership Success Group. Avra has over a decade of experience providing a variety of professional services to both individuals and organizations. She is passionate about supporting the development and growth of people and workplaces. Avra was also the project lead and the co-author of the Making it Work! guidebooks which provide free user-friendly resources to employees and employers navigating maternity leave career transitions. This 3-year national project was awarded funding by CERIC (The Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling).

Avra holds a Bachelor of Arts, major in psychology, from the University of British Columbia, and also holds a Masters in Counselling Psychology, with a career counselling specialization, from the Graduate Centre for Applied Psychology at Athabasca University.


John G Paterson Media Award — Honourable Mention
Dr. Annie Steinhauer 

Dr. Steinhauer was nominated posthumously, and although not ultimately chosen, her outstanding achievements deserve to be acknowledged and honoured.





PAA Pettifor Lifetime Achievement Award
Dr. Stephen Carter 

After working 8 years as a school counsellor, Steve switched to private practice in 1993. He has taught undergraduate and graduate courses at the University of Alberta. Steve serves as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and supervises Doctoral counselling students at the U of A. In the past, Steve was co-executive director of the Psychologists’ Association of Alberta and later served the Association as president. He has been a Board Member of the Canadian Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology and was the Canadian representative to the American Psychological Association Committee of State Leaders. Steve helped start the Alberta Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, an interdisciplinary group of psychologists, judges, lawyers, social workers, and mediators working to address separation and divorce issues and is a past-president of the Alberta Chapter.


Doctoral Dissertation Research Award
Dr. Rachel King

Dr. Rachel King completed her master’s degree and Ph.D. in Counselling Psychology at the University of Alberta. She has been involved in a number of research projects, co-authoring multiple journal articles, an upcoming book chapter, and several conference presentations about hope and human change processes. Her SSHRC-funded dissertation was an interpretive description of the transition from government care to adulthood and how hope supports resilient outcomes. Her findings suggest a process of hope common to marginalized youth with resilient outcomes. This process of hope is cyclical and consists of two opposing, complementary processes of building hope and threatening hope. Psychologists and other helping professionals can intervene to increase hope hardiness and to encourage the process of building or re-building hope after times of threatened hope. Dr. King is currently working at the Grey Nuns Community Hospital with a clinical focus on Dialectical Behaviour Therapy and inpatient assessment.


Masters’ Thesis Research Award
Tasmia Hai

Tasmia is a second-year Ph.D. student in the School and Clinical Child Psychology program at the University of Alberta. She previously completed her Master’s degree at the University of Calgary in the School and Applied Child Psychology program. Her Master’s thesis investigated neurobiological and Executive Function (EF) differences in children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) when compared to their typically developing peers. For her Ph.D. dissertation, Tasmia is interested to understand the EF and neurobiological challenges of children and youth with ADHD who have had a concussion or mild traumatic brain injury.

Awards are given in recognition of excellence in the field and these recognitions allow us to publicly acknowledge those contributions. PAA would like to acknowledges our own exemplars, honoring those who shape our profession in such meaningful ways.

The 2017 awards were presented at the Welcome to the Profession and PAA Awards Banquet Edmonton on 25 May 2017.

PAA Psychologist of the Year Award
Dr. Jon K Amundson

Dr. Jon K Amundson (M.A., M.A., and PhD.) has been a psychologist in Alberta since 1975. He has worked and taught at the college and university level but been primarily involved in independent practice since 1980 in Calgary. Aside from a practice ranging from treatment and intervention with adults and children, Amundson has been an expert witness in numerous court proceedings regarding youth and families. He has published throughout his career in diverse and wide-ranging areas in such journals as Family Process, Alternative Higher Education, Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, Mediation Quarterly, Journal of Marriage and Family Therapy, American Journal of Forensic Psychology, Journal of Child Custody Evaluation, Family Court Review,  European Journal of Psychotherapy and Counselling and the American Journal Of Clinical Hypnosis, currently writing the ethics column for PAA. He has been involved in a number of activist areas throughout his career involving such concerns as de-segregation, minority health care, immigrants, ethics and conduct, same-sex adoption issues, and the psychology in the public sector. Aside from active professional life, Amundson has been a senior athlete, competing in cross country skiing and Hawaiian canoe racing nationally and internationally, winning the world championships in 2012, and setting a world record time, with a 60-year-old men’s team.

PAA Excellence in Clinical Supervision Award
Dr. Ceinwen E Cumming

Dr. Ceinwen E. Cumming is a psychologist at the Cross Cancer Institute. She received a postdoctoral research award following completion of her doctoral studies in 1987 in the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta. She holds a clinical professorship in the Department of Oncology within the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, as well as an appointment as adjunct professor to the Faculty of Education.  Dr. Cumming has undertaken clinical, teaching, and research responsibilities over the past twenty-nine years at the Cross Cancer Institute. She currently undertakes the duties of a staff psychologist in a psychosocial oncology setting. Individual, couple, and family counseling with patients and family members, and bereavement follow-up form the workload. Over many years, Dr. Cumming has found supervising graduate students on placements in the clinical setting to be very rewarding. She is very honoured to have been chosen to receive the Psychologists’ Association of Alberta (PAA) Excellence in Clinical Supervision Award for 2017.

PAA Excellence in Teaching Psychology
Adam McCrimmon

Adam McCrimmon is a registered psychologist and an associate professor in the School and Applied Child Psychology Program at the University of Calgary where he directs the Autism Spectrum Education, Research, and Training (ASERT) lab. His research interests include autism spectrum disorder and cognition, cognitive development, social skills, and mental health.  He teaches courses on clinical/diagnostic assessment and the practica.  Teaching is one of his life’s passions and he thoroughly enjoys every moment he can spend in that activity.


Masters’ Thesis Research Award
Laura Flanigan

Laura Flanigan is originally from Waterloo, Ontario. She moved to Calgary, AB to complete her MSc in School and Applied Child Psychology at the University of Calgary. She is currently in her first year of the doctoral program in SACP, supervised by Dr. Emma Climie. Laura’s main research interest is on decreasing stigma towards individuals with ADHD.


2016 Psychologically Healthy Workplace Initiative Award

Concordia University of Edmonton
An independent degree-granting university with 200 full-time staff and 200 part-time staff. Employees’ physical and psychological health is supported through services offered by the approachable Human Resources office and the extensive Employee Assistance Program. Their Mental Health Action Team encourages a healthy mind, body, and spirit as well as reducing stigma associated with mental illness and encouraging access to available support.

Red Deer Primary Care Network
RDCPN is the 8th largest primary care network (PCN) in Alberta. This PCN has 33 full-time and 19 part-time staff that care for nearly 128,000 patients. RDPCN strives to create a psychologically healthy workplace through initiatives such as promoting exercise breaks and self-care practices. Staff are recognized for their contributions through many avenues, including verbal praise and a public Gratitude Wall.