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Distinguished Catholic Alumni Award - 2011 Recipient

Shauna Mullally has been named the 2011 recipient of the Ottawa Catholic School Board's Distinguished Catholic Alumni Award. The award was presented at the Board's Christian Community Day on October 7, 2011. As Shauna was out of the country, the award was accepted on her behalf by her parents, Maryalice and Joe Mullally.

Shauna spent her entire undergraduate education at OCSB schools. She then went on to receive a Bachelor of Engineering and a Masters in Applied Science from Carleton University. As part of her work in the engineering community, Shauna co-founded the Engineering Outreach and Recruitment program at Carleton. Building on this, she founded and chaired the Go Eng Girl! event, which connects young girls with female role models in engineering. She also helped design a new course at Carleton about technology and international development. In one year at Carleton, Engineers without Borders grew from 26 to 1200 high school students under Shauna’s leadership. Upon graduating from Carleton, she was awarded the Board of Governors Award for Outstanding Community Achievement and was cited as a role model for young women.

Shauna is also a Fellow with the Action Canada Program working with co-fellows, policy makers and political staff on foreign policy recommendations to enhance Canada’s role on the global stage. She has lectured in her field all over the world, has received many awards and has published many articles in professional journals and magazines on the topics of ethics and biomedical engineering as these issues relate to the developing world. In 2008, Chatelaine Magazine named her as one of Canada’s “Top 80 Women to Watch”.

In 2009, while she was working as the head of the biomedical engineering program at the United Kingdom’s Medical Research Council in the Gambia, Shauna undertook a role that went above and beyond her professional responsibilities. Following the wishes of the women of the village of Penyem, Shauna was the founder, manager and prime person in overseeing the construction of a birthing house that provides a clean and sanitary environment for the delivery of babies in the village. After much fundraising and donations, the building construction began in May 2010. Weeks before it opened, Shauna helped to put the finishing touches on it - painting, tiling, mounting the water tank, and whatever else needed finishing up. Opening day was March 19, 2011, and the first baby was born the very next day. It is a testament to Shauna that a baby girl born there on May 15 was named after her!

 BH opening_day_and_first_baby

During the Distinguished Alumni Award presentation, Shauna's acceptance speech was read by Deputy Director Denise Andre. Referring to the old adage, "It takes a village to raise a child", Shauna reflected on the lessons and support she gained growing up in her own 'village' - St. Augustine Parish, and St. Rita, Frank Ryan, and St. Pius X schools - and the experiences at school that shaped her approach and outlook on life. 

I am so grateful for the support I received from countless teachers, counsellors, peers and family members in this ‘village’ as I made my way through the inevitable ups and downs of growing up. I have tried to model that spirit of support with girls and young women who don’t believe they are smart enough to become engineers; with pregnant teenagers at St. Mary’s Home bravely working towards their high school diplomas; and with all of the African men and women I have been privileged to work alongside over the last four years.

Learn more about Shauna


Learn more about Shauna's work with the Penyem Birthing House at the following links: 

YourOttawaRegion article (April 6, 2011) >>
Shauna's Blog: Penyem Birthing House >>

The Distinguished Catholic Alumni Award

Established in 2010, the Distinguished Catholic Alumni Award acknowledges an alumnus who has achieved a high level of distinction and recognition in his or her chosen field, while exhibiting positive Catholic values reflecting the characteristics described by the Ontario Catholic Graduate Expectations.

The Ottawa Catholic School Board presents the Distinguished Catholic Alumni Award annually during the Christian Community Day celebration in the Fall.

A $5,000 donation is made, on behalf of the recipient, to the Catholic school of his/her choice. A plaque of recognition is be maintained in the Ottawa Catholic School Board, with recipient names added annually; the recipient(s) will receive a personal memento plaque. The award may be presented posthumously, through a family member if possible, with the donation being given to the last school in our Board attended by the recipient.