Canada’s first Inuk heart surgeon Donna May Kimmaliardjuk received the One to Watch Award at the Queen’s University Alumni Association Awards Gala April 6, one of 11 awards given to outstanding graduates.
Before moving on to the University of Calgary, where she attained her medical degree, Kimmaliardjuk earned her bachelor of science degree at Queen’s University in 2011.
“These recipients are trailblazers and community builders,” alumni association president Jeremy Mosher stated on the association’s website.
“Through volunteerism or their jobs, they have made a significant impact on Queen’s, their cities, and the country.”
During her time at Queen’s, Kimmaliardjuk served as president of the Queen’s Native Students Association.
Kimmaliardjuk is now in her fifth year of six in a residency at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.
The One to Watch award is presented annually to a recent alumnus/alumna, fewer than 10 years out of either an undergraduate or graduate program, who is making significant contributions in their field of endeavour, setting an example for future Queen’s alumni to follow, according to the association.
Kimmaliardjuk previously received the youth Indspire award in 2017, and she is quoted as saying, “Harness inspiration to shape your dreams. Pursue education to bring your dreams into focus. Use your dedication, passion, and the support of others to bring your dreams within reach.”
Though raised and schooled in the south, Kimmaliardjuk has family in several Nunavut communities, including Chesterfield Inlet and Rankin Inlet, among others.