Michelle Sound and Yang Hong Receive 2020 Staff Excellence Awards


By Perrin Grauer

Posted on June 11, 2020 | Updated July 22, 2021, 8:51AM

The peer-nominated prize recognizes staff for distinguished service and tireless effort in their service to fellow community members and the university.

Michelle Sound and Yang Hong have been named the recipients of the inaugural Emily Carr University Staff Excellence Awards.

The peer-nominated award was launched by ECU Human Resources in 2020 to recognize staff members who exhibit and promote the values of the university, and have demonstrated excellence in supporting their colleagues and the community.

Michelle, Program Assistant at the Aboriginal Gathering Place, was awarded the Staff Excellence Award for Achievement. She was commended for her contributions in Indigeneity and decolonization, community well-being, health and safety, collaboration and creativity.

Michelle was further recognized and appreciated for her work with students, colleagues, and the community in speaking out about Indigenous topics and educating those around her beyond her role requirements. In creating a welcoming and warm environment at the Aboriginal Gathering Place, Michelle’s personality, advocacy, and connections “humanizes the institution,” as one faculty member put it.

April Joy Milne, Administrative Assistant to the Dean, Design and Dynamic Media, nominated Michelle. April says Michelle’s work is central to helping make the AGP “a haven for Indigenous students to feel safe, rest, learn, and work.”

“She is warm and welcoming with students, faculty, and staff members, working cheerfully with other departments and raising the visibility of the AGP throughout the school,” April continues.

“Michelle is also always actively looking to connect Indigenous students and alumni to work opportunities.”

Yang Emoji

Yang, Studio Technician (Interdisciplinary) was awarded the Staff Excellence Award for Distinguished Service. Yang has been with the university since 2008, and is recognized for his impact across the university in supporting students, faculty, and staff in building or displaying artwork at the institution.

In his work and interactions with colleagues and students, Yang has demonstrated his commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, Indigeneity and decolonization, as well as community well-being, health and safety. His official recognition noted, “There is tremendous respect for his work ethic, temperament, problem-solving, and passion for fostering a safe and positive environment.”

Associate Professor Lucie Chan, who nominated Yang, points to both his “commitment in supporting the Graduate Studies and Illustration Program, as it continues to grow” and his “collaborative commitment to supporting and setting up the Degree Show” as specific examples of Yang’s indelible contribution to the university community.

Lucie notes the many roles Yang plays on campus including as supporting technician for the Grad Studies and Illustration areas, as a first point of contact for studio communities, troubleshooting studio projects and installation needs, offering studio and wood-shop support, and as a liaison to bridge those areas to various technical resources.

“Yang expresses his joy in community building, collaboration, and endurance in support of our exhibiting students as well as the restoration of our studios, which points to how much he deeply cares about the entire community’s experiences within the campus buildings,” Lucie says.

Congratulations to both Michelle and Yang for their recognition!

The award selection committee also wishes to recognize Leon Popik, Studio Technician (Ceramics), and Asif Butt, Computer Technician (IT Services) as runners-up who have demonstrated significant positive impacts on their peers and students.