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Emma Somers and Cemre Demiralp Receive 2021 Staff Excellence Awards

Emma Cemre 2021

Posted on August 10, 2021

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

Emma Somers and Cemre Demiralp have been named the recipients of the 2021 Emily Carr University Staff Excellence Awards.

The pair of peer-nominated awards were 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.

Emma, Library Operations Coordinator at the ECU Library, was awarded the Staff Excellence Award for Distinguished Service. Emma was recognized for her extraordinary professional conduct and consistent contributions to the betterment of the university community.

In addition to her work at the Library, Emma has served as shop steward, bargaining committee member, member of the Board of Governors and on Senate. According to Angela Evans, who works with Emma as Library Technician, Circulation, Emma is “also a radical, our moral compass when it comes to inclusivity and harm reduction.” It was Emma who initiated the removal of Library late fines, Angela notes. She was also behind the incorporation of preferred names into Library software, a move aimed at creating a more inclusive environment.

“I think, as a community, we need each other more than ever right now. I want to thank everyone who continues to give of themselves to make our university better.”

Emma Somers, recipient of the 2021 Staff Excellence Award for Distinguished Service

“Emma is one of the kindest and most empathetic people I’ve ever worked with — she is fully committed to making life at ECU better for staff, faculty, and students alike,” Angela writes in a statement submitted on behalf of co-nominators and Library colleagues Cybèle Creery, Michael Pollard, Sarah Van Snellenberg and Kristine Suddaby.

“She’s an excellent community builder, and has truly been a driving force behind the idea of the Library as a community hub for the ECU community. She always has time and deep empathy for everybody, no matter what the scale of their problem is. Emma will never stop trying to make the library more welcoming and accessible to all. She is deserving of all the accolades she can get.”

Emma herself says she is “very humbled” by the award, adding she feels “pretty emotional” knowing the award is peer-nominated.

“There are so many staff working at ECU who deserve acknowledgement — long-term, dedicated and deeply invested staff who provide support to the community in beautiful, subtle, interpersonal ways. Staff who help to generate a sense of belonging and help to bring life-affirming joy to a space that can feel, for some, rigid and disconnected, at times causing hurt and pain,” Emma writes in a statement.

“It is deeply satisfying to work with these staff and be part of what I feel is a deepening shift at the university — a lifting of the stubbornness to stay the same. I rely heavily on my coworkers. I really lean into our interdependence and feel so blessed that I can reveal to them what I don’t know and what I am afraid of. I think, as a community, we need each other more than ever right now. I want to thank everyone who continues to give of themselves to make our university better.”

Cemre, Coordinator with Living Labs, was awarded the Staff Excellence Award for Achievement. She was recognized for consistently exceeding all expectations of her role at ECU, for her work creating a more inclusive environment for transgender students, and for her work with international students. In particular, Cemre’s nominators commended her for “her contributions to equity, diversity and inclusion, Indigeneity, decolonization and leadership, and community wellbeing, health and safety.”

“Cemre is a brilliant and generous collaborator who brings both rigorous structure and creative vision to any problem or situation.”

Kate Armstrong, Director of Living Labs and the Shumka Centre for Creative Entrepreneurship

Cemre is “highly collaborative, uses her imagination toward solving problems, takes initiative and responsibility, and improves everything she becomes a part of,” her nomination states. She was also crucial to ensuring the continuity of student mentorships through the early days of the pandemic.

“Cemre is a brilliant and generous collaborator who brings both rigorous structure and creative vision to any problem or situation,” Kate Armstrong, Director of Living Labs and the Shumka Centre for Creative Entrepreneurship, says.

“She is fully invested in the success of the institution and deeply cares about the well-being of students, going well above and beyond to make sure that they have a positive experience when interfacing with administration. Cemre is a key member of our team and we are so thrilled to see her recognized in this way. She deserves 10 trophies for the extra work she’s put in over the past year.”

For her part, Cemre is quick point to her team at Living Labs and the Shumka Centre for their support, saying she “shares the honour” with all of them.

“I’m very grateful for the Emily Carr community, from the students who generously share their experiences, to the staff and faculty who thoughtfully implement these learnings in a way that benefits all those involved, and for all our project partners. This work wouldn’t have happened without the necessary supports and a collective commitment to EDI, Indigeneity and decolonization, all of which starts from a place of empathy and care.”

Congratulations to both Emma and Cemre for their recognition!