2023 FCAT Excellence Awards Recipients

January 09, 2024
Associate Professor Juan Pablo Alperin, Master of Publishing alumnus Heidi Waetchler and Adjunct Professor Amanda Lastoria at the 2023 FCAT Excellence Awards (Photo Credit: John Maxwell)

The Faculty of Communication, Art, and Technology (FCAT) contains an amazing set of faculty, staff, and alumni. The FCAT Excellence Awards were created to honour the hard work, dedication, and excellence that occurs across FCAT and beyond. 

The FCAT Research Excellence Awards was established in 2018 and the FCAT Teaching, Staff, and Alumni awards followed in 2021 to further recognize the exemplary work done by current FCAT members and alumni. 

This year's recipients also included SFU Publishing faculty members; Master of Publishing alumnus Heidi Waetchler, Adjunct Professor Amanda Lastoria, and Associate Professor Juan Pablo Alperin. 


Distinguished Alumni 

Heidi Waechtler, Director of Sales and Distribution, Figure 1 Publishing – Publishing Program

"I had a moment of cognitive dissonance when I was told I was receiving the Distinguished Alumni award. I don't tend to think of myself as "distinguished" — in many ways, it still feels like I'm just getting started in my career! I find myself learning new things about publishing all the time, and I hope that continues to be the case as long as I'm working in the field.

This award is a valuable reminder to me to do what I can to send the ladder back down and to try to create opportunities for other emerging professionals. I've had the pleasure of getting to work with a number of Master of Publishing cohorts in different capacities over the years: as an industry guest, as a visiting faculty member, and as a colleague. In all my interactions with the students, I've been impressed by their thoughtful and inquisitive approach to their work, and how they (rightfully) continue to challenge our industry to do better on numerous fronts.

Thank you to Hannah McGregor for nominating me for this award, and to the SFU Publishing program for their support as I've navigated my way through the industry."


Sessional Instructor Award

Amanda Lastoria, Adjunct Professor in the Publishing Program

"Every semester I'm grateful to students for their trust in me and for the kind words they give me. It was a particularly difficult year to be a Sessional Instructor because of the strike, so I appreciate ending it on a high note with this FCAT Excellence in Teaching Award. Thanks to our new Director, Dr. Hannah McGregor, for nominating me and to our previous Director, Dr. John Maxwell, for inspiring me to teach with empathy and creativity."

Graduate Student Mentorship Award

Juan Pablo Alperin - Associate Professor in the Publishing Program, the Associate Director of Research for the Public Knowledge Project, and the co-director of the Scholarly Communications Lab

"Supporting others in their academic trajectories is an honour and a privilege. I take a lot of pride in my role as a mentor and it means the world to me to have this recognition. The real award, however, was getting to read all the lovely things past students wrote in support of the nomination. Feeling very grateful to have had the opportunity to touch their lives."