Olivia Ferguson Receives Governor General’s Gold Medal-Master’s

Olivia Ferguson is the first graduate of UBC’s Rehabilitation Sciences Graduate Programs to receive a Governor General’s Gold Medal for her Master’s thesis entitled “Effects of face masks on multiple dimensions and neurophysiological mechanisms of exertional dyspnea”. Awarded for being the top Master’s graduate at UBC, the Governor General’s Gold Medal is one of the highest honours a graduate student can receive in Canada.

Under the supervision of Dr. Jordan Guenette, Olivia’s research used novel methodologies to examine the mechanisms and management of dyspnea (breathlessness or breathing discomfort), focusing specifically on the effects of wearing face masks during exercise on individual experience of breathing discomfort. During her MSc program, Olivia has contributed to numerous studies in healthy populations and those with chronic cardiorespiratory illnesses resulting in 4 peer-reviewed co-authored journal publications and 11 conference presentations and has received a number of awards recognizing her research and presentation skills both within UBC and at academic conferences.


“UBC has an abundance of outstanding students, and I feel honored to receive this recognition by the university. My successes during my MSc would not have been possible without the mentorship from my supervisor Dr. Jordan Guenette and the support from my fellow lab members. The Cardiopulmonary Exercise Physiology Laboratory provides a second to none training environment and I am very excited to be extending my time here in pursuit of my Ph.D.” ~Olivia Ferguson

The Governor General’s Academic Medals were created in 1873 to encourage academic excellence across the nation. Over the years, they have become the most prestigious award that students in Canadian schools can receive. Gold medals are awarded to a Doctoral, and a Master’s student completing a thesis who achieved the most outstanding academic record. We are honoured that Olivia Ferguson is this year’s recipient of the Gold Medal awarded to a Master’s student.

The Governor General’s Gold Medals are presented by UBC on behalf of the Governor General of Canada, along with a personalized certificate signed by the Governor General, during the May graduation ceremonies. There is no monetary award associated with the medals.

Congratulations, Olivia!