The Governor General’s Academic Medal is the most prestigious award that can be bestowed upon students attending Canadian schools. It is awarded to students graduating with the highest average from their individual institutions. The medal signals the start of a life of accomplishment. The University of New Brunswick’s Dr. Erik Scheme is this year’s Governor General’s Gold Medal recipient and already his academic career is marked by his innovative ideas and accomplishments.
Scheme’s doctoral research focused on improving the reliability of powered upper limb prostheses. His work introduced a new framework for evaluating the performance of prosthetic control systems. In a clinical sense, his innovations will change the design of prosthetic control systems, and in turn, it will change the way in which occupational therapists train amputees that rely upon these systems.
Scheme managed to complete his Ph.D. in just over four year while working full time as a professional engineer at UNB’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering (IBME). During this time, he took the lead in some very demanding projects, such as working with the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and with other academic partners in the U.S. as well as the IBME. Furthermore, he authored and co-authored 12 papers in prestigious journals, presented papers at international conferences, and authored two book chapters. He also delivered workshops at influential events within the BioMedical community—all while maintaining a perfect 4.3 GPA and co-parenting twins born in late 2010.
Scheme still maintains a demanding schedule as a Research Engineer at IBME, an Adjunct Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering faculty at UNB, an Instructor in the Dr. J. Herbert Smith Centre for Technology Management and Entrepreneurship, where he has co-developed and delivers a design course, and finally, teaches a course at UNB’s College of Extended Learning.