I was in a series of meetings today, led by my colleague Dawn Mercer, and paused to reflect on how important she is to the work I do at Seneca’s Centre for Development of Open Technology, and how big an influence she has had in the open source research we do internationally.
I remember first being introduced to Dawn about 8 years ago by a former chair of the department, Val Freeman. Val pulled me aside one day to talk about some extra projects I was trying to get started with students. She encouraged me to try and connect with Dawn in order to explore turning these into proper research projects.
Dawn has been a part of my Seneca life every since. She and I have worked on countless grants since then, all of them designed to help students and faculty participate in cutting edge open source work. I can’t tell you how many hundreds of hours she’s spent researching, writing, and administering grants in support of this work. She’s made it her mission to attend trade shows, conferences, and meetings with the singular goal of furthering our work. Whenever we’ve needed to find a way to hire a student for an interesting project, get equipment, or travel to the farthest reaches of the globe, she’s always found a way to make it happen.
I couldn’t do any of the work I love without her, and I’m not alone. She has a passion for the research students we bring in to work in our lab, and over the years has formed many deep friendships with them. Dawn’s been our champion for nearly a decade, and I’m thrilled to call her a friend and colleague.
On this International Woman’s Day, I want to recognize Dawn Mercer for her dedication and passionate support of CDOT and Seneca’s open source researchers and developers. We are what we are in large part because of you, Dawn.