Dr. James Day, a Research Associate at UBC’s Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute (Blusson QMI), has been awarded an Excellence in Service Award by UBC’s Faculty of Science. The awards were presented by the Dean of the Faculty of Science, Prof. Meigan Aronson, in a ceremony held in March 2023.

Image: Dr. James Day, Research Associate at Blusson QMI, receives his award from Prof. Meigan Aronson, Faculty of Science Dean.

“James has always been a cohesive force in establishing an enriching, equitable, and inclusive research environment for everyone,” said Blusson QMI Scientific Director Prof. Andrea Damascelli.

“As an experienced and rigorous scientist, James holds a wealth of institutional knowledge and experimental skills that he shares with colleagues and trainees. Whether it is through his scientific work, mentoring trainees, initiating and leading unique programs, or simply hosting elementary and high school students in the lab, he enriches the culture of Blusson QMI with his generosity and creativity,” Prof. Damascelli said.

Dr. Day said he is deeply grateful for the recognition and appreciation that the award represents.

“Learning that I had been selected to receive this award was quite a meaningful experience. It served as a powerful affirmation of the time, energy, and passion that I have invested in serving the QMI community. It feels like validation of the work and dedication that I have put into making a positive impact on the people and causes that I care about,” said Dr. Day.

Dr. Day has been an instrumental part of Blusson QMI’s community. He supports the High-Temperature Superconductivity (SUPERCON) lab, which uses microwave techniques to probe the electronic properties of unconventional superconductors, and the Laboratory for Atomic Imaging Research (LAIR), which applies scanning probe microscopy tools to develop a deep understanding of new materials.

“James is an anchor of QMI community, especially for students. Students regularly confide in him as they navigate the research environment, often for the first time, and James provides meaningful guidance and mentorship to help them through challenges from technical details to the human side of doing science,” said LAIR Lead Associate Prof. Sarah Burke.

Dr. Day said he finds the most rewarding part of his day-to-day to always be the interactions with the students.

“I feel that my job is to help them get through their programs efficiently; I feel that my duty is to help them enjoy that experience. I hope they can learn as much from me as I do from them,” Dr. Day said.

Dr. Day has worked closely with students from underrepresented groups through Blusson QMI’s flagship equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) program, Quantum Pathways, which provides up to four years of research experience to undergraduate students in the field of quantum materials throughout their curriculum.

As Program Manager for Ars Scientia, a transdisciplinary research partnership by Blusson QMI, the Belkin Art Gallery, and the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Dr. Day has led a nascent residency program linking local artists with UBC physicists to foster new modes of knowledge exchange across the arts, sciences and their pedagogies.

“I can’t imagine receiving this award without first having been granted opportunities by the QMI to become involved in the first place. I owe big thanks to many for modelling great behaviour and for inviting me to make a difference,” Dr. Day said.

Image (left to right): Laura Selander, Meigan Aronson, Regina Bestbier, James Day, Ashley Welsh, José Rodriguez Nύñez, Julie McNutt, Joseph Tam, Michael Gordon, Andrew Sharon.

A full list of the 2022 Faculty of Science Excellence in Service Awards is provided below:


  • Michael Gordon, Associate Professor, Zoology
  • José Rodriguez Nύñez, Associate Professor Teaching, Chemistry
  • Regina Bestbier, Research Assistant, Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries
  • James Day, Research Associate, Quantum Matter Institute
  • Michelle Moksa, Research Manager, Microbiology and Immunology
  • Laura Selander, Administrative Support, Computer Science
  • Joseph Tam, Director IT Operations, Mathematics
  • Ashley Welsh, Interim Associate Director, Skylight, Deans Office
  • Julie McNutt, Graduate Student, Chemistry
  • Andrew Sharon, Graduate Student, Microbiology and Immunology

Media contact: Shahrzad (Zad) Abbasi | 604 360 6761 | shahrzad.abbasi@ubc.ca