The CDA Scholarships

The Canadian Dam Association (CDA) offers annually two scholarships to full-time post-graduate students attending a Canadian university or college whose program of study focuses on dam safety and/or the management of dams.

The scholarships are awarded primarily on the basis of academic excellence and the relevance of the research project to the stated objective, as well as leadership and community involvement. Further information and the application information is available below for download.

Gary Salmon Memorial Scholarship
Student Award of Merit Scholarship

Meet, Colin Dreger, 2023 recipient

Mr. Dreger is a professional Geotechnical Engineer with over nine years of geotechnical consulting experience in Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. He is currently engaged in the doctorate program with the Civil and Environmental Department (Geotechnical) at the University of Alberta.  After receiving B.Sc. and working in industry for five years developing a practical understanding of soil mechanics, he returned to the University of Alberta to complete the geotechnical M.Eng. program. The experience accrued during his career coalesced into an ambition to pursue further study of fundamental soil and rock behavior.  Mr. Dreger was admitted to the Ph.D. program in geotechnical engineering and was subsequently seconded by SNC Lavalin during the first academic term to oversee production-scale lateral load testing in the Shaftesbury Shales at the Site C Hydroelectric Development as part of the Resident Engineering Team. Mr. Dreger is collaborating with leaders in the energy and mining sectors and in-situ testing practitioners to explore the constitutive behavior and scale-dependency of argillaceous shales. This research will inform performance-based design of dams and other major civil projects by improving the framework and key indicators for comparison between rock mass behavior and quantifiable performance objectives.

Meet, Maxime Blanchette, 2023 recipient

Maxime Blanchette is a master’s student in civil engineering at Université Laval. He also received a bachelor’s degree in geological engineering from Université Laval in 2022. Under the guidance of Dr. J.P. Bilodeau and Dr. Erdrick Perez-Gonzalez, his research focuses on the effect of heavy vehicles repeated loads on earth dams. The project is supported by Hydro-Québec. Through field measurements, laboratory testing and numerical modeling, his aim is to provide dam managers with analysis methods to assess the damage induced by heavy vehicles and ensure the long-term performance and safety of the dams. It is anticipated that this research will provide useful information and tools to manage strategic infrastructures and to take optimal decisions for allowing transit on dams, either for internal needs or socioeconomic development of northern regions.

Alongside his studies, Maxime has always pursued his passion for hockey. After playing and coaching in Quebec's elite leagues, he now holds a scouting position with the Rimouski Oceanic in the QMJHL. Hockey has allowed him to develop intangible qualities such as work ethic, leadership and teamwork.

The previous recipients are: 

  • 2009 - Tarek Hamade, McGill University
  • 2009 - Kaley Crawford-Flett, University of British Columbia
  • 2010 - Bryan Tatone, University of Toronto
  • 2011 - Maryam Kalantarnia, McGill University
  • 2012 - Jennifer Nafziger, University of Alberta
  • 2013 - Carl Bernier, Université de Sherbrooke
  • 2014 - Marie-Eve Jean, University of Alberta
  • 2015 - Vincent Castonguay, Université Laval
  • 2016 - Elena Zabolotnii, University of Alberta
  • 2017 - Neeltje Slingerland, University of Alberta
  • 2018 - Haley Schafer, University of Alberta
  • 2019 - Lamine Boumaiza, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi 
  • 2020 - Mayari Bernard-Garcia, École Polytechnique de Montréal (CDA Bulletin - Fall 2020)
  • 2021 - Vinoth Ganapathiraman, University of British Columbia (CDA Bulletin - Fall 2021)
  • 2022 - Nahyan Rana, University of Waterloo

The previous recipients are: 

  • 2013 - Ryan Rasmussen, University of British Columbia
  • 2014 - Marta Lopez-Egea, University of Ottawa
  • 2015 - Kevin Sagan, University of Manitoba
  • 2016 - Sylvain Renaud, École Polytechnique de Montréal
  • 2017 - Brittany Dixon, University of New Brunswick
  • 2018 - Fatoumata Maiga, University of Ottawa
  • 2019 - Nicole Winstanley, University of Alberta
  • 2020 - Elijah Edie, University of Manitoba (CDA Bulletin - Fall 2020) - Laura Luna, Dalhousie University - Ali Fallah Yeznabad, Western University
  • 2021 - this scholarship was not awarded
  • 2022 - Micah May, University of Victoria 

CDA Scholarship Application

Who was Gary Salmon, P.Eng?

The “CDA Gary Salmon Memorial Scholarship” is dedicated to the memory of Gary Salmon, P. Eng. who passed away on October 17, 2007.

Gary devoted his professional life to promoting and improving the practice of dam safety.  Amongst his many professional achievements Gary was one of the founders of the Canadian Dam Safety Association (now the Canadian Dam Association - CDA), and served as President of the association from 1993 to 1995.  He was one of the principal authors of the Canadian Dam Safety Guidelines, and represented Canada on the Dam Safety Committee of the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD). Gary pioneered risk-based management of dams.  He first presented risk criteria as a tool for dam safety evaluation in 1993 at the ICOLD dam safety workshop in Grindlewald, Switzerland. Much of the progression of the risk-based evaluation of dam safety from a concept to usable tool for decision making is attributed to Gary. His legacy in this field will endure for decades to come.
In 1965, after working eight years in California, Gary joined B.C. Hydro. During his 32-year tenure with B.C. Hydro he held several positions with progressively increasing responsibilities. He was in charge of the structural design of the Revelstoke Project, Manager of the Development Department, and a member of the Canadian Joint Venture studying the feasibility of the Three Gorges Project on the Yangtze River in China as Manager of Design.  Nine years before his retirement he held the position of Chief Engineer and Director of Dam Safety, where he was responsible for the development and implementation of the dam safety program that established B.C. Hydro as one of the world’s leading centers for dam safety.

After his retirement from B.C. Hydro in 1998 he worked as an international consultant and as Technology Coordinator for the CEATI Dam Safety Interest Group (DSIG), a user-driven research group. Under his leadership the group grew from six national organizations to twenty-four organizations from around the globe. Guided by Gary’s vision, practical approach and willingness to consider new ideas, the DSIG pursued a number of practical R&D projects that yielded significant contributions to dam safety process, evaluation, and techniques, including the publication of Risk and Uncertainty in Dam Safety, a handbook for practical decision making based on risk assessment.

Gary was the recipient of the CDSA "Inge Anderson Award" for his contribution to the advancement of Dam Safety, the "Meritorious Achievement Award" from the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia, and was made a Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada.


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