2009 Outstanding Alumni Awards

Congratulations to our 2009 Outstanding Alumni Award winners:

Ms. Lyn Hancock, Dr. Marianne Sadar, Ms. Carol Huynh, Dr. Robert Turner

We honoured them at the 2009 Outstanding Alumni Awards event on January 27, 2010 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver.

Visit the 2009 OAA Photo and Video Gallery >>


 Lyn Hancock, BEd ’77, MA ’81 – Arts and Culture
Author, Photographer, Environmentalist, and Educator

Watch Lyn Hancock's Video >>>

Lyn Hancock has been a distinguished author, photojournalist, lecturer, photographer and filmmaker for over 40 years, publishing 20 books and thousands of articles in newspapers and magazines around the world. She has hitchhiked from Cape Town to Cairo and from Alaska to Baffin Island, and for 30 years has lived and traveled in the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. Several of Lyn’s earlier books have become Canadian classics: There’s a Raccoon in my Parka, There’s a Seal in my Sleeping Bag, An Ape Came Out of My Hatbox, and Love Affair with a Cougar. Her latest book, Tabasco the Saucy Raccoon documents her adventures caring for an orphaned raccoon while working on her master’s degree at SFU. It has been on the bestseller list of children’s books for much of the time since it launched in 2006. Among her other titles are travel guides that introduce readers to the beauty and stories of the Canadian North, school textbooks, and history books that bring to life characters from our nation’s past. Lyn has been recognized with numerous awards. Readers say they appreciate her work because it is well-researched, lively, personal, interesting and makes them feel they “are there.” Ever true to her calling as an educator, Lyn has taught thousands of children about wildlife habits and habitats and has inspired many young authors through her writing workshops. She illustrates her talks with vivid slides from her vast portfolio of photo images. Through her talent, creativity and endless enthusiasm, she has passed along her love for and knowledge of nature to three generations of Canadians, and many have been inspired to become writers, photographers, naturalists, broadcasters, film producers and conservationists themselves.


Marianne Sadar, BSc ’88 – Academic Achievement
Senior Scientist and Prostate Cancer Research Leader, BC Cancer Agency

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Dr. Marianne Sadar was only 10 years old when she lost her older sister to leukemia. Since then she has dedicated her life to achieving her childhood dream: finding a cure for cancer. As the Program Leader for Prostate Cancer Research at the BC Cancer Agency, she has made groundbreaking discoveries that are giving hope to thousands of men who are diagnosed with the disease every year. Dr. Sadar’s work began with the aim to increase the efficacy of treatment for patients whose cancer had progressed to the most aggressive state. Normally advanced prostate cancer cells don’t respond to any kind of treatment. In 2007 after eight years of work, her laboratory team found a way to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors by using an androgen receptor decoy molecule that interrupts a key step in cancer growth. This major breakthrough could result in improved treatment for prostate cancer within the next five years. Her research team is now focusing its energy on finding a drug that will do the job of the decoy molecule, with potential applications to earlier stage prostate cancer and other endocrine cancers such as breast and ovarian cancer. Dr. Sadar has made seminal contributions towards understanding prostate cancer progression and has been the first in the world to develop a novel therapeutic strategy to combat currently incurable advanced prostate cancer. In recognition of her outstanding work, she was presented with the Terry Fox Young Investigator Award by the National Cancer Institute of Canada in 2008.


Carol Huynh, BA ’04 - Athletic Achievement
Olympic Gold Medalist in Women’s Wrestling

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Carol Huynh’s parents fled Vietnam in 1980 with their two eldest children and settled in Hazelton, a small community in west-central BC. The first of her family born in Canada, Carol grew up in Hazelton where she participated in every sport she could. At 15 she joined her high school wrestling team and upon graduation in 1998 she was recruited by Simon Fraser University. A rising star, she made the Junior World team in 1999 and the Senior World team in 2000, ultimately winning silver and two bronze in six world championships. In 2004 she missed a chance to compete in the Athens Olympics by just one spot, but was able attend the games as a team training partner to observe and learn. The frustration of being on the sidelines fueled her drive to achieve, and in 2006 she relocated to Calgary with a renewed determination to pursue her Olympic dream. Her decision paid off when she won Canada’s first medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and first-ever Olympic gold for women’s wrestling. She defeated Japan’s Chiharu Icho, a three-time world champion and the gold medal favorite. Most Canadians will remember the highly emotional moment when Carol held up her medal, tears of joy drenching her face as the Canadian anthem began to play. Her achievement inspired not just those from her home town of Hazelton, but all Canadians and athletes around the world. Carol continues to live and train in Calgary and is working towards her Masters in Counseling Psychology.


Robert Turner, PhD ’73 – Professional Achievement
Director, Department of Neurophysics, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain
Sciences (Germany)

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Dr. Robert Turner is among a pioneering group of global physicists who helped create today’s most widely used method of mapping brain function: magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In the mid 1980’s, he collaborated with fellow scientists Barry Chapman, Sir Peter Mansfield and Roger Bowley to produce a rigorous mathematical framework which proved essential and indispensable to the development of MRI technology. Dr. Turner’s work involved the precise design of MRI gradient coils to allow ultra-fast echoplanar imaging (EPI), capable of recording the rapid changes in blood flow associated with brain function. His design principles are now universally employed by all MRI scanner manufacturers. His pivotal contributions were recognized by Sir Peter Mansfield who received the 2003 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for MRI discoveries. Dr. Turner’s subsequent work in the field of MRI and human brain research is distinguished and world-renowned. He has authored 7 patents and 150 scientific publications that have been cited thousands of times. He is currently the Director of Neurophysics at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany. Here he uses his scientific expertise and some of the world’s most sensitive and sophisticated MRI technology for functional and anatomical brain mapping. His quest is to discover what MRI methods can teach us regarding the structure and function of the human brain. The answers will provide safer and more effective treatments for a wide range of neurological and psychiatric conditions.