SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - February 8, 2008

February 8, 2008

Document Tools

Print This Article

E-mail This Page

Font Size
S      M      L      XL

A look at how SFU and its people were covered in the news media: Feb. 1-8, 2008                   

SFU kinesiologist Max Donelan caught world media attention this week with his revolutionary Biomechanical Energy Harvester, featured in the Feb. 8 edition of Science.
And we mean “world”: Donelan handled calls from media from Europe, the U.S., the U.K., China, India, France, Australia, and you name it. By noon on Friday Feb. 8, the story had hit some 300 media outlets and countless blogs world-wide—and stories and media calls were still coming in.
Donelan and his international team of researchers also demonstrated their breakthrough device—a knee-mounted brace that generates electricity from the natural motion of walking—at a stuffed-to-the-rafters press conference in his SFU Burnaby lab on Thursday Feb. 7.
SFU public affairs staff built lists of science and technology reporters, contacted them, and arranged interviews with Donelan. SFU videographers shot news footage for the BBC, and poisted it all online for iunternational and national media to download.
Check out the results at the BBC website:
SFU’s office of Public Affairs and Media Relations also sent out an SFU news release.
Science alerted the 7,000-plus science and technology writers it has in its e-mail database.
You can see the Science article at:
And there’s a piece of SFU video at:
Some other links:
BC Business:
New York Times:
BBC News:

Confirmed media coverage included, but was by no means limited to:

  • International
    The Washington Post; New York Times; L.A. Times; Reuters; The Associated Press, World Journal Daily News (China); Agence France Presse (in French and English); NRC Handelsblad (Netherlands); Good Morning America; Newsweek; Newsday; USA Today; New Scientist and New Scientist Online;; Forbes magazine; National Public Radio;; YouTube; Scientific American; Thomson Financial News (Asia, UK and Europe); The Guardian; The Times of London; Daily Mail (UK); Discovery News; Discovery Channel; Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald; The Age (Melbourne, Australia); Livescience (MSNBC, Yahoo, Fox News); Physics World (UK); NY Teknik (Sweden); Seattle Times; San Francisco Chronicle; The Hindu (India); Frontline (India); MIT Technology Review; Nature; ScienceNOW; HealthDay; Scientific American Online; National Public Radio; Daily Telegraph (UK); National Geographic News; New Scientist; BBC News; LiveMint (India); the Calcutta Telegraph; CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN and ITN (UK); Science; NewsFactor Network.
  • National
    CTV’s Canada AM; The Toronto Star; The Globe and Mail; National Post; The Canadian Press; CBC's The National; Quirks and Quarks; CanWest News Service;; CBC Radio News in every region; Global TV; Design Engineering.
  • Regional
    The Vancouver Sun (Page 1); The Province; Channel-M TV; BusinessBC; Sing Tao Daily; the North Shore News; the Ming Pao Newspaper; The Epoch Times; Metro; AM770 (BC/AB/SK); and CKNW.


Two other stories involving SFU got extensive BC media coverage during the week:

  • The SFU forum Feb. 6 on the pros and cons of a Metro Vancouver police service. The event, hosted by SFU’s School of Criminology and the BC ministry of public safety and solicitor-general, drew strong media attendance and coverage.

  • And, of course, the hefty snowstorm of Feb. 6 that trapped many people on the Burnaby campus until well into the night got much coverage.


  • Shauna Sylvester of the SFU-led Canada’s World project was on CBC Radio commenting on a CBC-Canada’s World poll on how Canadians view the world:
    “And what we learned from the poll is that we are very close to the U.S. Two-thirds of us travel there, a third of us have family and friends. But ironically, when we asked the question ‘What is the most negative force in the world right now?’ overwhelmingly Canadians identified the U.S.”

    Meanwhile, the Saskatoon StarPhoenix picked up last week’s Barbara Yaffe column on Canada’s World from The Vancouver Sun. Explaining that Canada’s World is run by universities across the country with funding from an assortment of charitable foundations, Yaffe noted: “Simon Fraser University's Centre for Dialogue is the lead organization.”
  • The federal government announced the appointment to the National Council of Welfare of public policy prof John Richards. (The council advises Ottawa on the needs and problems of low-income Canadians.)

    Richards’ published works include Reducing Poverty: What has Worked and What Should Come Next (C.D. Howe Institute, 2007). Often quoted in national media, he won the 2005 SFU’s President's award for service to the university through media and public relations.

    Meanwhile, Richards was quoted in National Post, in two separate stories in a series on aboriginal issues. One suggested the accountability of First Nations bands could be improved if they were funded by taxes paid by reserve residents.

    Said the Post: “‘The need to tax does not guarantee good government, but the absence of the need to tax usually guarantees bad government,’ writes John Richards, the former Saskatchewan MLA and Simon Fraser University public policy professor, in his 2006 book Creating Choices: Rethinking Aboriginal Policy.
  • The Calgary Herald explored why Canada’s aboriginals are dramatically overrepresented when it comes to counting the victims of homicide, in Calgary and across the country. SFU criminologist Neil Boyd was quoted: "The explanations most often advanced are a legacy of oppression and having their language taken away. I think it's more complicated than that." He noted Canadian aboriginals also suffer from greater instances of substance abuse, and family or community breakdown.

    The Herald also reported you are more likely to be on either side of a murder—killer or killed—if you are a young man in your 20s or 30s. Again, the paper quoted Neil Boyd, author of the book The Beast Within: Why Men Are Violent. He said his research shows men commit 90 per cent of violent crimes. “That's true in every country in the world, and in every era of human history.”
  • Boyd was also quoted in an Ian Mulgrew column in The Vancouver Sun, on the issue of tougher penalties proposed for Canada’s drug laws. Said Boyd: “These policies will stress already overcrowded jails and put newly incarcerated people at increased risk of many social and health problems such as HIV and hepatitis, which are seen at high rates in jails."

  • A Globe and Mail column on “the devastation wreaked by addiction among our first nations peoples” cited addictions research by Bruce Alexander, professor emeritus of psychology.

  • SFU vice-president Warren Gill, wearing his transportation-geographer’s hat, was interviewed by the Globe and Mail when the BC government announced new plans for the Evergreen SkyTrain rail line from Burnaby to Port Coquitlam.


  • Journalist Douglas Todd, a former Shadbolt Fellow at SFU, explored in The Vancouver Sun how wrote once-admired companies, on which billions depend for their livelihoods, are drawing “negative sentiments.” He spoke to SFU prof Mark Wexler, a business ethicist, and quoted from Wexler’s recent book: Understanding Corporate Scandals: Who are Those Monsters?

  • Following up on a Montreal Gazette story of last week, the Surrey Leader carried its own story on Surrey resident Kerry Cupit, one of eight Canadians selected for Mars Society Canada’s latest expedition to the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah. Everything the researchers do will simulate possible conditions on Mars.

Cupit is a fourth-year Earth Sciences student at SFU. “Geology and astronomy have always been a hobby of mine so I think I’m rather fortunate to be able to study and make an academic career out of it.”

  • A camera crew from the Dr. Rhonda Low show on CTV came to the Burnaby campus Tuesday to shoot kinesiologist Fabio Feldman and the work he is doing to reduce falls among the elderly, and the medical damage from falls. He’s manager of seniors' falls and injury prevention for the Fraser Health Authority and is finishing his kinesiology PhD at SFU. No word yet on when the segment will run.

  • The Vancouver Sun carried a story on how SFU political science student Brittany Westgarth is full of praise for two passers-by who got her and two friends out of their burning home on Wednesday. The story also ran in the Victoria Times Colonist and the Kamloops Daily News.

  • The Tri-City News ran a story based on an SFU news release, on the reduction of symptoms among asthmatic children living in specially designed “Breathe Easy Homes.” This in Seattle, where physician Tim Takaro of SFU Health Sciences is the leader of the Breathe Easy project. "Home design, building materials, construction practices and code can be improved to help kids with asthma."

  • The Tri-City News also carried an item on local resident David Granville, one of four SFU graduates who will get an Outstanding Alumni Award this month. Granville, a cardiovascular disease researcher, will be honoured with fellow recipients Elaine Gallagher (gerontology), Alison Lawton (communications) and SFU prof Mark Jaccard (energy economics).

  • In a story on the second security threat directed at UBC’s bio-sciences building in two weeks, The Vancouver Sun quoted SFU criminologist Eric Beauregard.

  • The BC Catholic covered the visit to the Burnaby campus of Vancouver Coadjutor Archbishop J. Michael Miller.


  • SFU named Alan Koch as men’s soccer head coach, starting March 1. Koch, a former All-American as a player with the Clan in 1998, replaces Dave Elligott, who resigned in December. Koch led the NAIA’s Baker University (KS) Wildcats to a 13-7 record in 2007 in his second season as head coach there. In 2007, the Clan finished the regular season 13-1-1 and won the NAIA Region I championship. Sports media jumped on the story.

  • The Tri-City News and Abbotsford News picked up an SFU Athletics news release on Clan athlete Ruky Abdulai, now officially a Canadian citizen and a Canadian candidate for the 2008 Olympic Summer Games in Beijing. SFU head coach Brit Townsend credited many people with helping in the citizenship process, including MPs Ed Fast (Abbotsford) and Dawn Black (New Westminster-Coquitlam.

  • Abdulai’s name was in another release on the University of Washington Invitational track meet. Abdulai and five other SFU athletes achieved the A-standard necessary to qualify for the 2008 NAIA Indoor National Championships. The Clan now have 14 athletes qualified for the 2008 NAIA Championships.

  • The Province carried a story on the writing skills of SFU basketball star Kate Hole, who has a weekly blog on the Clan's athletic website ( “When you read her," says head coach Bruce Langford, "you become actively involved."


  • The Vancouver Sun carried a lengthy newsfeature on the value of languages other than English, with the message: “French is fine, but parents who really want to give their children an edge in the global economy should be clamouring for Mandarin and Punjabi immersion in K-12 schools.” Among those quoted were Kanwal Neel, who is helping SFU certify Punjabi teachers, and Dave Thomas, a prof who specializes in international business.


  • Agence France Presse (AFP) sent around the world a feature on the Gung Haggis Fat Choy celebrations in Vancouver and at SFU.

  • And The Province continued its Sunday Serial Thriller writing contest, once more telling readers how the writers of the winning second- and third-place chapters will each get a course of their choice in the Writing and Publishing Program at SFU.


  • There was lots of media interest this week in a Vancouver Police Department report saying more than 30 per cent of its police service calls involve the mentally ill, with that number approaching 50 per cent in some neighborhoods. The author of the report: Fiona Wilson-Bates, who (as The Vancouver Sun noted) studied criminology at SFU.

  • The Georgia Straight carried a feature on “millennnials in the workplace”. Among those quoted were Carlene Van Tongeren, an SFU psychology grad who is working at the Burnaby Counselling Group and the South Vancouver Youth Centre; and Dal Sohal, manager of peer programs in SFU Student Services. (Millennials? Those born between 1982 and 1995, offspring of the baby boomers.)

  • Ottawa announced the appointment to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Douglas Cochran, past secretary of the immigration subsection of the BC branch of the Canadian Bar Association, and a former part-time member of the IRB. He has an MA from SFU.

  • The Tri-City News featured Port Moody high school teacher Alan Soiseth, who is working with students on a wiki page ( about the changing status of women in the 20th century. Soiseth is doing his masters in educational technology and design at SFU, the News noted.

  • The Richmond Review featured Martin Elliott, head teacher of the specialized Incentive Program based at A.R. MacNeill Secondary in Richmond. The Review mentioned that his wife, Lynn Fels, is an assistant professor at Simon Fraser University in arts education.

  • The Peace Arch News featured jazz bassist Jodi Proznick, nominated for a Juno Award for her most recent album, Foundations. She has also been nominated for bassist of the year at the National Jazz Awards, her quartet as acoustic group of the year and Foundations as album of the year. The newspaper mentioned that in 2006, she got her masters in education from SFU.

  • The Westside Weekly featured Jason Johnson, the new chief administrative officer for the Kelowna-area municipality of Westside. The Weekly mentioned that he has a BA in urban planning from SFU. His previous job was as chief administrative officer for the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen.

SFU’s news releases can be found online at:

Search SFU News Online