SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - July 18, 2008

July 18, 2008

A look at how SFU and its people made news: July 12-18, 2008              

What’s the buzz?
In the media this week, it was a Canadian Press feature on a recent surge in the mosquito population, quoting SFU biologist Carl Lowenberger.
We spotted the story in more than 50 media outlets across the country. Our monitor doesn’t cover all media, and it’s a good bet the story and SFU’s name was  carried by more like 200 outlets.
More on this below—and on two SFU students who have developed a prototype Facebook application that they hope will raise awareness of unnecessary energy consumption.


  • The Canadian Press sent to newspapers and broadcast outlets a feature on a recent surge in the mosquito population. In BC’s Lower Mainland, said SFU biologist Carl Lowenberger, mosquito season started about three weeks late due to cold weather in the spring and early summer. "Because we've got these nice warm temperatures now we're starting to see development which should have happened probably a month ago.”
    We spotted the story in 44 media outlets across the country.  Then The Province did its own story, also quoting Lowenberger, and that (by way of CanWest News Service) appeared in seven further papers.
  • Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente questioned the research supporting supervised drug-injection sites such as Vancouver’s Insite clinic. She wrote:
    Garth Davies teaches research methodology at Simon Fraser University's school of criminology. He recently published an evaluation of all the research literature on safe-injection facilities, including Insite. He wasn't impressed. ‘[They] are too often credited with generating positive effects that are not borne out by solid empirical evidence,’ he wrote. ‘As a result of methodological and analytical problems . . . all claims remain open to question’."
  • CanWest News Service carried across the country a news story on the arrival in Canada of the iPhone. Among those quoted was communication prof Richard Smith: “You remember Trudeau mania? Things become ‘mania' and you are either swept up in it or you are creating it, and Apple is extremely good at doing that. . . . Fashion is a very fickle mistress, but Apple has been in fashion for many years.''
    We saw it in The Vancouver Sun, The Province and on GlobalTV, among others.
  • Smith was also quoted in a story in theVancouver edition of Metro that said the new Telus White Pages listings for the Lower Mainland are piling up in recycling bins as people increasingly turn to online services. Said Smith: “Computerization is better . . .”
  • CBC-TV interviewed Boyd Cohen, assistant prof in SFU Business, on the “green dating” section of his website at The CBC’s interest flowed from its exploration of the site where Cohen’s “Greenest Person on the Planet contest” is running, and has been getting international coverage.
  • The Globe and Mail ran yet another story on BC’s “floating feet”, and quoted Mark Skinner, a forensic anthropologist from SFU. He said it's possible to determine a person's age, height, origin, occupation and even diet from the bones and nails of their feet, but so far analysts have not succeeded. "These standards are better developed for other parts of the body than the feet. This find of five feet is something we really, I think, should have anticipated but haven't adequately, and we're going to have to respond better to it."
  • Criminologist Neil Boyd was in the Globe and Mail in a story on how Vancouver police offered qualified support for citizens using physical means to tackle bad guys. Boyd found the proposition "a little unusual.” He added: “Traditionally, the police have tended to be reticent or discourage intervention because of the risks involved."
  • Novelist Timothy Taylor of Vancouver wrote a guest column in the Globe and Mail on the rejection by Kwantlen Polytechnic University of a research project in which sociologist Russel Ogden proposed to witness assisted suicides. Taylor quoted SFU criminologist John Lowman, who has been defending Ogden’s proposal.
  • The Moncton Times & Transcript reflected on outbreaks of racist, anti-Semitic and otherwise offensive vandalism in New Brunswick this month. It quoted SFU criminologist Elizabeth Elliott on restorative justice.  If the religious leaders and the other victims are willing to meet with the offenders and if the offenders agree to participate, "there is an excellent learning opportunity here," said Elliott. The story also ran in the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal.
  • The Globe and Mail did a story on 30 top math students from around the world who are at SFU for a summer camp that will have them working on such problems as detecting explosives and tracking salmon. The camp is jointly funded by the provincial government and MITACS (Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems), a national network of mathematicians based at SFU Burnaby. Among those quoted were participant Natasha Richardson, a fourth-year SFU math student, and camp organizer JF Williams, an assistant prof in SFU’s mathematics department. Radio Canada also pursued a story.
  • The Globe and Mail picked up last week’s story on a new study suggesting that as sea temperatures rise, many fish may be settling into deeper, cooler waters, rather than moving to higher latitudes as many theorists had previously predicted. The finding is from researchers led by SFU biologist Nick Dulvy, through the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture in the UK.
    (Meanwhile, The Vancouver Sun picked up a Washington Post story from two weeks ago on the fast-shrinking population of sharks in the Mediterranean. The story also mentioned research by Dulvy, finding that in the open ocean sharks that used to be an inadvertent bycatch for vessels seeking tuna and swordfish are increasingly being targeted for their meat and fins.)


  • The Vancouver Sun featuredtwo SFU students who have developed a prototype Facebook application that they hope will raise awareness of unnecessary energy consumption in daily life.
    Jin Fan and Kevin Muise of the School of Interactive Arts and Technology placed second in an international competition with their creation, an interface called GreeNet that acts as a virtual garden. The pair were finalists in the Imagine Cup, a design competition for students sponsored by Microsoft, which drew 330 entries from around the world. Their prof, Ron Wakkary, was quoted in the story.
  • The BC government issued on Tuesday a list of the top earners in the public sector in BC. UBC president Stephen Toope was #2 on the list and is now, according to The Vancouver Sun, “the highest paid public-sector employee in the province.”  SFU President Michael Stevenson was #9 on the list.
  • The Vancouver Sun and GlobalTV reported that a 2010 Olympics drug-testing lab will be located at the new Olympic speed-skating oval in Richmond. The Sun said the Vancouver Olympics committee  had looked at a number of facilities, including two Vancouver hospitals and SFU. “But no suitable location was found.”
  • Joanna Ashworth, director of SFU Dialogue Programs, did interviews with media in Prince George as SFU’s Imagine BC series held a daylong session for young people to explore their visions for a sustainable community future. The event was in partnership with the Fraser Basin Council. Ashworth and Susan Jamieson-McLarnon of PAMR had sent out a news release.
  • Warren Gill, geographer and SFU vice-president, was on CKWX News1130 talking about the capacity of the Sea-to-Sky Highway to handle big traffic volumes, such as the 40,000-plus people expected at the Pemberton Festival July 25-27.
  • The Burnaby Newsleader looked at efforts by the Chevron refinery in North Burnaby to reduce the pollution it generates. Among those quoted was John Nyboer, executive director of SFU's energy and materials research group.
  • The Campbell River Courier-Islander promoted a symposium about the future of wild salmon, to be held there August 16 and 17. It’s hosted by the Haig-Brown Centenary Committee, SFU’s Continuing Studies in Science, and the university's Centre for Coastal Studies. The symposium is part of SFU's ongoing Speaking for the Salmon series.
  • Surrey Now caught up to the story of how the SFU Library now is home to a collection of 300 photographs and a number of taped interviews that provide a glimpse into the lives of Indo-Canadian pioneers who came to B.C. from 1900 to 1950.
  • Five more Black Press newspapers in BC picked up last week’s story in which SFU profs Mark Jaccard, Nancy Olewiler and John Richards defended the new BC carbon tax. The papers: the Hope Standard, Vernon Morning Star, Similkameen Spotlight, Kootenay News-Advertiser and the Barriere Star-Journal.


  • Reuters news agency reported that Canada's crime rate fell last year to its lowest rate in 30 years. The story quoted SFU criminologist Neil Boyd as saying an aging population and changing attitudes towards violence are likely part of the reason. "We are less tolerant of violence." But he said the figures also indicate that while there may be fewer people committing crimes, a "harder core" of individuals is committing more crime. First paper to run the story: the San Diego Union Tribune.
  • Boyd was also in the Toronto Star in a story on the Statistics Canada crime numbers that, the Star said,  show Greater Toronto is the safest metropolitan area in the country.
  • GenomeBC told media about a multi-national multi-university project to research wine genomics and thus to help improve wine quality and production. SFU has a role: A social science element will be researched by political scientists Michael Howlett, David Laycock, Andrea Migone and Steven Weldon.
  • The Project Management Institute spread the word that its Paper of the Year Award has gone to business prof Blaize Horner Reich of SFU. This for her article in the Project Management Journal: “Managing Knowledge and Learning in IT Projects:  A Conceptual Framework and Guidelines.” The institute noted that Reich and research colleagues Andrew Gemino of SFU and Chris Sauer (Oxford) operate a research-based website for project managers, at


  • The Prince Rupert Daily News hailed as “a resounding success” a project in which 80 students went through a program called LUCID (Learning for Understanding through Culturally Inclusive Imaginative Development). That’s a teacher training and research project partnership of School District 52, the Aboriginal Education Council and the Faculty of Education at SFU.
  • Burnaby Now and Epoch Times followed other media in using last week’s SFU news release on how SFU is easing the requirement of four provincial Grade 12 exams for admission. Beginning in fall 2009, students will need to have a high-school graduation certificate and to have passed only one provincial Grade 12 exam: English 12 or equivalent.


  • Burnaby Now carried a photo of Georgina Hardman performing at the Showcase of the Performing Arts gala that raises funds to support community theatre. Hardman is a student at the Burnaby campus and studies classical ballet under Li Yaming, artistic director at Pacific Dance Arts.
  • The North Shore Outlook featured Miss BC World contestant Shelley Matheson of North Vancouver, who is pursuing a double major at SFU (criminology and English). The Miss BC World 2008 pageant takes place this weekend.
    And the Surrey-North Delta Leader reported that BC has its first-ever Miss India BC—SFU student Aman Bains, 19, winning over 15 other finalists and getting a role in a Bollywood movie.


  • The Globe and Mail featured some BC athletes who are headed to the Beijing Olympics. Among them: SFU long jumper Ruky Abdulai. She said the prospect of 40-degree heat and pollution don’t faze her, "I grew up in Ghana, so I've had everything."
  • Kamloops This Week leaped at the story of how SFU’s Miranda Dick of Kamloops won a gold medal at the University Wrestling Championships in Greece. “Miranda finished off a great university career by winning a world title,” said coach Justin Abdou. “It’s astonishing to look at the season she has put together, winning at both Canada West and the CIS meets, being named the MVP of both those competitions and now winning a world university title.”
    SFU wrestlers Raj Virdi, Bo Gregson and Arjan Bhullar were out of the medal standings, but Bhullar finished as the top Canadian by placing fifth in the competition.
  • The Vancouver Sun featured the hot batters in the Canadian team at the Canada Cup international women's softball tournament. Among the free-swinging hitters: SFU’s Melanie Matthews. By way of CanWest News Service, the story also ran in the Victoria Times Colonist and the Windsor Star. Surrey Now did its own story featuring Matthews.
  • The Vancouver Sun also did a story on the Canadian Olympic softball team. It includes Matthews; catcher Erin Cumpstone, who played at SFU from 1999-2003; and third base Erin McLean, who graduated from SFU in 2007.
  • The Burnaby Newsleader carried a newsfeature on the 2009 World Police and Fire Games that will be held at venues from Pemberton to Chilliwack. It listed events scheduled for Burnaby, including (at SFU Burnaby) basketball (3 a side and 5 a side), squash and wrestling. The story also featured Burnaby firefighter Cathy van Staalduinen, who has taken part in three WPF Games and is a former SFU basketball star.
  • Metro Vancouver did an item on grad student Daniel Igali, who is coaching and mentoring two Nigerian athletes for the summer Olympics in Beijing.
  • Burnaby Now caught up to a story from some weeks back: “The Burnaby school district and SFU's athletics and recreation department have joined forces to create a new sport academy where secondary students can earn credits towards graduation while training in softball or swimming.”
  • The Province did a lengthy feature on Ibrahim (Obby) Khan, Winnipeg Blue Bombers lineman and ex-SFU Clansman, and his epic struggle with Crohn's disease. The story also ran in the Nanaimo Daily News.
    Meanwhile, The Vancouver Sun profiled BC Lions centre Dean Valli, another ex-Clansman and a straight-A geography grad. He noted that the Canadian Football League has a clutch of other ex-SFU players: Bret Anderson and Angus Reid on the Lions, and Obby Khan, Neil McKinlay, Aaron Hargreaves and Doug Brown with the Bombers. Hargreaves, incidentally, was featured in the Winnipeg Sun this week.
    The Vancouver Sun also noted that four more Lion greats will be named to the club’s Wall of Fame today. They include former Clan star John Pankratz.
  • The Peace Arch News featured Bryan Sask, coach of the White Rock Renegades’ junior team in the women’s division of the Canada Cup. He spent two years at SFU as assistant to Clan softball coach Mike Renney—“one of the best coaches in the world.”


  • SFU’s news releases this week include one announcing that the joint program between SFU and China’s Zhejiang University will take a new turn this fall when 36 students from China—nine of whom are here already—begin a two-year stint of classes with their counterparts at SFU. First, the dual degree program in computing science will undergo a formal review by officials from both universities.

ALSO in the NEWS

  • The Vancouver Sun’s Westcoast Homes section featured UniverCity, calling it “one of North America's most sustainable new communities” and “a perfect model for what a complete community should be.”
  • Coverage in the Kamloops Daily News of the Kamloops Highland Games included a photo of drummer Duncan Millar practising with the SFU pipe band.
  • The Apex Awards for Publication Excellence gave a “Grand Award" to SFU’s 2008 Viewbook (published by SFU Recruitment and Admissions with design by  KARO Group Inc.) Anson Lee of Karo reported the award citation said: “Spectacular photography and spreads, crisp, appealing type and compelling personal profiles make this viewbook a keeper."
  • The Globe and Mail reported that Melissa De Genova is leaving Vision Vancouver to seek a Vancouver parks board nomination for the rival Non-Partisan Association. Her father, Allan, is ending 15 years on the board this year. The Globe noted Ms. De Genova is an SFU political science graduate.


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