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Student speakers

October 2, 2008

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Fleeing war-torn Sarajevo at age four left an indelible impression on Jasmin Mujanovic, who graduates with a BA in political science. "Whether I wanted it or not, I was brought up with politics in my life," he says. "While politics was an incredibly negative experience in my youth, as I grew older I found I could choose my politics and what I wanted to make of the world."

Last summer, Mujanovic translated a collective agreement for a group of Balkan workers at the Golden Ears bridge site. "I’m very interested in workers’ rights," he says. "It’s fundamental to a just society—the workplaces where we spend so much time should be places that reflect positive values."

In his speech on Oct. 9 at 9:45 am, Mujanovic will ask students to stop and appreciate the university and the academy "as both a material place and a philosophical ideal; to consider what it stands for and the values its built upon," he says. "Even a brief experience where intellectualism and free thought are at risk makes you long for them." He is applying to graduate schools and plans to become an academic and to remain active in the non-governmental sector.


David Bo Chen, an international exchange student from Zhejiang University in China, became so absorbed in a computing science research project at SFU that he opted to stay for a second exchange semester. But that wasn’t enough to quench his interest. He stayed on.

He graduates with a BSc. in computing science and is enrolled in the MSc. program at UBC. He’s continuing his research into non-rigid template matching, a computer-vision project.

Chen’s exceptional English-language skills took him to state-level competitions in China. At SFU, he switched gears, instead speaking and teaching Mandarin to English-speaking students in SFU’s dual-degree computing science program. Participants spend two years learning Mandarin before travelling to Zhejiang University to complete their degrees. Chen, who will speak on Thursday Oct. 9 at 2:30, hopes to pursue a career as a professor at either SFU or UBC. "Vancouver is a wonderful place to live," he says, "and these two universities have a great perspective."


Raj Sanghera is continuing a family tradition this month as she graduates with a master’s degree in education amidst plans for a SFU doctorate in education and a career as a professor. Like her parents, who were both teachers in India before immigrating to Canada, Sanghera taught in the Vancouver public school system for five years after earning a BA in English literature and a bachelor of education from UBC. And like her parents Sanghera is passionate about learning.

"Education is a really high priority in our family," she says, adding she is particularly interested in social justice and multicultural education issues, both of which are key aspects of her PhD research. In addition to her parents, Sanghera credits her academic advisor and mentor, education assistant professor Özlem Sensoy, for encouraging her to "face your fears head on and not be afraid to take on new challenges." It’s wise advice that she in turn hopes to convey to her fellow education graduands when she takes to the podium.


When Kim Jang stands up to speak Friday Oct. 10 at 9:40 am, she plans to inspire the graduating class to reflect on what they have learned.

An honours student in business administration, Jang certainly learned a lot in her five years at SFU. She pursued a double major in business and communication, and found time to participate in international business-case competitions. She served as an executive member and president of the Student Marketing Association, and was a student consultant with Surrey campus’ Small Business Consulting Group. In 2007 she received the Dean’s Service Award. She’s now in the master’s program at SFU’s School of Interactive Art and Technology.
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