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Chris Bone, his wife Beth Richardson and their daughter Mavis.

Chris Bone and wife Beth Richardson are getting SFU graduate degrees this month but their baby Mavis is getting all the oohs and ahhs. (Photo by Steve Ray)

Two degrees and a baby

June 10, 2010

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Chris Bone has much to celebrate.

The recent geography PhD grad is not only receiving a graduate dean’s convocation medal for academic excellence, but he also became a new father in May.

And during June’s convocation ceremonies he’ll share the stage with his wife, Beth Richardson, a New Westminster high school English teacher who defended her thesis for the Master of Arts for Teachers of English program just one week before delivering their baby girl, Mavis.

“It’s great to have so many wonderful things happen at once, but it’s hard to top the arrival of little Mavis,” says Bone.

He is now working as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Alaska at Anchorage studying how natural resource management decisions impact climate change.

He’s using some of the novel methods he developed in his thesis, which explored new ways for using computer algorithms and agent-based computer modelling to resolve multi-stakeholder forestmanagement issues.

“We program ‘computer agents’ to simulate the stakeholders’ behaviour and then integrate algorithms to help them learn from experience over time in a digital landscape that represents a forest,” explains Bone.

“The agents make decisions and if the decisions are beneficial they’ll learn from that and try to focus on making similar decisions in the future.”

Bone’s methodology is an improvement over current computer modelling techniques that focus on forest-management decisions based on either space or time. Bone’s method considers both.

“Trying to understand how the spatial decisions we make today will impact our decisions in fi ve, 10, or 20 years from now is really important,” says Bone, who plans a career as a professor.

He’s hoping his abilities in geographical information science, which marries math, statistics, computing science and geography, will give him an edge in the academic job market.

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Jennifer White

As proud as Mr.Bone should be regarding his accomplishments, I was very disappointed to see that this article includes little recognition of his wife, Beth Richardson, who, if I'm not mistaken is the courageous woman who managed to complete and defend her MA thesis while in the final days of her pregnancy and actually delivered that beautiful baby to boot! I would have expected greater mention of Ms. Richardson's accomplishments as a graduate of the Master of Art's for Teacher's of English (MATE) program. The title of the article is "Two Degrees and a Baby" but in actual fact there it seems as though only one degree is really being given the recognition it deserves...and a brief mention of a baby.

Clint Burnham

This is a great story about Chris Bone and Beth Richardson. Beth's accomplishments in having completed her master's in the M.A. for Teachers of English (MATE) program while pregnant, is especially commendable. The challenges that face working teachers in the MATE program - balancing a full-time work schedule with classes at the Surrey campus - were more than met by Beth, whose graduating project on diasporic literature was smart, well-written, and timely. It was a pleasure to work with Beth over the past two years, and good luck to her and her family. - Prof. Clint Burnham, co-director, MATE, SFU English

May Yao

Such a wonderful and laudable accomplishment for both these SFU graduate students! Closing one chapter of their lives and starting another exciting one.

NB: Beth Richardson is a graduate of SFU's Master of Arts for Teachers of English program at SFU Surrey.

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