Warner's degree a family affair

June 10, 2004, vol. 30, no. 4
By Roberta Staley



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When they graduate, some studentsare filled not only with relief but a sense of humility. Earning a degree is hard work. However, the financial and emotional support students receive from their family during those years of study often goes unrecognized.

This is especially true of Tim Warner, who graduates this year with a cumulative grade point average of 4.17 out of a possible 4.33 in engineering physics.

Warner lives with his wife, Leanne, and two young children in North Vancouver. When Warner first decided to pursue a SFU degree four years ago, he had already enjoyed a career in international finance.

Warner, who has an honours commerce degree from UBC and is a chartered accountant, worked during the 1990s in Hong Kong and New York with HSBC Securities before returning to Vancouver as a private financial consultant.

But he was restless. “I started feeling I wanted to focus more on ideas and on the technical, scientific side - contributing to the output of the company instead of measuring it.”

Career counselling pointed Warner toward engineering. Meanwhile, Leanne was trying to get a fledgling retail business off the ground. But with Warner busy with classes and labs, and another child on the way, Leanne shut the business down. Although the couple did not resort to the cliché of Kraft Dinner, “it was pretty tough,” says Warner.

The four-year marathon juggling family, full-time school, young tots and volunteer work was well worth it, says Warner, who includes SFU's co-op program and the engineering department's top-notch professors as key to his undergraduate success.

“The co-ops teach practical job skills and because of that, you're more in tune with the industry,” says Warner, whose co-ops included work at the TRIUMF and SFU physics laboratories, as well as broadband solutions company Broadcom Canada.

Warner has started to chip away at his student debt, working at Vancouver's VSM MedTech, which develops and builds systems for combined anatomical and functional brain imaging. But Warner's love of learning has already sparked aspirations to do graduate work. That too, will be a family affair.

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