April 7, 2005

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Business team finishes first
A team from the SFU business management of technology (MOT) MBA program is the first university team from western Canada to win the prestigious IBK Capital Ivey business plan competition. MOT MBA students Nigel Alvares, Joanna McKay, Ally Mullani and Ravi Singh, entered the competition with a business plan for a data storage product. They competed against nine other finalists, including teams from Rotman, Ivey and Concordia, for the $25,000 first prize. For the second consecutive year, SFU business was the only western Canadian business school to make it into the finals.

Alvares, who works for PMC Sierra as a product manager, says the team took the initiative to email and phone local venture capitalists to understand how to make their business pitch. “They gave us feedback and templates and ways to go about it all,” he says. Alvares notes that judges commented that the team's presentation was the most crisp, energetic and charismatic. The MOT MBA winners will now compete at Moot Corp., the international business plan competition run by the McCombs school of business at the University of Texas in Austin, in May. First prize in this competition is U.S .$100,000 seed money to launch their venture.

Ovenell-Carter wins prestigious award
When Julie Ovenell-Carter is not on the job in SFU's media and public relations department - she job-shares the assistant director's position with colleague Marianne Meadahl - she enjoys a parallel career as a travel writer for publications such as the Georgia Straight, the Vancouver Sun, Canadian Living, and the National Post. On April 19, Ovenell-Carter will head to New York City to collect a prestigious prize for her recent Globe and Mail cover article, Yellowhead's Prairie Poetry. The 2004 Northern Lights journalism awards, sponsored by the Canadian Tourism Commission, recognize excellence in travel reporting on Canadian destinations. The annual contest draws hundreds of entries from media outlets across North America. Ovenell-Carter won in the independent newspaper journalist category.

Johnston lectures on SFU history
Feeling a little nostalgic about Simon Fraser University's early years with the institution's 40th anniversary only five months away? The SFU history department's third annual John Hutchinson lecture promises to take its audience down memory lane with a lecture by recently retired history professor Hugh Johnston.

A former chair of the department several times over during his 37 years teaching at SFU, Johnston will deliver The Early History of SFU: A Succession of Crises in the 1960s. The lecture is based on his soon-to-be-published book Radical Campus: Simon Fraser University in the Making - a 350-page review of SFU's early years. “The university attracted a remarkable group of faculty and students during a decade of great ferment among youth internationally,” says Johnston. “The university went through a rapid succession of crises and was a magnet for publicity, good and bad, about its architecture, its promise of innovation, its faculty revolt and its student protests and demonstrations.” The upcoming lecture, named after a distinguished history professor who taught at SFU from 1966 until his death in 2002, takes place on April 15, from 4 p.m.-6 p.m., at Burnaby campus' Halpern centre.

Contest offers $145,000 in prizes
Interested in commercializing your technology business idea? Join the TELUS New Ventures B.C. competition by April 18 and vie for $145,000 in prizes. The $50 entrance fee also includes business education seminars and networking events. The competition is open to anyone in B.C. with an innovative product or service involving a new technology that has not yet secured material financing. The competition was established in 2001 by SFU business and is operated by the non-profit B.C. Ventures Society. Past winners have included both SFU students and faculty. Register at

Conference helps aboriginal youth
Student services is expecting a delegation of aboriginal young people studying in grades 8-12 at a two-day conference April 28-29 at SFU that will help them make the transition from high school to post-secondary education. Organized in conjunction with the IIG-All Nations Institute (formerly the Institute of Indigenous Government), the conference, Youth in Motion: Education and You includes a career fair and workshops such as applying to university, budgeting, writing and research, identity and self esteem, spirituality and drumming and singing. There will also be information sessions for band workers, support workers, educators, counsellors and others involved in aboriginal education.

“We're receiving strong interest from all over B.C. and even the Yukon,” says SFU First Nations recruiter Marcia Guno, who is helping to coordinate the event. “Our goal is to strengthen the connection between First Nations youth and available post-secondary options.” Guno says the conference also complements SFU's goal to support aboriginal education and recruit more First Nations students. For more information visit youth-in-motion.

New lecture series launched
SFU's institute for the humanities launches a new lecture series, Reclaiming Citizenship, with a lecture on April 11 entitled Citizenship, Civil Society and the Idea of Home by University of Toronto English and comparative literature professor Edward Chamberlain. Chamberlain, who has been a senior research associate with the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples in Canada and a poetry editor of Saturday Night magazine, has worked extensively on native land claims in the U.S., Canada, Africa and Australia. The free lecture commences at 7:30 p.m. in room 1800 in Harbour Centre at SFU Vancouver, 515 W. Hastings St. Seating is limited so call for reservations: 604-291-5100 or email

Forum on Chinese immigrants set
A recent precipitous decline in the economic performance of Chinese immigrants in Vancouver has been attributed to a lack of credential recognition of their acquired skills. A forum entitled A Chinese Credential Crisis in Canada will be jointly held by the centre for excellence for research on immigration and integration in the metropolis (RIIM) and the World Journal on April 9 at 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. in room 2270 at Harbour Center at SFU Vancouver.

SFU economist and immigration expert Don DeVoretz says personal experiences of Chinese immigrants will “aid in dramatically outlining the challenges of credential recognition facing educated Chinese communities.” During the forum, results based on a two-year RIIM study entitled The Challenges and Successes of the Chinese in Vancouver will be released. The study documents the collective economic and social barriers to gainful employment by the Chinese community in Vancouver, which in turn affects their choice to stay or return to their country of origin. A community-based panel including Vancouver MPs will discuss policy measures that the federal government intends to implement to mitigate the impact of the crisis.

Grant funds French translation
A $50,000 PromoScience grant (over three years) from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Canada (NSERC) will fund French translation and other improvements for SFU staffer Barry Shell's website. Shell, research communications manager in the faculty of applied sciences, established the site in 1993 to promote awareness of Canadian science. NSERC awards the PromoScience grants to groups across Canada that create imaginative science and engineering programs for young people.

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