June 2021 medal recipients

Governor General’s Gold Medal

Awarded to the two graduate students who achieve the highest academic standing upon graduation from a master’s or doctoral degree program.

Dr. Patricia I. Coburn, PhD
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Dr. Patricia Coburn’s doctoral work focused on legal decision making. Passionate about promoting understanding of the rights and abilities of witnesses, Dr. Coburn utilizes archival research with legal cases to inform her experimental projects on witness memory and credibility. For her PhD, she received a SSHRC Canadian Graduate Scholarship to research the ability of children to testify when they have experienced multiple events. She is grateful to her supervisors Dr. Deb Connolly, Dr. Daniel Bernstein, Dr. A. George Alder, her many friends in the Children’s Memory Lab, and her own wonderful children. Dr. Coburn is a faculty member at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. 

Dr. Michael Weiwei Meanwell, PhD
Faculty of Science

During his PhD, Dr. Michael Meanwell worked with leading pharmaceutical companies such as Merck and Hoffmann-La Roche to develop processes that significantly reduce the time and costs associated with drug development. He received the prestigious Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship for his work. Dr. Meanwell has also been active in several community-based science outreach programs hosted by the University of Victoria, North Island College, and Genome BC. He is currently working in the world-class laboratories of Professor Phil Baran at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego.

Graduate Dean’s Medal

Recognize graduating students from each faculty whose cumulative grade point average places them in the top five per cent of their class.

Dr. Jelena Golubovic, PhD
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Dr. Jelena Golubovic completed both her BA (international studies) and her PhD (anthropology) at SFU. Her research, which explores the civilian experience of war, has been published in peer-reviewed journals including Anthropological Quarterly and Ethnicities. Dr. Golubovic has received awards from several organizations including the International Studies Association, the Society for Applied Anthropology, and the American Sociological Association. She was a winner of the Global Affairs Canada International Policy Ideas Challenge, and her MA, PhD, and fieldwork were funded by SSHRC. A 2021 Banting Fellow, she will be joining the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Dr. Vincent Reid Hopkins, PhD
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

In his dissertation, Dr. Vincent Hopkins studied the political behaviour of interest groups in Canada, combining theories from behavioural science with data science techniques to improve understanding of how interest groups influence public policy. Dr. Hopkins’s innovative project shed new light on the "hidden hallways” of power in Canada, and helped lead the way in data-driven policy research. In 2019, Dr. Hopkins joined the Government of British Columbia as a senior behavioural scientist. This summer, he will join the University of Saskatchewan as an assistant professor of public policy.

Dr. Michael Kevin Ouellette, EMBA
Beedie School of Business

Dr. Michael Ouellette is of mixed Cree heritage and is a medical doctor serving Indigenous people in Northern Ontario. He believes that economic self-sufficiency is paramount for healthy First Nations in Canada. His capstone project explores private health opportunities as a tool for Indigenous self-sufficiency, sovereignty and reconciliation, determining that both Indigenous peoples and Canadians would benefit from Indigenous participation in private healthcare. He is grateful to all who contributed to this project including Dr. John Borrows, Mark Selman, his classmates and the Westbank First Nation. Dr. Ouellette continues his work as a physician while exploring business opportunities to empower Indigenous peoples. 

Dr. Steven Large, PhD
Faculty of Science

For his PhD thesis, Dr. Steven Large studied the physics of biological systems at the nanoscale. During his time at SFU, he worked on a variety of projects, all of which revolved around developing a better understanding of efficient nanoscale machines. He achieved a 4.23 CGPA through his graduate schooling, published five first-author research articles, and received a number of awards both within and beyond SFU, most notably a three-year NSERC doctoral fellowship. Since defending his thesis, Dr. Large has taken his expertise to the private sector, where he is working as a data scientist with Viewpoint Investment Partners in Calgary, Alberta.

Dr. Kin Lam Wong, PhD
Faculty of Science

For his PhD thesis, Dr. Kin Lam Wong studied the molecular links between diet and cancer. Using an animal cancer model, he discovered that nutrient sensors and metabolic enzymes work closely with cancer-causing genes to favour abnormal cell growth. His work provides candidate molecules that could be exploited in targeted cancer therapy. He has received a number of awards including the Dr. Bruce Brandhorst Graduate Prize for best PhD thesis (2020), best publication (2019) and best oral presentation (2018). He is now a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University studying the cellular and molecular bases of neural circuit formation. 

Dr. Fangxin Wang, PhD
Faculty of Applied Sciences

A graduate of China’s prestigious Tsinghua University, Dr. Fangxin Wang came to SFU’s School of Computing Science to continue his PhD studies under the supervision of Professor Jiangchuan Liu. Dr. Wang achieved a CGPA of 4.08 during his studies. After a comprehensive research survey, he found there is great potential in leveraging the abundant wireless signals (e.g. WiFi and RFID) for human activity recognition, enabling a wide range of applications such as health monitoring, interactive gaming, and intrusion detection. He was awarded the Michael Stevenson Scholarship and the Dean’s Convocation Medal for his outstanding scholastic performance. 

Marco Zenone, MSc
Faculty of Health Sciences

For his master’s thesis, Marco Zenone studied how Canadian cannabidiol retailers represent the efficacy of their products online. He found that over half of cannabidiol product retailers made direct health claims. Yet, there is little evidence suggesting cannabidiol is useful for most medical conditions and current laws prohibit retailers from making such claims. Marco has led projects funded by the World Health Organization, Health Canada, and Global Affairs Canada. He is pursuing a PhD at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine where he will study the role of social media platforms in spreading misinformation. 

Dr. Alexandra Jean Kitson, PhD
Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology

For her PhD thesis, Dr. Alexandra Kitson studied cutting-edge technology designs such as virtual reality to support experiences of self-transcendence (a decreased sense of self and increased unity with the world). She achieved a 4.28 CGPA and received a number of awards including a SSHRC Doctoral Award. She served as chair for the Graduate Student Society, facilitated the opening of SFU Library’s Maker and Media Commons, and volunteered at the Vancouver Crisis Centre. She has a postdoctoral appointment at SFU where she is studying how emerging technologies such as virtual reality and wearables could support emotion regulation in youth.

Dr. Alexandra Maria Patzak, PhD
Faculty of Education

Dr. Alexandra Patzak received a 2021 Graduate Dean’s Medal for her work and doctoral thesis: “Measuring and Understanding Selfhandicapping in Education”. At SFU’s Student Learning Commons, she was privileged to collaborate with inspiring colleagues and mentor fellow students with special needs to help them reach their academic goals. Following her passion for teaching and research, Dr. Patzak is now an assistant professor in educational psychology at George Mason University in Virginia, where she teaches graduate-level courses and advances research to reduce counterproductive selfregulated learning. Dr. Patzak is grateful for the support of her amazing family, remarkable mentors and dear friends who made her doctoral journey a wonderful experience. Pursuing a PhD at SFU was the best decision she ever made.

Dr. Louise St. Pierre, PhD
Faculty of Education

Dr. Louise St. Pierre’s research takes place within multiple local and international networks. She investigates alternate ways of knowing and learning that help designers intuit the extent to which our creations involve all human and more-than-human forms of life. Her research draws extensively from wisdom traditions and contemplative practices. She continues to develop embodied, relational, contemplative, and experiential pedagogies through her networks and at Emily Carr University, where she founded the Design for All Beings research group. Her PhD includes the publication of the co-edited book, Design and Nature: A Partnership, developed through an international collaboration.

Dr. Laure Spake, PhD
Faculty of Environment

For her PhD, Dr. Laure Spake used medical images from children in Australia and the US to study growth differences between groups of children within a population. Her research has implications for how archaeologists study children and their health in past populations. She received more than $135,000 in funding from SFU and Mitacs Canada to support her research. During her graduate studies, Dr. Spake authored more than 10 peer-reviewed journal articles and co-edited a scholarly volume. She is a trained forensic anthropologist, and has worked with the B.C. Coroner’s Service and the RCMP to help identify human remains found in British Columbia.

Governor General’s Silver Medal

Awarded to the two undergraduate students who achieve the highest scholastic standing upon graduation from a bachelor’s degree program.

Jennifer Krentz, BA, Psychology
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Jennifer Krentz graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in psychology and a minor in criminology. During her time at SFU, she volunteered as a research assistant in several psychology labs, and recently served as the SFU undergraduate representative of the Canadian Psychological Association. Her thesis, completed under the supervision of Dr. Nicholls and Dr. Roesch, examined the inclusion of risk and protective factors in forensic reports. It earned several awards, including second place for the Best Undergraduate Paper Award from the American-Psychology Law Society, and the Canadian Psychological Association Certificate of Academic Excellence.

Ramy ElMallah, BASc, Mechatronic Systems Engineering
Faculty of Applied Sciences

Ramy ElMallah’s university experience was fueled by his passion for technology, community and research. As a research assistant, he contributed to projects exploring the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence within the Faculty of Applied Sciences and SFU’s Big Data Hub. He dedicated hundreds of volunteer hours to groups such as the student union and the global community program to enhance the student experience. Ramy turned his capstone project into a startup that uses automation to promote hygienic lifestyles, and he placed first in SFU’s engineering competition for three years in a row. Ramy wants to continue using his skills and knowledge to tackle complex real-world issues.

Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Inclusion, Democracy and Reconciliation

Awarded to an outstanding undergraduate student in any faculty who has completed the requirements for a Bachelor’s degree and/or a Certificate or a Post-Baccalaureate Diploma and has demonstrated academic excellence and outstanding contributions in support/promotion of one or more of the following areas: (1) inclusion, (2) democracy and/or (3) reconciliation, on campus or in their communities.

Anya Sass, BA, Political Science and Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Anya Sass is graduating with a bachelor of arts in political science and gender, sexuality and women’s studies. She is passionate about human rights and has volunteered extensively with refugees through private sponsorships and teaching English to newcomers. She left Vancouver for a semester abroad at the University of Cape Town in 2019 and later volunteered at organizations in Cape Town that provide settlement and advocacy services for refugees. As part of that work, Anya oversaw a large-scale food distribution effort at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. She plans to pursue a bachelor of laws. 

Gordon M. Shrum Undergraduate Medal

SFU’s most prestigious undergraduate medal is bestowed on the graduating student whose high scholastic standing and extracurricular activities demonstrate outstanding qualities of character and unselfish devotion to the university.

Galvin Gar-Kit Huen, BSc, Biomedical Physiology
Faculty of Science

Early on at the Claydon Lab, Galvin Huen fell in love with research through the excitement of discovery, where meticulous benchwork and laborious problemsolving were at the nucleus of his work with stem cells. Outside of the lab, he was privileged to engage with SFU both as a representative who advocated passionately on behalf of fellow students, and as an advisor on committees that shaped the student experience. His time at SFU has been life-defining, and he is extremely grateful for the generosity of his mentors, the kindness of peers, and the many opportunities here at SFU. 

Undergraduate Dean’s Medal

Recognize undergraduate students in each faculty whose cumulative grade point average places them in the top five per cent of their class.

Chloë Falez, BA, English
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Throughout her SFU years, Chloë Falez maintained a high GPA while working multiple jobs in the childcare and education sector each semester—as many as three at a time! Chloë is also the Spring 2020 recipient of the Ann and William Messenger Undergraduate Scholarship in English. She is incredibly grateful to her terrific professors and teaching assistants and thanks them sincerely for their support.

Jenna Richmond, BA, International Studies
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

At SFU, Jenna Richmond dedicated her time to both academics and student clubs. She was a recipient of the B.C. Secondary Simon Fraser Entrance Scholarship and is now graduating with an International studies major, anthropology minor, and social justice certificate. In addition to making the President’s Honour Roll four times and achieving a 4.06 CGPA, Jenna completed three co-op terms and studied abroad in the Czech Republic. She also enjoyed engaging with her department and school community as president of the International Studies Student Association, a FASS peer mentor, and an exchange student buddy. 

Jie (Jenny) Lian, BBA
Beedie School of Business

Jenny Lian is graduating with a bachelor of business administration and a certificate in business analytics and decision making. With a focus on mentorship and creating genuine impact in her community, Jenny inspired young high school students to create their own sustainable start-ups during her time at Bright Ideas SFU. She also provided pro-bono consulting services to help local not-for-profit organizations, and was actively involved in prestigious business competitions such as SFU JDC West and CaseIT. In addition to a semester abroad in Austria, Jenny successfully completed three co-op placements, most recently leading company-wide technology transformation initiatives at RBC in Toronto. This fall, she is excited to begin a career in consulting as an analyst at Deloitte

Matt Wiens, BSc, Applied Mathematics
Faculty of Science

Matthew Wiens recently earned a bachelor of science degree with first-class honours in applied mathematics and a minor in physics. For his undergraduate thesis, supervised by Dr. Paul Tupper, Matthew developed an evolutionary mathematical model focusing on how scientific research is incentivized. During his undergraduate program, he also had the opportunity to do an eight-month co-op placement in Dr. Sohrab Shah’s lab at the B.C. Cancer Research Centre. Matthew excelled academically, receiving numerous scholarships totaling more than $23,000. With the support of NSERC CGS-M funding, Matthew is currently studying applied mathematics at the graduate level under the supervision of Dr. Anita Layton at the University of Waterloo. 

Ge Shi, BSc, Computing Science
Faculty of Applied Sciences

Ge Shi enjoyed a fantastic time at SFU through academic and extracurricular activities. He is fortunate to have worked as a research assistant at the DataIntensive Systems research lab under the supervision of Dr. Tianzheng Wang where he helped to optimize database transaction execution on non-uniform memory access systems and multithread synchronization primitives for persistent memory. His undergraduate journey has equipped him with the knowledge and experience to build scalable, high-performance software systems. He is thankful to his friends and labmates for their insightful advice and helpful encouragement.

Signe MacLellan, BSc, Health Sciences
Faculty of Health Sciences

At SFU, Signe MacLellan grew her interest in science and discovered a passion for both research and genetics. She contributed to research in two different labs at SFU, and served as a peer tutor in a lower-division genetics course. Signe took a directed studies course in the Gries lab—an animal communication lab in the Biological Sciences Department—which later led to a scientific publication. As part of an Undergraduate Student Research Award, she also contributed to important HIV research through a summer placement in Dr. Zabrina Brumme’s laboratory.  

Dalia Hatalova, BFA, Contemporary Arts
Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology

Dalia Hatalova transferred from Kwantlen Polytechnic University to SFU in fall 2018. Majoring in the film production program, Dalia focused on exploring cinema’s socio-political implications from artistic and theoretical perspectives. To expand her education, she completed a summer exchange program at Aarhus University in Denmark. Her academic work was featured at SFU’s Undergraduate Research Symposium 2020 and the 2021 FCAT Undergraduate Conference. Dalia was also a member of the SFU’s Latin Dance Passion Club and cheerleading team. This fall she will begin an MA in cinema and media studies at the University of Southern California. 

Todd Davison, BGS, Education
Faculty of Education

Todd Davison’s path to his degree was not direct: after being the primary caregiver to his daughter he worked as an education assistant for several years. Believing he could contribute more to the field of education as a teacher, he began his post-secondary studies in the Faculty of Education. He completed a bachelor of general studies with double minors in social justice and counselling and human development in under four years, while simultaneously beating a stagethree cancer diagnosis. He will enter the PDP program in September, with the goal of becoming an elementary school teacher. 

Kimberley Jones, BA, Archaeology
Faculty of Environment

Kimberley Jones graduated with a bachelor of arts and a 4.06 CGPA. She made the Dean’s Honour Roll four semesters in a row, and the President’s Honour Roll three semesters in a row. Her many scholarships and awards include the Ken Caple Entrance Scholarship, the SFU Alumni Scholarship, the Brian Williamson Memorial Fund Award, the SFU Open Scholarship, the Ingrid Nystrom Award, the First Nation Student Association Scholarship, the Katie Young Memorial Scholarship, and the Aboriginal Community Engagement Award.