October 2023 graduand speakers

The October 2023 graduand speakers were selected by the faculties and the Registrar based on student achievement and extracurricular involvement.

Ceremony A

Joaquin Suarez, BA (Honours with Distinction)
Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology

Joaquin Suarez graduates with an honours BA in communication and a string of awards and scholarships for his exemplary academic and volunteer work. These included the International Association of Business Communicators’ SAIL Award, the Fred and Elaine Moonen Scholarship, a Radio Station 1320 Award, and an Omni Television Award. His honours research analyzed government and media discourse on sustainable transportation, uncovering structural patterns influencing Canada’s electric vehicle policies. During three Co-op Education work terms, Suarez served as the first student communications assistant to SFU President Joy Johnson; provided financial and career opportunities for Indigenous youth; and directed campaigns to support women’s and children’s rights. In his campus volunteer work, he organized professional development opportunities for hundreds of communication students. He now hopes to pursue graduate studies at McGill University.

Ceremony B

Tabatha Mason, BA (with Distinction)
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Graduating with a BA in linguistics, Tabatha Mason pursued minors in both French and learning and developmental disabilities. She was named to both the dean’s and president’s honour rolls and received several scholarships. She tutored students at the Linguistics Department Writing Center and volunteered as a research assistant with the Phonological Processing Lab. She was also very involved in student groups, including the French Conversation Club and the French Student Union, and served as president of the Japanese Network. While living in residence she supported students through her work as a community advisor and area coordinator. Off-campus, Mason used her linguistic skills to support people living with Aphasia, which is a communication disorder. She is now continuing her graduate studies at UBC to become a speech-language pathologist.

Ceremony C

Connor Merriam, BSc (with Distinction)
Faculty of Science

Connor Merriam developed a passion for science communication and teaching during his studies in the Department of Physics. While working as a laboratory teaching assistant in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, he designed and presented online demos for science outreach events hosted by SFU faculty. Off-campus, he volunteered as a math and science tutor at Native Education College, providing indigenous adult learners with individualized support. He also helped conduct interviews with mathematics professors from around the world for a podcast demonstrating how approachable and personal mathematics can be, and worked with an SFU professor to transform a science communication course into a podcast. He received the Teck Scholarship Program Award for four consecutive years. He now plans to become a secondary school science teacher.

Ceremony D

Jennifer Hogan, MA
Faculty of Environment

Jen Hogan is graduating with a master of arts in archaeology after starting and mostly completing a research thesis during the COVID-19 pandemic. The thesis attempted to determine how the form of northeastern B.C. arrowheads and spearheads changed over time, as a way to help date archaeological sites that don’t contain datable materials. For this research, Hogan received a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Graduate Scholarship, the Roy L. Carlson Graduate Scholarship in Prehistoric British Columbia Archaeology, and the Harington Graduate Scholarship for Canadian Cave Studies. Hogan continues to reside in the Lower Mainland, on the unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples. With their academic career complete for now, Hogan hopes to pursue research positions outside academia.