Tips and Tricks

December Update for Graduate Students

December 10, 2014

Monthly email update sent to all SFU graduate students.

Happy Holidays from the staff at Graduate Studies

Awards and Funding

Grad Student Society Grants 

Awards for Excellence in Graduate Supervision, Leadership or Service
Has an SFU faculty member or staff person helped you tremendously in your graduate career? Please nominate that person in the 2015 awards for excellence in graduate supervision, leadership or service. Nomination deadline is March 15.

Controversy Award
SFU's Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy is now accepting nominations. This prestigious prize has gone to three grad students in the past 20 years.

  • Russel Ogden, Criminology, for his work on assisted suicide and AIDS
  • Kim Rossmo, Criminology, for his work on geographic profiling (he was one of the first to say that there was a serial killer in the downtown Eastside)
  • Cherry Smiley, Contemporary Arts, for her work on Indigenous women and girls and the abolition of prostitution

Graduate Awards Application and Adjudication System (GA3)
We'll be launching a new graduate awards application and adjudication system for internal SFU awards in January 2015. We're very excited about this development and early grad student testers have given it two thumbs up. More information about the system will be circulated in the new year.

Spring 2015 Graduate Award Payments
Did you receive a Spring 2015 graduate award? Make sure that you register in your graduate program right now in order to receive the funds next year. See the graduate award disbursement schedule.

External Awards 

External Awards with no deadlines 

  • Youth Education Assistance Fund, for young adults who have spent time in the care of the Ministry of Children and Family Development or a delegated Aboriginal agency
  • Mitacs Globalink Research Award, up to $5k for study in Brazil, mainland China, India, Mexico, Turkey or Vietnam. No application deadline, but Mitacs recommends applicants submit applications by February 6, 2015, for projects starting in May 2015 (summer term)


Awards Timelines 
We recommend scanning ahead because it takes time to prepare your awards applications and request letters of recommendation. 

See our Awards Timeline page.

Job and Volunteer Postings

TA/TM Sessional Postings
A few sessional jobs are starting to go up for the summer term on our central TA/TM/Sessional job postings site.

SFU Senate Needs Student Members
SFU's Senate is looking for student committee members. This volunteer work looks good in the Leadership section of your CV. Committees in search of grad students include the Senate Appeals Board, Senate Graduate Awards Adjudication Committee and others.

Textbook Reviewers
BCcampus is looking for grad student TAs to write reviews of open textbooks. Honorarium $250.

Mitacs Accelerate Paid Internships
Lots of internships posted here: You can also set up your own internships: Internships are paid at $15k per term.

Starfish Writers
The website is looking for volunteer environmental news writers.

Student Jobs 
We're listing student jobs on our blog

Also, many student jobs come up with very short notice, so we only have enough time to post them to the graduate students' facebook group.



Resume Tips

  • Don’t Fear the Résumé: "With both a CV and a résumé now in hand, I will be on the job hunt this year. Preparing both documents has helped me define my professional identity and figure out what sorts of positions I really want (and don’t want)."
  • 279 free resume templates (in Word)
  • NYU Tracks Exercise to help you think about your career goals

Professional Development

APEX Professional Development Program
Registrations now open for the spring intake. Upcoming information sessions:
  • December 16, 12 noon–1 pm, Burnaby Campus
  • January 6, 11 am–12 noon, Burnaby Campus
  • January 13, 10–11 am, Burnaby Campus
Info sessions are mandatory before enroll in one of the Foundations workshop (choose one):
  • January 15, 1–4 pm (Vancouver) 
  • January 20, 9 am–12 noon (Burnaby)

Mitacs Step Workshops
Free workshops, fully catered. See list of all upcoming workshops (click on BC tab). Coming to SFU Burnaby:

Online options:

Student Compassionate Community Action Network
Free 6-week program designed to equip current students with the skills to recognize signs of common mental health issues

TA/TM Day 2015
TA/TM Day will take place on Friday, January 9, 2015, 8:30 am–4 pm, Halpern Centre, Room 126, Burnaby campus. Free lunch.

HTML 500
Free HTML class for beginners, January 24 in Vancouver. Includes free lunch and a career fair. (Sold out with a 1000-person waiting list last year)

APEX Professional Development Calendar  
A full list of all professional development opportunities is updated regularly on our website. You can also add it to your personal SFU Connect calendar. Instructions are at the bottom of the page.

Asad's APEX experience

APEX Works
Worried about how you will land that first job after graduation? You don't need to be, if you do what Criminology student Asad did and create your own opportunities.
See his 2-minute video.

It's never too early to start planning your career. If you want to take Asad's advice and join the APEX Certificate program, be sure to sign for one of our upcoming information sessions (December 16, January 6, and January 13).


3 Minute Thesis Finalists 2014

3 Minute Thesis Competition Now Open for Registrations
How often do people ask you what your research is about? Participating in the 3-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition will help you develop a quick and interesting answer. There are cash prizes of up to $1000. Signups are open now for the 2015 competition to be held in February 2015.

Bonus presentation tips in the Talk nerdy to me video

Two Special Grad Courses for Spring 2015: Obedience and Disobedience: Taking Action on Climate Change and Protecting Indigenous Cultural Heritage 
All grad students can register in these special graduate courses tied to the President's Dream Colloquium. The courses feature guest speakers from around the world, and include class dinners with the speakers. Late applications accepted if there is room in the class. You can also reserve for the free public lectures. 

Women in Engineering, Science and Technology  
New website launched at SFU to help unify and connect the various clubs, organizations, and groups for women in science disciplines at SFU. Part of this initiative is the Creating Connections 4.0 conference in May 2015.

Call for Submissions: Queer U 2015
UBC grad students are inviting submissions for their conference theme of "Sowing Seeds and Setting Roots."

Events around Campus

Events around Metro Vancouver

Climate Change Colloquium

Obedience and Disobedience: Taking Action on Climate Change

Indigenous Cultural Heritage Colloquium

Protecting Indigenous Cultural Heritage

Tips and Tricks


January U-Passes Now Available
Pick up your January U-pass at the kiosks from December 8–January 20. The Saturday pickup date will be December 13. See pickup hours at all 3 campuses.

Holiday Hours for Services on Campus
We've put together a blog post with details on which campus services and restaurants will have limited hours or be closed after the exam period.

Off-Campus Access to SFU Library Databases
How to access SFU library ejournals, ebooks and databases through the SFU library's website.

Bus Pass-up Report Form 
SFU Ancillary Services is collecting information on buses that are passing you by

Criterion Films on Demand 
Over 2600 films available to stream through the SFU Library on a trial basis until December 31, 2014. The catalogue has everything from Ace Ventura to Harry Potter to X-Men.

Are you an SFU Author?
The SFU Library is looking for SFU authors of works published between January 1 and December 31 of 2014.

Contest Roundup

Reading Roundup

Want more readings? You qualify for a free subscription to University Affairs
Free Access to
All members of the SFU community have free access to through the SFU Library.

It's a great way to pick up new skills in everything from presentation skills to Photoshop to Excel to street photography and far more.




To-do of the day: Set up a Google news alert system for yourself.

Some of the items you may want to add to your personalized alerts:

  • Your name (unless it's "will smith" or "angelina jolie")
  • Your supervisor's name (with same caveat as above)
  • Specific keywords for your research topic

You can always go back and edit your alerts, so you can set it up a little more broadly now and then go back and fine-tune it later.

International Graduate Students

New Video Series: Tax Information for International Students Studying in Canada
The Canada Revenue Agency has just released a series of short videos explaining the different aspects of the Canadian tax system as it relates to international students in post-secondary institutions.

Immigration Update: Express Entry
In January 2015, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will launch a new electronic system called Express Entry to manage applications for permanent residence under certain economic immigration programs (including the Federal Skilled Worker Program and the Canadian Experience Class). Provinces and Territories will also be able to use the Express Entry system to select a portion of candidates for their Provincial Nominee Programs. (e.g. BC PNP).

Travel Tips
You already know that you will need to plan ahead for travelling home or abroad for conferences or study opportunities. We've put together a few tips and resources to help you out.


Aboriginal Graduate Students

Aboriginal Graduate Student Stipend for Academic Conference Attendance and Presentation  
Offered on a first come/first applied for basis by the Office of Aboriginal Peoples, this award supports travel to an academic conference

Graduate Students in the News

Students hand out DTES care packages
Carmen Giang started with the program in high school and remains involved as an organizer while pursuing a master’s degree at Simon Fraser University.

Health sciences students help narrow knowledge gap in AIDS research
A chapter contribution to the Encyclopedia of AIDS by two Simon Fraser University graduate students is helping researchers to expand their knowledge on HIV/AIDS.

Pop-Up Library Project in New Westminster
Alexa Bennett Fox (master's in Education) spoke at the New West Pecha Kucha event on her Pop-Up Library Project.

A day in the life of an SFU/CUC double MA graduate student in Beijing
Born in China, Lyne Sitong Lin grew up in Poland and moved to Canada to attend university

In Search of Story Ideas
SFU Communications would love to get story ideas from graduate students for SFU News. If you have research or a story that would be of interest to the general public, please email Diane Luckow or Carol Thorbes.

Dates and Deadlines

Academic Deadlines

  • December 14: If you are a current TA and want to pay to extend your TSSU medical insurance for up to two terms, application forms are due by the end of the term.
  • December 25, 2014–January 1, 2015: University is closed
  • Friday, January 2: University reopens
  • Tuesday, January 6, 2015: Classes begin in the spring term 
  • Friday, January 9: TA/TM Day and the deadline for submitting a U-Pass BC Exemption request for Spring 2015 (Note: Students taking a course at UBC under the Western Deans' Agreement will be charged for two U-Passes BC if they don't submit an exemption request.)

More dates and deadlines:   

Graduate Student Vacation Policy
See the Graduate Student Handbook, page 10.



Grad Students Facebook Group
Advice and support, movies, free food — plus last-minute job postings and awards alerts: 
(SFU email ID required to join)