Just after the sunset at Burnaby Lake, by Poovanna Cheppudira, PhD candidate in Mechatronics. See more of his beautiful photos.

Tips and Tricks

April Update for Graduate Students

April 01, 2016

As always in our monthly update, we have awards, lots of jobs (summer TA/TM/Sessional jobs are being posted) and so many other opportunities for grad students.

Awards and Funding

Accepting your CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC Award
CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC and Vanier will be notifying students of the competition results during April and May. Visit our website for the steps required to activate and accept your award.

SFU Social Innovation Seed Funding
Are you an SFU student working on a radical idea with social or environmental impact at its core? Need up to $1000 in seed funding to get it off the ground? Next application deadline is April 5.

External Awards

External Awards with No Deadline

BCIC Ignite
BCIC Ignite provides funding to accelerate commercialization of new technologies and innovations in the natural resources and applied sciences in British Columbia. The program provides awards of up to $300,000 to consortia that are conducting research leading to commercializable projects that address a significant demonstrated problem faced by industry.

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

See our Spring Awards Timeline page.


Bonus tip: Keep a running list of awards that you can apply for in your personal calendar. Even if you've missed this year's deadline, it will probably come up again next year and then you'll have more time to get your application in.

Job and Volunteer Postings

TA / TM / Sessional Job Postings for the Summer term
Jobs are starting to get posted for the Summer 2016 term. (If you're relatively new to SFU, please note that there are far fewer courses offered in the summer term than in the fall and spring terms, which means that there will be fewer teaching positions.)

Mitacs Business Development Officer
This new position will be based at Simon Fraser University — see full job posting.

Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre
Teaching assistant applications open soon for the fall term. Other jobs also available.

Summer Student Jobs
Students who are looking for on-campus jobs in the summer term should begin looking now, as many of the hirings are done in late March and early April. We've created a roundup blog post to help you out.

SFU Temp Pool and Student Temp Pool
SFU's Temp Pool and Student Temp Pool provide employment opportunities for SFU students. See also all SFU job postings, updated every Tuesday and Thursday.

Federal Student Work Experience Program
Wide variety of student jobs in the Government of Canada, from computer programming to student guides to rescue boat service and more. Must be a full time student; international students may apply but "preference will be given to Canadian citizens who meet the job requirements."

Jobs Roundup

Human Rights Policy Board needs grad student member
SFU's Human Rights Policy Board presently has one vacant membership position, to be filled by a graduate student. Time commitment is a 2-hour meeting per semester, and this position looks really good on your CV if this is related to your research area. If you're interested, please email Abhishek Nanjundappa at ur@sfugradsociety.ca

International Student Mentors Needed
Become a graduate mentor or team leader with the International Mentorship Program! Applications are open now through myInvolvement. (You do not have to be an international student.)

Volunteer Roundup

Mitacs Accelerate Paid Internships
Many internships posted here: https://www.mitacs.ca/en/programs/accelerate/internship-postings. You can also set up your own internship, paid at $10–15k per term. (Recording of info session available.)

SFU Student Ambassador Volunteers
SFU's Student Ambassador Program is open for applications from students. Ambassadors get a few perks in return for short-term volunteer work.


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

Professional Development

Software Carpentry Workshops
SFU will be holding several 1/2 day workshops as part of Titus Brown's Data Intensive Biology (DIB) Training program. All are welcome to participate, regardless of discipline or training level.

  • R Markdown taught remotely by Marian Schmidt (U. Michigan) on May 11, 2016
  • Open Science taught locally by Bruno Grande (SFU) on June 13, 2016

Vancouver Institute for Visual Analytics Student Workshops
A $25 membership gets you into a free 8-week student workshop series.

Research Commons Space 
The Research Commons is a spacious working area in the Bennett Library (7th floor), where graduate students can work on their research and writing in the company of other graduate students. (Link for door code.)

  • The W.A.C. Bennett Library at the Burnaby Campus will be open 24 hours every day from now until Saturday April 23, 10 pm. This includes the Research Commons space.
Research Commons Workshops

Consortium for the Advancement of Research Methods and Analysis Video Library
Topics range from Estimating Interaction Effects Using Multiple Regression to Statistical Analysis with Big Data. Access through SFU Library databases until August 31 — your feedback on the usefulness of this video library is requested to determine whether the library will keep it.

Mitacs Step Workshops
Mitacs workshops are in high demand among students in all disciplines. They are free one and two-day intensive training for grad students and postdoctoral fellows, fully catered.

Also, you can attend any session that Mitacs offers in BC — not only the ones held at SFU. See list of all upcoming workshops & register (click on BC tab). Note that Mitacs workshops are open to graduated grad students for two years after graduation.

Instructional Skills Workshops. This three-day workshop is geared toward instructors, staff and graduate students in an instructional role who wish to strengthen their teaching skills. Two sessions are available.

Session 1: April 20-22 (Register and more info here)
Session 2: April 25-27 (Register and more info here)
Time: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
Location: Blusson Hall 10021, Burnaby campus

APEX: Academic Career Search with Elizabeth Elle
Are you pursuing a career in academia? Looking for tips and guidance on how to set yourself apart? April 20, 12:00–1:30 pm. Register at myInvolvement

APEX Online Presence
April 5, 10:30-12:30pm, Burnaby campus. Register on myinvolvement.sfu.ca.

APEX Knowledge Translation Series
Getting ready to present at a conference or talk this spring? These sessions will help you prepare to engage multi-disciplinary audiences, including the media! 

APEX Certificate Program
This program is free for all grad students and info sessions are no longer required! This program will help you:

  • Make plans to support your long term career goals while in grad school
  • Build your professional network 
  • Improve your career documentation
  • Build confidence in your knowledge, skills and abilities.  

Read about how to get started here.

Passport to Leadership
Passport to Leadership is a series of six interactive workshops that introduce a broad range of relevant leadership topics that will help you discover your own leadership potential. Starts May 30. Cost $75.


Advanced Professional Engagement & eXploration (APEX) Calendar  
A calendar of all professional development opportunities open to graduate students at SFU--all in one place!

You can also add it to your personal SFU Connect calendar. (Instructions are at the bottom of the page.)


Just announced: Over $13.9M is going towards cutting-edge health and life sciences research at Simon Fraser University

SFU Health Research Day 2016
If you would like to get involved in health research at SFU, please attend SFU Health Research Day.

  • Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows are also invited to present a poster on their work related to health research — two cash prizes of $200 each for a Master's student and a PhD student or post-doctoral fellow. Poster registration deadline is April 8.
  • Newly formed research collaborations will have the opportunity to apply for a $5,000 development grant from the SFU Office of the Vice-President, Research.

SFU Scientific Programming Study Group
Weekly meetings for peer-facilitated study-sessions on topics from Python for DNA sequence analysis, plotting and statistical analysis of environmental data in R, automating repetitive tasks with the shell, general best practices in coding, using tools such as Git and Github to collaborate effectively with others, and much much more.

Edward Snowden: Big Data, Security, and Human Rights
On April 5, Edward Snowden will join Metro Vancouverites for a conversation live via web-link about the power, promise and peril of big data. The event is sold out but due to overwhelming demand, SFU Public Square will live-stream the talk

Puppy Therapy

Watch for Puppy Therapy at SFU Surrey on April 5 and SFU Vancouver on April 8.

Events around Campus (See even more listings)

Events around Vancouver


Tips and Tricks


Degree Completion this Term?
If you think you will be completing your degree this term, please go ahead and Apply to Graduate.

SFU's Convocation ceremonies take place in June. It doesn't cost any anything for you to apply, and if you don't complete your degree requirements, we just cancel the application, and you can re-apply in the future. (It's much trickier to add you to the graduation list after the graduation application deadline.)

Food for Fines at SFU Library
The SFU Library is running a "Food for Fines" campaign at all three campuses from Monday, March 28–Monday, April 18, 2016. All donated food goes to the local Food Bank. A $2 fine waiver will be applied for each item donated to a maximum of $30 (15 items)


SFU Residences Moves Downtown
The Vancouver Graduate Residence is for grad students only, and opens in June 2016. Applications to move in open now. Located by SFU Woodward's (see google map).

Lockable Private Study Rooms in Burnaby Library
Lockable private study rooms at the SFU Library, Burnaby campus, are now reservable for the summer term. This is for students who have completed all requirements except for writing the thesis. Apply by April 7.

CRABE Lab Pays for Research Subjects
Students are invited to sign up online. Participants receive $7 for arriving on time to the session and an additional payment (usually around $15-20/hour) that depends on the decisions they make.

Research Study Needs Flight Attendants
Stephanie Wong is doing a study for understanding the workpractices of flight attendants who are either working in Canada or any international airlines. Gift cards of $30 are available. Contact Stephanie at swa163@sfu.ca.

Open Letter from Canadian Post-Secondary Students Calling for Effective Climate Action
Embark SFU needs your signatures.

Online Resilience Course for Grad students
Resilience is a survival skill, and there's a free course on Canvas on Bouncing Back as a Graduate Student: Building Resilience and Supporting Your Well-being.

Free access to Lynda.com
All current students, staff, and faculty have free access to Lynda.com through the SFU Library.

Free Microsoft Office
All SFU students can install Microsoft Office for free. (Adobe Creative Suite is also available for university-owned computers — could work for labs.)

Confirmation of Enrollment Request
If you need a confirmation of enrollment letter, you can do it yourself through GoSFU.

Open Access Fund
If you're publishing in an Open Access journal, the SFU Library has an Open Access Fund that graduate students can access.

BCIC-New Ventures competition
The BCIC-New Ventures competition is now open for registrations from early-stage companies. Also significant for our not-quite-ready entrepreneurs — they have a great seminar series that is FREE to students.

Contest Roundup

Reading Roundup

Want More Academic Readings?
If you're planning a career in academia, you're eligible for a free subscription to University Affairs. They're also looking for articles by students for their student voices section — Submit your idea to editor@univcan.ca.


Leaves for Graduate Students
Two significant regulation changes for graduate student leaves are now in effect:

  • graduate students in a per unit fee program need to be continuously enrolled unless they have been granted a leave of absence (nothing has changed for graduate students in per-term fee programs)
  • two new categories of leave have been created (personal leave, academic break) and the leave of absence fee has been eliminated for all types of leave

For more details on these changes, please read Graduate General Regulations 1.4.3 and 1.8.4 and see more details and forms at our website.

International Graduate Students

Tax Information for International Students Studying in Canada: Video Series
The Canada Revenue Agency has 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.

BCNP Introduces new Skilled Immigration Program 
The province of British Columbia has launched a new intake system for the Provincial Nominee Program. Go here to learn more.

In-person International Advising Now Available in Vancouver and Surrey  
International Services for Students is now offering in-person appointments with their International Student Advisors at the SFU Vancouver and Surrey campuses. Go here to book your appointment and find more information.

EAL/ESL Support Services for Graduate Students 
If English is not your first language and you would like to improve your written and spoken proficiency, CELLTR has put together a roundup of free support services available at SFU.

New Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)
Canada has a new entry requirement ( eTA ) for foreigners traveling to Canada by air. This entry requirement became mandatory on March 15, 2016. Find out more about the eTA here.  If you are a U.S. citizen or you currently hold a valid Temporary Resident Visa (entry visa), you will be exempt from this new eTA entry requirement.

Recommended Reading
Western Guide to Mentoring Graduate Students Across Cultures (pdf download). This guide can help you navigate a lot of common communication issues based on cultural assumptions.




Indigenous Graduate Students Feasting our Ancestors with Guest Dr. Ethel Gardner (a Stó:lō member of the Skwah First Nation)
Food provided by Cedar Feast House Catering. Indigenous Student Center, April 21, 5-7 pm. Please RSVP to rupertr@sfu.ca by April 19th

Drumming at Images Theatre
Thursdays, 3–4:30 pm. Will move to be outside Indigenous Students Centre during sunny days. Contact rupertr@sfu.ca with any questions

International Indigenous Leadership Gathering (IILG)
The St’át’imc Chiefs’ Council (SCC) will once again host the 8th Annual International Indigenous Leadership Gathering on June 2 to June 5, 2016 in Lillooet, BC. If you are interested in going this year please contact rupertr@sfu.ca for more information.  


Graduate Students in the News

Congratulations to Dan Peach and Teresa Ramirez for winning the 2016 3 Minute Thesis competition. Dan will be representing SFU in the Western Regional competition in April.

Data on Canada’s housing market are fine, but we need action now
Anjum Mutakabbir co-wrote a Globe & Mail editorial on housing prices, with a policy proposal.

Experiencing bike culture shock in Groningen: "The World's Cycling City"
Robert Prey completed his PhD last year and moved to Groningen for a tenure-track job — he was interviewed about his bike culture shock.

Kyle Bobiwash: PhD candidate wins Aboriginal Student Award to pursue pollination research
PhD candidate Kyle Bobiwash is one of 25 Aboriginal students who received the 2015 Irving K. Barber Aboriginal Student Graduate Award. 

Meet the co-op students leading the charge in big data
SFU interviewed Gurpreet Bajwa, Colin Dyck, and Bita Shadgar about their experiences in the Big Data master's program.

SFU President recognizes sustainability champions
Urban Studies master's student Wes Regan just won a Sustainability Champion award from SFU.

Airbnb's explosion has Vancouver neighbourhoods on edge
Karen Sawatzky has been gathering data on Airbnb for her master’s thesis in urban studies at SFU, and her research suggests a 63-per-cent increase in the number of Airbnb listings in Vancouver between November 2014 and December 2015.

Questions remain around doctor-assisted death
Catherine Shaffer, Psychology PhD, was on News1130 on her research into physician-assisted suicide for the mentally ill.

SFU students aim to bring green technology to Big Oil
Paran Sarma and Daivik Mehta are two PhD students from India immersed in fuel cell research and study at Simon Fraser University’s Surrey campus.

From Student to CEO
Benjamin Britton's been profiled on the Faculty of Science's website for his work as a PhD student and as an entrepreneur who was this year's winner of the Coast Capital Savings Venture Prize competition.

Beedie duo named on BC Business 30 Under 30 list
Bryan Gallagher completed his PhD last year and made it to BC Business' 30 Under 30 list this year.

How Simon Fraser is training a generation of Aboriginal MBAs
Canadian Business interviewed inaugural alumni David Jimmie, chief of Squiala First Nation, and Sheryl Fisher-Rivers.

SFU Public Policy student team wins back-to-back national championships
Winning team members were Eric Bing, Hope Caldi, Sarah Griffiths and Sandy Lee.

In Memoriam: Dr. Hilal Ozcetin
The Department of Sociology and Anthropology is honoured to have had Dr. Hilal Ozcetin as a student. She showed an amazing will to succeed, and we are grateful for her passion, hard work, and dedication both as a student and as a teacher. Hilal enlightened and inspired countless undergraduate students and was a model for a new generation of teaching assistants and future instructors. 



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