Tips and Tricks

June Update for Graduate Students

June 01, 2016

Don't forget to apply by June 8 for over $1 million in SFU private awards for graduate students. 

Awards and Funding

SFU Private Awards 2016 Competition
Due in large part to the generosity of our donors, Simon Fraser University can offer over $1 million in private or endowed awards to our graduate students. Check the list of private awards (pdf) for the scholarships available.

  • Make sure that you review the Terms of Reference for your chosen awards carefully as this will indicate the eligibility criteria and the list of documents required with your online application.
  • June 8 is normally the deadline to submit your application online on the new Graduate Awards, Application and Adjudication system(GA3). Check GA3 to see if your department has set an earlier application deadline date. If you cannot find an award on GA3, then that award may not be available this year, or your department may not have opened up the competition to their students. Make sure that you apply to the correct Department or your application may not be considered.
  • GA3 tip: Add "Dean of Graduate Studies" or "Centre" as a department in your search to see awards that are available university-wide.
  • Questions should be directed to your graduate program assistant (if it's a department-specific award) or to

Grad Student Society Grants 
Professional Development Grants
of $500 for travel occurring between August 1 and November 30, apply by July 4.

President's Dream Colloquium
Up to $25k funding for SFU faculty members to organize a graduate course and lecture series. Proposals due by June 15.

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.

External Awards

External Awards with No Deadline

SFU Alumni Awards
The Alumni Association invites you to nominate candidates for the SFU Outstanding Alumni Awards.

SFU Staff Achievement Awards
Has an SFU staffer gone out of the way to help you out? Nominations are now open for Staff Achievement Awards. Deadline is Monday, September 19, 2016.

SFU International Engagement Fund
SFU's International Engagement Fund is intended as seed money to initiate and support international collaborative programming and research, particularly work focused in SFU's identified global regions of priority. Maximum funding available is $5,000 per proposal. October 4 deadline.

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

See our Summer 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

Local Economic Development Lab Internships
The LEDlab is looking for five talented, dynamic, curious, and driven graduate students who want to create positive social change in the downtown eastside. Paid internships, $20k for 8 months starting in September. Apply by June 12.

TA / TM / Sessional Job Postings for the Fall term
New in the TSSU contract: TA/TM jobs for the Fall 2016 term will be posted from July 11–25.

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.

Jobs Roundup

Volunteer 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

Mitacs Accelerate Paid Internships
Many internships posted here: 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.  

See also the Fall 2016 Jobs Roundup — many jobs will be added through the summer months.

Professional Development

Mitacs Workshops
Mitacs offers free intensive skill-building workshops for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, facilitated by external experts. These are highly recommended by other grad students and in high demand:

 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.

Research Commons
Lots of free workshops scheduled for this summer. Sample titles:

Are you a grad student AND a parent?
The Grad Writing Facilitators in the Research Commons are looking for ways to make it easier for grad student parents to access the writing services at SFU. Please send an email to Renee McCallum at for more information.

Addressing the Elephant in the Room: Grad Student Publication
Graduate students are always encouraged to publish but often without really knowing what that means or how to start. Free workshop, June 8, 3–4 pm, Harbour Centre.
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.)

Graduate Open Writing Labs
A quiet, dedicated writing space with a graduate writing facilitator available for consultations and to answer questions. See full list of writing services.

  • NEW: Surrey campus: Tuesdays, 12 noon–3 pm, SFU Surrey, Fraser Library, Rm 3695
  • Harbour Centre: Thursdays, 3:30–6:30 pm and Fridays, 10:30 am to 2 pm, HC 7400.
  • Burnaby: Mondays, 1:30–4:30 pm, Bennett Library, Research Commons, Rm 7000

Advanced Professional Engagement & eXploration (APEX)
APEX offers a suite of skill-building workshops and seminars, free for SFU grad students & postdocs. Read more and register for these using myInvolvement.

  • Crafting your Resume: Monday, June 20, 9:30–11:30 am, Harbour Centre
  • Professional Photo Shoot: Thursday, June 23, 10:30 am–12:30 pm, Burnaby 
  • Careers within & without the Academy: Monday, June 27, 11 am–12:30 pm, Burnaby 
  • Mock Interviews: July 14, 1:30–3:30 pm,  Burnaby 

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

  • Identify your long term career goals 
  • Build your professional network 
  • Improve your career documentation
  • Build confidence in your knowledge, skills and abilities.  

Read about how to get started in the program. 


Careers Within and Without the Academy
Join Dr. Catherine Salmon (psychology) and Dr. Dhavide Aruliah (mathematics) as they discuss their perspectives on the tenure track, pursuing postdoctoral work, and alternatives to working in research-intensive universities. Monday, June 27, 11 am–12:30 pm, LIB 2020. Please RSVP using myInvolvement. 

Edward Tufte Workshops in Seattle
Edward Tufte arguably founded modern infographics, and he's doing a course in Seattle, July 25 or 26. Fee is $220 US for students and postdocs (normal fee is $420), and includes all 4 of his books.

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.

Online Courses

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.

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.)


President's Dream Colloquium on Returning to the Teachings
You are invited to join us for an exciting speaker series and graduate course that will explore justice, identity and belonging in the context of Education for Reconciliation. Speakers include Chief Robert Joseph, Wab Kinew, John Borrows, Wade Davis and Dr. Manulani Aluli-Meyer. Graduate students registered within the Program will receive training as Reconciliation Ambassadors through Reconciliation Canada, over consecutive weeks.
Applications for the graduate course open now.

SFU Educator Talks
Part social event, part idea exhibition, SFU Educator Talks is not a typical conference. Come talk pedagogy with us! June 2, 6–9 pm, New West River Market

Human Behavior and Evolution Society Conference
Will be held in Vancouver this year, June 29–July 2, and the organizers are looking for student volunteers, who will get free registration in exchange for 4–6 hours per day. To volunteer, email Laura Dane,

Frontiers in Biophysics Conference
Taking place at SFU Burnaby, June 4. Dr Adam Cohen, Harvard University, will be delivering the keynote on "Bringing Bioelectricity to Light". Abstract submissions due May 11 for talks and May 20 for posters. Contact is Lavisha Jindal, PhD candidate in Physics.

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.

Events around Campus (See even more listings)

Events around Metro Vancouver




Convocation Dialogue
Please join us for a conversation with Mary-Ellen Turpel-Lafond and Izzeldin Abuelaish, Thursday, June 9, 2019, 4:30–6:00 pm.



Return of the Food Trucks
Food trucks coming back to SFU Burnaby on Wednesdays this summer.


Tips and Tricks

The Next Big Thing
The Next Big Thing entrepreneurship fellowship from Hootsuite's founder. Applicants must be under 25. Apply by June 30. (See also BCIC's roundup of funding sources for entrepreneurs.)

Health & Counselling Services
A compiled list of sexual assault support services at SFU.

Graduate Caucus Funding
Did you know that every graduate caucus gets money to spend on almost anything that benefits the grad students in your department? (See the Caucus Funding Spreadsheet for funds available to you for the rest of this fiscal year.)

Think Before You Appropriate
A new guide advises on ethical use of indigenous cultural heritage.

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
All current students, staff, and faculty have free access to 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.

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


Professional Photo Shoot
Free professional photos for graduate students and postdocs, June 23, 10:30 am–12:30 pm. Reservations required.

Transit Fare Review
Translink is looking for your feedback on how to structure transit fares.

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.




Drumming at Images Theatre
Thursdays, 3–4:30 pm. Will move to be outside Indigenous Students Centre during sunny days. Contact 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 for more information.

IndSpire Awards
Scholarships for Canadian First Nation, Inuit, and Métis students: Indspire Applications are due today, June 1, or review the requirements now for their November 1 deadline.

New Relationship Trust has opened up applications for their university scholarships
The New Relationship Trust Foundation and BC First Nations communities realize the importance of education. Interested and eligible BC First Nation students are encouraged to apply for the NRT Foundation Post-Secondary Scholarship Awards. Deadline: June 9



The Art of Reconciliation
Event at the Vancouver Public Library, June 20, 6–8:30 pm. Graduate student Michelle Sylliboy is one of the performers.

Graduate Students in the News

Could you outrun a 600kg goanna?
Taylor Dick, Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology PhD student, worked on reconstructing a prehistoric 600k dragon and her work was featured in an Australian newspaper.

Broken Links: Material rebuilding after a disaster needs to go hand in hand with the revamping of social and political arrangements
Bicram Rijal
 had an editorial published in the Kathmandu Post about rebuilding in Nepal after their earthquake. If any other grad students are working on Nepalese issues, Bicram would love to hear from you.

Farshid Bagheri
 and his prof need your vote — their Watergenics company is in a BC TIA competition.

Grizzly kills don't reduce human-bear conflicts, B.C. study finds
Kyle Artelle's doctoral research was featured in the Vancouver Sun.

Convocation Medal Winners 2016
Congratulations to our top graduate students of 2015–16!

Governor General’s Gold Medals

Dean of Graduate Studies Convocation Medals

Charting the landscape of language support at Canadian universities, and beyond
CELLTR affiliated graduate student researchers Mohsen Moghaddam (Languages, Cultures and Literacies PhD program, Faculty of Education) and Christine Pan (Teaching English as an Additional Language MEd program, Faculty of Education), and Caitlin Stiles (SFU Student Services) conducted a review of approaches to English language teaching and student support at 18 Canadian universities.

A Day in the Life of a Graduate Student
Thanks to Dan PeachAlexandra KitsonAmanmeet Garg and Leah Kelley for sharing a sneak peek into their typical days. (If you'd like to be added to this series, and give advice to incoming students, please email

Dean of Graduate Studies Awards for Excellence Winners

Award for Excellence in Graduate Supervision

  • Eric Beauregard, Criminology
  • Suzana Dragicevic, Geography
  • Danny Leznoff, Chemistry

Award for Leadership

  • Richard Zhang, Computing Science

Award for Service

  • Catherine Louie, Library


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

Follow us on Twitter: @SFU_GradStudies