Graduate Student Awards

James Dean Award

For best PhD second year ECON 900 paper. 

2015: Xiaowen Lei and Michael Tseng

Xiaowen Lei

I am interested in macroeconomics.  My main focus lies in understanding the implication of information choice in the evolution of wealth distribution in financial markets,  both theoretically and empirically. I am also interested in optimal timing and time inconsistency problems in monetary  economics,  and methods in solving continuous time heterogeneous agent models.

The best part about my PhD program is the freedom to explore my own research interests rather than being tied down to specific projects or doctrine. I am very indebted to Professor Kenneth Kasa whose great intellect and character has influenced his students and myself throughout my graduate degree and, most likely, my academic career.

Michael Tseng

I am a 4th year PhD student. My research interests are econometrics and financial economics --- in particular market microstructure. In my free time,
I play basketball and try to re-discover my piano skills. In accepting the award, I would like to acknowledge my advisor Prof. Ramazan Gençay and my classmate and coauthor Xiaowen Lei.

Richard G. Lipsey Award Winners

For the continuing PhD student with the best comprehensive exam results at the end of their first year (macro/micro).

2016: Zijian Wang

"What I love about economics is that through its abstract tools we understand and improve people's everyday life."

Previous Richard G. Lipsey Award Winners

2015: Garrett M.  Petersen and Meiyu Li

Garrett M. Petersen

Garrett M. Petersen is an economics enthusiast inside and outside the academy. In addition to his studies at SFU, he hosts the “Economics Detective” blog and podcast. He earned his M.A. at Queen’s University in 2013 with a Master’s essay on the economics of education. In 2014, he entered the PhD program at Simon Fraser University. He plans on conducting more research on the economics of education, as well as on the economics of migration and macroeconomics. After completing his PhD, he hopes to continue doing research and teaching.

Meiyu Li 

Meiyu Li is a current PhD student and her research interest is econometrics.

2014: Yaser Sattari

Yaser Sattari’s fascination with economics intuition and different applications of mathematics developed his interest in economics. After completing his undergraduate degree, he continued his studies with an MA in Economics at Allameh Tabatabai University, Iran. In 2012, Yaser came to SFU to study in the graduate program and he is currently in the PhD program. His research interests include macroeconomic theory and applied econometrics. Yaser plans to continue to conduct research and teach after he graduates with his PhD.

2013: Xiaowen Lei

"When I was a little girl, I always thought that I would be a pianist. So when I started my Bachelor of Economics in Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 2007, I wasn’t that passionate about economics, until one day I found it powerful. Economics could have something to say on almost every social issues happening in our real life.

  In 2011, I came to SFU as a master student and stayed here as a PhD student. My research interest lies in Macroeconomics and Asset pricing, especially the role of financial market on wealth inequality."

2012: Feng Gao

2011: Tenzin Yindok (pictured above left)

2010: Daniele Signori

Herbert G. Grubel Award Winners

For the graduating MA student with the highest CGPA obtained in the MA required courses during the preceding Fall and Spring semesters.

2016: Katherine Ryan

In the last year, I’ve learned as much about myself as I have about economics. The friendships I’ve made, the incredible mentorship I’ve received and the endless support of my friends and family have been invaluable. I feel incredibly fortunate and grateful for these gifts. Going forward, all I really want is to help people. I know that my experience at SFU will help in achieving that.

Previous Herbert G. Grubel Award Winners

2015: Zijian Wang

"What I love about economics is that through its abstract tools we understand and improve people's everyday life."

2014: Meiyu Li

"Work hard, play hard. Life is full of surprises. Greet everyday with a heart of gratitude."

2013: Johannes Strobel

After finishing school, Johannes worked as a paramedic to fulfill his civil service obligation in Germany. Once he finished his civil obligation, Johannes graduated with a BSc in Economics with focus on Middle and Eastern Europe at the University of Regensburg and St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University. After that, he started a Master’s program at the University of Regensburg. During this time, he was given the opportunity to enter the MA program at SFU. Upon completion of his MA at SFU, he intends to finish his studies in Regensburg and then pursue a PhD with a research focus on macroeconomics and econometrics.

2012: Jing Wang (pictured above right)

2011: Qianzheng Wang

2010: Meijie Jin

Peter Kennedy Memorial Graduate Fellowship

For the outstanding graduate student who has demonstrated academic and teaching excellence

2016: Xiao (Christy) Yu  

"I traveled halfway around the globe to Canada to take pre-university courses when I was eighteen. About ten years later, I am now the mother of a 2-year old girl who was born in Canada, and a Ph.D. candidate in Economics at Simon Fraser University. My research interests are in the areas of financial economics and applied econometrics. I am deeply grateful to Professor Peter Kennedy and his family for their kindness and generosity."

Previous Peter Kennedy Memorial Graduate Fellowship Winners

2015: Reza Sattari

"I didn’t have a chance to meet Peter Kennedy in person, but "A Guide to Econometrics" played a very important role in my growing interest in econometrics.

 Being at Simon Fraser University provided the opportunity to join the Center for Education and Research Policy and work closely under supervision of Jane Friesen, Brian Krauth and Chris Muris. I sure learned a lot from them and would like to seize the opportunity to thank them. "

2014: Edouard Djeutem

Edouard Djeutem joined the Department of Economics in Fall 2010 as a Master student and then continued in the PhD program.  Prior to coming to SFU, he studied economics at Economics School of Louvain in Belgium. He grew up in Cameroon where he received B.Eng in statistics from ISSEA (Institut Sous Regional de Statistique et d’Economie Appliquée, Yaounde). His research interests are in the areas of International Finance and trade, Model Uncertainty (Robustness), Econometrics, Computational/quantative economics.

2013 Winner: Nick Dadson

Nick has been a graduate student with the department since 2007. After completing the MA in Economics in 2008, he has been in the PhD program ever since. His research interests are applied econometrics, trade and urban economics.

2012: Daniele Signori

Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award

Good teaching is vital to the mission of a good university. Knowledge produced by countless researchers would be of little use if it were not communicated effectively to each new generation of students. Every year SFU Economics enlists a brilliant group of Teaching Assistants who are vital to supporting our students and faculty. Annually we recognize those who have distinguished themselves.

"As a teaching assistant, I try to make my tutorials a valuable learning experience for my students by setting out the solution to problems rigorously and by providing explanations with practical examples. I strive to engage students to take a more active role in the classroom, which allows me to assess their level and struggles so that I can tailor the tutorials to their needs."

Previous Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award Winners

2016: Peter W. Nelson

A big thanks to my mother and father for their immeasurable contributions to my education, and also to many wonderful faculty at the University of Lethbridge and SFU for showing me firsthand what excellent teaching is.

2015: Duman Bahrami-Rad

"I simply enjoy sharing what I know with students."

2015: Reza Sattari

2014: Aidin Hajikhameneh

"I have always thought of my tutorials as a place that students could easily relate their thoughts and ask questions. To create such an environment, first, I try to connect with the students so they feel comfortable in the tutorials. Second, I prepare fully so that I convey the concepts in the simplest way."

2014: Caleb Kwon


"I dedicate this award to my father who taught me the importance of discipline and my mother who taught me the importance of enthusiasm.”

2013: Xiao (Christy) Yu


"Love life, share knowledge, embrace challenges, and enjoy Economics!"

2012 AND 2011 Winner: Lucia Chung

"To me, being a Teaching Assistant and being good at it was as important as doing well in the Masters program. I simply tried to be the kind of TA that I really wanted to have when I was an undergrad at UBC: a TA who listens, communicates, goes that extra mile and supports students without thinking about how many hours of my time are being spent. I also wanted the students to know that Economics can be fun and applicable, rather than some unrealistic theory out of a textbook. I would like to say a big Thank-You to all of my students for their encouragement to continue what I do!"

2010 Winner: Nick Dadson (co-winner with Leon Cheung)

"I put a lot of work into each tutorial, trying to anticipate questions and concerns that students will have in understanding material. It definitely takes more time in preparation, but I feel I get more out of each tutorial that way. Directly, I learn more about the fundamentals and applications of economics in courses I didn’t get a chance to take. Indirectly, the better students understand material the more they share and teach me different perspectives to see problems."

2009 Winner: Kyle Gray

An SFU graduate himself, Kyle understood that students need time to understand fundamental concepts that lay the groundwork for future Economics courses. He described his teaching experience as "trying to connect with the students and understand their concerns". Keeping this in mind he always took the time to explain course material and offered support during and after office hours. Kyle completed his MA in Economics and accepted a job with the Department of Finance in Ottawa. Kyle described his SFU-Economics experience as a "great learning environment and a department that has a tremendous faculty".

2008 Co-Winner: Beijing Mu

Ms. Mu summarized the experience as being not only about "giving but also about receiving". She emphasized that she would try her “best to instruct students to think about the logic behind each problem instead of simply showing the solutions”. The response she has received from students has been positive as they have made the connection to apply this methodology based on logic “to deal with other problems”. The legacy of her TAship has given her “interesting yet meaningful memories” which in her words will give her “guidance through life."

2008 Co-Winner: Seong Jun Choi

Teaching for Mr. Choi has been a "unique and excellent experience. Everything happening in the classroom was exciting and challenging for me; meeting and interacting with people from different cultures, standing in front of the class, and even, speaking English to a group of students”. Jun focused on building relationships with the students as a person who just had more experience in that “I never thought of myself more than just their friend, but just learned economics earlier than them”. Jun would like to express his thanks to all especially to the “professors who gave me great help”.