Twins graduate together from School of Engineering Science

October 03, 2023

By Ray Sharma

Twins Basil and Joanna Giannopoulos have shared many experiences and aspirations, so their decision to study the same subject at the same university came as no surprise. The siblings will celebrate the completion of their undergraduate degrees together during SFU’s fall convocation ceremony on October 5 and become new alumni of SFU’s School of Engineering Science (ENSC)

The Engineering Science program provided the twins an opportunity to engage in SFU’s innovative research community and gain relevant practical experience through the co-op program. “The direct, positive impact that engineering can have on our world is what really drew me to engineering,” says Basil, while Joanna adds, “Engineering was a unique opportunity to combine my creative and analytical skills.”

The twins, born and raised in Coquitlam, fostered their sense of curiosity about the world, nature, and how things work from a young age. The two share a “there’s got to be a better way to make this happen” attitude that has motivated them throughout their degree.

During their first year as SFU students, Basil and Joanna joined the university’s Satellite Design Team, where Joanna discovered a passion for radio communications, becoming well versed in the field and eventually taking on the role of club president. “Having Basil there with me certainly made me feel more comfortable to join in the first place,” says Joanna. 

The duo went on to collaborate on their capstone project, where they built a ground penetrating radar, seeking to conduct sub-surface imaging to monitor ground water levels over extended time periods. 

Basil, a 2017 Schulich Leader, also became a member of SFU’s Building Design Team, a multi-disciplinary club aimed to design net-zero emissions buildings to compete in the US Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon. They also provide technical support to the Indigenous Tutoring and Mentoring Program (ITMP).

The twins are now aiming for careers in engineering while simultaneously seeking further educational opportunities. 

Basil has begun their master’s program at SFU, working alongside professor Bonnie Gray to develop non-invasive bio-monitoring technology, while Joanna is seeking job opportunities in the aerospace field and considering the possibility of travelling internationally to build on her professional experience. 

“We worked very hard to ensure we would graduate at the same time,” says Joanna. 

Adds Basil: “I’m glad that we’ll be able to walk across the stage together. Having the opportunity to experience our time as undergraduate students together means so much to us.”