From Top Row, L-R: Caralyn Vossen, Samantha Culos, Samer Rihani, Grace Kim, and Cassandra Mah

2020 FHS Convocation Award Recipients

June 12, 2020

FHS Award for Outstanding Community Service: Samer Rihani

During his time at SFU, Samer Rihani’s favourite Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) experience came from hands-on learning in many of his upper-division courses. He met incredible and animated professors in FHS who not only love teaching but do it in a way that makes it engaging and truly aims to change how students look at the world. Outside of his classes, he was involved with the SFU Blood, Organ, & Stem Cell Club, the SFU Red Cross Club, and was elected as VP Student Services of the Simon Fraser Student Society. These experiences helped him apply his FHS education and explore new avenues to make a meaningful difference - both within SFU and in his community. Now graduated, he hopes to pursue a career in Dentistry and apply his SFU experience to make a difference as vast as possible.

FHS Award for Citizenship and Exemplary Academic Performance: Caralyn Vossen

Caralyn Vossen’s undergraduate career at Simon Fraser University has been an unforgettable experience. She is grateful to her professors, instructors, friends and family for supporting her throughout. During her five years at SFU, she had the opportunity to complete a co-operative degree. Moving between co-op work semesters and academic semesters enhanced her education immensely, providing her with well-rounded knowledge and developing her passion for public health. Vossen enjoyed researching within the EpiGenOmics of Developmental Trajectories Laboratory, under the supervision of Dr. Nadine Provencal for two years. Contributing to the FHS research community was an extremely rewarding experience and it opened many doors in her academic and personal life. The next phase of her education takes her to Montreal, Quebec where she has been accepted into the MSc in Public Health program at McGill University. SFU has prepared her for this big step in her life and she feels ready and excited to pursue her passions.

FHS Award for Extraordinary Achievement: Cassandra Mah

Cassandra Mah embraced a diverse set of experiences throughout her Bachelor of Arts degree at FHS. A proponent of healthy urban environments, Mah was supported by two Undergraduate Student Research Awards to study the impacts of active transportation infrastructure with the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility, and quality of life outcomes with the Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Evaluation.

Mah is passionate about promoting dialogue on civic issues. Working with community stakeholders in FHS’ Health Change Lab and assisting with a deliberative public engagement on cancer services were highlights of her degree. Studying abroad in Copenhagen (DK) gave her international perspectives to complement her experiences with local organizations such as SFU Public Square, Grouse Tyee Ski Club and Vancouver Adaptive Snowsports.

Now, Mah works with the Health Economics Research Unit at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. After graduation, she plans to pursue an MSc in Health Economics and ultimately seeks to improve equity and healthy public policy.

FHS Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement, BSc: Grace Kim

Grace Kim is honoured to be a recipient of the FHS Outstanding Academic Achievement award and is grateful for the incredible opportunities FHS has given her throughout her undergraduate degree. Her time at SFU and in the Faculty of Health Sciences helped cultivate her curiosity and passion for holistic, patient-centred delivery of healthcare. In particular, Kim will look back fondly at her memories as a research assistant in the Lee Laboratory under the supervision of Dr. Frank Lee, as well as her time as a part of the Health Change Lab experiential learning program. With the knowledge and experience gained as a health sciences student at SFU, she is excited to continue to follow her interests in health sciences and healthcare as a medical student at the University of British Columbia starting in the fall.

FHS Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement, BA: Samantha Culos

For Samantha Culos, one of the major highlights of being part of FHS was the opportunity to collaborate and engage with students who share a passion for improving health, not only on an individual level but on a population level. Through the courses offered within the faculty, she built lasting friendships while gaining a more holistic perspective on health. Additionally, she applied and expanded her academic knowledge through the health sciences co-operative education program, gaining co-op designation after the completion of three work terms. During her first two terms, she worked for BC Cancer as a Research Assistant, working on several studies involving data from the Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program of BC. This later led to a final, self-directed work term, where she had the opportunity to carry out patient-oriented research with newly diagnosed Acute Myeloid Leukemia patients, a study that she had helped design during her first two work terms. Although she is not certain what the future holds, she looks forward to continuing to contribute to the health community, whether that be through research or a clinical profession in the field of rehabilitation.