Faculty Spotlight

The Department welcomes Bing Lu, May Farrales and Leanne Rodderick

Welcome Bing!

As we can see, environmental change has considerably influenced our ecosystems and environments, from loss and degradation of wetlands and grasslands, reduced production of croplands, to rising sea levels and die-off of coastal marshes. Many challenges, but there are also many solutions. My research focuses on monitoring ecosystem and environmental status at large spatial and temporal scales using remote sensing. Examples of remote sensing are such as satellite- and drone-based imaging, providing data like what we see the ground from an airplane.

I conducted my PhD and postdoctoral studies at the University of Toronto and worked on grassland and cropland ecosystems in Ontario and Saskatchewan. Before joining SFU as an Assistant Professor, I also worked as a consultant in the private sector in Alberta, with a research focus on wetlands. So, I have moved from east to west and researched on different ecosystems. In the next a few years at SFU, I will work on such ecosystems in British Columbia and further evaluate the impacts of environmental change. More details of my research can be found here. One essential component of my research program is to engage with researchers and professionals in different sectors to learn about ecosystem or environmental challenges they may have and see if we can use remote sensing to support addressing these challenges. Therefore, I would be happy to receive emails from our alumni working in related fields, or if you just want to learn more about remote sensing.

Welcome May!

I remember walking the halls of the AQ as a first-year undergraduate student at SFU. I got lost several times (both literally and figuratively) before finding my way to the Geography program in the mid 1990’s. It was also at that time that I found my way to vibrant community organizing work taking shape among local Filipino youth, women, and migrant workers. Taking Geography undergraduate classes at that time helped to shape how I began to situate myself as a second-generation Filipinx whose parents migrated to the unceded lands of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw, səl̓ilw̓ ətaʔɬ,  xʷməθkʷəy̓əm & kʷikʷəƛ ̓ əm peoples. My time at SFU Geography as an undergraduate student helped me put words to how inequalities and people’s forms of resistance are shaped by spaces and places.

This interest in the liveliness of community organizing among communities of colour in relation to Indigenous and Black people’s refusal, resistance, and liberation remains an important part of my current research and teaching. I’m glad to be joining the Geography and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies departments now as an Assistant Professor. In Geography, I am teaching World on the Move and Queer Geographies.

Welcome Leanne!

I joined the SFU geography department as a term lecturer in August 2019 (jointly-appointed with the graduate Urban Studies program).  This timing allowed me one glorious semester (and a half) of in-person learning with truly engaged - and very bright! - undergraduate students.  Since March of 2020, after adjusting (as we all have) to seeing everyone in rectangles on my computer, I can’t help but reflect on all the ways that the students in my courses have continued to impress me with their thoughtfulness, resilience, and creativity.

As an instructor who prioritizes experiential and engaged learning, it hasn’t been easy to make the transition to remote/virtual instruction.  Field site visits around the city in GEOG363 (Urban Planning and Policy) have had to be replaced with Google Earth virtual tours; painstakingly created virtual backgrounds have taken the place of more spontaneous bouts of laughter in the classroom; and, instead of holding mock municipal council meetings, we’ve had the pleasure of ‘Zooming’-in elected officials and city planners.

I’m grateful for all the ways that the department (faculty, staff, students) have welcomed and supported me since my arrival.  I look forward to a time when we can all see each other again.  Since my classes were based out of Harbour Centre, I actually still haven’t had the pleasure of making it “up the mountain” to Burnaby campus.  This is now almost a point of pride, and I’m curious how long I can keep it up.