SFU lecturer named one of 10 most influential Hispanic Canadians

November 21, 2014

Sophie Lavieri, a senior lecturer in Simon Fraser University’s Department of Chemistry and director of SFU’s Science in Action outreach program, has been named one of Canada’s 10 most influential Hispanic Canadians.

The award recognizes outstanding Hispanics across Canada who have “influence in the Canadian mainstream, education, achievements and awards, support of the Hispanic community, volunteerism and entrepreneurship.” The national program is run by the Canadian Hispanic Business Alliance and was organized this year by Latincouver, a business and social portal for Latin Americans in Vancouver.

Lavieri has been instrumental in bringing science education to children and teens through the free workshops she has taught and organized for over 10 years. "I am deeply honoured to receive this award and grateful that SFU has supported my passion for science education,” says Lavieri, who came to Canada in 2000 and is the first Venezuelan to receive the award. She credits a team of faculty, staff and students for their volunteer efforts in making Science in Action a success.

“You can't imagine how gratifying and rewarding it is when some of my students tell me that their interest in science was sparked by one of my workshops that they took as a child!"

Dean of Science Claire Cupples adds: “A great deal of the Faculty of Science’s success in engaging children and youth in our community is due to our dedicated faculty and Sophie’s efforts have been exemplary. We are pleased to support this very important aspect of inspiring the next generation of scientists.”

Lavieri also finds time to make a difference at the other end of the spectrum, singing to the elderly at retirement homes with the choir she founded, Chemsemble.

Earlier this year she received the Waldo Briño Inspirational Latin Award from Latincouver. She is also the recipient of a YWCA Women of Distinction award (2009), SFU’s excellence in teaching award (2006) and a Faculty of Science teaching award (2004).

Other 2014 recipients included researchers and those in the creative fields, as well as the first Hispanic Member of Parliament (Osvaldo Nuñez), who is also a lawyer and writer, and Luis Contreras, a professional jockey. The Honorable Kerry-Lynne Finlay, Minister of National Revenue, recently presented the awards in Vancouver.