Travels and tales of SFU’s students and faculty this summer

August 23, 2016

Rap battles, research on the Zika virus and how “pink snow” impacts the environment are just some of the intriguing projects SFU students, staff and faculty members are involved in this summer. SFU News takes a look at some of the highlights happening off campus.

Tammy Theis, master’s student, Graduate Liberal Studies

SFU ✈ Bologna, Italy | Distance: 8,698.08 km

Tammy Theis, a master’s student in the Graduate Liberal Studies (GLS) Program, took the travel-study course, LS 819 Selected Topics: Italy in the Ancient and Modern Imagination, and visited Bologna, Italy this summer. While there, she wrote a rap battle and recorded it with a Sony music producer.

“GLS students are encouraged to translate course assignments into creative projects,” says Theis, who’s also a staffer in the history department. “Being a singer, songwriter and MC, I frequently turn a course text or theme into a creative retelling in song. I was struck by the idea of writing a rap battle between [renowned poets] Ezra Pound and Dante Alighieri while walking the streets of Bologna. The city is the seat of leftists' dialogue and protest in Italy—intellectual battle central, if you may.”

Listen to the Rap >

SFU public health master's student Nahal Torabi at a hospital in the Dominican Republic with a Pan American Health Organization staff member.

Nahal Torabi, master’s student, public health, SFU’s Faculty of Health Sciences

SFU ✈ Argentina✈ Dominican Republic | Distance: 11,368.76 km and 5,778.35 km

Earlier this summer, SFU master of public health student Nahal Torabi travelled to Argentina for a practicum related to Chagas disease in rural areas. Now, she’s interning with the World Health Organization in the Dominican Republic where she is helping to improve a clinical database known as the perinatal information system. This system has been implemented in different hospitals and recently introduced a section for the Zika virus. Torabi is monitoring the Zika virus in prenatal consultations while evaluating the care given to pregnant women.  She says, “I have had an enriching practicum experience that has given me a new perspective on global health.” 

SFU health geographer Jeff Morgan spent three months this summer in Barbados studying offshore medical schools.

Jeff Morgan, master’s student, geography 

SFU ✈ Barbados | Distance: 6,990.78 km

As a health geographer, Jeff Morgan looks at different health systems in different places, and the ways people move across borders to access them. This summer, he spent three months in Barbados studying offshore medical schools for his thesis, which focuses on Canadians who travel to the Caribbean to go to medical school, and their attempts to return to Canada and practice.

He called the Barbados trip an “invaluable contribution” to his grad school experience and thesis.

“Because my research is situated in the Caribbean, it was important for me to experience some of the idiosyncrasies of this unique region which will inform my research in countless ways. Not to mention the fact that Barbados is a fantastic place to spend a few months.”

SFU world literature professor Melek Ortabasi is in Munich, Germany this summer on a research fellowship, studying at the International Youth Library.

Melek Ortabasi, professor, world literature

SFU ✈ Munich, Germany | Distance: 8,351.22 km

SFU professor Melek Ortabasi, who is director of the World Literature Program, is currently in Munich, Germany on a research fellowship at the famous “book castle”—the International Youth Library. It is located in Blutenburg Castle, built in the 15th century.

Ortabasi is conducting research on a project involving the travel of children's literature through translation. She is also taking part in the biennial White Ravens Festival, an international children's book festival held at the castle and all over the state of Bavaria. 

This summer, SFU Beedie School of Business student Moti Safiollah presented her research at Cambridge University's Judge Business School in London.

Motahareh (Moti) Safiollah, graduate certificate student, science and technology commercialization, SFU’s Beedie School of Business

SFU ✈ Cambridge, England | Distance: 7,531.56 km

Moti Safiollah, a graduate certificate student in SFU’s Beedie School of Business, presented her research at the Technology Management Policy Graduate Consortium, held this year at Cambridge University’s Judge Business School in England.

The presentation was titled, “Can fuel cells be a cost effective solution for zero emission transportation?” It assessed whether proton exchange membrane fuel cells—a type of fuel cell being developed for transportation purposes—is commercially viable. 

Angela Kaida, professor, SFU’s Faculty of Health Sciences

SFU ✈ Durban, South Africa | Distance: 16,962.22 km

This June, SFU health sciences professor Angela Kaida led an intensive, experiential learning field course in global health that focused on HIV and youth in Durban, South Africa. Eight SFU students, including five undergraduates, were among the first to participate in the course—Global Health, HIV and Youth—which focused on a “cell to society” approach.

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Aishell Li
Azmarie Wang
Peter Xu

Aishell Li, Azmarie Wang and Peter Xu, undergraduate students

SFU ✈ Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing, China | Distance: 10,248.34 km, 9,045.05 km and 8,532.12 km

SFU undergraduate students Aishell Li, Peter Xu and Azmarie Wang are working as international marketing officers with Fraser International College this summer during a co-op work term at Navitas’s Chinese offices. They are promoting Fraser International College’s Pathway program abroad to prospective international students who want to attend SFU.

Xu, an economics student, is based in Shanghai at the Central China office, while Li, a third-year business student, is based in her hometown Guangzhou. Wang, a second-year business and computing science joint major, works with the North China team in Beijing.  

Amanda Rachmat, an SFU world literature and international studies student, at the Deoksugung Palace in Seoul, South Korea.

Amanda Rachmat, undergraduate student, world literature and international studies

SFU ✈ Seoul, South Korea | Distance: 8,178.46 km

Second-year world literature and international studies student Amanda Rachmat is studying Korean literature and culture, and the sociology of globalization this summer at Korea University in Seoul, South Korea.

“Studying at Korea University has been a particularly unique experience because they have a well-established international summer campus,” says Rachmat. “This means not only do I get to immerse myself into Korean culture but the majority of my classmates are actually from all across the world.” 

Joanna Ashworth, director, professional programs and partnerships, SFU’s Faculty of Environment

SFU ✈ Aarhus, Denmark | Distance: 7,529.21 km

At the end of August, Joanna Ashworth, director of professional programs and partnerships in SFU’s Faculty of Environment, will be taking a three-day course called, The Art and Craft of Designing and Facilitating Learning Spaces Master Class at Kaospilot, in Aarhus, Denmark. This master class is for educators and trainers to explore experiential ways of learning in order to inspire, facilitate and design for creativity, innovation and risk in learning spaces and education. Kaospilot is a hybrid business and design school that offers a multi-sided education in leadership and entrepreneurship. 

Judy Radul, professor, contemporary arts

SFU ✈ Berlin, Germany | Distance: 7,984.29 km

The School of Contemporary Arts held its first Berlin field school this summer under SFU professor Judy Radul’s direction. The students visited different museums and studios where they were introduced to contemporary arts in Berlin, studying critical and theoretical context, and the formative forces and contemporary realization of art and culture in Berlin. 

Lynne Quarmby, a professor in SFU’s molecular biology and biochemistry department, is asking for your help in her "pink snow" study.

Lynne Quarmby, professor, molecular biology and biochemistry

SFU ✈ North Shore Mountains, BC | Distance: 24.42 km

Lynne Quarmby, a professor in SFU’s molecular biology and biochemistry department, is conducting research on the role “pink snow” plays in global warming. Pink snow occurs when pink algae forms. This affects the snow’s ability to reflect heat, which accelerates and perpetuates melting and algae growth. Quarmby is asking hikers on the North Shore Mountains to be on the lookout for “pink snow” to help her with this study. She wants hikers to take a photo and let her know where it was spotted.