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Student Convocation Speakers

June 10, 2019
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Each of the eight convocation ceremonies June 11-14 will feature a student speaker who will represent their peers as they reflect on their SFU education.

Russell Copley, BA

June 11, 9:45 a.m.

Russell Copley is graduating with a BA in geography, a minor in health sciences, and a Certificate in Spatial Information Systems. He was involved with the Active Bystanders’ Network at SFU, served as a peer educator and represented the student voice on curriculum committees. He is now a harm-reduction and first-aid worker in Queer nightclubs, and is spending the summer as a research assistant, with an Undergraduate Research Award from SFU’s Big Data Initiative. He plans to pursue a career in the healthcare system.

Erin Williams

June 11, 2:30 p.m.

Erin Williams, who graduates with a BSc (Hons) in kinesiology, was deeply engaged in campus activities and organizations, including SFU Strength and Conditioning, peer mentorship, SFU Camps, and SFU Kinesiology Games. Off-campus, she coached synchronized swimmers at the club where she previously competed nationally and internationally. A member of SFU’s Cardiovascular Physiology Lab, she completed an honour’s project, earned an undergraduate student research award, and presented her work at academic conferences. She plans to attend graduate or medical school.

John Nguyen, BBA

June 12, 9:45 a.m.

John Nguyen, who graduates with a bachelor of business administration, also participated in the Business of Design and the Technology Entrepreneurship programs. A serial entrepreneur in the making, he sold jams made of upcycled fruits for RefreshSFU and established a student engineering club called Technovus. In 2018 he ranked on the Surrey Board of Trade’s Top 25 Under 25 list. He is the co-founder of technology start-up Novion, which aims to help cities manage their water supplies.

Nicolas Tellez-Espana

June 12, 2:30 p.m.

Nicolas Tellez-Espana has completed a BA (Hons), studying international development, economics and environmental issues. A scholarship student, he also won the Dr. Alfredo E. Hurtado Memorial Essay Award for his thesis research on 21st century South American identity formation. He served as president of the International Studies Student Association, and completed four co-op work terms, including one in Uganda. He now works in the non-profit sector and has plans to pursue a master's degree at the London School of Economics.

Zahraa Hawili, BA

June 13, 9:45 a.m.

Zahraa Hawili has completed a BA, with a double major in health sciences and English. During her six years at SFU she volunteered off-campus with Burnaby Hospital and Pain BC, and on-campus as a health sciences peer mentor. She completed a co-op work term at BC Children’s Hospital, and served as a youth ambassador for the Canadian Race Relations Foundation. She now works at SFU.

Sarah Yorston, BA

June 13, 2:30 p.m.

Sarah Yorston is graduating with a BA in criminology and a Legal Studies Certificate. In addition to her studies and a semester abroad in Sweden, Yorston worked as a research assistant and volunteered as a writing and learning mentor with the Student Learning Commons. She also served as a Study Abroad ambassador. This fall, she will begin a master's degree in international politics in preparation for a career in international law.

Kreig Yeh, BA

June 14, 9:45 a.m.

Kreig Yeh, who graduates with a BA in communication, was involved with the SFU Society of Arts and Social Sciences, the Student Marketing Association, SFU Kinesiology Games and SFU JDC West. He captained the SFU Rowing team during the 2016-17 season and volunteered for three non-profit organizations. To complement five co-op work terms, he completed several digital marketing certifications and earned credentials from both the Ted Rogers School of Management and Harvard Business School. He plans to pursue a career in marketing.

Sheryl Thompson, BA (Hons)

June 14, 2:30 p.m.

Sheryl Thompson is a Cree-Métis scholar, community activist and mother to seven children. She is graduating with a BA (Hons) from the Faculty of Health Sciences where she held an undergraduate student research award and co-authored five peer-reviewed articles. She served on SFU’s Aboriginal Reconciliation Council, volunteered as a peer mentor, co-facilitated anti-oppression workshops and organized month-long camps that introduced Indigenous youth to university life. She is the 2019 recipient of SFU’s most prestigious undergraduate medal, the  Gordon R. Shrum Medal. The medal recognizes Thompson’s high scholastic standing and extracurricular activities demonstrating outstanding qualities of character and unselfish devotion to the university. Now an MSc candidate, she is pursuing Indigenous health research.