Members of Team Inferno (l-r): Michael Simoes, Joanne Nellas, Vanessa Sun, and Devan Parmar.

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SFU student team wins Oxford competition

June 06, 2019
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By Karin Pokrishevsky

A multidisciplinary team of SFU undergrads extinguished their global competition to take first place in the finals of the global Map the System competition held at Oxford University on June 9. This is the third consecutive year that an SFU team has made it to the top three in the final round in the U.K. The competition challenges students to explore societal and environmental change through a research lens.

Team Inferno, comprising SFU undergrads Joanne Nellas, Devan Parmar, Michael Simoes and UBC alumnus Vanessa Sun, chose to illuminate the BC wildfire crisis for this year’s competition challenge. Their goal: to make meaningful impact through meaningful research.

Exploring the economic, environmental and socio-cultural impacts of the BC wildfire crisis, Team Inferno received extensive coaching and support from SFU faculty and staff.

Pegah Djamzad, SFU’s changemaker campus manager, encourages students to engage with matters that are deeply personal and have an effect on local and global communities.

“By taking a learning-first approach to social change, students gain a unique perspective on the complexities of social and environmental challenges they are keen on addressing,” says Djamzad.

Rising to the top of SFU’s 14 competitor teams, Team Inferno went on to the national round at Ryerson University, earning one of three tickets to the finals at the University of Oxford.

“It’s been an amazing experience and I am so lucky to have such a fantastic group,” says Michael Simoes, member of Team Inferno.

“We were one of 700 Canadian teams at the national finals and now we’re headed to Oxford as the national champions. Our hard work finally paid off.”

The SFU team’s participation in Map the System was made possible with support from the McConnell Foundation.