Photo: Connor Stefanison


Student Connor Stefanison wins the Eric Hosking Portfolio Award for top young wildlife photographer (18 – 26 years) in the world. Stefanison is the first North American to win the award, which is sponsored by BBC Worldwide and the Natural History Museum in London, U.K.  Stefanison is finishing a degree in ecology and conservation and is planning to work as a biologist and eventually a full-time wildlife photographer. <>

Sino-Canadian Archaeology

President Andrew Petter launches a new joint research centre in bioarchaeology with Jilin University, one of China’s largest universities. The centre, headed by SFU professor Dongya Yang, will provide faculty, scholars, and students with the opportunity to do advanced studies in both Canada and China.


Doctoral student Erick Oduor and international student Andreas Hovland are among the first students from Western Canada to participate in InStep, a global internship with Infosys, one of India’s top technology companies. Oduor, who is in the School of Interactive Arts and Technology graduate program, spent his time at the company’s Bangalore-based headquarters, while economics and anthropology undergraduate Hovland completed a business research project.


Engineer Iman Ibrahimi (right) and SFU’s mechanical engineering and robotics program have developed a helmet patch that mitigates the brutal blows often suffered by football players. So far the Clan has only used the patch in practice because the NCAA league hasn’t yet approved the technology, but players say the patch seems to work well.


Tony Penikett, senior fellow on treaty negotiations at SFU’s Centre for Dialogue, is named a Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in Arctic Studies at the University of Washington. Penikett is a former premier of Yukon.

Persons Award

Cherry Smiley (pictured below) is the youth recipient of the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case. The award is in honour of the “Famous Five,” five women who, in 1929, won the battle to recognize women as persons under Canadian law. Smiley, an MFA student at SFU, is an emerging leader among Aboriginal women.

Honouring Liz Elliott

A 20-bed community-based residential facility in Abbotsford is named for the late Liz Elliott. She founded the Centre for Restorative Justice at SFU and was actively involved in prisons and in the John Howard Society for many years.


In 1974 SFU faculty member Ernest Becker received the university’s only Pulitzer Prize for his book The Denial of Death. Becker was initially in the Faculty of Education, but transferred over to the PSA department where he remained until his premature death from cancer at age 46. Now Jack Martin, Burnaby Mountain professor of psychology, recounts Becker’s time at SFU in an article in the Journal of Humanistic Psychology entitled “Ernest Becker at Simon Fraser University (1969–1974).”


Celebrations are in the works for Dr. Thelma Finlayson, SFU professor emerita, an entomologist, and founding member of SFU’s Centre for Pest Management and its graduate program. Upon her retirement, Dr. Finlayson continued to counsel students for 40 years.

Finlayson has been recognized with a YWCA Woman of Distinction Award (2007) and an honorary degree from SFU (1996). She is a member of the Order of Canada and a fellow of the Entomological Society of Canada. To contribute a birthday wish, please visit <>.


B.C.’s grizzly bear management strategy is risky according to a recent study by biologists, including four from SFU. Doctoral students Kyle Artelle (above) and Sean Anderson and faculty members John Reynolds and Andrew Cooper conclude that current government policy may underestimate the risk of overkilling grizzlies during trophy hunting in up to 70 percent of its records. The report is published in the online journal PLOS ONE.

Falling Danger

Seniors in long-term care facilities are at great risk for head injuries as a result of falls according to a three-year long SFU study. The research by Stephen Rabinovitch, a professor in biomedical physiology and kinesiology, and graduate students Rebecca Schonnop and Yijian Yang (along with other co-authors) is published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal <>; a previous study by the trio published in the Lancet tracked the activity of seniors before they fell to try to determine why they fell.


Musical director Owen Underhill and physicist Patricia Mooney are the latest SFU faculty named as Royal Society of Canada fellows. SFU now has 43 faculty members who are fellows of the distinguished body – the country’s highest academic honour.


Investigating Our Birds

Oliver Love (PhD’07), assistant professor in biological sciences, is now  Canadian Research Chair in Integrative Ecology. The position brings $500,000 in research funding to the university in the next five years. Most of Love’s work is focused on birds, particularly those in the Arctic, and how environmental stress from climate change affects their physiology.

International Acclaim

Ecologist Anne Salomon (above) receives the International Recognition of Professional Excellence Prize awarded by East Europe’s International Ecology Institute. Salomon’s research explores how fish and shellfish harvesting plus the expiration and recovery of predators such as sea otters are pushing coastal ecosystems to tipping points.


Archaeologist George Nicholas (above) heads a global team looking at intellectual property issues in indigenous groups. The team has now received $50,000 from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada to expand its work in 15 community-based initiatives undertaken by 52 scholars from 26 partnering universities and organizations.


It’s not 1968, but historian Elise Chenier is sparking her own mini-revival. Chenier has launched the Trudeaumania Project to collect letters, photos, paintings, and other memorabilia from the Trudeau era. Electronic files can be sent to the Trudeaumania Project on Facebook or by mail to the SFU Department of History, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6.


Student Kurt Mehnert wins the Canadian Bureau for International Education’s photo contest. Mehnert shot a portrait of himself looking down Prague’s Book Tower. The tower is built of old Soviet-era books.


Humpback whales are waiting for diving seabirds to identify the position of herring stocks, according to Christie McMillan, a fisheries scientist master’s student. The humpbacks, more than 2,000 strong off B.C. waters, watch the birds and then lunge to gobble up massive amounts of stock. The research has implications for fisheries management strategies.

Building Blocks of the Universe

SFU’s Dugan O’Neil, Noel Dawe, Michael Trottier- McDonald, and Andres Tanasijczuk are part of a team of physicists making another huge discovery involving the Higgs boson. They have found evidence that the Higgs particle can decay to a pair of fermions called tau leptons, which are like heavy electrons. The study is helping us determine how the world works at the most basic level.


Students Alexa Dredge and Katie Nordgren are getting a big reaction to their blog dedicated to posting stories from those who have been harassed on public transit. They post the stories immediately after a report of harassment and plan to analyze them at a later date. Transit police applaud the blog and are releasing a free smart phone application for immediate reporting of troubling incidents. <>

Photography: Elk by Connor Stefanison, George Nicholas by Greg Ehlers/SFU Creative Services, Rose by Elena Elisseeva,, Prague's Book Tower by Kurt Mehnert, Dr. Thelma Finlayson by Amanda Reaume, all other photos courtesy SFU News/PAMR