James O'Callaghan BFA' 11

James O'Callaghan (BFA'11) has four orchestral compositions performed by professional orchestras to his credit, most recently Mouths played by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. The Victoria Symphony Orchestra performed two other compositions, including The Earth, Split Open. He uses sketches, computer software, and guitar strumming to interweave sounds, visuals, music, and themes. He has also composed a theatrical piece Act!  that incorporates words from the USA Patriot Act. He's off to McGill University with $20,000 in scholarships to pursue his master's degree in music. <www.sfu.ca/~jdo1>


Peter Vogel (BSc'78, PDP'78) wins the Canadian Association of Physicists award for Excellence in Teaching High School/CEGEP Physics – British Columbia and Yukon. Vogel, who teaches at Vancouver's Notre Dame Regional Secondary School, is described by colleagues as a bridge-builder for helping students relate abstract concepts to the world, and for developing a contest in which students apply their knowledge of physics to build a bridge made of 100 grams of balsa wood.

European Experts

Two SFU alumni are taking on big jobs as Europe tackles a financial crisis. Alvaro Pereira (PhD'04), associate professor in SFU's School for International Studies, is Portugal's new Minister for the Economy and the country's youngest cabinet minister. Josef Bonnici (MA '78, PhD'81) is the new governor of the Central Bank of Malta.

New York Minute

Baba Brinkman's (BA'00) off-Broadway play, The Rap Guide to Evolution, is getting rave reviews. Brinkman wrote and now stars in the production dubbed "astonishing and brilliant" by the New York Times. <www.rapguidetoevolution.com>

Legal Beagle

Board of Governors member Anne Giardini (BA'80) receives the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association's Robert V.A. Jones Award. Giardini, president of Weyerhaeuser Canada, is recognized for exemplifying "what it means to be a leader in the corporate-counsel world in Canada today." She writes frequently on substantive legal issues and ethics, and has written two novels, Advice for Italian Boys and The Sad Truth About Happiness.

Community Commitment

Mohammed Yasin (BA'80) is honoured with a B.C. New-Canadian Entrepreneur Award by the Ethno Business Council of British Columbia. The certified general accountant provides work opportunities to immigrant accountants to allow them to practise their trade. He also co-founded the Muslim Business Council of B.C.

Mozambique's Ana Namburete (BASc'11) receives a $151,000 Commonwealth Scholarship to leap from an undergraduate degree straight into a PhD program at Oxford. She will focus her research on developing ultrasound techniques to better diagnose pregnant women with malaria in Kenya and Mozambique.

Cambridge Bound

Brianne Kent (BA'09) is the first Gates Cambridge Scholar from SFU. She has just finished an MSc at Yale and will pursue a PhD in experimental psychology at Cambridge, which has the top experimental psych lab in the United Kingdom. The Gates is a full-ride scholarship aimed at developing a network of future leaders around the world. It was established in 2000 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


Clint Landrock's (MASc'11) nanoholes – which are 1,500 times thinner than a human hair and can trap a single wavelength of light – are making holograms a thing of the past. The nanohole stamp is difficult to recreate and can be incorporated into any material so it can be used on any documents, including currency, that require security. Companies that sell security products to the world's banks are knocking on the door of Nanotech Security Corp., the company founded by Landrock and SFU engineering science professor Bozena Kaminska.


There's an app for that. QuikPiq allows individuals to poll their social network for help with decision-making before buying something, eating, choosing a new hair colour, or just about anything else. It's the brainchild of Ashish Gurung (BBA'10), Anoop Aulakh (BA'10), and SFU student Don Masakayan.

All Apps All the Time

Check out Maryam Mehrtash (BBA'06) and Andy Baryer (BA '04, GDBA '07, MBA'09) on AppsTV.  The weekly show, airing on CHEK and SUN TV, brings mobile applications to television viewers across Canada. It highlights new apps and how to use the most popular ones, as well as providing tips and tricks for getting the most out of your apps.

Research Potential

John Axsen (BBA'04, MRM'07) beats out candidates from 16 countries to be named Young Researcher of the Year by the International Transport Forum at the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). Axsen's research looks at the influence our peers have on us when it comes to buying hybrid or electric cars. He returns from the University of California at Davis this fall to become an assistant professor at SFU's School of Resource and Environmental Management.

Watching Our Dollars

Gregory Thomas (BBA'85) is the new federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, a national watchdog agency that keeps an eye on Canada's debt load, among other issues.

Seeking Blaylock Info

Anyone who has lived in the Kootenays knows about the legendary S.G. Blaylock, long-time Cominco president. Ron Verzuh (BA'73) is working on a dissertation about Trail's social history from the 1930s through the mid-1950s and needs more local stories and anecdotes about the man. There's official Cominco information, but not much about how the people of Trail felt about him. Contact Verzuh at ron@ronverzuh.ca.

Close-Up View of Arab Spring

Yusef Rashid (BA'06), second secretary for the Canadian embassy in Egypt, is classed as essential staff during the spring uprising and works long hours helping to evacuate Canadians. He is also the organizer of the first two Egyptian Terry Fox runs around the pyramids in Gaza.

Crazy 8s

SFU alumni lead the pack at the prestigious independent film festival Crazy 8s. One hundred and twenty filmmakers pitch their stuff and only six are chosen to shoot their movies. Of those six, two have SFU grads at the helm: Sarah Crauder (BA'03, BFA'05) with Run Dry and Heather Lindsay (BFA'02) with Alchemy and Other Imperfections. In addition,  Alchemy stars Billy Marchenski (BFA'01) and Heather Doerksen (BFA'03).

Threatened Owls

Rat poison is killing some of B.C.'s owls, including the barn owls of the Fraser Valley. Sofi Hindmarch's (MSc '10) thesis on barn owl habitat says rodenticides, commonly used to kill rats, are transferred to non-target species when they eat the rats.

Help for Businesses

ContractTailor, which brings easy-to-use, individually tailored law contracts to people via the Internet, wins a British Columbia Innovation Council Award in the technology category. The site, developed by Chilwin Cheng (CLA '92, BA'94, MBA'08) and Jim Hamlin (MBA '08), follows their successful www.FiredWithoutCause.com and www.FairDismissal.com, online services helping people understand their employment entitlements and obligations during an employment termination. <www.ContractTailor.com>

Top Insurance Broker

Nelson's Maurice Poulin (BA'89) is the new president of the Insurance Brokers Association of B.C. The association represents about 750 property and casualty insurance brokers. <www.ibabc.org>


Filmmaker David McDonald (BFA'11) wins an ICBC-sponsored award for his film on distracted driving. If Lives Are in Your Hands shows how dangerous it is to take a cellphone call while driving.

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Photograph of James O'Callaghan by Michael Slobodian, Ana Namburete by SFU/PAMR