Summer 2010 Sojourners

July 22, 2010

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It’s summertime and the learning is easier off campus for many SFU students, staff and faculty members. SFU News has a look at what some of them are doing.

MPH student Ian Anderson in Malawi, where he’s monitoring HIV/AIDS programs.   Health Sciences undergrad Justin Long, during his ski fundraising stunt in Uganda.
 Jevta Lukic, a business and communication major, is volunteering in Peru this summer. Here he speaks with a traditional Quechua weaver at the Inca ruins near the town of Pisac.
 Anthropology professor Marianne Ignace (in white toque) speaks the Haida language to young campers on Haida Gwaii. 

 Earth sciences professor Glyn William-Jones studies volcanic gas in East Java, Indonesia.
 UILO director Mike Volker (with hat) playing with students in the Kenyan village of Muhanda, where was he volunteering on a water project and helping local entrepreneurs.
Field Research
It will be a hot summer for associate earth sciences professor, Glyn Williams-Jones. He’ll be spending two weeks at the world’s largest and most acidic volcanic crater, Ijen, in East Java, Indonesia. Accompanied by research colleagues, students and TV crews from CBC and France-2, he’ll be studying volcanic gases coming from near the crater’s lake as well as the geology inside the crater. 

Biology professor Felix Breden is in Guyana, South America with his 16-year-old daughter Frances and grad student Ben Sandkam to shed new light on why female guppies are particularly attracted to red and orange male guppies, a question that has stumped evolutionary scientists for decades. The researchers are using a photo-spectrometer to help determine how the water’s light-transmission properties might affect the evolution of the female fish’s visual system for detecting the more colourful males. 

History student Cory Scott used a travel award and a graduate fellowship to fund overseas research this summer. He spent several days in London, England, searching archives for information on Ugandan political parties and trade unions in the 1960s. He then flew to Kampala, Uganda, to research Ugandan political opposition and the decline of development in the `60s. He’ll also spend some time in Tanzania and Kenya.

Internships and Practicums
Forty-eight health science students in the Master of Public Health program are doing 11-week practicums this summer at locations including Anguilla, Mongolia, Montserrat, Grenada, Denmark, Brazil, Israel, Tanzania, Dominica, India—and Canada. They’re putting public health theory into practice with a variety of international, national and local government and non-governmental health organizations, universities and research centres. 
Are safe-sex public education campaigns in Malawi, Africa effective? Ian Anderson, a graduate student in the Master of Public Policy program, is looking for answers during his practicum in the tiny landlocked African country, which has one of the world’s highest HIV/AIDS rates—12 per cent. He is working there with the Theatre for Change teacher training program. Says Anderson: “It has been an amazing experience.”

Health sciences undergrad Justin Long spent eight days trekking to reach Africa’s most challenging summit, Mount Stanley (16,000 ft.), where he promptly skied down the mountain’s glacier above the danger zone. It was all part of a fundraising stunt he devised to help pay for completion of Uganda’s first children’s hospital. Among other things, Long also revamped the hospital’s marketing communications and built a new website. Check out his blog: 

Mike Volker, director of SFU’s University Industry Liaison Office (UILO), was camped out in the small village of Muhanda, Kenya, in July with his wife and son. They were volunteers on a local water delivery system to bring plumbing to local villagers. Volker helped with financial and fundraising and also provided expertise with business training, micro-loans and micro-business start-ups. He also couldn’t resist pursuing an unexpected opportunity to develop an SFU partnership with an African university.

Jevta Lukic is hiking a lot of Peruvian mountain trails this summer volunteering on behalf of two non-profit Canadian charities: Mosqoy, which offers postsecondary education to Peruvian students; and Education Generation, which raises funds for impoverished students worldwide to continue their education. His activities include leadership training, teambuilding and teaching English as well as documenting and blogging about Mosqoy student achievements and his own experiences. Follow his blog: http://edgenfellow.blogspot.com.

Health sciences student Sahand Vafadary spent 47 days this summer in Ethiopia tutoring some of the country’s poorest children in English, science and math, and readying young kids at the LiGA School for grade school. Vafadary is the first SFU student to benefit from the CARE Housing Society’s new global travel award program, which donates Air Miles points to students involved in humanitarian aid projects. 
For more, email amylee@sfu.ca or visit: www.caretravelawards.com

Marianne Ignace, an anthropological linguist, volunteered her time this summer to teach the Haida language to Grade 1- 4 Haida students and their chaperones during a summer camp on Haida Gwaii’s northwestern tip, site of the infamous late-1800s grave robberies. “It’s a race against time,” says Ignace, an associate professor of anthropology. “There are only 10 speakers of Haida left.”


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