Gabriel Sauro. Better Preparing Students For Life Beyond SFU
By Adhil Naidu
Gabriel Sauro has been an Academic Advisor and Recruiter for School of Criminology undergraduates since 2006. Over the years, he has been much more than an advisor for the students he has helped navigate the road to degree completion and sort through various career opportunities. Many will tell you that Gabriel has also served as a mentor and friend, making a positive impact throughout their SFU journey that will last well beyond their university years.
Read about Gabriel’s SFU journey below and how he can help you with your course planning.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I graduated from Simon Fraser University with a Bachelor of Arts (Human Geography Major) in 2005 and was hired a year later on a part-time basis as an undergraduate advisor in the School of Criminology. I became a full-time undergraduate advisor about a year later as the need grew to have two full-time advisors for such a large academic unit. I have always had an interest in higher education and considered a career in teaching at one point in my life, so I jumped on the opportunity to work for one of SFU’s largest academic programs. The School of Criminology is world-renowned and it’s easy to see why so many students gravitate toward our program.
One of the most satisfying things about my job is helping students achieve their degrees from start to finish and seeing them walk across the stage at the June and October convocation ceremonies.
Why is meeting with an academic advisor important?
Students often have misconceptions about certain requirements, so it’s always a good idea for them to get in touch with an academic advisor to help clear up any confusion. Academic advisors can assist students with advising as well as course planning to better navigate the road to degree completion.
What should a first-year student interested in Criminology take?
First-year Criminology students should take CRIM 101, CRIM 131 and CRIM 135. These are the keystone courses in Criminology that are also the foundational pre-requisite for the vast majority of our 200, 300 and 400-level courses.
How can I choose, declare, or change my major?
What can I do to ensure I graduate at the right time?
Periodic meetings or emails with a Criminology advisor are recommended to ensure that students are on the right track toward graduation. I also encourage students to utilize the Academic Progress Report (APR) tool on the online Student Information Management System (SIMS). It is very useful as it provides students with a report of their academic progress.
To what extent can I pursue my interests in the form of electives and exploring the offerings of different departments?
Although the Bachelor of Arts (Major in Criminology) has a relatively long list of mandatory courses, students still have room for five to eight elective courses, including WQB-required courses. I strongly encourage students not to take too many ‘heavy’ required courses in the first few terms at SFU. It’s perfectly normal to mix in a few general elective courses for some variety. SFU and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences have a large variety of courses, so it’s not unusual for a student to want to pursue an additional minor, especially if they have completed some courses in one subject outside of their major.
What special opportunities do you have that I can take advantage of?
The School of Criminology offers paid Work-Study opportunities, which allows students to work directly with faculty members and graduate students in different research centres within the School of Criminology. We also have a Field Practice program where students get to participate in a supervised three-month field practicum in a selected criminology-related agency (although this is not available during COVID). Both programs are excellent ways for Criminology students to get their foot in the door for a possible criminology-related job or career after graduation. We also offer an honours program which allows students to complete their degree doing their own original research one on one with a supervisor.
What’s the best way to reach out to you?
I am happy to communicate via email, or set up a Zoom advising appointment. I also have drop in Zoom advising on Thursday each week. It is best to start your contact with me by filling in the contact form.