Convocation student speakers and undergraduate medalists highlight SFU’s best

June 06, 2022
SFU’s undergraduate medal winners and student speakers represent some of the university's best and brightest.

The university’s twice-annual convocation ceremonies are a time to celebrate graduand achievements and wish them well as they begin their journey as proud SFU alumni.

Representing some of the university’s best and brightest, ­SFU’s undergraduate medal winners and student speakers have outstanding scholastic records and have made important contributions to SFU and the wider community.

Read more about these inspiring graduands.

Undergraduate Medalists

Governor General’s Silver Medal

Cory Macklin, BSc,
Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
Faculty of Science

Cory Macklin confesses that he was a poor high school student, but decided at age 20 that he wanted to become a doctor. He started his journey at Douglas College, and found that he could get top grades if he worked hard. He transferred to SFU for his last two years of university and found that his dedication and work ethic paid off with top academic results, culminating in the Governor General’s Silver Medal. He has been volunteering at the Last Door Youth Program in New Westminster for the last decade, and he will be applying to UBC medical school next year. Read more about Cory.

Ethan Hinchcliff, BSc,
Computing Science
Faculty of Applied Sciences

Ethan achieved a cumulative GPA of 4.33 in his computer science degree. During his third year, he identified a security vulnerability in SFU’s IT infrastructure, for which he received a Certificate of Recognition from IT Services. He also volunteered on projects led by Brian Fraser, including a web application to track and prevent pregnancy deaths in Uganda. After graduation, he will work as a software development engineer at Amazon.

Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Inclusion, Democracy and Reconciliation

Ashley Kyne, BA,
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

For her Honours thesis in the Department of Indigenous Studies, Ashley examined culturally informed risk factors for Indigenous offenders. As a SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Master’s Scholar, Ashley will continue her research on offender risk assessment, Indigenous justice, and decolonization as a graduate student in the School of Criminology. As an iTaukei (Fijian) student, Ashley is passionate about Indigenous justice and has been a dedicated volunteer in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside neighbourhood. Ashley has found meaningful ways to assist vulnerable populations and to educate youth about Indigenous experiences in Canada. Read more about Ashley.

Gordon M. Shrum Gold Medal

Xin (Spencer) Chen, BA,
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

An international student from China, Spencer is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Her thesis examined the dehumanization of suicide attempt survivors. She is passionate about advancing psychology and social justice and contributed to research in six different labs while maintaining a CGPA of 4.21. She is also a committed volunteer both within and beyond SFU. She is excited to join SFU’s Clinical Psychology program this fall to conduct research on borderline personality disorder. Read more about Spencer.

Undergraduate Dean’s Medals

Cassandra Christensen, BGS,
Faculty of Education

For the past five years, Cassandra has worked hard to prepare herself for a career in education, earning several scholarships and appearing on the Dean's and President's Honour Rolls. During her time at SFU, she also worked as an elementary art instructor, early childhood educator, and volunteered in elementary schools, gaining valuable experience in applying theory to practice. Her time as a student and educator magnified her passion for creating caring and inclusive learning environments. She plans to continue her academic journey in SFU’s Professional Development Program and hopes to one day complete a master’s in education.

Gerrick Wong, BSc,
Faculty of Science

Gerrik Wong graduates with a 4.29 CGPA. He received the Patrick McTaggart-Cowan Scholarship in Physical Science twice, and has consistently appeared on the President's and Dean's honour rolls. Gerrik completed two NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards, one under the supervision of Professor Gary Wang, and one under the joint supervision of Professors Nilima Nigam and James Wakeling. The latter project, which investigated muscle modelling, was used for his undergraduate thesis "Dynamic Extensions to a 3-D Continuum Mechanics Muscle Model."

Arvin Amini, BASc,
Biomedical Engineering
Faculty of Applied Sciences

Arvin Amini graduates with an Honours with Distinction in Biomedical Engineering. At SFU, Arvin enjoyed multiple internships at Microchip and Tesla, where he contributed to ground-breaking technologies. He also competed as a cheerleader for SFU at international events and founded the SFU Robot Soccer Club—an activity that blended his love of engineering innovation with his passion for soccer. He is excited to now continue his high-tech career as a silicon design engineer at Advanced Micro Devices in Santa Clara, California.

Read more about Arvin

Marina Cummiskey, BA,
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

At SFU, Marina competed as a varsity swimmer and became a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee where she advocated for student-athlete mental health. With an interest in athletic retirement processes, she used her studies in psychology and kinesiology along with personal experience to initiate support systems for graduating athletes, and to volunteer on an athletic retirement study with an SFU psychology lab. For her dedication to her coursework and the athletic community, Marina earned academic honours and the opportunity to pursue a master’s degree in sport psychology at McGill University this fall.

Read more about Marina

Alexander Abahmed, BFA,
Music and Sound
Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology

Alex is an Egyptian-Canadian composer residing in the unceded territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓ əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl ̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh). His work has been recognized with a Marcia Scholarship in Electroacoustics and the RedFM 93.1 Annual Music Scholarship, and he will soon release an album with the Syrphe label that was composed during his time at SFU. Alex has also contributed to numerous projects in other disciplines such as dance and film, and has led an arts-oriented Arduino workshop supported by the School for Contemporary Arts.

Simran Purewal, BA,
Health Sciences
Faculty of Health Sciences

Simran graduated First Class with Distinction from the Faculty of Health Sciences. She was deeply engaged in the SFU community as a student leader in the Health Sciences Undergraduate Student Union, a peer mentor, and founder and editor-in-chief of the Health Sciences Undergraduate Journal. She also pursued various experiential learning opportunities, including co-op and the Health Change Lab. Simran published two papers as a first author from her involvement in the COVID-19 Canada Health Literacy study, and was a research associate for a community-engaged project exploring the experience of internationally trained physicians with the Canadian licensing process.

Daniel Garrett, BBA,
SFU Beedie School of Business

Daniel transferred to Simon Fraser University on an entrance scholarship awarded for academic excellence. Accepted into the Department of Economics, he worked to complete the prerequisites for acceptance into the Beedie School of Business. There, he set a goal of becoming an equity analyst for the Beedie Endowment Asset Management Fund (BEAM), which manages money on behalf of the SFU treasury. Daniel helped manage the fund while maintaining strong grades throughout his time at SFU.

Mireta Strandberg-Salmon, BEnv,
Resource and Environmental Management
Faculty of Environment

Mireta came to SFU to grow her skills as a change-maker. While studying Resource and Environmental Management and Dialogue, Mireta co-founded Ban the Bottle, a project that mobilized SFU to eliminate bottled water and install 168 refill stations. Mireta was a research assistant at the Beedie School of Business, helping to embed sustainability into businesses, and completed co-op terms in urban forest stewardship, impact assessment, carbon markets, and circular economy. She won several SFU awards for her writing and impact, and hopes to continue advancing a sustainable future in her new role as a policy analyst at Environment Canada.

Read more about Mireta

Sophia Dobischok,
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Behavioural Neuroscience,
English (completed concurrent degrees)

Sophia graduates with a Bachelor of Science in Behavioural Neuroscience and a Bachelor of Arts in English­–degrees she completed concurrently. Her story is one of academic excellence, as she wins the Undergraduate Dean’s Convocation Medal, awarded to select students whose grades place them in the top 5 per cent of their class. However, what stands out to some people are the seemingly incongruous fields that she chose to study.

Read more about Sophia.

Student speakers: Undergraduate

Ceremony F

Mr. Arvin Amini, BAS,
School of Engineering Science
Faculty of Applied Science

Read more about Arvin.

Ceremony B

Ms. Asia Clarke, BA,
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Read more about Asia.

Ceremony G

Ms. Ogheneofegor (Fegor) Obuwoma, BFA,
School for the Contemporary Arts
Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology

Read more about Fegor.

Ceremony C

Mr. Matthew Provost, BA,
Indigenous Studies and Communications
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Ceremony E

Ms. Nicole Whittle, BSc,
Faculty of Science

Ceremony D

Ms. Dorsa Youssefi, BBA,
Business Administration and Finance
Beedie School of Business

Student Speakers: Graduate

Ceremony A

Kelli Finney, PhD,
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Read more about Kelli.

Ceremony H

Joanna Fraser, EdD
Faculty of Education

Read more about Joanna.