David Swanlund receives Dean's Convocation Medal

June 12, 2018

As one of SFU's most outstanding graduate students from the Faculty of Environment, David Swanlund is being recognized with the award of the Dean of Graduate Studies Convocation Medal. On behalf of SFU, we congratulate Mr. Swanlund on his outstanding achievements.

In his Master’s thesis, Geosurveillance, Biometrics, and Resistance, David Swanlund uncovered ways that new biometric technologies could intensify and extend surveillance, and he also proposed tactics and strategies to maintain personal privacy. His work has resulted in a number of research articles, including two in the top journals in his field.

Swanlund’s supervisor, Dr. Nadine Schuurman, acknowledges his achievements. “David is a productive and creative writer and researcher. Not only is David able to contribute substantively to scientific publications (he is first author on all papers), he has a wide range of research capacities.”

During this degree, David achieved a 4.11 CGPA, received a number of awards, including a SSHRC scholarship worth $17,500, and he also completed his master’s program in four terms. 

Schuurman explains how his talents extend beyond the classroom and research. “[H]e is also a gifted leader and generous volunteer. He has also been an active member of the Geography Graduate Association during his MA research. His volunteer/leadership record is even deeper.” David also served as chair of the organizing committee for a faculty-wide Graduate Research Day this Spring.

Swanlund is also the founder of, a website that has taught well over 500,000 visitors about online privacy and security. He is currently working on his PhD, studying methods for protecting spatial privacy in academic research, with a particular focus on increasing the adoption of these methods.

Swanlund adds, “Above all I have to thank my supervisor, Dr. Nadine Schuurman, for all the guidance and support she has offered not just throughout my master’s, but in my undergraduate degree and now my doctoral studies as well. I am also grateful to my committee members, Dr. Paul Kingsbury and Dr. Sarah Elwood.”

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