Congratulations to our 2020 undergraduate award winners

October 29, 2020

Congratulations to five of our undergraduate students whose outstanding academic performance and passion for economics has earned them the Department of Economics' Fall 2020 student awards.

Peter Kennedy Undergraduate Award in Macroeconomics 

The Peter Kennedy Undergraduate Award in Macroeconomics (valued at $4,000) is named after the late emeritus professor Peter Kennedy, and recognizes students not only for academic excellence but also for expressing strong interest in a particular macroeconomics-related subject area.

Ella Rose Fernandez


I am in my fourth year at SFU completing a Joint Major in Business and Economics, and am particularly interested in statistical analysis and taking advantage of technology to generate meaningful findings and visual representations of data. I am also drawn to the subjects of poverty, overpopulation, and the formation of slums, specifically the impact of economic policies on these overcrowded communities. After graduation I hope to use my economic and finance skills gained at SFU to improve the lives of those living under the poverty line around the world. 

Andrew Hicks 

When I first studied macroeconomics, it was not my favourite – but as I began to learn more about how an economy dynamically changes over time and responds to shocks and human behaviour, I began to understand how vital macroeconomics is to policy. Of course, SFU’s economic professors helped a lot with that. They challenge us to model and test and truly understand how we think about different economic situations while training us on how to approach these problems and incorporate new insights – suffice to say I am grateful to study here.

As an undergraduate student, I have really enjoyed assisting Dr. Kevin Schnepel and Dr. Anke Kessler in research projects and it has taught me a lot about the research process and improved my research skills. My own interests tend to revolve around policy and include examining how monetary policy’s effectiveness is affected by behavioural factors, recessionary fiscal policy design, and applied microeconomics and development economics. After graduation, I hope to pursue graduate studies in economics to understand more about these fields and how they can shape policy.

Tanya Kuriyedath


I joined SFU in 2017 as an Economics and Political Science joint major student. I decided to major in these two fields because I hope to develop a well-rounded understanding of the effects of government action on the economy as well as the individual. I am particularly interested in environmental economics and how sustainability and economic growth can occur together. After graduation I hope to contribute to the advocacy for climate action using an economic background. 

Pamela Yoon Drakos Award

Founded by SFU Economics alumnus Pamela Yoon, the award (valued at $1,000) is granted annually to a full-time undergraduate student who has demonstrated interest in pursuing a career in finance after graduation. 

Mason Taykandy 

My name is Mason Taykandy, and I joined Simon Fraser University in the Fall semester of 2016. Upon graduation, I hope to pursue a career in the area of thematic investment analysis, or perhaps in macroeconomic policy analysis. Since being accepted into the Economics Honors Program at Simon Fraser University, I have had the opportunity to gain extensive knowledge of the economy from an individual’s perspective, as well as from a collective perspective. Enrolling in various courses pertaining to Macroeconomics is what really sparked my interest in Finance. Specifically, being aware of how different macroeconomic policies impact certain industries, how macroeconomic forces impact individual firms, and which theories or technical analysis tools are useful in painting a clear image of what exactly is dictating certain trends in various business sectors. My hobbies include political economics, portfolio management, hockey, and hip-hop culture. In the future, I would love to pursue a career in politics and empower as many people as I possibly can!

Glenn Berg Super-Duper Chosen Few Award

The award (valued at $1,000), created by SFU economics alumnus, Glenn Berg, recognizes economics honours students for participation in extracurricular activities while achieving academic excellence.

Denise Abella

My interest in economics happened almost by accident. I had initially intended to major in another program at SFU, and ECON 103 was one of the required courses for this program. That course sparked my curiosity for economics and ultimately shifted my education path, culminating into a five year journey that would lead me to switching majors and enrolling in the Honours program. After I complete my undergraduate degree, I hope to explore the issues of poverty and inequality, public policy, and labour outcomes of marginalized groups in graduate school. When I am not studying or in class, I serve as the President of the Economics Student Society (ESS), where we aim to connect SFU Economics students with each other as well as with professionals and alumni. In my spare time I enjoy painting, experimenting in the kitchen, and falling off my skateboard.