Terry Heaps Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award

Good teaching is vital to the mission of a good university. Knowledge produced by countless researchers would be of little use if it were not communicated effectively to each new generation of students. Every year, the Department of Economics brings on a brilliant group of teaching assistants who are vital to supporting our students and faculty. The Terry Heaps Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award recognizes those who have distinguished themselves.

2021 - Wenqian Sun

Since joining the Department of Economics in 2015, Wenqian Sun has been actively working as a teaching assistant (TA) for the past five years. To her, interacting with students is what she loves most about teaching. She believes the key to building a healthy relationship with students is to be the person they can go to when they have questions. Wenqian’s research interest lies mostly in econometrics. She loves skiing and snowboarding in the winter.

2021 - Xiaolin Sun

Xiaolin Sun is a PhD candidate in economics at SFU. In 2016 Fall, she joined the PhD program after completing the MA program at SFU. She has worked as a teaching assistant for many courses at SFU since 2015 including some core courses at the undergraduate level and graduate level. When she is not teaching, Xiaolin conducts research in theoretical econometrics and applied econometrics. Her recent work tries to construct new ways combining methods in econometrics and machine learning to estimate the treatment effect of social programs.

Past winners

2020: Boxi Yang

A PhD candidate in economics at SFU, Boxi Yang joined the university after obtaining her master's degree in economics from New York University. Since 2016, she has been working as a teaching assistant primarily in core courses such as ECON 201, ECON 302, and ECON 305. Despite the challenging course content, she has successfully engaged and motivated her students as reflected in the many positive reviews received from students and faculty alike. When she is not teaching, Boxi works on her research focused on applied microeconomics, labour economics, and development economics. 

2019: Farouk Abdul-Salam

Farouk Abdul-Salam is PhD candidate in economics at Simon Fraser University, and a job market candidate for 2020-2021 academic year. He completed his B.A. degree (Statistics and Economics) at the University of Ghana and M.A. degree (Economics) at University of Manitoba. His research focuses on computational economics, learning and adaptation, experimental economics, time series, financial economics and applied econometrics as applied to monetary policies. In addition to the Terry Heaps Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award, he has received the SFU Presidents PhD Scholarship. He has assisted with teaching a total of 34 courses in the fields of economics and statistics. Farouk enjoys research as well as teaching and engaging students on economic ideas and policies.

2018: Thomas Vigié

Thomas Vigié is a PhD student in economics at SFU, having in the fall term of 2014. He is originally from France—in particular, from the Basque country. He did his masters in economic theory, and came to SFU to keep learning about economic science, but he is also interested in statistics used in economics as well. Thomas's research focuses on the statistical tools that are used to quantify impacts of economic policies. He is trying to build tools that deliver more accurate and reliable results in different contexts. Aside from that, his job consists in being a Teacher Assistant, which he thoroughly enjoys.

2018: Yasser Sattari

Yaser Sattari is a PhD student in economics at SFU. He joined the PhD program in fall 2013 after completing a one-year economics MA program at SFU. He is interested in various sub-disciplines of macroeconomics. In his thesis, Yaser has been studying roots of economic growth and development with a focus on firm dynamics in developing countries. In particular, his recent work tries to quantify the effects of policies that misallocate resources across firms in developing countries. In his academic career, Yaser enjoys teaching as much as conducting research and tries to teach students how to think like an economist.

In Memoriam

Terry Heaps was a memorable professor who changed the lives of SFU graduates. His research in natural resources economics added to the foundation of knowledge that many researchers use today.  

In 1967 he completed his first PhD in Mathematics at the University of California, Berkley. Terry taught as a Lecturer at the University of Manchester. Soon after, he flew down to Tanzania and taught at the University College Dar es Salaam. Almost ten years later, Terry completed a Master of Arts, Economics at Simon Fraser University.  Terry decided to pursue a second PhD at the University of British Columbia in economics. In 1979, Terry joined the Department of Economics at Simon Fraser University as a faculty member.