John Chant Award

The John Chant Award recognizes the student with the highest cumulative grade point average (CGPA) in the undergraduate major program. This award is named after emeritus professor John Chant, who started teaching at Simon Fraser University in 1979. 


Jerry Eiswerth

When I first began my studies at SFU in the fall of 2020, I wasn’t sure what major would be a good fit. After a year of classes in various disciplines including history and computer science, I took first year micro and macroeconomics courses. I quickly realized that economics was my calling. Being able to put precise names to abstract concepts such as opportunity cost and diminishing marginal utility was like speaking a language I already knew, but never had the words for. Further, I realized that an economist’s toolkit can be used to help and better people’s lives through policy change.

During my time at SFU, I was fortunate enough to be able to work as a research assistant for Dr. Krishna Pendakur, a leading expert who studies poverty and inequality, which fueled my desire to pursue graduate studies in economics and follow in his footsteps. I also credit the economics Honours courses for challenging me in ways that shaped me into a better student. I want to express my sincere gratitude to everyone who supported me during this journey. Beginning in September, I will be continuing my education as a Masters student at UBC’s Vancouver School of Economics.

Past winners

2023: Russel Zhang

I transferred to SFU from Coquitlam College in the fall of 2020. Before I transferred to SFU, I was majoring in statistics. However, after taking some stats courses, I realized that something was missing when I analyzed datasets. It felt like we were not considering the "bigger picture". But after I took my first microeconomics course, the puzzle was solved. Statisticians do not consider the so-called "Equilibrium" which we use as economists. We try to use data and models to analyze human behavior, firm action, and a great variety of other complex issues of the world and try to find the optimal equilibrium and maximize the social surplus and benefit.

After this realization, I chose economics as my major and stats as my minor. I especially enjoyed ECON 402: Advanced Microeconomic Theory, where I learned to formally use an economic model to explain human behavior under the presence of asymmetric information. This course encouraged me to pursue further study in economics. Therefore, in September I will join UBC's Vancouver School of Economics to pursue my MA in economics. And hopefully, I can keep pushing myself to pursue PhD in economics and work in academia in the future.

2022: Wenjing Fan

I transferred from FIC to SFU in the summer of 2019. At first I planned to major in business but after taking some elective courses in economics, I found that I was more interested in macro market changes than companies. I think it's a wonderful thing that the world is constantly changing, and the economic impact of that change on the world is also very diverse and interesting. As a result, when I transferred to SFU, I changed my major to economics where I began to understand the laws of the global economy and the economic consequences of changes. In recent years, I've noticed that China's automobile industry is converting more from traditional gasoline to electricity, and people's production is becoming more and more intelligent. People are also paying more attention to environmental protection and energy. Therefore, I will be enrolling in a postgraduate study in the fall at University College London's (UCL) sustainable resources program with a focus toward economic policy and transformation in order to gain a deeper understanding of environmental economics. I hope that one day, as a student of economics, I can make a small contribution to the betterment of the Earth.

2021: Yingying Mai

I transferred to SFU in the summer of 2019 after obtaining a diploma in financial management from Langara College and three years of working in the financial industry. My interest in the field was sparked when I realized that economics is interwoven in everything around us - from government policies, the way businesses operate, and all the way down to the purchase of a cup of coffee. I enjoy learning about economics as it provides insights into social and economic behaviours that drive decision-making. The pricing strategy on consumption goods, wage differential in the labour market, and the opposite thinking of "good" and "bad" in environmental economics are of particular interest to me. After graduation, I plan to work towards obtaining my CFA credential, combining my economics knowledge with my financial work experience. 

2020: Hankil Lee

Even at a young age, Lee noticed how different types of policies could impact people's standard of living and their health and happiness. He was intrigued by how economics  But his interest in the field truly started while enrolled in an economics course at Douglas College. "I was attracted by this subject that could possibly explain human behavior, and at the same time offer guidance about how the future was likely to unfold," says Lee. "I enjoy finding parallels in global history which offer insights into the nature of the problems we are facing today." 

In 2018, Lee transferred to SFU to study economics. The interdisciplinary nature of economics combining logic and mathematics appealed to Lee as well as the application of the field to banking, trading, and commerce. As Lee graduates this spring, he plans to hone his economics background while working his way through the CPA program.