Celebrating our June 2024 FAS Graduands

June 07, 2024

Congratulations to our graduands who will be crossing the stage this June! Meet some of our amazing students who are graduating from the Faculty of Applied Sciences (FAS).

Congratulations to our medal winners of June 2024 convocation.

Governor General's Gold Medal

Zhiqin Chen

PhD, School of Computing Science

Dean of Graduate Studies Convocation Medal

Christopher Hynes

PhD, School of Engineering Science


BSc, School of Computing Science, Software Systems

Tell us about yourself.
I’m Ben Djukastein, I’m passionate about solving problems, connecting people, and communicating solutions! I earned my bachelor’s in software systems. I’ve always known I wanted to work in the online world, and what better way than building websites? I joined SFU’s co-op program and got the chance to improve the JavaScript of real companies.

What was a highlight from your time at SFU?
My highlight was serving as the Vice-Chair of Competitions for the 2023 Western Engineering Competition hosted at SFU Surrey. I led a team of 10 students in designing, and running eight concurrent engineering competition categories from Programming to Senior Design to Debate for some of the brightest engineering students across Western Canada.

How has your experience at SFU prepared you for your career path?
The team projects we worked on in Software Systems gave me lots to talk about in technical interviews to demonstrate competency. For example, I helped to design an NHL fantasy draft site hosted on AWS and coded a VEX robot. For my capstone project, I created a proof-of-concept distributed storage management system, coded in Solidity, using the Ethereum blockchain.

What advice would you like to share to students in their first year?

  1. Join the discord! You’ll learn about upcoming software systems student society events.
  2. Show up to events to have fun, get advice from peers, and make friends.
  3. During Lectures:
    • Summarize the slides in your own words. If you can explain it to a friend after class, you know you understood.
    • Highlight sections you don’t fully grasp, then ask friends and the prof for clarity after class.

What are your current plans?
I’m currently working full time as a Software Developer at Reliable Controls. They extended a return offer to me after a great co-op term, designing smart building automation and management software. I’m planning to learn more about Dev-Ops and build automation to help my team get code out to the world faster.

View some of Ben's most memorable moments at SFU:


BASc, School of Engineering Science

Tell us about yourself.
When I began my engineering degree, I really had no idea what engineering even meant. I pursued it because I heard that through engineering, you could go anywhere. Personally, it allowed me to build my passion for technical communities and mentorship. Discovering and creating meaningful opportunities for others is something that fulfills me outside of the pure technical aspects of engineering. 

What was a highlight from your time at SFU?
My time with the Engineering Science Student Society (ESSS) is a definite highlight. From First Year Representative to Director of OpFair to VP External, I spent my SFU career helping to build a vibrant engineering student community.  I mentored younger students, planned events, and even travelled across Canada. Without the ESSS, I wouldn’t be who I am today.

How has your experience at SFU prepared you for your career path?
Being the Director of OpFair, especially during the pandemic, taught me the value of clear, professional, and empathetic communication. Asking questions, even to those more skilled or senior, and being respectful and genuine can open many doors.

What advice would you like to share to students in their first year?
Talk to as many people as possible in your first year! It’s the prime time to meet other first years who are starting the same journey as you and make lifelong friends. No one understands the tough engineering student life better than other engineering students. 

What are your current plans?
I’m starting a position as a SOC Design Engineer at Intel and I’m excited to see where the role takes me! I hope to continue mentoring engineering students while working full-time so I’ll be on the lookout for opportunities.

View some of Jennifer's most memorable moments at SFU:


MASc, School of Sustainable Energy Engineering

Tell us about yourself.
I have ten years of experience as a process and project engineer in petrochemical plants, optimizing processes, reducing costs, and enhancing safety while collaborating with cross-functional teams. Motivated by the industry's environmental impact, I pursued a master's in sustainable energy engineering at SFU. I developed a method to reduce soot accumulation, leading to a patent application, a publication in Nature Scientific Reports, and winning the 2022 Three Minute Thesis Competition at SFU.

What was a highlight from your time at SFU?
A highlight from my time at SFU was submitting a patent and publishing a peer-reviewed paper titled "Enhancing Soot Oxidation on Surfaces Using Microtextures" in Nature Scientific Reports. I developed an innovative approach to reduce soot accumulation, with potential applications in industries such as wood stoves, boilers, and engines, benefits remote communities. Seeing my hard work published was amazing and I hope it leads to a more sustainable future.

How has your experience at SFU prepared you for your career path?
My tenure at SFU has nurtured essential research skills, providing me with a comprehensive grasp of global environmental challenges and potential methods to mitigate them, especially through sustainability engineering. Moreover, I've refined critical thinking, communication, and collaborative abilities, crucial assets for navigating intricate challenges in professional endeavours.

What advice would you like to share to students in their first year?
In your first year, embrace opportunities to explore diverse subjects and engage in activities outside your comfort zone. Feel free to seek guidance from professors and peers. Remember, mistakes are part of the learning process. Manage your time effectively, prioritize self-care, and remember to take the time to explore beautiful Vancouver, make friends, and build connections.

What are your current plans?
I am actively seeking a job as a process or project engineer where I can implement all I have studied and utilize my abilities towards more sustainable solutions.

What was your research focus?
My research focused on developing an innovative approach to reducing surface soot accumulation. I discovered that randomly microtextured glass achieves a 71% reduction in the time required to oxidize 90% surface soot coverage compared to smooth glass. This finding has the potential to be utilized in wood stoves, boilers, and engines, offering significant benefits to remote communities lacking gas infrastructure.

View some of Oz's most memorable moments at SFU:


PhD, School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering

Tell us about yourself:
I thrive on transforming ideas into practical projects, from handcrafts to professional endeavours. Fueled by a love for science and a knack for math, I naturally gravitated towards engineering. My journey is driven by a blend of creativity and analytical skills, guiding me towards pursuing a career where I can continuously learn and innovate. This passion has shaped my path to where I am today.

What was a highlight from your time at SFU?
A highlight from my time at SFU was getting involved with the Engineering Graduate Student Association and the IEEE SFU Student Branch as a president/chair. Organizing events, from conferences to small gatherings, allowed me to support student well-being and fostered my own. Through these activities, I encouraged students to build their networks and practice leadership, while developing these skills myself. Additionally, multiple fundraisers for the conference we organized were transformative experiences for me.

How has your experience at SFU prepared you for your career path?
My experience at SFU, particularly, serving as chair of different student associations, was pivotal in preparing me for my career path. Leading these organizations allowed me to develop crucial leadership, networking, and communication skills, complementing the technical knowledge gained through research and coursework at SFU. This multifaceted experience has equipped me to navigate the complexities of the workforce with confidence and adaptability.

What advice would you like to share to students in their first year?
During your time here, embrace curiosity and explore widely. Do not fear failure; it is a steppingstone to growth. Seek mentors, ask questions, and build networks. Prioritize self-care and balance academics with activities you are passionate about. Remember, every experience teaches something valuable. Stay open-minded, resilient, and adaptable. Enjoy the journey—it is as much about the process as the destination.

What are your current plans?
As co-founder and technical team lead at my venture (named HebbIC), I am focused on advancing physical analog computers for edge devices and data centers, fueled by pre-seed funding. Leveraging my interdisciplinary experiences, I guide our team on hardware and AI aspects, making strategic decisions, and developing new IPs. My current plan revolves around driving the growth and success of our company.

What was your research focus?
During my PhD, I developed a physical computing platform that integrates computation with sensing devices. The goal was to drastically reduce the power consumption of these devices, addressing their typically high energy usage. This advancement is crucial for environmental sustainability and enhances the efficiency of sensor networks.

View some of Vahideh's most memorable moments at SFU: