Convocation, Awards

Convocation Award Winners, 2018

June 12, 2018

Robert C. Brown Award:
Maisalool Al-Ashkar and Alexander Jackson

The Robert C. Brown Award recognizes Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences students for outstanding academic achievement combined with outstanding leadership.

Maisaloon Al-Ashkar graduates with a BA majoring in both First Nations Studies and Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies.

Maisaloon’s commitments to social justice are firmly rooted in intersectional anti-oppression, particularly as a displaced Palestinian, Muslim woman, and racialized settler on stolen lands. In addition to volunteering at the SFU Women's Centre, SFU Amnesty International, she was both a Board member of SFPIRG and a creator/co-facilitator of the Racialised Resistance and Healing Action Group.

Currently, Maisaloon is the coordinator at a women's centre and continues to support resistance struggles and amplify grassroots community organizing efforts. She is also the 2017 recipient of the Rosemary Brown Undergraduate Award in Social Justice.

Alexander Jackson graduates with his BA majoring in English and minoring in Counselling and Human Development.

Alongside an outstanding academic record, he has dedicated his time and energy to raising awareness around gender equity, sexual violence, and community health.

Alexander’s teachers praise his writing as both sensitive and beautiful and say that he is passionate about giving voice to marginalized individuals.

With a gift for connecting communities of learners and effecting positive change in the classroom and community, Alexander has his sights on becoming a secondary school English teacher post-graduation.

Governor-Governor's Silver Medal:
Kaitlyn Thompson, Linguistics

The Governor-General's Silver medal is awarded to only two undergraduate students at SFU who achieve the highest scholastic standing upon graduation from a bachelor’s degree program.

Linguistics' Kaitlyn Thompson is this year's recipient of the Governor General’ Silver Medal.  

In addition to studying on exchange at the University of Glasgow for a year, Kaitlyn volunteered at SFU’s Linguistics Language and Brain Lab, tutored English language learners, published poetry with the small Canadian press, Polar Expressions, and wrote several articles for the Vancouver-based bilingual newspaper The Source: A Forum for Diversity.

She says that successfully juggling academic and volunteer work, and her professional and creative writing pursuits, was only possible because she practiced attentive self-care and employed solid organizational skills.

“There is no prize or letter grade attached to taking care of your mental health,” says Thompson. “It is so important to both your mental health and personal growth to take that time to relax, as well as to set goals, reflect and reassess when needed.”

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Dean's Undergraduate Convocation Medals:
Deven Azevedo and Lauren McRae

Convocation Medals recognize academic achievement and are given to two graduating students at spring convocation.

Deven Azevedo graduates this June with his BA (Honours) in Economics. He researched the complex problem of "optimal recycling regulation" for his honours thesis.

He was remarkably active as an undergraduate student, serving as a member of SFU's Board of Governors and as chair of SFU's Embark Sustainability Society.

Since 2009, Deven has also been the bassist for Canadian indie-rock band Derrival. He has also helped organize successful charity and for-profit events with his band.

In September he heads to the London School of Economics to begin his master's program.

Lauren McRae graduates this June with her BA (honours) in Psychology.

Her instructors describe her as "an incredibly talented, accomplished and amazing student" and praise her maturity, confidence and strong theoretical grasp of her honours thesis findings on boundary-setting in close relationships.

With advanced research and writing skills, she has presented at a national conference and is working with a professor to submit an article for publication in a leading journal.

Lauren also received the Mary Batchelor Memorial Award for her extracurricular contributions. 

Dean of Graduate Studies Convocation Medals:
Nancy Teeple and Jodie Warren

The Dean of Graduate Studies Convocation Medals recognize graduating students from each faculty whose cumulative grade-point averages place them in the top five per cent of their class.

Dr. Nancy Teeple (left) with Dr. Jane Pulkingham, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Photo credit: Livleen Diwana

In her doctoral dissertation, Dr. Nancy Teeple explored the feasibility of creating a nuclear arms control regime in the Arctic within the context of the US-Russia strategic arms competition. She received many awards to pursue this reasearch, including a SSHRC Doctoral Research Award and an award from the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Dr. Teeple contiues to explore strategic issues involving asymmetric challenges and offset capabilities while she teachers upper level undergraduate course on modern warfare, nuclear strategy, and theories of war at SFU.

During her doctoral dissertation, Dr. Jodie Warren designed an innovative method to estimate the age of immature insects which can be applied to death investigations. This method adds precision to current techniques and allows forensic entomologists to provide more precise post-mortem interval estimations.

During the course of her research, Dr. Warren also received the Terry Fox Gold Medal Award and the Alexander Goetz Instrument Program Award.

She also completed her highly lauded research without letting the lasting effects of a devastating stroke suffered in her early twenties prevent her from achieving her dreams.