Convocation, Awards

Robert C. Brown award winners: Summer 2020

June 16, 2020

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

Gabrielle McLaren

Gabrielle McLaren has graduated with her History honour’s degree. Gabrielle’s record of outstanding excellence was capped with her thesis on the 1885 smallpox epidemic in Montreal and creating a twitter thread that helps the public understand policies and political movements of the event in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gabrielle has performed service to the SFU community in her roles as contributor to and editor of The Peak where her investigative journalism and editorship have been dedicated to highlighting issues of diversity, equity and inclusion on campus and around the world. Throughout her studies, Gabrielle balanced her commitments to coursework, journalism, editorship and research.

Even in the turn to online learning in Spring 2020 (and simultaneously pivoting her staff to online Peak production) Gabrielle held herself to high and productive standard and achieved the highest grade in History 494 as well as an "A" on her Honours thesis.

Steven Hall

Steven Hall has graduated with a major in Indigenous Studies and an extended minor in Psychology. Steven is an excellent student who is committed to the revitalization of the Heiltsuk community and integrates Heiltsuk language and thought into his work.

Steven served as the research assistant for the Decolonizing Teaching Seminar Series of SFU’s Institute for the Study of Teaching and Learning in the Disciplines where he demonstrated a passion, warmth and wisdom beyond his years. He is also an active volunteer in the SFU community, having served as a student representative on the then Teaching and Learning Centre's Hiring Committee for an Associate Director (Indigenous Initiatives).

Steven is a beacon in his communities beyond SFU. He is active in the Vancouver area urban Aboriginal community, and has worked as a Support Worker for the Young Spirits Summer Program at the Urban Native Youth Association. He is also a strong advocate for the LGTQ2-S community. Lastly, Steven has volunteered with Raincoast, a conservation foundation, learning how they partner with the Heilsuk, Kitasoo, and Xai Xai nations to strengthen the protection of land, water and wildlife in the Great Bear Rainforest.

Helen Han Wei Luo

Helen Han Wei Luo has graduated on the Dean and President’s Honour Roll with majors in Philosophy and Political Science, and an extended minor in French. Not only has Helen achieved success individually in each of these disciplines, but she draws on the insights of one to inform her work in others, resulting in precisely the kind of interdisciplinary expertise that can serve as a model for FASS students. She has received several academic achievements and awards, capped by a $15,000 SSHRC Grant.

Helen participated in the NATO field school, and served as a writing and learning peer at SFU’s Learning Commons as well as vice-president and coach with the SFU Debate Society. She has also been a part of the French Cohort Program in Public and International Affairs.

Within the broader community Helen served as a translator and interpreter for the Lingyen Mountain Temple providing both written and simultaneous translation from Chinese to English and French; she has also worked as a tutor for high school students across a variety of subjects and as a coach for the Vancouver Debate Academy.

Hamza Abdelrahman

Hamza Abdelrahman was the top graduating student in the Department of Economics (Honours), having been on the President’s Honour Roll every academic term that he was eligible. However, what puts Hamza in a league of his own is his ambition for public leadership. He is deeply interested and engaged in international relations and hopes to one day return to his home country of Jordan to serve in a top public leadership position.

Hamza is deeply devoted to SFU as evidenced by his campus engagement. He is the co-founder and president of the SFU Arab Students’ Association and has served as a vice president for both the Economics Students' Society and the Residence Hall Association.

As a research assistant with SFU economics, Hamza’s persistence and professional approach led to several successful file public record requests from the B.C. government. He also thrived in the co-op program at SFU, where he gained experience with a number of SFU units, including SFU Recreation and SFU Big Data.

Sydney Wallin

Sydney Wallin has graduated as an English major with a minor in Curriculum and Instruction from the PDP program.

Sydney has deftly balanced her academics, earning a place on the honour roll, with service to the SFU community. As a participant in the FASS Connection Mentorship Program and the FASS Peer Education Program, she has dedicated countless hours to helping new students find their way at SFU, through one-on-one consultations and facilitating workshops and weekly information sessions to provide support, assistance and information.

Sydney is also an executive of the SFU lmprov Club where she advocates for the use of humour as a means of helping students build friendships and manage stress.