Class of June 2024 FASS convocation medalists and student speakers

June 10, 2024

A big congratulations to the seven Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) graduands who were honoured with a convocation medal in recognition of their achievements, and to the three graduands who were specially chosen to deliver the commencement speech to their graduating class. Congratulations! 

Graduate Dean’s Medal

Recognizes graduating students from each faculty whose cumulative grade point average places them in the top five per cent of their class.

Marieh Azizirad

PhD, Economics 

Dr. Marieh Azizirad’s dedication as a macroeconomist shines through in her focused research on the impacts of government and central bank policies on the economy. Following her PhD at SFU, she embarked on a postdoctoral journey at the University of Warwick before securing her dream role as an economist at the International Monetary Fund.

Ronaldo L. C. Au-Yeung

MA, Political Science 

Ronaldo Au-Yeung joined Simon Fraser University in 2017. A neorealist, his research interests focus on balance-of-power politics, alliance and non-alliance, grand strategy and traditional security with a regional specialization in China. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in International Journal, the Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, The Future of Multilateralism and Globalization in the Age of the US-China Rivalry and elsewhere, and has been featured by the National Post and the Epoch Times. This year, he will join the University of Notre Dame as a university fellow.

Governor General’s Silver Medal

Awarded to the two undergraduate students who achieve the highest scholastic standing upon graduation from a bachelor’s degree program.

Kalum Kumar

BA (Hons.), Psychology 

Kalum Kumar is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, and is incredibly grateful for his family, friends and mentors who supported him along the way. Kalum completed the psychology honours program under the supervision of Dr. Lara Aknin, where he investigated whether giving and receiving advice could enhance the well-being of students at SFU. He intends to leverage his passion for research by attending graduate school in social psychology, where he will continue to explore how we can foster a happier world. In the shorter term, Kalum will spend some time travelling the world and experiencing different cultures.

Read more about Kalum

Undergraduate Dean’s Medal

Recognizes undergraduate students in each faculty whose cumulative grade point average places them in the top five per cent of their class.

Isabella (Belle) Eist

BA, English

Belle Eist majored in English and graduated first class with distinction in summer 2023. In addition to working as a research assistant on the Women’s Print History Project and other book history research projects throughout her undergraduate degree, Belle served as a volunteer educator, supporting secondary school students to develop their reading and writing skills. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in English at SFU and has received a SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship. Her research interests surround female authorship and reading practices in the early nineteenth century.

Jerry Eiswerth

BA (Hons.), Economics

Jerry Eiswerth graduates with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a cumulative GPA of 4.20. During his time at SFU, Jerry earned three Undergraduate Student Research Awards for his work with Dr. Krishna Pendakur on multiple projects, including an exploration of interethnic marriages in Canada. His honours thesis examined the relationship between income and healthy eating. He credits his success to the many mentors whose unwavering support gave him the confidence to excel in his studies. Jerry was awarded a SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship and will pursue a master’s degree at UBC starting this fall.

Read more about Jerry 

Robert C. Brown Award

Recognizes FASS students who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievements combined with outstanding leadership. 

Isaac Thomas Schoeber

BA (Hons.), History, minor in Publishing

Isaac Schoeber’s academic journey is distinguished by a 4.11 cumulative GPA across twelve departments. It was capped by his honours essay on the social dimensions of science for interwar science fiction fans in the United States, for which he received an A+. His advanced practicum in history publishing involved developmental and copy editing for a professor’s recently released monograph. Schoeber’s achievements have also been recognized through multiple awards and scholarships, including SFU’s European History Award, second place in Fourth Year+ category in the 2023 Student Learning Commons Writing Contest, and the Burnaby Historical Society Undergraduate Scholarship in Canadian History.

Beyond academics, Isaac has made significant efforts to combat social isolation on campus. As the founder and co-president of SFU’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club, he has built a community of readers on campus, organizing monthly reads to foster fun and inclusive literary discussion. He also co-founded SFU Tabletop, which has quickly become one of the school’s most active student groups, running weekly boardgaming and roleplaying meetings at both SFU Burnaby and Surrey. 

Kohl Angela Peters

BA, Criminology

A member of the women’s varsity volleyball team, Kohl Peters was actively involved within the athletics community in her roles as the team's mental health representative and as a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). From 2020 to 2021, she ran a small-scale sugar cookies business called Kohl’s Cookies, where she created custom cookies to order from her home. On top of her extracurriculars, Peters maintained a high GPA throughout her degree and made the Dean’s List every semester. Some of her proudest accomplishments at SFU include being named a top ten academic athlete for two years and being selected for the NCAA GNAC Academic All-American team consecutively. Peters followed her life-long dream of moving to Australia post-graduation, and she plans to pursue law school with hopes of gaining admissions for 2025. On a more personal note, Peters is an extroverted, high-energy individual who values quality time with friends and family. Her parents are her greatest supporters and Peters credits them for giving her the space to dream big and accomplish what she has.

Read more about Kohl 

Graduand speakers

Selected by the faculties and the Registrar based on student achievement and extracurricular involvement.

Jiyun (Daisy) Choi

BA, Linguistics and French

Daisy Choi completed a double major in Linguistics and French, as well as a certificate in Speech Science. Her achievements over the course of her degree include being named to the dean’s honour roll, working as a research assistant in the Language Learning and Development Lab and securing a research assistant position in the Phonological Processing Lab through the Undergraduate Student Research Award program. Outside of academics, she is passionate about helping others and has volunteered extensively with adults needing speech and communication support. She received an entrance scholarship to UBC and will begin graduate studies in UBC’s Speech-Language Pathology program this fall.

 Mariah Stafford

BA, Criminology, Sociology, and Communication

Mariah Stafford began her university career as a recipient of the Gordon M. Shrum Major Entrance Scholarship and graduates today with an interdisciplinary BA in Criminology, Sociology and Communication. During her degree, she volunteered as a FASS Peer Mentor and Senior Welcome Leader, was president of the Sociology and Anthropology Student Union and served as chair of the Undergraduate Scholars Entrance Scholarships Student Committee. In recognition of her volunteerism, Mariah was a two-time recipient of the Kate Ross Doing and Discovery Award. She also completed two co-op semesters as the FASS Engagement Programming Assistant and three semesters with the Government of Canada, supporting the implementation of the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Mariah looks forward to beginning graduate studies in Public Administration this September.

Rajinder (Raj) Deol

MA, International Studies

Raj Deol completed his Master of Arts in International Studies. Born in Hong Kong, of South Asian descent and now residing on Turtle Island, he believes in the values of transnational solidarity and community as key to reimagining collective futures and actions. A recipient of the Simons Foundation Canada Graduate Fellowship and the Annie and Leon Josefowicz Memorial Award, he lived out his values through his work advancing caste and social inclusion in international development, researching gender migration discourses in Asia and strengthening the global human rights system from backlash. Raj is also a development practitioner who has worked with the United Nations on gender equality, disaster resilience and migration. Going forward, he hopes to bring people and diverse knowledge together in reshaping policy, norms and practices.