2024 FENV Changemaker Award Nominees

Voting is now open to choose the 2024 SFU FENV Changemakers of the Year. A total of three awards will be given out. Two awardees will be determined by public electronic voting and one will be determined by the dean and associate deans of the Faculty.

Awardees will:

  • Receive $400 to support professional development.
  • Be profiled on social media and SFU/Faculty news.
  • Join a community of Changemakers!

How to vote:

  • Vote for up to two nominees
  • Voting is open to everyone 
  • Please only vote once. Duplicate votes will be deleted and only the initial vote will be valid.

Read through the nomination packages below! Nominees are listed in order of submission. 

Maria Preoteasa (she/her) | BEnv, Resource and Environmental Management

What makes Maria a Changemaker?

Maria researched Food Forests in many different ways, from her Spring 2023 REM 495 capstone project on Vancouver’s policy pathways to food forests, to SFU's Environmental Education field school in Indonesia, where she researched more about sustainable agriculture and cultural practices, to the ideation of the new Food Forest Outdoor Learning Space. Inspired by the existence of global food forests dating as far back as 11,000 years ago, she decided to make use of a pre-existing food forest site at SFU's Burnaby campus.  She is helping to fight the collective forgetting of human nature-based skills. Currently, she is partnering with faculty and community members to integrate this space into SFU classes, Indigenize the curriculum, and make this a place of belonging. She is also planning events for community involvement. As a student holding the Major Entrance Scholarship, she has always been a devoted student, and her dedication to the environment has only grown in these past years as she was President of the Bachelor of Environment Student Union during 2023, Vice President from 2021-2023, and also other titles. Maria has been invited to speak at the Invasive Species of Metro Vancouver Council’s 2024 Stewardship Series to share her experience with creating Food Forests across Metro Vancouver. 

Please note this nominee received multiple independant nominations and submissions were synthesizes to the above nomination.


Geography Student Union (GSU)

What makes them Changemakers?

The Geography Student Union (GSU) is one of the most active Departmental Student Unions at SFU. Over the years, the group has built a strong community of undergraduates within the Department who are engaged and committed to helping every geographer within their department shine. Most recently, the GSU organized an academic conference, RANGE, that brought high schoolers, undergraduates, graduates, and faculty together to share ideas and learn about geography. RANGE 2023 attracted almost 100 attendees who participated in various conference sessions themed around physical geography, geographic information systems, human geography, and sustainability/advocacy. The conference was an excellent opportunity for students to learn from each other and to build connections within and across the Department.

Apart from RANGE, you might find GSU members organizing degree planning socials, planning experiential learning trips, and running social events that help other students within geography and beyond to make the most of their university experience.

Relevant links:

Eli Hacker | BEnv, Resource Environmental Management

What makes Eli a Changemaker?

Eli has worked tirelessly to create a vibrant community for students. He helped to establish REMSA, REM’s new departmental student union, so that REM students would have a stronger voice and feel more connected to the School of REM. As the first President of REMSA, Eli has increased student engagement by planning fun, accessible events with his team. He is also part of the Student Leadership Team, where he helps to organize faculty-wide social activities such as the annual FENV Career Night, an opportunity for students to connect with alumni to learn about career paths and job-search experiences. Eli led campus tours and provided information about academic resources to new students as an EnvironMentor last year. He also mentored and supported a high school’s Environment Club in their green initiatives through the Bridging Environments community outreach program. In addition, Eli’s passion for forestry management led him to volunteer with the Fire and Ecosystems Research Lab at SFU.

Relevant links:

REMSA’s Instagram:
FENV Career Night Info Page:
EnvironMentors Info Page:
Bridging Environments Info Page:
Fire and Ecosystems Research Lab Info Page:

Helen Wong | BSc, Environmental Science honours, Sustainable Development minor

What makes Helen a Changemaker?

Helen Wong is a dedicated and driven undergraduate student passionate about environmental science, sustainability, and community advocacy. She is currently pursuing an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science with a minor in Sustainable Development at SFU and Co-operative Education. Her honours thesis was inspired by her interest in plastic pollution in the ocean. Her research connects the global issue of plastic pollution and its local manifestation, microplastic pollution on sandy beaches in the Lower Mainland.

Helen’s passion for increasing awareness in the general public led her to apply for the Ocean Action Grant which enabled her to organize and outfit a successful outreach event this January, leading 24 members of the public and peers in data collection on the beach. In the spring, she will extend her outreach by engaging with several classes of grade 12 students (Sir Charles Tupper Secondary). 
By fostering collaboration between academia and the broader community, Helen’s research addresses knowledge gaps regarding microplastic pollution in the Lower Mainland while simultaneously engaging and empowering high school students and community members in scientific research and environmental stewardship.

Relevant links:

Nicola Murray (she/her/hers)| Certificate in Biological Anthropology

What makes Nicola a Changemaker?

Nicola Murray is an undergraduate student completing a joint major in computing science and molecular biology & biochemistry (BSc) and completing a certificate in biological anthropology in the Department of Archaeology. Nicola joined Dr. Hugo Cardoso’s research group – JUNO, Juvenile Osteology Lab – in 2022 to develop standard operational procedures for two structured light 3D scanners, as well as to acquire, process, and create accurate digital 3D models of human remains and burial sites. This work addresses the need to develop accurate digital replicas for documentation and long-term preservation of cultural heritage and sensitive forensic evidence, as well as for training and educational purposes.

Nicola has also assisted in a variety of projects analysing child growth data and in developing a more inclusive method to estimate the stature of children’s remains for use in archaeological and forensic contexts.

Beyond these research projects, Nicola has assisted the JUNO lab by using the specialized scanning technology to help two children with microtia, a condition in which the outer part of one of the ears is not properly formed. By first scanning the child’s unaffected ear, Nicola then creates a highly detailed 3D digital model that is used by a surgeon to build an implant to reconstruct the affected ear. Not only does this give the child two ears with normal appearance and help to restore their confidence and self-esteem, but in some cases, the reconstructive surgery can significantly improve the child’s hearing.

Nicola has also completed two digital models of Haida argillite carvings for the SFU Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology’s website for their online exhibit.

Relevant links:

Resource and Environmental Management Student Association (REMSA)

What makes them Changemakers?

REMSA is an inspiring group of REM Majors, REM Minors, sustainable development minors, sustainable business joint majors, and sustainable development certificate holding students who are creating a positive social change for REM students. The Association was created this year to help foster a sense of community and belonging on campus, and give REM students a voice to provide the School with ideas or feedback on programs. The efforts of this group will impact the program for years to come - and really help the School to better understand the needs of current and future students.