Ask a student

Do you have questions about becoming a graduate student in the Faculty of Health Sciences? Email one of our current students if you'd like more information about student life in our programs! Questions regarding admission requirementsapplication procedures, tuition/fees, and funding can be answered by visiting our website or directed to for prospective MPH students and for prospective MSc/PhD students.

Master of Public Health

Bolu Adeoti

Program: Master of Public Health


Hi, My name is Bolu Adeoti, a Nigerian-trained dentist, born and raised in Nigeria. My academic journey has not been one without its challenges, I had to retake a year during undergrad. Even though I was told this would reduce my chances of getting admission to study abroad, with the grace of God, perseverance, and a good support system I graduated as one of the top 5 in my class. I am also passionate about research and have published two papers.

I  love community work and enjoyed community dentistry. This spurred me to apply for my masters in Public Health. Amazingly, I applied to only one school and bam, SFU said yes. Since the onset of my program about six months ago, I have acquired more skills from the lectures, assignments, group works, and discussions. I can boldly say I am better off than when I started. I am looking forward to doing a thesis based MPH in my second year and I anticipate contributing to public health knowledge and making a tangible impact.

My Cohort is a really amazing one because we make room to catch some fun despite the rigor of studying. One of the social events that stood out for me was our visit to a bowling alley. It was so much fun.

SFU provides an enriching environment for learning, with ample opportunities for growth. If you are keen to learn, SFU's got your back.

Rhien Hare

Program: Master of Public Health


Hello, my name is Rhien (she/her). I am originally from New Brunswick but have been in BC for over 10 years. I earned my Honours Bachelor of Science from the University of the Fraser Valley in 2023, where I majored in Biology and minored in Kinesiology. During my undergrad, I discovered a passion for science communication and knowledge translation. Although I love science, I discovered that what I love most about science is talking about it and sharing it with those around me.

My research interests focus on menstrual and women's health, particularly in how to effectively disseminate knowledge in these areas. I had the privilege during my undergrad to concentrate my honours thesis on knowledge mobilization efforts related to menstrual side effects of COVID-19 vaccination, a consideration I believe is crucial for any vaccine or drug trial. This intersection of knowledge translation, women’s health, and infectious disease is ultimately what inspired me to pursue a career in public health. In addition to my education, I also work as a science communicator supporting academic investigators and science-driven non-profits; work that has allowed me to apply my science background and love for translating scientific knowledge on a daily basis.

The MPH program at SFU has been a fantastic fit for me. Finding a program that aligned perfectly with my goals, given my unique research interests that span several fields, was challenging. The holistic nature of the SFU MPH program has been incredibly rewarding, exposing me to all facets of public health and providing room for my growth as an emerging public health practitioner. I am confident that my education at SFU will prepare me for a successful career in knowledge mobilization.

Getting to know other like-minded individuals in the program has also been an incredible experience – no two people in our cohort have the same background or interests and we learn from each other just as much as we do from the program. I would encourage all incoming students to get to know your cohort-mates because they are likely to become some of your closest connections!

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions about the program or just want to chat – I would love to connect with you!

Keturah Kalio (she/her)

Program: Master of Public Health


Hello, my name is Keturah. I was born and raised in Rivers State, Nigeria, and I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry at the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. A significant part of my background involved volunteering with non-governmental and non-profit organizations. Experiencing the adverse effects of air pollution in my community ignited my interest in Environmental Health, steering me towards a career in public health.

In my first year of the program, I decided to focus my interests on leveraging data to transform public health interventions and programs. This interest has led me to my current role as a Data Analyst with Fraser Health Authority. I am currently in my second year of the MPH program, and my advice to new students is to be intentional about growth and remain open to new ideas. The SFU MPH program has provided me with invaluable knowledge, resources and networks that have significantly impacted the direction of my career, and I am grateful for that.

When I'm not working, I enjoy exploring Vancouver and immersing myself in books.

If you have any questions or need guidance, please feel free to reach out. I’d be more than happy to help.

Andra Tarta

Program: Master of Public health


Hello! My name is Andra, and I was born in Romania and raised in Ontario. In 2022, I graduated from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science, and a minor in Psychology. In Ontario, I did some lab-based research investigating breast cancer and obesity comorbidity, and held some writing consulting positions. My first introduction to public health was a research assistant position where I connected with various health professionals from across Canada to describe the landscape of SARS-CoV-2 research, and tried to identify gaps in our pandemic response. I applied to the MPH program after taking a gap year, and was very excited to attend SFU because of their strong emphasis on application-based work, social justice, and their Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) accreditation.

Through my biology and psychology backgrounds, I learned about many systemic inequities in healthcare, and the MPH has allowed me to deepen my understanding of personal interests like women’s health, environmental health, and health promotion. The program also offers many great opportunities to connect with passionate professors and peers, and I have learned a lot just from hearing other people’s stories.

Although the semester can be challenging at times, your cohort and professors are there to support you, so don’t hesitate to reach out to others. Take time for yourself, even when things get busy. Personally, I love café-hopping, exploring new hiking trails, and cooking a fun, new meal.

If you have any questions, I am more than happy to help! Feel free to reach out for a chat.

Leanna Wong

Program: Master of Public Health


Hi there, my name is Leanna and I am in my first year of the MPH program. My background includes a Bachelors of Health Science from Thompson Rivers University and a diploma in Diagnostic Medical Sonography from the College of New Caledonia. I credit my interest for public health towards my upbringing and frontline healthcare experience. I was born and raised in Northern BC, and grew up in an area where complex social issues such as crime, poverty, substance use, and mental health challenges were present. In my later years I worked as a diagnostic medical sonographer and as a medical lab assistant. I worked in public and private settings in rural and urban communities and witnessed systemic racism and discrimination in healthcare. Therefore, both my personal and professional experiences have inspired me to pursue my MPH to work towards health equity and creating accessible healthcare opportunities for marginalized peoples. 

I greatly appreciate the social justice lens that SFU’s MPH program incorporates as this helped shape my understanding of public health as well as helped to develop my research interests. Without this program I don’t think I would have realized how passionate I feel about Indigenous Health and Harm Reduction. I feel really grateful to be surrounded by a community of peers and faculty members who support my passions and empower me to learn more about the topics I care about. I am excited to continue learning and I cannot wait to see where my career in public health will take me. 

I encourage prospective students to reach out to me if they have questions about the MPH program. Please do not hesitate to reach out, I am more than happy to share advice and chat. 

Master of Science

Siobhan Ennis (she/her)

Program: Master of Science


Hi, I’m Siobhan! I was born and raised in the Vancouver area and completed my BSc in the Life Sciences stream here in FHS in 2018. During my undergrad degree I explored my interest in molecular biology and infectious diseases through the co-op program. I studied salmon genetic diversity in a federal fishery laboratory on Vancouver Island and researched pathogenic E. coli in Singapore. At the end of my degree I also held an Undergraduate Student Research Award to study virology at a laboratory in FHS, which eventually led to my Master’s research with the same supervisor (after a brief stint working in biotechnology). 

I first developed my love for virology working with Marek’s Disease Virus, a herpesvirus that causes cancer in chickens. My thesis focuses on finding ways to understand how vaccines prevent disease by studying virus-host interactions in the natural host at the cellular level. My passion for infectious diseases was further developed during the COVID-19 pandemic, when I was able to use the skills I’d developed in my own research to help understand this new emerging pathogen. I helped with diagnostics, antiviral materials, and vaccine development, as well as understanding SARS-CoV-2 immunology in vulnerable populations. These interdisciplinary projects enriched my grad school experience far beyond what I would have thought possible, expanding my connections within FHS, SFU, and the international research community.

I remember being so intimidated by people who seemed to have more experience and knowledge than me when I first started doing research. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to catch up or that I had anything to contribute since everyone else seemed so driven and confident. One of the most important things that I’ve learned in grad school is that everyone else has felt that way, and we’re all just here pretending we know what we’re doing. But then at some point you’ll actually know what you’re doing. Find a supervisor who believes in you and encourages you while you’re figuring it out. Their support can make all the difference.

Alya Govorchin

Program: Master of Science


Hi everyone, my name is Alya! I’m a second year MSc student from Delta, BC. Under the supervision of Dr Lyana Patrick, my thesis research seeks to explore jurisdictional control as a determinant of health during wildfire emergencies in two First Nations in northern BC.

While completing my BA in Sociology at the University of Victoria, graduate school was not on my radar. I struggled with my mental health and found it difficult to stay on top of school, work, and varsity athletics. In my third year, I took a qualitative research methods and decolonization course, which sparked my passion for social justice and motivated me academically through the end of my degree.

After graduating in 2017, I worked with the federal government assessing short term disability claims and subsequently, moved into consultation with First Nations. Both experiences made it clear to me how governments were not meeting the needs of equity-deserving populations in Canada. I began exploring programs in public health and took coursework to improve my GPA. In 2021, I applied to FHS, and left the public service to work as a research assistant at the BC Centre on Substance Use, which cemented my interest in justice-centred research.

Since entering the MSc program in 2022, I have honed my research skills, forged close friendships in my cohort, and discovered a passion for teaching, while working on projects that feel meaningful to me. I would recommend the MSc program for the opportunity to tailor your coursework and research to your interests, and for the program’s emphasis on health equity and interdisciplinary collaboration.

My advice for incoming students: prioritise your wellbeing, take opportunities that push you outside of your comfort zone, and don’t compare your academic success with anyone else’s! I would love to connect if you have any questions!


Luka Ivkovic (he/him)

Program: Master of Science


Hi everyone, my name is Luka, and I was born and raised in Serbia. I completed my BA (with honours) in Sociology at the University of Alberta, and I am currently a first-year MSc student with the focus on health economics. My undergraduate education at the University of Alberta (UofA) is one of the main reasons I decided to study health sciences. In studying the sociology of mental illness at the UofA, I have developed an interest in Telehealth interventions. This class opened my eyes to the potential of Telehealth interventions to improve the efficiency of health services in Canada and was the primary reason I contacted Dr. David Whitehurst with a view to graduate-level (MSc) training in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the Simon Fraser University. Indeed, I will be conducting a thesis project that comprises a trial-based economic evaluation of a multi-chronic disease management program delivered through the Internet focused on high-impact chronic diseases targeted to patients in rural communities and at the highest risk of further marginalization.

Among the most valuable things I have learned from my MSc program so far is how to critically appraise research papers. This is why I would recommend to future students to take the Principles of Epidemiology for Public Health course with Dr. Travis Salway. He is an extremely supportive professor, and his class will challenge you to think critically about all research articles that you have ever come across off.

My advice for future students is to reach out to potential supervisors as soon as possible. Contacting them ahead of time will give you an opportunity to ask them about funding, workload, and how your project will look like. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the program!

Doctor of Philosophy

Emily Blyth (she/her)

Program: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Hello, my name is Emily, my pronouns are she/her, and I look forward to connecting with prospective and incoming students to talk about our program here at FHS. I was born in a small town outside of Toronto, Ontario. Following my small-town-heart, I pursued my BAH in Linguistics at Queen's University, a school in Kingston Ontario, where I graduated in 2015. I never saw myself in academia, but fell in love with research and teaching when I completed my MA in Communication & Culture in 2021 while working full-time in professional communications at York University. I started to see my love of  small towns as a reflection of my desire to focus on community and human well-being, and moved to Burnaby in 2021 to follow that passion here in FHS. Under the supervision of Dr. Lyana Patrick, my SSHRC-CGS funded research focuses on the health outcomes and community impacts of media exposure to police violence. 

I love the sense of community and connection that I have found on the Tsleil-Waututh, Kwikwetlem, Squamish, and Musqueam territories where SFU Burnaby campus sits and where I live and work. I appreciate the opportunities to grow and learn that I have found at SFU, such as working as a Senior Research Assistant with our Children's Health Policy Center and as a Community-Engaged Research initiative (CERi) Graduate Research Fellow (2023-2024). In particular, as a White settler on this land, I am grateful for how my time and connections in FHS have helped me to unlearn some of the limiting ideas that I picked up through Western academic norms, and instead engage in more heart-, art-, and community-based practice.

Part of this process has been unlearning the competitive nature of PhDs that is instilled by capitalist job markets and limited granting opportunities, and instead seeing this time as a chance to grow deep connections that will last a lifetime. I would love to build such connections with incoming and prospective graduate students, and would look forward to answering any questions you may have by email, hopping on Zoom, and generally welcoming you into the FHS community!

Leena Chau (she/her)

Program: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Hello! My name is Leena and I am a second year PhD student under the supervision of Dr. John O’Neil. I was born in China, spent a few of my childhood years in Australia, and immigrated to Canada in 1996. I received my MSc in Population and Public Health and BA in Psychology from UBC.

Currently I am working on three global mental health projects implementing the scale-up of an evidence-based depression intervention in Vietnam using mobile health technology (VMood - a smartphone-based app). These projects are based out of the Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction within FHS, which I joined in 2017 after working at UBC for 7 years.

My research will test the feasibility of implementing VMood in the Vietnamese im/migrant community in BC using a mixed-methods participatory approach. I was very excited to pursue my training at FHS because it has a well-established population and public health program that includes global health as a research concentration, and is recognized for its expertise in mental health and addiction research. I am fortunate to work with and receive mentoring from an international mental health research group (led by my supervisor) on the exciting projects that are helping to create policy change in Vietnam.

Throughout, I have truly enjoyed learning from my peers. My advice for new students is to talk and connect with others in your program, both to share positive experiences and also any struggles you have. Everyone is super friendly and supportive. Ultimately, I hope you enjoy your unique journey!

Please feel free to reach out at I look forward to connecting!

Angel Kennedy (she/her)

Program: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


I completed my BSc in Health Sciences (Population and Quantitative Health Stream) and a Master of Public Health degree at SFU. Throughout these three degrees, I was able to network through the faculty and partnering universities to get involved in a series of projects, teams, and networks. More specifically, I work for the Environment, Community Health Observatory (ECHO) Network, Ecohealth International, the REAFFIRM (Researching Environments that Affirm 2S/LGBTQ+ Identities, Relationships & Mental Health) Collaborative on MindMapBC, the BC Alliance for Monitoring Mental Health Equity, and as the Research Manager for the Research for EcoSocial and Equitable Transformation (RESET) Team.

Throughout these experiences, I developed both a strong passion for working on issues that intersect eco-social health and mental health equity, and a deep love of research (with a particular focus on community engagement and knowledge exchange). This created the conditions in which I decided to pursue a PhD under the RESET Team’s TAKE NOTICE project, looking at promoting the mental health of youth by consolidating strategies for communicating about the climate crisis.

Through the Faculty of Health Sciences’ appreciation of interdisciplinary lines of inquiry and cross-cutting themes, I was not forced to make my project fit neatly into one area of health sciences, but rather was able to pursue research that crosses various fields that I feel passionate about. Further, I was able to find supportive faculty members and mentors who supported this journey.

Some pieces of advice that I entered the PhD program with are: Endlessly ask questions, pursue any projects/questions/opportunities that feel inspiring or nourishing to you (even if they don’t feel relevant at the time), and don’t compare your academic journey with anyone else’s – we all have something unique to contribute!

I would love to connect with you if you have any questions!

Aniqa Shahid (she/her)

Program: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


I was born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan. I moved to Vancouver as an international student in 2012 and have lived here since then. I finally called Canada my home when I became a permanent resident in 2017.

I am a basic science researcher by education and training. I have worked in HIV/AIDS molecular biology and immunology research since 2010. After finishing basic education in Pakistan, I worked at the Aga Khan University in Karachi. Then I relocated to Canada and joined the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University (SFU) to pursue my MSc degree. After graduating from SFU, I joined the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BCCfE). It was when my former MSc supervisor, Dr. Zabrina Brumme, became the new laboratory director at the BCCfE, I decided to return to SFU and pursue my PhD. And here I am! You may read about my research work here.

Outside research, I am passionate about engaging with the community, which has led me to various volunteer opportunities and mentorship roles. I have worked with MOSAIC and IECBC to help immigrant and refugee families become self-sufficient and adjust to life in Canada.

In the end, to make the most of your educational and professional experience, it is important to have a work-life balance. It helps a lot if you have things that you enjoying doing in your spare time. So, when I am not in the laboratory, I am either reading a book or hiking (obviously, weather-permitting, because hey, we live in Van(rain)couver!).

You may connect with me by email at or via my linked in.

Judy Wu

Program: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Hello! My name is Judy and I am a current PhD student under the supervision of Dr. Hasina Samji. My academic journey began at UBC with a Bachelor of Science, driven by my passion for ecology, environmental protection, and climate action. However, my experiences during a co-operative work placement at BC Children's Hospital and as a facilitator for a mental health support group later in my undergraduate degree sparked my interest in health science. 

Through my work with the mental health disorder support group, I witnessed firsthand the challenges faced by participants in accessing mental health services, particularly during childhood and adolescence. As a result, many support group participants were unable to be diagnosed and receive treatment until adulthood. This highlighted for me the importance of taking an upstream approach to address mental health disorders, ultimately leading me to pursue a Master of Public Health (MPH) at UBC.

In my current PhD work, I’ve had the opportunity combine my interests of youth mental health and environmental/climate action. Specifically, I’m interested in understanding the ways in which the ecological and climate crises impact youth mental health and well-being. 

I am thankful for the strong community provided to me via my lab as well as the larger faculty at SFU. There is a strong group of researchers focused on health research related to environment/planetary health at SFU that have helped guide my research. 

My advice to incoming graduate students is to remember to take care of your well-being, because that can quickly get forgotten in the shuffle of research work, course deadlines, and the variety of other responsibilities of a graduate student. Taking care of your well-being doesn’t always have to take a long time, sometimes just a simple 10-minute walk is enough to improve your mood and increase productivity. 

Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions!