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From the Chair
Greetings from all of us at SFU Geography. Through the craziness of the past year, we remain fortunate to work on the unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) & kwikwəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem) nations, and are grateful for it.
In some ways, however, this good fortune is the one thing that has not been turned upside down by the pandemic.
Connect with Us
So many entries in this year’s alumni newsletter point to the many changes in our lives brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. How we gather and socialize has been transformed in the past many months.
From the Dean’s Office
I feel so fortunate to be the Dean of a Faculty in which the Department of Geography resides. Geography continues to be a leader in our faculty on actions toward equity, inclusivity and diversity, through its recent hires, pro-active focused discussions, and scholarship. We have many good news stories in Geography.
New Faculty Spotlight
As we can see, environmental change has considerably influenced our ecosystems and environments, from loss and degradation of wetlands and grasslands, reduced production of croplands, to rising sea levels and die-off of coastal marshes. Many challenges, but there are also many solutions.
I remember walking the halls of the AQ as a first-year undergraduate student at SFU. I got lost several times (both literally and figuratively) before finding my way to the Geography program in the mid 1990’s. It was also at that time that I found my way to vibrant community organizing work taking shape among local Filipino youth, women, and migrant workers.
I joined the SFU geography department as a term lecturer in August 2019 (jointly-appointed with the graduate Urban Studies program). This timing allowed me one glorious semester (and a half) of in-person learning with truly engaged - and very bright! - undergraduate students.
Since March of 2020, after adjusting (as we all have) to seeing everyone in rectangles on my computer, I can’t help but reflect on all the ways that the students in my courses have continued to impress me with their thoughtfulness, resilience, and creativity.
I graduated from the SFU Department of Geography twice (PhD, 2008; BA 2000) with a focus on Health and Social Geography. In between these two degrees I completed a MA at UBC in Geography (2002).
I am currently applying my geographical training to the federal response to COVID-19. In the spring of 2020, I had opportunity to join the COVID-19 Task Force at Health Canada as a Senior Policy Analyst.
When I first stepped into SFU as a fresh undergraduate student, I was originally looking to pursue a major in economics with the aspiration to work in Wall Street and make the ‘big bucks'. That all changed when I took two electives in Geography (GEOG 100 and 162) which opened up my curiosity about the manifestation of modern cities.
With mentorship from professors and participating in the co-op program, it made me realize the diversity in career options in geography.
Alumni Donations in Action
Physical Geography Field School
A key educational goal for the field school has always been teaching students how to practice resilience in the face of challenging conditions. In the past this has included reworking plans that have been derailed by inclement weather, trucks stuck in the mud, or rivers running in flood stage. In 2020/2021, this resilience involved a complete reworking of the field school format to accommodate the challenges of the pandemic.