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"Sean has chosen a very challenging area of research that is also very timely. The addition of optical capabilities to wearable devices and systems has great potential in many areas of personalized diagnostics and therapeutics, especially for textile-compatible wearables which are vastly underexplored. Sean has demonstrated both the ability and strength of character to tackle such a challenge and to not only persevere, but to be exceptionally successful. Sean’s graduate study has already been filled with success, including being awarded MITACS Accelerate Entrepreneur funding and securing an NSERC CGSM fellowship. Sean was instrumental in writing both research proposals, with project plans that balance excellent science and engineering with entrepreneurial and leadership considerations. Sean is a rising star with whom I feel greatly privileged to work with!"
- Bonnie Gray
Student Profile: Sean Paulsen
Engineering Science master's student in the Faculty of Applied Sciences
I completed my Bachelor of Applied Science with honours in biomedical engineering at SFU, while competing for their NCAA track and field team. In my final year, I cofounded a company, VivoLUX Medical Inc., based on my capstone project. At VivoLUX, I design hardware for an emerging medical imaging technique known as photoacoustic imaging. I continue to train with the SFU track and field team as well as assist as a volunteer manager for competitions across the US. Additionally, alongside my masters degree, I continue to work on my company.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?
SFU has strong academics and provides students with a strong foundation to solve and overcome any future challenges that may come their way. SFU is also very encouraging of entrepreneurship and provides lots of support for future entrepreneurs. On the athletics side, being the only Canadian NCAA school offered a unique opportunity for student athletes to travel and compete at a high level.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RESEARCH OR YOUR PROGRAM TO A FAMILY MEMBER?
I’m creating a wearable circuit that can be integrated with textiles to create high-powered pulses of light for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.
WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?
SFU offers a variety of courses and opportunities for student-driven projects. This has enabled me to take courses relevant to my research and interests. My professors have been encouraging of questions and create an excellent environment for learning. SFU has also been very supportive of my startup, providing resources and mentors. As a student athlete throughout my undergraduate career, being the only Canadian NCAA school gave me the opportunity to not only represent SFU but Canada during competitions.
HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR-FUNDED AWARDS? IF SO, PLEASE TELL US WHICH ONES AND A LITTLE ABOUT HOW THE AWARDS HAVE IMPACTED YOUR STUDIES AND/OR RESEARCH.
NSERC – CGSM: This award has covered tuition costs and provided additional funds for research and equipment. MITACS Accelerate Entrepreneur: This award provided sufficient funds to cover living expenses and to purchase required equipment and components to conduct my research. Through these awards, I have been able to focus my attention on my coursework, research, and company without needing to seek supplementary income as a TA or through other jobs.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PROGRAM/POSTDOC POSITION TO SOMEONE STILL SEARCHING FOR A PROGRAM OR POSTDOC POSITION?
SFU has a high degree of academic excellence with flexibility to focus on topics that are of interest to the students. SFU offers great support through motivated professors that help students succeed, a variety of programs ranging from entrepreneurial support to mental health and wellbeing, and high quality research labs, equipment, and collaborations.