"Alex is a dedicated young scientist who is passionate about his doctoral research work focusing on developing spatial theories and geocomputational models to better understand the natural environment. As an excellent team player with a positive attitude, he is always willing to help others with GIS and related software technology. He is an active Student Associate of the SFU Esri Canada Center of Excellence (ECCE) in GIS, a national academic network for knowledge exchange in the field of GIS. In addition, he continues to be committed to his peers and the Geography Graduate Association (GGA) as a member, past president and the treasurer. It is a pleasure to work with Alex in his journey to successfully navigate this stage of his career."

- Suzana Dragicevic

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Student Profile: Alex Smith

February 15, 2022
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Geography doctoral student in the Faculty of Environment

I am a PhD Candidate in the Department of Geography. Originally from Guelph, Ontario, I completed my BES. and MSc at the University of Waterloo. Growing up my parents instilled a love of sports and the outdoors in me. Summers were spent in sports camps, backcountry camping, and spending every long weekend at the cottage, and winters were spent on the local and not-so-local ski hills. Today when I am not focusing on my research you can find me hiking the amazing mountains of BC, rock climbing whenever I can, and above all else, playing Ultimate Frisbee.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

My choice was made by two factors. The first was the need to find a lab that suited my research interests. The Spatial Analysis and Modeling Lab led by Prof. Suzana Dragicevic was highly recommended to me and it worked out to be the perfect fit. The second was the location, and I do not think I could have picked a better place than Vancouver.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RESEARCH OR YOUR PROGRAM TO A FAMILY MEMBER?

My research focuses on expanding the modeling of geospatial systems, where interactions between various environments and individuals can be mapped by their locations on Earth and expanding it into three spatial dimensions and through time. This is being done through applying my novel geosimulation models and techniques to real life systems where they may be able to make impacts on how we represent and view our amazing world.

WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?

For me, it is the students, staff, and faculty that make the wonderful community of the Department of Geography. Grad school can be really stressful but having a good community around you makes things much easier to deal with.

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.

I have received both the Wayne Goeson Memorial Award and the Canadian Pacific/Teck Resources Award. These are supporting a segment of my thesis research related to multidimensional modeling of the Southern Resident Killer Whales and Chinook Salmon in the Salish Sea. Receiving these awards gives me the confidence that my work may actually result in a positive change in the world and helps me in my focus and drive to publish this research. I am also thankful for being supported by the SFU presidents PhD Scholarship and two graduate scholarships during my doctoral studies.

 

Contact : aksmith@sfu.ca

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