Graciela Hernandez-Cruz

BA 2015

Senior International Development Officer
Global Affairs Canada


After graduating from SFU’s School for International Studies in 2015, Graciela moved to Ottawa to pursue a career in government. Since then, she has held a number of positions with Global Affairs Canada. In 2018, during Canada’s G7 Presidency, she served as a communications officer with the G7 Stakeholder Engagement team. In this role, she worked directly with the Prime Minister’s office and met with civil society actors who were seeking to have their voices and ideas reflected in the G7 summit process. Graciela then served as the Desk Officer for Ecuador, a position in which she worked on political and trade files and served as the focal point within the Ministry for all Ecuador-related matters. She has also organized a successful bilateral consultation process between the Ecuadorian and Canadian Governments, which focused on shaping policy and facilitating initiatives of significance to both countries. In her current position as a senior international development officer, Graciela focuses on global health issues, including communications and policy-related efforts pertaining to Covid-19.

In December 2020, Graciela completed a master’s degree in Communications at Carleton University in Ottawa. As part of her graduate studies, she explored the use of social media by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, examining how it has enabled her to become a kind of celebrity politician.

Graciela says she is grateful to the International Studies faculty at SFU for designing courses that spur students to think critically about global issues and policies. She says that her studies at SFU have not only shaped her understanding of global affairs, they have also influenced her activism in important ways. Outside of work, she has been involved in grassroots organizing on a range of issues, including climate justice and a $15 minimum wage. Her experiences as an activist encouraged her to enter politics in 2019, when she ran for the federal nomination of the NDP in Ottawa Central. Although her campaign did not result in the outcome she had hoped for, Graciela encourages young women, people of colour, and queer people to run for public office, and she offers the following advice: “Navigating systems and structures of power is not always easy. With every success there will always be setbacks and that's okay! However, I encourage all young women, folks of colour, and queer people to take up space and aim to be in places they never thought of being in. We need them in politics now more than ever.”

Tina Lovgreen

BA 2014

CBC News


Tina Lovgreen received her undergraduate degree from SFU in 2014, with a major in International Studies and a minor in Communications. She also holds a diploma from BCIT for Broadcasting and Online Journalism. 

Tina is a journalist with CBC News in Vancouver, B.C. She has reported on matters of national and international importance, from the shooting down of Ukrainian Flight 752, which killed 176 people onboard, to the destructive wildfires of 2017, which ravaged our province. 

For Tina, enrolling in IS was a no brainer. She was always interested in international relations and global politics. She grew up in Tehran, Iran, to an Iranian mother and Danish father. She lived in Copenhagen for a short time and moved to Vancouver in 2000.

Studying IS has given Tina the foundation necessary for reporting on politics and international matters. The program has been pivotal in her career as a journalist and has given her the skills to understand global politics and to boil it down for the audience to grasp.

Tina says one of the strengths of the IS program is the value it places on international experiences. During her time in the program, she had an opportunity to live in Berlin for a semester and improve her German. She attended Humboldt University and was able to dig deeper into the history of the city and EU politics. A once-in-a-lifetime experience, this opportunity significantly enriched her perspective on international affairs.

For prospective students unsure about whether to enrol in IS, Tina's advice is to dive in with both feet: “This program gives you a comprehensive base and understanding for countless career paths, it's well respected, and it's more important than ever before to understand the world around us.”