New Hires: Introducing Tesicca and Mark

Thu, 25 Jun 2015

We recently welcomed Mark Beaty (Research & Evaluation Coordinator) and Tesicca Truong (Engagement & Program Coordinator) to our SFU Public Square team. We thought that having them interview each other would be a great way for them to get to know each other and for you to get to know them better!

Mark: I think it would be interesting to find out what we have in common. So I know you were also a SFU student, but I don’t know what you studied.

Tesicca: I am currently completing an Honours in Environmental Science and a minor in Environmental Education. This amazing opportunity came up to work with SFU Public Square, so I am currently taking a break from coursework to engage in community-based learning and help organize the 2015 Community Summit. How about you?

M: I graduated from SFU with a Masters in Public Policy. It was an excellent program in that it gave me a good grounding in both the qualitative and quantitative aspects of decision making that affects the public. I ended up doing my thesis on information and decision making in transportation. Before SFU, I did a Bachelors and a Masters in music at UVic and UBC, respectively.

T: Cool! What instrument do you play?

M: I play the double bass.

T: What’s one song that everyone should drop what they’re doing and listen to?

M: It’s tough to pick just one, but I would have to go with El cheque by the great Cuban band Los Van Van. My turn to ask a fun question: What’s your favourite food?

T: Normally, I would say pho because I grew up eating it and it’s delicious. I just came back from the Social Change Institute at Hollyhock and their eggplant lasagna is to die for. Out of curiosity, where were you before joining us at SFU Public Square?

M: After working for the Red Cross in Norway for a year, my wife and I moved to Pearson United World College on Vancouver Island. She taught English there and I worked in arts programming.  Oh, and we were both houseparents, which means we lived alongside 40 teenagers in a dorm.  It was quite an experience, making sure they survived the year!

T: No way! I spent a summer at Pearson College for the Pearson Seminar on Youth Leadership back in 2011. Where you around at that time?

M: Yes, both my wife and I were coordinators with PSYL that summer.  I thought your name was familiar when I first met you!!! That’s such a great program, PSYL.

T: It’s such a small world. You mentioned that you spent some time working in Europe. If you were to go back to that corner of the world, where would you visit first?

M: I would go back to Riga, Latvia. There is a famous church there with an even more famous organ.  I caught the very end of an organ recital—adaptations of Ravel, and it was one of the greatest sounds I’ve ever heard.  I’d love to go back to that church and hear a full concert.

And for the final, most obvious commonality, the reason why we are both here. So, how did you find out about SFU Public Square, and what drew you here?

T: So this is going to come off as super nerdy, but I have been following SFU Public Square since reading about its launch during the summer before my first year at SFU. I was so excited that my future university had not only co-commissioned a study to uncover the top issues concerning Metro Vancouverites, but was also taking a leadership role in building solutions through dialogue. Joining the team now to help plan the fourth annual community summit feels like coming home!

How about you? What drew you to SFU Public Square?

M: Shauna Sylvester, the ED of SFU Public Square, came into one of my public policy classes when she was working on Canada’s World. I remember being so impressed with the depth and rigour of her qualitative research design. She was asking such excellent questions and taking those questions to a broad cross section of the public. From my first few days here at SFU Public Square, I am happy to say the same principled approach seems to be a thread through the whole program.

So what are you most looking forward to in your work here at Public Square?

T: Ever since organizing my first sustainability conference when I was 15, I have been planning events and convening people around current issues. My passions lie at the intersection of climate justice, building resilient, connected communities and dialogue. SFU Public Square is the perfect place to work on addressing those passions! I want to bring together an amazing community summit that will truly get to the root of wicked problems that plague our communities and to start building solutions.

What are you hoping to bring to SFU Public Square?

M: I am definitely excited to help bring together all the events of the Community Summit in the fall.  Also, I’d like to explore how some of my experience with arts and public performance might fit with the more civic engagement work that SFU does. The arts are such an important component of public life, but I am not sure artists always know how to reach out beyond their craft. At least, I can certainly say that is true for me!

T: Thanks for taking the time to sit down and chat with me. I feel like I know you much better now!

M: Likewise, I’m excited to be working with you!