Marihah Hussainaly Farook

October 12, 2023
SFU Publishing minor graduate Marihah Hussainaly Farook at her convocation ceremony. (Photo Credit: Inaam)

Marihah Hussainly Farook graduated last week with a major in Communications and a minor in Print and Digital Publishing. During her undergraduate career at SFU, Marihah found a deep sense of belonging and community within the School of Communication and the Publishing program. While Marihah is grateful for the invaluable lessons and life-long connections, she is determined, now more than ever, to move forward and reach new heights. 

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am of Euro-Asian descent. My family has South-East Asian (Sri Lankan) blood, and we also have European roots. So, I've grown up in a multicultural household. Since my grandparents worked and lived in Japan and Hong Kong, my family also has East-Asian influence. I was born in the US, and then I spent my early childhood growing up in Sri Lanka. When I was nine, we immigrated to Canada. After spending the rest of my youth studying in North Burnaby, I joined SFU. 

Some other fun facts are that I am extremely fond of snowboarding, and I enjoy content creation, fashion and makeup. Oh and I love my two fur babies - my cats!

Can you discuss your academic background at SFU?

I initially got into SFU to study Economics, but when I took a Communications course, I felt a stronger pull towards communication discourse, and learning about technologies and social sciences.

A lot of my colleagues and peers, who have studied communications, always mentioned the publishing minor, and how great it is. It complements what you learn in Communications, especially in terms of the writing, the content creation, and the digital marketing process. 

I was really interested in publishing technologies, and learning the Adobe InDesign Suite, web design. Most of the lower division courses focus on web design and digital publishing tools and facilitation. 

Was there a publishing course that stood out for you. Any favorites?

Yeah. PUB 456 with Professor Trevor Battye! The course is called Institutional and International Event Planning and Management. I enjoyed how invested he was as a professor. He used contemporary discourse to tie in course materials, and that was amazing. He always made sure that our class was engaging and exciting. 

I was initially compelled to take his course because I had done a co-op position in Events Coordination right before the Spring semester.

Was there a particular project that you enjoyed working on? 

Yeah! For our final semester project, we were asked to establish our own events in groups. The theme had to be publishing, of course. My group chose to do a Game of Thrones book exhibition. It was great fun. I was also fortunate to have peers who were extremely engaged in the process. They were awesome. 

The project truly allowed us to connect with our own inherent skills. Whether that was marketing, graphic design, public engagement or finances. It was a combination of effective and useful tools for students to work with. 

Can you share your most cherished moment at SFU, and what has been the greatest learning of your undergraduate career? 

For me, there is no one specific moment because there are a compilation of incredible experiences I’ve had. Once I started getting more involved in the courses I was taking, and meeting peers within the communication and publishing program, I found a strong sense of belonging. I felt that the community of students and faculty, in both programs, were extremely welcoming and well-informed. If there was a professor that stood out, it would be Stephanie Dick. She teaches a communications special topic course and was one of the first professors who, I think, resonated with me and made my experience, at school, enjoyable. 

Marihah Hussainaly Farouk (right) at the 2022 Welch Dialogue event. (Photo Credit: Patrick Shannon)

In regards to my greatest learning, I would say that the publishing minor courses I took with Professor Suzanne Norman were extremely useful. Some of them were focused on self-publishing, either in a professional or a personal setting, which was great. Whether it was building a brand or an identity for ourselves, those aspects of her courses deeply resonated with me. Especially since as young adults, we often feel afraid to show who we truly are. But being able to implement my personal values into my work, as a student, and within the field, has been extremely fulfilling. I am grateful to have had these experiences so early in my academic career.

Do you have any exciting plans for the future? 

At this moment, I am mostly focused on trying to build my portfolio. Since I currently work in a communications/marketing position, I am teaching myself the skills that I would need professionally. 

I am incredibly fortunate because I get to work with an amazing mentor, Stephanie Hall, and an awesome communications team at the Center for Dialogue. For now, I am just excited to continue on and see what opportunities are presented to me. 

Personally speaking, I just moved out. So, that is definitely exciting.

What is your one advice for current undergraduates and for prospective students who maybe considering the publishing program? 

Become more engaged in the community. I say this because it is one thing I wish I would have done too. Whether that be the publishing program or the SFU community, in general. There are an infinite amount of resources that are available to us, as well as many great opportunities, especially within publishing, so I would recommend putting yourselves out there. 

Engaging with your professors, your peers and everyone else in the community will make your university experience far more enriching. As we get older, I think we will all look back and wish the same. My publishing and communications professors have always been supportive and open. They are all there to encourage and guide us along the way. 

Last, I’d like to emphasize that while we struggle to find a sense of belonging, I made life-long friends and built strong connections with faculty members through both these programs. I will forever be grateful for the experiences. 

Connect with Marihah here.

Learn more about Marihah here

Learn more about the Publishing Minor Program here