issues and experts

Topics top-of-mind this holiday season: SFU experts available

December 21, 2022

The holidays mark the end to another eventful year and experts from Simon Fraser University are available to weigh in on a variety of topics – from giving back to the community to addressing global conflict and understanding extreme weather events.


JOHN CLAGUE, professor emeritus, earth sciences
Geology, climate change, natural hazards, floods, landslides, severe storms (including snowstorms and other extreme weather events) 


VALORIE CROOKS, professor, geography
Spatial and place-based dimensions of health & health care
- Understanding the lived experiences of accessing needed/wanted health and social care services
- Medical tourism


STEVE DIPAOLA, professor, School of Interactive Arts and Technology, lead, iVizLab
The implications of new artificial intelligence (AI) programs such as Lensa and ChatGPT including their disruptive possibilities for art/design, ethics/future, interactive graphics, virtual reality, computational creativity, the use and development of AI for good 


JAMES HORNCASTLE, assistant professor, humanities, Edward and Emily McWhinney Professor in International Relations
The military situation in Russia’s War in Ukraine, refugees from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s efforts to destabilize the European Union

SVITLANA MATVIYENKO, assistant professor of critical media analysis, School of Communication & associate director of the Digital Democracies Institute (Note: currently in Ukraine, please note 10-hour time difference)
General situation, sense of reality on the ground, cyber warfare (DDos, drones, disinformation, social media etc.), Russian imperialism and how it plays out in the current war


JULIAN SOMERS, distinguished professor, health sciences & director, Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction (CARMHA)
Clinical psychology, substance use & mental health, primary health care reform, homelessness
Somers is a co-author of this recently published review examining the impacts of drug decriminalization and the provision of evidence-based resources that promote recovery from addiction. 


Leading & creating positive change:

KATHLEEN BURKE, university lecturer, Beedie School of Business, facilitator of Community Leaders Igniting Change
Burke leads Envision Financial Community Leaders Igniting Change, or CLIC, which has over 100 participants now giving back to the community while a new cohort, the program’s 10th, prepares for January. Former participants like SFU alumnus Rochelle Prasad credit the program with growing civic-mindedness—and accomplishments such as working for the UN and running for Surrey city council—while Dacious Richardson, an immigrant to Canada who grew up during Liberia’s civil war, is giving back through his work as a Safe School liaision for Surrey Schools.

Volunteering as meaningful work:

RAAJ CHATTERJEE, PhD student, SFU’s Centre for Engineering-Led Brain Research (limited availability)
Founder of Meaningful Work, a startup that connects potential volunteers with opportunities. Has grown from 30 volunteers in 2020 to more than 400; recently linked up with another SFU startup, Moment Energy, with the goal to help other organizations grow their volunteer programs.


MELISSA SHAW, SFU Communications & Marketing 
236.880.3297 |

Simon Fraser University
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