Fifty inspiring SFU alumni: Heinz Bauschke, Roham Sheikholeslami and John Bigelow

December 01, 2015

As part of SFU's celebrations to mark the University's 50th Anniversary, the Office of Graduate Studies & Postdoctoral Fellows asked graduate program staff, faculty and retirees to choose the top 50 most inspiring graduate students from the more than 22,000 who have earned graduate degrees from SFU in the last five decades. 

Heinz Bauschke, PhD ‘96, mathematics

Heinz Bauschke is a professor of mathematics at UBC Okanagan and a Canada Research Chair in Convex Analysis and Optimization. His research explores how to use algorithms to address real world problems.

“I look at conditions subject to constraints such as time or resources and design, and analyze algorithms for finding the most efficient solutions possible,” he says.

“For example, if we want to build a new road it can’t be too steep or too curved. As well, we want to minimize soil movement as that can be very costly. By running my formulas I can find ways to save the government millions of dollars.”  

Roham Sheikholeslami, MSc ‘09, interactive arts and technology

Roham Sheikholeslami is a senior user experience designer at Amazon and CEO of Muprime Technology. He designs digital experiences that focus on enhancing users' comfort, accessibility and effectiveness.

“We are bombarded with technologies everyday. But, if those technologies are not beautiful then we can’t enjoy them and in turn, we won’t connect with and use them properly,” says Sheikholeslami.

John Bigelow, MA ‘70, philosophy

Meet John Bigelow: an arts-addict, world-peace-promoter and occasional whistle blower. He is a professor emeritus with the Melbourne-based Monash University’s Department of Philosophy. He earned a master’s degree in philosophy at SFU in 1970 before completing a PhD in the same discipline at Cambridge University.

Bigelow explains that one the driving forces behinds his four decades of research and teaching was a belief in the power of the humanities to transform society. It was this belief in the importance of the arts that drove him to challenge his university’s former vice-chancellor and professor.