From left, SFU communicator Donna Dove; Andy Yan, director of SFU's City Program; and shark-expert David Shiffman, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biology; have been awarded the 2018 SFU president's newsmaker awards.

Faculty and Staff

SFU honours president’s 2018 newsmakers

March 21, 2019

A headline-grabbing ‘data crusader’, a shark-conservation expert with serious social media chops and a strategy-driven communicator at the leading edge of SFU’s new brand are being recognized with this year’s SFU president’s newsmaker awards.

Andy Yan, director of SFU’s City Program, has emerged as the go-to authority on urban issues amid Vancouver’s real estate crisis. Yan’s media efforts have earned him the 2018 President’s Media Newsmaker award.

A postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biology’s Dulvy Lab, marine biologist David Shiffman is among the world’s most followed scientists on Twitter and has garnered the 2018 President’s Social Media Newsmaker of the Year.

And Donna Dove, associate director, strategic enrollment management liason with Student Services, who worked closely on SFU’s new visual identity, is awarded the 2018 President’s Strategic Communicator award.

The awards recognize excellence in building the university’s reputation and increasing the perception of SFU as Canada’s Engaged University.

Andy Yan

Director, SFU City Program

2018 President’s Media Newsmaker award

The Lower Mainland real estate crisis has emerged as one of the country’s biggest news stories, and Yan has played a large role in that narrative. He has a passion for data and its role in informing individuals, communities and governments.

Yan was dubbed the “data crusader” by a Vancouver Courier podcast in March 2017 for his efforts collecting data and mapping it to help people better understand real estate trends.

The director of SFU’s City Program since 2016, Yan has cultivated close ties with local, national and global media. In 2018, he was quoted in more than 900 stories, including The New York Times, Washington Post, and Bloomberg.

David Shiffman

Postdoctoral fellow, Dulvy Lab, Department of Biology

2018 President’s Social Media Newsmaker of the Year

Shark-conservation expert David Shiffman is one of the most influential scientists in the world on social media. His Twitter handle @WhySharksMatter has almost 39,000 followers on Twitter.

Every Wednesday, Shiffman holds an AMA (ask me anything) session on Twitter and has fielded more than 2,000 questions on sharks, conservation efforts and marine biology. Shiffman has also helped train about 500 scientists on how best to use social media to advance science.

In December, he co-ordinated 16 global scientists for a Twitter chat and synchronized viewing of BBC’s Blue Planet 2 series.

Donna Dove

Associate Director, Strategic Enrollment Management Liason, Student Services

2018 President’s Strategic Communicator Award

Communicator Donna Dove served as a key member of the internal SFU brand group and helped work on SFU’s new visual identity, providing valuable input and direction.

Dove, an exemplary communicator whose work is strategic and data-driven, was the first SFU communicator to implement the new brand to achieve recruitment goals. An Academia survey found that the new identity resonated strongly with prospective students and their parents.