Student experience

Convocation medals honour SFU’s best and brightest

June 22, 2021
Clockwise from top left: Convocation medal winners Michael Weiwei Meanwell, Patricia I. Coburn, Jennifer Krentz, Anya Sass, Ramy ElMallah and Galvin Gar-Kit Huen.

Convocation is a time to celebrate SFU’s graduands for their outstanding achievements and, as proud alumni, wish them well on their journey ahead. It is also a time to honour those students with outstanding scholastic records whose contributions to society have benefited the university and the wider community.

Governor General’s Silver Medals

Awarded to the two undergraduate students judged to have the most outstanding records in the graduating class.

Jennifer Krentz

Jennifer Krentz, BA, Psychology

Bachelor of Arts and Social Sciences

Jennifer Krentz graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in psychology and a minor in criminology. During her time at SFU, she volunteered as a research assistant in several psychology labs and recently served as the SFU undergraduate representative of the Canadian Psychological Association. Her thesis examined the inclusion of risk and protective factors in forensic reports. It earned several awards, including second place for the Best Undergraduate Paper Award from the American-Psychology Law Society and the Canadian Psychological Association Certificate of Academic Excellence.

Ramy ElMallah

Ramy ElMallah, BASc, Mechatronic Systems Engineering

Faculty of Applied Sciences

Ramy ElMallah's university experience was fueled by his passion for technology, community and research. As a research assistant, he contributed to projects exploring the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence within the Faculty of Applied Sciences and SFU's Big Data Hub. He dedicated hundreds of volunteer hours to groups such as the student union and the global community program to enhance the student experience. Ramy turned his capstone project into a startup that uses automation to promote hygienic lifestyles, and he placed first in SFU's engineering competition for three years in a row.

Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Inclusion, Democracy and Reconciliation

Awarded to an undergraduate student who excels in their studies and has made outstanding contributions to the promotion of inclusion, democracy and reconciliation within the campus community.  

Anya Sass

Anya Sass, BA, Political Science and Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Anya Sass is graduating with a bachelor of arts in political science and gender, sexuality and women's studies. She is passionate about human rights and has volunteered extensively with refugees through private sponsorships and teaching English to newcomers. She left Vancouver for a semester abroad at the University of Cape Town in 2019 and later volunteered at organizations in Cape Town that provide settlement and advocacy services for refugees. As part of that work, Anya oversaw a large-scale food distribution effort at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gordon M. Shrum Gold Medal

Awarded to the bachelor’s degree student who has maintained a high scholastic standing and has contributed significantly to the university community.

Galvin Gar-Kit Huen

Galvin Gar-Kit Huen, BSc, Biomedical Physiology

Faculty of Science

Early on at the Claydon Lab, Galvin Huen fell in love with research through the excitement of discovery, where meticulous benchwork and laborious problem-solving were at the nucleus of his work with stem cells. Outside of the lab, he was privileged to engage with SFU both as a representative who advocated passionately on behalf of fellow students, and as an advisor on committees that shaped the student experience.

 

GOVERNOR GENERAL’S GOLD MEDALS

The Governor General’s Gold Medals are awarded to the top two graduate students who are judged to have the most outstanding records in the graduating class.

Patricia I. Coburn

Patricia I. Coburn, PhD

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Department of Psychology

Coming to SFU in 2011 to undertake her master’s studies in law and forensic psychology, Patricia Coburn stayed to complete her PhD in the same discipline, graduating with top honours.

Coburn’s doctoral thesis, The Effects of Cross-Examination on Children's Reports, revealed the adverse effects of cross-examination on children’s accuracy and consistency in testifying, particularly if the children have experienced repeated or multiple events of trauma and abuse. Approximately half of the children who testify as complainants in court are children who experienced multiple traumatic events, and yet the research Coburn undertook for her thesis had never been studied. Coburn not only undertook this research, but she also did so in an exemplary manner, receiving a SSHRC Canada Doctoral Scholarship.

SFU’s professor and chair of psychology, Deborah Connolly, supervised Coburn throughout her graduate studies at SFU and says, “I would not ordinarily say this; however, in this context I think it is relevant. Trishia completed this work as a mother of four children; the youngest was just a few months old when data collection started. I say this to highlight Trishia’s outstanding organizational skills, efficiency, rock-solid work ethic, and collaborative working style. She truly is the full deal.”

Coburn is a faculty member at Kwantlen Polytechnic University where she continues to conduct research on memory and issues related to vulnerable witnesses.

Michael Meanwell

Michael Weiwei Meanwell, PhD

Faculty of Science, Department of Chemistry

Michael Meanwell has always been passionate about science and giving back. Originally from Nanaimo, Meanwell was involved in several science outreach programs hosted by the University of Victoria, North Island College, and Genome B.C. before coming to SFU for his doctoral studies. As a result of his studies in chemistry at SFU, his discoveries will continue to give back in ways he never imagined.

Meanwell’s research undertaken for his thesis, A de novo nucleoside synthesis and late-stage heterobenzylic fluorination strategy, is published in top chemistry journals including Science, and has changed the way chemists make nucleoside analogues, the important molecules used in making drugs for treating cancer and viral infections. Meanwell simplified this process, reducing the time and cost involved in creating life-saving medications.

Meanwell’s now patented and scaled-up discovery was partially funded through an NSERC CGSM award and more than $1.5M in funding and collaborations with top pharmaceutical companies, including Merck and Hoffmann-La Roche among others.

SFU professor, Robert Britton supervised Meanwell for his studies and says, “In short, Michael’s thesis describes ground-breaking discoveries in an area of research that is of great interest to human health and, more specifically, the current pandemic.”

Awarded both an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship and a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship, Meanwell continues his work in the world-class laboratories of professor Phil Baran at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego.

Undergraduate Dean’s Medals

Awarded to graduating students whose grades place them in the top five per cent of their class.

Chloë Falez, BA, English
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Read more

Jenna Richmond, BA, International Studies
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Jie (Jenny) Lian, BBA
Beedie School of Business

Matt Wiens, BSc, Applied Mathematics
Faculty of Science

Ge Shi, BSc, Computing Science
Faculty of Applied Sciences

Signe MacLellan, BSc, Health Sciences
Faculty of Health Sciences

Dalia Hatalova, BFA, Contemporary Arts
Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology

Todd Davison, BGS, Education
Faculty of Education

Kimberley Jones, BA, Archaeology
Faculty of Environment

Graduate Dean’s Medal

Awarded to the graduating student from each faculty who has achieved the highest level of academic excellence in his or her graduate program. Read full profiles here.

Jelena Golubovic, PhD
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Vincent Reid Hopkins, PhD
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Michael Kevin Ouellette, EMBA
Beedie School of Business

Steven Large, PhD
Faculty of Science

Kin Lam Wong, PhD
Faculty of Science

Fangxin Wang, PhD
Faculty of Applied Sciences

Marco Zenone, MSc
Faculty of Health Sciences

Alexandra Jean Kitson, PhD
Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology

Alexandra Maria Patzak, PhD
Faculty of Education

Louise St. Pierre, PhD
Faculty of Education

Laure Spake, PhD
Faculty of Environment

In the lead-up to our virtual June Convocation 2021 (June 24-29) we'll be sharing stories from across our eight faculties about some of our amazing graduands. You can read more stories here. Be sure to share your convocation celebrations with the hashtag #MySFUGrad.

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