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SFU students recognized in this year’s Surrey Board of Trade Top 25 Under 25
This story was originally published on SFU News.
By Rachel Wong
Seven SFU students and alumni are among this year’s Surrey Board of Trade Top 25 Under 25 winners. They were honoured during the virtual awards ceremony on April 22.
The seven SFU winners are from the Beedie School of Business, the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and the Faculty of Applied Sciences. Their contributions and experiences and diverse and highlight the great work that they do in Surrey.
The winners are:
Michael Hong, a fifth-year business student and the co-founder of Unitiate, a platform accessible to high-school students to receive free mentorship for streamlining and alleviating fears around university transitions. Hong is a charismatic individual with a highly positive attitude, a heart for others, and the ability to approach problems from an engineering and business perspective.
Carissa Konesky, an alumnus with a BA in gender studies and psychology, has held community leadership roles in the Lower Mainland for more than 10 years. Over these past years, she balanced work, school and many volunteer commitments, including being a dedicated member of the Girl Guides of Canada. During the pandemic, Konesky used the knowledge from her community involvement to create mental health resources for youth, which turned into the program I Am Tenacious. The program has reached almost 350 youth in six months in Surrey, the Fraser Valley and all of Canada.
Harpo Mander, who graduated with a joint major degree in sociology and gender, sexuality, and women’s studies, is the founder and host of Brown Girl Guilt, a podcast, blog and online community. Her platform uses her deepest insecurities and personal life experiences as a starting point for striking conversations and telling stories.
Tilyna Pawer, a current business student, is the co-founder and president of SFU-LYFE, a non-profit entrepreneurial venture that integrates both personal and professional development on the same platform. Their community presence has now grown from being solely based in SFU Surrey to now hosting members and executives from all over the Lower Mainland.
Gunreet Sethi, a third-year student in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, is the director of the Voices for Hope Foundation. The organization aims to challenge the stigma surrounding mental health by hosting educational initiatives and advocacy. It also provides a safe space and platform for those with mental health and addiction struggles and those who identify as Black, Indigenous, and people of colour (BIPOC) and LGBTQ+ to share their experiences and empower and equip them with the resources and tools for healthy healing.
Darshpreet Singh Badyal, a third-year business student, is the president and co-founder of Unitiate. Darshpreet is the vice-president of the SFU Investment Club and is the appointed director of youth in the electoral riding association of Fleetwood-Port Kells.
Gabriel Soares, a mechatronic systems engineering alumnus, is a co-founder and chief technology officer of Moment Energy, a Surrey start-up whose mission is to provide worldwide access to clean, reliable, and affordable electricity.