media release

SFU grad leaps from undergrad to doctoral studies

June 11, 2011

Ana Namburete, 778.858.3970,, North Burnaby res.
James Wakeling, 778.782.8444, 778.782.8445,
Carol Thorbes, PAMR, 778.782.3035,

The warm, welcoming words of an SFU staffer played a pivotal role in motivating Ana Namburete to bypass a six-figure scholarship and study at SFU.

Namburete is graduating with a Bachelor of Applied Science with honours in biomedical engineering and a $151,000 Commonwealth Scholarship to pursue doctoral studies at Oxford University next fall.

Photos on Flickr
Ana Namburete  Ana Namburete

Five years ago, St. Lawrence University in New York offered the native of Mozambique a $160,000 undergraduate scholarship. But Namburete, who had travelled the world before settling down to undergraduate studies, chose SFU.

“The main reason is that the SFU staff were the warmest and most welcoming,” explains Namburete, who was told that she qualified for an international entrance scholarship. In all, Namburete earned $132,000 in scholarships at SFU, enabling her to complete her undergraduate studies debt-free.

Namburete also took advantage of SFU’s co-op education program, spending two co-op terms working in SFU’s neuromuscular mechanics lab, where she pioneered new techniques for understanding muscular contraction.

 “Ana’s development of computational techniques to better extract information from ultrasound images of muscle fibre curvature enabled her to discover never-before-seen features,” says James Wakeling, an assistant professor of biomedical physiology and kinesiology.

Namburete’s co-op experience in designing projects, testing subjects, developing protocols, analyzing data and writing reports led to three academic papers. She will present her work at the International Society of Biomechanics (ISB) conference in Belgium this summer.

 “Working with a team of postdoctoral fellows, doctoral candidates, master’s students and fellow undergrads in my supervisor’s lab really helped me understand the research process and focus my interest in biomedical imaging,” says Namburete.

At Oxford, she will focus her doctoral research on developing ultrasound techniques to better diagnose pregnant women with malaria in Kenya and Mozambique.

Namburete, who crosses convocation mall on June 17, is one of more than 4,200 students eligible to graduate this spring.

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Backgrounder on Ana Namburete

Ana Namburete credits her leapfrog over a master’s degree and pursuit of doctoral research at Oxford, with a more than $151,000 Commonwealth Scholarship from the university to boot, to SFU. The Mozambican and British governments awarded the scholarship.

Many SFU faculty and staff credit Namburete’s strong work ethic and proactive approach to her studies with making her the first doctoral candidate in her family.

The Dean of Applied Science Honour Roll student spent eight months comparing graduate schools in North American and the United Kingdom and writing entrance exams to them before applying. Her applications were also based on Skype interviews with prospective professors.

However, the real clincher was likely Namburete’s submission of a focused doctoral research proposal to develop ultrasound-scanning techniques to better diagnose pregnant women with malaria in Kenya and Mozambique.

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