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SFU’s next president eyes “new era of potential”

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University appoints Joy Johnson as its 10th president and vice-chancellor

Simon Fraser University’s Board of Governors has appointed professor Joy Johnson as the university’s next president and vice-chancellor, following an extensive community consultation and international search process.

Johnson, SFU’s current vice-president research and international, will take office on Sept. 1 2020. She succeeds Andrew Petter, who completes his term on August 31 after a decade of distinguished service.

“Over the course of this competitive process, professor Johnson stood out from other candidates for her depth of academic and research experience, commitment to students and enthusiasm for the future of SFU,” says Fiona Robin, chair of SFU’s Board of Governors and chair of the presidential search committee. “We are thrilled to announce that professor Johnson is the successful candidate and look forward to welcoming her into this new role.”

A strong supporter of academic and research excellence, and a leader in nurturing and building community partnerships, Johnson is also committed to vibrant student learning experiences, equity, diversity and inclusion, and Aboriginal reconciliation.

“SFU is a remarkable institution at a remarkable time in its history,” says Johnson, who becomes the university’s second woman president. “We continue to attract world-class students, faculty, and staff, and we are stepping into a new era of potential.”

Johnson, who has been in her current role at SFU since 2014, is widely respected in academic and research communities. Under her leadership, SFU’s research income has grown from $103 million in 2014 to $161 million today, making it the fastest growing research income of any university in Canada.

During her tenure, the university established its innovation strategy—SFU Innovates—launched its big data initiative, secured two Canada 150 chairs and became host to Canada’s most powerful academic supercomputer. The university also became a founding partner in the City of Surrey’s burgeoning Health and Technology District and established collaborative research partnerships around the world.

“I love being part of SFU—so much is possible here as we develop new learning opportunities, enhance student support and services, expand our facilities, strengthen our research infrastructure, and forge new partnerships,” says Johnson. “It’s my great privilege to have the opportunity to serve as President and Vice-Chancellor, and I look forward to getting started.”

BACKGROUND

Johnson completed her PhD in nursing at the University of Alberta, and is a former professor in the University of British Columbia’s School of Nursing.

Before joining SFU, Johnson had an impressive academic and research career in the health sciences. Her research focused on how environments and social dynamics influence health outcomes and opportunities, particularly among youth.

Her commitment to research led to her role as scientific director with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Gender and Health, setting the institute’s strategy and building opportunities for researchers.

Johnson is an elected Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (2019).

She is the co-author of more than 180 peer-reviewed manuscripts and has led several initiatives that mobilized research insights to influence practice and policy.

Read more about Joy Johnson

About Simon Fraser University:

As Canada’s engaged university, SFU works with communities, organizations and partners to create, share and embrace knowledge that improves life and generates real change. We deliver a world-class education with lifelong value that shapes change-makers, visionaries and problem-solvers. We connect research and innovation to entrepreneurship and industry to deliver sustainable, relevant solutions to today’s problems. With campuses in British Columbia’s three largest cities – Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey – SFU has eight faculties that deliver 193 undergraduate degree programs and 127 graduate degree programs to more than 35,000 students. The university now boasts more than 160,000 alumni residing in 143 countries.

Surrey604 is an online magazine and media outlet based in Surrey, BC. Through writing, video, photography, and social media, we secure an intimate reach to the public. We promote local events and causes.

Education

Creating a Stable Back-to-School Routine for Children

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If there’s one thing parents know, it’s children thrive on routines. When it seems like everything is changing, routines can create stability.

“When children know what to expect, they don’t feel powerless and out of control,” said Rashelle Chase from KinderCare Learning Centers’ education team. “Children like to plan just as much as adults do. When they know what will happen next, they can set their expectations.”

Routines can also help children regulate their emotions – and avoid meltdowns or outbursts – because their days follow a pattern and are predictable. There’s typically a sense of comfort in knowing what comes next.

Whether your child’s back-to-school routine includes actually going to school or distance learning, consider these tips to help create a sense of stability.

Set a schedule

Talk with your child about his or her school day and how it will be different. Work together to come up with ways you can both ease into the new routine, whether your child is attending school part time, learning at home or going to a childcare center or program.

Remember, little things can help create a sense of routine and stability. Even if your child is learning at home and could stay in pajamas all day, something as small as getting dressed in school clothes and brushing teeth before sitting down for lessons can signal it’s time to study.

Be flexible

The things that make school fun – whatever that may be for your child – aren’t at home. However, there are some things you can do at home, like eat a snack while studying or play with toys, that you cannot do at school that make learning more enjoyable.

Be sure to build breaks into your child’s day. Knowing there will be something fun after the next lesson can give your child something to look forward to and help him or her settle down to complete the task at hand. Plus, those breaks can be an opportunity for parents to get some work done, too.

Talk with your child and with his or her teachers: Perhaps those 30 minutes of reading don’t have to be done midmorning when your child is restless. Instead, maybe your family could do 30 minutes of reading before bed when your child is calmer.

Talk it out

Nearly everyone is experiencing strong emotions right now whether it’s in reaction to an abnormal start to the school year or other factors that impact daily life. The difference is adults can contextualize a situation and adjust their reactions. Children haven’t yet mastered those skills, so they react based on whatever nugget of information they have.

Home is a safe place for most children, which means they know they can express their feelings freely. That may mean slamming laptops or books down in frustration, yelling or using hurtful words. Your child might be upset because he or she doesn’t understand the schoolwork or might be afraid for safety or the safety of loved ones during these uncertain times.

Talk with your child about his or her feelings and work together to find healthy ways to express those emotions, like taking three deep breaths or using a physical activity to vent, instead of keeping those feelings pent-up inside.

Difference and change don’t have to mean chaos and uncertainty. With a bit of thought and a stable routine, parents can help their children have an enjoyable, productive school year. Find more tips for creating stable routines for children at kindercare.com.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

SOURCE:
KinderCare

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Education

New Hands-On Power Girls Program Empowers Racialized Girls To Embrace STEM

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The joint program from DIVERSE CITY and SFU will build connection and space for migrant girls aged 9–12 in the STEM sector.

Surrey, BC, October 19, 2020 – In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing world, jobs within science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) make up a large sector of the job market. These jobs, although incredibly important and in demand, are also overwhelmingly gendered.

While the majority of university graduates are female, according to Statistics Canada, only 39 per cent hold a degree in STEM. Even within this limited group, only three out of 10 women actually work in the STEM sector post-graduation. This number drops even lower when it comes to racialized women.

The lack of women in STEM, also termed “the leaky STEM pipeline,” has been traced back to childhood. Studies have shown that girls, for various, sometimes unseen reasons, are more likely to turn away from STEM than their male classmates. Research conducted by the Girl Guides of Canada shows that girls stop pursuing STEM, for various reasons such as lack of representation and deeply ingrained social norms, as early as Grade 8.

Through the collaboration of DIVERSEcity and the Science ALIVE program at Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Applied Science, with funding from the Canadian Women’s Foundation, the Power Girls program has been created to provide a dedicated space to create a new approach to STEM programming.

Aimed at migrant girls aged 9–12 years old, this program hopes that through hands-on and specific guidance, these girls will be able to pursue a path to STEM while breaking down social norms and stereotype barriers that may hinder their path.

“We are very excited to collaborate with DIVERSEcity on this meaningful project to empower girls in science and engineering,” says Jinny Sim, Manager, Outreach and Diversity at SFU. “There is still a lack of women in STEM, especially from the BIPOC groups.

We can’t wait to meet the girls and show how fun science and engineering can be and how they are used in our everyday lives for social good.” Classes will begin on October 31 and, although they will be online for now, students can expect experiential learning kits delivered to their homes.

Sim further explains, “This year, the girls will go through a project-based engineering curriculum to explore the various field of engineering, learn about the great achievements from female engineers and build their own project that demonstrates their learning. The girls will leave the program with confidence, a sense of accomplishment and motivation to continue studying STEM!”

“We know that a lot of these young girls just need the space and proper supports in place and they will thrive. It isn’t easy to follow a path when the stereotypical and idealized mathematician or scientist doesn’t look like you,” explains Jessica Forster Broomfield, Manager, Children’s Programs at DIVERSEcity. “We want this program to act as a motivator for racialized girls to make their space and to change the STEM sector for generations to come.”

“Hopefully by addressing the issue head-on, we will be helping create a new type of future where anyone who is passionate enough can pursue the career of their choice without having to second-guess if they fit a certain mold or not,” added Forster Broomfield.

Free to students, the Power Girls program is funded through the Canadian Women’s Foundation, in partnership with the captain of the Canadian national soccer team, Christine Sinclair.

About DIVERSE CITY Community Resources Society

At DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society, we empower newcomers and other diverse communities to build the life they want in Canada. Our free, multilingual programs and services in language, settlement, employment and counselling provide them with a foundation of information, skills and connections to achieve their goals.

Our social enterprises — Interpretation and Translation Services, Skills Training Centre and Language Testing Centre — support this work, too. As a registered charity in Surrey and the Lower Mainland with a 40+ year history, we champion diversity and inclusion for all, and our message is clear — everyone belongs here.

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Education

Surrey Libraries Announces Winners of 2020 Young Adult Writing Contest

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Surrey, BC — Surrey Libraries is pleased to announce and congratulate the winners of the 2020 Surrey Libraries Young Adult Writing Contest. The winners were acknowledged at a Virtual Awards Gala on Wednesday, October 14.

The Young Adult Writing Contest is an annual writing competition for youth aged 12-18. Since launching the contest in 1987, Surrey Libraries has received over 6,500 entries from aspiring young writers across Surrey. The contest is free to enter and young writers submit entries to one of the four contest categories: short stories, poems, comics, and a random category for other types of writing such as essays, screenplays, or song lyrics.

Rena Su, a multi-year entrant and winner in the contest, credits the contest with giving her not only more confidence in her writing, but also an opening to other opportunities, saying at the Gala:

“With the seemingly small confidence booster that Surrey Libraries gave me, I was able to gain enough momentum to begin sharing my work. In between flurries of rejections and learning and improvement, I was able to land some of my first literary magazine publications and I also connected with people online and gained an editor position at a youth lit magazine.”

“Every year our judges are truly impressed by the level of creativity and diversity in the entries,” explains Kelly Lau, Youth Services Librarian and contest coordinator. “It’s always a pleasant challenge to select the winning entries.”

This popular program is organized by the dynamic youth library staff at Surrey Libraries and is made possible through the generous support of champion sponsors Khalsa Credit Union and Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

An anthology of the winners’ work will be available online, to check out from Surrey Libraries branches, or purchased for $8.00 at the end of November.

YOUNG ADULT WRITING CONTEST WINNERS 2020:

Junior Short Story

1st Place – “The Worker,” Gurleena Sukhija
2nd Place – “Number 98,” Sofia Lemay
3rd Place – “Clueless,” Tiffany Montefrio
Honourable Mention – “Watercolors,” Victoria Wang
Honourable Mention – “The Girl Who Visits Dreams,” Emma Hong

Senior Short Story

1st Place – “Saudade,” Akash Ranu
2nd Place – “An Attempt at Building a Coffin for Ma,” Yue Chen
3rd Place – “Separate Ways,” Carmen Campbell
Honourable Mention – “The Everything Tree,” Annie Huang
Honourable Mention – “Citylights,” Rena Su

Junior Poetry

1st Place – “Grow Up,” Gurleena Sukhjia
2nd Place – “Assimilation,” Alyana Amadeo
3rd Place – “Hirosaki Castle,” Richard Su
Honourable Mention – “Rabbit Hole,” Khushi Cheema
Honourable Mention – “SKIN,” Leigh Kathryn Baculi

Senior Poetry

1st Place – “Plum Tea,” Maggie Lu
2nd Place – “Ode to the Window,” Ava Popowitz
3rd Place – “Overthinker,” Yana Fershstein
Honourable Mention – “Quick Fixes,” Audrey Kemp
Honourable Mention – “Astronomical Alliteration,” Muskan Poddar

Random

1st Place –“Ethical Consumerism in a Capitalist State” (Essay), Muskan Guglani
2nd Place –“recounting that summer in which I woke, ate, slept, and repeated the motions mentioned above” (Creative Non-Fiction), Yue Chen
3rd Place –“Aletheia” (Essay), Dean Oh
Honourable Mention – “Crown in the Grave” (Song Lyrics), Gurshaan Chadha

Comics

1st Place – “Stairs of Life, Elevator to Heaven,” Yue Chen
2nd Place – “A Different Kind of Mind,” Stin Dang
3rd Place – “Quiescent,” Andrew Jung
Honourable Mention – “Stick Guy,” Seth Corbett

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New Viking DNA Research Yields Unexpected Information About Who They Were

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In the popular imagination, Vikings were fearsome blonde-haired warriors from Scandinavia who used longboats to carry out raids across Europe in a brief but bloody reign of terror. But the reality is more complex, says SFU Archaeology Prof. Mark Collard.

Collard is a member of an international team of researchers that has just published the results of the world’s largest DNA sequencing of Viking skeletons, in this week’s edition of Nature.

Led by Prof. Eske Willerslev of the Universities of Cambridge and Copenhagen, the research team extracted and analysed\ DNA from the remains of 442 men, women and children.

The remains were recovered from archaeological sites in Scandinavia, the U.K., Ireland, Iceland, Greenland, Estonia, Ukraine, Poland and Russia, and mostly date to the Viking Age (ca. 750-1050 AD).

The team’s analyses yielded a number of findings. One of the most noteworthy is that contrary to what has often been assumed, Viking identity was not limited to people of Scandinavian ancestry—the team discovered that two skeletons from a Viking burial site in the Orkney Islands were of Scottish ancestry.

They also found evidence that there was significant gene flow into Scandinavia from the British Isles, Southern Europe, and Asia before and during the Viking Age, which further undermines the image of the Vikings as ‘pure’ Scandinavians. Another discovery that runs counter to the standard image of the Vikings is that many had brown hair, not blonde hair.

The analyses’ results also shed light on the Vikings’ activities. For example, consistent with patterns documented by historians and archaeologists, the team found that Vikings who travelled to England generally had Danish ancestry, while the majority of Vikings who travelled to Scotland, Ireland, Iceland and Greenland had Norwegian ancestry. In contrast, Vikings who headed east were mostly from Sweden.

Interestingly, says Collard, data revealed a number of close kin among the 442 individuals. Four members of a Viking raiding party interred in a boat burial in Estonia were found to be brothers, while two individuals buried 300 to 400 kilometers apart in Sweden were found to be cousins. Perhaps even more strikingly, the team identified a pair of second-degree male relatives (i.e. half-brothers, nephew-uncle, or grandson-grandfather) from two sites, one in Denmark and one in England.

“We have this image of well-connected Vikings mixing with each other, trading and going on raiding parties to fight Kings across Europe because this is what we see on television and read in books – but genetically we have shown for the first time that it wasn’t that kind of world. This study changes the perception of who a Viking actually was,” says Willerslev. “No one could have predicted these significant gene flows into Scandinavia from Southern Europe and Asia happened before and during the Viking Age.”

Of all the team’s discoveries, Collard is most intrigued by the identification of close kin. “While the ‘big picture’ discoveries are great, I was blown away by the fact that the analyses revealed the presence of four brothers in the Estonian boat burial, and a possible nephew and uncle on either side of the North Sea.” “These findings have important implications for social life in the Viking world, but we would’ve remained ignorant of them without ancient DNA. They really underscore the power of the approach for understanding history.”

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Enver Creek Secondary student awarded largest Canadian STEM scholarship

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For this year, number of scholarships doubles to 100

Tejash Poddar has been selected to receive a $100,000 Schulich Leader Scholarship to study Engineering at Simon Fraser University.

A graduate of Enver Creek Secondary in Surrey, Tejash will be entering the Engineering Science this Fall. He was selected by Ms A. van Dyk for his outstanding academic excellence and leadership achievements.

Given the unparalleled current disruption, there is a much greater need for students to get financial support in order to pursue their university education. This year, The Schulich Foundation has decided to award an additional 50 scholarships, for a total of 100.

“Schulich Leader Scholarships are the premiere STEM scholarship program in Canada and the world. With 100 outstanding students selected in Canada this year, it is all but guaranteed that this group will represent the best and brightest Canada has to offer. These future leaders will make great contributions to society, both on a national and global scale.

With their university expenses covered, they can focus their time on their studies, research projects, extracurriculars, and entrepreneurial ventures. They are the next generation of technology innovators,” says Mr. Schulich.

(When asked):
How did it feel to receive the notice of offer for the scholarship? How will this scholarship help you reach your goals?

(Tejash) :
“It was surreal first hearing the words over the phone – I could barely finish my sentences as I spoke. Looking back at it, everything really is a blur, but I am glad I was able to share the experience with my family around me.”

“I believe that sharing innovation is the key to driving innovation, and I plan to collaborate and grow with the people around me. I am incredibly grateful to be part of the Schulich Leader network, and I look forward to meeting new people and building relations in order to further pursue opportunities in the STEM field.”

About Schulich Leader Scholarships Canada

Recognizing the increasing importance and impact that STEM disciplines will have on the prosperity of future generations, businessman and philanthropist Seymour Schulich established this $100+ million scholarship fund in 2012 to encourage our best and brightest students to become Schulich Leader Scholars: the next generation of entrepreneurial-minded, technology innovators.

Through The Schulich Foundation, these prestigious entrance scholarships are awarded to 100 high school graduates this year, enrolling in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) undergraduate program at 20 partner universities in Canada.

Every high school in Canada can submit one Schulich Leader Nominee per academic year based on academic excellence in STEM, entrepreneurial leadership and financial need.

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