Class Acts

They’re Nutritious, But You May Need a Toothpick

Hult Prize
Zev Thompson (second from left)

Zev Thompson, BSc’05, and his McGill classmates, Mohammed Ashour, Gabriel Mott, Shobhita Soor, and Jesse Pearlstein, have won the Boston regional final of the 2013 Hult Prize for their business plan to breed crickets as a viable food source for the 200 million people globally who live in urban slums.

The Hult Prize, in partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative, is a start-up accelerator for social entrepreneurship,dedicated to solving the planet’s most pressing issues. This year’s theme focuses on global food security.

The team is trying to formalize a practice that currently exists worldwide. Crickets, an excellent source of protein, iron, B vitamins, and other essential nutrients, are currently eaten by approximately 2.5 billion people. However, there isn’t a formal practice in place – crickets are typically not grown commercially. Consequently, the challenge for the team is to create a strategy that is both sustainable and reliable.

The team developed three interconnected products: packaged cooked crickets; cricket protein flour, for those who are squeamish about eating bugs; and, a biopolymer extracted from cricket shells that can be sold for industrial purposes.

Zev, the dietary expert on the team, has eaten his fair share of crickets recently, and says that it’s not the taste that’s the distinctive part, but the texture, describing it as “sort of a cross between popcorn and prawns.”

In the fall, the team will compete against four other regional finalists for the chance to win $1 million in start-up capital to launch their new social enterprise.

One iPad. Two Players.

iPad gameJanuary 31 was a big day for computer science alumnus Chris Clogg, BSc’11, and business and computer science student Michael Silverwood – it was the day their iPad game, Stratosphere: Multiplayer Defense, was launched on the Apple App Store and featured as one of the games of the week.

“We were unbelievably honoured and excited… Being featured by Apple is like having a big banner at the entrance of EB Games or Future Shop for your product. They only feature the games they like,” says Chris.

Chris and Michael wanted the user experience to recreate the excitement of playing a board game with a group of friends. Two players each hold one side of an iPad and have to balance between building defensive towers and sending enemies at their opponent. Although the game was designed for more than one player, it also features a single-player mode with 60 missions, three difficulty levels, and modifiers that can be combined to create more than 500 unique ways to play.

What’s really surprised Chris and Michael is the broad range of players who have been enjoying Stratosphere. Although they knew strategy game fans would enjoy it, they were surprised by all of the emails they’ve received from parents who enjoy playing against their kids, and gamers who enjoy playing against their non-gamer significant others. “It goes to show that there are probably still a lot of people who miss the experience of physically sitting around a board game and playing with people in the same room,” Chris says.

Next steps include creating franchises of Stratosphere and introducing its characters into other iPad and iPhone games, which they plan on developing through their company, Pixile Studios.

“I love that the multiplayer is on the same device because it feels very much like a board game. I just love everything about this: the visuals, the music – very electro-dancey – and I really like that it was made by only two people, which really shows that it was a work of love. Rating: 8/10”

Shaun Hatton, Reviews on the Run

Coffee Served In China

ClassActs_CoffeeBelinda Wong, BCom’92, is the president of Starbucks China. She is executing the coffee giant’s plans to add 700 stores and 18,000 employees in a country where tea is not only a drink, but also an integral part of Chinese culture. Although it may seem like a lofty goal, Belinda, recently featured in The Province newspaper, says that Starbucks is on course to have 1,500 stores across China by 2015.

She joined Starbucks in 2000 as a marketing director for the Asia-Pacific region then served in increasingly senior leadership roles for Starbucks operations in Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore. In 2011, she was appointed Starbucks China president.

Belinda strongly believes that a coffeehouse provides a place for human connection. As a student, one of her best memories was hanging out and connecting with friends in between classes. “Our favourite hangout place back then was definitely the Henry Angus Building!” In 2012, Belinda was named one of China’s 25 most influential business women.

Sixty-Year-Old Opera Debuts

An opera by one of Canada’s most famous mid-century composers has premiered as a staged performance 60 years after it was written. Thanks to the persistence of soprano/impresario Heather Pawsey, BMus’86, Barbara Pentland’s The Lake was performed last November by the Turning Point Ensemble in partnership with Heather’s company, Astrolabe Musik Theatre, in the TELUS Studio Theatre at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts.

Pentland taught music at UBC in the 1950s and was on the cutting edge of Canadian avant-garde music. Poet Dorothy Livesay, also a faculty member, became her librettist for The Lake. The opera is set in the Okanagan in 1873 and based on a true story about Susan Allison, the first female European settler in the area, and her family’s Native employees. It was originally commissioned by London-based organist Gordon Jeffries in 1951 but was never performed (although it was finally heard three years later on CBC Radio).

(L-R) Heather Pawsey sang the part of Susan Allison in The Lake, a 60-year-old opera she helped bring to the stage for the first time. She was accompanied by John Arsenault as Johnny MacDougall (L) and Angus Bell as John Allison.

Heather came across Pentland’s work when she was searching for repertoire to present at the Eckhardt-Gramatté competition in Brandon in 1996. She sang Susan Allison’s main aria and won first prize. A few months later, during a wine-tasting trip to the Okanagan, she happened to visit the Quails’ Gate Estate Winery tasting room, an old cabin. In a scrapbook on the history of the vineyard, Heather found herself reading about the Allison family and realized she was standing in the cabin they once owned. Her interest in The Lake only grew.

When the Canadian Music Centre invited ideas for events to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Barbara Pentland’s birth, Heather knew the time to stage The Lake had finally come. The Turning Point Ensemble, a champion of Pentland’s music, was a natural collaborator. Planning for the UBC production involved the West Bank First Nation, who participated in a public seminar (generously hosted by Vancouver Opera), speaking about the lake “monster” as a metaphor for sustainability. Members of the Allison family attended the premiere, and at some point in the future Heather hopes to bring this opera home to the Okanagan.

Susan Allison was sung by Heather Pawsey, and her rancher husband, John, by baritone Angus Bell. Marie, the First Nations servant was performed by mezzo Barbara Towell, MAS’00. Metis Johnny MacDougall was sung by tenor John Arsenault, DipMus’07.

– Submitted by Hilary Yates Clark, BHEc’52, MEd’90

Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal Recipients

Griffin Lloyd, BA’51, received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal on October 9, 2012. Eight days later he was inducted into the Alberta Order of Excellence (AOE) – the highest award that the province can bestow upon its citizens for meritorious service.

Hilary Yates Clark, BHEc’52, MEd’90, received a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal for her volunteer work. Hilary initiated the retailing program at Capilano College/University, was elected to the board of Lions Gate Hospital, rising to become the first female board chair, and followed that by being elected the provincial representative on the board of the BC Health Association. Upon retirement she founded the Ambleside Orchestra of West Vancouver, which she managed for 20 years and in which she continues to play flute. She initiated the free Carnegie Centre band/orchestra series for residents of the Downtown Eastside and writes opera reviews for amateur and semi-professional productions, promoting the rising opera singers and companies in BC. She volunteers for West Vancouver’s Community Day and Harmony Arts Festival. Hilary has three married sons and six grandchildren.

Walley P. Lightbody, QC, BA’56, LLB’59, was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal in recognition of his contributions to Canada. In 2010 he was awarded the George Goyer Memorial Award for distinguished service to the legal profession of BC. He is a former past president of the Canadian Bar Association (BC Branch) and has chaired numerous committees establishing prizes and scholarships in law, including the class of 1959 UBC Faculty of Law Scholarship Fund and the Okanagan Bar Scholarship awarded to a UBC Okanagan graduate accepted into UBC Law School. He also spearheaded the establishment of a course in contemporary Canadian Law at UBC Okanagan. He is the past chair and founder of the yearly Guile Debate at the UBC Faculty of Law, president of the Friends and Residents of the Abbott Street Heritage Conservation Area Society in Kelowna, and the Kelowna General Hospital (KGH) Foundation Annual Celebrity Tennis and Bocce Tournament – an event that has raised substantial funds for cardiac care at KGH.

At a ceremony on December 6, 2012, Dr. Pullikattil Chacko Simon, MSc’60, was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his services to the community and on March 1, 2013, he celebrated his 100th birthday.

Clyde Griffith, BPE’64, was presented with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal on December 13, 2012. The medal was awarded in honour of Clyde’s impressive Municipal and Provincial Government career, together with the amazing community service he has provided over the years.

Lyall D. Knott, QC, BCom’71, LLB’72, was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal on January 22, 2013.

Joy Fera, BRE’72, received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal on December 15, 2012, for her years of volunteer work in Delta.

District of West Vancouver Chief Administrative Officer Grant McRadu, BA’76, was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his 30-plus years of public service as a CAO for local government. In 1982, at the age of 29, Grant was the youngest municipal CAO in British Columbia and has since served as CAO for a number of municipalities and as CFO for the Delta School District. He has served on the board of directors of the Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators and was elected vice-president of the International City and County Managers, representing over 5,000 members world-wide.

UBC’s Alumni Association office was chuffed when Barney EllisPerry, BA’87, director of the university’s Alumni Engagement Campaign, received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in December. Barney was recognized for his passion, strategic and innovative thinking, relationship-building skills and fundraising expertise as a member of Volunteer Canada’s board of directors for eight years.

Sandra Yuen MacKay, BA’89, an artist and author of My Schizophrenic Life: The Road To Recovery from Mental Illness, received the 2012 Courage to Come Back award in the mental health category, was chosen for the 2012 Faces of Mental Illness campaign, and received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for advocacy and for being a spokesperson on mental health issues.

Praises and Prizes

In September 2012, Linda Rabeneck, BSc’70, MD’74, was elected to Fellowship in the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS). Fellows elected to the CAHS are recognized for their contributions to the promotion of health science and have demonstrated leadership, creativity, distinctive competencies and a commitment to advance academic health science. Dr. Rabeneck is a professor of medicine and professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, and senior scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto. She currently serves as vice president, Prevention and Cancer Control at Cancer Care Ontario, the province’s cancer agency. She has played a leadership role in implementing organized colorectal cancer screening in Ontario.

Douglas W. Conn, BSF’75, BSc’79, DMD’82, was elected president of the Canadian Academy of Endodontics (CAE) at the CAE annual meeting held on October 18, 2012. Dr. Conn is an endodontic specialist in Vancouver, a clinical assistant professor with the Faculty of Dentistry at UBC, and a member and past president of both the BC Society of Endodontists and the Dental Specialists Society of British Columbia.

For the second consecutive year, John S. Clark, BCom’79, president of Pacific Spirit Investment Management Inc. in Vancouver, has been named a “Five Star Wealth Manager.” Wealth managers had to meet 10 objective evaluation criteria associated with outstanding client service. The evaluation process included an independent survey of one in 12 households who would use wealth management services.

Claver Gatete, BSc’91, MSc’93, was recently named Rwanda’s Minister of Finance and Economic planning. Prior to his appointment, Gatete served as the governor of the National Bank of Rwanda from May 2011 and was previously the deputy governor from December 2009.

On February 23, 2010, the Ambassador of Spain in Pakistan conferred AlNashir Jamal, BCom’79, – the former Chief Executive Officer of the Aga Khan Foundation (Pakistan) – with the prestigious award of the Knight Commander of the Order of the Civil Merit. His Excellency Mr. Gonzalo Maria Quintero Saravia said: “The work carried out by Ilustrísmo Señor Al-Nashir during his tenure as CEO is an example of how international cooperation can be a real instrument both in the development of local communities and in achieving understanding between different cultures.”

Local businesswoman and physiotherapist Paige Larson, BPE’84, of North Shore Sports Medicine was selected as the Western Canada representative, and one of three Canadian women finalists, for the 2012 HKMB HUB Impact Award. The award is one of six RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Awards, which honour Canadian female entrepreneurs for being leaders and role models, and for encouraging the development of others. There were 3,500 women nominated for the six awards. Paige founded and operates North Shore Sports Medicine, which has grown from a single two-bed facility in 1987 to three clinics with 20 beds and 13 healthcare practitioners. In 2010, she was named Businessperson of the Year by the North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce.

Deb deBruijn, MLS‘85, was recently appointed university secretary at Trent University, Peterborough, ON, serving as the university’s most senior advisor on governance-related and administrative matters, with responsibility for providing leadership and support for Trent’s governing bodies and for the senior administration. Deb previously served as the executive director for the Canadian Research Knowledge Network in Ottawa.

Russ Brown, BA’87, has been appointed a Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta. He and Heidi Brown (née Hawelka), BCom’89, live in Edmonton with their two sons.

Amyn Khimji, BCom’88, has been appointed to the position of assistant director, Financial Accounting, at JTB International (Canada) Ltd. Amyn has been with JTB since 1994 and previously held the position of manager.

The US Green Building Council named Brenda Martens, BSc’89, to the 2012 class of LEED Fellows. The LEED Fellow designation recognizes exceptional contributions to green building and significant professional achievement. Brenda was one of only two Canadians named among 43 of the world’s most distinguished green building professionals selected. Her work experience encompasses residential, institutional, commercial and industrial projects throughout BC, including the Vancouver and Whistler Athletes’ Villages, the Okanagan College Centre of Excellence (a Living Building Challenge candidate), and over 20 BC Housing projects across the province.

Subodh Verma, MSc’93, PhD’97, is the recipient of the 2013 Royal College Medal Award in Surgery. Presented annually to one Canadian surgeon, this award recognizes both Dr. Verma’s clinical achievements and groundbreaking research. After completing an MSc and PhD in cardiovascular pharmacology in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Subodh went on to attend medical school at the University of Calgary. Currently, Subodh is a cardiac surgeon and researcher at St. Michael’s Hospital and a professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. His most recent research work has connected two genes involved in breast cancer, BRCA1 and BRCA2, with heart disease.

The novel What Happened to Serenity by PJ Sarah Collins, BEd’95, has won the inaugural Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy. Administered by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre, the award honours excellence in science fiction and fantasy writing for children and adolescents with a $5,000 prize. “It was a wonderful and completely unexpected surprise,” remarked Sarah. “Monica Hughes was part of, what some historians term, the Greatest Generation: those who fought oppression and survived World War II. I admire and aspire to many of her ideals and it is a huge honour to have my name in the same sentence as hers. I hope the creation of this award brings comfort and pride to her family and encourages a new generation of readers to explore the new worlds she created.”

Jill MacAlpine, PhD’99, was elected partner at Finnegan, one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the world. Jill practices all areas of patent law including patent litigation, patent procurement, due diligence investigations, opinion work, and client counselling, primarily in the chemical and pharmaceutical areas.

Genevieve Barrons, BA’12, has been selected as one of 39 new Gates Cambridge Scholars to study at the University of Cambridge, England, this fall and will pursue a master’s degree in education. She has taught in Malawi and is currently teaching, writing, and editing in Shanghai. She is the eighth UBC student or alumnus to be awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship since the program began in 2001.

Quick Catch-up

Hugh Stephens, BA’67, is executive-in-residence at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, and is teaching part-time at Royal Roads University after retiring this year from a second career as an executive with US media conglomerate Time Warner. Prior to joining Time Warner in 2001, Hugh spent 30 years with the Department of Foreign Affairs, where he served as assistant deputy minister for Policy and Communications.

The summer of 2012 marked two milestones in Raymond To’s, BSc’88, MBA’90, business life: one was the 10 year anniversary of GO Recruitment and the other was the 20 year anniversary of being in the recruiting business.

Iana Messetchkova, BA’12, is currently interning with the European Union Delegation to the UN in New York. She works within the Third Committee, assisting the delegation in the drafting of statements, communication with Brussels and in negotiations. She plans to attend New York University in the fall for an MS in Global Affairs.


Louise Moon’s, BA’84, original play, Raven Meets the Monkey King, produced by Axis Theatre Company, toured BC and Saskatchewan elementary schools in the spring of 2013. The play features First Nations and Asian storytelling with themes of intercultural cooperation and the importance of returning treasures of historical and spiritual importance to their original owners.

Ken MacLeod, BA’68, Secondary Teachers Certificate ’72, recently completed a large in-depth study on Vancouver. His 850-page book, The Story of South Vancouver and John Oliver High School, is based on more than 200 interviews, includes 600 photographs, took 12 years to complete and is an exhaustive study of the former Municipality of South Vancouver, which amalgamated with the City of Vancouver in 1929. The book includes history about the Vancouver area from the early 1860s, and is told largely through the eyes of the people as gathered from interviews, the Vancouver Archives, old newspaper accounts, rare sources, and unpublished accounts. The book was released for the 100th Anniversary of John Oliver High School in September 2012.

Ruth Donald (née Biga), BA’79, is the author of a mystery series featuring a former RCMP homicide detective who resigned from the force to become a long haul truck driver. Ruth wanted to write traditional ‘whodunit’ mysteries with a uniquely North American setting, and published the first Highway Mystery, Slow Curve on the Coquihalla in 2011. That was followed by Ice on the Grapevine, which was a finalist for the 2012 Global Ebook Award in mystery fiction, and her new release, Sea to Sky, set in Whistler. She’s working on the fourth Highway Mystery, set in the Yukon. Ruth worked in the transportation industry in various capacities from 1972-2002. Writing as R.E. Donald, she uses her own experience and that of her late husband, Jim Donald, who was well known in the BC trucking industry in the 70s and 80s, to create realistic characters and situations in the novels. Ruth is a member of Crime Writers of Canada. She currently lives on a farm in south Langley with a French Canadian cowboy and several horses.

Kate Braid, MFA’97, recently released a memoir of her 15 years as a carpenter, Journeywoman: Swinging a Hammer in a Man’s World. Kate has written poetry and non-fiction about subjects ranging from Glenn Gould and Emily Carr to mine workers and fishers and has published five books of prize-winning poetry including, Inward to the Bones and A Well-Mannered Storm: The Glenn Gould Poems.

Congratulations to Mark Kunzli, BSc’07, EMBA’11, and faculty members Dr. Wayne Riggs and Dr. Ron Reid for their front cover article “Pharmacogenomics, personalized medicine, and patient-centric therapy” published in the December 2012/January 2013 issue of Pharmacy Practice Magazine.

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