Class Acts

A Summer Camp for Adults with Aphasia

Christy Campbell is raising awareness about communications disorders.
Christy Campbell is raising awareness about communications disorders.

When Christy Campbell, BSc’96, had a stroke in 2005, she lost her ability to speak and was left with one word: “yes.” Aged just 31, Campbell was diagnosed with aphasia – a neurological disorder that impairs a person’s ability to comprehend and express language. While Campbell could understand what her friends were saying, she could not participate in the conversations.

Rather than be silenced by aphasia, Campbell worked tirelessly to regain her speech and find new purpose in life. In 2010, she partnered with Dr. Barbara Purves, MSc’76, PhD’06, associate professor in UBC’s School of Audiology and Speech Sciences and co‑founded the Sea to Sky Aphasia Camp. The camp’s recreational activities help people with aphasia learn new ways to connect with one another in an environment adapted to their unique physical and communication needs. It also provides opportunities for UBC’s occupational, physical and recreational therapy students to work alongside medical and speech‑language therapy students.

Today Campbell’s struggle to communicate isn’t conspicuous, thanks to the speech‑language pathologists who were not only instrumental in her recovery, but also encouraged her to become an advocate. “Christy’s advocacy in support of people with communication disorders has been crucial to raising awareness about aphasia and speech‑language pathologists,” says Dr. Valter Ciocca, director of UBC’s School of Audiology and Speech Sciences.

In September 2014, the BC Government announced a multi‑million dollar investment in UBC’s Speech‑Language Pathology program – increasing the number of spaces by 56 per cent by 2016. “It is people like Christy, and her husband, Sean Standing, who should take credit for the government’s decision,” said Ciocca. In honour of Campbell and Purves, UBC recently established The Campbell‑Purves Aphasia Education Fund to support aphasia education and increase awareness. For more information on the Sea to Sky Aphasia Camp visit


Fruitful Work

Casey Hamilton isn’t about to let good food go to waste. Photo: Paul Marck.
Casey Hamilton isn’t about to let good food go to waste. Photo: Paul Marck.

This year, a whopping 20,000 pounds of fruit – the equivalent of an adult elephant, tractor, or mobile home – that would have otherwise been left to drop and rot on the ground, was harvested by the Okanagan Fruit Tree Project and donated to charitable community groups in the Okanagan. It’s an accomplishment that the organization’s founder and president Casey Hamilton, BSc’07, is proud of.

When Hamilton moved to Kelowna, she was dismayed by the amount of fruit wasted each year by residents with backyard fruit trees who didn’t harvest all of the fruit, either because they were unable to or chose not to. As a registered dietician, she saw an opportunity to stop the waste and help her community.

Today, the Okanagan Fruit Tree Project’s premise is simple, yet resourceful: volunteers harvest extra fruit from the trees, donate it to charitable community groups, and share a portion among the tree owners and volunteers. The initiative provides access to fresh, healthy food for people who can’t afford it. This year, more than 300 volunteers have picked cherries, apricots, peaches, pears, plums, apples and grapes and distributed them to approximately 25 organizations across the Central Okanagan.

In addition to operating this non‑profit organization, Hamilton is pursuing her master’s degree in urban agriculture policy at the UBC Okanagan campus, where she’s the campus health research coordinator. In recognition of her work, Hamilton was recently awarded top honour in the Environmental Leader category of the Kelowna Capital News 2014 Community Leader Awards, and nominated as one of Kelowna’s Top 40 Under 40.

ObamaCare Dream Team

Stephanie Van Dyk was thanked by Barack Obama. Photo: Andrew Widdowson
Stephanie Van Dyk was thanked by Barack Obama.
Photo: Andrew Widdowson

It was the opportunity of a lifetime and Stephanie Van Dyk, BSc’13, seized it. The recently launched and highly anticipated ObamaCare website had been plagued with problems from day one. It crashed on launch day, and several times thereafter, and when millions of Americans attempted to sign up they encountered endless technical glitches. The US government needed the best‑of‑the‑best to fix it. Fast.

Software engineers, developers, designers and analysts from companies such as Facebook and Google, where Van Dyk is a site reliability engineer, were hastily recruited. As one of them, Van Dyk worked 12‑16 hour days, travelling between Washington, DC, and Columbia, Maryland, as part of the “tech surge” team responsible for stabilizing the website. Van Dyk took unpaid leave from her job because she believed in the mission. “For me, this was all about actually bringing health care to the US, which I view as a great social responsibility,” she says.

The Obama administration’s target of seven million enrollments by March 31, 2014, seemed implausible after the disastrous launch. However, within a few months the elite team of experts had the website functioning and by April, the government had exceeded its goal with eight million enrollments. Every team member was personally thanked for their role by President Obama at a reception held in the White House.

Class Acts

Russ Patrick, BA’67, lives in California but recently received a reminder about his UBC roots. “Thirty‑seven million people live in California,” he says. “There’s almost that many motor vehicles, I suspect, and I get a “UBC” plate in the mail!”
Russ Patrick, BA’67, lives in California but recently received a reminder about his UBC roots. “Thirty‑seven million people live in California,” he says. “There’s almost that many motor vehicles, I suspect, and I get a “UBC” plate in the mail!”

Congratulations to Loren, BA’53, MA’56, and Eileen, BHE’49, Calder. The couple, who met at UBC, celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary at alumni UBC’s Toronto International Film Festival event in September.

At the 2013 March of Dimes AGM, Doug HarveySmith, BASc’54, was honoured with the Reverend Roy Essex Award. The award is given to a long‑term volunteer who has demonstrated a high degree of commitment and made an outstanding contribution. For the past 14 years Harvey‑Smith has volunteered with (and is now chair of) the Ottawa Chapter of DesignAbility – a group of March of Dimes volunteers who build unique devices for persons with disabilities.

Following graduation, John Chrysochoos, MSc’62, PhD’64, joined the faculty at the University of Toledo (Ohio), where he stayed from 1967‑2004, with additional academic assignments at Bowling Green State University, the University of Western Ontario, the University of Crete and the University of Patras. After retiring from the University of Toledo (Ohio), Chrysochoos took up a past passion in his life – writing – and has published four books. The second edition of his first book, Beyond the Blue Ikarian Sea: Life in Greece and North America, is now available. The autobiography is spiced with history, political and social science and education from approximately 1939 to the present and includes chapters that feature life and education in Vancouver and at UBC.

Mary Ross, BA’63, has co‑authored, Leotard: The Story of Jazz ballet Rodney, with fellow dancer Sally Faverot de Kerbrech. Leotard is a funny tale of loyalty and friendship that recounts the escapades of the authors as young dancers in an “avant garde” European jazz ballet troupe in the 1960s. Ross is currently working on an updated version of Frugal Feasts – a recipe book for students and singles on a tight budget.

Michael Overton, BSc’74, and his wife Michele Menzies, BA’81, will spend the next academic year working and travelling in Britain and Europe. Overton will be on sabbatical from his faculty position in computer science at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. Their travel plans include: Edinburgh, Dubrovnik (Croatia), Lausanne, Berlin, Paris, Toulouse and Limoges. They have been brushing up on their French and hope to return from sabbatical with greatly improved fluency.

After running a successful IT business, Madeleine HarrisCallway, PhD’76, is now a full‑time author whose award‑winning crime fiction short stories have appeared in several magazines and anthologies. Her debut novel, Windigo Fire tells the story of a young Native Canadian caught up in an illegal bear hunt and his struggle to survive the wilderness and the criminals pursuing him. Under different titles, the novel was short‑listed for both the Unhanged Arthur and the Debut Dagger awards for best unpublished crime novel.

Andre Lafargue, MSc’76, received the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award from Speech‑Language and Audiology Canada (SAC) for his work in establishing and developing numerous programs and initiatives that have left an indelible mark on the association and the profession. He established the audiology and speech‑language pathology department at Grand Falls Regional Hospital, was the first director of audiology and speech‑language pathology at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital in Fredericton, and served as regional manager of audiology and speech‑language pathology services for River Valley Health. His lobbying and advocacy work has established speech‑language pathology and audiology positions in hospitals and schools and ensured that all newborns in New Brunswick undergo hearing screening at birth. Lafargue was also the driving force behind the installation of approximately 5,000 sound‑field systems in New Brunswick classrooms. He has been a practicing clinician and an SAC member for 37 years.

Sheldon Smithens, BA’77, has been active in the antiques and fine art trade in Western Canada for more than 30 years. Smithens is an auctioneer and certified appraiser who has donated his skills to a wide array of charitable causes over his career, and has operated a successful retail antiques establishment. For many years, he taught a continuing education class at the University of Calgary called Antiques, Art & Auctions. Smithens has appeared as an expert on The Canadian Antiques Roadshow and most recently, he has been the co‑host of the popular television show Canadian Pickers. Smithens jokes he was spotted on campus recently attempting to purchase several treasures in the Museum of Anthropology, and he was surprised to learn that Campus Security still has an active file on him dating back to the 1970s.

In May 2014, Lorraine Fader, BMus’77, received her Doctorate of Music in Horn Performance from Florida State University. She is currently living in Tallahassee, teaching at Florida A & M University and playing in a number of local orchestras.

Peggy Fisher, MA’80, along with her husband, John Fisher, was named Entrepreneur of the Year by Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, for their establishment Fishers’ Loft. The couple opened Fishers’ Loft as a four‑room B&B in 1997. Today, it is a 33‑room inn, restaurant, conference centre and art gallery. In 2013, The Fishers also received the Patron of the Arts Award from the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council for their work.

Suzanne WindsorLiscombe, BMus’80, Dip(Ed)’91, MEd’92, EdD’14 (née Dittrich) was thrilled to receive her doctorate in educational policy and leadership on May 22, 2014. The occasion was particularly memorable because her son, Owen, BA’14, received his degree in history on the same day.

In addition to receiving the 2014 UBC Alumni Teaching Award, Scott Ormiston, BEd’82, recently received a Prime Minister’s Certificate of Achievement. Ormiston believes critical thinking, goal setting, and working with others are necessary tools for lifetime learning and becoming a socially responsible citizen. He encourages these skills in his students by providing specialized study sessions to build their confidence, using a “Brag Board” to highlight achievements, and guiding students as they start projects that generate money for the school community.

Eileen Hoeter, BA’82, MFA’88, has been keeping busy building a B&B in Mexico near Barra de Navidad. The Villa Star of the Sea is set to open this winter.

After 25 years working as a freelance journalist in BC and NS, Marjorie Simmins, BA’84, has published her first book, Coastal Lives: a Memoir. The book tells the story of the evolving love affair between Simmins on the Pacific coast and fellow writer Silver Donald Cameron on the Atlantic coast with humour and candour. At its heart, Coastal Lives is a celebration of all things East Coast and all things West Coast.

Paige Larson, BPE’84, President and CEO, North Shore Sports Medicine, was awarded the AIR MILES Reward Program Social Impact Small Business Achievement award at a ceremony held at the Toronto Board of Trade in February.

In 1986, after 12 years living in Canada, Michelle Painter, BA’85, returned to her home country of Australia, where she studied law and has worked as a solicitor and a barrister. In October 2013, Painter, who specializes in commercial law, was appointed a senior counsel for the State of New South Wales. She is also the chair of the Women Barristers Forum NSW and works to improve the participation and retention of women barristers at the NSW Bar.

Georgia Hunter, BEd’87, has produced an audio book from her novel Yubi and the Blue‑tailed Rat, narrated by Judith Leech. Sound effects/music were recorded in Big World Sound (Rukkus House) by Doug Paterson. Hunter was also recently featured in a podcast with award‑winning author Alexandra Amor.

The Montana Pharmacy Association selected Dr. Mark Donaldson, BSc’90, as the recipient of Montana’s 2014 Bowl of Hygeia Award for outstanding community service. The award is sponsored by the American Pharmacists Association Foundation and the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations. As an internationally recognized symbol for pharmacy, the Bowl of Hygeia is one of the profession’s most prestigious awards, recognizing pharmacists who possess outstanding records of civic leadership in their communities.

Arthur Wolak, BA’90, Dip(AHist)’94, and his wife, Dr. Anna Wolak are pleased to announce the birth of their son, Joshua, born on June 6, 2014. Joshua is a brother for Jacob, who is very pleased to have a younger sibling. The same month, Arthur Wolak’s book, The Development of Managerial Culture: a Comparative Study of Australia and Canada, was accepted for a fall publication release.

Fine arts theatre grad, Barbara Philip, BFA’90, made a name for herself in the international world of wine when she became Canada’s first female Master of Wine in 2008. Today, Philip is living the dream as a portfolio manager for the BC Liquor Distribution Branch, travelling to Europe several times a year to select wines for BC Liquor Stores. She is also the wine columnist on CBC Radio’s On the Coast, a regular contributor to Taste Magazine and a guest instructor for the Wine and Spirit Education Trust Diploma program at the Art Institute of Vancouver.  n April, Anthony Maretic, BCom’93, and his executive colleagues rang the opening bell at the NYSE. The team was in New York to celebrate the Initial Public Offering of Vancouver-based entity City Office REIT.

Sue Sorensen, MA’93, PhD’99, has released her latest book, The Collar: Reading Christian Ministry in Fiction, Television, and Film. The book is a study of the many ways (heroic or comic, shrewd or dastardly) Christian leaders have been represented on page and screen. Sorensen teaches in Winnipeg in the Department of English at Canadian Mennonite University. Her previous book, a Large Harmonium, won the Best First Book prize at the Manitoba Book Awards in 2012.

Gudrun Honig, BA’97, has published her second book Getting to know you, getting to know all about you which follows, My Journey to the New World.

Greg Bauder, BA’98, has released a new novella, Spilt Coffee, based on his 37‑year struggle with schizoaffective disorder. The book tells the story of three aging schizoaffective men who are lost and disillusioned and live vicariously for the love of the beautiful young Filipino nurse who looks after them. Bauder’s work has been published in several Canadian literary magazines including The Existere, Vallum and Quills Poetry.

James D. Kondopulos, BCom’00, LLB’03, was named by his peers to the 2015 Best Lawyers in Canada list.

The University of Alberta recently awarded Dr. Diane Orihel, BSc’00, with a 2014 Alumni Horizon Award, which recognizes the outstanding achievements of its alumni early in their careers. Orihel is an outspoken defender of freshwater science and evidence‑based science policy.

Congratulations to Bev Sellars, LLB’01, whose book, They Called Me Number One, was awarded the Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature third prize at a gala held in Winnipeg in September. As a result, 2,500 copies of her book will be distributed to Aboriginal youth across Canada.

Doretta Lau, BFA’01, BA’03, has been named as one of CBC Books 2014 Writers to Watch. In September, her short story collection, How Does a Single Blade of Grass Thank the Sun?, was shortlisted for the City of Vancouver Book Award.

This summer, Kimberley Nelson Janke, BSc’02, studied sustainable approaches to human‑wildlife coexistence at the Maasai Mara National Reserve in the South Rift Valley of Kenya. Kimberley, a senior mammal keeper at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park took the graduate course in pursuit of her master’s degree from Miami University’s Global Field Program.

Jenn Neilson, BA’03, MA’06, has started a kids’ clothing company called Jill and Jack Kids to inspire the next generation of leaders to think beyond pink and blue. The gender neutral clothes promote gender equality and help to prevent bullying by eliminating harmful gender stereotypes.

Brian Hall, BA’04, has salvaged, reclaimed and upcycled the gymnasium floors from the now demolished Kelowna Secondary School. The 1,600 square feet of flooring, originally destined for landfill, will be installed in Hall’s house in the Guischigan area.

Julia Boyle, BA’07, was recently recruited by the United Nations Volunteer Programme to serve as the Women’s Protection Advisor for the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali and is very excited about this new adventure and the opportunity to serve the international community. Mali will be Boyle’s ninth country of residence in the past 10 years after Uganda, New Zealand, Ghana, South Korea, Sweden, Liberia, Botswana, and Canada. Boyle will develop a training manual on sexual and gender‑based violence in conflict and train the military, police and civil society actors to better protect women and children, and better respond to cases of abuse.

Attorney Sonja Beddow, BA’08, has joined the Collections Department at Messerli & Kramer. Beddow received her juris doctorate, summa cum laude, from the Hamline University School of Law. While completing her degree, Beddow was a managing editor for the Law Review, acted as the program chair for the Hamline Women’s Legal Caucus and received a Best Oralist Award in the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court. She is a volunteer attorney for Wills for Heroes, where she assists first responders with estate planning.

Trevor Marc Hughes, BEd’11, has published his book, Nearly 40 on the 37: triumph and trepidation on the Stewart‑Cassiar Highway, which recounts his August 2012 exploration on his motorcycle of a remote part of British Columbia along Highway 37. During the journey Hughes made new friends, fought old challenges, and searched to have an authentic travel experience in his home province.

Dr. Cindy Holmes, PhD’13, was awarded a three‑year postdoctoral fellowship from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, as well as a CIHR‑funded IMPART Postdoctoral Fellowship, in the Centre for the Study of Gender, Social Inequities and Mental Health, in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University.

At the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, the following eight films featured the work of UBC alumni: Monsoon, directed by Sturla Gunnarsson, BA’74; Trick or Treaty, directed by Alanis Obomsawin, LLD’10; Bang Bang Baby – co‑produced by Sidney Chiu, BA’02; Wetbum – produced by Lauren Grant, BA’04; Editors – executive producer Andria Spring, BA’05; Songs She Wrote About People She Knows – produced by Amy Belling, BA’03; Teen Lust – cinematographer, James Liston, BA’99, and editor Mark Shearer, DFST’98; Preggoland – production designed by Caitlin Byrnes, BFA’13.


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