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Fall Congregation 1996

Graduate hooked on reel life

Bruce Sweeney likes mustard on meat sandwiches. So does Trevor, the overeducated, underemployed lead character in Sweeney's film, Live Bait. The similarities end there.

"I'm often asked if the film is autobiographical; it's not," is his unequivocal answer.

Unlike his main character (played by Tom Scholte) who doesn't quite know what he wants to do, Sweeney, who graduates on Nov. 28 with a Master of Fine Arts degree, has been focused on a film-making career since switching six years ago from art courses at SFU to film studies at UBC.

Math/chemistry grad not big on numbers

Vera Hoffman has an unusual accent--Canadianized Zimbabwean with a hint of Irish.

Even more unusual than Hoffman's accent was her choice of degree programs: a combined honours in math and chemistry.

Film thesis breaks new ground for department

Ask Paul Lawrence for a copy of his thesis and he'll hand you a CD-ROM.

Lawrence, who graduates Nov. 28 with a Master of Fine Arts degree, is the first UBC student to use the pillar of modern information technology to present his thesis in its entirety.

Author, biologist honoured

One of Canada's finest authors and a scientist who has expanded the search for microbial life on earth and beyond will receive honorary degrees from the university at Fall Congregation.

Fighting school racism scholar's timely topic

Are teachers succeeding in the struggle against racial intolerance in Canadian classrooms?

"Racism is not always visible to educators, except in cases of overt hostilities between individuals at which time it's simply the tip of the iceberg," says Kogila Adam-Moodley, holder of UBC's David Lam Chair of Multicultural Education.

Salcudean, de Silva honoured by peers

Engineering professors Martha Salcudean and Clarence de Silva have won Meritorious Achievement Awards from the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of B.C. (APEGBC).

Computer game links planning conundrums

QUEST is the acronym for a computer game aimed at making complex urban planning issues accessible to the average citizen. It stands for Quasi-Understandable Ecosystem Scenario Tool. Huh?

"The name is meant to be somewhat self-deprecating," says master's student David Biggs. "We're hoping to change it to `Quite Useful.'"

Chaos could hold key to BC weather forecast

Of all the obstacles facing B.C.'s weather forecasters, none is as formidable as the Pacific Data Void.

Our weather blows in from the vast North Pacific where there is little information available about day-to-day atmospheric conditions. Even satellite images can't completely bridge the gulf.

Add to the equation B.C.'s towering mountain peaks and convoluted coastline, and it is not surprising that weather forecasting here is more difficult than most other places in North America.

But now campus researchers led by Roland Stull, head of the Atmospheric Sciences Programme in the Dept. of Geography, are applying a new method of weather forecasting that could overcome these hurdles. Known as the UBC Ensemble Forecast System, it is showing promising results.

Study to investigate denture comfort, cost

Anyone who has suffered the loss of their teeth will tell you that few things in life are as inconvenient, embarrassing -- and costly.

The advent in recent years of titanium implant technology has greatly improved the lives of those who wear dentures, but its high price puts it beyond the reach of many who need it most.

Now a $400,000, four-year Faculty of Dentistry study is looking at the cost and design of dental prostheses used with implants, to see if they can be better made, and at a lower cost.

Global warming heats up Canada's North

Projected global warming in Canada's northwest over the next 50 years would result in more forest fires, landslides and significantly reduced water levels in lakes according to a study commissioned by the federal government.

A six-year regional study of the effect of climate change in the Mackenzie Basin was recently completed and results of "what-if" scenarios presented to stakeholders in the area.

Caring profession draws more men

A record number of men have enrolled in the first year of the UBC School of Nursing's Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program.

The enrolment of 14 men in first year brings the total number of undergraduate males in the BSN program to 36 out of 532 students. Four of the 132 students in the master's program are male.

Teams hit ball field

The UBC Thunderbirds football team's season came to an end with a loss to Saskatchewan Nov. 9 in the Western conference final. Saskatchewan, winner of the Hardy Cup, advances to the Churchill Bowl Nov. 16 in Kitchener, Ont. against the Ontario champion. The T-Birds end the season 5-3 in Canada West play and 5-5 overall.