After rising to the top of the Simon Fraser University and Canadian national rounds of the Oxford Global Challenge, a team of SFU undergraduates – comprising Change Lab alumni Alec Yu and Iman Baharmand (Faculty of Science) and Kimberley Venn (Beedie School of Business) – are headed to the Saïd Business School to compete in the Global Challenge Finals! The team, accompanied by RADIUS Co-Director Shawn Smith, will be competing with thirteen other finalists from institutions around the world in front of an international panel of judges.
We caught up with the SFU team before they set off for Oxford to ask what they had learned as undergrads that had allowed them to succeed as changemakers. Here’s what they had to say:
Iman Baharmand | We are usually encouraged to ask questions but I think we are naturally scared to question our own decisions. The most important thing I learned as an undergrad is that you will have days when you doubt yourself and ask if ‘this’ is even something you want to pursue. But you shouldn’t neglect these thoughts – you should acknowledge them, reflect on them and talk about them with people who are close to you!
Kimberley Venn | I think the importance of recognizing strengths and weaknesses and knowing when to ask for help is underrated in the innovation process. What I have learned in my undergrad experience is that change can’t be made alone. Being a part of interdisciplinary teams and reaching out to others allows us to develop areas we lack knowledge, create friendships, and in the end, become better innovators.
Alec Yu | It really helps to be a jack-of-all-trades, or to work with a close-knit interdisciplinary team, or both. Stagnant and inefficient systems are often deeply rooted within organizations or societies, and it takes expertise in fields that may seem disparate at first to have the leverage to accelerate change.
The RADIUS community wishes Alec, Iman and Kimberly the best of luck in the Global Challenge Finals on May 1st! We look forward to following their remarkable achievements as they continue with their academic and professional journeys.
The Fall semester of Health Change Lab – an interdisciplinary, once-in-a-degree studio course that allows students to develop practical solutions to real-world challenges – is currently accepting applications. Learn more here.

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