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Students in the Master's of Environmental Sustainability (MES) program come from all walks of life. Some have a bachelor degree in the natural sciences, in the social sciences, in arts, engineering or law, while others have decided to enter the program after having spent a number of years working in the private and / or public sectors. We love this diversity as it adds to the interdisciplinary nature of the program!
“It is refreshing and inspiring to teach a group of students with diverse backgrounds and experiences, as they each bring different perspectives to the table and enrich the discussion. Everyone has something unique to offer, which leads to a deeper understanding of a problem and more compelling solutions. It is also really fun and interesting as we learn from each other.”
Dr. Nathalie Chalifour, Foundations of Environmental Law professor, MES program.
Meet the 2017 Master's of Environmental Sustainability students!
Nancy Abou-Chahine is a University of Ottawa Bachelors of Science graduate with Honours in Environmental Science. Her Honours research project examined the effects of nitrogen to phosphorus ratios on nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria in freshwater lakes. Nancy worked as a pharmacy assistant at a compounding centre where she could apply various lab techniques she acquired at university into the workplace.
After graduating, she participated in the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme where she taught English and exchanged her Canadian culture in Japan for a full year. She was selected by the Japanese Prime Minister’s public relations office to represent Canada in a promotional video for the G7 Summit, which took place May 2016 in the Ise-Shima region in Mie, Japan. After returning to Canada, Nancy was employed by the Embassy of Japan in Ottawa as a Selection Committee member, where she reviewed applications for future applicants of the JET Programme.
Research interests: Nancy is interested in researching the environmental impacts of societal development. After teaching abroad at a vocational fishing high school, she developped an interest in coastal regions and how human activities and development affect aquatic biodiversity. She wants to contribute to sustainable approaches towards development and to conserve ecosystem integrity.
Hanan Al Omari received a BA (Honors) in Environmental Studies from Carleton University on 2014. Prior to her graduation she completed her internship at the City of Ottawa where she had the chance to work with environmental experts whose sole responsibility is urban planning and development. After graduation, Hanan started to work as an interpreter where she helps refugees and new immigrants engage in Canadian society. She also volunteered at Ottawa Renewable Energy COOP (OREC) where she conducted research on the latest policies, news, and achievements relating to clean and renewable energy in Canada and around the world. Prior to starting her master’s program, she had started a graduate program at Algonquin College in environmental management and assessment in May 2017 to enhance her knowledge on the technical side of the environmental science.
Research interests: Hanan is interested in studying the water crisis, specifically in Jordan where water scarcity may jeopardize the economy and the stability of the country. She is interested in researching effective sustainable solutions to solve this issue.
Anil Arora graduated from the University of Toronto in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminology. Some of his key areas of focus included Canada’s legal system, structural inequality, and human rights. While at the University of Toronto, Anil’s passions for the environment and indigenous rights were strengthened through both his learning experiences at school, as well as on his own time. This led to him enrolling in courses that would help him harness these passions into a meaningful career. In his final semester, Anil wrote a research analysis on the value of Indigenous knowledge for environmental governance as well as a research analysis on the value of climate science in mitigating anthropogenic climate change. He hopes the environmental sustainability program will help him learn about sustainable agriculture and how to influence a reduction in meat and dairy consumption. Outside of academics, Anil is an avid camper and hiker who enjoys the outdoors.
Research interests: Anil is interested in researching how Canadian agriculture practices affect the environment, and exploring options for the development and implementation of policies encouraging sustainability within these practices. In particular, he wants to focus on animal agriculture and how policy can be utilized to reduce meat and dairy consumption.
Lisa Bayley-Craig has worked in the insurance industry in the Caribbean island of Barbados for 20 years; 12 of which have been spent in the claims and risk management department. Her work experience and qualifications in the areas of insurance, health and safety and risk management enabled her to provide clients in many industries with sound advice and guidance to prevent or mitigate losses. A desire to work in the energy sector resulted in the completion of a master’s degree in International Management (Oil and Gas) from the University of Liverpool. The knowledge gained from this degree has made her more aware of what is really occurring in the energy sector around the globe. The gross neglect some oil and gas companies show towards the environment and its populations has made her want to do more, and work towards ensuring that sustainable environmental projects are part of a company’s success story.
Research interests: Is it possible for Oil and Gas Pipeline Development to contribute to a sustainable environment? While we wait for renewable energy to replace fossil fuels, pipelines are still being developed, and many hazards exist which can be disastrous. How is this industry managing pipeline risks which can potentially harm the environment?
Albana Berberi has recently graduated from the University of Windsor with a Bachelor’s in Science Honours in Behaviour, Cognition and Neuroscience. She has completed her fourth year thesis project on studying nocturnal migration in birds, and presented her research at Ontario Biology Day in March 2017. During her third year, Albana became an author in a publication in The Clinical Neuropsychologist journal, which focused on the importance of response time in clinical psychology tests. Albana is also an active member on campus, and has fulfilled roles such as the President of the Behaviour, Cognition and Neuroscience Student Association (BCNSA), President of Mental Health Awareness (MHA), and a mentor to first generation university students. Outside of school, Albana works at a local diner and in her spare time can be found reading or hiking through nature trails.
Research interests: Albana will be joining Dr. Jackie Dawson’s Environment, Society and Policy Group (ESPG) for her Master’s of Environmental Sustainability. Members of this research group study the impacts of climate change and its effects on economic opportunities in Canada’s arctic.
Camille Des Rosiers-Ste.Marie attended Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia where she completed a bachelor’s degree in marine biology with honours. Throughout her studies, she worked as a research assistant and tour guide on a whale-watching vessel in Pleasant Bay, Nova Scotia. During this time, she collected data, which she used in her honour’s thesis to explore site fidelity in minke whales and found significant results across a 10 years span. After the completion of her B.Sc., and an experience working within the forestry industry, she has decided to pursue a career to help bridge the gap between the abundant quantity of environmental research data, and the implementation of change to system and policy in Canada. Following a brief academic exploration of the Canadian judicial system, she is currently pursuing a master’s degree in environmental sustainability to delve into policy-based environmental solutions.
Research interests: Camille has approached Professor Jackie Dawson. Professor Dawson works in the arctic on climate modelling, shipping lanes, recreational ecology and resource management. Camille hopes to contribute to developing a database to facilitate the most appropriate policies to manage arctic shipping and arctic development.
Jessica Frattolillo graduated from McGill University in a Bachelor’s of Arts in Environmental Science, with a concentration on Ecological Determinants in Health and Society. Having always been interested in the role humans play in driving climate change, Jessica completed two research projects throughout her undergraduate degree, both of which explored to a degree how food choices can help to curb or drive climate change. One project explored how urban greenhouses can be used to alleviate food insecurity in low-income neighbourhoods in Montreal, and another which investigated the sustainability of McGill University’s food systems on campus and how their food system may be changed to better represent McGill’s core values.
In the summer of 2016 Jessica completed an internship in Peru’s Amazon rainforest, where she worked with local communities to facilitate the merging of traditional and western medicine in rural communities along the Amazon River.
Research interests: Passionate about human-induced impacts on climate change, Jessica wishes to focus her research on the ways in which diets impact the environment, and how policy can be enacted to shift diets to be more sustainable in the near future, i.e. how the consumption of meat and dairy can be reduced through policy.
Anthony Friio is a graduate of the Law & Legal Studies program at Carleton University and has achieved honours status throughout his four years. He currently does not have any publications but he has written insightful research papers in the subject areas of environmental racism and the ways in which traditional waste citing practices are hurting our environment and making life even more difficult for minorities. He has also written about the impacts of natural resource extraction and the ways in which corporate greed is depleting the natural resources of the planet. Both of these issues are incredibly important moving forward because it is their solutions to these problems that can change the direction of sustainability practices and potentially be the answer the world needs to its environmental challenges. The future depends on our current actions. He is also a baseball fan who loves to read, write, and go for bike rides.
Research interests: He is interested in water usage, particularly in dry climates like the desert. It will be important to examine the ways these areas obtain and use water especially in relation to reusable and sustainable practices. If these models are sustainable, they can be applied to other areas experiencing water shortages.
John Gazo has over 10 years with the Public Service of Canada. He is currently the Manager for Medium Term Planning at Public Safety Canada, where he is responsible for conducting and supporting long-term, strategic policy analysis and development for the emergency management program. This includes looking at research and trends to inform the future development of emergency management and disaster risk reduction in Canada. Prior to that, he was the Manager overseeing international emergency management policy activities. Before Public Safety, John worked at the Department of Canadian Heritage, working on policy issues relating to historical recognition for immigration restrictions and wartime measures. John has an M.A. in International Affairs (Carleton University), with a focus in Conflict Analysis and Resolution, and a B.A. in International Studies (York University). In his free time, he enjoys music, beer, a variety of athletic activities and playing pub trivia with friends.
Research interests: His research will examine the intersection between disaster risk reduction and environmental sustainability, to foster better integration and thereby avoid further damage and degradation to the environment as a result of efforts to adapt to the consequences of prior, ongoing and future choices concerning hazards, threats and risks.
Charlotte Heller received a B.Sc. (Honours) in Environmental Science from Queen’s University in June 2017, graduating with distinction. During her time at Queen’s, she worked in the Paleolimnological Environmental Assessment and Research Laboratory (PEARL) under the supervision of Dr. John Smol, where she completed an undergraduate thesis in Paleolimnology. She was an active member of the Kingston environmental community, working as the Project and Outreach Intern for the non-profit organization Sustainable Kingston. In this role, she was able to foster partnerships with organizations to address local environmental concerns and collaborate on innovative solutions. She also held various positions within the undergraduate student government promoting environmental awareness, literacy, and action, for which she received the Volunteer of the Year award for 2016-2017. Her appreciation for the environment and desire to protect natural ecosystems and resources started during her many years at summer camp, and continue to guide her personal and professional life.
Research interests: How can we create a water sustainable city in Canada? More specifically, she would like to look at sustainable land use alternatives which help maintain the integrity of fresh water reservoirs within urbanized watersheds.
Alyssa Hine completed her Bachelor of Science in Environment and Natural Resources at the University of New Brunswick (Major in Environmental Management) with Dean’s List status where she also received her Silver Ring for forestry professionals. She continued on to complete a Graduate Certificate in Environmental Management and Assessment from Algonquin College with Honour’s Dean’s List status. Alyssa has professional experience in various fields including: forestry and the forest products industry, wildlife conservation, sustainable development, and green building. She holds professional certifications as an Environmental Professional in Training (EPt) and LEED Green Associate (GBCI). Alyssa is a member of the Canadian Institute of Forestry (CIF) and the Canadian Green Building Council (CaGBC)– Ottawa Region Chapter. Alyssa is often found hiking in the woods, travelling, or with her dog.
Research interests: Alyssa’s research will focus on identifying priority areas for long-term conservation of species and species at risk via protected areas in the context of international and national conservation policy objectives in Canada.
Aurélie Ieroncig completed an Honours Bachelor of Arts with Specialization in Psychology at the University of Ottawa in 2016. She is now pursuing a Master’s degree in Environmental Sustainability at the Institute of the Environment at the University of Ottawa. She aspires to build a career in policy making to regulate industrial and organizational practices. Her field of interest is corporate environmentalism, specifically how organizations can adopt environmentally friendly corporate behaviours. Being able to impact global warming and health as well as promoting animal welfare is her goal. Before starting her university studies she attended the Lycée Claudel in Ottawa where she specialised in economy and social sciences. While studying, she also worked in the fast fashion industry. This experience developed her social conscience and fostered a conviction that more could be done to improve corporate practices. It led her to pursue her studies in environmental sustainability.
Research interests: Aurélie’s research focuses on green labeling and its effect on consumption. Through the use of both quantitative and qualitative approaches she aims to identify behavioural patterns and understand the potential impact of green labelling on purchase decisions.
Vincent Laforest is a dynamic, spontaneous, adventurous, sociable, and down to earth individual. He has an unconditional passion about politics and ways to improve our actual environmental situation. He wants to create a more sustainable society and thinks politics plays an essential role in doing it. More specifically, Vincent Laforest is a Bachelor of Art graduate in political science at Université du Québec à Montréal. He also studied one year in environmental studies at Univeristé de Sherbrooke. Throughout his studies, he has tackled many intertwined political and environmental topics, such as the importance of climate change in contemporary international relations and significant environmental issues happening on Canadian soil. His most relevant researches are the Californian drought, a comparative cost-benefit analysis between red meat consumption and soy diet, as well as an environmental impact assessment of an apatite mine opening near Saguenay-Lac Saint-Jean.
Research interests: Vincent Laforest wants to study the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. He believes plastic in the ocean is of an utmost importance, not only because it is a symptom of our unprecedented consumer society, but also, because it affects from near or far every life form on the planet.
Alex Laxton’s interests in the politics of climate change have consistently led him to pursue an academic and professional career in the field of environmental sustainability. Alex has a pressingly strong interest in studying current industrial-scale food regimes and their role in framing global regulations in the production, distribution, and consumption of food resources, and their corresponding human and environmental consequences. Alex has an extensive history working in the agriculture and horticulture industries, including greenhouses and vegetable nurseries. He also has a particular passion for identifying the social relations of food in contemporary society, and fostering a passion for gardening in others while supporting local farmers markets. Alex currently holds a BA minor in Political Science and a Specialization in History from the University of Laurentian University, and a Certificate in Environmental Sustainability from Dalhousie University.
Research interests: His tentative research interests include the politics of food production, distribution and consumption. More specifically, he is interested in studying the environmental and human impacts of industrial scale agriculture. Considering the environmental constraints that industrial scale agriculture has on the ecosystems that make food production possible, meeting long-term global future production requirements is uncertain.
Aaron Levine. During his time as an undergraduate at McGill University in the environmental sciences, Aaron interned for the company Urban Barns Foods, Inc. over the summer of 2013, where he facilitated communication and corporate interest in the company, as well as prepared company presentations for multi-million dollar deals. The summer of 2014 saw him working at the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa as a landscaper, so he is no stranger to hard work and physical labour. In the summer of 2016, he was hired as the farm specialist at B’nai Brith Beber Camp. During his time there, he managed a farm property, taking care of goats, chickens, an organic garden, and a compost system. He took advantage of this opportunity to educate and inspire the campers on topics such as sustainable agriculture, and the issues and merits of organic and industrial agricultural systems.
Research interests: To what degree to community and school garden programs have an effect on the quantity of food waste diverted from landfills to green bins in the city of Ottawa?
Emma McGuire studied economics at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. While studying at Saint Mary’s, Emma worked as a Teaching Assistant, Research Assistant, and tutor for the Economics Department. She also worked as a Researcher for Group ATN, a Halifax-based consulting firm. Following her graduation in 2016, Emma moved to Ottawa to work for the Bank of Canada as a Research Assistant in Economic Research and Analysis. Emma has always had a keen interest in environmental sustainability and environmental economics. She hopes to use her empirical skills gained through her research experience to convey the importance of sustainable living to the public and private sectors, and society as a whole.
Emma McGuire is the 2017 Smart Prosperity Institute Research Fellow. (A fellowship valued at $5,000)
Research interests: In the case of public procurement of goods and services, many government agencies issuing Requests for Proposals (RFPs) require that vendors who submit proposals demonstrate their commitment to sustainability. In spite of this call to action, there is a disconnect message between government policy and practice; many government-issued RFPs require that proposals be submitted in both multiple hard copies and electronic copies. Emma hopes to quantify the carbon footprint of government-issued RFPs in Canada, and suggest alternative best practices.
Samuel McIntosh has lived a life full of sport and academic accomplishments. Sam has captained numerous teams throughout scholastic and competitive sport. He achieved Athlete of the Year from Grade 6-12 as well as the Hillcrest High School ‘H’ award for excellence in academics and sports. He was drafted by the Ottawa Jr. Senators in the 4th round of the 2010 Central Junior Hockey League Draft but opted to stop playing due to concussions. He once considered pursuing a baseball career in the NCAA but Sam decided to accept an offer to uOttawa instead. There, he finished an Honours B.Sc degree in Environmental Science. In his 4th year, Sam completed his thesis “Predicting species recovery under the U.S. Endangered Species Act”, achieved Dean’s List Honours and graduated cum laude. Following a long trip to Australia/New Zealand, he is eager to get back to studying in the M.Sc Environmental Sustainability program.
Research interests: Samuel will examine the relationship between expenditures in ecovering endangered species and their recovery. Does greater investment in recovery actually result in better recovery? He will extract data on financial expenditures and other candidate predictors from U.S. ESA Recovery Plans and fit statistical models that predict recovery slope in relation to the expenditures and predictors.
Kate Mogg comes to the Masters in Environmental Sustainability from a varied educational and professional background. She completed a BA in Anthropology at Simon Fraser University, where she focused on themes of place and social justice in local and global contexts. Following her lifelong love of travel, she trained in English language instruction and taught adult students from around the world in Vancouver, Chengdu and Melbourne. Kate has also worked as a tree-planter in northern BC, a food security coordinator in the non-profit sector and a freelance writer for Vancouver’s street paper. Kate loves new experiences, gardening, local food and the great Canadian outdoors. She is excited to bring her unique skill set to tackling issues of Environmental Sustainability.
Research interests: Kate is interested in the connections between urban sustainability and resilience to climate change, particularly in the areas of food production and distribution. She plans to explore different forms of urban agriculture, their potential for increasing resilience to climate change, and the barriers and opportunities to implementing these strategies in Canadian cities.
Simon Paquin. Originally from Ottawa/Gatineau, Simon loves adventure, travelling and nature. Having studied in cinema during his two year in college, he then decided to pursue his higher education at University of Montréal in environmental geography. For his last year of bachelor, he got to analyze the effects of climate change on the global carbon cycle by studying the biochemistry of a Canadian peatland. Having received the first prize in the honours class for the quality of the project, Simon is a serious student with a lot of interest in ecology and biogeography. His knowledge of biology, physical geography and chemistry give him an edge when it comes to analyzing the multiples causes of species diversity loss. Passionate about Canadian ecosystems and the conservation of species, he now wants to focus on ecology for his graduate research.
Research interests: With the growing global economy, the pressuring factors on ecosystems all over the world are constantly rising. The many habitats harboured by the forest, the ocean, the lakes and rivers are precious. They have to be protected in order to safeguard the species that fight to survive against the effects of ecosystem destruction and fragmenting brought by human activities. Which environmental factors have the greatest impact on the diversity of species you can find after a certain human disturbance?
Shara Sullivan finished her undergraduate degree in Biology at the University of Ottawa where she completed her undergraduate thesis on the social pairing behaviours of a species of weakly electric fish species, Apteronotus leptorhynchus. Following graduation, she spent nearly a year backpacking around South America. During her travels she volunteered at several wildlife refuges and conservation areas. These experiences piqued her interest in global conservation efforts. Upon returning to Ottawa she completed a second undergraduate degree in environmental science focusing on conservation and biodiversity. This second degree ignited her interest in the impactful world of policy development and she became passionate about pursuing a career in environmental sustainability.
Research interests: Multi-species recovery plans and conservation management strategies are afforded under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA). This place-based recovery strategy is useful when species at risk occupy the same geographic area or habitat type and are threatened by similar factors. A methodology by which to identify these “places” was proposed by Scott Findlay and Sue McKee. Using distribution data and threat profiles for listed species at risk, her research aims to provide a case study of this systematic approach.
Joshua Tong graduated from the University of Toronto in 2017 with an Honours Bachelor of Science, majoring in Biology and Environmental Science, and minoring in English Linguistic. He became interested in the environmental sustainability as a result of his involvements in various environmental projects, all of which required strong knowledge and understanding in solving problems through the scope of sustainability. Some of his past projects include proposing suggestions on how to combat improper waste disposals at the University’s student residences, and researching variations in spatial climatic distributions at UTM’s forest areas. Some of Joshua’s past work experiences include being a community garden designer and researcher for the Erin Mills Church Centre (EMCC), and being a teaching assistant for a second-year Canadian climatology course. In the summer of 2017, Joshua is currently working for the University of Toronto ground department, assisting his supervisor at making the university greener and more sustainable.
Research interests: Joshua is interested in investigating the relationship between the melting of arctic ice caps and their impact on the population of the polar bear. The goal of his research is to explore the possibility of suggesting improvements to the current list of Canada’s environmental policies and laws, potentially through modifications and new implementations.
David Van Olst is entering the Masters in Environmental Sustainability with an undergraduate degree in Biology from Carleton University and a graduate certificate in Environmental Management and Assessment from Algonquin College. He previously worked with the environmental NGO, Friends of the Earth Canada, where he developed and coordinated a leadership program aiming to protect wild pollinators with low-income communities in Ottawa. Outside of work hours David plays a variety of sports and works at an outdoor camping store to support his outdoor excursions.
Research interests: David is interested the current reform of Environmental Assessments in Canada. He would like to investigate the areas of concern for industry and aboriginal groups and help provide insight on what changes can be made to promote environmental protection while meeting the needs of all Canadians.
Erin Whittingham completed her undergraduate degree in Journalism at the University of Ottawa and Algonquin College before working in the IT sector for three years. After travelling the world, and discovering international development she returned to school to complete a master of arts in international development in Grenoble, France where she became passionate about the movement degrowth, alternative agriculture, and improving access to education. Her thesis explored the institutionalization of the community shared agriculture’s principles in order to better understand the actions that engrain environmental sustainability, risk sharing, and community building within the practice. Wanting to be part of the social and environmental change at home she returned to Ottawa where she is pursuing a master of science in environmental sustainability at the University of Ottawa. She hopes to work at the community and municipal level to build strong and healthy communities that truly respect the environment.
Research interests: With current rates of waste polluting our land and water it is essential strong waste management practices are adopted. As prevention is a good strategy to manage waste, she would like to investigate strategies or policies municipalities can implement that reduce resident consumption.
Graham Woodhurst graduated UBC Okanagan in 2015 with his Bachelor of Arts in geography and environmental science. During his degree, Graham co-authored a journal article on sediment loading of alpine debris flow channels which has been submitted to Geografiska Annaler, Series A: Physical Geography for publication. In addition to the article submission, Graham presented the findings of his research at the UBC Undergraduate Research Conference. During his time as an undergrad, Graham was awarded several scholarships. The two he is most proud of are the Canadian Association of Geographers Undergraduate Student Award as the top geography student at UBC Okanagan and the Alvin & Lydia Grunert Scholarship as a top-ten student in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Since his graduation, Graham has been employed as a Natural Resource Technician for a consulting company in Kelowna, BC. Graham is an avid traveler, and has visited twenty-one countries in the past five years. Graham hopes to one day combine his passion for exploring new countries and cultures with a career in sustainability.
Research interests: He is interested in a thesis that examines individuals’ willingness to participate in sustainable initiatives that protect their recreation interests. More specifically, he hopes to research the feasibility, efficacy, and participation in a carbon-offset program for ski resort users.
Posted by Kaitlyn Innes, Assistant Director (Graduate Programs) at the Institute of the Environment