Meet the 2020 PhD and MES in Environmental Sustainability Cohort!

Publié le dimanche 20 septembre 2020

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Our new cohort at the Institute of the Environment have a wide variety of unique interests, academic histories, and rich personal lives. The diversity at IE brings the interdisciplinary nature of the programs to life. We are excited to introduce you to our new cohort in both the recently added PhD program and the MES program in Environmental Sustainability.

A woman poses for a photo in front of big green trees

PhD cohort


Christine Desrochers

My background is in environmental engineering and I've worked in the industry for several years, in Canada and abroad. Over time I've become more interested in exploring the economic and political side of environmental issues, mainly climate change, to better understand our social barriers to positive change. I'm also an avid traveler, yoga teacher, gamer, and love the outdoors.

Research interests:

  1. Climate policy
  2. Sustainable development
  3. Climate justice
  4. Post-capitalism




Sarah Marquis portrait

Sarah Marquis

I just finished my Master’s degree in the Geography, Environment and Geomatics department at the University of Guelph. I am originally from Nova Scotia, and I completed my undergraduate degree in 2013 in Environmental Science at Queen’s University. My current work focuses in particular on the impacts of ‘digital farming’ or ‘smart farming’ and how the emergence of agricultural Big Data is shaping agricultural practices.

Research interests:

  1. Agriculture
  2. Technology
  3. Climate change







    Tom Wu portrait

    Tom Wu

    After obtaining my undergraduate degree in biology at Queen’s University, I have worked in China as a teacher for a year. While in China, I have found my passion and decided to pursue a career path that would help people to create a better and sustainable living environment. Thus, taking a Master’s program in Sustainable Development at the University of Calgary to further my knowledge on sustainability. Upon my completion of the Doctorate’s program, I intend to become an educator, and will educate and help people to find their passion in pursuing a sustainable future. I speak both English and Chinese fluently, and have studied Japanese in university. こんにちは!

    Research interests:

    1. Trade and environment
    2. Climate change
    3. Biodiversity





    MES cohort


    Jasmine Alvarez-Halpin

    Jasmine Alvarez-Halpin portrait


    I graduated from the University of Ottawa with an Honours Bachelor of Social Sciences with double major in Economics and Environmental Studies. During my undergraduate studies, I volunteered with organizations such as the Wild Pollinator Partners and The Carp Ridge Learning Centre. I also had the opportunity to work on the Pathway to Target One Challenge through my student work term at Environment and Climate Change Canada. Currently, as a species at risk biologist at Fisheries and Oceans Canada, I work on advancing recovery and protection for aquatic species at risk in Canada. Through the MES program, I hope to expand my knowledge and develop the tools required to contribute to the field of sustainability in a meaningful way.

    Research interests:

    1. Environmental justice
    2. Sustainable urban planning
    3. Environmental policy
    4. Green economy




    Jacob Boucher portrait

    Jacob Boucher


    I recently completed a BA in environmental studies, here at uOttawa. During this time, I gained significant experience in multiple fields related to the environment. I worked as an environmental underwriter, an environmental sustainability analyst, a forester and a biologist. These professional experiences combined with my academic background have shaped my current interest in environmental sustainability, more specifically the green economy and policy sector. I have been a guest lecturer in over five different undergraduate courses, and I continue to give lectures to this day. During my last year, I was an executive for MealCare, an organization that redistributes food to people in need. I consistently made the deans list and was awarded various scholarships during my undergraduate studies. In my free time, I love going camping, hiking and spending time with my family.

    Research interests:

    1. Green economy
    2. Sustainable urban planning
    3. Biodiversity
    4. Indigenous rights

    Amanda Davidson


    Amanda Davidson portrait

    I completed my Bachelor degree with honours in Environmental Science with a concentration in Ecology, Biodiversity, and Conservation at Carleton University. My research focused on the overwintering substrate selection of the biological control agent Hypena opulenta. I had the honour of being an executive member of the CUSA Sustainability Advisory Council, Carleton Science Student Society, and the Environmental Science Student Association. While studying, I was also able to work as a research assistant for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and as a policy analyst for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. This work solidified my ambition to pursue the MES program. Through this degree, I hope to explore the importance of collaboration and partnerships between policymakers, scientists, and Indigenous knowledge holders to effectively address environmental sustainability and conservation.

    Research interests:

    1. Conservation Biology 
    2. Landscape Ecology
    3. Wildlife Biology
    4. Climate Change
    5. Biodiversity



    Ekamjot Dhillon portrait

    Ekamjot Dhillon


    My name is Ekamjot Dhillon, and I am a Honours Political Science graduate, with a minor in environmental sustainability. I am very interested in learning about the effects of climate change on migration patterns, and the response of global institutions. As an undergraduate student, I have been the recipient of many awards such as the TD Bank Group Scholarship for Environmental Sustainability, Robert Keen Award for Political Science excellence, Scholars Award, etc. I loved my time completing my undergraduate, but I am very much looking forward to beginning my educational journey at the University of Ottawa. I am very excited to be a part of the Institute of the Environment and meet like-minded peers and professors.

    Research interests:

    1. Climate Change
    2. Desertification
    3. Refugee/Migration Policy
    4. Policy Design




    Pamela El Kortbawi

    Pamela El Kortbawi portrait


    My eagerness towards socio-economic development was not only translated through my academic studies’ choices but was also evident throughout my 13 years of professional experience in the development sector in the Middle East. During these years, I have been actively working with several regional and international nongovernmental organizations, particularly in conflict zones such as Lebanon, Syria, Kurdistan, and Turkey to oversee projects in management and financial cycles, socio-economic development, and good governance. During the implementation of these projects, I have become particularly interested in scrutinizing the role of environmental sustainability policies through rethinking climate change policy and the mobilization of resources - all routing towards leveraging the economic growth of developing countries.

    My current work with the Italian Development Cooperation (COSV), an organization that I have been working with since 2015, focuses on managing a wide range of projects in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Turkey all aiming at increasing access to demand-driven livelihood opportunities and supporting inclusive local economic development. Furthermore, my civil society activism started since I was 19 years old, and had been developed through my involvement with different local NGOs working on citizenship, election, public reforms, conflict resolution, etc.  In the past eight years, I have focused on developing and improving the ecosystem and sustainable development in rural areas in Lebanon through establishing a local NGO called Baskinta Baytouna.

    Research interests:

    1. Green economy
    2. Social innovation
    3. Green entrepreneurs
    4. Waste management

    Patrick Fleming

    Patrick Fleming portrait


    Originally from Vancouver, I have been in Ottawa for 5+ years now studying and working. I completed my undergrad at uOttawa in 2018, and since then have had the opportunity to work, volunteer and travel prior to the upcoming start to my masters program in September.

    Since graduating I have had the opportunity to work in the First World War battlefields in France for Veterans Affairs Canada as a student guide. I worked on reducing single-use plastics in schools in Lima, Peru as part of Global Affairs Canada's International Youth Internship Program. Currently, I am working as a policy analyst for Natural Resources Canada with files pertaining to renewable energy in mining.

    In my spare time I enjoy camping, biking and skiing. I like experiencing new cultures and trying different types of foods. Hoping to explore more of South America one day!

    1. Renewable energy
    2. Environmental diplomacy
    3. Green economy

    Hugo Gamache portrait

    Hugo Gamache


    I recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Management and an Economics Minor with Magna Cum Laude Honors. I'm on the men's hockey team, I'm an avid outdoorsman and my favorite hobby is fishing.

    Research interests:

    1. Climate change impacts on Northern communities
    2. Circular economy
    3. Forestry and mining industries impacts







    Jacob Hanlon portrait

    Jacob Hanlon


    I recently graduated from the University of Ottawa with an Honours B.A in Environmental Studies and a Minor in Management. I have also been a member of the Varsity Hockey Team for the past four years and will be playing my fifth year on the team while completing this Master’s program. I have received Academic All-Canadian Honours for the past two years and I am an assistant captain as well as an academic mentor for the hockey team. I currently work for an environmental company that specializes in hazardous material removal.

    Research interests:

    1. Circular economy
    2. Waste management and recycling
    3. Green economy
    4. Renewable energy
    5. Climate change





    Ellen Helker-Nygren portrait

    Ellen Helker-Nygren


    I came to Canada (from Sweden) in 2018 to study international development & globalization at uOttawa. In Sweden, I studied kinesiology, and I also dedicated half a year to gender studies. Having studied a broad range of subjects, I’ve found an increasing interest in the relationship between the global political economy and the environment, particularly from a degrowth and post-growth perspective. I have been awarded the SSHRC CGS M grant for my upcoming research at the MES program. I enjoy spending time in the outdoors cross-country skiing, running, and (when the time and place allows) foraging mushrooms and blueberries!

    Research interests:

    1. Degrowth
    2. Post-growth
    3. Environmental justice
    4. Social movements
    5. Alternative economies



    Kiera Hullet Portrait

    Kiera Hullet


    I graduated from the University of Ottawa in June 2020 with a B.A. in Environmental Studies. I was a part of the co-op program and worked at GDG Canada, Transport Canada and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada for two terms. During my last two semesters of my undergrad, I was a member of GAIA, the geography and environmental studies student association. Visual arts is my hobby so I do photorealistic drawings and photography in my spare time.

    Research interests:

    1. Species at risk
    2. Indigenous knowledge
    3. Biodiversity
    4. Climate change





    Holly Jotham portrait

    Holly Jotham


    I am a graduate of Trent University where I earned a Bachelor of Science in the Honours Program of Environmental and Resource Science. Throughout my studies I have gained a holistic knowledge of the environment both in the classroom and in the field. I have had the pleasure of learning from highly accredited professors who have given me the opportunity to gain first-hand experience dealing with local environmental issues and developing strategies to reduce negative environmental and social impacts. I am passionate about working toward building a more sustainable world and plan to develop a Major Research Project related to sustainable capitalism and green economy.

    Research interests:

    1. Sustainable development
    2. Green economy
    3. Climate change
    4. Sustainable capitalism
    5. Renewable energy

    Hannah Klassen

    Hannah Klassen portrait


    I graduated this past winter from the University of Waterloo with an HBSc in Health Studies with a specialization in gerontology. Most of my research was done with a professor of work and health at UW. My focus included studying first responder ergonomics and writing proposals for a Canadian Paramedic Work Disability Prevention Standard and for a national standard on Workplace Violence and Harassment. My fourth-year thesis addressed the environmental and health impacts of mining in Zambia. I enjoy camping, have trekked in the Himalayas, worked on wildlife conservation projects in Indonesia and love exploring Canada.

    Research interests:

    1. Environmental health
    2. Toxicology
    3. Risk assessment and management
    4. Sustainable farming/food practices





    Jesse Lesniowski portrait

    Jesse Lesniowski


    My name's Jesse and I graduated from the environmental science program at uOttawa. During my undergrad, I was involved in multiple extracurriculars ranging from student politics, disability advocacy, and environmental volunteering. My interests outside of environmentalism include video games, gardening, and drag!

    Research interests:

    1. Climate change
    2. Environmental law
    3. Environmental policy
    4. Environmental geology
    5. Ocean protection






    Lindsey MacMillan

    Lindsey MacMillan portrait


    I recently graduated with High Distinction from Carleton University with a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Criminology and Criminal Justice with a Concentration in Psychology and a Minor in Law. I received a Senate Medal for academic achievement. During my undergraduate degree I was fortunate to have the opportunity to complete a field placement in the Operational Research Unit of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. This summer I worked for the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat in the Centre for Greening Government focusing on policy for greening government operations. In my free time I am usually outside as much as possible. I enjoy running, hiking and camping.

    Research interests:

    1. Environmental policy
    2. Environmental law
    3. Compliance of environmental regulations
    4. Climate change






    Madison Martinez

    Madison Martinez portrait


    I am a recent graduate of Carleton University, where I studied Business Law and Political Science. As a hardworking and dedicated student, I was able to achieve several academic awards including: the Senate Medal for Outstanding Academic Achievement (2020), the Garrett Elsey Memorial Award (2019) and the Dean's List (2017 - 2020). My undergraduate career introduced me to the policy and legal perspectives of the environment, which led me to pursue this MSc Environmental Sustainability program. I hope to work in either environmental policy or law where I can use my passions and expertise to create positive environmental change.

    Research interests:

    1. Climate change
    2. Corporate social responsibility
    3. Global environmental governance
    4. Plastics
    5. Sustainable development


    Anton Michael Muller portrait

    Anton Michael Muller


    Last year, I completed a double major at the University of Victoria in Environmental Studies and Political Science. Through this program, I gained experience through field courses, volunteering on an organic farm, and through various work placements such as with the Department of National Defence. I hope to bridge what I have learned about the environment and apply it in a way to work towards sustainability and reconciliation in both Canada and South Africa, where my family is from.

    Research interests:

    1. Wilderness & biodiversity protection
    2. Sustainable agriculture & food security
    3. Ethnoecology & traditional ecological knowledge
    4. Ecosystem services







    Charity Nonkes portrait

    Charity Nonkes


    My passion for environmental sustainability is rooted in my professional and educational experiences at the intersection of peace, environment, and business. I graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Arts in the Honours Arts and Business program majoring in Peace and Conflict Studies and with a Diploma in Environmental Assessment. Throughout my studies I was on Dean's Honours List and the recipient of several awards. In addition, I had professional opportunities as an Advocacy Research Intern at the Mennonite Central Committee’s Ottawa Office, a Program Assistant at UWaterloo’s Entrepreneurship @ Environment program, and an Incubator Fellow at the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement.

    Research interests:

    1. Natural resource co-management agreements
    2. Traditional ecological knowledge
    3. Sustainable development
    4. Green economy and entrepreneurship
    5. Decolonization




    Dhyeya Pandya portrait

    Dhyeya Pandya


    I have graduated with an undergraduate degree in International Development and Globalization with a minor in Communications. I have experience in academic and professional research, communications strategy, and event coordination. My specific interests include environmentally sustainable development in communities of the global south.

    Research interests:

    1. Climate change
    2. Community development (economic, cultural, social)
    3. Green economy





    Julian Parker

    Julian Parker portrait


    I completed my undergraduate degree in the biomedical science program within the Extended French stream at the University of Ottawa. Afterwards, I studied under Dr. Steve Perry during my MSc in biology at uOttawa with the thesis title of, "Cutaneous gas transfer across the epithelium of larval zebrafish", to which my chapter on the metabolic cost of ion transfer was published in the Journal of Experimental Biology in 2020. During my studies, I have been awarded the Ontario Graduate Scholarship and the Robert Gorham Scholarship for research in aquatic biology.

    Research interests:

    1. Green economy
    2. Circular economy
    3. Natural resource management
    4. Sustainable agriculture







    Sheena Parris portrait

    Sheena Parris


    I am coming to the MES program from the Nova Scotia Department of Energy and Mines. My work has focused on the solar sector, electricity policy, and helping communities in Nova Scotia achieve their sustainable energy goals. I am also deeply interested in equity outcomes and have developed programs aimed to support First Nations communities, African Nova Scotians, and low-income citizens. I graduated from Dalhousie University with B.A. Combined Honours in Environmental Studies and International Development. When not working, I can be found watching Star Trek, playing complicated board games, hiking, or practicing photography.

    Research interests:

    1. Renewable energy
    2. Low-carbon transition
    3. Community economic development
    4. Social enterprise
    5. Public policy tools




    Nidhi Patel

    Nidhi Patel Portrait


    My passion for conserving biodiversity has led me to pursue a future in Environmental Sustainability. Recently, I graduated from Trent University on the Dean’s List with a HBSc degree in Biology and Environmental and Resource Science, with Specializations in Conservation Biology and Law and Policy. Moreover, my recent professions include working as a Research Assistant at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and as an Executive Receptionist/Assistant at Trent University's Office of the President and Office of the Vice President of Finance and Administration. At both locations, I have assisted my employers by analyzing environmental and financial consultation reports and regulations for the betterment of the environment. Ultimately, I am a highly motivated professional devoted to the conservation of the environment. I also enjoy hiking with my dog, dancing, and baking!

    Research interests:

    1. Environmental law and policy
    2. Biodiversity
    3. Species-at-risk
    4. Climate change
    5. Green economy


    Amit Saini Portrait

    Amit Saini


    I recently completed a BSc honours degree majoring in Biology and Environmental and Resource Science with a specialization in Conservation Biology from Trent University, where I graduated on the Dean’s List. During my undergrad, I was fortunate enough to work with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF) as a Research Assistant. There, I was able to acquire first-hand experience with large-scale sustainability issues when I was assisting the OMNRF with their research on over-harvesting in Northern Ontario fisheries. Furthermore, during my undergrad I was a part of Trent University’s sustainability group, Sustainable Trent, where I facilitated and promoted sustainable practices and environmental stewardship towards a more sustainable campus. My undergraduate experiences with sustainability have encouraged me to pursue a career in which I can continue to promote the responsible coexistence between the environment and humans.

    Research interests:

    1. Sustainable energy policy
    2. Species at risk protection
    3. Conservation of protected areas
    4. Climate policy




    Nabeeha Salman

    Nabeeha Salman portrait


    I recently completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Ottawa in Honours Bachelor of Science in Biology (Physiology). I achieved Dean's list status, received merit scholarships and graduated with cum laude. I worked under the supervision of Dr. Jack Cornett and Dr. Jules Blais on my honours thesis project which focused on the sources of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and C-14 in the urban and rural air within the Ottawa region. In 2017, I got an amazing opportunity to present my research findings at the 14th International Accelerated Mass Spectrometry Conference. These experiences have made me more passionate to work towards a sustainable environment and I hope that this program will help me develop a better understanding of the various issues associated with our planet. I am also a henna artist and I love to sing; and on my days off, I like to meditate and cook for the family.

    Research interests:

    1. Religion and environment
    2. Impacts of anthropogenic activities on the environment
    3. Biodiversity and human health






    Jamie Sandison portrait

    Jamie Sandison

    I graduated from the University of Winnipeg with an Honours Bachelor of Science, completing a double major in Environmental Science and Geography. Driven by this scientific background, I worked for the Prairie Climate Centre and conducted research on risk data tools and their ability to communicate information about extreme weather events and climate change in Canada. In addition to this, I developed evidence-based reports for Health Canada on the state of risk communication related to climate-induced Aerosols and Particulate Matter exposure to Canadian communities. I am looking forward to innovating in the field of risk communication with the Institute of the Environment. You can find me commuting by bicycle year-round and enjoying canoe-camping, sport climbing and bike touring during the summer months.

    Research interests:

    1. Risk
    2. Communication
    3. Climate change
    4. Extreme weather events
    5. GIS

    Guy Shteinman

    Guy Shteinman Portrait


    My name is Guy Shteinman, and I am a recent graduate from the Honours of Social Sciences – Specialization in Psychology program at the University of Ottawa. I am incredibly passionate about various environmental issues, including conservation management, corporate sustainability polices and climate change impacts on vulnerable populations.

    Using the experience of creating and leading various Sustainability committees with Cineplex and Cara Operations, I hope to learn more about how businesses can create sustainable practices. Additionally, I plan to register in the PHD program following the completion of the MES.

    Research interests:

    1. Conservation management
    2. Wildlife ecology
    3. Corporate sustainability policies
    4. Climate change impacts in vulnerable populations
    5. Green energy



    Findlay Yates-Lavery

    Findlay Yates-Lavery portrait


    Growing up in the rural town of Renfrew, Ontario, my mother shared with me her captivation with living creatures, and my father introduced me to Earth’s processes. I ended up studying Environmental Science at the University of Ottawa, and was thankful I had, since my studies allowed these interests to grow. During this time I was awarded the Robert J. Gorman Environmental Science Scholarship, I volunteered for the local conservation authority, and worked with international, federal, and municipal governments. As our understandings of our relationships with earth systems develop, I aspire to help provoke the corresponding changes in our behaviours.

    Research interests:

    1. Sustainable buildings
    2. Environmental impact assessment
    3. Evidence-based and evidence-informed policy
    4. Embodied carbon
    5. Ecology
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