Centre for Environment and SustainabilityWestern Science

Student Profiles

The Collaborative Environment and Sustainability Program is the second home to the graduate students who participate in this unique enrichment program. Our students each have a home department where degree work is completed in a specific discipline. In all cases, the research students complete within their home department is also related to the study of the environment and sustainability. Participants in the program enjoy the opportunity to meet and interact with other graduate students studying in a variety of fields, gaining exposure to their research and insight into other research methodologies. Come meet some of our students!


Meet Danny Bednar

PhD Candidate
Department of Geography
Supervisors: Dr. Gordon McBean & Dr. Dan Shrubsole

Research: I am a governance researcher with a strong interest in environmental issues; currently climate change adaptation. My research maps out the ways in which the impacts of climate change are being prepared for from a policy perspective. I speak with adaptation experts from all levels of Canadian government, as well as NGO and industry sectors, to understand the use of, and interest in, various policy instruments and actor relationships to advance climate change preparedness.

Thoughts on The Collaborative Program: My interest in the collaborative program stems from its interdisciplinary nature and the opportunity to work with my fellow social scientists as well as colleagues in the natural sciences and humanities. Along with being an active researcher, I am a dedicated educator in environmental sciences and space exploration, both interdisciplinary fields.

Meet Andrea Boyer

PhD CandidateAndrea studies the effect of severe weather events on bird behavious & phisiology
Department of Biology
Supervisor: Dr. Scott MacDougall-Shackleton

Research: I study the effects that inclement weather cues have on the physiology and behaviour of songbirds. The frequency and severity of inclement weather events are increasing with climate change, and it is therefore important to study how species are responding to these environmental perturbations.
Thoughts on The Collaborative Program: The Collaborative E&S program allows us to become more connected to researchers interested in environmental and sustainability issues outside of our departments that we wouldn’t normally interact with. The program also provides students with additional perspectives on environmental issues from our peers across many different departments.

Meet Heather Peacock

PhD Candidate
Department of Geography
Supervisors: Dr. Tony Weis (Geography) and Dr. Ian Colquhoun (Anthropology)

Research: I am pursuing a PhD in Geography with a focus on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) analysis for global primate conservation. I am using GIS to assess trends in and determine how contemporary forest habitat loss and anthropogenic disturbance has impacted patterns of diversity, biogeography and extinction risk across the order Primates. This global analysis will provide new insights and important information to help improve our understanding of larger scale spatial patterns and dynamics of biodiversity and habitat loss, and can be used to inform evidence-based conservation management decision making.
Thoughts on The Collaborative Program: Conservation is multi/interdisciplinary and requires collaboration between scientists and social scientists in a variety of disciplines. The collaborative program facilitates cross disciplinary discussion on various topics related to the environment and sustainability. It provides the opportunity for collaboration with peers in different departments and exposes us to different local, regional, and national topics on environment and sustainability.

More profiles to come...