Graduate Research Opportunities

I am currently accepting outstanding graduate students and have opportunities open across each of my ongoing research projects. Students who are interested in joining this team should email me. 

Current Graduate Students


Erin Alexiuk, MES

PhD Student and Suncor Energy Foundation Fellow in Social Innovation

After receiving her B.Sc. from UBC in 2009, Erin travelled to Ellesmere Island, Nunavut to participate in the International Tundra Experiment (ITEX) and worked on the consultation process in BC for Environment Canada’s boreal caribou recovery strategy. Shortly after, Erin became a student in the 2nd Haida Gwaii Semester in 2011, an experience that lead directly to her current PhD research with the Haida Gwaii Higher Education Society (HGHES) exploring how place-based, transformative learning can advance sustainability outcomes in higher education. Erin has an academic background in complex systems thinking, social-ecological resilience and social innovation. 


Kristen Giesting, BSc

Masters Student

Kristen is an MES student interested in how various cultures create meaning.  For western culture, this might be achieved through the unsustainable practice of material wealth accumulation.  Kristen is interested in exploring other strategies which may include traditions, beliefs, community structure and relationships. She will be exploring this topic through traditional, community based healing practices in First Nations communities.  She enjoys foraging and cooking wild edibles, backpacking, traveling, and horseback riding.

Giidaakunadaad (Nancy) Rowe, BA

Masters Student

Giidaakunadaad (The Spirit Who Lives in High Places) n’dizhinikaaz (is my name). Nancy Rowe is a Mississauga, Ojibwe of the Aanishinaabek Nation located at New Credit First Nation, ON.  Nancy holds an honors BA in Indigenous Studies and Political Science. She is an educator, consultant and a Traditional Practitioner of Aanishinaabek lifeway’s, views and customary practices and is currently completing a Master’s degree of Environmental Resource Studies at the University of Waterloo.  She is an avid volunteer who co-ordinates Akinomaagaye Gaamik, a grass roots initiative to provide educational opportunities for all peoples interested in Indigenous perspectives of life, health, education, history and the environment.  “Education is the doorway through which we all can create a common ground and understanding of not only Indigenous Peoples but also, and more importantly, our environment.”

Melanie Goochild, MA

PhD Student and National Director, Aboriginal Disaster Management for the Canadian Red Cross

Melanie Goodchild is Anishinaabe, moose clan, a member of Biigtigong Nishnaabeg, a First Nation community located in northwestern Ontario. Her MA Thesis focused on the effects of social inequality on risk communication during a natural disaster, a case study of the ‘flood of the century’ in Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation in southern Manitoba. Melanie was recently selected as one of 35 women from around the world to participate in the International Women’s Forum (IWF) Leadership Foundation’s 2015-2016 Fellows Program. Melanie was also one of 28 Canadians selected by the Peter Lougheed Leadership Institute to participate in Getting to Maybe: A Social Innovation Residency for 28 days at the Banff Centre in Alberta, in June 2015. Taking lessons learned from business and marrying them to social theory and entrepreneurship, Melanie teaches non-profits to look at old problems in new ways – to use systems thinking and the latest technology to build dynamic and resilient organizations.


Julia Stevens, BSc

Masters Student and Mitacs accelerate research intern

I am a second year M.E.S (Planning) Candidate at the University of Waterloo working with Dr. Dan McCarthy. My research is focused on the recognition and conservation of Indigenous intangible cultural heritage in Canada. My research is framed by a critical (de)colonised Indigenous planning approach. I am also a Mitacs Accelerate Research Intern working with the Centre for Community Mapping and the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation on the Dreamcatcher collaborative geomatics mapping program. My interests include cultural heritage management, Indigenous planning, Canadian cultural landscapes, and northern land-use planning and design.