MA/MSc Students

MA Students

MA student

Naya was born and raised in Chiloé Island, Southern Chile, surrounded by nature and unique rural life. She graduated from Sociology in Chile in 2013 and has professional and academic experience in social research. In Chile, she has worked as a project manager for national and international public opinion surveys, as well as research assistant and consultant for UNDP. Her previous work in academic research has focused on regional social movements and conflicts, but currently is looking to broaden her scope to environmental conflicts and governance towards sustainable solutions for the affected communities.

Naya is working under the supervision of Dr. David R. Boyd. Her research is focused on social movement’s outcomes and social resilience in coastal communities where collective action regarding marine resources is contentious. Specifically, her research explores the links between governance and policy changes, social capital and adaptive capacity in the salmon farming conflict in Chiloé.

MA Student

Rae completed her BA at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Environmental Science and Anthropology. After graduating, different avenues of work led her to an increasing interest in sustainable agriculture and food systems. This, along with a love of the coast mountains brought Rae to the Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability at UBC. Rae’s work as an MA candidate working under the supervision of Terre Satterfield and Jiaying Zhao is focused on how perceptions of foods and farming systems affects consumer decision making.

MA Student
phone: 6088526724

Aspen Ono grew up in many university towns across the United States, primarily Madison, Wisconsin and Atlanta, Georgia. She spent most of her childhood training as an elite figure skater and continues to coach young skaters part time. Aspen graduated from Emory University in 2018 with majors in Environmental Science and International Studies and a focus on global environmental and climate justice. In 2016, she lived in India, where she studied the mental resilience of Tibetan refugees. She served as a 2017 Delegate at the United Nation Convention on Climate Change’s 23rd Conference of Parties, at which she focused on the nexus of human rights, migration and climate change. In the spring and summer of 2018, Aspen worked as a research intern for Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter at The Carter Center. Beginning in September 2018, Aspen will be a MA student at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, studying under Dr. David Boyd and Dr. Kai Chan. Her research will examine the environmental values of identified environmental justice communities in Canada.


MSc Students

Masters Student

Selina Agbayani began her career while pursuing a B.Sc. in Forest Sciences from the University of British Columbia (UBC). After graduation, she gained experience in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) through the Landscape Ecology and Water Tracer Labs at UBC. She then continued her professional development with the Advanced Diploma GIS Program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). Selina has combined a passion for natural systems and conservation issues with a specialization in landscape-scale ecological data and spatial analysis. This has led her to become involved in various projects with non-profit organizations such as the Community Mapping Network and World Wildlife Fund – Canada. In recent years, she has become interested in marine ecosystems and has joined the Marine Mammal Research Unit (MMRU) in the Institute of Oceans and Fisheries (IOF) at UBC to study grey whales:

Bioenergetic requirements of migrating eastern North Pacific grey whales in the face of climate change
Unusually high mortalities of grey whales (Eschrichtius robustus) observed in 1999 and 2000 along the migration route between Mexico and the Arctic have been attributed to starvation resulting from reductions in prey availability likely due to climate change. However, relatively little is known about minimum energetic requirements to sustain the annual grey whale migration, and the associated effect of climate change on the ability of grey whales to meet minimum energy requirements for migration. We addressed this knowledge gap by constructing an age-structured bioenergetics model to predict the energy requirements of each migrating cohort of whales, and estimated a minimum threshold of daily prey consumption during the summer that would be necessary for them to avoid nutritional stress during the annual migration. Inputs included age, sex, and reproductive state, and the model assumed a range of annual energetic requirement thresholds—from 96% of daily requirements (below which pregnant females would not successfully give birth or wean a calf), to 58-60% (below which adults would die). We thus derived daily food requirements (e.g., kg of amphipods, mysid shrimp, etc.) for all age classes of grey whales, and predicted future mortality rates as a function of varying prey densities due to climate change. Our results are useful for managers and policy makers to assess and anticipate the likelihood of climate-induced mortality events occurring. 

Melanie is a MSc student at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability. She graduated with a BSc in Marine Biology from UBC in 2014. Subsequently, she worked as a Research Assistant with the Sea Around Us (at UBC’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries), assessing the impacts of fisheries on global marine ecosystems through catch reconstructions. Her master’s research, supervised by Dr. William Cheung, will focus on the adaptability of small-scale fisheries to climate change.

M.Sc Candidate


Nathan grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee in the valley of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  His interests in marine life started from reading books and watching documentaries as a kid.  He earned his Open Water Certification while in high school and spent 3 weeks diving off of Baja Mexico in 11th grade reaffirming his passion in the ocean environment. He earned a B.A. in Marine Affairs and Policy from the University of Miami in 2015.  As a student, his research focused on marine conservation efforts and the numerous issues around global fisheries.  He spent 6 months in Miami working for the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration after graduation, looking into the relation between management measures and landed value of commercial fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico.  Nathan started his Master’s degree here in the Institute of Resources, Environment, and Sustainability in the fall of 2016, working for Rashid Sumaila in the Fisheries Economic Research Unit.  His research primarily focuses on conducting an economic analysis of a BC wide genomic-study of Coho salmon that aims to more effectively identify different conservation units of Coho as they are caught, to redirect pressure off of vulnerable stocks in mixed-stock fisheries.  

MSc Student

Krista grew up in the coastal town of Powell River, and has had a keen interest in marine systems and sustainability since childhood. Her in-depth knowledge of the coastal waters of BC emerged from several years working as a sea kayak guide and instructor. She joined IRES in 2017, supervised by Dr. Stephanie Chang, after completing her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Sciences at UBC in 2016. Her research interests focus on flood protection in coastal communities bordering the Strait of Georgia, and oil spill hazards. She is also a Research Assistant in the Resilient-C Project, focusing on developing indicators for coastal community vulnerability.

In her spare time, she enjoys sea kayaking, whitewater kayaking, skiing, climbing, and slacklining.

MSc Student

Teddy is a second year MSc student in the Ecohydro Lab with an interest in water as a link between humans and natural systems. He works on a wide range of projects from remote sensing in Brazil, to developing open-source DIY water monitoring technology with  decolonizing water, to modeling mountain meadow restoration in the Sierra.

Teddy graduated with a BSE in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Princeton University in 2013, with a focus on urban stream restoration.  After graduation, Teddy pursued environmental engineering with an environmental consulting firm in the California Bay Area where he was involved in environmental site assessments, contaminant mapping, and groundwater monitoring.  He went on to join The Center for Watershed Sciences at UC Davis where he researched how hydrology drives montane meadow ecosystems in the Sierra and the amphibians living there.

When he’s not digging wells or monitoring streams, Teddy enjoys trail running, playing banjo, woodworking, or throwing the atlatl.

MSc Student

Ilana is an architect originally from Montreal by way of New York City. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture from McGill University, and has practiced architecture for the past 21 years. Ilana has spent the last ten years as a Principal and Director of Sustainability at FXCollaborative Architects in New York City, working on projects ranging from sustainable urban masterplans to feasibility studies for Passive House and Net-Zero energy buildings. She is especially interested in the intersection of climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies for the built environment. Ilana is a board member of New York Passive House, a former co-chair of AIANY’s Committee on the Environment, and a former board member of the Canada Green Building Council (Quebec Chapter).

Working under the supervision of Professor Stephanie Chang, her research asks how existing urban neighborhoods can sufficiently adapt to climate change to enable shelter-in-place for residents.

MSc. Candidate and MITACS Researcher
phone: 7789885749

Livia is a sustainability professional with both academic and professional background in business and sustainability. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce at McGill University and an MBA in Sustainability and Finance at Schulich School of Business. She worked in top mining multinationals, Alcan, Rio Tinto and Anglo American in risk assessment (SOX audit), Financial Reporting and Sustainable Development Reporting and Corporate Compliance. 

After working for large infrastructure projects, Livia realized that intangible factors are often overlooked and seem as non-material and off-balance-sheet. But the new reality of climate change requires a paradigm shift towards valuing Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues to improve corporate decision-making for both private and societal gains. As this is a critical issue the industry is facing, Livia has presented her research at Managing Risks across the Mining and Oil and Gas Lifecycle Conference in Imperial College London in July 2017.

She is finalizing her Master of Science (MSc) at the Institute of Environment, Resources and Sustainability at University of British Columbia (UBC), being also affiliated with the UBC Institute of Global Issues. She has been working on Ecosystem Services, Social and Ecological Systems and Sustainable Development for the extractive sector. She was selected as one of the SRK Canada Graduate Award Recipient as well as has been working in MITACS funded projects.

She is part of the partnership between the Canadian International Resources and Development Institute and UBC Institute of Global Issues to operationalize the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals through improving water metrics (SDG 6). She intends to continue to work to create value through the valuing and incorporation of ESG considerations in decision-making and investments.

MSc Student

Connor is a first-year MSc student at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability under the supervision of Dr. Gunilla Öberg. He grew up in Vancouver, a place that he once thought of as having a steady, secure water supply given the amount of rain we receive and the highly-engineered nature of the urban water system. This notion was quickly flipped on its head, however, as he learned more about how environmental systems work and at the same time the effects of climate change started to be locally seen.

Connor received his Bachelor of Environment with a major in Global Environmental Systems from Simon Fraser University. During his undergraduate studies, he acquired a keen interest in water resources management, particularly in working towards environmentally, socially and economically sustainable management of this important resource for its many purposes. As an undergraduate, he served as a research assistant, assessing the regulatory environment surrounding distributed energy resources at water and wastewater utilities, under the supervision of Dr. Steve Conrad. His MSc thesis is focusing on analyzing and mapping the nature and extent of scientific and technical production in the wastewater treatment field, and creating an interactive tool that experts and policymakers can access to easily learn more about the field or aspects of it.

MSc Student
Senior Associate, Ecolibrium Consulting Inc.

Ian Theaker’s engineering career has focused on greening North America’s buildings and communities.  As their technical problems are now largely solved, he is now studying systemic socio-economic policy that reduces climate impacts of the built environment.  His MSc thesis is assessing whether building energy and GHG emissions benchmarking data communicated through real estate multiple listing websites influence apartment buyers’ purchase criteria and behaviour.

As the Canada Green Building Council’s inaugural Program Manager, Ian lead adaptation of the LEED rating systems for Canada. Other signature efforts include Waterfront Toronto’s climate-positive Green Development Requirements, Infrastructure Ontario’s Building Sustainability Best Practices Manual, the OHSU River Campus (LEED-NC Platinum) and Lloyd Crossing Sustainable Urban Design (AIA Committee on the Environment Top Ten winner) in Portland, Oregon, and Green Building Design Guidelines for the City of Santa Monica.

Ian has served with many volunteer organizations, most recently as a Director CaGBC’s Greater Toronto Chapter and founder of its Advocacy Committee.  He’s also served as Governor of the Association of Energy Engineers, BC Chapter, and co-founded Vancouver’s Designers for Social Responsibility and the Southeast False Creek Working Group.

MSc Student

Marco started his MSc student at IRES in 2017. He is currently working under the supervision of Dr. Gunilla Öberg. Marco studied at UNAM in Mexico, receiving his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry in 2016. His interest in science and the best use of scientific knowledge in environmental issues drove him to expand the focus of his studies and explore the intersection between the environment, science, and policy. The project he is working on for his master thesis focuses on the decisions and judgments that scientists make when considering uncertainties and risks in their own research. The case study that he will be using is the Victoria wastewater treatment controversy.