PhD Students

PhD Candidate

I joined the Policy and Ecosystem Restoration in Fisheries (PERF) research unit at the UBC Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries (IOF) in September 2014. My research intends to understand how cultural differences, settlement history and involvement in fishing 1) affect the values that communities ascribe to marine resources, 2) influence resource sustainability, and 3) impact vulnerability of social-ecological systems to globalization and commoditization. Before starting my PhD, I worked at a not-for-profit private research organization, Dakshin Foundation, India, between 2011 and 2014. While at Dakshin, I co-authored policy briefs concerning the management of apex predator fisheries in India and studied the grouper fishery of the Andaman Islands in India.

PhD Candidate

M.A. in Sociology, University of Manitoba 

B.A. (honours) in Sociology, University of Manitoba

Evan’s research interests include food sovereignty, urban agriculture and the commons. He’s taught a variety of sociology courses at the University of Manitoba, including an intensive permaculture-themed summer institute called ‘Building a Commons,’ and he’s the co-founder of two community-based agriculture cooperatives in MB. His work is funded by SSHRC.

Selected publications:
Bowness, E. and E. Comack. (Forthcomming 2015). “Crime and Punishment: The More Things Change….” In Cy Gonick (Ed.), Fifty Years of Canadian Dimension. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Kueneman, R. and E. Bowness. (2015). “The Changing Social Context of Dispute Resolution and the Rise of Law” In Rick Linden (Ed.), Criminology: A Canadian Perspective. 8th Edition. Toronto: Nelson Education.

Hudson, M. and E. Bowness (2014). “Directly and Adversely Affected: Public Participation in tar sands development 2005-2014.” Calgary: Parkland Institute. Available at:

Bowness, E. (2014). “Food Systems in Transition: From Globalized Industrial Agriculture to Localized Urban Permaculture.” Canadian Dimension. 48(1): 34-36.

Bowness, E. and M. Hudson. (2013). “Sand in the Cogs? Power and Public Participation in the Albertan Tar Sands.” Environmental Politics 23(1): 59-76.

PhD Candidate

Megan (Meggie) is a PhD Candidate at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability under the supervision of Dr. Terre Satterfield. Her Master’s work was completed at UBC and explored the human-animal interface found within zoos. It sought to explore the effectiveness of zoo-based conservation efforts through a species-based evaluation as well as identifying successes and challenges that zoological institutions faced individually and as a whole.

Her current research expands upon her Master’s work and seeks a holistic investigation of different relationships between humans and wildlife. Her work will focus on three main aspects of the relationships: differentiation, benefits, and agency. This approach combines elements of anthropological inquiry, psychology-based perception work, and tenets of animal behavior and welfare in order to help characterize different aspects of the complex human-animal relationship.

Meggie’s special affinity for wildlife began early in childhood, as she shared her home with a constant succession of furry, feathered, or finned friends. Her time spent working at a wildlife rehabilitation center combined with her collegiate studies at Pomona College solidified her interest in animal-human interactions. She is also a TerreWEB scholar.


PhD Student

Tim is a first-year PhD student studying fisheries economics under the supervision of Rashid Sumaila. Tim’s research at IRES and the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries will continue to work on the Fish Tracker Initiative to link investors to sustainable and unsustainable fisheries practices. Through this research, Tim hopes to better evaluate the risk of current fisheries overexploitation and the declining returns to those invested in them.

Tim received a double major BA from Huron University College at the University of Western Ontario. Tim began his fisheries research during his master’s at Dalhousie University focusing on the environmental and ecological impacts of reduction fisheries and seafood life cycle assessment.

Recently, Tim has worked for the Sea Around Us at UBC working on various projects including fish used for fishmeal and fish oil, analyzing trends in fisheries discards, and researching global fisheries gear use. He hopes this research can help to understand the impacts of fisheries on marine ecosystems and their role in sustainable food production. Tim’s research is funded by a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship, and the UBC 4-Year Fellowship.

PhD Student
International Doctoral Fellow

I am interested in both the physical and social aspects of environmental and sustainability issues, and enjoy finding creative ways to understand their intersection.  Prior to UBC, I completed a M.S. in Watershed Science at Colorado State University, where I studied relationships among water development, land change, and urban growth in Ethiopia.  I also contributed geospatial analyses to the IPBES Global Assessment and was involved in a series of participatory mapping projects with the Secondary Cities Initiative.  Most recently, I worked to reconstruct the history of Antarctic science with the McMurdo Dry Valleys Long-Term Ecological Research project.

PhD Candidate

I am a PhD Candidate in the RMES program, working with Prof. Stephanie Chang. I finished my undergraduate studies in Urban and Regional Planning in Turkey. I did my masters at the University of Colorado Denver with concentration of Urban Place Making. Before starting my PhD at UBC, I worked as an Associate Planner, where I mainly focused on zoning, urban design, land development and land permitting projects.

My PhD research focuses on green infrastructure practices and climate change induced coastal disasters particularly in Canadian coasts. I am interested in how green infrastructure (G.I) effects adaption and resilience to potential coastal disasters and G.I’s applicability to communities along the Canadian coasts.

PhD Candidate

I’m a Ph.D. student in Kai Chan’s lab. My research focuses on the relationship between seafood and food security, and more specifically, on the challenges that growing seafood demand pose for marine biodiversity and ecosystem health.

I received my B.A. in biology from the College of Wooster (Ohio), and a Master’s of Environmental Studies from Dalhousie University (Halifax). My master’s thesis research focused on the use of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to evaluate large-scale environmental impacts of the Maine lobster and New England herring fisheries.

Prior to arriving at UBC, I spent 3.5 years as the sustainable fisheries campaign manager for a Canadian environmental organization; in this capacity, I co-negotiated a landmark marine habitat management agreement with the British Columbia groundfish bottom trawl fishery. This effort was recently awarded Vancouver Aquarium’s Murray A. Newman Award for significant achievement in aquatic conservation.

I have conducted a number of fisheries sustainability analyses for the Seafood Watch/SeaChoice programs. In addition, I have approximately 350 days-at-sea experience in fisheries, primarily as a fisheries observer in Alaska and New England and secondarily as a salmon fisherman in Alaska.

PhD Candidate

I am a PhD Candidate at IRES, a NSERC CREATE fellow, and a trainee at Sustainable Building Science Program. My passion for arts and physics together with my interest in designing livable places led me to study an undergraduate degree in architecture at Shiraz University, Iran. After graduating from architecture and working as an architect in design firms, I decided to learn about the integration of renewable energy technologies into site plan and building form, with focus on climate and human comfort. This interest took me to the UK, where I got my MSc in Renewable Energy and Architecture from the University of Nottingham. My ongoing curiosity is to explore and catalyze the emergence of principles and practices that make a built environment, which effectively responds to the needs of its users while reducing its environmental impacts.

Over the last decades, many new building designs, building materials, comfort technologies, standards and green rating systems have been introduced with the intention of creating buildings with lower adverse impacts. However, there exist discrepancies between design expectations and actual performance of buildings, which have been difficult to overcome. A leading theory contends that this challenge has persisted because the industry and the processes of: designing, building, commissioning and operating a building are carried out by different actors in a largely fragmented industry. This fragmentation leads to low accountability, shifting actor teams and little capacity for learning from past experiences and successive building projects. In my PhD, I am examining the effectiveness of Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) in addressing this challenge and ultimately delivering buildings as expected. I am conducting this research under supervision of Dr. Hadi Dowlatabadi and Dr. Murray Hodgson. Contact me at if you are interested to learn about what am I learning.

To give myself some enjoyable moments outside work, I do free-hand sketching, play violin, read Hafez and Shamloo, and sing in a choir. And of course the most joyful moments are when I talk with my lovely little nephew, Raman.

PhD Candidate
Graduate Global Leadership Fellow

Alejandra is a PhD student in Resource Management and Environmental Studies. She works under the supervision of Dr. Jiaying Zhao and Dr. Kai M.A. Chan. Her research focuses on the adaptation of social-ecological systems to environmental changes. She holds a BSc in Biology from Universidad de los Andes, Colombia (2012), and an MSc in Resource Management and Environmental Studies (2015) from IRES. Her career has focused on several topics including: ornithology, environmental education, peace education, science communication, and environmental consulting for infrastructure projects.

PhD Student

Harold Eyster is a PhD student supervised by Professor Kai Chan. He studies biodiversity and nature conservation in the context of ecosystem function, services, and human values.

Harold received his undergraduate degree in environmental science and public policy at Harvard, Magna Cum Laude. While at Harvard, he conducted research on climate change and invasive plant ecology with Dr. Elizabeth Wolkovich, and on ornithology with Dr. Mary Caswell Stoddard.  He also co-founded and edited the Harvard College Review of Environment & Society to foment cross-disciplinary discussion of environmental issues. He has conducted field research throughout Europe and North and South America. Harold enjoys ultramarathon trail running, birding, bouldering, atlatl, painting, and, of course, research.

PhD Student

Erika Gavenus is a PhD student at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability under the supervision of Dr. Terre Satterfield. Erika holds an Master’s degree in Environmental Health Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley and a Bachelor’s degree in Global Health from Georgetown University. During her Master’s work, Erika completed research with communities along the Kenyan coast of Lake Victoria considering how changes to local fisheries related to food security and child nutrition.

During her studies at UBC, Erika is looking to expand on this research background to consider the mechanisms through which coastal communities access natural resources, and how changes to access might affect human health, with particular attention to social and cultural aspects of community health.

Erika’s interest in this research area is inspired by growing up and working in a fishing community in Alaska, and by the common understanding and relationships she has found among fishermen throughout her research.

PhD Student | Vanier Scholar | Public Scholar | Liu Scholar

Dana is a PhD student in the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability; a Vanier CGS Scholar; a UBC Public Scholar; and a Liu Scholar at the Liu Institute for Global Issues. In addition, her studies are supported by a UBC Four Year Doctoral Fellowship, UBC’s International Tuition Award, and Mitacs. Dana is the co-founder of UBC’s Food Systems Network, supported by the Liu Institute and the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm. Broadly, her research interests center on pathways to sustainable agricultural development and food sovereignty. Her doctoral research, supervised by Dr. Hannah Wittman, will investigate the determinants of agroecological production in Brazil, as well as barriers and enabling factors that affect farmers’ uptake of agroecological management practices.

Dana graduated from Penn State University’s Schreyer Honors College in 2013 with dual degrees in Environmental Resource Management and Community, Environment, and Development and dual minors in International Agriculture and Water Resources. She was granted a 2013 US-UK Fulbright award to attend Newcastle University, where she completed her MPhil in Geography. Her prior experience includes consulting for the US government’s Feed the Future initiative to improve knowledge sharing amongst agricultural development practitioners; working as a Research Associate on a USAID-funded project assessing Cambodia’s agricultural training and education system; and conducting research on the effects of climate and land use change on a keystone tree species in Spain under a National Science Foundation grant.

Email: dana.james [at]

PhD Student

I am a Peruvian researcher that has been studying the ecological and human dimensions of the Humboldt Current in Peru, with emphasis on fisheries economics and governance. Before joining the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries at the University of British Columbia as a graduate student, I worked  as associate researcher at Centre for Environmental Sustainability of the Cayetano Heredia University in Peru (2010-2015), and at Inteligencia Financiera SAC (2014-2015); as consultant for OCEANA-Peru (2016), the GEF-UNDP Project: “Towards the ecosystem based management of the Humboldt Current Large Marine Ecosystem” (2013-2015), the Peruvian Ministry of Production (2014), the Peruvian Ministry of the Environment (2013), and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2013); and, as fisheries advisor to the Vice-Minister of Fisheries at the Peruvian Ministry of Production (2012).

My research interests include: (i) seafood value chains, (ii) ecological modelling, (iii) marine and fisheries governance, (iv) ecosystem-based fisheries management, (v) economic valuation of ecosystem services, (vi) small-scale fisheries, (vii) fisheries economics, (viii) fisheries law, (ix) reduction fisheries, (x) rights-based management.

PhD Student
Public Scholar |Liu Scholar | Nehru Humanitarian Graduate Fellow | Olav Slaymaker Awardee

Helina is a PhD student at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability. Her doctoral study at RES will be supervised by Dr.Terre Satterfield and Dr.Milind Kandlikar.She will be working on gender perceptions and valuation of ecosystem services among the Adivasi (indigenous communities of India) of Wayanad, Kerala, India. Her studies are supported by UBC Four Year Doctoral Fellowship, Olav Slaymaker Award, Nehru Humanitarian Graduate Award, International Tuition Award and Entrance Scholarship.

She is also founder of the project ‘The Everyday Nature‘ which aims to understand the perceptions of people towards nature. Prior to joining RES, Helina worked in India for nearly 6 years with Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change, Government of India (Link),Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ) (Link), Centre for Science and Environment (Link), Clinton Climate Initiative and Ennovent on various environment and development projects. At GIZ she supported TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity) India Initiative (Link).She volunteers at Boond (, which works to provide clean solar energy access to some of the poorest communities in India. At Boond she helps organize workshops and develop strategies for understanding the social and environmental impact of their projects.

Helina is a Commonwealth Scholar and graduate from London School of Economics and Political Science as well as a University First Rank holder from University of Delhi. She is native of Kerala (a beautiful coastal state in India) and loves Monsoon season. Mother of an extremely mischievous little boy and a strong advocate of women empowerment. Helina is a huge foodie and loves to paint in her spare time.

Contact:  |  | LinkedIn

Ph.D. Student

Isaac Jonas is Ph.D. student with the Institute of the Oceans and Fisheries (IOF) at the University of British Columbia (UBC). He started off as a Research Assistant to Dr U. Rashid Sumaila through the FERU/OceanCanada of the IOF. He has been working on an OceanCanada Partnership project that involves designing a Sustainability Fisheries Insurance Fund (SIF) for the small pelagic fluctuating fish stock like the Peruvian anchoveta. Isaac holds a Master of Food and Resource Economics (MFRE) degree from UBC, where he graduated as a valedictorian and a MasterCard Foundation Scholarship holder. He earned his BSc honors degree in Economics from the University of Zimbabwe. On his spare time, he works with Impact Africa Trust, a Not-for Profit Organization (NGO) that he co-founded in 2015. The NGO does work in Zimbabwe to equip young farmers with 21st century skills. A global citizen, Isaac has spoken at various local and international forums, for example, the Skoll World Forum at the Said Business School, Oxford University and the UBC African Business Forum.

PhD Candidate

Myriam completed her engineering degree in fisheries and environment at the National Agronomic Institute of Tunisia (INAT) in 2013. Just after her graduation, she joined the Sea Around Us as an intern, working on the catch reconstructions of certain Mediterranean and Arab countries. In 2014 Myriam started her MSc program in Resource Management and Environmental Studies (RMES), specializing in Fisheries, under the supervision of Prof. Daniel Pauly. In 2016, she transferred to the Ph.D. program. She is currently completing her Ph.D., thesis which focuses on the marine ecosystems and fisheries management in data-poor countries, mainly countries of the Southern Mediterranean and the Arabian Peninsula region.

PhD Student

I am a member of UBC Ecohydro lab and working with Dr. Mark Johnson. My Ph.D. research focus is to evaluate human activities and climate change impacts on water cycle over tropical and sub-tropical South America. Particularly, I am interested in how land use change and water management alter evapotranspiration, and also precipitation by changing vapour input to the atmosphere (moisture recycling). For this research, I am using remote sensing data, micrometeorological data, land models, and water footprint analysis.

I received a B.S. in Rural Systems Engineering from Seoul National University, and then worked in the National Center for AgroMeteorology in Korea. Previously, I have research experiences in agricultural lands, temperate forests, and a peat bog ecosystem.

Selected Publications: Google scholar, ResearchGate
More info: Github, CV

PhD Student, Liu Scholar

Susanna’s research focuses on understanding the processes and dynamics that mediate food system sustainability, and the multi-functionality of farming systems. She uses interdisciplinary approaches to examine how context shapes the adoption of sustainable practices (the geography of sustainable agriculture), and how governance and policy interventions can facilitate more sustainable agroecological futures.

Her PhD work investigates how organic agriculture is contributing to food system sustainability by assessing the adoption of practices and approaches that enhance agro-ecosystem health and social welfare on organic farms in Canada. She is working with collaborating agencies to ground her research in the institutional context of the organic sector, and to ensure results are relevant to policy and regulatory discussions in Canada and globally. She is supervised by Hannah Wittman and Navin Ramankutty.

Susanna is as a member of the Food Secure Canada Board of Directors, an Advisor for the Meal Exchange Good Food Challenge, and an Articling Agrologist with the BC Institute of Agrologists. She has a BSc (honours) in Land Surface Processes and Environmental Change from McGill, and an MSc in Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems from UBC. She has worked on the integration of climate change adaptation into programs and policies with the BC Ministry of Agriculture and the BC Agriculture & Food Climate Action Initiative. Many of these interests were first cultivated by her time working on small farms in Quebec, Oregon, and Latin America, and her work with campus food and sustainability initiatives at McGill University.

PhD Student

Rocío López de la Lama is a PhD student exploring people’s motivations for setting up Private Conservation Areas in Peru (her home country). Although the government does not provide economic incentives (i.e. tax reductions, property rights) for their implementation, their coverage continues to expand and currently protect ~300,000 ha of the Peruvian territory. Therefore, Rocio’s research seeks to identify what motivates people to set up these areas and how effectively they are contributing to nature conservation and human well-being. Rocio is working under the supervision of Kai Chan, and is part of the CHANS Lab. She has an MPhil in Conservation Leadership from the University of Cambridge (UK), and a BSc in Biology from Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (Peru). Her previous work has focused on sustainable seafood, small-scale fisheries, gender studies and exploring people’s relationship with nature.

PhD Candidate

Hi there, I’m a PhD Candidate supervised by Terre Satterfield. I am interested in the intersection between natural resource management and First Nations rights in British Columbia, and more broadly, in Canada. I am particularly interested in the implications of a novel set of land use agreements, known as the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements, for First Nations communities located on the north and central coast.

Thesis title: Indigenous Rights and Environmental Governance in Canada: First Nations Rights and Resource Management in the Great Bear Rainforest

PhD Candidate

Poushali is a PhD student at the Institute for Resources, Environment & Sustainability, working with Dr. Milind Kandlikar. She works at the intersection of 3 major energy challenges facing large developing countries – clean energy access & development, air quality improvement and climate change mitigation. Her research focuses on using large scale datasets to analyse patterns of historical energy consumption as well as building models of energy systems. She has a undergraduate degree in Physics from the University of Delhi, and a Master’s in Renewable Energy from the University of Edinburgh. In the past, she worked with WWF’s Climate Change & Energy programme and as a wind energy consultant.

PhD Student

Hello! My name is Johnnie James Manson. I am from the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation (a Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation located on the West-coast of Vancouver Island). I am an incoming PhD student under the supervision of Dr. Terre Satterfield and Dr. Hannah Wittman.
My current research will be broadly looking at the nexus between Indigenous identities, land-based practices, Indigenous food sovereignty, Indigenous cultural, social, and economic service providers, and neoliberalism. To do this, I will be conducting an engaged research process with the BCFSN WGIFS and Indigenous communities of British Columbia.
Most of my work experience has centered on natural resources. I have worked in the salmon aquaculture industry (1999-2007), as a stewardship technician with the British Columbia Conservation Corps (2008), as an environmental technician with the Ktunaxa Lands and Resources Agency (2010), and as fisheries technician with Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council (2011). I have also worked extensively as a private tutor for sociology and anthropology students.

Currently, I work with the BC Food Systems Network (BCFSN) Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty (WGIFS), focusing on revitalization of Indigenous trading routes in British Columbia.
I hold a Bachelor of Arts (With Distinction), Joint Major in Sociology and Anthropology, from Simon Fraser University (2013). I also have a technical diploma in Fisheries and Aquaculture (2006) from Vancouver Island University.

My research passions are varied and many, and include (but are not limited to): Indigenous worldviews, Indigenous research paradigms, decolonizing methodologies, critical theory, environmental co-management, and continental philosophy.
I really like: hiking, punk rock, indie music, all types of other music, my culture, my family, and all types of boring (but useful!) theory.

PhD Student

Juan Diego is a PhD student in the Institute of Resource Environment and Sustainability (IRES) working under the supervision of Dr. Navin Ramankutty. His research is aimed at understanding how access to food is shaped by income/expenditure inequality, illustrating the disparities among and within countries in the past decades.

He holds a B.Sc in Biology and a B.Eng in Industrial Engineering for the Universidad de los Andes, Colombia. His previous work and research has focused broadly on environmental sustainability issues and evolutionary biology, with experience in teaching, the Colombian biological collections information system management and renewable energies consulting for Latin America.

PhD Student, Vanier Scholar, Liu Scholar, Public Scholar

Research Interests: Global environmental change; the cryosphere (i.e. high mountain and Arctic regions); vulnerability, adaptation, and transformation; socio-ecological systems; environmental governance

Biography: I am interested in the socio-ecological dimensions of environmental change in high mountain and Arctic regions. To this end, I have led projects in the Nepal Himalaya, Rocky Mountains, Greenland, and the Canadian Arctic as well as numerous global-scale assessments of environmental change in cold regions. My doctoral research, supervised by Drs. Leila Harris and Michele Koppes, builds upon this experience and is focused on 1) characterizing how changes in the high mountain cryosphere––particularly climate-related changes in snow/glacial hydrology––propagate through interlinked socio-ecological systems and 2) the development of principles for responding to cryospheric changes in ways that are both socially and ecologically tenable. I am combining insights from socio-ecological resilience, political ecology, and fieldwork in globally significant high mountain regions to elicit information found at the intersection of coupled socio-ecological systems thinking, critical social theory, and lived experiences of environmental change. The project contributes broadly to the advancement of integrative environmental change scholarship, while also providing actionable governance recommendations for supporting human well-being and ecological resilience in the context of a rapidly changing cryosphere.

Prior to beginning my doctoral studies at UBC, I completed an MSc in Environmental Change and Management at the University of Oxford and an Honours degree in Geography at McGill University.

Personal Website:


PhD Candidate

Kiely is a PhD candidate working under the supervision of Dr. Leila Harris in the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at UBC. Kiely is a member of Green College, the Program on Water Governance, and the EDGES research collaborative, and an HQP with the Res’Eau-WaterNET research network.

Kiely’s research will focus on governance rescaling under British Columbia’s new Water Sustainability Act, and the opportunities that the Act provides for local governance capacity building and transformations in water management practices. Her research project will address both the development of the Act (including its drivers and consultation processes) and its outcomes for communities/authorities seeking governance reform. The implications of the Act for First Nations’ roles in water governance, and source water protection in small communities will be of particular interest.

Prior to commencing her PhD, Kiely worked at UBC as a research assistant on a project on drinking water in small communities – a project she will continue to contribute to as part of the Res’Eau-WaterNET research network. Kiely completed her Master of Science at the University of Auckland (New Zealand) in 2012, majoring in Geography. Her MSc research examined how transitions in urban stream management emerge through local planning and decision making processes, focusing on a highly controversial case study of ‘best practice’ in greenfield development. After graduating, Kiely worked as a research analyst for the Auckland Council (a metropolitan government body).

Email: kiely [dot] mcfarlane [at] alumni [dot] ubc [dot] ca

PhD Candidate

Scott is a PhD student in Resource Management and Environmental Studies working under the supervision of Dr. Leila Harris. Before UBC, Scott completed a Bachelors of Arts in Environmental Studies, Philosophy, and American Studies at the University of Kansas and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Iowa. Scott’s research and writing focuses how contending notions of scale and regulation affect water policy (within the water-energy-food nexus). His work considers the relationship between the natural environment, human development, and law. He has also worked as a development agent for the United States Peace Corps in Morocco, in the Cairo office of the Near East Foundation, as a private practice lawyer in New Orleans, and at the International Water Resources Association in Montpellier France.

At UBC Scott is a member of the EDGES research collaborative and the Program on Water Governance. Scott’s research will be involved with Experience of Shifting Water Governance: Comparative Study of Water Access, Narrative and Citizenship in Accra, Ghana and Cape Town, South Africa. This collaborative comparative research project is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and will focus on differing relationship between citizens in under served areas in Ghana and South Africa, their provision of water, and how they access and interact with the state to mediate this relationship.

PhD Student

Vikas is a PhD student at IRES, working with Dr. Hisham Zerriffi since Fall 2014. He completed his Mechanical Engineering (with a Masters  degree in Energy Technology) education in 2009 from Indian Institute of Technology Madras. He worked in the area of climate change consulting for 3 years, covering renewable energy and energy efficiency projects across India and South East Asia, followed by 2 years in the area of business research.

His research interests lie at the convergence of sustainability, technology and development. He is interested in the interaction between climate change ideas and society at large.

PhD Candidate

I am a PhD Candidate at IRES. My research asks how international trade can better support the realization of food security, investigating the issues from a political economy perspective. Home from a year living in Neuchâtel, Switzerland and working as a visiting research fellow at the UN Research Institute for Social Development in Geneva, I am now back for a fourth (and I hope final) year. I am a scholar at UBC’s Liu Institute for Global Issues and part of UBC’s International Development Research Network. I came to IRES with twenty years experience working with civil society organizations in international development, especially on multilateral trade and agriculture. I am a board member of ActionAid USA and a member of the High Level Panel that advises the UN Committee on World Food Security. I live in Squamish and don’t get to campus as often as I would like.

PhD Student, Liu Scholar

Rumi is a Ph.D. student in the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability (IRES) at the University of British Columbia (UBC), focusing on behavioral psychology applied to conservation and natural resource management in tropical landscapes. She is also a Liu Scholar at the Liu Institute for Global Issues and a UBC’s Four Year Doctoral Fellowship recipient. Drawing on insights from cognitive psychology, her doctoral studies will investigate: 1) how land-users perceive conservation challenges differently and make subsequent land-use decisions; and 2) what interventions might facilitate desired behavioral change for sustainability.

Prior to starting her doctoral studies at UBC, Rumi worked with an Indonesia-based consulting firm, Starling Resources, as a senior project manager on a number of projects concerning collaborative land-use planning, forestry policies, reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+), ecosystem restoration, sustainable peatland management, agroecology, and community-based economic development. She holds a Master’s degree in International Affairs from the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University in New York, with a focus on Environmental Policy Studies for Southeast Asia.

In her spare time, she enjoys training capoeira, traveling, hiking, and pottery.

PhD Student
Four-year fellowship recipient

Sara is a PhD student and interdisciplinary social scientist at IRES, supervised by Dr. Terre Satterfield. Broadly, she is interested in how a growing wave of new biotechnologies based in synthetic biology are challenging our understandings of nature and reshaping approaches to food security and biodiversity management. Her PhD research uses a mix of quantitative survey methods, expert elicitation, interviews, and ethnographic approaches.

Sara has worked in both the non-profit and consulting sectors. Most recently she worked as a consultant on social impact assessments, ecosystem service valuations, and natural resource damage assessments. She has a BA in economics from Swarthmore College and an MPhil from the University of Oxford in Development Studies. In her free time she rock climbs as much as possible.

PhD Student

Anthony is a PhD student and community development practitioner, broadly interested in the ways in which Indigenous communities access, control and utilize territorial resources for culturally appropriate and sustainable community economic development.

Anthony has a BA honours in history from York University, and a masters in human and economic geography from the University of Victoria. Anthony has lived and worked in various countries in West Africa and Latin America and he is fluent in Spanish and French. Currently his geographic focus is in British Columbia, where he is working closely with non-governmental and First Nation partners. When he is not working with communities and doing research, Anthony puts his time into surfing, writing and making music. 

PhD Candidate
Liu Scholar
Four Year Fellowship Recipient

Research Interests: Agricultural landscapes, Development studies, Food security, Political ecology, Poverty alleviation, Resilience, Resource government and management, Sustainable intensification

Biography: Vincent Ricciardi is a PhD student in the department of Resource Management and Environmental Studies (RMES), Liu Scholar, and a UBC’s Four Year Fellowship recipient. Broadly, his research focuses on the intersection of sustainable agriculture, poverty alleviation, and land use change. Before attending UBC, he received his MSc degree in geography from Pennsylvania State University and worked as a research consultant throughout SE Asia and in Ghana. These experiences have allowed him to look at the larger processes surrounding food security issues and examine cross scale relationships. His dissertation research, supervised by Dr. Navin Ramankutty, is focused in India at the national, landscape, and farm scales to investigate: 1) What are the relationships between farm size, sustainability, and resilience? 2) What types of agricultural systems are viable in India’s future? 3) How do national and donor policies affect farm size and management practices?



Research Lab:

PhD Student

Sandeep is a Ph.D. student, Liu Scholar, and Public Scholar at the Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability, working with Dr. Hisham Zerriffi. Prior to UBC, he completed an Erasmus Mundus Master of Environmental Sciences, Policy, and Management, jointly taught at Central European University, Hungary, and Lund University, Sweden. He also holds a Bachelor in Engineering from the Cochin University of Science and Technology, India, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Print Journalism from the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media. Professionally, he worked for many years in India as an award-winning journalist, writing for national and international newspapers and magazines. His research interests include the social and political implications of energy transitions. He has also co-authored a book “Total Transition: The Human Side of the Renewable Energy Revolution,” which focuses on the social impacts of energy transition in the Canadian oil sands and Indian coal mining belt.

PhD Candidate

Sameer Shah is a PhD candidate in Resource Management & Environmental Studies under the supervision of Professor Leila Harris. He examines the social, political, and natural dimensions of water governance and its impacts on marginalized agricultural communities in India. He is deeply interested in promoting efforts designed to strengthen community adaptation and rural livelihoods in response to shifts in water access. Through his work, he is involved with the Program on Water Governance and with the EDGES Research Group. In 2012, he graduated with a Bachelor of Environmental Studies (Honours Co-operative) from the University of Waterloo and earlier this year he completed his Master of Science degree at the Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability.

Sameer is also actively involved in water policy planning at UBC, in British Columbia, and across Canada. At UBC, he is currently a lead organizer of Water Ways: Understanding the Past, Navigating the Future, a major interdisciplinary workshop celebrating UBC’s 100th anniversary and bringing together leading water experts to advance a global water research agenda for the coming century. He also holds an 18-month appointment as the Pacific Regional Representative for the Canadian Water Network’s Student and Young Professional Committee of emerging water leaders. In 2014, he was selected as one of about 50 applicants from across Canada to participate in the Waterlution Transformative Leaders of the Future Program. As part of this program, he co-facilitated the first Canada-wide exercise in participatory water policy planning with the aim to inject the public’s creative visions into future water policy. Having travelled to over 20 countries and lived in multiple, Sameer is passionate about nature, cooking, photography, and hiking.

PhD Student | Liu Scholar | Four Year Fellowship Recipient | Slaymaker Awardee | Vanier Scholar

I am a PhD student in the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, working with Professors Navin Ramankutty and Milind Kandlikar. My interests lie in environmental sciences, sustainability, and judicious utilization of global water resources. For my doctoral research, I plan to analyze the triangular relationship between current agricultural practices, groundwater depletion, and climate change.

Prior to joining UBC, I completed my MASc in Civil Engineering at University of Toronto, where I examined biological filtration for drinking water treatment.

PhD Candidate

Leela is a PhD student at the Institute for Resources, Environment & Sustainability. Broadly, her research examines the development of different regulatory regimes for endocrine disrupting compounds. She plans to focus on plastic food packaging, a common consumer product with high risk for food contamination with corresponding human health effects as well as contamination potential from discarded waste in the environment. Within this sphere, her study will investigate the role of science and scientists in the regulatory process, with particular emphasis on the development of threshold levels, the types of uncertainties at play, and the extent and mode of evidence integration in regulations.

Leela has a background in science, with an undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto in Biology. She completed an MA at Carleton University in Public Policy, with a focus on innovation, science and environment. Her research for those years centered on climate, energy, transitioning to a low-carbon economy, and protected areas policy. Outside of work and school, she is an avid swimmer, loves kayaking, and more often than not, can be swayed by a good chocolate-banana milkshake.

PhD Student
phone: 4065481582

Madison Stevens was raised on a farm in Bozeman, Montana, where she grew up with a passion for exploring the natural world. Madison holds a BA in Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies, with minors in Political Science and Environmental Science from Franklin University, Switzerland, in 2015, and has published research on indigenous land rights in Uganda through the School for International Training. Since 2012, she has worked for the conservation nonprofit organization Polar Bears International, holding various roles related to communication, education and outreach. She has also worked and volunteered for environmental initiatives all over the world, including an international conference on climate change in Antarctica with 2041, and research on sustainable development in sub-Saharan Africa. She started pursuing her MA degree at IRES in September, 2017 and is interested in studying the intersection of indigenous rights and environmental issues. Madison’s current research focuses on connecting traditional ecological knowledge with biodiversity conservation and community resilience in Arunachal Pradesh, North Eastern India, under the supervision of Profs. David Boyd in IRES and Janette Bulkan in the Faculty of Forestry.

PhD Candidate

Jonathan Taggart is a PhD candidate studying with Drs. Terre Satterfield and Kai Chan whose research looks at the challenges in representing the traditional knowledge and land use of BC First Nations. Working closely with communities, he is interesting in the ways First Nations and allies might continue to express vibrant cultural practices in rights & title processes in ways that are both politically powerful and inclusive of diverse and dynamic human-nature interactions. Jonathan has taught visual-ethnographic methods at Emily Carr University and is Associate Faculty at Royal Roads University’s School of Communication & Culture. His feature-length ethnographic film,”Life Off Grid“, has screened at festivals and conferences internationally.

Jonathan is a UBC Public Scholar, a member of the Google Earth Outreach Trainers Network, and a founder of the Boreal Collective of Documentary Photographers. His research is supported by a SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Graduate Scholarship and a UBC Four-Year Fellowship.

PhD Candidate

Nicolas Talloni is a very patient student in Resource Management and Environmental Studies eager to complete his PhD sooner than later. Nicolas’s research is focused on the current and potential impacts of climate change on fisheries economics, and adaptation strategies of coastal communities. Nicolas is working under the supervision of Dr. Rashid Sumaila (Fisheries Economics Research Unit, IOF), Dr. William Cheung (Nippon Foundation-Nereus Program, IOF ), and Dr. Philippe Le Billon (Faculty of Geography, Liu Institute).


PhD Student

I am a PhD student studying how people perceive and make decisions pertaining to natural disaster risk, supervised by Dr. Stephanie Chang.  My work addresses the social aspects of natural disasters with an emphasis on earthquakes and flooding.

As a member of MEOPAR’s Maritime Transportation Disruption project, I am studying risk perceptions of the marine transportation system at the organizational level, looking at both system resilience and vulnerabilities.

 You can find me at: