March 4, 2021: IRES Professional Development Seminar with Helina Jolly, Simon Donner, and Mark Cembrowski

IRES Seminar Series

Time: 12:30pm to 1:30pm (every Thursday)

Via Zoom

Please email for video.


Work-Life Balance in Grad School – Panel Discussion

The pandemic has enhanced the struggles of academic life for graduate students, faculty, and staff. These struggles seem to have been carried forward from pre-pandemic times and have been exacerbated working from home. Boundaries between work and leisure have disappeared; people are working from unconventional spaces like laundry rooms and cars; corridor conversations have been replaced by zoom fatigue; and people feel increasingly obliged to be available at odd hours.

We believe it’s important to actively address such issues related to work-life balance. This seminar hopes to bring together perspectives from people at different career stages within academia, and kick-start conversations around expectations, limitations, and strategies to strive for.

Helina Jolly

IRES PhD Program


Helina Jolly is a PhD Candidate at the Institute for Resources Environment and Sustainability, University of British Columbia. She is a National Geographic Explorer (2018), UBC Public Scholar (2017 and 2018), and Liu Scholar (2016). An ecologist and environmental policy analyst by training, she studies the relationship between forest ecosystems and Kattunayakans, a lesser-known hunter-gatherer society of South Asia. Her doctoral research examines the complexities of human and nature connections within the forest landscapes of the Western Ghats in Kerala, India, through the conversations on human-wildlife interactions, food security, forest fire, and rights. As a part of her work, she directed and produced an ethnographic documentary ‘Gidiku Vapathu‘ which was screened at the recent Portland Ecofilm Festival. She is also a co-founder of the Collective for Gender+ in Research at UBC that seeks to develop a network to articulate methods and tools to engage gender in research. Helina is a Commonwealth Scholar and has an MSc in Environmental Policy and Regulation from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Simon Donner

Professor, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia


Simon Donner is an interdisciplinary climate scientist and professor in the Department of Geography at the University of British Columbia, where he teaches and conducts research at the intersection of climate change science and policy. He is also the director of the UBC Ocean Leaders program, and holds appointments in UBC’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries and UBC’s Atmospheric Sciences Program. He is currently a lead author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report.  Simon is also an IRES Faculty Associate.

Mark Cembrowski

Assistant Professor, Department of Cellular and Physiological Sciences, University of British Columbia


Mark is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Cellular and Physiological Sciences at the University of British Columbia, and an Investigator with the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health. He has a PhD in Applied Mathematics, and his lab at UBC combines experiments and mathematics to understand how the brain forms, stores, and retrieves memory. In his spare time, Mark practises and teaches yoga, handstands, and calisthenics.