What is TRANSFOR-M?
The Transatlantic Forestry Master (TRANSFOR-M) is a 2-year program that is in partnership with other European and Canadian Universities. This partnership is a unique course-based educational experience, which provides students with the opportunity to explore forestry both in Europe and Canada.
Each UBC TRANSFOR-M student will receive upon completion of the program the UBC Master of Forestry (MF) degree and one of the degrees offered by the European Host University:
- Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg (Germany – MSc Forest Sciences)
- Bangor University (Wales, UK – MSc Agroforestry / MSc Conservation and Land Management / MSc Environmental Forestry)
- University of Eastern Finland (Finland – MSc Agriculture and Forestry)
- University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (Austria – M.Sc. Mountain Forestry)
- University of Padova (Italy – M.Sc. Forest Science)
Current TRANSFOR-M Students
Hi all! My name is Chris Arrotti, and I’m from Farmington, Connecticut. I grew up playing in the backwoods around my house and was surrounded by scenic farmland, so I naturally gravitated towards biology and environmental subjects. I graduated from the University of Connecticut in Spring 2020, with a bachelor’s degree in biology. My most recent endeavors have been doing research on invasive species at UConn and working on management plans for land trusts. I’ve found dedicating my work to environmental solutions extremely rewarding- especially because we are in dire need of it, and I know it benefits the plants and animals around me. Through the TRANSFOR-M program I will receive a Master of Science in Conservation and Land Management from Bangor University and a Master of Forestry from the University of British Columbia. I hope to use this knowledge to pursue a career in applied research to aid in conservation/restoration efforts. During my time away from academics, I enjoy playing guitar, making video edits, playing hockey or soccer, and I generally just enjoy learning new things. Overall, I’m excited to further my studies, explore new opportunities, and make great memories!
Hello, I’m Evelyn (she/her)! I grew up between Canada and the United States (Vermont is the place I currently call home). During my Bachelor’s at the University of Toronto, I specialized in Human Geography with double minors in Environmental and Forest Conservation Science. My forestry-related work experience includes interning at an urban forestry non-profit and, most recently, working for the USDA Forest Service. This past year, I’ve been studying forestry at the University of Padua, in Padua, Italy. When I’m not enjoying the outdoors (or studying), I spend the majority of my time eating and talking about food and the global food system. The MF program caught my attention because I wanted to broaden the introduction to forestry I had during my time as an undergraduate student — specifically the complexity of the forest system and the interconnections between food production and forests. Professionally, I want to expand on my interest in the relationship between food and forestry by finding ways to conserve our forests and improve food access while minimizing the impacts of agricultural production, specifically in tropical forests. In the long term, I hope to improve the sustainability of food production and increase transparency between public-private relationships in the forestry sector.
Hello all, I’m Sam. I grew up in a small town in England near Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire. With a passion for the environment and having graduated with a BSc (Hons) from Keele University in Geography & Environmental Science, I left uni and spent some time with a sustainable business and renewable energy consultancy. Ultimately, I decided to return to academia on the TRANSFOR-M programme, which has allowed me to gain international experience and explore across continents, whilst developing my interests across the forest science spectrum, with a focus in community & carbon forestry, invasive ecology, and climate tolerant forestry. I have now completed my first year of the TRANSFOR-M programme at the University of Freiburg, Germany, learning plenty and exploring as much as possible in this Covid-19 era. I spent last autumn at the Bavarian Forest National Park interning in the wildlife monitoring department, whilst spending my spare time hiking, photographing nature and skiing. I am now looking forward to starting this next chapter here in Vancouver!
Hey everyone! I’m Evan! I am from Northern California. I grew up hiking, climbing and camping in the Sierra Nevada mountains. As a young student, I pursued a master’s of environmental science and management from Humboldt State University, where I developed a deep wonder for the natural world and the natural sciences. After graduating, I moved to Senegal, working as a Forestry and Environmental Specialist. I conducted forestry, environmental management, ecological restoration, and sustainable agriculture. I returned home and worked as a Forestry Technician for FRST Inc, a small forestry consulting firm. I spent time marking timber and collecting fire effects and fuel load data from Old Growth Giant Sequoia Groves. During this time, I became inspired by forest conservation and management and resolved to pursue my master’s degree in Forest Science. The first year of my master’s degree was at the University of Padova, Italy, where I spent long days in the Italian Alps and Po river valley. I look forward to starting my second year of my master’s at UBC, where I look forward to gaining an understanding of the ecology and traditionally forest practices of British Columbia. I aim to pursue a career in international forest conservation, restoration, and management and aid in the effort to protect and restore forests. I travel, play guitar, and explore nature when I’m not in school or working. I enjoy hobbies such as backpacking, hiking, camping, snowboarding, rock climbing, mountain biking, and all outdoor activities.
Hi there! I’m Sarah, all the way from exotic, rural Ontario, Canada. I completed my undergrad at McGill University in Montreal, where I majored in Global Food Security and completed a field semester in East Africa to specialize in International Agriculture. Throughout my time at McGill, I also worked closely with their entrepreneurship office, where I helped design and manage programs to find, teach, and develop students, faculty, and recent alumni wishing to start a startup. When I graduated, I looked to combine my academic background in agriculture and my knowledge of tech startups and gained a position developing the curriculum for, and eventually instructing, an ag-tech course for a non-profit focused on re-/up-skilling workers in traditional industries being disrupted by technology. I then moved to Dublin, Ireland, where I worked for Ireland’s largest tech startup hub for the next three years on a variety of projects, from helping the national utility company develop its innovation strategy to writing insights reports on startup trends for a multinational agriculture company. Like many, the pandemic was a valuable time for me to reflect on my career, and, while I’m immensely grateful for the experience and opportunities I’ve had, I decided it was time to change course and return to study. From my undergrad, I knew I wanted to do more in the arena of food security and climate, and wanted to attend a school with strong ties to leading international research bodies. I’m very excited to begin the TRANSFOR-M program in Bangor this fall and look forward to any opportunities in regenerative agriculture/agroforestry, smallholder empowerment, and the potential for technology to amplify the benefits of nature-based climate solutions.
Hello! My name is Sophia and I’m from Kimberton, PA. Witnessing the degradation of forests I have loved since childhood inspired me to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Barnard College of Columbia University and apply to TRANSFOR-M. My connection with Canadian boreal forests began early, at the age of 13. Rigorous canoe tripping expeditions in Northern Ontario strengthened my resolve to pursue a path in forest conservation. Once at Barnard, I began paleoecology research at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory on endangered high-elevation Atlantic White Cedar bogs before pursuing field research in Bryology at the New York Botanical Garden. My interests in forest conservation then brought me to Dr. Wegryzn’s plant computational genomics lab where I learned more about the devastating effects wooly adelgid are having on Hemlock populations in North America. I look forward to pursuing a MSc in Agroforestry and Food Security at Bangor University where I hope to integrate my passion for soil science within the ever-increasing socio-political and climate pressures on our global food system. Outside of studies I enjoy hiking, baking, music, macro-photography and exploring!
I am from Nepal, a mountainous country eminent for Everest, so my affinity and love for nature is instinct. Because of this, I have done my undergraduate in Forestry, which is the core subject of choice for somebody who wishes to gain a theoretical base on natural resources, biodiversity and ecology. Besides my course work, I have been an active member of different volunteer organizations, a voracious reader, and an obsessive traveler from the very beginning of my college days. It will be an absolute delight and privilege to be studying this program in these revered universities. This will enrich my life not only with a global and in-depth understanding of my subject matter but also with a global exposure with peoples of different countries, backgrounds, and beliefs, and experiences of travel abroad. I will be completing Msc. Mountain Forestry from BOKU, Vienna before coming to UBC as a part of TRANSFOR-M program.
Hi Everyone, I’m Ayesha from England. As a child I always had a toy animal attached to my side and as I grew my interests in the natural world grew with me. Since my teens I have always had a hand in with a nature-based volunteer organisation, and in 2012 decided to follow through with my passions by completing a BSc in Zoology. After my BSc I worked as an ecological consultant, this provided me with an opportunity to develop skills in specialist species surveys, report writing and communication – unfortunately, I’m no Doctor Dolittle but it turns out a lot of work in ecology is really about talking to people! Having come from a consultancy background and growing up near a city it is evident that development is here to stay. I’m interested in learning how we can all communicate and work together in a more efficient, environmentally friendly manner, allowing us to work with nature instead of against it. I’m hoping that returning to study will steer me in the right direction to future career in conservation/forestry and, I’m extremely excited about the opportunity to study, live and meet some amazing people at UBC.
Hi, my name is Caleb (he/him). I grew up in southern Vermont, USA but I am currently based out of Victoria, BC. In 2013 I came to Canada to study at McGill University. While working on my bachelor’s degree in Environment and Development, I was active in the McGill Outdoors Club and lead hiking, climbing, paddling and ski trips. For the last six years I have worked as tree-planter and planting crew-lead all across BC, from the north Island to the Kootenay’s. Tree planting introduced me to the complex world of forestry in BC and, more broadly, the intersection of natural resource industry, land tenure, and culture. I am excited to be a part of TRANSFOR-M and to combine my enthusiasm for outdoor recreation, forestry, and learning with a multi-cultural international experience. This fall I will be in Padova, Italy. Eventually, I am interested in the ASFIT pathway to becoming an RPF, working with Community Forests and indigenous forestry groups, and learning about progressive tenure reform.
Originally from the Maltese Islands, I spent most of my childhood playing in the tiny woodland area of Buskett, surrounded by nature and people who found meaning in being connected to Earth. Having had grandparents who were farmers and shepherds, I grew up with a great sense of respect and awareness on our interactions with nature. I achieved my first Bachelor degree (HONS) in Geography with the University of Malta and for seven years I worked on European Social Funds during which I completed a Master in Knowledge-Based Entrepreneurship from the University of Malta. I concluded my career as a Department Manager on EU Funds to travel, volunteer, and return to my passion of nature and science. During this time I backpacked through Central and South America, camped, hiked long distances and visited several natural parks which continued to nurture my curiosity for the natural sciences. I volunteered with Operation Wallacea in Honduras in field works on both terrestrial and marine research. In 2020 I moved to Austria to pursue an MSc in Mountain Forestry with the Universität Für Bodenkultur. Through the Transfor-M, I am continuing my studies with a Master of Forestry with UBC. I am especially interested in soils, mycorrhizal networks, fire and indigenous forest management and ecological restoration. My hobbies are trekking, camping, climbing mountains and any outdoor sports. I am passionate about self-development and applied practical philosophy.
Hi all, I’m Bryce. I’m from Eureka, a small coastal town in Northern California. I grew up among the old growth redwoods, mountains, and wild coastline of Humboldt County and have carried a love for forests and the environment ever since. I graduated from the University of California, Berkeley (2020) with a dual degree in Ecosystem Management and Forestry (BSc) and Conservation Resource Studies (BSc Hons). My academic interests have primarily focused on sustainable development and natural resource management in Latin America. I’ve spent time studying abroad, conducting research, or working in Bolivia, Chile, and Australia. Since graduating I have worked in Northern California for CAL FIRE, GrizzlyCorps (AmeriCorps), and for the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District, where I have been managing the Forest Health and Resiliency Program prior to my participation in the TRANSFOR-M program. After two years of enriching experience working in forestry, I am excited to return to academia at both UBC and Bangor University, where I will pursue a MSc in Agroforestry and Food Security. I hope to continue pursuing my interests in socio-ecological sustainability and development and its intersection with forestry. Outside of work and studies I love hiking, backpacking, traveling, and photographing.
Iyarwema Hategekimana, Romeo Thierry
An enthusiastic, meticulous and motivated person, I am a committed student with an endless need to learn, improve and evolve in both academic and professional careers. Having graduated from the University of Rwanda with a Bachelor’s degree in the Department of Forestry and Nature Conservation, I have decided to pursue my studies in Master’s degree at the University of Padova, which led me to this TRANSFOR-M program. I love being multifunctional without compromising my main focus, therefore I have acquired a proven 2+year working experience in Environmental journalism from Radio Salus as a program coordinator. Moreover, I worked with Nature Rwanda; an institution aimed at conserving and preserving forests and the environment as a whole and to name but a few. These experiences gave me a reason to enhance my skills by stepping forward in my Master of Forestry, as my aspiration is to strive for a world endowed with sustainable forests by any possible means as they are core resources we have; to mitigate the rising climate change we are facing. Book reading, board games and mountain biking are my hobbies but especially playing volleyball since I love teamwork as it incites diverse and insightful ideas that lead to success if well managed.
My name is Hayden Lake I will be entering the Master of Forestry Program in September 2022 with my first year in Vancouver at UBC and my second year at the University of Eastern Finland. I completed my BS in Forestry at the University of Vermont in the US. I am originally from, and continue to live in Vermont, where I have been running a forestry consulting business since 2010 managing privately owned woodlands, developing long-term management plans and designing and implementing timber harvests among many other things. I am beyond excited to step away from my career and further my studies, and to experience living in not one, but two new places. While I do intend, ultimately, to return to Vermont and further develop my forestry business, I will welcome new opportunities if they arise. I can’t wait to become a part of the UBC forestry community.
“Guten Tag” everyone. It means “good day” or “hello” in Germany, which is very I come from. Growing up in a city, I loved the forests around for sports and recreation. It took me a six months trip to Canada after highschool though to find out, that forestry could become more than a passion. I always thought that forests are full of solutions to nowadays challenges and I was eager to contribute to a positive change. I received my undergrad (B.Sc.) in Rottenburg, Germany in forest management, GIS and landscape ecology. Specializing on urban forestry, I quickly understood that “forestry is not about trees, it´s about people” (J.C. Westoby). Working in forest policy making, public relations and consulting for four years now I can tell that communication is key – especially in a multifunctional forest. With the TRANSFOR-M program I´m hoping to deepen my understanding about the fascinating interplay between nature and people and develop my career as consultant, coach and forestry expert. I can´t get enough of forests and I think nature is full of surprises, poetry and wonderful moments. So I love to go look for them in my free time with my friends.
Hi all! My name is Chloe and I grew up on a small island near Seattle, Washington, USA. Growing up in the lush temperate rainforest of the Pacific Northwest cultivated my interest in nature, biology, and the environment. One of my favorite activities as a kid was finding and admiring the vast array of invertebrates that share our world, from spiders and beetles to worms and moon snails. My interest in arthropods, especially spiders, shaped my undergraduate studies and led me to double major in Organismal Biology and Dance at Scripps College in California. At Scripps I worked as a biology tutor, a biology lab teaching assistant, a research assistant, and a research fellow. As a research fellow I had the opportunity to research in the tropical rainforest of Costa Rica regarding social behavior of the golden silk orbweaver (Trichonephila clavipes). It was this research experience that deepened my interest in forestry and forest sciences; I am beyond excited to study these subjects in Padova and in Vancouver. I am particularly drawn to forest entomology as my focus and also hope to learn more about natural resource economics and explore the intersection of these two areas. Outside of my studies I enjoy reading, listening to music, dancing, hiking, running, and photography (specifically of invertebrates).
Hello! My name is Margot (she/her) and I grew up in Chelsea, Quebec. I was surrounded by forests from a young age, whether I was walking behind my childhood home, wandering around the sugar bush at my elementary school, or skiing in the Gatineau Park. Over the course of my B.Sc. Honours Environment (Biodiversity and Conservation) at McGill University, I explored my interest in forest ecology, in part through a summer field course at the Haida Gwaii Institute and also through my honours thesis. Since graduating in 2020, I have worked outside of the environmental field and am very much looking forward to furthering my education through the TRANSFOR-M program. I will first be studying Agroforestry and Food Security at Bangor University before attending UBC in my second year of the program. My intention is to build on my scientific background while transitioning my focus toward management practices that mitigate the impacts of climate change on forest ecosystems and resources.
Hello to everyone! My name is Veronica and I am from Rome, Italy! After attending classical studies in Rome, my interest in science and ecological themes came out, so I began my bachelor’s degree in Environmental and forestry sciences in Italy, Viterbo… having the big chance to develop my final thesis in South America! I definitely fell in love with tribal cultures … for this reason, after my graduation, I decided to take a break from my studies and have a work-volunteering experience in collaboration with an NGO in Africa. I had the big chance to live almost one year in a rural village within the Masai Mara National Park in Kenya, working about water access, food security, women empowerment, education, and food forests! During this path, I did several internships concerning forest management plans in Italy, reforestation and land recovery in Ecuador, and cooperation in Kenya! Since I think that every goal is a new starting point, I decided to begin my master’s in Padua, where I have been studying one year before coming to UBC! I love making new friends and know new cultures, so I will enjoy this multicultural environment in Vancouver for sure! I am a big fan of outdoor activities, indeed I also worked as a naturalistic guide! Anyway, I never forget about relaxing time, so I hope to meet people for both amazing experiences or a cup of coffee! I love cooking, art, music, and exploring! I hope to make the most of this amazing experience too!
My name is Lydia and I am from Athens, Greece. I left at age 16 to study at UWC Atlantic College, an international boarding school in Wales, before returning to Athens. I graduated from Deree – The American College of Greece (ACG) with a BSc in Environmental Studies in 2020. While at Deree I worked at the ACG Center of Excellence for Sustainability, where I assisted with sustainability awareness-raising campaigns and biodiversity monitoring amongst other projects. Over the past year I have been volunteering with a couple Greek environmental NGOs, helping out with translations and graphic design work. Outside of my studies I enjoy playing football (soccer), debating, photography, and 3D animation. I am beyond excited to be spending a year in Vancouver and a year in Padova. As a Greek/Canadian, I was torn between continuing my studies in Europe or pursuing a master’s degree in Canada. That is why when I came across TRANSFOR-M I knew I had to apply. In the next two years I hope to learn more about conservation practices and land use, as well as investigating the environmental, social, and economic benefits of urban forests.
Hi everyone! I’m Holden. I grew up in Miami, Florida and spent much of my childhood engaging with the coastal environment and aquatic ecosystems. I changed track a bit at university and went on to get my BSc from the University of California, Berkeley with dual degrees in Environmental Sciences and Ecosystem Management & Forestry. While at university I spent much of my academic free time working on forestry management, fire ecology, prescribed burning, and herbicide usage in forestry. After graduating university I worked for a season with the Stephens Fire Lab on Giant Sequoia mortality and health following severe fire. I then decided to attend TRANSFOR-M to further diversify my knowledge of forestry management and ways to improve forest health and resilience in the face of increasingly severe wildfires and climate change. In the future I hope to work in dry Mediterranean mixed conifer forests on better policy and management styles that allow forests to thrive while also providing multiple-use benefits to the people and ecosystems that rely on them.
Quintana, Paulina Vasquez
Hey there! I’m very happy to introduce myself today as a student of the TRANSFOR-M program at UBC. For the last year (2021/2022) I’ve been studying at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences of Vienna, Austria. My passion for being outdoors and understanding the processes of nature started from a young age. I enjoyed my weekends in the temperate forests of central Mexico, close to where the monarch butterflies hibernate in winter. I decided to study Biology at UNAM in Mexico City, where during the multiple fieldtrips across my country I could understand the entwined relationship between nature and people. Before enrolling to graduate school, I worked for two years at the urban forest of Chapultepec in Mexico City where I coordinated scientific and operational activities at the botanical garden and supported public participation in the space. I’ve experience in fundraising for environmental NGO’s, project management, value chain and forest ecology studies. I’m looking forward to keep walking this path and meet many inspiring colleagues. In my free time you’ll find me swimming, hiking, listening to Balkan and Brazilian music, visiting some archeological site, and spending time with friends and family.
Born and raised in Thunder Bay, ON I had the privilege of completing Lakehead University’s Environmental Management program. With a thesis focused on the biological impacts of coarse woody debris, I made the decision to move to the West of Canada and explore this idea further through the MF program at UBC. Having a travel bug, I sought this opportunity to increase my network in forestry. I aspire to work in the world of policy administration (locally or abroad) in order to increase the probability of a sustainable future. In my spare time I explore the world of geography by evaluating the impacts of music on various cultures, this has led me to Korea, Spain, England, Ireland, Portugal, Cuba and parts of the Southern USA.
Hey there, I’m Zach from Mississauga, Ontario. I grew up in Ontario and spent much of my childhood exploring the Great Lakes region. After my dad moved to Victoria, I spent a lot of time hiking the temperate rainforests on Vancouver Island. That was an awe-inspiring experience—I’ve held a passion for wild spaces ever since. I received my Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Queen’s University, where I focused on political theory and environmental studies. Since graduating I have invested my time working with a non-profit called Mining Shared Value which works at a policy and advocacy level to improve standards in the global mining industry. Coming to UBC, I am interested in learning more about the topics of restoration ecology, agroforestry, and climate change. In particular, I would like to learn more about the effects of climate change on forest dynamics in temperate and subtropical regions. I’m truly grateful to have the chance to participate in the TRANSFOR-M program and look forward to getting to know everyone.
Hiya! My name is Kelli and I grew up in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. I spent summers growing up exploring the waterways around Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario in a canoe which sparked my passion for the environment. I’ve been living in Vancouver for the past few years studying Urban Forestry here at UBC and spending my free time travelling, camping, and working on the water. During my undergrad, I developed a keen interest in ecology and restoration. During the TRANSFOR-M program, I am hoping to combine my passions for restoration and the water by focusing on watershed and riparian ecosystem restoration. I’ll be completing my second year of the program at BOKU where I look forward to gaining some global perspective on forest and ecosystem management, as well as having an opportunity to travel and explore a new part of the world!
Hi! I’m Charlie from Lincoln, Nebraska, via Toronto, Ontario, with interests in conservation, ecology, and the creative arts. I studied Geography and Studio Art at Dartmouth College in the U.S. before working as an aquaponics research assistant at the College’s organic farm. After several years working as an art director in advertising, I am very excited to be shifting my focus back to the environmental field. I will be exploring ways to combine my experience in communications and filmmaking and recent coursework in ecology with my studies at UBC and Bangor University. Through the TRANSFOR-M program, I hope to find ways contribute to the collaborative, creative, and intersectional work being done in the international conservation world. Outside of my studies, I play basketball, read sci-fi comics, go to film festivals, and camp with my wife, Joanna.
Hello everyone, I’m Khawlah from Toronto, Ontario! Although I grew up in the urban matrix of the city, for as long as I can remember, the forest has been an escape for me and the place I feel most myself. Despite this, I found myself pursuing human biology during my undergraduate studies and I quickly came to realize that my true passion was for trees, plants, and everything to do with nature. I was fortunate to be able to fuel this passion through a multitude of field ecology courses and research projects that summated to my final thesis project: exploring bee pollinator effectiveness in Toronto urban areas. Through these valuable experiences, I was able to graduate from the University of Toronto completing my HBSc in Conservation and Biodiversity and Human Biology. This past summer, I worked with a local urban forestry organization, where I assisted in tree planting events and worked with Toronto communities to spread awareness of the urban forest. I am looking forward to starting my Masters of Forest Science at the University of Padova this fall, to explore rich perspectives of the global ecosystem further. Through TRANSFOR-M, I hope to combine my passion for nature with my interests in ethnoforestry, ecology, and agroforestry, to ultimately find my place in the vast world of forestry. Outside of my studies, you can find me reading, baking, running, knitting, and hiking!