MIF Placements and Directed Study

Upon completing the MIF course work (September to April), MIF students finish the program with a placement, directed study, and/or final project. Students leverage their previous work experience and newly acquired skills to work with various organizations around the world. Students provide valuable work to the partnering organization and in return, gain relevant experience and networks to further their careers.

“The MIF program has allowed me to explore forestry and natural resource management through the lens of local peoples, landscapes, institutions, governance, business, and many other viewpoints. With this knowledge, I can work with a variety of different actors and stakeholders towards solving pressing global issues.”

Jasmine Lum, 2016 graduate. Interned at Taking Root and ICRAF

Examples of Past Placements

“One of the most valuable aspects of the MIF program is its holistic understanding of the big challenges facing natural resources management. The MIF Placement offers students the opportunity to apply the knowledge gained during the program and to contribute solutions to well-contextualized environmental problems.

During my placement post, I had the chance to work on an ecological restoration project with an interdisciplinary team in Indonesia. Since one of my greatest passions is working in tropical forest settings, working in Indonesia for the first time has been a very enriching experience. My work consisted in understanding bird poaching and creating alternative solutions to protect biodiversity and improve local economies. The placement has helped me improve my academic and personals skills, allowed me to compare fauna and flora composition and ecological dynamics between Indonesia and South America (especially Colombia – where I am from), and opened opportunities for my future work.”

Laura Maria Arango Saaverdra, 2019 graduate.

  • BC Timber Sales – Campbell River, Canada
    Students engaged in discussions and negotiations with First Nations and conducted BCTS’ First Nations Woodland Licenses during their tenure.
  • Chopvalue – Vancouver, Canada
    Two students assigned to support the market entry strategy of Chop value in China.
  • City of Richmond – Richmond, Canada
    The student worked on an Urban Forest Management Strategy (2017).
  • Clayoquot Biosphere Reserve and the Barkley Community Forest – Tofino, BC
    A student completing a study on how community forestry in the region is contributing to the vision and principles of the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve Region using local stakeholder interviews and the UN SDGs sustainability framework (e.g. the UN Sustainable Development Goals).

“This placement has shown me how a community forest can support the needs of the community as well as how much a community contributes to the management of their forests. The ancestral and multigenerational knowledge these stakeholders have is essential for the management of their landscapes and to ensure the continued sustainability of the region”

Gillian Miller, 2019 graduate.

“The MIF placement was a great opportunity for me to apply what I learned in class. It provided me with practical skills, a way to expand my networks, and an opportunity to smoothly transition to an employee position, from my prior identity as a student. I am glad that I prepared my placement well in advance and established contacts with different institutions and departments. During my placement, I encountered many situations that would not happen in the classroom, and facing those challenges has increased my resilience. Practice is key to increase resilience and the MIF placement is definitely a good chance to achieve that.”

Leo Peiyang Li, 2019 graduate.

“It’s been exciting to realize that I’m actually using the skills and knowledge that we covered in our classes in a real-life situation. I’m impressed with how succinct our learning was and how it has lead to a great new skillset. Anyone considering this course in the future should know just how useful the broad range of topics we covered is and how important they are if you’re interested in creating change in the world.”

Karen Martin, 2019 graduate.

  • Lexeme Consulting – Vancouver, Canada
    The student was the lead consultant of the UN-REDD Programme Study, which involved identifying drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in Myanmar. They contributed to a nation-wide assessment to develop Myanmar’s specific REDD+ policies and measures in an effort to address drivers and their underlying causes. Their work included spatial data analysis using quantitative and qualitative data and projections, policy and political-economic analyses, and communicating with regional experts and stakeholders.
  • Northwest Wildlife Preservation Society – Vancouver, Canada
    The student worked on the BioBlitz project.
  • State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change. Institute of Botany. The Chinese Academy of Science – China
    A student worked as a GIS analyst producing vegetation maps from LiDAR and satellite imagery to support forest management decision-making of Chinese landscapes.
  • Sustainable Food Systems – Richmond, Canada
    Students assisted with planning strategies for the promotion of global food security.
  • Taking Root – Vancouver, Canada
    The student worked on the implementation of a new process for using farm maps to identify sections of farmland requiring specialized care. The result was the development of a Standard Operating Procedure. They also helped update a project design document for a small coffee agroforestry system in San Juan de Rio Coco, Nicaragua.
  • Tropenbos International – Ghana
    The student worked on projects related to forest governance and the contributions of small and medium forest enterprises in Ghana (2017).
  • UBC Faculty of Forestry Research Lab – Malawi
    The student interned as the Project Manager for three research projects based out of Dr Jeanine Rhemtulla’s lab. The projects encompassed social, economic, and environmental aspects of forest use in rural communities in southern Malawi. Research methods used included surveys, interviews, focus groups, forest plots, measurements, and mapping. They also worked on a forest use study and forest landscape restoration assessment.
  • UBC Global Health Initiative – India
    Students contributed to a local health initiative in the Spiti Valley of northern India. Their placement duties included organizing and implementing health screens in a community school. They also reviewed the school’s farming strategies including seed selection and intercropping methods.
  • UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) – Geneva, Switzerland
    A student interning with the Forests, Land and Housing Division of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe assisted in policy analysis, research, and documentation on issues concerning the use of renewable resources in construction.

“My placement has been the most influential and impactful moment in my intellectual journey thus far. I am very grateful for having had the opportunity to work with a UN organization and learn firsthand about their line of work and what it takes to be successful in this field. I thank the MIF program and faculty for blessing me with this opportunity.”

Chunny Varaich, 2019 graduate.

  • United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO) – Rome, Italy
    Students conducted background research on the implications for REDD+ initiatives for people, specifically the impact on tenure rights and livelihoods.
  • World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) – Kenya
    The student assisted with the Local Governance and Adapting to Climate Change in Sub-Saharan Africa project. Her tasks included an asset assessment, implementation of a field survey, training and supervising Kenyan research assistants, data analysis, and report writing.
  • WWF – Beijing, China
    A student joined the Forestry department of WWF Beijing promoting sustainable forest management practices in China and responsible timber trade.

Other organizations where MIF students have completed placement