Celebrating Black History Month

February is Black History Month. While we should celebrate Black history and excellence every day, this is an opportunity for a focused, intentional and elevated reflection and recognition of Black students, staff, and faculty within the Faculty of Forestry. This year, we are proud to showcase the accomplishments and contributions of five students and alumni.

Outstanding Students

Habeeb Yusuf

Habeeb Yusuf

Habeeb is a PhD student (4YF Fellow) at the UBC Faculty of Forestry under the supervision of Dr. Younes Alila. He graduated from the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) in Nigeria with his undergraduate degree in Agricultural & Environmental Engineering (First class Hons.) and Masters’ degree in Soil & Water Engineering (distinction).

Habeeb’s research at UBC relates to propagating understanding of how different forest harvest activities (logging scenarios) undertaken in a large rainfall-dominated watershed (humid and sub-humid) can affect the distribution of annual peak flow occurrence. His research becomes even more relevant in light of emerging questions about the human influence on recent devastating flood events around the globe, e.g., the November 2021 flood event in southwestern BC.

Habeeb has been in academia since 2014; as a graduate assistant at FUTA, he’s since risen to the position of Lecturer II before embarking on his PhD program at UBC. He acts as a graduate academic assistant in the teaching of FRST485/590 (graduate level Forest Watershed Management / Statistical Methods in Hydrology) offered by Dr. Alila in Forestry. At the end of his PhD, Habeeb anticipates initiating a memorandum of understanding between UBC and FUTA. This memorandum will create an academic partnership between UBC and FUTA through knowledge transfer.

Gretha Teta

Gretha Teta

Born and raised in Kigali, Rwanda. I am a current student in the Master of International Forestry (MIF). I also completed my undergraduate degree with Honors in Natural Resources Conservation program here at UBC. During my time at UBC, I’ve been an active member and leader in the International Forestry Students’ Association (IFSA) which allowed me to attend different international conferences related to conservation and forestry. I also worked for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in Rwanda on Human-Wildlife Conflict projects around Nyungwe National Park. My passion for tropical forests, sustainable community development and my forestry international experience are what led me to the MIF program. Being a MIF student, I’ve so far been exposed to various environmental wicked problems and I’ve also developed a particular interest in the field of conservation finance. Now, I aspire to pursue a career in this particular field and I’m learning ways in which countries like Rwanda can utilize conservation finance opportunities to improve livelihoods as well as benefit the environment and the country’s economy.

Judith Nuhu

Judith Nuhu

Judith Nuhu is a second-year Master’s student of Forest and Conservation Sciences. Before coming to the University of British Columbia, she obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Botany from Kogi State University, in the Northern part of Nigeria. During her undergraduate education, she studied the diversity of the forest in her community as a personal project. Judith’s passion for research fueled her decision to travel across the world to Canada for advanced education and receiving the prestigious Mastercard Foundation Scholarship Award enabled her to achieve this dream. She earned a spot in an outstanding research group at the faculty of forestry. Her research with her supervisor, Dr. Sally Aitken, involves evaluating trees’ response to climate change to identify resistant traits relevant to breeding and building healthier and more resilient forests. Outside her academic pursuits, Judith is involved in a volunteer group, “Why Are You Not in School-WAYNIS,” providing mentorship for Nigeria’s young undergraduates. She is outgoing and highly spirited. She is exhilarated about integrating with the diverse student community at the University of British Columbia and the myriad of knowledge she is acquiring in this environment, which will equip her with valuable skills in giving back to her community in Nigeria.

Outstanding Alumni

Sally Asu

Sally Asu

My name is Sally Asu and I’m from Cameroon, Africa in miniature. I attended UBC from 2015 to 2019 through the Mastercard Foundation Scholarship program. At UBC, I was in the Forest Resources Management program and took up several student leadership roles in the Faculty of Forestry such as Jumpstart orientation, student engagement, transition leader, residence life, etc. Currently, I work in the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) as a Stewardship Forester/ First Nations Relations Advisor and I was recently inducted as a Registered Professional Forester (RPF) with the Association of BC Forest Professionals (ABCFP). I’m exploring the intersection between different aspects of forestry and Indigenous relationships with the hope that my curiosity will lead me to a research topic and possibly continue in a Master’s program. This Black History month, I’m reflecting on the role of diversity in fostering inclusive workplaces.

Ademola Victor Adebayo

Ademola Adebayo

My name is Ademola Victor Adebayo, I describe myself as a talented and hardworking individual who creates great passion for excellence irrespective of the surrounding challenges and pressures. I graduated from the Master of Sustainable Forest Management (MSFM) program in 2019 at the University of British Columbia, Canada with a full scholarship from MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program. I also hold a bachelor’s degree in Forestry and Wildlife Management from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria where I emerged as the overall best student in my faculty consisting of 380 students.

I am a Forester-in-Training with the Association of BC Forest Professionals (ABCFP) and I currently work as a Land Authorization Officer with the Ministry of Forest, Lands, Natural Resources, Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) in Prince George, British Columbia. My responsibilities include a review of applications for crown land tenures, contracts management, site inspections and First Nations consultation.

My earnest desire for impacting and contributing positively to my community stimulated my passion for leadership and extra-curriculum activities. I am presently the Head of Operations for The Achievers Group which is a non-profit international organization aimed at developing young individuals’ potentials to achieve their purpose and dreams.

Forestry Diversity Crew logo

This initiative was led by Samuel Adeyanju, a Forestry PhD student, in collaboration with the UBC Forestry Diversity Crew. After this first pilot year, our hope is to expand and grow other initiatives to recognize and celebrate Black members within our Forestry community over future years. Please reach out to us at samuel.adeyanju@ubc.ca or forestry.diversity@ubc.ca to connect or learn more.

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