Land One Q&A with Fernanda Tomaselli

The transition to university can be tough – but the Land One program provides a unique opportunity to explore pressing issues at the intersection of land, forests and food in an immersive and welcoming cohort.

Offered together by UBC’s Faculty of Land and Food Systems and the Faculty of Forestry, Land One centers your university experience around experiential learning, personalized guidance and a sense of community.

We caught up with Fernanda Tomaselli, Program Coordinator and Lecturer, to learn more about the details of this program and how you can apply!

Fernanda Tomaselli

Q: Introduce yourself!

“My name is Fernanda Tomaselli, and I am the coordinator of the Land One program and a Lecturer here at the Faculty of Forestry!

I also teach one of the core courses in the program, which is the Land One Integrative Seminar (FRST/LFS 110) where we critically examine current issues and cases in Forestry and Land and Food Systems, with a focus on the integration of first-year subjects and exposure to both Indigenous and Western perspectives.”

Q: What is Land One? How is it different from a student’s typical first year?

“The Land One program is a cohort program for first-year students in the Faculties of Forestry and Land and Food Systems. One of the most important objectives of Land One is to support students in their transition from high school to university. Students take five core courses (16 credits) together during their first year in a smaller class of about 50-60 students (in contrast with large UBC classes of 100-300 students), and then take their remaining credits according to their degree programs.”

Q: What do students gain from joining this program?

“Because of these smaller sizes of cohorts, there is a greater sense of community that is developed throughout the year and students create long-lasting friendships! Another really important aspect of the program is that students are able to foster a more personal connection with instructors. So, in Land One, instructors get to know the students really well and offer support with both academic and personal wellbeing.

In this program, we also emphasize the integration between classes, so we really try to make those connections between subjects such as Maths, Biology, and Economics. This is important because many first-year UBC students feel that these courses often tend to be disconnected, so in Land One, we try to make that integration happen!

There is also a number of experiential learning opportunities and field trips throughout the year to bring classroom topics into the real-world, as well as a designated study space specifically for Land One students to hang out, study and attend social events!”

Q: What are some of your favourite parts of the Land One experience?

“I really enjoy having a more personal connection with students in contrast with my larger classes where it’s harder to get to know everyone. Even now, I still see my former Land One students in their third and fourth years, and it is amazing to watch them grow throughout their academic journey.

Another aspect that I love is that I am very passionate about the topics taught in the program, which include food security, climate change and sustainability. We also really make an effort to provide students exposure to Indigenous knowledge and Western science, which broadens students’ perspectives on the challenges, and hopefully, potential solutions, that global society is facing.”

Q: What is the application process like?

“Very simple! Once you are accepted into the Faculties of Forestry or Land and Food Systems, you complete a simple form where you provide your high school grades and write a short essay explaining your interest in the program. Students have until May 31, 2022, to apply!

The application form can be found on the Land One website here!”

Q: Do you have any advice for students who might be interested in this program or unsure about transitioning into university?

“I highly encourage interested students to check out our website and read student testimonials to gain an insight into the program.

Also, there are a number of info sessions happening where you will have a chance to hear directly from former Land One students – these are great opportunities to ask your questions! Finally, if you have questions, doubts or just want to chat more, do not hesitate to email us at

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