Where are MGEM students and instructors from?
Discover the global MGEM community of current students, alumni, teaching assistants and instructors (past and present).
Originally born and raised in the greater London area in the UK, I attended the University of Toronto for my bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and Biodiversity & Conservation Biology. Though I have always been interested in conservation efforts and the natural world, my university degree prompted a greater passion for the intersection of social and ecological change. While at the university, I had the opportunity to learn about our precious ecosystems, completing research in areas such as resource management and urban greening, while also learning about inclusion, diversity, and the importance of transdisciplinary approaches to regional and global issues. In my spare time, I like to learn about various cultures and history, exploring the urban environment, and outdoor activities like hiking and kayaking. Enthusiastic about the potential of scientific and traditional knowledge in confronting global social and environmental issues, I hope to use the education provided by UBC’s MGEM program to further increase the resiliency of urban systems facing climate change either in the public or private sector. Hopefully by careful analysis and planning, urban sustainability can be improved to better adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change, at the same time as increasing the quality of life for both humans and wildlife. Ultimately, I am excited to encourage and contribute to a more environmentally-conscious society.
Hello, my name is Yaxuan (Allison) Cheng. I was born and raised in Huangshan, Anhui province, China which is a mountain area with high forest cover. As a result, I have had a strong interest in natural ecology and forest-related disciplines since I was a child. I completed my Bachelor’s degree in forest resources management at UBC and spent the summer working in forest management at the Huangshan City Forestry Science Research Institute. Over the course of my studies and work over the past few years, I have come to see how geographic information analysis tools can be more advanced and efficient in forest management and in a wider range of fields. I have therefore chosen to pursue further studies in this direction and look forward to acquiring these skills to better develop my career. I love photography, listening to music, and watching films and I have recently become addicted to playing badminton I look forward to making new friends during my time in the MGEM program.
A Vancouver local, here I am returning once more to the city whose grasp I cannot seem to escape. Just like every other Vancouverite and their dog, I take part in all the physical activities the province and surroundings have to offer. Please inquire to schedule mountain bike rides and surf trips. The world of physics and design is what initially enticed me at school. It is still a passion of mine in the form of personal projects of which I have countless on the go due to my over-ambition and lack of technical skill and funds. I have since moved scholastic focus to the world of geomatics for the way it can apply scientific methods and findings to seemingly abstract issues. I think that better knowledge of the way a system works means more accountability to act on improving it. I have been able to make efforts towards such accountability over the past year by acting as a volunteer geospatial analyst for the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, mapping and summarizing the state of species at risk within this province. Through a master’s program in geomatics, I hope to improve upon my ability to generate findings and create accountability for whomever they may concern.
I completed my Undergraduate Degree in Environmental Studies from Wilfrid Laurier University in 2020. I Grew up in Toronto and have spent the past two years living and working in Banff National Park. My undergraduate degree introduced me to geomatics, environmental impact assessments, urban sustainability, and a variety of other environmental fields. I spent my summers as a student ambassador for a non-profit environmental charity, Georgian Bay Forever. I was charged with monitoring and controlling the movement of invasive species in sensitive wetland environments. I now sit on my cottager’s association board of directors as the environmental director. I view geomatics as an essential tool for understanding fundamental environmental problems. I hope to use the skills acquired from MGEM to help inform decision makers and craft effective policy for environmental management. I wish to help governments responsibly react to urbanization and population growth in order to preserve our ever-degrading natural world and combat the climate crisis. In my free time, I enjoy backcountry ski touring, rock climbing, hiking, and exploring the outdoors.
I am Chenyu from Shandong, China. I studied at the China University of Geosciences in Beijing and the University of Waterloo for Science and Business for my undergraduate study (a 2+2 program). I enjoy watching various natural documentaries and movies, listening to music, and hanging out with my friends. I have always been impressed by the wonders of nature and the diversity of our ecosystem, so I hope to learn more about the environment and apply that knowledge to the surrounding world through this program.
Bonjour! 😊 I am Andrée-Anne, I grew up in a Francophone town just outside of Montreal called Joliette. During my post-secondary education, I had the opportunity to explore and study at various institutions. My passions and drive to learn led me to first obtain a college diploma in languages, followed by a Bachelor’s degree from Bishop’s University; graduating with a Double Major in Environmental and International Studies, as well as a Minor Spanish. I also simultaneously completed a Graduate Program in Climate Change. To complement my undergraduate experience, I studied in Spain at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and the University of the Basque Country. Throughout my university years, I was involved in multiple projects, such as laboratory work examining pollen grains for Professor Matthew Peros’s paleoenvironmental research and archeological project. I also volunteered as a manager for two student associations focusing on sustainability and organic agriculture. For my graduate studies, I want to foster my skills for research, environmental management, geomatics, and business to build a solid foundation to pursue an impactful green career. MGEM is my ideal program as it aligns with my values and interests, and it is located in my favourite Canadian city, Vancouver. In my free time, I hike and ski with friends. I am into fitness and yoga, and I love playing piano and creating vegan recipes!
I have a love and appreciation for the outdoors as I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado and spent a lot of time with outdoor pursuits in the Canadian Rockies, specifically Banff National Park. I graduated from UBC with a major in environment and sustainability, and a minor in geographic information science (GIS) and geographical computation. I’m excited about the MGEM program because GIS has many fascinating applications, and is extremely pertinent to environmental management. I want to further my education in GIS in order to learn more about sustainable ways of managing the environment. I am interested in how geospatial data can be used to analyze and understand global habitats. I would like to look at new and innovative ways of managing the planet to help create a more sustainable future. My experience has taught me that it is important to look at a variety of cultures and histories to create innovative solutions to our current climate crisis. Through my education and experiences traveling, I realized I am passionate about sustainable urban environments that protect ecosystems and their biodiversity while promoting human wellbeing and development. I believe it is crucial to equate environmental conservation to human preservation. With anthropogenic climate change being felt around the globe, sustainable development, and sustainable environmental management should provide the future direction for our planet. It would be fantastic to work alongside people who are attempting to create a more sustainable and healthy world for not only humanity, but for all species on this tiny pale blue dot.
Hi, I’m Honghong and I grew up in Nanchang, China. I have just completed my undergraduate study at UBC in urban forestry. It is a really amazing program and I built my interest in trees and GIS there. After taking a GIS introductory course at UBC, I got an internship about building provincial geodatabase in China. During the internship, I was involved in designing database structures and developing a system framework. I found my passion in GIS in this position then I decided to study further in this field. Currently, I’m working as an undergraduate academic assistant in studying increased urban heating in cities at UBC, where I can use my GIS skills to assess how urban design and landscape configuration influences human comfort and behavior in cities. It’s my mission to digitalize this world through GIS and explore more opportunities in forests. This is also the reason that brought me to MGEM program. I’m looking forward to working with other MGEM students!
Born and raised in Vancouver, I completed my undergraduate degree at UBC in Geography, with a focus on Human Geography, before pursuing a brief 4-year career in the financial services sector. My experiences in undergrad in tandem with real world challenges assisting clients affected by BC’s increasingly worsening fire seasons and flooding in the Fraser Valley instilled in me a need to transition careers and assist with our response to climate change in whatever manner possible. Ideally, I’m looking to apply my skills gained from my undergraduate degree, my prior career experience and the new skills I will attain from MGEM to a role with either the government, an NGO, or in industry, that assists communities affected by these ever worsening disasters and provides modelling to forecast as best we can what our future may look like and how best to prepare our communities for worsening climatic extremes. My research interests center around the intimate connection between physical and human geography, human geography as it relates to land use patterns, the role of climate on human migration, and using GIS toolsets in the context of historical geography, anthropology and archaeology. Outside of that, I’m a huge fan of swimming, rock climbing, hiking, and lounging in the woods reading a good book!
Sarah Moniz de Sa
I was born in Ottawa, Canada but made the move to Burnaby when I was 3- years-old. My time growing up on the west coast has been highly influential in my interest of the natural world. In 2019 I graduated from Simon Fraser University with a Bachelor in Science majoring in Biological sciences. During my time as an undergraduate student, I volunteered in the Gries Laboratory which facilitates chemical ecology research. My duties consisted of maintenance and care for a colony of Steatoda grossa spiders, commonly known as the False Black Widow. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to conduct my own independent research project and collaborate with the spider research team. I developed a method to dissect the abdomen of the spiders to elucidate aspects of pheromone production and utilize bioassays with the pheromone. After graduating I spent a summer volunteering for the Edible Garden Project, where I learned the fundamentals and day to day tasks on a small sustainable farm. At the same time, I found a position as an Animal Care Technician at Urban Safari Rescue Society where my role was divided between animal care and education. In my search for graduate programs, I got involved in Landscaping throughout Vancouver. I have been working in Landscaping of both commercial and residential capacities for over a year now and have learned a great deal of applied skills. I believe that the MGEM program is a perfect way for me to combine my knowledge of biology, ecology and the practical side of landscape management to the topic of geomatics and remote sensing. As a resident of Vancouver, I spend a lot of time biking around the seawall, hiking local mountains and if the snow permits it skiing. I am very much looking forward to learning new tools to appreciate, analyze and manage the environment that I love so much.
Norman Nduna grew up from a small town called Luanshya in Zambia. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Management (distinction) from the Copperbelt University, a second highest learning institution in Zambia . Currently, Norman works as a data analyst for the Wildlife Crime Prevention organisation where he is applying GIS and remote sensing skills to identify illegal wildlife trade routes and promote biodiversity conservation in the country. Norman has over two years work experience with so many environmental and conservation organisations, holding positions ranging from intern to field ecologist. His interest to study the MGEM program at the University of British Columbia was as a result of the pressing environmental problems and challenges that have bedevilled our planet Earth. Norman believes that the MGEM program at UBC will enhance his technical and research skills to help combat climate change, poaching, pollution, overexploitation of natural resources, invasive species and other environmental hazards. Besides school, Norman loves signing, watching soccer, making friends and reading. He is ecstatic and thrilled to be part of the class of 2022/23 MGEM program at UBC.
Hi! My name is Wenyan, and I grew up in Beijing, China. I recently completed my undergraduate degree in Earth and Environmental Sciences at McMaster University. Throughout the past four years of study, I discovered a particular interest in the effects of climate change and also environmental sustainability, which led me to pursue a minor in Sustainability. Last summer, I had the opportunity to intern in an environmental consulting team with a major focus on the topic of carbon neutrality. With the previous experience, I realized how technical skills could be combined with the many areas and help to solve the environmental issues, which brings me to the MGEM program. I’m looking forward to broadening my geomatics knowledge and acquiring the skills in GIS and remote sensing, and expanding my future career path. I enjoy travelling, bujo, and video games in my spare time.
Hi! My name is Serene. I grew up in the coastal city of Trivandrum, India. Later, I moved to Chennai as an undergrad at SRM university and majored in computer science. I worked on environmental data projects in my initial years of undergrad; this sparked me to look for more opportunities in this field. My recent work was with Mitacs, where I used geomatics and SFM photogrammetry to analyze the rate of soil erosion from the Okanagan lakeshore. Today, humans benefit tremendously from the best use of natural resources through advanced technologies; hence, I want to contribute to these resources’ conservation and sustainable use through my future work. The MGEM program at UBC will help me learn advanced GIS tools to manage and monitor the natural environment. In my time away from academics, I enjoy cycling, kayaking, horse riding, and shopping.
Leisy Ruixi Zhang
My name is Leisy (Ruixi), and I was born and raised in Shandong, China. I have just graduated from UBC with a BSc in forest resources management. I love traveling, as it could allow me to experience different sceneries and cultures. I would also be glad to attend music festivals in my free time. With a piqued interest in GIS and especially remote sensing technologies, I took the initiative to take relevant courses and programs in the past few years. Realizing the crucial use of GIS and remote sensing technologies for making informed decisions that impact environmental management, I think that the Master of Geomatics for Environmental Management program would be the optimal choice for me. And my long-term professional ambition is to consult in the area where science meets the urgent social needs in the Global South.
I am Yuanning, an international student from Beijing, China. I completed my undergraduate studies in environmental science/ geoscience at the University of Waterloo. By coming to UBC and enrolling in MGEM, I hope to enhance my GIS skills and learn more about the geomatics field. My dream career is to be a professional in the environmental industry.
Hi! My name is Xiaoqing Sun and my friends call me Sunny. I was born and raised in Weifang, Shandong, China, known as the city of kites for its 2,400 years of flying kites. I finished my undergraduate degree majoring in forest resources management at UBC. During my undergraduate period, I took one of the courses learning GIS where my final project for the course required me to find the most suitable location for holding a music festival in Vancouver. I found that I very much enjoy the process of using GIS software: Every step gives me a sense of achievement. It is even more rewarding to see the resulting map designed according to my own preferences. The passion and the outstanding grade I gained from learning GIS really gives me courage to further study in field of geomatics. I can’t wait to gaining more professional skills so I can devote myself to GIS careers. In my spare time, I am a real K-pop fan, a true movie lover and an enthusiastic traveler.
I am a member of the Mikisew Cree First Nation, and was raised in communities all around Treaty 6 Territory in what is now called Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I spent her last year achieving her B.A. of Geography in Environment and Sustainability, while also focusing my studies in First Nations & Indigenous Studies at UBC Vancouver. Professionally, I recently joined The Firelight Group, an Indigenous-owned environmental consulting firm as an Indigenous Planning Research Intern where I have been able to grow my knowledge in various areas of environmental management by working for Indigenous Nations all across Canada. I plan to continue applying the skills developed within the MGEM degree at The Firelight Group upon completion of the program. My main hobby these days has been developing my beading skills and connecting with my Indigenous culture. In my free time, I am also a consultant on the development of an Indigenous Youth Engagement Strategy for a BC climate organization. I also served as a BCCIC Youth Delegate for COP 26 where I advocated for the inclusion of Indigenous perspectives in the global climate conversation and contributed on a policy brief on calling for a Just Transition in Canada.
Wendi Vaness Huang
Hello! I am Vanness, born and raised in Guangzhou, China. I moved to Vancouver with my family when I was in grade 10. In my high school years, I actively participated in volunteer activities, a coastline plastic waste cleanup action reminded me of the exponential pollution that transformed my hometown and the huge effort that the government spent on ecological restoration. So, “enabling a greener tomorrow” has become my lifelong goal, and the driving force underlying my acquisition of a Bachelor of Environment in Global Environmental Systems degree from Simon Fraser University. In doing so, I immensely broadened my understanding of subtopics pertinent to geology, hydrology, various ecosystems, and climate change. I was also introduced to GIS for the first time. In one of my projects about the role of rock water absorption in plant coping strategies to drought, I proposed several methods for using rock water to obtain direct evidence of plants under water stress, including identifying water sources through isotope analysis and monitoring plant health through GIS platforms. Through this project, I realized the importance of using GIS techniques for earth system-related research and the benefits of incorporating them into environmental management and conservation. Since then, applying innovative methods to assist with environmental conservation and management initiatives has become my utmost goal, culminating in my decision to ultimately secure a position as a GIS Analyst, and that career goal brought me here to the program of MGEM. I can’t wait to strengthen and explore more practical GIS skills with all MGEMers. In my spare time, I like travelling, dancing, and watching movies.
Hello! My name is Xilin Wan. I am from China and moved to Victoria, BC when I was 15. I am a recent graduate majoring in Global Environmental Systems with certificates in Geographic Information Science and Computing Studies at Simon Fraser University. I created a wildfire recovery model to simulate and predict the recovery area by using IDRISI Terrset and ArcGIS software as my capstone project. During my spare time, I enjoy travelling and hiking. The environmental issues I witnessed from my trips inspired me to apply my spatial analysis and programming skills to promote sustainable environmental management and urban planning projects. I believe the MGEM program is a wonderful opportunity to explore the integration of technology, statistics and GIS in resolving planning and managing problems under the tension of climate change. Upon completing this program, I want to pursue a career where I can apply my skills and professional knowledge to positively impact the current environmental issues. Lastly, I am looking forward to communicating with faculty members and students in both the GIS and forestry fields.
Tsz Wing Ng
Hello! I am Jackie, a chemistry graduate. I was born and grew up in Hong Kong. I had been working in an arboricultural company after receiving multidisciplinary research training in the Organic-Inorganic Supramolecular and Hybrid Nanomaterials Chemistry Group at the Hong Kong Baptist University. My passion for the study of arboriculture flourished when I saw the gut-wrenching link between climate change and the frequent occurrences of wildfire of unprecedented scale and force over the past couple of years. When I worked in the arboricultural company, the work elicited my enormous interest in applying GIS and remote sensing in designing, monitoring, and evaluating sustainable pest management strategies. I was in awe by the power and potential of geomatics in tackling environmental problems. Eventually, it led me to MGEM at UBC. Upon graduation, I dedicate myself to becoming a geospatial analyst to provide insights into complex environmental issues and explore alternatives to mitigating climate change.
My name is Jiayu Wu, and I am incredibly enthusiastic about the possibility of continuing my educational development by joining the graduate community in the University of British Columbia’s Master of Geomatics for Environmental Management program. As an international student from China, I have established a tremendous passion for this discipline while majoring in Mathematics and Environmental Science at the University of Toronto. Studying at this prestigious institution has enabled me to consider the urgency of addressing global sustainability issues, and I believe the Master of Geomatics for Environmental Management degree will greatly help in refining my managerial expertise as I aim to become a Geomatics Analyst. Setting aside my academic and professional motivations, I also strongly wish to elaborate upon my personal hobbies as well as my workplace experiences. Presently, I assist Alpha Libertée in numerous investigative and business initiatives as an Environmental Sustainability Researcher. Since February 2022, I have augmented my comprehension of environmental strategies with a particular focus on exploring business development techniques in the fintech industry. Aside from my occupational engagements, my personal interests include playing basketball and listening to music throughout the course of my daily activities.
My name is Zitong and I was born and raised in Karamay, China. I completed my undergraduate degree at UBC in Environmental Sciences, with an area of concentration in Land, Air, and Water. This is where I was first exposed to GIS and remote sensing and have developed my GIS operation skills. I recently completed the community project in partnership with UBC Farm to examine the temporal patterns and spatial distributions of bat biodiversity. I also have short-term work experience in monitoring the impacts of petroleum hydrocarbons containing water on seed germination in the Environmental Monitoring Station, where I have exercised my statistical and analytical skills. I decided to take MGEM program because it provides the opportunity to study the professional skills needed to explore environmental issues and conservation. I am excited to learn more about using remote sensing tools to investigate forest and soil degradation throughout the MGEM program. I enjoy cooking and love trying out different cuisines while travelling.
My name is Chenghao, and I grew up in Taiyuan, Shanxi. Throughout my life, I have always maintained a strong interest in ideas that help people and the environment, and it was for this reason I enrolled in a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science degree at Simon Fraser University, with a certificate in GIS. During my undergraduate studies, I greatly enjoyed hiking in Metro Vancouver, and both experiencing and studying the “Greenest City Action Plan” initiative, and this further inspired to me to devote my career to environmental protection efforts. Specifically, I gained a strong interest in GIS applications such as remote sensing and geo-visualization, and this encouraged me to apply to the Master of Geomatics for Environmental Management program at the esteemed University of British Columbia. I firmly believe that the MGEM program represents the ideal environment in which to bolster my skill set and develop further knowledge of GIS applications, and I look forward to developing the necessary skills and insights to solve problems in environmental management while helping build better spaces for people to live.
Hello, my name is Brian and I grew up in Prince George, BC but have spent the last 15 years doing a tour of Alberta which has allowed me to live in Edmonton, Castor, Estevan (SK), Red Deer, Calgary, Zama, Jasper and finally, Banff. I spend most of my free time outside; I have a love for skiing (x-country, backcountry, resort), biking (gravel/bike packing, downhill), and hiking. I have a bad habit of signing up for races that are beyond my skill and endurance levels, which I am working on. I am very excited to explore the trails near Vancouver and to have a longer bike season plus access to the world-renowned terrain along Duffy Lake Rd! For the last six years, I have had the pleasure of working for Parks Canada in a terrestrial restoration capacity in Banff National Park. I’ve enjoyed managing the whitebark pine recovery, native plant propagation, invasive vegetation management, and disturbed site restoration portfolios. I’ve been fortunate to be involved in several aspects related to fire management, including wildfire risk reduction, prescribed fire planning/monitoring/implementation, and incident management. Before Parks Canada, I worked as an Environmental Coordinator for Apache Canada. Recently I obtained accreditation through the Society of Ecological Restoration (SER) as a Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner (CERP) and look forward to continually learning new methods in this ever-expanding field. I chose the MGEM program to expand my geomatics skillset to make better informed (data-driven) resource management decisions that improve conservation and restoration outcomes.
Hello! My name is Weijian Yang. I grew up in Chuzhou, a small city in the eastern part of China. I got my bachelor’s degree from Wilfrid Laurier University in Environmental Studies. I was introduced to GIS during my study at WLU, where I found GIS a practical subject relevant to our daily life. The courses offered by MGEM truly excited me, which, along with my willingness to discover greater knowledge of our blue planet, made me decide to join this program. In my free time, I like playing various sports, such as football, table tennis, and snowboarding. During the holidays, I also love to travel and take pictures, with not only a digital camera but also a film camera. Hope to meet more friends at UBC.
Previous degree: Bachelor of Science, Informatics (University of Washington)
Hello! My name is Wendi. I grew up in the city of Tangshan in China. I graduated from the Urban Forestry program at UBC in the spring of 2022 with a minor in Landscape and Recreation Planning. Early into my undergraduate studies, I found myself passionate about urban green equity and climate resiliency of vulnerable communities. This led me to become interested in geospatial technologies because of their power of visualizing those pressing socio-environmental issues. Over the course of my degree, I was fortunate to work as a research assistant at the Urban Nature Design Research Lab to practice my GIS and data processing skills with my involvement in the Metro Vancouver Park project and the Urban Sprawl Retrofitting project. In the future, I would like to explore how geospatial technologies can be used in wildfire prevention and promoting a proactive emergency fire response. In my spare time, I love to reconnect with nature. Hiking, kayaking or visiting beaches are my favourite activities.
I was born in Huzhou, China. During my undergraduate study at Tamkang University in Taiwan and graduate study at HKUST, I finished two theses that mainly about water resources and climate change. However, it is not enough just to have a deep understanding and knowledge reserve of this field academically. After I continued to work in this field as an assistant environmental consultant, I realized the importance of land management by using different kinds of geological software. In this modern society where big data is getting more and more mature, we must learn to use various tools to process and analyze data in order to better identify problems and solve them and I still have a lot of room for improvement.
Hello! My name is Jack Zhao. I was born and raised in Beijing, China and moved to Vancouver when I was 14. I recently just graduated from the Natural Resources Conservation Program here at UBC Forestry. Throughout my undergraduate studies, I have gained deeper insights into the integrated role of natural and social sciences along with technologies in addressing conservation challenges. In particular, I have developed interests in GIS and remote sensing. It amazes me how powerful they are when it comes to identifying, monitoring, managing and mitigating human impacts on ecosystems. Conservation often works with wicked problems as it attempts to maintain a balance between the protection of nature and human needs, and I believe that geomatics is crucial to finding the solutions. In hoping to play a valuable role in protecting and managing our natural environments, I feel the necessity and urge to expand my knowledge and technical toolkit. During my spare time, you will probably find me in the local climbing gyms or crags. I am also a big music nerd and play in a couple of bands.