Where are MGEM students and instructors from?

Discover the global MGEM community of current students, alumni, teaching assistants and instructors (past and present).

Current Students

Jeremy Allen

Jeremy Allen

I am a recent graduate from McGill University and the University of Toronto, where I received my Bachelor’s and M.A. degrees in history. During my studies these past few years, I became passionate about understanding the relationship between nature and society, a discipline referred to as the “environmental humanities”. To answer the many questions I had about the histories of famine or the socio-ecological impacts of climatic change, for instance, I needed to go beyond the historical archive and expand my technical toolbox. With these new skills in geomatics, I’m looking forward to being able to better answer these questions, as well as discover new ways in which geospatial analysis can help us understand the world we live in. In the future, I hope to take my skills and passions to pursue a career in journalism, the NGO sector, or academia. Outside of work and study, I volunteer with the 1947 Partition Archive, helping to ensure that the record of survivors’ migrations are geographically accurate. I can also be found biking or hiking, as well practicing my Persian and Arabic which I picked up while studying in my hometown, Montreal.


Jordan Akers

Jordan Akers

I grew up in Clearwater BC. I studied statistics and environmental management at Quest University Canada in Squamish. My undergraduate honours thesis analyzed how payment-based conservation can positively or negatively influence how people perceive the value of nature. Outside of academia, I have alternated between two seasonal positions: summers working for the British Columbia Wildfire Service and winters as a data analyst in environmental consulting. I highly enjoy the fieldwork, excitement and intensity that comes from fighting wildfires, but find balance in spending time tackling ecological issues through the organization and manipulation of large data sets. These different jobs made me realize I wanted to learn more about GIS and spatial analysis. In my spare time, I prioritize an active outdoor lifestyle: ski-touring, mountain biking, rock climbing, and mountaineering, preferably with friends!


Yanqing (Molly) Bai

Yanqing Molly Bai

I’m Yanqing Bai (Molly). I was born and raised in Shenyang, China. Shenyang is a northeastern city in China and has a palace museum, not the forbidden city in Beijing, but a very small one. I studied in the University of Toronto and chose the Environmental Science and Physical and Environmental Geography as my majors. Throughout my undergraduate period, I was exposed to GIS because of my geography major and I became interested in GIS and decided to add a GIS minor. In the last year of my undergraduate, I thought I needed to learn more technical skills and what I was interested in. However, I didn’t have enough time and opportunities to learn GIS. Therefore, I applied for the MGEM program in UBC and started my new journey. I enjoy painting, singing and writing some novels or stories in Chinese.


Andrew Butt

Andrew Butt

Hello! My name is Andrew. I am from Toronto, but my love for the mountains brought me to UBC in 2015 for my undergraduate degree in Geography, Environment and Sustainability. I am very excited to be returning for the MGEM program. Over the course of my degree, I spent my summers in the field, from guiding canoe trips in northern Ontario and Quebec to working in the High Arctic as a field research assistant. I connected my passion for the outdoors to my education by taking a mixture of courses in physical geography, biology, ecology, and geographic information systems, which led me to two research assistant roles: an arctic tundra ecology lab assistant and a geospatial data assistant. I am interested in combining my knowledge and experience in the field with a higher level of geomatics to work on projects of sustainable environmental management from start to finish. I believe the MGEM program is the perfect place for me to further develop my skills and pursue work related to environmental impact assessment and remediation. While I am particularly interested in the Canadian Arctic, I am excited to develop my skills across Canada and the globe. I am very excited to make new professional and peer-based connections, be challenged, and learn from a high-caliber interdisciplinary team of professors.


Wilson Chan

Wilson Chan

Hi, my name is Wilson and I came from Hong Kong. I am passionate about geography and maps since I was a child, which drove me to select Surveying and Geo-informatics at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University as the major subject of my undergraduate education. I have been working in the public sector and the Airport Authority Hong Kong for over 15 years after my graduation. During that period of time, I got the chance to participate in the program development of the cadastral information system with the aim of GIS software. I also studied a part-time Master Program of Transportation Engineering and Management at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, which provided me the opportunity to develop my skills in analyzing and managing the transportation systems with the aim of GIS and simulation software. Through my studying and working experiences, I understood that how powerful GIS is in spatial analysis and visualization which could make our lives easier and more convenient. I believe that my learning experience in the UBC would broaden my knowledge and skills in applying GIS into different aspects, especially the environmental issues for future sustainable urban planning. Being the father of two children, I love to bring them for outdoor activities such as cycling, hiking and camping. I am also interested in playing badminton during my spare time.


Sijin Chen

Sijin Chen

Hi there! I’m Sijin Chen. I was born and raised in China. I came to Canada when I was 16 years old. I completed high school in New Foundland. I soon decided to devote myself to environmental conservation in grade 10 geography class. I still remember the moment I amazed by those beautiful rocks and minerals in geography lab. Then I flew all the way to Vancouver for my undergraduate. I graduated from Simon Fraser University with a B.S. (Honours) in Environmental Science with a focus in Earth System. In 2018 and 2019, I worked as a research assistant at Agriculture Canada. During my undergrad, I developed a strong understanding of environmental science and ecological conservation. I studied Geogle Earth Engine for my honours thesis research, and I realized spatial analysis and Geographical Information Science would be a great help in terms of understanding environment related issues nowadays. In my spare time, I love snowboarding, swimming and fishing (despite that I can hardly ever catch any). I am so excited to join UBC MGEM! I hope to gain skills and knowledges in remote sensing and GIS to better study environment issues.


Yujie Chen

Yujie Chen

I am Yujie from Guangdong, China. I completed my undergrad at UBC as a BA in Environment and Sustainability at the Department of Geography. Through curricular studies and various academic researches, I learned that GIS is not limited to combine knowledge in various areas for multidimensional analysis and evaluation, but also to be used in disseminating beneficial information to the public in an artistic way. With the rapid development of technology, GIS can be transformational and significantly influence the way we think and behave. I look forward to applying the hands-on quantitative spatial skills from MGEM to tackle pressing socio-environmental issues across multiple fields in the future. Outside of study, I am an enthusiastic illustrator and a big fan of K-pop.


Siyu Cheng

Siyu Cheng

My name is Siyu, and I was born and raised in Xi’an, a city that is famous for Terracotta Warriors. I have pursued my undergraduate studies at UBC in the Forest Resources Management program. I have had the pleasure of previously working as a Natural Resources Technician on the unceded territory of the Wet’suwet’en people. I assisted in land monitoring and conducted field data analysis in a forest development planning project. In my spare time, I enjoy swimming, hiking, and biking. In the past four years, I spent most of my Christmas holidays at Cypress Mountain and Whistler for snowboarding. I can often be found at the UBC Aquatic Centre in the summer. I am passionate about working with Indigenous Peoples, and I would like to work as a natural resources planner within community forests upon completion of the MGEM program. I am looking forward to honing my skills in creating sustainable management plans and conducting resource assessment with geomatics-focused tools. I am incredibly excited to become a part of the MGEM program and make new friends.


James Eaton

James Eaton

Hi my name is James. I grew up in Calgary, exploring the outdoors and skiing competitively in Fernie, BC. I am a graduate from the University of Lethbridge with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science. This program offered a mix of environmental and data analysis courses where I discovered a passion for GIS. In my final semester I completed an independent study using GIS to determine the potential of a solar farm for the City of Lethbridge in areas that would cause minimal impact to the environment. My goal in the MGEM program is to further my education by gaining a master’s degree in a field I am passionate about and learn the skills necessary to make more impactful contributions towards solving environmental issues.


Joshua Evans

Joshua Evans

With the Rocky Mountains being right on the doorstep of my hometown in Calgary Alberta, wild landscapes have always been foundational to my identity. To greater understand the landscapes that surround me and my place within them, I pursued a BSc in Environmental Science at the University of Calgary where I fell in love with researching environmental issues, and with the process of ‘getting your hands dirty’ science. I have had the privilege to work on a multitude of research projects spanning a wide range of disciplines. This has included working in a terrestrial ecology lab focusing on the health Alberta’s forests, investigating the effects of smoke transport on the geochemistry of small watersheds, and working with the Boreal Ecosystem and Recovery and Assessment (BERA) Project to develop remote sensing tools that help inform seismic line restoration strategies. I am excited to be a part of the MGEM program as I view geomatics as a critical part of researching and modeling ecosystems, managing our natural resources, and is becoming essential for understanding how to sustain the worlds ecosystems. I see geomatics as the future of environmental management – a future I want a stake in. Upon completing my MGEM degree, I hope to leverage my environmental science degree and research experience to find a role in geomatics with government, NGOs, or in the private sector where I can participate in informing land use decisions based on science, and that aim to preserve biodiversity.


Gal Kaufman

Gal Kaufman

My name is Gal Kaufman, and I’m an architect with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in architecture. Three years ago, I decided that my studies were not enough, and I completed another master’s degree in landscape architecture at the University of Toronto. I enjoy traveling with my family and explore different cultures and landscapes. I am excited about the MGEM program because I desire to have a better understanding of managing the urban space that takes over our lives. This program is unique to me and will allow me to perform analyses and understand the urban environment and innovative ways to accommodate it. I am excited to start studying at the Faculty of Forestry of UBC and connecting with friends in the field who will become future partners.


Jake Klonsky

Jake Klonsky

My name is Jake, and I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Oregon. I recently graduated from UBC with a BA in Geography in the Environment and Sustainability program. Like many of my fellow MGEM students, I have a deep love for the outdoors and, in my free time, can be usually be found in the woods, either backcountry skiing, hiking or biking. During my undergraduate degree, I was introduced to GIS and remote sensing techniques and was quickly drawn to their utility and ability to address real-world questions. My decision to attend the MGEM program is driven by the urgency of our time to address our environmental challenges and to deepen my geomatics toolbox.


Cameron Lacelle

Cameron Lacelle

My name is Cameron Lacelle, and I am originally from Port Colborne, Ontario and spent my last four years studying GIS & Environmental Analysis at the University of Guelph. I also had a chance in 2019 to partake in an exchange semester where I studied for four months in Scotland at the University of Stirling. As for my previous work experience, I worked for the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority as a summer student during my Bachelor’s degree. Before attending UBC, I lived in Ontario between my hometown and the city of Guelph, however I also spent some time over the last two years living outside Canada where I lived in both Scotland and Germany. My hobbies include playing pond hockey when the winter weather allows it, and I also enjoy camping and hiking year-round. Travel is also something I try to do often, as I find experiencing foreign cultures and landscapes quite enjoyable. Currently, I also spend my free time learning to speak German to which I’ve enjoyed every minute of it! Enrolling in a Master’s degree program in the field of Geomatics and Environmental Management comes from my love for the natural world, and my passion for working with GIS that dates back to my early years of high school when I was first introduced. In the future, I hope to acquire a career with a municipality or conservation authority as a GIS analyst, and I’d love to potentially find a position in the future where I would reside outside of Canada.


Tsz Him (Anson) Lau

Tsz Him (Anson) Lau

Hi! My name is Anson. Born and raised in Hong Kong, I love taking photos and hiking in my beautiful home city. I graduated from the Chinese University of Hong Kong majoring in Geography and Resource Management, where I was mostly interested in attending courses regarding geography information science and environmental practices. Thanks to the advancement of technology, I notice that geomatics science offers a new perspective in analyzing spatial problems through linking various sets of data, and hence discovering more accurate spatial patterns for better planning and management. Therefore, I completed the summer internship as an assistant GIS Analyst, which brought me sense of satisfaction when solving real-life environmental issues. Such experience motivates me to apply for this master programme to become a professional geospatial specialist. After graduation, I wish to devote myself to the field of geomatics and contribute to projects related to natural resource allocation, environmental research and land use planning.


Yiwei Lyu

Yiwei Lyu

My name is Yiwei and I grew up in Wuhan, China. I have just completed my undergraduate study in the Forest Resources Management at UBC. Before coming to UBC, I received the Bachelor’s degree of Geographic Information Science from Northeast Forestry University (NEFU) in China. At NEFU, I learnt a lot about GIS, and decided to work in the field of GIS. I have four research experiences of GIS and RS. From my research experiences, I find that I am passionate about Remote Sensing technology and its application in forestry. In addition, I am also interested in exploring how the RS data tells us about the real world. These passion and interest inspire me to pursue the MGEM program. I believe that MGEM can help me enter the field of RS, and can provide me the technologies and methods to develop the field.


S. Tosh McKetta

S. Tosh McKetta

Archaeologist by training, forester by circumstance, and GIS analyst by aspiration. Before entering the program, I worked as a contract archaeologist throughout the Rocky Mountains of the United States. Though originally from the forests of northern Idaho, I spent the last 13 years in Colorado. I was educated at the Universities of Idaho (BS) and Montana (MA) and recently earned a GIS certificate from the University of Washington. An avid outdoorsman, I am often found hiking to some remote destination with my wife and dog. Through the program, I hope to gain a broad spectrum view of landscape level GIS analysis that will facilitate a future career in GIS as it applies to natural resources. The MGEM program’s combination of technical skills, business knowledge, and ecosystem management background provides the perfect backdrop to succeed in this goal.


Kyle Melnick

Kyle Melnick

I live in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia where I’m currently building a sushi & dumpling food truck. It wasn’t the dumplings that brought me to Geomatics but rather my career immersed in the world of data. After a degree in Cognitive Systems from UBC I started a data analytics company. We worked mainly in aerospace designing analytical interfaces for subject matter experts. Researching how to design effective data visualizations during my undergrad means I’m a big fan of well-designed information. While the work and building the company was a great experience I wasn’t passionate about helping large companies make more money so I traded my laptop for a camera and the office for a van and set out across Canada on a documentary TV series called Striking Balance. The series immersed me in the diversity of people working and living in sensitive and biodiverse ecosystems. Inspired by these stories, I’m using MGEM to transition my data skills to work directly with communities – to combine their traditional ecological knowledge with spatial data to map, monitor, and manage the ecological goods and services in their environments. I’m always keen to talk data, crazy business ideas, invasive species, philosophy of the mind or dumplings.


Mackenna Montgomery

Mackenna (Mac) Montgomery

Hi, my name is Mac Montgomery! I was born in Edmonton and grew up in Southern California. I graduated from UBC with a Bachelor’s degree in Forest Resources Management Program, and completed my Advanced GIS Certification with BCIT. I was first introduced to GIS and Geomatics in my undergrad; it has grown into one of my passions—specifically in the field of environmental and disaster management. Through my Advanced Certification, I have grown heavily in the space of Wildfire risk assessment in conjunction with GIS systems. My goal is to try and find a detailed and cohesive way of predicting the risk of natural disasters such as Wildfires. I hope to take all I can learn through the MGEM program and apply it to better my knowledge and practices in GIS and Geomatics and develop my career.


Meagan Ng

Meagan Ng

My name is Meagan and I grew up in Vancouver B.C. I completed my degree in Geography with a focus in Environment and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia. During my undergrad, I discovered my interests in GIS and remote sensing. I’m excited to further my education through the MGEM program and gain new technical skills that can help expand my skillset. This program aligns with my interests in environmental issues and I’m excited to see how geospatial data can address environmental concerns. Outside of school, I enjoy biking, playing video games, and graphic design!


Robin Ong

Robin Ong

Having only taken an interest in trees in my mid-twenties, I was a late bloomer in my appreciation for the environment. What I lack in an inspirational story of tree-hugging origins, I more than make up for it with an enthusiasm for technology and its place in enabling positive change. The search for knowledge found me pursuing a Forest Sciences degree in the Australian National University, followed by arboricultural work in Singapore’s National Parks Board, which had me conducting advanced tree risk assessments, diving deep into the fields of biomechanics, plant pathology and geospatial technologies. A tech junkie at heart, I seek in MGEM skills and novel approaches that can inform previously unquantifiable aspects of land and forest management, solving problems in an effective, efficient manner. When I am not running, biking, swimming or rearing chickens, I can be found up in a tree or in the sea, gaining inspiration from nature’s offerings.


Amira Reimer

Amira Reimer

My name is Amira and I grew up in London, England. I recently completed my undergraduate degree at UBC in Geographical Sciences and throughout this time I became particularly interested in Biogeography. This has led me to become more conscious and concerned about ecological issues such as the effects of climate change on species distributions and biodiversity loss. I have also been fortunate enough to complete two environmental-focused courses in Haida Gwaii where I became more aware of environmental issues that small communities and Indigenous communities face. Through the MGEM program, I am looking forward to expanding my knowledge of geomatics and understanding the ways in which these tools can be applied to help solve complex environmental issues. Looking to the future, I am interested in using geomatics to help protect natural habitats that are at risk of human disturbance and habitat fragmentation. I am also interested in analyzing the impacts of climate change on biodiversity and finding ways to restore plant and animal populations in damaged ecosystems. In my free time, I enjoy spending time in nature through cycling, climbing and hiking


Rebecca Saunders

Rebecca Saunders

Hello, I’m Rebecca and I’m from small town in Ontario, just north of Toronto. I completed my Undergraduate studies at the University of Guelph, in the Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences program. Early into my Undergraduate career I was exposed to GIS, and in my experience it has enhanced my ability to learn and understand the world around me through an environmental and quantitative lens. As an environmental scientist, I’ve developed a passion for water quality, rights, and security. During my undergrad, I was privileged to work for Ontario Parks and the Water Resources department for the Regional Municipality of York. These jobs exposed me to the disproportionate environmental insecurity that marginalized communities in Canada encounter, and how geomatics can benefit them. Upon the completion of the MGEM program, I plan to pursue a career using geospatial technology to evaluate the impacts of industry on freshwater. My goal is to help communities thrive from both an environmental and social standpoint. When I’m not working you’ll find me dancing, hiking, skiing, or doing yoga. I’m excited to be joining the MGEM program and to gain new skills and friends along the way!


Harry Seely

Harrison Seely

I grew up in South Surrey, BC among the towering Western Redcedars and Douglas firs of the west coast. I am a naturalist who enjoys hiking, camping, and anything involving outdoor recreation. My passion for conversation led me to pursue an undergraduate degree at the University of Guelph in Wildlife Biology with a minor in GIS. My previous work experience includes employment as a research assistant at the University of Melbourne performing inventory survey of Eucalyptus forests. I have also worked as a research assistant for other conservation-related projects including urban park assessment and caribou behaviour monitoring. I wrote an undergraduate thesis investigating the practice of science in Canadian Environmental Assessment and how the government can adopt more rigorous scientific practices. Generally, my research interests include quantifying ecosystem services, improving indigenous-science knowledge system integration, and informing conservation policy. I enrolled in the MGEM program because I want to refine my computer-based analysis skills to contribute to forest and wildlife conservation in Western Canada. After completing my Master’s degree, I intend to work for a conservation NGO or the provincial government to help inform sustainable land use planning.


Courtney Stevens

Courtney Stevens

Hello! I’m coming from Toronto, Ontario; I attended the University of Toronto and successfully completed a BSc in Earth & English (double major). I love the environment as much as I love linguistics and language history. I pride myself on being a ‘jack of all trades’ in my work environment, and can move fluently between leadership roles and do-er roles. My hobbies include plants/gardening, nature baths, television, and video games. I decided to take this program because of my family’s legacy in land surveying, and because I aspire to apply what the MGEM teaches me to Arctic restoration/rehabilitation/harm reduction.


Olivia Waite

Olivia Waite

Hi! My name is Olivia, I grew up in Toronto, Ontario on the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee, the Mississaugas of the Credit and the Huron-Wendat peoples. My passion for environmental conservation has grown throughout the years by exploring local areas, tree planting in northern Ontario, witnessing truly awesome marine life while diving in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, working with field researchers in South Africa, and finding new places to climb, slackline and explore. I recently completed my BSc in Medical and Biological Physics with a minor in mathematics from McMaster University where I was fortunate to have found an avenue to merge my analytical background with my interest in environmental sustainability by taking courses specific to environmental modeling, spatial statistics and visualizations which piqued my curiosity in geomatics and led me to UBC’s MGEM program. I am currently working as a research liaison for eOceans, which is a platform for collaborative ocean science that is creating a space for transparent, real-time, effective ocean science through the use of data pipelines collected via citizen scientists. I am excited to learn more about the immense potential for problem solving that arises from the intersection of GIS and remote sensing by learning and collaborating with faculty and peers in the MGEM program. I intend to leave the program with the knowledge and technical skill set required to begin to tackle complex geospatial issues to help conserve the integrity of the natural world – land and sea.


Cheuk Yin Natalie Wong

Cheuk Yin Natalie Wong

My name is Natalie. I was born in Hong Kong and spent my teenage years in Beijing. I completed my Honours Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Toronto. I have experience in using GIS for wetland assessment and I want to further enhance my skills in using geomatics tools, techniques, and datasets to better safeguard vulnerable ecosystems across the country. I have worked as a teacher and taught Biology for several years in Hong Kong. With growing environmental concerns, I want to transition back to field work. Through this program, I hope to obtain more training in using geospatial data to facilitate better decision making in biodiversity conservation and habitat restoration. In my spare time, I enjoy biking, learning Japanese and playing with dogs.


Jiaxin Xie

Jiaxin Xie

Hi, I’m Jiaxin. I was born and raised in Chengdu, China. I finished my undergraduate study in Shanghai Jiao Tong University, with a major in Resource and Environmental Science. Then I pursued my first master of Environmental Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. My intention to protect animals out of my affection for them initiated my attention to environmental science, then joining environmental protection NGO, and volunteering to publicize and promote environmental protection consciousness and education helped me determine my lifelong career in environmental protection. I’ve always had a strong interest in global biodiversity conservation. To be more specific, I hope to realize my career goals mainly in the field of world natural heritage, protected areas and red list of threatened species, using the tools of spatial databases and information systems. The MGEM curriculum is focused to expose me to fundamental methodological tools and analytical skills in environmental management, which would be a good fit to support my career plan.


Qipeng Zhang

Qipeng Zhang

My hometown is Beijing, China. I studied Remote Sensing Science at the Capital Normal University in Beijing and Geomatics at the University of Waterloo in Canada, which is a 1+2+1 cooperative program. I enjoy playing basketball and listening to rap music. I want to improve my skills in GIS and cartography by taking the master courses, and become an engineer in webgis and cartopraphy in the future.


Yuxin Zhang

Yuxin Zhang

Hi! My name is Yuxin. I was born and raised in Dalian, China. I came to Canada four years ago for pursuing my undergraduate study at McMaster University, majoring in Earth & Environmental Sciences. I came across GIS in one of my second-year electives. Since then, I realized that I am really interested in utilizing technology tools to provide evidence-based data analysis and eventually obtained a Concurrent Certificate in GIS. During the last summer, I had an opportunity working with the Nature Conservancy of Canada to identify phragmites from various locations using GIS and remote sensing technologies. This summer, I am interning at XPeng Motors, one of the biggest electric car makers in China. My current project is focusing on producing high-accuracy maps for the future’s fully auto-pilot functions. These experiences have brought me here at MGEM to strengthen my geomatic-related skills and explore more options in my career path. In my spare time, I love hiking, traveling, and watching movies.