Current Students

From all around the world, our graduate students study a diverse range of topics. Learn more about some of the research conducted by our students below.

Francois du Toit
I enrolled in the Master of Geomatics for Environmental Management program at UBC in 2017 in order to increase my marketability and to broaden my future job prospects (I hold a BSc in Geology). Once enrolled, I realized that I was very interested in remote sensing and it was an avenue that I wanted to explore further.

My first exposure to UBC Forestry was through the MGEM program, but I have been living in Vancouver since 2009 when I moved here to do my undergraduate degree in Geology.

As mentioned previously, I took some remote sensing courses and found them to be very interesting. Being involved in the MGEM program meant that I had some exposure to the IRSS lab, so when the opportunity to work in the lab became a reality, it was very easy to say yes. I am interested in the information that we can extract from very dense LiDAR point clouds gathered with a UAV.

Most of my free time is dedicated to playing and coaching rugby and soccer.

Mingyao Song
I want to be a world-class researcher in the future and work in China. UBC Forestry is at the forefront with a good reputation. I would like to gain knowledge in the world-class academic environment and experience how things work. I really enjoy jogging.

Zhaohua Cheng
I aim to study the current state and good practices in urban forestry as a nature-based solution for sustainable development across the world. My research will be focused on urban forest governance policies, and planning of urban forests that have proven to be successful, and ways to optimize ecosystem service provision and enhance urban sustainability.

I have always enjoyed research, as it keeps my knowledge updated and allows me to figure out my questions in a structured and valid way. Through my work, I have learned a lot about urban challenges and urban forestry. I also became more and more interested in urban forest’s role in shaping a green, healthy, and happy city. I believe that pursuing a Ph.D. degree will allow me to further my study in my interested areas and help me reach my goals to share my knowledge of urban forestry and make the city more sustainable, healthy, and happy. I have been living in Vancouver for eight years, six years studying and two years working.

I graduated with MSc in Forestry from UBC in 2016. I really enjoyed my program and my research. UBC Forestry provides students with excellent support and resources. Since I graduated, I have been working for the Urban Forestry Program at UBC. This job provides me a lot of opportunities to connect with people working in the field of urban forestry, and I knew that if I wanted to continue my study in urban forestry, this is the best place – the combination of research, study, and work!

I enjoy hiking, jogging and listening to music.

Federico Lingua
I chose UBC because I felt that it would be a life-changing opportunity for me and my career. I lived in Turin (Italy) where I was an early stage researcher at the University of Turin. Because UBC Forestry is a cutting-edge faculty, I’m very excited about the research and fieldwork. I enjoy swimming and landscape photography.

Meagan Curtis
I would like to explore and think about practices that could soften future social and ecological consequences of our actions in the present. My supervisor’s values seemed to align with my own. We could use our theoretical work at the faculty to create responsible practices that lessen suffering and harm for future generations.

Sophie Nitoslawski
In order to ensure the long-term resilience of Canadian cities, it is vital to effectively plan, conserve, and manage our urban forests to maintain their positive benefits and enhance the complex suite of their provisioning services. My study will look to identify drivers associated with urban densification that may impact urban forest health and functioning, and inform future forest planning and land-use policies to make a stronger case for both retaining and planting trees for municipalities, land developers, and homeowners alike.

My interest in forest management was piqued during my undergraduate degree when during a frigid winter field trip to an old-growth forest we were challenged to measure trees while wearing mittens and snowshoes. I have always been fascinated by the interactions between humans and nature in our cities, and my Master’s thesis followed suit by focusing on the effects of suburban development on urban forest biodiversity. Contributing original research to a growing body of knowledge is an incredibly rewarding process, which is why I decided to pursue a PhD and enhance my academic experiences.

After graduating from my Master’s in 2016, I worked in the municipal sector both in Quebec and Ontario. My professional experience, first as a Forester with the City of Montreal and later worked as a Knowledge Services Coordinator with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities in Ottawa, where I brought forth new questions relating to municipal sustainability, green infrastructure and the future of Canadian cities. I therefore decided to pursue a PhD at the University of British Columbia to study the increasingly important role that urban forests play in the age of urban densification and “smart planning”, and how to better manage these assets to maximize their essential benefits.

UBC currently has the only Bachelor of Urban Forestry program in Canada, situating itself as a prominent leader in the field. I wanted to be a part of a growing lab and a growing body of research, with access to fantastic teaching opportunities that would not otherwise be available.

I look forward to using my leadership and communication skills to build working relationships with and between students, peers, practitioners, and researchers to advance the agenda of healthy green spaces for sustainable living. Whether it be planting a tree, planning a workshop, developing a curriculum, or delivering a presentation, I’m looking forward to opportunities for community engagement and integrative learning.

I enjoy skiing (though I have never skied on the West coast!), hiking, going to the beach and walks in the woods.

Beth Roskilly
I decided to pursue a graduate degree to prepare for a career in scientific research. I’m passionate about understanding the natural world through the process of science and to inform strategies for management and conservation of natural resources. I also feel it is important to enhance public appreciation for both science and the environment through teaching and outreach.

Before joining UBC Forestry, I was working on a master’s degree with Dr. Anna Sala in the Organismal Biology, Ecology and Evolution program at the University of Montana in Missoula. My research was focused on how drought tolerance relates to life-history patterns in mixed-age stands of ponderosa pine.

I’m fascinated by how trees adapt and cope with climate change. My drive to understand this complex challenge and provide practical solutions for forest management and conservation are the principal reasons I decided to study at UBC Forestry and the Aitken lab for my doctoral degree.

I’m looking forward to learning more about how both the management and research communities in British Columbia are addressing the challenges of forest management and conservation under climate change.

I enjoy spending time outdoors, usually hiking or backpacking. I also like to read, cook, ride my bike and practice yoga.

Martin Queinnec
My research will focus on the use of Single Photon Lidar for forest inventories. I will also combine Lidar and Landsat data to quantify the impacts of wildfires in BC.

Darwin Sodhi
Ever since I was a child, I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps, and become a university professor. I have always been interested in the natural world we live in, and the underlying mechanisms that determine which species live where.

I was doing my master’s degree at the University of Toronto. I was particularly interested in the effects of invasive species on communities they invade.

Being able to continue my education in Ecology from world-leading researchers and being closer to my family was just too good to pass up!

I am most looking forward to learning new cutting-edge tools to conduct science. I hope to develop into a scientist who is able to support, conduct and criticize ecological research.

I love being outside, whether it is through climbing, hiking, running or walking my puppy.

Erika Dort
Identification of genomic predictors of pathogenicity in oomycete forest pathogens, and validation of putative pathogenicity genes in Phytophthora ramorum, the causal agent of sudden oak death, using functional genomics.

Nuo Xu
I have a strong interest in forestry and I hope I could make some contribution to the development of global forestry.

I live in China and just finished a master’s degree in Forestry at Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University.

UBC Forestry is one of the best universities in the world which has a vibrant academic atmosphere and wonderful opportunities for my further development.

Remote sensing and LiDAR technology will be widely used in forestry research and UBC Forestry has first-class faculty and rich experience in this area.

I like sports, especially basketball, martial arts and swimming.

Steffen Lahrsen
For my master thesis, I decided to travel to Sweden to collect data as a basis for comparing planted and naturally regenerated Scots pines. The time I spent in Sweden encouraged me again to continue working in research and especially to move abroad. I would like to broaden my knowledge in forestry even further and become an expert in the field of my research. That is why the opportunity to study as a PhD student at UBC in Vancouver is so attractive to me.

I have lived in Hamburg for the last two and a half years and completed a master’s degree in wood sciences. Hamburg is my hometown, but I left it occasionally for student exchange, a year of work and travel, many trips to different parts of the world and finally for a forestry bachelor’s degree in Göttingen, Germany. After graduating in March 2019, I worked as a drone pilot in a tourist start-up company in Hamburg. We impressed our customers by offering them a guided 360° quadrocopter tour with VR-headsets. Despite all this great time I spent in Germany, I am happy to have made the big step of moving to Vancouver and studying at UBC.

I came across an ad about a doctoral fellowship at the UBC in a newsletter while searching for a job in the field of my studies. I was passionate about it from the very beginning. After having spent a whole year in Canada, I developed a deep love for the country and its nature. Hearing about the possibility to continue my studies in the most beautiful city in this country made me want to apply for this doctoral fellowship immediately. My professors at The University of Hamburg ensured me that the UBC has a remarkable reputation in the field of forestry which made me even more proud of being accepted as PhD student at the UBC.

The teamwork with new colleagues in the laboratory is what I am looking forward to with the greatest curiosity. I love getting to know people and exchanging new opinions and thoughts on scientific topics. Personally, I believe that you can only achieve good results if you complement each other. Furthermore, an achievement is much more valuable if you can share it with others in a group. I am more than convinced that my time at UBC will be an enriching experience.

In my free time, I like to escape the stressful city life and go for long nature walks. Fishing, camping and other outdoor activities make me feel relaxed. In winter I will go down the mountains, always looking for the best powder snow. At home, I enjoy listening to jazz and old funk music. I have a vinyl collection of about 500 records. When I feel lonely or bored, I invite friends to my home to cook with them and share a nice meal. Not only eating together but also the preparation of a meal connects people and is always a lot of fun.

Marcos Riquelme
Generally speaking, graduate degrees open the gates to a horizon of more and better opportunities. On a professional level and in the eyes of our societies, people with the highest academic achievements are well-recognized and respected (even admired sometimes), which means that their opinions are taken seriously. I want my opinion to hold enough weight to be able to advocate for positive change.

I was attending Northern Arizona University for a MSc degree in Forestry. Because of this, I moved from Panama City, Panama to Flagstaff, AZ for the duration of the program which was about two and a half years.

The reputation of UBC Forestry is incredible! Its PhD program is extremely competitive and funding opportunities are available for qualified candidates. The combination of all of these factors motivated me to apply and I plan to make the best of this experience.

When I have time to relax and have fun, I tend to be outdoors. I love to hike and appreciate the beauty of nature, and I enjoy camping with my partner and friends. I also like to swim and exercise at the gym.

Pablo Gonzalez Moctezuma
After working as a professional in NGOs and research institutes I found out there is an immense knowledge gap in one of the subjects that I am passionate about: how can we live good lives and at the same time help life thrive?

I was living in Merida, Yucatán and was working as an ecotechnology designer, researcher and installer. Rainwater harvesting, biodigestion, bioclimatic design and organic agriculture were the main subjects I was working on. Simultaneously, I was designing digital tools for collecting data in the field to inform government decisions and help beekeepers get access to fair markets. After talking to 82 different professors working in the subject of restoration, the best advisor, lab and faculty I found was Jeanine’s. UBC is also in a magnificent place to be in nature. I am very excited to talk to all the people who work for a better integration of humanity with nature, and it seems like the Faculty of Forestry is full of them. I want to have time to read articles and literature about forests and ecosystems.

I love fishing, especially from a kayak. I also enjoy camping, walking and swimming. I cook frequently and make contraptions at home to solve simple problems.

David Owolabi
Undertaking a graduate program is a prerequisite to achieving my career goal of becoming an accomplished academic researcher and engineering consultant.

After completing my Master’s degree in Sustainable Civil and Structural Engineering at the University of Liverpool, I took up a temporary job as an engineering trainee in a civil engineering consulting firm in Ibadan, Nigeria before my admission to the forestry graduate program at UBC.

I have a strong interest in sustainable construction and I am excited about the renaissance of timber (a highly sustainable material) in the construction industry. Given that UBC is a strong proponent of timber construction and very active in timber research, it was not difficult to decide to study at UBC Forestry.

I am looking forward to getting started in the newly formed Advanced Wood Building Systems Engineering Lab in the Department of Wood Science and using state-of-the-art equipment for my research.

I love cooking and listening to music.

Adam Kanigan
My research is focused on investigating the influence of ephemeral feeding opportunities that are provided by the migrations of both juvenile and adult Pacific salmon on the movements and somatic growth of bull trout in watersheds throughout BC.

Corey Bassett
I’m pursuing a PhD to research questions that will aid practitioners in creating greener cities for everyone!

I have worked in the urban forestry field for the past 5 years, at non-profits and companies in Honolulu, HI, San Diego, CA, and Philadelphia, PA.

I first learned about UBC Forestry when I met my present supervisor at a conference. It became quickly clear this is one of the best places in the world to do research in urban forestry! I look forward to crafting research projects and teams to learn how to better manage and grow urban trees.

I enjoy – hiking with my family, camping, running, and CrossFit.