Graduate Award Recipients

GRADUATE AWARDS PRESENTED AT 2016 RESEARCH DAY AND AT THE ERIC KRAUSE MEMORIAL LECTURE

Research Day features presentation of two inaugural fellowships: Beatrice and Arthur Minden Graduate Fellowship and the Alan H. Weatherley Graduate Fellowship in Environmental Leadership

One of the highlights of the School’s annual Research Day is the awarding of scholarships to our graduate students.  This year’s Research Day, held April 20, 2016, was a particularly special one in this regard, as the School had the great fortune of two new graduate fellowships to bestow: the Beatrice and Arthur Minden Graduate Research Fellowship and the Alan H. Weatherley Graduate Fellowship in Environmental Leadership. 

The Beatrice and Arthur Minden Graduate Research Fellowship is intended to support the research activities of our PhD students.  This award was made possible by Jo-Ann, Cynthia, Robert, and George Minden, who kindly chose the School to honour the memory and philanthropic spirit of their parents.

The other new fellowship awarded was the Alan H. Weatherley Graduate Fellowship in Environmental Leadership.  This award has been established with a generous donation from Robena Weatherley to honour the memory of her husband, and to reflect his life-long commitment to environmental issues.

We were thrilled to have Jo-Ann Minden and Robena Weatherley join us for the inaugural award presentations, in Robena’s case, coming all the way from New Brunswick. 

 Minden Fellowship
Minden fellowship recipients PhD students Keren Klass and Meaghan Weatherdon are joined by Jo-Ann Minden, daughter of Beatrice and Arthur Minden. (Absent: recipient PhD student Laura Tozer.)

INAUGURAL BEATRICE AND ARTHUR MINDEN GRADUATE RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP
The School has been privileged to receive a generous endowment from theBeatrice and Arthur Minden Foundation, which gives a huge boost to our educational and research capacities.  This endowment has been used to establish two new programs: an annual Symposium on the Environment and a Graduate Research Fellowship. For more on the endowment, please see the FAS article: Huge Boost for the School of the Environment’s Educational and Research Capacities

We were delighted to host the inaugural Beatrice and Arthur Minden Symposium on the Environment in September, 2015.  About 45 participants from academia, government, industry and non-governmental organizations participated in two days of discussions on “Taking Action: Achieving Ontario and Canadian Climate Change Goals”, providing input into current carbon pricing initiatives, particularly in Ontario. 

The fellowship, created by the family of Beatrice and Arthur Minden through a generous endowment from the Beatrice and Arthur Minden Foundation, was established to honour their memory and philanthropic spirit.  It is to be awarded annually to one or more PhD students enrolled in the School of the Environment’s graduate programs to provide them with support during the research stage of their dissertations, including enabling their involvement in conferences, summer schools, field work and collaborative visits to research groups across Canada and around the world.  Preference is given to graduate students who have demonstrated academic excellence and whose PhD research is specifically focused on environmental issues, and to projects that open up new intellectual avenues and/or foster interdisciplinary activity related to the environment.  

We are delighted to announce three exceptional students as inaugural winners in 2016: one winner from the natural sciences, one from the social sciences, and one from the humanities, showing the outstanding breadth of environmental research happening at UofT and at the School of the Environment.  Each of these students has proposed projects involving extensive field work, community consultation, and engagement in Canada or internationally, and each one includes multiple perspectives on research topics that are timely and relevant.  These exciting and innovative projects have great potential to contribute to key environmental issues, including species at risk, lowering carbon emissions in cities, and environmental issues confronting First Nations in Canada. At this year’s Research Day, Jo-Ann Minden presented the awards to these graduate students: 

1.    Keren Klass is a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology and Environmental Studies Collaborative Program at the School of the Environment. Karen’s innovative research combines approaches from landscape modelling and genetics with behavioral ecology and primatology. These novel approaches will help shape conservation policy and land use decisions designed to protect endangered primates. Her proposed research project involves a year-long field campaign in Mexico studying the effects of habitat fragmentation on behavior and genetics of an endangered species of black howler monkey.

2.    Meaghan Weatherdon is a PhD student in the Department of Religion and in the School’s Environmental Studies Collaborative Program. Her doctoral dissertation focuses on the Nishiyuu Walkers, a group of Cree youth whowalked 1600 km from Whapmagoostui, Quebec to Parliament Hill in Ottawa Ontario to raise awareness about a variety of social, environmental, and health issues confronting First Nations communities in Canada. With the support of Chief Stanley George of Whapmagoostui First Nation, Meaghan is proposing embodied, experiential research at the interface of religion and environmental studies in Northern Quebec to better understand this grassroots social movement and its potential to raise awareness about environmental issues in Canada and internationally.

3.    Laura Tozer is a PhD student in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies Collaborative Program at the School of the Environment.  Her doctoral research focus is on decarbonization in urban environments and the potential of the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance. Combining approaches from political science and geography, her work on how cities can transition to carbon neutrality will inform public policy and help catalyze these transitions. Laura’s proposed project involves field research in San Francisco to evaluate progress towards decarbonization through building retrofits. This case study will be used in a comparative analysis with Stockholm and London.

 

Robena Weatherley Weatherley fellowship
Left, Robena Weatherley gives a moving tribute to her husband, Alan Weatherley, before presenting the fellowship in his honour to recipient PhD student Joshua Steckley, right.

INAUGURAL ALAN H. WEATHERLEY GRADUATE FELLOWSHIP IN ENVIRONMENTAL LEADERSHIP

This fellowship was established by Robena C. Weatherley to honour the memory of her husband, Professor Emeritus Alan H. Weatherley, and to reflect his personal interest, deep concern and life-long commitment to environmental issues.  For more on Alan Weatherley and the donation to the School, please read the article Alan H. Weatherley Graduate Fellowship in Environmental Leadership established in memory of UofT Zoology Professor committed to environmental issues.

The Alan H. Weatherley Graduate Fellowship in Environmental Leadership is to be awarded annually to one PhD student enrolled in the School of the Environment’s graduate programs, to encourage their research and academic achievement. It will be awarded to a student who demonstrates exceptional academic and/or practical leadership in the area of environmental issues, as well as a strong academic record.  This leadership may demonstrated in a variety of ways, including environmental research, activism on environmental issues, environmental management, active involvement in significant conservation projects, participation in public debates, professional engagement with governments, environmental non-governmental organizations, or business, etc.

At the School’s Research Day, we were honoured to have Robena Weatherleyattend and give a moving tribute to her husband, which touched many in the audience. She then presented the award to Joshua Steckley, a first year PhD student in the Department of Geography and the Environmental Studies Collaborative Program at the School of the Environment.  In addition to academic excellence, Joshua has an outstanding track record of practical leadership on environmental issues, particularly in Haiti. In his work as a Community Development Coordinator in Haiti, Joshua’s leadership skills were directly responsible for the successful completion of several major environmental initiatives, including a soil conservation program, a clean water initiative now serving 12,000 people, and an environmental education program. In addition, he co-founded a Haitian local sustainable food movement and spearheaded several conferences in Haiti and in Canada on local food and environmental sustainability, and has also used his skills as a documentary film maker to address other environmental issues such as the impacts of mining on Haitian ecosystems and communities. Joshua intends to use his considerable leadership experience in international development and environmental issues to form his doctoral work on land tenure arrangements in Haiti, and the social and environmental relations underlying them. 

 

OTHER GRADUATE AWARDS PRESENTED AT 2016 RESEARCH DAY:

 

Labatt Fellowship
Arthur and Sonia Labatt Fellowship recipients from left to right: Anastasia Hervas, Malcolm Ramsay, Brianna Botchwey, Raphael Bong, Laura Bryson, Matthew De Vries, Alissa Saieva, and Stephane Liegey.

 

ARTHUR AND SONIA LABATT GRADUATE FELLOWSHIPS

Through a generous donation from Arthur and Sonia Labatt, a Graduate Fellowship was established and is awarded on an annual basis to support students enrolled in one of the collaborative graduate programs of the School of the Environment or in the Juris Doctor Certificate in Environmental Studies program offered by the Faculty of Law and the School of the Environment. Students were asked to submit a paper which explores practical solutions to environmental issues and/or examines the marketplace for solutions to environmental issues. Selection is also based on the applicant’s record of academic excellence and financial need.  At this year’s Research Day, Professor Sarah Finkelstein, Academic Associate Director at the School of the Environment, presented the fellowships to the following eight graduate students:

1.    Rafael Bong, Juris Doctor student, Faculty of Law and the School of the Environment’s collaborative program in Environmental Studies.  His paper looked at business and market-based solution that can economically address environmental issues with conflicting interests.

2.    Brianna Botchwey, PhD student, Department of Political Science and the School of the Environment’s collaborative program in Environmental Studies.  Her paper addressed the primary challenges of international environmental decision making and the problems of the conflicting interests.

3.    Laura Bryson, Master of Science student, Department of Geography and the School of the Environment’s collaborative program in Environmental Studies. Her paper investigated the role of protected areas in tropical rainforest conservation, with a particular emphasis on indigenous and community conserved areas

4.    Matthew De VriesMaster of Science student, Department of Anthropology and the School of the Environment’s collaborative program in Environmental Studies.  He is exploring how human alterations to forested environments are impacting non-human primates, in particular the Emperor Tamarins in Southeastern Peru.

5.    Anastasia HervasPhD student, Department of Geography and the School of the Environment’s collaborative program in Environmental Studies. She examines the socio-ecological implications of the recent expansion of oil palm (a common biodiesel feedstock) plantations in Northern Guatemala and the impacts on the local food system, water security, and poverty.

6.    Stephane Liegey, Masters of Applied Science student, Department of Chemical Engineering and the School of the Environment’s collaborative program in Environmental Studies. His paper investigated the difficulty of reaching environmental agreements within the North-South paradigm due mainly to historical constructions.

7.    Malcom RamsayMaster of Science student, Department of Anthropology and the School of the Environment’s collaborative program in Environmental Studies. The paper investigates the outcomes of human interactions with non-human primates. Specifically, whether endangered mouse lemurs on the island of Madagascar are able to cross a highway that cuts through their natural habitat.

8.    Alissa SaievaJuris Doctor student, Faculty of Law and the School of the Environment’s collaborative program in Environmental Studies.  Her paper examines an unprecedented momentum and interest in addressing climate change at the international and domestic level.

 

Langford Prize
George Burwash Landford Prize recipients Keven Roy and Suleiman Demi with award presenter Professor Sarah Finkelstein, the School’s Academic Associate Director (centre).

 

GEORGE BURWASH LANGFORD PRIZE

This prize is named in honour of Dr. George Burwash Langford, the founder and first Director of the Great Lakes Institute, which became the Institute for Environmental Studies and is now the School of the Environment. It is the result of generous donations from family, friends and colleagues of George Langford. The purpose of the prize is to provide support and encouragement for student research and service to the School of the Environment. The prize is awarded annually to a graduate student in a School of the Environment collaborative program or in the Juris Doctor Certificate in Environmental Studies program offered by the Faculty of Law and the School of the Environment who best combines excellence in research in environmental studies and contributes to the work of the School.  At this year’s Research Day, Professor Sarah Finkelstein, Academic Associate Director at the School of the Environment, presented the prize to two graduate students:

1.    Suleiman Demi, PhD student, Department of Social Justice Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, and School of the Environment’s collaborative program in Environmental Studies.  His research examines what we can learn from Indigenous food cultures as a knowledge base for environmental education.

2.    Keven Roy, PhD student, Department of Physics and School of the Environment’s collaborative program in Environmental Studies.  He is researching high-quality constraints on the evolution of sea level and the shape of the Earth in response to past and present climate change.

 

JOHN R. BROWN AWARD
The late Dr. John R. Brown was a professor in the Department of Environmental Health, Faculty of Medicine, an associate member of the former Institute of Environmental Studies (now the School of the Environment) and a principal investigator of many research projects at IES during the 1970s. Under the terms of an endowment generously contributed by Mrs. Helen M. Brown, an annual prize is awarded to a graduate student enrolled in the Gage Occupational and Environmental Health Unit (Faculty of Medicine), the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, and/or the School of the Environment for the best-applied research project dedicated to the analysis and improvement of occupational and environmental health.  This award was presented in absentia to Catherine Slavik, Master of Public Health (MPH) student, Dalla Lana School of Public Health and School of the Environment’s collaborative program in Environment and Health.   Her research evaluates Ontario’s Toxics Reduction Act. She is assessing trends as well as the geographic distribution of toxic substance use and release in Ontario, to help quantify potential population exposures to toxic chemicals and assess the impact of these substances on health outcomes, in order to develop regional cancer prevention strategies.

 

 

Sperrin Chant
Sperrin Chant Award recipient Guangyu Song and award presenter, Professor Clare Wiseman of the School of the Environment.

 

SPERRIN CHANT AWARD IN TOXICOLOGY

This award commemorates Professor Sperrin Chant, a member of the University Lodge, who graduated from the University of Toronto and returned to teach here in the Psychology Department before moving to the University of British Columbia where he became Dean.  He was involved in several Royal Commissions, one of which gave rise to Simon Fraser University.  His son, Dr. Donald A. Chant, was Chair of Zoology, then Provost of the University of Toronto.  His lifetime research had dealt with biological and integrated control of pests as an alternative to chemical pesticides.  The award is given to a graduate student enrolled in a School of the Environment collaborative program doing research in toxicology and who demonstrates academic excellence, strength of character, and financial need.

 

This year’s award was presented at Research Day by Professor Clare Wiseman, Coordinator of the Environment and Health collaborative program at the School of the Environment, to: Guangyu Song, Master of Engineering student, Department of Chemical Engineering and School of the Environment’s collaborative program in Environment and Health.  His research is focused on developing new strategies for particulate matter detection based on Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry,understanding the pollution source, environmental pathways, and their impact on climate change and human health.

 

Alexander Leman award
Alexander B. Leman Memorial Award recipient Jielan Xu with Michael Leman, Alexander Leman’s brother.

 

ALEXANDER B. LEMAN MEMORIAL AWARD
This award was established by the Leman family, friends and colleagues of Alexander B. Leman, an architect and urban planner who founded his own architectural firm (as well as Leman Group Inc., an urban development and planning consulting company. It is awarded to a graduate student enrolled in a collaborative program at the School of the Environment and the Department of Geography's Program in Planning, and is based on academic merit and financial need. 
 

This year’s award was presented at Research Day by Michael Leman, Alexander Leman’s brother with Kimberly Strong, Director of the School of the Environment, to Jielan Xu, PhD student, Department of Geography’s Program in Planning and School of the Environment’s collaborative program in Environment and Health.  Her research looks at how the built-environment can potentially affect active lifestyles and the health and well-being of the aging population.

 

Greensaver award
GreenSaver Alastair Fairweather Memorial Award recipient Rafael Bong with Vladan Veljovic, President and CEO of GreenSaver Canada.

GREENSAVER ALASTAIR FAIRWEATHER MEMORIAL AWARD IN THE ENVIRONMENT

This award was established in memory of Alastair Fairweather, a member of the Board of Directors of GreenSaver, who passed away in 2009. Alastair had been actively involved in many local issues including Out of the Cold, the Beaches-East York NDP, and a member of the Board of Directors of GreenSaver, a company committed to assisting homeowners make their homes more energy efficient.  It was awarded to graduate students enrolled in the collaborative program at the School of the Environment or in the Juris Doctor Certificate in Environmental Studies program offered by the Faculty of Law and the School of the Environmentand was based on academic merit and financial need, as well as excellence in research in environmental studies or environment and health and contributions to the work of the School of the Environment.
 

The final presentation of this award was made at the 2016 Research Day.  It was presented by Vladan Veljovic, President and CEO of GreenSaver Canada toRafael Bong, Juris Doctor student, Faculty of Law and School of the Environment’s Collaborative Program in Environmental Studies.  His research analyzes the changes in the weather risk market with the onset of increasing anomalous weather patterns, with the goal of determining how can a particular market instrument of derivatives, especially ones that hedge on weather anomalies and risks, can address environmental problems.


Krause lecture Krause recipient at Research Day
LEFT PHOTO: Left to right at the 2016 Eric Krause Memorial Lecture, Krause lecturer John Robinson (Professor, Munk School of Global Studies and School of the Environment), Katy Krause (Eric’s sister), Fellowship recipient Shirley Chen, Arnold Krause (Eric’s father), and recipients Alissa Saieva and Ramona Reece.
RIGHT PHOTO: Krause Fellowship recipient Jon Albert Obnamia and Kimberly Strong, Director of the School of the Environment.

ERIC DAVID BAKER KRAUSE GRADUATE FELLOWSHIP
This award was established in memory of Eric Krause.  Eric earned both BA and BSc degrees at U of T and then continued his studies in the Department of Geography and the former Institute for Environmental Studies, completing an MA degree in 1997.  He took the Ecological Footprint model that he developed in his MA thesis (Ecological Footprints, Climate Change and Sustainable Development in the Greater Toronto Area) to the City of Toronto where he played an important role in developing the City’s environmental plan.  The Fellowship is awarded annually to a student registered in a School of the Environment graduate program or in the Juris Doctor Certificate offered by the Faculty of Law and the School of the Environment. The 2016 Eric Krause Memorial Lecture was given by Professor John Robinson (Munk School of Global Affairs and School of the Environment) on the topic of “Engaging Futures: Creating Sustainable Cities”.  The award was presented by Kimberly Strong, Director of the School of the Environment to the following recipients atthe Eric Krause Memorial Lecture on April 6, 2016 and at Research Day:

1.    Shirley Chen, Master of Public Health student, Dalla Lana School of Public Health and the School of the Environment’s collaborative program in Environment and Health.  Her research addresses the impacts of climate change on public health, particularly the health of populations that are already experiencing health inequities.

2.    Jon Albert Obnamia, PhD student, Department of Chemical Engineeringand the School of the Environment’s collaborative program in Environmental Studies.  His research assesses the environmental impacts and advanced liquid biofuels production technologies and their environmental impacts.

3.    Ramona Reece, Master of Arts student, Department of Political Science and the School of the Environment’s collaborative program in Environmental Studies.   Her research explores the idea of ecological jurisprudence and decision-making from an indigenous perspective under the rubric of critical geopolitics.

4.    Alissa Saieva, Juris Doctor student, Faculty of Law and the School of the Environment’s collaborative program in Environmental Studies.  She is examining the unprecedented momentum and interest in addressing climate change at the international and domestic level.