School of Environmental Studies


Environmental Studies


Environmental Studies

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Our Undergraduate Alumni

Please send a blurb to Karen Depew if you would like to add your story to this page! 

Pauline Li: Ocean Park, Hong Kong


After graduating from ENSC Honours, I travelled to Hong Kong in 2007 for an internship with Ocean Park, a world-renowned marine theme park. It is very interesting to work in a company where virtually every industry is present in its cross-functional infrastructure (i.e. engineering, retail, operations, sales & marketing, finance, legal compliance, etc.). In addition, the theme park industry is similar to no other, and is one of the most dynamic industries nowadays. From 2008 to August of 2011, I worked at Ocean Park as an Environmental Officer focusing on corporate environmental affairs and governance. In September 2011, I became one of the five premiere management trainees at Ocean Park. Moreover, I am mentored by a division head in leadership development and am learning about over 22 departments  in cross-divisional job rotations over a 8-month period. Each of the management trainees represent a division within the company - I represent the Sales & Marketing division - and strive to lead Ocean Park through transformational changes for sustainable growth and continuous inspiration through the company core values (conservation. entertainment, and education).

Sara-Katherine: Green America

Sara Katherine

At Queen's, I was one of the coordinators of QBACC (Queen's Backing Action on Climate Change), where I helped organize a group of students to attend Power shift Canada and the Fill the Hill rally on Parliament Hill last October. I also attended CEEC for 2 years. My favourite courses were Geology, Conservation Photography, and Global Environmental Justice, a course which I took while on exchange in Sweden my 3rd year.

Currently, I am living in Washington, DC where I am interning at Green America, a non-profit who works to promote a socially just and environmentally sustainable economy. One of our initiatives is the National Green Pages, the largest business directory for environmentally and socially-conscious businesses in the US. I am hoping to continue work in the non-profit sector and plan to pursue a Masters in Environmental Policy in a few years.

Lily Zeng: Masters of Environmental Science at Yale University

Lily Zeng

In 2008, I spent one month at the Queen's University Biological Station (QUBS) working for Dr. Christopher Eckert on columbines, Aquilegia canadensis. I gained experience in independent fieldwork with plants, as well as a range of techniques like DNA extraction, polymerize chain reaction (PCR), genotyping on automated genotypers, and various ways to analyze genetic data. 
In 2009, I spent two months doing field work for Dr. Stephen Lougheed around the Bruce Peninsula and Georgian Bay Islands with a variety of snake species, including two endangered species: the eastern foxsnake (Elaphe gloydi) and eastern massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus). The fieldwork involved mapping habitats with GIS, marking GPS coordinates for each snake, and quadrat analysis to characterize habitat. Similar to my work with A. canadensis, I extracted snake DNA and amplified microsatellite segments using PCR in order to genotype individuals. The data were used in my biology undergraduate thesis, a landscape genetics project on northern populations of the red belly snake (Storeria occipitomaculata.

During my senior year, I also completed an honours project in environmental sustainability. I worked in a group to examine community social infrastructure and public health of communities within the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve (FABR), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We prepared a final report on the current conditions of citizen health and community services within FABR townships to present to FABR representatives.

I am now pursuing a Masters of Environmental Science at Yale University. I am interested in looking at sacred groves and biodiversity in Xishuangbanna, southwest China. Sitting at a transitional zone between tropical and subtropical climates, Xishuangbanna contains the world's northernmost tropical rainforest and the richest biodiversity in China.

Michelle Berquist Local Conservation Authority 

While at Queen's I was able to explore the scientific side of my interest in the connections between human health and environmental health in the Environmental Life Sciences SSP program. I loved how the program combined arts and science courses to give me a holistic understanding of the subject. I plan to pursue further studies in epidemiology, public policy or urban planning. In the meantime, my degree helped me get a rewarding job in the stewardship department at my local conservation authority. Everyday I help members of my community learn about their ties to the environment and how they can make sustainable choices. 

Thea Whitman: Member of Canadian Youth DelegationThea Whitman

The Queen's program in environmental biology provided me with a strong skill set of science research skills, policy, and community engagement. The coordinators of my program were also very helpful in facilitating my year abroad, where I studied at the University of Leeds in the U.K. Both at Leeds and at Queen's, I was involved with various environmental organizations, including being co-chair of the A.S.U.S. committee for the environment, and working as deputy sustainability coordinator for the A.M.S. Queen's was also instrumental in my development as a researcher. I was lucky to have the opportunity to work with Dr. Arnott doing zooplankton ecology research during the summer after my second year, and with Dr. Aarssen on plant ecology research after third year, which turned into my honours thesis and my first published paper! These research experiences certainly helped prepare me for grad school, which is where I am now.
I began an M.S. at Cornell University in Soil Science, with a minor in Applied Economics and Management. My M.S. research focused on the climate change impacts of black carbon, or biochar, as a soil amendment. (Biochar is a relatively stable form of carbon produced through the pyrolysis of organic matter - i.e., heating organic matter to high temperatures under low-oxygen conditions.) As well, I investigated policy issues around biochar projects for mitigating climate change. I defended my M.S. this August, and am now continuing with a Ph.D. at Cornell, where I plan to investigate the stability of soil organic carbon and biochar in a climate change context. 

Over the past two years, I also had the opportunity to be a member of the Canadian Youth Delegation (CYD) to the UN climate negotiations in Poland (2008), Copenhagen (2009), and am planning to attend the conference in Mexico this December. As a member of the CYD, I have had the chance to work with youth from across the country and around the world to make sure that young people have a voice at the climate negotiations.

Tim Philpott: completing a Masters degree at UBC 

Tim Philpott

Before starting university I had a very narrow idea of degree programs I could enrol in. I was accepted into the Life Sciences program at Queen's and had every intention of becoming a medical doctor. My real passion, however, was in promoting and advancing the principles of sustainability. It took me until my second year to realize that I could integrate my interests outside the classroom with what I studied inside the classroom. That's when I discovered the School of Environmental Studies. 
One factor that influenced my switch was the students, faculty and staff in the School. Working with like-minded people offered me a great learning opportunity, both as a means for dissemination of ideas, and as a vector for building a network of friends dedicated to environmental causes. This network allowed me to get involved in campus environmental groups such as STRIVE, the Earth Centre, and the Tea Room. While involvement in these groups was extracurricular, they were an important part of my development throughout university.

The program's flexibility was also an important influence. I was interested climate science and global nutrient cycling but still wanted to take the interdisciplinary courses offered by Environmental Studies. The Earth System Science subject of specialization seemed custom-built for my interests; it allowed me to take courses in physical geography and the issue-based environmental courses. My classes and professors sparked an interest in soil science, leading me to where I am today, completing a Masters degree at UBC studying belowground forest ecology. 

Zoe Bider-Canfield: Lab Technician at Biogeochemical Oceanography Lab in Florida 

At Queen's I completed my Bachelors of Science in Environmental Science. I was also the co-chair of the Environmental Studies Department Student Council, President of the Recreational Sailing Club and a member of a number of environmental clubs throughout my 4 years at Queen's. Currently I am working in an Biogeochemical Oceanography Lab at Florida State University as a lab technician. The two main projects I have been assisting with are on cultivation of oil degrading bacteria and fungi, and on a project researching the use of wastewater for production of algal biomass for biofuels. In fall 2011 I will be beginning a Masters in Public Health concentrating in Environmental Health at Boston University.