Early Career Affiliate Members

Early Career Researchers are critical to the interdisciplinary environmental research that happens across all colleges of UofG, as well as essential to various outreach and knowledge mobilization initiatives that build bridges between academia and society. GIER is keen on recognizing and supporting the many contributions of graduate students and postdocs to the study of the environment and thus provides a virtual space for fruitful interactions among early career researchers from all disciplinary backgrounds.

Below you can read more about our current Early Career Affiliates. If you are a graduate student or postdoc and ever wondered what your peers are working on beyond the walls of your own building (or even across the halls) and would like to see more cross-collegiate interactions in environmental research, we would love to have you join us! Please email us at info.gier@uoguelph.ca  

Angela Asuncion

M.Sc. Rural Planning and Development in International Development Studies

Alongside a historically significant Canadian transnational mining presence in the Philippines, state-sponsored militaries protecting the industry have been the cause of over 60 deaths of Indigenous leaders and the displacement of over 40,000 Indigenous peoples since 2010. At the intersection of mining, environmental governance, and human rights, my research examines community agency in areas where large-scale Canadian mining corporations operate in the Philippines. Embedded within the SSHRC international initiative “Global Minerals Local Communities”, my research aims to advance polarized debates arguing for or against mining, towards understanding the mechanisms that can enhance corporate accountability and community self-determination in the mining industry. Twitter, Website

Asif Ali

Ph.D. Environmental Engineering

My research focus is towards carbon capture, sequestration and utilization. The proposed research includes the synthesis and characterization of a range of minerals in laboratory. These minerals, in presence of CO2, reduce carbon presence with the formation of carbonates. The performance of these synthetic minerals will be assessed based on their carbon uptake. It is aimed to utilize these tested minerals by mixing them with agriculture soils for enhanced yield productivity and reduced carbon footprint. Let’s work for cleaner and greener planet Earth!

Ben Finley

Ph.D. Critical Studies in Improvisation

Within the web of climate change challenges, I’m interested in how creative music and music festivals might provide compelling models and methods for cultural environmentalism. The music I cultivate with others as a performer-composer/bassist and residency facilitator often embraces the particular life experiences of its participants, entanglements of place, improvisation, text, voices, multiple tunings, electro-acoustic worlds, learning from/with the biosphere, intercultural exchange, co-learning/collaborations, ecological partnerships, and a plurality of compositional frameworks. I grew up on a music festival farm (the Westben Centre for Connection & Creativity), where I first became fascinated with how diverse musical worlds can connect communities. Part of my doctoral work is to co-vision and implement a long-term environmental sustainability plan with Westben. Please get in touch if any of these ideas resonate!

Emily Smit

Ph.D. Geography

Motivated by the urgency of climate change mitigation and a ‘deep ecology’ positionality, my dissertation focus lies at the intersection of ecological justice, energy transitions, and landscape change. I take a posthumanist approach to spatial planning and use counter-mapping as a methodology to give Nature a voice in land-use decision making. Blog

Jamie Goltz

M.Sc. Epidemiology

My project is an extension of the iAM.AMR project with a team at the Public Health Agency of Canada, focusing on antimicrobial resistance along the agri-food pathway. It aims to examine extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing Enterobacteriaceae specifically, to evaluate how Canadians can be exposed to these resistant bacteria and which exposures are higher risk than others. I am using a One Health approach in this research to help understand the interconnection of resistant bacteria transmission between humans, animals, and the environment, especially in the agri-food system, to provide a more holistic understanding of the human exposures. Twitter

Kim Barton

M.Sc. Family Relations and Human Development

I am involved in several research projects, most of which are related to early childhood education/educators. For my masters thesis I will be working with early childhood educators who identify as having mental illness(es), aiming to understand their experience working in the context of Ontario’s early learning and care sector. For this, I will be utilizing a Mad Studies lens and integrating policy considerations. I am also interested in arts-based and nature-based pedagogy in early learning and care, as well as fostering inclusive, equitable, and anti-biased learning environments (and how these concepts intersect with each other). Twitter.

Sara Stricker

Ph.D. Plant Agriculture

I am researching the management of a fungal disease on onions in Ontario. I hope to provide recommendations for sustainable management practices. My research focuses on real-world outcomes of understanding epidemiology and etiology of plant diseases. I am passionate about education and outreach and hope to continue to conduct research which will benefit growers, consumers, and the environment. Twitter, TikTok

Vadim Karatayev

Postdoc Environmental Sciences

I investigate how community processes and human-environment interactions structure ecosystems by combining dynamical models with field data. In the process, I explore fundamental questions concerning resilience theory and landscape dynamics as well as applied science questions ranging from invasive species impacts in aquatic systems to promoting conservation in human societies.
Twitter: @Vkaratayev

The banner photo shows the Mind Map that Early Career Affiliates created for GIER’s first Annual Symposium.

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