MMM students

Class of 2021-2022

Claire Armstrong-Buisseret

Claire completed her undergraduate degree at the University of British Columbia in Oceanography and Biology. In her third year, she studied the impacts of invasive species on eelgrass biodiversity and conservation at the Bamfield Marine Science Centre. Her undergraduate research focused on the effects of rewilding on ecosystem function and services. Claire has worked on orca conservation and public education of whale watching guidelines with both Cetus Conservation and Research Society and Ocean Wise’s Ocean Bridge Program. Since she graduated, Claire has been working for the CHANS Lab on a project called CoSphere focused on transformative change towards sustainability. With her interest in socio-ecological systems, Claire is looking to gain a more interdisciplinary perspective on marine issues. She is particularly interested in the integration of multiple knowledge systems and co-management, as well as the application of rewilding to marine systems.

Ela Cichowski

Ela is a recent University of Alberta graduate, completing a BSc with a major in Biological Sciences and minor in Anthropology. Throughout her undergraduate degree, she was fortunate enough to participate in multiple summer field courses and the fall semester at the Bamfield Marine Science Centre. In conducting independent research projects for each course, she gained firsthand experience with coastal and marine field work, data collection and analysis, and scientific communication. 

Her wide-ranging academic interests and newfound appreciation for all things marine have cemented the notion of a career in marine affairs and have thus led her to pursue the MMM program. She finds the social and ecological aspects of marine conservation to be especially interesting and is looking forward to furthering her understanding in how marine protected areas can be used as collaborative tools for the protection and preservation of marine resources.

Marine Courtois

Marine grew up in the South of France. In 2018, she completed a BS (Honours) in biology/ecology at Aix-Marseille University. Her volunteering at the Mingan Island Cetacean Study research station in Canada confirmed her lifelong desire to focus on ocean conservation after graduating.

From this experience, Marine started an international MSc in Marine Biological Resources (obtained with honours) and studied in several countries. For her master thesis research project, Marine studied depredation interactions between killer whales and fisheries in south-eastern Australia. Her work helped provide primary recommendations for fisheries management on how to adapt fishing practices to minimize these interactions in the area.

Marine hopes the MMM program will allow her to gain more experience and understanding of marine policy to be prepared for the challenges of managing and conserving marine resources. She intends to work alongside policy-makers to limit human-wildlife conflicts and anthropogenic activities' impacts on the marine environment.

Cailey Dyer

Cailey is an avid learner and lover of all things policy. Cailey’s interest in marine management stems from a co-op she had with the Canadian Coast Guard Arctic Region. While working on programs related to conservation, icebreaking, community relations and marine protected areas, she saw the benefit of including Indigenous knowledge and science in policy making. She is looking forward to bringing her experience to the MMM program and learning from her colleagues. Cailey graduated from the University of Ottawa with a Joint Honours in Public Administration and Political Science. Since graduating in December 2020, Cailey has worked on the COVID-19 task force at Health Canada, helping to develop testing policy across Canada. She is excited to bring an unique lens to the MMM program and learn from her peers.

Raven Elwell 

Raven is passionate about marine conservation and restoration, and research that involves creating resistance against marine and aquatic ecosystems. Raven is a graduate student entering MMM program at DAL in fall of 2021. She recently graduated with her Bachelor of Science majoring in Environmental Science and double minoring in Biology and Indigenous Studies. Previously Raven has worked for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans the department of Marine Conservation and Aquaculture management.

Raven is interested in the MMM program as she is excited to learn more about marine restoration, marine protected areas, and safe ways to implement management practices. She hopes to improve the existing restoration techniques and better help create resistance from the negative effects of anthropogenic activity.

Laurel Genge

Laurel is a graduate from Mount Allison University with a Bachelor of Science degree with an Honours in microbiology. During her time at Mount Allison, she studied coastal marine systems and conducted a project on the physiological responses of oceanic phytoplankton to different light and oxygen regimes. Prior to attending the MMM program Laurel worked for the LaHave River Salmon Association conducting research on the stomach contents of invasive fish species to further her understanding of local marine food webs. Her passion for marine management stems from being surrounded by costal ecosystems growing up and wanting to ensure that these beautiful habitats can continue to be sustained for generations to come. Specifically, Laurel is interested in utilizing her biology background and management techniques she will learn during the MMM program to work on Indigenous protected and conserved areas. She is so excited to join the MMM program and enjoy all opportunities the MMM program has to offer.

Kyle Gordon

Kyle graduated from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) majoring in Marine and Freshwater Biology in 2017. He is an avid scuba diver having worked professionally as a scuba instructor with a special interest in underwater photography.

Since graduation in 2017, he has been working professionally in the field of marine science. Time spent in the workforce has allowed him to gain professional experience in various areas of the industry including husbandry, tourism, field research and NGO operations. Positions of interest include Project Manager of a local NGO in Raja Ampat, Indonesia and Marine Biologist on board a vessel operating out of Cairns, Australia.

Through the MMM program, Kyle is looking to expand his knowledge on fisheries policy and conflict to combine with his practical understanding of coastal ecosystems to appropriately address complex relationships between the fishery industry and the ecosystem.

Carly Green

Carly is a passionate individual with a love for the ocean and everything beneath its surface. Growing up alongside the beaches of BC helped foster her appreciation for marine life. Additionally, Carly has spent her summers on the East Coast and is now eager to spend more time in Halifax. She recently completed a BSc (Honours) majoring in Environmental Science, as well as a Certificate in Business at Queen’s University.

While attending Queen’s, Carly spent her first year studying abroad in East Sussex, UK and it was not long before she settled on Environmental Science as her major. It was only after an oceanography course that she then decided she had to pursue a career in marine science. Within the MMM program, Carly hopes to continue researching her interests in human-mediated threats to marine systems and coastal zones with a focus on underwater noise pollution.

Hannah Kosichek  

Hannah grew up in Vancouver but graduated from Queen’s University with a BSc in Biology. Her desire to work in the aquatic world lead her to complete an Honours thesis looking at how pipeline oil affects freshwater phytoplankton. Having caught the field work bug, it led her to working as a research assistant at the Experimental Lakes Area on a simulated oil spill research project and as a field technician for the salmon mark recovery program. After working, Hannah travelled to Southeast Asia, where she became a certified diver and worked as an English teacher in Vietnam. Work and diving gave Hannah an up close look at the Canadian fisheries sector and the anthropogenic effects on marine ecosystems both tropical and temperate.

In the MMM program, Hannah is keen to learn more about marine management laws and policies and how indigenous perspectives are included throughout resource management. She is also very interested in marine ecosystem restoration and working with coral restoration.v

Drew MacLean

Drew grew up in Cole Harbour, NS with strong family ties to Inverness County, Cape Breton. It was with these bonds that Drew established his love for the ocean and all the communities that surround it. Drew graduated from the inaugural Bachelor of Arts and Science in Environment (BASE) program, Cape Breton University. The program provided Drew with the opportunity to learn from an interdisciplinary perspective, and allowed him to major in his passions of biology and political science while studying important environmental science concepts. Additionally, Drew earned a certificate in Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA), and completed the cooperative education program. The coop program provided work placements with fishermen’s organizations, DFO, and the government of Nova Scotia. Such positions include aiding DFO in their 4Vn American lobster stock assessment in 2019 and for their 2020 annual 4Vn Atlantic cod sentinel survey, which was the topic of his honours thesis.

Ever since Drew discovered the MMM program at Dalhousie, he knew it was the best fit. The MMM program offers the possibility to add on to his initial interdisciplinary studies and push him into the next steps of his academic journey. This program allows him to apply his love for both policy and science into an integral part of the local environment and one of the planet’s most fundamental systems. Now, more than ever, the sustainability of the world’s oceans is intrinsic to our economic and physical success towards the threat of the impending climate crisis.  

Samanta Martinez

Samanta is from Honduras and grew up in southwestern Ontario. Her love for the ocean started at a young age, having spent her summers as a child in the north coast of Honduras. Samanta earned her PADI Open Water Diver certificate in 2016 and enjoys incorporating diving into her travels around the world. Samanta earned a bachelor’s in Environmental Engineering from the University of Guelph. During her undergraduate degree, she found her passion for water resources engineering. In particular, she enjoyed working in the stormwater management field and how the industry is shifting to protect against climate change scenarios. After graduating in 2018, Samanta worked within the Municipal Infrastructure team in an engineering consulting firm. Samanta’s role involved designing municipal roads, including stormwater and sanitary sewers, watermains, and road surface drainage. Samanta hopes to take what she learned during her undergraduate degree and early career and apply it to a marine setting. Samanta’s research will focus on coastal zone management and climate change resiliency. She is excited to start the MMM program and merge her passions of environmental protection and the ocean.

Gwen Marty  

Gwen graduated with Honours from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources Conservation. Her interest in marine conservation stems from a long history of living around and learning from water, she became particularly interested in ocean and fisheries management after studying estuaries and coastal ecosystems in Haida Gwaii, BC.

Throughout her degree, she studied the intersection between people and ecosystems, with a focus on how conservation can be achieved while promoting sustainable resource use in the forestry sector. She is interested in looking at how this can be practiced in marine management, especially related to the application of co-management, ecosystem approaches and Indigenous knowledge.

Gwen has worked for Parks Canada and is currently working with the Department of Northern Affairs, as part of a program that funds climate change adaptation projects in Northern regions. She enjoys spending time outside, be it hiking, climbing or catching a wave.

Michaela Mayer  

Originally from Collingwood, Ontario, Michaela is entering the MMM program with a diverse background of academic and educational experiences.

She graduated from Dalhousie University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. Her undergraduate research experience took place in the Marine Biology Department where she contributed to projects relating to large-scale patterns of change in populations of aquatic species and the climate change effects on marine communities. After graduation, she provided intensive academic support in math and science to Indigenous secondary school students in Northern Quebec and Saskatchewan. Michaela was able to help increase the graduation rate of the schools where she taught as part of the Graduate Support Program.

Over the course of her life, she has developed a keen interest in marine biodiversity and hopes to use the skills learned through the MMM program to promote sustainable ocean practices and mitigate climate change effects on marine life.

Armand McFarland  

Armand graduated from the University of Guelph with an Honours BSc, majoring in Marine and Freshwater Biology. After graduating, Armand spent time volunteering with environmental rehabilitation, clean up, and outreach efforts, before moving on to intern with the Marine Conservation Institute in California. There, he helped draft reports evaluating the effectiveness of marine protected areas (MPAs). Concurrently, Armand volunteered at the Bodega Marine Laboratory as a lab technician identifying invertebrate samples, studying eelgrass beds, and working aboard a vessel monitoring Californian MPAs.

His work alerted him to the importance of strong and effective MPAs. Armand quickly became passionate about MPAs, and hopes to study these important spaces. He joined the MMM program to develop his knowledge and skill set so he can preserve and improve on the efficacy of MPAs. He is further interested in how science informs policy, and the inclusion of traditional knowledge systems in marine management.

Ian McLean

Ian was born and raised in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley and recently received his Bachelor of Science (Biology) and minor in International Development Studies from Dalhousie University. Growing up near the Bay of Fundy and seeing its waters every day helped shape Ian’s interest in the marine world and environmental protection. During his undergraduate degree, Ian focused his studies on conservation biology and fish science. Ian also had the opportunity to travel to Sri Lanka and complete a four-week field course to study the Island’s vast tropical forest biomes. Since his graduation, Ian has spent his time working on the water in Nova Scotia’s aquaculture industry.

Ian is very excited to begin his studies in the MMM program. He looks to further his knowledge in fishery management to help ensure the protection and sustainable use of Canada’s marine environment.

Maryam Nakhostin  

Coming from Toronto, Maryam is originally from Tehran, Iran. During her family trips to the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf, she came to view firsthand the consequences of human activities such as over-fishing and poor waste management, on both the flora and fauna of large bodies of waters; this instigated her interest in marine conservation at an early age.

She completed her Honours BSc at University of Toronto majoring in Neuroscience and Biology, where she focused her thesis on evolution of different reproductive methods in Chondrichthyes.

During undergrad she completed a studentship with the Oceanographic Environmental Research Society in Comeauville, Nova Scotia. Through the society’s research regarding population counts on various species of marine and freshwater fish such as Rainbow Trout and Spiny Dogfish, she was able to enhance her theoretical knowledge of numerous genus and species of marine animals and gain hands-on training in the field.

By partaking in the MMM program, Maryam is eager to study the effects of anthropogenic activities on community structures and life history of marine animals, and in turn, how that impacts the development of more effective conservation methods.

Andrea Olea Rivera

Having always been fascinated by the natural world and seeing it deteriorate due to anthropogenic pressures, Andrea was drawn into the scientific field to work towards its conservation. Originally from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, Andrea travelled to Canada to pursue her goals, where she gained her citizenship, got enrolled in Dalhousie University, and fell in love with the ocean.

Andrea graduated from Dalhousie with a Bachelor of Science, double majoring in Marine Biology and Environment, Sustainability and Society. During her studies, Andrea was introduced to the concept of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), which deepened her enthusiasm for marine conservation, and led her to complete certificates in Environmental Impact Assessment and Geographic Information Science. She has also travelled to Belize to study coral reef ecology, where she took a profound interest in climate change issues.

Now, Andrea is eager to join the MMM program, where she seeks to obtain further knowledge in the design and management of MPAs under climate change to be able to inform and support climate-related ocean conservation efforts.

Corie Rooyakkers  

Corie has always had an interest in pursuing a career that positively impacts the environment. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Science from the University of Guelph specializing in Biochemistry. Throughout her undergrad, she volunteered with the Marine and Freshwater Society, took marine-focused elective courses, and volunteered as a research assistant with Operation Wallacea in the summer of 2019 to assist their sea turtle and coral reef research in Akumal, Mexico. Corie had the opportunity to work for the Enforcement Branch of Environment and Climate Change Canada as a student and worked with them as an analyst for two years after graduating. Her time with the Enforcement Branch led her to develop a keen interest in legislation, enforcement, and compliance promotion.

During her career in the MMM program, Corie hopes to explore the gaps in legislation that is currently preventing Governments from effectively managing and protecting the marine environment.

Dylan Seidler

Dylan Seidler has long had a passion for marine conservation. During high school, as a member of youth crew, and later as a college intern at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California (the world’s largest marine rescue hospital), Dylan helped rescue, rehabilitate and release a variety of sick and injured marine mammals.

As a history-environmental studies major at Whitman College, much of Dylan’s research was directed toward exploring species decline due to past exploitation and examining how historical perspectives should factor into present day restoration efforts. Her honors thesis, Cultural Staples in Crisis: A Historical Analysis of Southern Resident Orcas and Chinook Salmon, emphasized the value of examining Indigenous history and cultural attitudes alongside colonial perspectives in order to develop successful initiatives to aid in the recovery of endangered southern resident orcas.

Through Dalhousie’s MMM program, Dylan hopes to build upon her previous experiences and focus on ways to collaborate with First Nations and coastal communities to restore and protect endangered species in Canada. 

Abdirahim Ibrahim Sheik Heile

Abdirahim loves the ocean, wildlife, and nature. He has worked Ministry of Fisheries with over eight years of experience, covering fisheries and marine resources, working in fisheries policy, management, and development programs. He has participated in several research and development projects at national, regional, and international levels. Within these multidisciplinary projects, Abdirahim has co-authored scientific publications and peer-reviewed journal articles. Abdirahim has won numerous international travel grants to attend conferences and has been honored as an outstanding young fisheries resources management, marine spatial planning, and policy development specialist.

He has conducted short-term consultancies in Blue Economy, Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) fisheries, and value chain analysis for DFID, DANIDA, World Bank, USAID, EU, and IGAD. Mr. Abdirahim graduated BSc in Biology and Chemistry from Benadir University and MBA from University Utara Malaysia.

Abdirahim is looking forward to the interdisciplinary aspects of the MMM and hopes to further his knowledge and understanding of fisheries management and governance while exploring ways to sustainable use of marine resources.

Debra Sinarta  

Debra grew up in Vancouver, BC, where she built a strong connection to the ocean from exploring and learning by the coast. She recently graduated from the University of British Columbia (UBC) with a BSc Global Resource Systems, specializing in Conservation Biology. During undergrad, she had the opportunity to study the changes in distribution of canopy-forming kelp in Barkley Sound, and explore the social dimensions of conservation through assisting projects on the seahorse trade and socioeconomic impacts of bottom trawling. Following graduation, she filled science communication and education roles for local conservation groups, and developed her field and research skills working as a research assistant for the Wildlife Coexistence Lab at UBC. 

Through the MMM program, Debra aims to study the effectiveness of marine protected areas  in achieving ecological and social goals, hoping to enhance the integration of climate adaptive strategies and participation of local communities and Indigenous people.

Krish Thapar

Krish has always displayed a keen interest of the ocean, particularly its biodiversity, since he was small. He would spend much of his time drawing different marine animals, watching documentaries, and sometimes visiting marine exhibits.

In his Honours program at Saint Mary’s, Krish analyzed the invasive green crab population time trends at Kejimkujik Seaside and Malagash Wharf in Nova Scotia. He also did a comparison of green crab management techniques between Atlantic Canada and the U.S. After the completion of his Honours, Krish was invited for a day to volunteer in removing green crabs from the estuaries at Kejimkujik Seaside, where he and the Parks Canada team removed 330 crabs!

Upon entering the MMM program, Krish wants to extend his knowledge in both aquatic and conservation biology and be able to apply both of these topics in a career that will allow him to help protect Nova Scotia’s marine ecosystems.

Victoria Winslow

Victoria recently completed her Bachelor of Science in Biology with an interdisciplinary minor in Sustainability at McMaster University. Due to her passion for marine life, Victoria customized her undergraduate studies towards gaining as many aquatic related experiences as possible.

This included participating in a field biology course in Belize where Victoria was able to study the behaviour of long spine sea urchins in addition to joining the Aquatic Behavioural Ecology Lab (ABEL) upon returning to Ontario. Through her time in ABEL, Victoria was able to study how contaminant exposure affects fish physiology and behaviour, contribute to a long-term study investigating the invasion spread of the round goby, and explore the effects of rising temperatures on fish.

Victoria is excited to start the MMM program to continue to expand her knowledge on marine ecosystems and learn how to minimize anthropogenic impacts on aquatic life. Specifically, Victoria is interested in marine conservation, sustainable ecotourism, and improving ocean literacy.