Class of 2023-2024

Kevin Allan

Kevin grew up in a small, rural town in Southern Ontario. While far from the ocean, Kevin’s interest in the marine environment was sparked by his parents. As avid divers, Kevin grew up with dive logs, reference guides, and stories. Kevin earned his open water SCUBA diving certification and furthered his interest in marine biology through a trip to the Galápagos Islands. Kevin is also passionate about politics and government. Kevin recently graduated from Dalhousie University with a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Marine Biology. Kevin also completed an Undergraduate Certificate in Aquaculture and the Environment.

The MMM program is a unique mix of Kevin’s interests in the ocean and policy. Kevin is interested in learning about improving sustainability in the fishing and aquaculture industries. Kevin is particularly interested in how we can lessen the effects of these industries on non-target species such as whales, sharks, and sea turtles.  

Laura Bonga
Laura grew up in Saint John, New Brunswick along the Wolastoq/Saint John River and the Bay of Fundy.  She completed her undergraduate degree in Environmental Science at Acadia University and did one exchange year at the University of Plymouth in the UK.  For her honours thesis she studied the bioaccumulation of mercury in invertebrates in a wetland. After completing her undergrad, Laura worked as a Junior Environmental Scientist for Stantec Consulting and then spent the past year in Ucluelet, British Columbia working as a naturalist and enjoying the Pacific Ocean through surfing.  

Laura is excited to broaden her knowledge and make connections during the MMM program.  She worked at the West Coast Landfill in Ucluelet in 2023 and was very interested in the waste diversion and waste management of fishing gear from the local fisheries and she hopes to learn more about this during the MMM program.           

Abby Christopher
Abby grew up on beautiful Prince Edward Island where she developed a passion for the coastal environment, and the local fisheries. She recently completed her B.Sc. (Hons.) with a major in Marine Biology from the University of New Brunswick. Throughout her education, Abby completed an honours thesis on Arctic char resting metabolism and attended a 3-month marine semester at the Huntsman Marine Science Center where she learned about sustainable ocean governance and the challenges the local fisheries face. Additionally, she was able to foster her interests by assisting in a 2-week bottom trawl survey with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and through her summer employment with local conservation groups in Atlantic Canada.

Throughout her tenure in the MMM program, Abby is interested in learning more about the future of fisheries management in the face of changing ecosystems, while considering the 4 pillars of sustainability (ecological, economic, social, institutional).

Georgia Cooney
Georgia recently completed her B.A. in International Development with an Area of Emphasis in Agriculture and Food Security from the University of Guelph. Georgia grew up in Toronto, Ontario, but has always had an affinity for the ocean. Becoming a PADI certified junior open water diver at thirteen, Georgia’s love for marine life has grown through her underwater experiences while travelling with her family and friends.

As an animal lover from a very young age, Georgia is highly passionate about environmental protection. Throughout her undergraduate degree, Georgia worked at non-profit organizations in the environmental sector, helping to improve her knowledge on the importance of sustainability. During the MMM program, Georgia hopes to learn more about marine conservation, focusing her research on cetacean conservation in the Maritimes. Georgia aims to use this experience to address the issue of human impacts on the lives of cetaceans in her future professional endeavours.

Michael Fabiano
Michael grew up around Toronto, and from a young age he loved fishing and exploring around water. He completed his undergraduate degree at Queen’s University, earning a BSc in Biology. In the final year of his degree, Michael completed an honors thesis in a freshwater fisheries lab. This spurred his interest in fisheries biology. From there, he worked at the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources’ Port Dover office in two roles. First as a fisheries technician, collecting various types of data on Lake Erie and the surrounding watershed, and then as an assessment biologist, writing a report to assess the health of fish populations in the Detroit River.

Through his experience in the MMM, Michael hopes to gain further expertise in fisheries biology and management to get closer to his goal of aiding in conservation of fish and aquatic ecosystems so future generations can also come to appreciate them.

Mercedes Fern
The ocean has always been a central component of Mercedes’ life- most of which was spent in maritime Canada. Exploring tidepools and fishing in both fresh and saltwater as a young child contributed to her interest in aquatic life and later led to her recent completion of a BSc in Environment, Sustainability and Society and Marine Biology at Dalhousie University. Her co-op involved working as part of a nonprofit organization to address and reduce plastic waste in Newfoundland, while her honours thesis examined ecotourism within Nova Scotia’s aquaculture industry. She also volunteers with Dalhousie-based Seascovery to bring ocean-themed educational videos to a wide range of viewers.

Mercedes looks forward to exploring the opportunities provided by the MMM program to combine her interests of aquaculture, citizen science, scuba diving, and food production using an interdisciplinary approach.

Ojas Gitai
Ojas is a seasoned marine officer with a rich maritime background. Even though he was born in the desert state of Rajasthan in India, he developed an early fascination with the sea, nurtured by his love for travel. He pursued his passion by earning a bachelor’s degree in marine engineering, thus solidifying his commitment to the maritime industry. His professional journey began aboard tanker vessels (Aframax/VLCC), where he honed his technical skills, overseeing maintenance and repairs of complex machinery. His seafaring duties exposed him to the intricacies of marine operations, emphasizing the need for holistic management in a rapidly changing field. His experiences helped him recognize the evolving challenges faced by the marine sector, such as environmental regulations, sustainable practices, and global shipping management.

With his enrolment in the MMM program, Ojas aims to broaden his horizons beyond life at sea. His research interests include resolving issues leading to port congestion and the safety of global shipping operations. Ojas aspires to combine his technical expertise in marine logistics and industry regulations with comprehensive marine management insights to contribute to environmentally conscious and efficient maritime operations.

Kali Hines
Kali spent most of her life in Nova Scotia, never more than a half hour away from the ocean. Since she was a child, she loved spending time outdoors, helping others, and caring for the environment. She recently graduated from the University of Kings College with Honours in Environment, Sustainability & Society (ESS) and Spanish. During her undergraduate degree, she collaborated with the Halifax Refugee Clinic to create an employee policy manual, and Youth Climate Lab to create an interactive public document, researching how art can be used in the fight for climate justice. She also conducted her undergraduate thesis on Nova Scotia’s sinlge-use plastics (SUPs) under the supervision of Dr. Tony Walker. For her thesis she collected Nova SUP data and explored its relevance to the Single-use Plastics Prohibition Regulations and the Plastic Bags Reduction Act.

With her interdisciplinary background in the humanities and sustainability, Kali is looking forward to expanding her knowledge on co-management practices and learning more from educators, professionals, communities, and fellow students. She is excited to exploring how Indigenous knowledge, governance, and collaboration can create stronger and more resilient marine ecosystems in NS communities.

Tamara Joseph
Tamara was born and raised in Elsipogtog First Nation and later attended the University of New Brunswick, majoring in Marine Biology. While completing her degree, Tamara was provided the opportunity to complete an internship with the Department of Fisheries and Ocean. After graduating in 2019, she was offered a position as a fisheries researcher for Mi’gmawe’l Tplut’aqnn Incorporated to draft and implement a pilot livelihood fishery plan for seven Mi’kmaq communities in New Brunswick.

With Tamara’s knowledge and passion for fisheries growing, she became interested in the Master of Marine Management program. The MMM program provided her the opportunity to expand her knowledge of marine management through its interdisciplinary approach. Tamara is now seeking to incorporate Indigenous Knowledge and GIS applications into her fisheries research to advance Indigenous science and strengthen relations with First Nation communities.

Maria Mason
Maria was born and raised in Saint John, New Brunswick, and spent much of her time on the shores of the Bay of Fundy. She always cherished the rare opportunity to see a whale or spend time at sea and developed a passion for all things marine. Maria has an honours biology degree with a marine concentration from the University of New Brunswick Fredericton, where she completed the intensive marine block and a semester in Austria. Since graduating, she has researched North Atlantic right whales, conducted bioanalysis at a pre-clinical testing facility, tagged basking sharks, participated in marine mammal surveys, and worked as a field technician.

Maria is excited to gain skills in a broad range of areas through the MMM program. She hopes to use the knowledge obtained through the program to eventually work in cetacean conservation and make a difference in preserving our oceans.

Aidan McDiarmid
Aidan completed his undergraduate degree at Lakehead University and received an HBASc in Environmental Sustainability and a two-year Environmental Technician diploma from Georgian College. His honours thesis studied the impact of marine protected area size and location on commercial pelagic fish populations in Canada’s maritime waters.

His passion for water came from growing up in the Great Lakes region. His childhood summers were exploring Georgian Bay snorkeling, fishing, and boating. Wanting to explore more of the underwater world, snorkeling quickly transitioned to SCUBA. He later got a job in Fathom 5 National Marine Park as a shipwreck exploration dive guide. He plans on continuing his career in the SCUBA industry, having completed his Dive Master and technical gas blender certification for enriched air diving. He has future plans of becoming a scientific diver and studying the impacts of climate change on Canada’s commercial fisheries and marine ecosystems.

Ireland Moro
Ireland grew up in Calgary, Alberta, and though far from the ocean, trips to the water and endless documentaries sparked an interest in the marine environment. This led Ireland to pursue a Marine Biology Degree from the University of New Brunswick Saint John (UNBSJ). While attending UNBSJ she completed a 3-month marine semester in St. Andrews by the Sea. This semester only deepened her love for the ocean and urge to protect it.

Knowing that most change happens at higher levels she decided to apply for the Marine Management Program at Dalhousie University. The inter-disciplinary approach of the program allows for Ireland to touch on policy as well as science which are both crucial to her main interest of conservation. She is excited to start the MMM program and learn from both her peers and instructors.

Brenna Noble
Having grown up in Halifax, Brenna is overjoyed to be returning home in pursuit of a Master of Marine Management (MMM). She spent the past four years completing an Honours degree in Sustainability, Science and Society at McGill University. There, her research focused on how marine apex predators will be impacted under the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s “Business as usual” scenario, and highlighted how consequences would expand into human spheres, raising questions for the futures of food security and livelihoods. In the summers between school, Brenna found herself working as a tree planter in Northern BC and Alberta. After 4 years of living away, she cannot wait to spend some time on the coast. With the knowledge and skills acquired through the MMM program, Brenna aspires to actively contribute to the building of resilient coastal and marine socio-environmental systems through adaptive management and community-based co-management.

Bethany Pohl (she/her)
Bethany’s love and concern for nature spurred from a young age, amplified during her time at the University of New Brunswick's Renaissance College. After completing a Bachelor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Leadership Studies, minoring in Environmental Studies, including an internship in Bhutan, Bethany worked on regenerative organic farms, and at a children’s empowerment camp witnessing the healing power of nature.  In 2014, she landed a dream job at the Nature Trust of New Brunswick. As Stewardship Manager, she led a team to care for 75 nature preserves spanning 11,000 acres, exposing her to the complexities of natural systems, Treaties, Indigenous land issues, and the role colonial land trusts can play as allies.

Through Marine Affairs, Bethany looks forward to deepening her knowledge of marine ecosystems and Indigenous Ways of Knowing to better leverage her skills in inclusive leadership and relationship building to create meaningful, lasting improvements to coastal communities. 

Ruth Riley
Ruth grew up in one of the 52 historical Black communities in Nova Scotia. Growing up in a Black community in Nova Scotia, Ruth learned from her elders the importance of conserving the land & ocean. When she was younger, her interest of the ocean also stemmed from a class field trip to the Bedford Institute of Oceanography where the presenter discussed sea turtles & their habitats. She completed her B.Sc. in Biology at Dalhousie University, where she grew interested in the relationship between climate change & marine species.

Ruth is excited to start the MMM program to learn interdisciplinary topics and expand her background in biology to make a change: specifically, she is interested in marine protected areas and marine conservation in relation to marine species such as whales, sea turtles and dolphins. She hopes to be an inspiration to other students that look like her to pursue Marine Affairs.

Erling Rolseth
Erling Rolseth was born in Calgary, Alberta in 2001, though he grew up calling Texas his home. At the age of eleven, Rolseth moved with his family to the Pacific city of Lima, Peru, where his father worked in LNG exports. Over his four years in South America, Rolseth gained an appreciation for maritime trade and marine biology. After completing high school back in Texas, Rolseth attended McGill University in Montreal, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Economics, as well as his Basic Military Officer Qualification from the Canadian Armed Forces.

Rolseth is currently working toward his Bridge Watchkeeper Ticket with the Royal Canadian Naval Reserves. He hopes to focus his research at Dalhousie on arctic trade and conservation while pursuing his childhood passions of marine biology and field work.

Emma Sansome
Emma grew up in Southern Ontario, just outside of Toronto. Throughout her teenage years, she was fortunate to travel to many countries, sparking her curiosity for global development. Before starting her undergraduate degree, Emma took a year off, embarking on a 9-month sail training program that combined her interests in global development with the maritime industry, allowing her to discover a passion for the world’s oceans.

Recently, Emma graduated from the University of Guelph with a degree in International Development Studies, specializing in Environment and Sustainable Development. Throughout her undergraduate degree, she focused most of her research on the issues affecting today’s oceans, including topics surrounding the pollution and unknowns of ocean exploitation, as well as community reliance on coastal ecosystems for sustainable development.

Emma is excited to further her knowledge of the oceans in the MMM program with a specific interest in the absence of policy in the marine industry.

Scott Schrempf
Born and raised in Ontario, Scott became passionate about the ocean life and conservation through childhood trips to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina with his family. While completing a Bachelor of Science in Biology, from Queen’s University, his passion and appreciation for the world around him grew, as well as his understanding of the importance of conserving and protecting the ecosystems around us. During his degree, Scott had the opportunity to complete an exchange semester at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia where he expanded his knowledge on marine ecology and conservation, reigniting his childhood love for marine ecosystems.

Scott hopes to use his MMM degree to address marine issues resulting from anthropogenic effects and climate change. With a particular interest in conservation management and biodiversity, Scott is excited to broaden his prospective to better approach marine management issues from an interdisciplinary lens.

Gita Tsomik
Gita was born in Israel and moved to Chile for two years when she was 6 years old. She then moved to Manitoba for 3 years and came to Ontario where she lived until she came to Halifax for the MMM program. Growing up in Israel, Gita was exposed to unique marine life and aquatic environments. Her favourite spot to visit was the Red Sea, which later became her favourite scuba diving location. As Gita grew older, her passion for marine organisms and aquatic ecosystems grew as well. For this reason, Gita pursued an undergraduate degree in Marine and Freshwater Biology at the University of Guelph.

With the MMM program, Gita hopes to learn about Indigenous knowledge systems and how they can be integrated with science to manage aquatic areas in need of protection. She is also interested in enhancing her knowledge of marine protected area management.