Q: Tell us about an interesting aspect of your PhD work.
A: As part of my PhD, I’m working with the Pictou Landing First Nation to examine the health impacts of industrial pollution from the Pictou pulp mill on their community.
Q: How did your time at SRES lead to this work with the Pictou Landing First Nation?
A: First of all, I am Mi’kmaq. After I finished my MREM degree, the Native Women’s Association contacted me to come and talk to the women of the community who needed assistance.
I reached out to the professors at SRES, and a new professor, Dr. Heather Castleden, to talk about an approach to research that seemed most appropriate for what needed to be done. She pulled together a research team and successfully applied for approximately $500,000 in research funding.
Since 2010, we have been collaborating with the women of the Pictou Landing First Nation on this issue. My work in this area has led to a three-year CIHR Institute of Aboriginal Peoples’ Health Doctoral Award, and other recognition.
Q: How has SRES helped you make a difference in your community?
A: I’m able to help our First Nation communities with all kinds of issues, from understanding environmental impact assessment, looking at opportunities in renewable energy, how to engage in the nuclear waste management issue in Canada, and most recently, collaborating on First Nation children’s environmental health issues. And all of these opportunities have come my way because of my MREM degree from SRES.
Q: What has really stuck with you from your time at SRES?
A: I really value my relationship with my former professors. They’ve been amazingly supportive of me and my efforts. And even though I’m no longer a MREM student, I still have a strong connection with the school. I love to come back to visit or teach the occasional class.
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3H 4R2
Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada B2N 5E3