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Celebrating Marine Affairs Graduates

Posted by Marine Affairs Program on June 2, 2016 in News
(left to right) Elizabeth Baker, Wenhui Gao, Adrian Gerhartz, Kascia White, Kim Vardon, Helen McConnell and Elizabeth Edmondson
(left to right) Elizabeth Baker, Wenhui Gao, Adrian Gerhartz, Kascia White, Kim Vardon, Helen McConnell and Elizabeth Edmondson

To some, spring means warm breezes and blooming flowers. For members of the MMM class of 2014-2015, it means the beginning of an exciting life chapter.

Yesterday, 13 Master of Marine Management (MMM) graduates joined the MAP family, 7 of who made their walk across the stage Dalhousie stage at Spring Convocation. 

From Local to Global

Two of the Maser of Marine Management graduates, Hillary MacDonell and Elizabeth Baker, share their experiences working in the field of marine management. 

Hillary MacDonell, BSc, MMM
Rice Field Fisheries Enhancement Intern

In Cambodia, Hillary is working for WorldFish as the Rice Field Fisheries Enhancement Intern, a position funded by the Government of Canada through the International Youth Internship Program (IYIP).

In this role, she is responsible for assisting with the analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data in order to develop best practice approaches for enhancing ecosystem productivity, and ultimately improve household access to stable food sources. More specifically, she is investigating the role community governance plays in resource productivity and household food security.

While the project provides capacity building support to resource users, the villagers maintain complete control over the management of the rice field fishery and conservation areas in their region. Hillary is experiencing first-hand the positive role participatory management can play in empowering users to sustainably manage a common resource.

“Through the MMM program, I’ve learned how to tackle resource challenges using an integrated and inclusive approach, one that takes into consideration the social and natural factors affecting a system. These skills, combined with the ability to think critically when fronted with a resource challenge, now play an important role in my new position with WorldFish. In Cambodia, household income and food security are strongly connected and affected by changes to system biodiversity, water availability, and climate resilience. Having the skills to tackle complex resource challenges through an integrated approach has been instrumental when developing actions to enhance resource productivity in this complex system.”


Elizabeth Baker, BSc, MMM
Acting Science Projects Manager

As the Acting Science Projects Manager, Elizabeth is overseeing the scientific projects being undertaken by the Fishermen Scientists Research Society (FSRS). The FSRS works alongside various stakeholder groups to maintain the long-term sustainability of the marine fishing industry in the Atlantic Canadian Region. They assist with conducting various projects in collaboration with fishermen to gain valuable data and information regarding Atlantic fisheries stocks. Some of the most recent projects include lobster recruitment studies throughout Nova Scotia, at-sea sampling, and lobster conservation work on the Eastern Shore.

“I was fortunate enough to work with the FSRS for my internship with the MMM program. This allowed me to apply what I was learning in the classroom to real world situations. My current position opened up shortly after finishing my degree, which gave me this great opportunity to continue working with the organization.”

In her role from day-to-day, Elizabeth plays an important part in maintaining relationships with the fishermen and scientists who are an integral part of the studies, the FSRS conducts, facilitating collaborative research toward the well-being of Atlantic fisheries. She helps conduct field work such as fish plant and at-sea sampling, in addition to training Fisheries Technicians to help conduct FSRS scientific projects. Elizabeth also plays a role in compiling and analyzing the data obtained through the studies from the project participants, and reporting those results to both fishermen and other stakeholders.

“What I enjoy most about working with the FSRS are the connections I get to make with various stakeholder groups. I find it greatly beneficial to work directly with fishermen and to see first-hand how information they collect while harvesting on a daily basis can be used to manage fisheries in a sustainable manner. It is such a positive experience to work with people who are passionate about what they do, and who have the desire to maintain the fisheries for generations to come.”

Elizabeth was the recipient of the 2015 Marine Affairs Millennium Prize in Marine Science and Technology.

Read more about Dalhousie’s Spring Convocation 2016 at