Past Student

Rebecca Mearns

MA, Carleton University

Rebecca (Becky) is originally from Panniqtuuq (Pangnirtung), Nunavut, spent her childhood in Scotland and is now living in Ottawa. After graduating from Nunavut Sivuniksavut (NS) in 2002, Becky spent four years with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police working in communities throughout Nunavut. She left the RCMP in 2007 to pursue her education. In 2011 she received honours BA from Carleton University majoring in Sociology and a double minor in aboriginal studies and law. 

Rebecca began her MA program in Geography at Carleton in 2011, but took a leave of absence (Sep 2012 – Apr 2014) to work as an Instructor at Nunavut Sivuniksavut.  She has continued to make important contributions to the Gjoa Haven caribou project while teaching at NS, and returned to her MA research part-time in May, 2014.  She took on a position in Iqaluit with the Qikiqtani Inuit Association in September, 2015, and continues to work on her MA part-time.

Erica Oberndorfer

PhD, Carleton University

I was born in Hudson QC, and spent happy early years there and in the Laurentians.  I was very fortunate to defer an outright choice between the arts and sciences by attending the Arts and Science program at McMaster University in Hamilton ON. It was also in Hamilton that I cut my teeth on field botany at the Royal Botanical Gardens.

In 2001, I undertook an internship in Germany on green roofs, and thereafter decided to return to school for research in the use of co-evolved native plant communities in green roofs, with Dr Jeremy Lundholm at Saint Mary’s University (Halifax NS). We soon discovered there were no studies on the plant ecology of coastal barrens in Nova Scotia, our focus habitat, and so my MSc research instead looked at “Plant, macrolichen and moss community structure and species richness in the coastal barrens of NS.” Subsequent students have since been part of the ongoing green roof and coastal barrens research in Dr Lundholm’s lab.

I have also been very privileged to do field work with the Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre, and to work with Canadian Wildlife Service as an Aboriginal Liaison Biologist.  In this latter role, I worked mostly with Métis communities on harvesting programs.  In 2012, I moved to Goose Bay, Labrador, where I now make my home. 

For my PhD research, I am interested in the dynamic relationships between people and plants: how human relationships with plants interact with plant biogeography and plant community composition; and the role of plants in local culture.  I look forward to exploring these interests with communities in Labrador, and to learning more from the people and plants of The Big Land.  I am also very happy to be part of Dr Gita Ljubicic’s welcoming and supportive team.

I am grateful to the many people who contribute to the ongoing evolution of these research ideas.  Thank you!

Leah Ronayne

PhD, Carleton University

Alex DePaiva

MA, Carleton University

Romola Vasantha (Thumbadoo) Trebilcock

PhD, Carleton University

Romola is the volunteer coordinator of the Circle of All Nations. The Circle of All Nations is neither an organization nor a network, but rather a global eco-community linked by late Algonquin Elder William Commanda’s unshakeable conviction that in a very fundamental way, as children of Mother Earth, we all belong together, irrespective of colour, creed or culture, and that together, we must affirm our respect for this penultimate mother.

Romola is of East Indian ancestry, was born in South Africa, and has resided in Canada since 1970, earning degrees in English Literature at McMaster University (BA Hons and MA.)  She worked extensively for the federal government, chiefly within the criminal justice system (federal corrections, Aboriginal justice and restorative justice) for over twenty-five years. 

Over the past sixteen years, she  supported the efforts of Grandfather Commanda to advance Indigenous awareness, racial harmony, peace building and environmental stewardship. She serves as volunteer director of the Wolf Project, which is dedicated to honouring efforts to promote racial harmony.

Romola is the author of two books on the work of the William Commanda (1913 – 1911), OC, carrier of Sacred Wampum Belts, holder of two honorary doctorate degrees, and a Key to the City of Ottawa; and has published a photo journal on her kayaking explorations of Bitobi Lake, Quebec, viewed in part through the lens of indigenous wisdom.

She is presently engaged in doctoral studies in geography and cybercartography at Carleton University (co-supervised by Dr. Fraser Taylor), inquiring into the contemporary relevance of William Commanda’s legacy.

Carmelle Sullivan

MA, Carleton University

ThesisIntegrating Culturally Relevant Learning in Nunavut High Schools: Student and educator perspectives from Pangnirtung, Nunavut, and Ottawa, Ontario (Pangnirtung, Nunavut)

Bryan Grimwood

PhD, Carleton University

Currently working as an Assistant Professor at the University of Waterloo.

Thesis: Picturing the Thelon: Natures, Ethics, and Travel within an Arctic Riverscape (Baker Lake, Nunavut)

Kelly Karpala

MA (co-supervised with Claudio Aporta).

Thesis: Adapting to a World of Change: Inuit Perspectives of Climate Change in Igloolik, Nunavut (Igloolik, Nunavut)

Karen Kelley 

MA (co-supervised with Claudio Aporta), Carleton University

Thesis: Politics and Practicalities of Shipping in Changing Ice Conditions (Cape Dorset, Nunavut)

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