Claire holding a large fish during work for DFOClaire K.Crowley

I graduated from Carleton University with a BA Honours in Environmental Studies in April of 2011.  Since that time I have gained considerable practical knowledge and experience in fisheries science and environmental management.  I began my undergraduate studies with a desire to learn about a wide range of disciplines, but I was unsure about my area of concentration.  The diversity of knowledge that I acquired through my degree, time and again directed me towards careers in resource management.  I have discovered through practical experience and education – an “ah-ha” moment – that I am truly captivated by fisheries management.

I have recently relocated to Vancouver and I
am currently working as an Ecosystem Technician for Environment Canada (EC).  At EC, I assist in the collection of water quality, sediment, and biological data for use in the assessment and management of water resources in transboundary waterways including the Okanagan and Columbia systems, the Lower Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island.  Before my work at EC, I worked for Ontario Streams as their Adopt-A-Stream Assistant Coordinator.  I assisted and organized volunteers to complete biological monitoring, taught fish and benthic macro-invertebrate identification skills, and implemented stream restoration techniques for restoring and enhancing fish habitat.  In addition, I also worked for the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) as a Field Technician.  I assisted with many projects concerning both native and invasive fish species: round goby, sea lamprey control, salmonid monitoring, general fish monitoring, and identification.  Additionally, I am hoping to pursue graduate studies in Environmental Management or Fish and Wildlife technology.

During my studies at Carleton, I valued the truly holistic view of the environment that DGES provided me.  It gave me an excellent foundation for my job searches and general work performance.  My independent study provided me with invaluable work experience, piqued my interest in fieldwork, aided me in narrowing in on my interests, and ultimately boosted my career in fisheries work.  The knowledge, accreditation, and connections inherent in the Environmental Studies program were instrumental to my becoming a contributing member of the resource management industry.

Mike Jamieson 2Michael Jamieson

In 2010 I completed a B.Sc. Honours degree, with a concentration in Geomatics and a Minor in Computer Science. Throughout my studies and to this very day, the faculty has encouraged, guided, and supported me in the pursuit of my dreams. While at Carleton I was afforded the opportunity to work on the design and development of airborne remote sensing equipment for The Geomatics and Landscape Ecology Research Laboratory (GLEL), a Carleton University laboratory. I was also supported in my Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Research & Development throughout my degree by all Geomatics faculty members.

Upon graduation I was hired by an Ottawa based spaceflight engineering company called Neptec Design Group. There I worked on the development, integration, operation and support of intelligent spaceflight sensors. Some of the notable projects I have worked on include: A Light Detection And Ranging (LIDAR) based sensor for use on future Russian Federal Space Agency lunar rover missions; A mission critical calibration sensor for the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Astro-H X-ray observation satellite; A Canadian Space Agency project to design and build a revolutionary LIDAR sensor for use in planetary and terrestrial exploration activities. Throughout my work at Neptec, I relied on the broad knowledge and skills base obtained from the Geomatics program at Carleton. It provided me with the ability to adapt to ever evolving challenges and duties. Today I work for Neptec’s sister company Neptec Technologies Corporation, which is focused on finding earth based applications for our Space Sensors. These include providing vision systems for autonomous vehicles, underwater survey equipment, and sensors to help resource extraction activities.

To those whom choose to pursue this interesting and useful degree, I highly recommend finding and communicating your career related interests to the faculty so that they may help guide you on your path to achieving a meaningful and enjoyable career. Thank you to the entire faculty for your genuine interest in the success of your students.

Kate Cullen

Kate Cullen

My name is Kate Cullen and I completed my BA Honours Degree in Geography in 2011.  One aspect of the program that I found particularly valuable was its diversity.  Geography is interdisciplinary enough that your research can be tailored to any topic you find interesting.  This allowed me to explore a multitude of subjects before I identified one that I found truly complemented my own interests: international development.

Now I am a Master’s student at Carleton’s Norman Paterson School of International Affairs focusing on human security and international development.  My geographic background has given me insight into a number of issues that complement my current research, including global health, climate change, indigenous rights, gender equity and globalization.  Additionally, the foundations of research theory and practice that I gleaned from my BAH have helped me succeed in my Master’s research.

As I wrap up my degree, I hope to be able to take the skills I’ve gained from both my undergraduate and Master’s programs into the workforce.  The Geography Department instilled in me an understanding that research can also be a force for change.  I hope to be able to play some small part in improving the lives of others through the discovery and implementation of new knowledge.

Jacob Nigro

Jacob Nigro

I completed my BA Honours degree at Carleton in 2012. With a major in environmental studies, and double minors in geography and geomatics, I can state with a fair amount of authority that the department offers an excellent opportunity for learning more about the nature of our world, and our physical and social place within it. During my time at Carleton, I was involved with our undergraduate student society, whose motto was “Without geography, you are nowhere”. This quote succinctly encapsulates the benefits of studying geography, as it allows one to think more critically about their space within, and relationship with, their environment.

Currently, I am studying at the University of Toronto, towards the completion of a MSc degree in Urban Planning and I’m working as an Urban Planner at Fregonese Associates. Within my undergraduate cohort, people received different takeaways from their studies. While my initial interests were related to broad environmental issues at a national and global scale, I came to refine them to examine how we interact with our environment within an urban context. Over my four years, I was able to tailor my degree to this emergent interest. My environmental studies courses allowed me to make the theoretical connections between society, and the physical environment, while my geomatics courses gave me tools to more quantitatively examine such relationships. Taken together, the different aspects of my studies gave me a holistic approach to my education.

To any students thinking about enrolling within the department, I would highly recommend that you do so. Being able to know more about your world is essential to the goal of higher learning, and critical thought. And even for students in other departments, geography courses make great electives, as they are excellent at providing complementary knowledge for a wide range of other subjects. To students in the department close to graduation, my advice would be to think about what connections you have made between geography, and other interests. ‘Geographer’ is a nebulous job description, so try and make a connection between geographic thought and something that you would like to do.

Louise Lyman

Louise Lyman

I am proud to call Carleton my alma mater.  Studying a combined honours degree in Geography and History, my home within a home at Carleton quickly became the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies.

My studies as a geography student at Carleton gave me both the room to explore issues and topics that matter to me, as well as the flexibility to continue catering my degree to my evolving exposure and interests; my degree grew along with me which is an important distinction from programs which stifle growth as a result of overly prescribed structure.

The interdisciplinary nature of my studies did not end when I graduated from Carleton in 2011.  My professors, teaching assistants, and thesis supervisor mentored me to understand the world beyond the classroom from multiple perspectives and taught me to believe in my value as an individual who possesses the skills to work with others in a variety of contexts.  This may just be the single-most important lesson I have carried with me into my post-graduation experiences.

Having focussed on the social aspects of geography and history – at whose intersection lies international development and human rights – I graduated with a drive to understand worlds unknown to me and to contribute to the smart implementation of causes that matter.

My aspirations first took me to South Korea, where I worked with Save the Children International as an English teacher and aided in their children’s rights advocacy program.  From there, I joined Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Canada (an organization that has an active chapter at Carleton), as one of their African Program Staff working as a Market Development Strategist.  My work with EWB began in Ghana and has since taken me to my current home in Uganda.  I live in the post-conflict northern region of Uganda where I am working with a MercyCorps development project – specifically an inspiring team of agricultural market innovators who work to improve the agency and participation of small-holder farmers in the markets that ensure their livelihoods.  Both of these experiences have been full of personal growth and I have only begun scratching the surface of the fascinating history and culture of the places that I live and work.

Looking back on my studies from my current set of experiences, the personal development, support and opportunities my studies provided me has made all the difference.  My biggest piece of advice for future and current students would be to get involved with your faculty and the programming they offer – especially the unique practicum option for DGES students.  My practicum with Inter Pares – a social justice organization based in Ottawa – was my first foray into social justice and development issues, and it left me wanting more!

My next academic step will be to pursue a master’s degree in International Human Rights Law, where I expect my experiences and background from Carleton will serve me well.  Here’s hoping the next academic experience was as good as my last.

DGES_ProfilePicture_NickOchoski

Nick Ochoski

I completed a MSc. in Geography with a focus on Remote Sensing in 2010, following a BA Honours in Geomatics in 2008. My undergraduate degree provided me with a solid foundation in scientific analysis and an excellent understanding of environmental problems to which my technical skills could be applied. During this time I was able to develop and then focus my interests in environmental applications of technology to a variety of projects at Carleton and with other organizations. One of these organizations was the National Wildlife Research Centre (NWRC), part of Environment Canada. Dr. Doug King, my undergraduate thesis supervisor, provided me with the necessary contacts at NWRC which allowed me to obtain a part-time contract while studying. This contract, along with Dr. King’s support and willingness to supervise me through the Geomatics and Landscape Ecology Laboratory (GLEL), evolved into funding and transitioned me into the MSc. Geography program at Carleton.

My graduate degree furthered my technical and analytical skills while at the same time allowing me to pursue my personal interest in Remote Sensing, specifically related to invasive vegetation species detection and management. After completing my degree I was quickly able to obtain employment with an environmental consulting firm in Vancouver where I am able to apply my knowledge and skills to real-world issues and environmental threats on a daily basis. The guidance and exposure to technology and scientific thinking I gained while at Carleton were integral to my ability to find a job which suits and excites me.

My best advice for students in the program or thinking about joining would be to use education as a means of developing the skills that will allow you to pursue your personal interests in the environmental field. Take control of your education and put it to work for you, so that when you’ve graduated you can apply and be qualified for jobs that you want to wake up to every day. Don’t just look at education as a means to an end; take full advantage of projects, practicums, and theses which will allow you to explore and develop your interests and yourself.

Sarah L

Sarah LaBrecque

I completed a BA Honours in Environmental Studies with a minor in Mass Communication in 2008. At the time, I wasn’t sure if this combination of disciplines made sense from a career perspective, but when I began looking for jobs I knew I had made a good choice. The Environmental Studies program at Carleton gave me a solid grounding in environmental issues and the flexibility to experiment across disciplines to determine where my core interests lay. I went on to work on community environmental projects in the UK in the waste and recycling and sustainable transportation fields, and was successful in finding work at an environmental non-profit in Ottawa following that.

My degree gave me the confidence and credibility to apply for jobs in the burgeoning environmental campaigning and communications field, and the support of the staff and faculty was instrumental in encouraging my academic aspirations. I am currently completing a Graduate Diploma in Communication Studies at Concordia University which will improve my media production and applied communication skills. I hope to apply these skills towards creating dynamic and forward thinking environmental campaigns in the non-profit sector. My best advice for new graduates would be to take full advantage of the practicum component of the degree, as this will offer you valuable work experience and applicable skills. Additionally, I am very happy that I took some time to work between my undergraduate and graduate studies, as that time informed my interests and exposed me to the job market, ultimately leading me to where I am today.

pgratton

Philippe Gratton

 I completed a BA Honours in Geomatics in December of 2011 after having obtained a college diploma in Geomatics and working for four years in the field. Looking to advance in my career, I felt the need to obtain a university degree to complement my technical experience obtained in college and in the workforce. The Geomatics program offered at Carleton University not only gave me the opportunity to broaden my technical abilities and sharpen my critical thinking skills but also exposed me to a wide range of academic disciplines which led to new found interests. The program’s diversity gave me insight into many facets of geomatics including remote sensing and geographical information systems (GIS). Shortly after graduating from Carleton, I landed a job as a Geomatics Technician at the National Capital Commission (NCC) in Ottawa, validating the importance of completing a degree to achieve my career goals.

My degree strengthened my knowledge of geomatics and equipped me with the necessary background to further my career. The addition of the honours thesis (the highlight of my degree) to this degree gave me confidence and determination to successfully transition into the workforce and I strongly believe it to be a great starting point to further my education. I am currently employed in a full time geomatics position gaining valuable technical experience in anticipation of potentially enrolling in a graduate program. My advice for future students or those currently enrolled in the program is to strongly consider the Honours Research Thesis as part of your undergraduate degree as it will offer you valuable independent research and problem solving experience. My degree has allowed me to grow personally and professionally and has proven to be a great catalyst.

Victoria PutinskiVictoria Putinski

Greetings fellow Earth enthusiasts! In 2012 I graduated from Carleton with a BA in Environmental Studies, minoring in geography, with a dash of geomatic. I gained many valuable skills from my academic adventure at Carleton, including managing group work, presentation skills, scientific comprehension, technical writing, and many more. I thoroughly enjoyed my degree and most valued the ability to work with other like-minded, enthusiastic individuals, and raise my own ability to understand and communicate environmental issues.

To be successful in the post-education job market, you need a mix of theory, practice and technical skills. Take ethics classes, take computer classes, and take field classes! I enjoyed all of these and more at Carleton. A degree in DGES offers up a menu of programs to take, and people to work with. Explore it all and find your niche. To succeed in any field, above all you must tap in to your social and professional networks. Showcase yourself to professionals. Go to geography related events, meet people and make a good impression. Through networking I was able to work with a biology lab and a geomatics/landscape ecology lab, where I gained valuable experience and connections to prepare me for a career working both in the field and in a laboratory setting. I am now an Environmental Techincian at WESA Group Inc. Without my skills learned both in the Environmental studies program and my job experience, I could not have gotten to where I am today. My next challenge will be to either pursue post-graduate studies at college, or remain successful at WESA.

Learn, have fun, challenge yourself, and above all, show others what you can do. Good luck!