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.