As a truly unprecedented academic year comes to a close, it’s hard to believe that another cohort of SSAS students has successfully completed their first year in the program! With their course requirements now complete, these students will move on to co-op placements and beginning to work on their major research and thesis projects. On March 25th, these students made an important first step in the completion of their research by presenting their research proposals to their colleagues, including fellow cohort members and SSAS Faculty.
This year’s cohort is taking on a variety of topics related to Sustainability Science, including Income Inequalities and Sustainable Development (Kamran Abbasov), Sustainable Diets (Shannon Ruzgys), Low Impact Development (Edward Anyan, Jillian Booth), Natural Climate Solutions (Gavin Esdale), Environmental Racism (Mikellena Nettos), Vegetation responses to Arctic Climates (Allison Clark), and Place Attachment and Well Being in the COVID-19 pandemic (Savannah Stuart).
In addition to presenting their research proposals, the students also had the opportunity to answer questions from their fellow cohort members and SSAS faculty relating to their research topics. This was an excellent opportunity – particularly for students in Scheme B who will defend a thesis at the end of their time in the program – for the students to hear other insights on their work and demonstrate their understanding of their research topic. Scheme B student Shannon Ruzgys spoke about this experience, “I spent all year building the foundations of my research on my own and finally being able to share it with my peers and faculty was so rewarding!”
Following the proposal presentations, Graduate Program Director Dr. Marilyne Jollineau commended the students for their efforts and expressed a keen interest in seeing the results for each individual project. Many of the students echoed this sentiment, including Mikellena Nettos who said, “the presentations were inspiring and uplifting.” Several students also spoke about the concerns they had beginning the program in an entirely online format, and how the process of developing their proposals was rewarding and exciting. Shannon Ruzgys mentioned that the virtual year meant that it was easy to feel “isolated during grad school but being able to gather online and present my research and hear about all the exciting research my peers are doing was such a wonderful experience”. Scheme A student Jillian Booth echoed these thoughts and said, “when I first started the SSAS program, I was nervous to start my MRP. However, my fears were quickly eliminated as I received immediate support from my supervisor in determining a topic that aligns with my research interests and career aspirations”.
We are very proud of these students and are looking forward to following their research over the next few terms!
Learn more about the 2020 SSAS Cohort on our website.