Postdoctoral Fellow

Blythe 2

Jessica Blythe

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

I am an environmental social scientist with expertise in resilience and sustainability science. At the broadest scale, my research aims to understand how communities perceive and respond to social-ecological change (including climate change), and their differential capacities for adaptation and transformation. One branch of my empirical work is grounded in coastal systems, where I draw on complexity and commons theory to explore the influence of social-ecological dynamics on resource management and livelihood outcomes. A second strand of my empirical work focuses on transformations towards sustainability, where I use the Transition Town movement as a case to better understand the politics of urban transitions. Over the past decade, I have been fortunate to work with communities and colleagues in Australia, Canada, Malawi, Mozambique, and Solomon Islands. Please find a summary of my publications on Google Scholar.
Email: jessicalblythe(at)


Current Graduate Students


Evan Andrews

PhD candidate

I am interested in how our values and beliefs interact with social-ecological systems to influence our perceptions and responses to environmental change. In my PhD research, I will build a transdisciplinary approach for understanding these interactions in the context of marine systems in the Atlantic Ocean. My goal is to identify pathways for the integration of values and perceptions in environmental governance to enhance the resilience of Atlantic coastal marine systems. Under the supervision of Dr. Derek Armitage, my PhD research is part of the OceanCanada Partnership in which I am collaborating with the Atlantic Working Group to develop broad descriptions and analyses of Atlantic coastal regions. Through my work, I am committed and excited to learning from my colleagues, research and community partners, and mentors to build my skills as a transdisciplinary researcher. I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in Justice Studies from the University of Regina and a Master of Environment and Sustainability from the School of Environment and Sustainability at the University of Saskatchewan. In addition, I am collaborating on the Delta Dialogue Network, led by Dr. Toddi Steelman, in which we have carried out research about how Indigenous youth can lead sustainability science in the Saskatchewan River Delta. In my spare time, I am writing and reading like crazy, but in my spare, spare time, I am involved in the Canadian water polo community as a domestic and international referee.
Email: e3andrews(at)



Sajida Awan

PhD candidate

After my MBA I became involved with a grass roots level development organization called “SUNGI Development Foundation” which works in some of the most deprived parts of Pakistan, including the earthquake-affected areas. Having gained experience of working in development, I later joined UNICEF where I spent over two and a half years in the Water and Sanitation section, assisting to provide improved facilities throughout the earthquake affected zones as well as promoting better hygiene understanding and practices, focusing primarily on the health and welfare of children and women. Then I joined UNDP, where in my role as Program Associate I was independently as well as in support to other team members worked on Rule of Law, Strengthening democracy through Parliament, Legal Empowerment of the Poor and Election and other governance related projects.
While working with UNDP, in pre-disaster phase in the governance unit, I could see the bad governance challenges in the government sector but working during disaster phase (2010-2012) I could see the governance issues even in the donor as well as NGO sector. This implies that the sustainable development itself has challenges from within. An analysis of this situation has led me to focus my future career goals to further my understanding of Economic Development and Environmental Sustainability, an increasingly important area of study and policy making which seeks to create links between Environmental and Social sustainability, while also ensuring that all development and social planning and interventions contain an aspect or awareness of gender issues.
Email: s9sultan(at)


Bruecknerirwin 2

Irene Brueckner-Irwin

MES candidate

I am a Master’s student in the School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability at the University of Waterloo. Previously, I completed a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Chemistry at Trent University. Broadly, I am interested in reconciling human and environmental needs in changing environments. My research explores the relationship between marine conservation measures and the wellbeing of coastal communities, with a case study focusing on fishing communities in the Outer Bay of Fundy. My research is part of the OceanCanada partnership.
Email: ibrueckn(at)
Twitter: @iebrueck



Kara Cox

MES Candidate (Co-supervised with Dr. Simon Courtenay, University of Waterloo)

I am a Masters student in the School of Environment Resources and Sustainability, in the Combined Water Program. Previously I completed my Honours Bachelor of Environmental Earth Science at Lakehead University. My undergraduate thesis focused on monitoring the stability and viability of a remediated stream in Nipigon Bay, focusing on Coaster Brook Trout habitat requirements and stream morphology. I am interesting in creating true sustainability and working towards repairing current environmental damage and preventing future problems where possible. My research will focus on micro plastic pollution in freshwater systems and the impacts associated with micro plastics.
Email: k5cox(at)


Esteves_Ana Carolina

Ana Carolina Esteves Dias

PhD Candidate

I am originally from Brazil, where I graduated from the State University of Campinas in 2012 with a four years degree in Biology. I also hold a degree in Biology Education and a MSc. in Ecology from the same University. Since 2016, I am a PhD candidate at the University of Waterloo. Through my years of studying, I became fascinated by the research field in Applied Ecology and interdisciplinary research concerning social and environmental issues. My primary research interest lies in human and environmental interactions, especially regarding environmental governance towards social and ecological sustainability. I understand that human well-being depends on nature, and nature is affected by human actions. Therefore, humans and nature may be considered as two subsystems of the same social-ecological system. My motivation in this field is to identify which elements combine to generate a balance between nature conservation and human well-being and how these could be applied to environmental governance. I am also engaged with outreach activities at the coastal zone in order to foster environmental stewardship and local development.
Email: acesteve(at)


Thomas Dyck 2

Thomas Dyck

PhD Candidate (Co-supervised with Dr. Ryan Plummer, Brock University)

I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. I am interested in collaboration, community engagement, knowledge, and the evolving ways that communities participate in environmental resource governance and the multi-level implications on social, political, cultural, and environmental contexts. My current research involves a collaborative research partnership with three Ontario First Nation communities to examine adaptive forms of water governance. This research examines community perspectives and approaches to water governance, shedding light on the challenges on opportunities for addressing the complex and uncertain water issues confronting First Nations. Prior to my PhD, I worked within the Ontario Ministry of Environment focused on source water protection. I received my MA in Geography at the University of Hong Kong, where I completed a dissertation on the economic and environmental outcomes of land policy and land use change in China. I currently sit on the Canadian Water Network Student and Young Professional Committee as the Social Media and Communications Coordinator.
Email: dyck3730(at)
Twitter: @thomasdyck



Sondra Eger

PhD Candidate (Supervised by Dr. Simon Courtenay)

Sondra Eger is a PhD Candidate in Simon Courtenay’s lab at the University of Waterloo, School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability. Sondra’s research addresses challenges in the implementation of Integrated Coastal and Oceans Management (ICOM) in Canada, with a focus on the Bay of Fundy. More specifically, Sondra is investigating the opportunity for regional governance as a way to move toward ICOM. This project includes an examination of past and current ICOM initiatives in Atlantic Canada and the role played by communities in implementing ICOM initiatives. Because place-based problems often demand place-based solutions, this research will enhance the resilience of coastal social-ecological systems through a better understanding of governance conditions and the capacity at the local-regional scale to complement federal actions through community-driven ICOM initiatives.
Email: seger(at)
Twitter: @SonEger


Simar Kaur

Simar Kaur

MES Candidate

I am pursuing a Master’s of Environmental Studies in Sustainability Management at University of Waterloo. I also completed my undergraduate studies here at the University of Waterloo in Bachelors of Environmental Studies, with a focus on Environment and Business and a minor in Geography and Environmental Management. I also hold a diploma in Environmental Assessment. On a broad scale, I am interested in understanding Social-Ecological Regime Shifts (SERS) through a lens of slow and fast variables. My research focuses on examining the role and importance of fast and slow variables in better understanding and responding to SERS.
Email: s38kaur(at)



Samantha King

MES candidate

I am a Master’s of Environmental Studies candidate in the Sustainability Management program within the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development at the University of Waterloo. Previously I attended the University of Western Ontario in London, where I completed a Bachelor of Science with a double major in Biology and Medical Science. It was my interest in ecology and wildlife management that directed me towards sustainability management. Under the supervision of Prateep Nayak, I will be using a social-ecological systems perspective to look at regime shifts and the gendered implications that they have on coastal fishing communities.
Email: s23king(at)



Lichu Lin

MES candidate

I am from China, and I am a Master’s student in the Faculty of Environment’s Sustainability Management program at the University of Waterloo. I completed my Honours Bachelor degree in Environmental Studies, with an area of concentration in Environmental Management at York University. I also obtained Certificate in GIS and Remote Sensing and Certificate in Sustainable Energy during my undergraduate. Right now, I am studying Social-Ecological Regime Shifts (SERS) in China, and I am interested in understanding what are related governance approaches implemented and how they perform in China’s coastal ecosystems. My research also focuses on what governance interventions can better respond to SERS.
Email: l73lin(at)



Danielle Lindamood

MES candidate

Originally from California, I am pursuing a Master’s in Environmental Management in the Sustainability Management program at University of Waterloo. After completing two bachelors’ degrees at California Lutheran University in Global Studies and French, I worked in The Gambia with Agua Inc, an international development group focusing on sustainable water projects. My professional and academic interests in the intersection of environmental problems, business, and international development brought me to the School of Environment, Enterprise, and Development at University of Waterloo. I use social-ecological systems to examine the relationship between environment, enterprise and development in developing nations with a particular focus on the emerging influence of social enterprise.
Email: dlindamood(at)



Dulguun Maidar

MES Candidate

My name is Dulguun Maidar and I am from Mongolia, an Asian country situated between Russia and China. In recent years mining industry is growing in exponential rate attracting investments, bringing development. On the other hand, this development endangers the traditional land using culture and lack of knowledge dealing with international business environment, and has put Mongolia in an awkward position. Observing all the change happening, pushed me to get interested environmental field and stakeholder engagement methods to bring every side of the certain issue to the table. To briefly introduce my academic background, I obtained my undergraduate degree at the Hunter College of City University of New York double majoring in Political Science concentrated in United States Politics and Economics. As a young man wishing to make my own contribution to facilitate resolving some of above challenges, I entered Master of Environmental Studies in Sustainability Management degree program.
Email: dmaidar(at)



Bradley May

PhD Candidate

I have been a part-time PhD candidate since 2010. My interests are in climate change adaptation, risk management, natural hazards, and most recently, adaptation leadership. I started on this journey back in 1978 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography (with courses in archaeology) from Wilfrid Laurier University. From there I moved to the University of Toronto and finished a Master of Arts at the Institute for Environmental Studies in 1984. I have recently retired from the federal civil service, with expertise in both project and program management. I also actively participate in Brock University’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre (ESRC) and their Sustainability Science and Society (SSAS) Master’s program.
Email: b3may(at)
Twitter: @BradKMay



Hameet Singh

MES candidate

I am a Master of Environmental Studies student, focusing on Sustainability Management at the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development (SEED), University of Waterloo. I am also partaking in the Collaborative Water Program at the Water Institute, through which I have received the RBC Water Scholars Graduate Entrance Scholarship. I attained my Bachelor of Environmental Studies, Honours Environment and Business Co-op (September 2012 – April 2017), from SEED as well (Diploma in Environmental Assessment, Minor in Legal Studies, Minor in Geography and Environmental Management). Through the co-operative program, I had the opportunity to intern at two federal government departments (PSPC and INAC), two regional municipalities (Region of Peel and York Region), and a provincial crown corporation (Infrastructure Ontario). I have worked on projects ranging from environmental QA/QC, waste infrastructure, source water protection, environmental risk management, verification of significant drinking water quality threats, land and water resources management issues pertaining to the Canadian North, and environmental assessment.

I commenced the MES degree in September 2017 under the supervision of Dr. Prateep Nayak, and will be concentrating my thesis on the “Governance to Navigate Regime Shifts” dimension of Social-Ecological Regime Shifts (SERSs). Specifically, I will strive to examine the implications of community-managed marine protected areas (MPAs) as a governance approach to deal with SERs in the Ria Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, Merida Mexico, and its potential for ecological conservation and community wellbeing. My research objectives include characterizing the nature of the SERs taking place, examining the community perceptions of the MPA in relation to the historical and ongoing processes of rapid change, and examining how community-managed MPAs can provide novel governance arrangements to better respond to SERSs and help achieve conservation goals along with community wellbeing.
Email: hk23singh(at)
LinkedIn: Hameet Singh



Patricia Szabo

MES Candidate

I am a Master’s student in the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development at the University of Waterloo. I have previously completed a Bachelor of Environmental Studies in International Development at University of Waterloo. I am interested in the impacts of rapid environmental changes on mental health and wellbeing, specifically the psychological distress and the ability to cope with that distress. My research explores the relationship between ecological distress and human distress, which can be called ‘solastalgia’, first coined by Glenn Albrecht in 2003. The case study for my research is located in Chilika Lagoon, India and focuses on the local fishers who have experienced rapid changes in their home environment and the lack of control over those changes.
Email: pcrisanszabo(at)