Life After McGill

Our program prepares students for a diverse range of careers, as well as further graduate and professional study. Alumni work as environmental consultants, field researchers for the United Nations, policy analysts, reporters, and secondary school teachers. Others work for (or have founded their own) NGOs and Silicon Valley start-ups. Undergraduate degrees from our department have also led to graduate or professional study in fields such as biology, community development, epidemiology, geography, law, medicine, and urban planning.

Our graduate program offers a chance to specialize in a particular area of Geography under the supervision of a faculty member. Our Master’s students have continued their studies in top-ranked doctoral programs, and have gone on to positions in the public and private sector, and various NGOs. Alumni holding PhD degrees have taken faculty positions in universities worldwide, and work in a variety of public and private research institutions.

Click the tabs below to read profiles of some of our recent graduates. The Canadian Association of Geographers (CAG) also has profiles over a dozen professional geographers (from undergraduates to faculty members).

BA Geography

Life After McGill

Mayumi Sato (BA 2017)

After earning my BA in 2017, I moved to Southeast Asia as a Princeton in Asia fellow where I worked on issues of illegal logging and deforestation, statelessness, migrant worker and Indigenous rights, and climate governance. My professional experiences, in addition to my academic training, reaffirmed the notion that all struggles intersect, which has informed my current interest in scholarship that contributes to building an equitable and sustainable future. I have also held jobs in policy, research, and program management addressing environmental and human rights, and recently founded The Solidarity Library, an organization devoted to dismantling class and racial inequities and diversifying knowledge production in higher education. I completed a Masters in Sociology at the University of Cambridge in 2020 and will return there for my PhD as a Gates Cambridge scholar.

Life After McGill

Joe Lewnard (BA 2013)

I entered McGill's music school in 2009 to study baroque performance practice with Matthias Maute. Instead I earned a BA (Hons) in Geography in 2013, and wrote my thesis in the area of emerging infections. After graduation, I returned home to the US to begin a PhD in Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases at Yale University. Here I study stochastic mathematical modeling as an approach for characterizing the population biology and control of diverse infectious disease agents. I also seek to apply and contribute novel Bayesian and nonparametric methods for statistical inference from epidemiologic data. Among other applied areas, I am currently interested in risk-conscious sexual behavior among men who have sex with men in the era of highly-active antiretroviral therapy and pre-exposure prophylaxis. I am formulating game-theoretic models to assess implications of such behavior for transmission dynamics of HIV, HPV, and sexually-transmitted bacterial infections.

Nina Gannes

Nina Gannes (BA 2011)

After graduating with a B.A. with Honors in Geography, I scratched the global traveler itch common to most geography students, and took a job in India working for a conference startup. The INK Conference is modeled after the well-known TED Conference, and my job was helping speakers from diverse backgrounds develop engaging talks. That job led me to Silicon Valley, where I currently work in marketing developing the brand identity for Zamzee, a kids' healthcare startup. Geography is often considered a generalist degree, where students must learn to pivot between courses in health geography to soil science to GIS. The adaptability I developed while studying geography, especially the ability to quickly master a completely new field, has proved enormously helpful when working in the world of technology and startups.

Jamie Lundine

Jamie Lundine (BA 2009)

Featured in "The 30 Top Thinkers Under 30" Pacific Magazine April 2015. After graduating McGill, I received an NSERC summer research scholarship and travelled to Nairobi, Kenya to investigate the use of innovative online mapping tools to track HIV/AIDS and TB organizations. In 2012, after working with two NGOs, Kenya AIDS NGOs Consortium (KANCO) and Map Kibera, I co-founded Spatial Collective Ltd, a technology and consulting company designing and delivering technology-enabled solutions for development issues. In 2013 we were awarded a grant through the Gates Grand Challenges in Global Health, to investigate the use of technology to improve waste management services in Nairobi’s informal settlements. We are also working with the Rockefeller Foundation to deliver Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) services for the $97 million Digital Jobs Africa Initiative. I lead a team to design technology-enabled monitoring across 6 African countries. I never imagined that my Honours degree in Geography and African Studies would set me up so perfectly for this career path. I thought that the combination would attract curious frowns; instead I picked the perfect degree. I often meet fellow geographers in the field of technology and international development in Nairobi. I couldn’t have designed a better degree to set me up for the work I’m doing.

BSc & BASc Geography

Life After McGill

Reed Waldick (BASc SSS, 2018)

Since graduating from McGill in 2018 with a BASc in Sustainability, Science and Society, I earned a Masters of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University, Class of 2021. I was employed by the Government of Canada in the Department of Canadian Heritage during my Masters. There I worked as a policy analyst in the Official Languages Branch, on a team reviewing and modernizing quasi-constitutional legislation. The SSS program developed my systems thinking skills, which are useful when working on or studying large social problems. The balance of the SSS program created a basis to develop my evidence-based policy skills.

Life After McGill

Andrea Wyers (BASc SSS, 2016)

When I left McGill with a BA&Sc in Sustainability, Science, and Society, I didn’t have my next steps planned out. Several months had passed before I stumbled onto a permaculture internship and field course in rural Mexico. After a few more months and with a bit more direction, I found myself moving to Rome for an internship at the International Fund for Agricultural Development’s Land Tenure Desk. Through that internship and two subsequent consultancies, I learned about the complicated networks of formal and informal systems governing the fringes of growing cities. Wanting to reinforce this knowledge, I moved to London for the MSc in Environment and Sustainable Development at UCL. This degree investigated the accumulation of urban environmental risk in informal settlements and included fieldwork in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Since graduating, I have been exploring the role of innovation networks in building more sustainable futures. This topic is central to my current position, working on a UK Government-funded program that aims to develop more equitable and collaborative innovation partnerships between the UK, Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa.

Life After McGill

Jane Zhang (BASc SSS, 2014)

After completing my Honors thesis on tomatoes and urban agriculture and graduating with a BA&Sc in Sustainability, Science, and Society, I worked at the J.W. McConnell Foundation on their new fund called Cities For People. I then moved back to Vancouver to help build the local cleantech startup community through the organization GreenTech Exchange. This opened my eyes to the potential for entrepreneurship to drive social change, a perspective I brought to my Master of Design Studies degree (in Urbanism, Landscape, Ecology) at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. There, I got to further research food through a cultural and landscape lens, and wrote a children’s book about acorns for my thesis. In parallel, I co-founded an education company to help design better K-12 classrooms. Since then, I’ve helped build a number of tech companies in Boston as a marketer and advisor, and currently host a podcast on mental health for entrepreneurs.

Alicia Rolin

Alicia Rolin (BASc 2012)

Since graduating with a BASc in Geography and Physics, I interned at IFP Energies Nouvelles in Paris, France, using GIS to help develop a model analyzing the economic viability of non-petroleum energy resources in France and to optimize the locations of new infrastructure. Since returning from France, I have spent the past two years as a Cancer Research Training Award Fellow at the National Institutes of Health in Washington, DC. Here I perform geospatial and statistical analysis of the determinants and patterns of cancer across the US at the county and health service area level. I am also involved with the SEER initiative (Surveillance, Epidemiology & End Results). This past summer, I took a mini sabbatical to work at the National Cancer Institute of Peru through The Dartmouth Institute of Health Care Delivery Sciences. In fall 2014, I will start medical school.

BA Urban Studies

Life After McGill

Hannah Rebentisch (BA 2018)

My Honours Urban Studies degree gave me both quantitative and qualitative research skills, and its interdisciplinarity allowed me to study across the university, including in the School of Urban Planning. Geography’s high professor-student ratio meant I was able to work with several faculty members on a variety of research projects during my time at McGill. I coauthored two scholarly publications based on my Honours thesis and on an independent study. The first analyzes urban transportation and equity, and the second assesses a ‘smart’ megadevelopment not far from my hometown. After graduation, I started work for the City of Ottawa as a Transit Planning Analyst, using the analytical skills I developed in the program to assess transportation performance and planning efforts. Now a Transit Planner, I perform data analysis, strategic research, and industry benchmarking to evaluate and improve operations, and to develop a more equitable, higher performing system.

Angad Singh (BA 2017)

As soon as I finished my exams, completing my Honors in Urban Studies degree, I drove 5950 km across the continent to San Francisco. I arrived on a Saturday, and Monday morning I reported for my first day at Pix4D as a software trainer and pre-sales technical support representative. As a trainer, I co-teach workshops and provide private sessions where we empower individuals to understand the power and limitations of photogrammetry. We teach best practices for using drones to produce high resolution 3D models and 2D geospatial data-products. My degree was very interdisciplinary; I studied GIS and Remote Sensing, but also learned qualitative approaches in Geography. My research at McGill, combined with my previous internship working for a drone services firm, are directly responsible for providing the opportunity to start this career directly out of university.

Life After McGill

Étienne Lemyre (BA 2015)

Après l’obtention de mon diplôme de baccalauréat en études urbaines avec cheminement Honours, j’ai poursuivi des études de maîtrise en sociologie à l’Université d’Helsinki, en Finlande. À mon retour au Québec, j’ai travaillé brièvement dans le réseau collégial avant d’être embauché comme analyste chez Statistique Canada. Mon travail porte sur le recensement de la population et sur la production d’études analytiques au sujet des populations de langue officielle minoritaire ; les anglophones du Québec et les francophones d’ailleurs au Canada. Cet intérêt pour la dualité linguistique a assurément été éveillé par mes études à McGill. J’estime que ces études au sein du département de géographie ont été un atout inestimable dans mon cheminement ; le caractère multidisciplinaire du programme et la qualité de l’enseignement m’ont certainement marqué et permis d’acquérir des connaissances et des compétences durables et utiles dans mon travail !

Mitchell Lavoie

Mitchell Lavoie (BA 2010)

Mitchell a complété le programme de Systèmes urbains en 2010 et une maîtrise en urbanisme à l’École d’urbanisme de McGill en 2012. Au cours de son diplôme de deuxième cycle, Mitchell a eu l’occasion de travailler avec des parties prenantes du secteur public sur des projets divers, dont un plan à l’échelle du quartier dans l’arrondissement du Sud-Ouest, un schéma d’aménagement pour un site dans l’arrondissement de Saint-Laurent et une caractérisation des secteurs identifiés pour un aménagement de type TOD (Transit-Oriented Development) pour la Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal. Une fois qu’il a terminé ses études, Mitchell a fait un stage à la Ville de Montréal pour ensuite travailler avec la Ville en tant que consultant indépendant sur un projet de plan directeur de développement pour les berges de l’arrondissement d’Ahuntsic-Cartierville. Il a travaillé sur de petits contrats pour des clients issus de domaines variés en tant que consultant indépendant en aménagement urbain pendant près de deux ans. Mitchell occupe maintenant le poste de Professionnel junior en urbanisme chez CIMA+.

Masters (MA & MSc)

Life After McGill

Jan Wollenberg (MSc 2017)

I completed my MSc in 2017 focusing on how restoring salt marshes can help to mitigate climate change. I then worked as a project manager on soil and water remediation projects across Canada. In 2018, I moved from the field into policy and joined Natural Resources Canada to work on Canada’s new impact assessment legislation. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, I moved to Health Canada’s COVID-19 Task Force, a shift that has now become permanent. After finishing my MSc. in wetland science, I certainly did not expect to be working in health policy, but I suppose geographers are curious and interdisciplinary by nature! The excellent training I received at McGill and the constant support of my supervisor and lab mates motivated me to think critically and helped me to develop the skills to convey complex information clearly and concisely (skills I rely on every day as a policy analyst!).

Life After McGill

Joseph Awiri (MSc 2016)

I earned my BA in Geography at McGill before completing my MSc in 2016 as a part of Professor Bernhard Lehner’s HydroLAB where my research focused on river temperature estimation. I continued my graduate studies at Ryerson University in Spatial Analysis, exploring spatial access to mental health care through a health geography lens. In my professional life, I have contributed to evidenced-informed decision-making at Toronto Public Health and the City of Toronto. Currently, I’m pursuing my interests in public safety as a Senior Analyst with the Analytics and Innovation Unit of the Toronto Police Service with the goal of leveraging data to help make Toronto a safer and more equitable place to live.

Heather Cray

Heather Cray (BA Geography 2010; MSc 2013)

I completed a B.A. Joint-Honours in Geography in 2010 focusing on landscape change in permafrost environments, after which I continued my Arctic field research as an MSc Geography student. My thesis was centered on biogeomorphology – how landscape-level changes affect smaller-scale features such as soil characteristics and plant community composition in the Canadian Arctic. After finishing my MSc at McGill I began a PhD in Ecology at the University of Waterloo where I study the emerging science of restoration ecology. My doctoral research will investigate the connections and feedbacks between the physical environment and multiple levels of life within an ecosystem with the goal of both practical and theoretical advancements in the field.

Alexandre Corriveau-Bourque

Alexandre Corriveau-Bourque (MA 2011)

Following my MA, during which I studied local mechanisms used to resolve land conflicts in rural Liberia, I was keen to find some form of continuity between my thesis research and post-graduate work. A few months after graduation, I landed at a research and advocacy non-profit in Washington DC called Rights and Resources Initiative as the organization’s tenure analyst. The job consists of designing, implementing, and managing research initiatives (often done in collaboration with other locally-based organizations) on issues that directly affect rural communities’ land rights in nearly 20 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Based on this research, we coordinate advocacy initiatives targeted at key policy makers and private sector actors in an effort to strengthen local land rights in both law and practice.


Life After McGill

Camille Ouellet Dallaire (PhD 2018)

Je suis une géographe corps et âme, du CÉGEP au doctorat. Mes études en géographie à McGill (M.Sc. 2012; Ph.D 2018) ont développé ma pensée critique et interscalaire qui soutient ma recherche encore aujourd’hui. Lors de mon passage à McGill, j’ai fondé le Sustainability Research Symposium et j’ai étudié l’hydrologie globale, les services écosystémiques et la gestion des bassins versants. À la suite de mon doctorat, j’ai travaillé comme analyste des politiques sur le futur des géosciences à la Commission Géologique du Canada et comme analyste principale des évaluations d’impacts pour Ressources Naturelles Canada. Dans ses positions, ma vision d’ensemble et interdisciplinaire, développée grâce à la géographie, m’a permis d’avancer dans mes recherches sur l’interface science et politiques dans le contexte de la durabilité. Je suis maintenant Assistante Professeure au Campus Grenfell de l’Université Mémorial de Terre-Neuve au sein du programme Environnement et Développement Durable où j’explore les impacts cumulatifs et intersectionnels de l’exploitation des ressources naturelles sur les services écosystémiques.  

Life After McGill

Dipto Sarkar (PhD 2018)

After graduating from McGill with a Ph.D. in Geography, I moved to Singapore to take up a position as a Lecturer at the National University of Singapore. After that, I was a faculty at University College Cork in Ireland before finally coming back to Canada as an Assistant Professor at Carleton University. Across all the jobs I was continuing my research as a GIScientist studying interactions embedded in space. A degree in Geography, a truly inter-disciplinary subject at its core, has enabled me to apply my research to a variety of scenarios ranging from digital geography, urban geography, to biodiversity conservation and ecology. The breadth and depth of expertise in the Geography Department at McGill helped me to be wide-ranging and critical in my research. The academic rigor at McGill was adequate in preparing me for a career in academia. The city of Montreal was a vibrant background for these very crucial years in my life and I was able to forge many connections which I cherish and maintain till date.  

Life After McGill

Jean-François Rousseau (PhD 2014)

J’ai complété mon doctorat en 2014, sous la direction de la professeure Sarah Turner. Ma thèse aborde les impacts de projets hydroélectriques et de plantations d’agrocarburants sur les modes de vies de communautés paysannes appartenant à des groupes ethniques minoritaires dans le sud-ouest de la Chine. Ayant poursuivi un ‘parcours du combattant’ typique, j’ai effectué un postdoctorat à l’Université Simon Fraser, lors duquel j’ai mené des recherches de terrain, voyagé avec ma famille, rédigé (et révisé!) des articles, et appliqué à des postes académiques. J’ai ensuite obtenu un poste de professeur adjoint à l’École de développement international et mondialisation de l’Université d’Ottawa, où je suis maintenant professeur agrégé. Mes recherches abordent les impacts sociaux de projets énergétiques dits ‘renouvelables’ et de développement agricole, de même que l’exploitation du sable. Je continue à collaborer au sein des réseaux que j’ai joints lors de mon passage à McGill. C’est aussi pendant mon doctorat que j’ai été exposé aux joies, et défis, de l’enseignement pour la première fois. Ces atouts et expériences sont depuis lors demeurés fondamentaux pour moi.

Angela Kross

Angela Kross (PhD Geography 2012)

I very much enjoyed my time at McGill; it was an academically, culturally and personally enriching experience! During my PhD I studied carbon dioxide uptake in peatlands using satellite remote sensing technologies. Following my defense I lectured in remote sensing at the University of Ottawa and since May 2012 I am a postdoctoral researcher at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. My current research consists of the characterization of crop development and health using satellite remote sensing. Ultimately I seek to quantify crop response to water management practices. My PhD and post-doctoral experiences are in line with my research aspirations and ultimate career goals. For now, I am enjoying the privilege of doing my research in an environment that provides me with the best possible substrate: numerous satellite images, in combination with actual fieldwork!

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