Current Graduate Students

Disclaimer: The following list shows those students in our department who have consented to have their names appear below; it is not a complete list of all of our current students.


Emma Avery

emma.avery [at] mail.mcgill.ca (Email) | Website

Current graduate program: MA

Supervisor: Prof. Sarah Moser

Previous Degree(s): B.A. in Geography (McGill University)

Research Interests: My thesis explores the sociocultural impacts of new urban mega-developments in Iskandar Malaysia, and is funded by SSHRC and FRQSC awards. Specifically, I examine how and why urban megaprojects are proliferating at an unprecedented pace and scale in south Johor, and the contested nature of their planning and construction. My research is situated within broader global trends including the financialization of housing, Chinese foreign investment, smart urbanism, and resulting socio-spatial exclusions.


Hannah Brais

hbrais [at] missionoldbrewery.ca (Email) | Website

Current graduate program: PhD

Supervisor: Prof. Mylene Riva

Previous Degree(s): B.A. (Hons.) Urban Planning (Concordia), M.Sc. Geography, Urban and Environmental Studies (Concordia)

Research Interests: My research interests have been focused around precarity, housing and homelessness, with a particular axis on policy and programming. Since 2018 I have been a researcher at the Old Brewery Mission, during which my research has been entirely focused on distinct facets of homelessness, namely women, veterans and police-homeless relations. More recently my research has narrowed in on low-barrier programming for homeless substance users and the absence of options in Montreal.


Laurence Côté-Roy

laurence.cote-roy [at] mail.mcgill.ca (Email) | Website

Current graduate program: PhD

Supervisor: Prof. Sarah Moser

Previous Degree(s): B.Sc. Geography and Urban Planning (Université de Montréal)

Research Interests: My research focuses on the particularities of the new master-planned city-building trend on the African continent and more specifically in Morocco. In my doctoral research, I critically examine the arguments and rationales deployed to support the development of brand new cities in Morocco as a model for territorial management and national development. I am interested in how Morocco's new cities are reshaping the kingdom's urban landscape and its representations, as well as how and with what consequences the new cities model is being normalized. I am more generally interested in policy mobilities and the construction of models and expertise in relation to new city creation, as well as governance and citizenship in new cities.


Olivia del Giorgio

olivia.delgiorgio [at] mail.mcgill.ca (Email)

Current graduate program: MSc

Supervisor: Prof. Yann le Polain de Waroux

Previous Degree(s): B.Sc. Biology, BioMed, & Life Sciences, Honours, First Class (McGill University)

Research Interests: My work examines the implications of globalization and land-use change on the social and environmental sustainability of the Gran Chaco region of South America.


Arunabha Dey

arunabha.dey [at] mail.mcgill.ca (Email)

Current graduate program: PhD

Supervisor: Prof. Gail Chmura

Previous Degree(s): M.Sc. in Applied Geology

Research Interests: I will be examining the climate feedbacks of land-use changes on blue carbon ecosystems along the coast of West Bengal, India.


Corey Dickinson

coreytdickinson [at] gmail.com (Email) | Website

Current graduate program: MSc

Supervisor: Prof. Raja Sengupta

Previous Degree(s): B.A. in Geography (Clark University)

Research Interests:


Chris Erl

christopher.erl [at] mail.mcgill.ca (Email) | Website

Current graduate program: PhD

Supervisor: Prof. Benjamin Forest

Previous Degree(s): B.A. (Hon), M.A., M.Pl. (McMaster University)

Research Interests: I am a cross-disciplinary urban political geographer, interested in state power as manifested in local government and in municipal electoral politics.


Peter Garber

peter.garber [at] mail.mcgill.ca (Email)

Current graduate program: MA

Supervisor: Prof. Sarah Turner

Previous Degree(s): B. A. (Hons.) in Environment and Development (McGill University)

Research Interests: The overarching aim of my research project is to understand whether and/or how ethnic minority farmers in upland Northern Vietnam have changed the ways they use, value, and perceive their domesticated animals within the last thirty years or so. These domesticated animals are essential 'components' of social and agricultural livelihoods for the majority of farming households in these uplands. In particular, I hope to identify whether and how a diverse range of social, political, environmental, and economic processes have influenced human-animal relationships, in order to reveal how such large-scale processes work to transform rural agricultural livelihoods in significant, albeit nuanced, ways. Equally important, I intend to convey the findings of this research project primarily through the experiences and perspectives of ethnic minority households, in their own words.


Mehrnoosh Heidary

mehrnoosh.heidary [at] mail.mcgill.ca (Email)

Current graduate program: PhD

Supervisor: Prof. Gail chmura

Previous Degree(s): Master's

Research Interests: My research interest is about the studies of blue carbon by applying my previous studies of Geomorphology and remote sensing.


Maartje Korver

maartje.korver [at] mail.mcgill.ca (Email) | Website

Current graduate program: PhD

Supervisor: Prof. Bernhard Lehner

Previous Degree(s): M.Sc.

Research Interests: I am interested in the physical processes of rivers and lakes and I wonder how these processes are affected by climate change. For my PhD research, I am modelling lake temperature dynamics for all lakes globally.


Oi Yin Lai

oi.lai [at] mail.mcgill.ca (Email)

Current graduate program: MSc

Supervisor: Prof. Nigel Roulet

Previous Degree(s): B.Sc. (Hons.), University of Toronto

Research Interests: Oi Yin has a background in geology and GIS. Her current research project focuses on hydrology and biogeochemical cycling of actively extracted peatlands in Alberta and Quebec. Specifically, she examines the significance of hydro-thermal control on microbial activities and greenhouse gas fluxes.


Jennifer C. Langill

jennifer.langill [at] mail.mcgill.ca (Email)

Current graduate program: PhD

Supervisor: Prof. Sarah Turner

Previous Degree(s): M.A. in Geography (University of Toronto); B.A. (Hons.) in Global Development Studies (Queen's University)


Luci Lu

xi.lu [at] mail.mcgill.ca (Email)

Current graduate program: PhD

Supervisor: Prof. Brian Robinson

Previous Degree(s): M.A. (Miami University); B.A. (Allegheny College)

Research Interests: As the political and economic environments have transformed in dry rangelands worldwide, broad changes have gradually taken place in herders' property rights and tenure over land, and the way that herders manage their lands and resources. I am interested in understanding the complexities of rangeland socio-ecological systems, especially the dynamics among land tenure insecurity, herders' livelihoods, and rainfall variability. I adopt methods from rangeland ecology and geographic information-remote sensing science to monitor long-term biomass and precipitation change at household level. To examine the different sources and degrees of tenure insecurity that herders perceive, I draw from institutional economics and development literature to design household surveys and experiments.


Melody Lynch

melody.lynch [at] mail.mcgill.ca (Email) | Website

Current graduate program: PhD

Supervisor: Prof. Sarah Turner

Previous Degree(s): B.A. Jt. Hons, Environment & Geography (McGill University); M.A., Geography, Development Studies Option, (McGill University)

Research Interests: I am a development geographer interested in contemporary urban agriculture in the Malay world. Specifically, I am fascinated by residents' social movements to create more sustainable and just urban futures. I contemplate how motivations for urban farming vary across intersectional lines, with particular interest in gendered and generational processes. My current geographic focus includes small cities in Indonesia and Malaysia, and my work mainly builds upon political ecology, food justice and feminist scholarship. I am also particularly passionate about creative methodologies that are qualitative, participatory and ethnographic.


Sibeal McCourt

sibeal.mccourt [at] mail.mcgill.ca (Email) | Website

Current graduate program: PhD

Supervisor: Prof. Graham MacDonald

Previous Degree(s): B.Sc Environmental Science, Masters of Urban Planning (McGill University)

Research Interests: I study how we can better account for, and manage, nitrogen in the Canadian food system. I am interested in understanding different supply-chain accounting approaches and the related implications for policy development. My other research interests include: the footprint family (carbon, water, ecological etc), and the environmental impacts of cities.


Kara Movanon

kara.martin [at] mail.mcgill.ca (Email) | Website

Current graduate program: MSc

Supervisor: Prof. Kevin Manaugh

Previous Degree(s): Bachelor of Community Design & Sustainability (Dalhousie University, plus 3 years of a BSc in Geography at UVic.)

Research Interests: My research examines how Canadian municipalities responded to COVID-19 with Active Transportation measures and what can we learn about urban resilience from this? I'm interested in urban geography, social sustainability, and equity.


Binh Nguyen

binh.nguyen2 [at] mail.mcgill.ca (Email) | Website

Current graduate program: PhD

Supervisor: Prof. Sarah Turner

Previous Degree(s): Master in International Cooperation and Development - Economics for Development

Research Interests: My researches focus on urban informal economy, the platform economy and its impacts on informal sector and the (in)formalization of work in urban Vietnam.


Patrick Osei Darko

patrick.oseidarko [at] mail.mcgill.ca (Email) | Website

Current graduate program: PhD

Supervisor: Prof. Margaret Kalacska

Previous Degree(s): M.Phil. and B.Sc. Geomatic Engineering

Research Interests: I am interested in mapping forest trait, species composition and aboveground biomass at multiple scales using hyperspectral remote sensing and related technologies to support global forest conservation efforts and climate change mitigation strategies.


Nicolas Parent

nicolas.parent [at] mail.mcgill.ca (Email) | Website

Current graduate program: PhD

Supervisor: Prof. Jon Unruh

Previous Degree(s): M.Sc. Risk, Crisis and Disaster Management; B.Ed. Secondary Education, Geography and Biology; B.A. Hons. Geography, minor Sociology

Research Interests: My current research explores the spatio-temporal linkages between homeland emplacement, experiences of displacement, and present day homemaking in exile. Aspirations for future return, set through the prism of peacebuilding efforts in the DR Congo, are explored through an ethnography of Congolese refugees inhabiting Gihembe camp, Rwanda. Previously, I was a Research Associate and Lecturer in Migration and Development at the Universidad del Pacifico (Lima, Peru), focusing on regional policy responses to the Venezuelan exodus. My Master's research explored Turkish perceptions of risk vis-a-vis refugees of the Syrian civil war.


David Poissant

david.poissant [at] mail.mcgill.ca (Email)

Current graduate program: MSc

Supervisor: Prof. Oliver T. Coomes

Previous Degree(s): B.Sc. in Biology (UQAM)

Research Interests: My research interest lies at the intersection of conservation and rural human development. For my Master's thesis, I explore a wide range of issues concerning small-scale fisheries in the Peruvian Amazon. Among my research questions, I aim to: 1- Assess the impact of increased fishing pressure on fish stocks using local ecological knowledge, 2- Identify socio-economic drivers explaining harvest levels of fish resources and reliance on fisheries, 3- Identify who are most vulnerable to declining fish stocks, and, 4- Understand the barriers and challenges that communities have faced when trying to manage local fish stocks.


Kerstin Schreiber

kerstin.schreiber [at] mail.mcgill.ca (Email) | Website

Current graduate program: PhD

Supervisor: Prof. Graham MacDonald

Previous Degree(s): B.A. Business Administration and M.Sc. Urban Studies

Research Interests: Kerstin studies urban food supply chains and the social, ecological, and economic linkages between cities and their local and global agricultural hinterlands in North America. In specific, her PhD research looks at the capacity of regions to provide cities with healthy and sustainable food, as well as the requirements and implications of "localizing" food systems. She previously studied and worked at the intersection of business, food systems, and cities in Germany, France, Sweden, and the Netherlands. As the first one in her family to visit high school and pursue a higher education, she is engaged in initiatives to help first-generation students navigate "the University" and provide students with mental health support. Besides her academic work, she is passionate about aquarelle painting, block-printing, illustrations, and photography.


Patrick Slack

patrick.slack [at] mail.mcgill.ca (Email) | Website

Current graduate program: PhD

Supervisor: Prof. Sarah Turner

Previous Degree(s): B.Sc. in Agriculture (Purdue University), M.A. in Geography (McGill University)

Research Interests: I am a development geographer studying agrarian change in upland rural landscapes. Specifically, I study the role black cardamom (Lanxangia tsaoko, formerly Amomum tsao-ko), a medicinal and culinary non-timber forest product (NTFP) cultivated in the highlands in the Southeast Asian Massif, plays in upland, ethnic minority semi-subsistence livelihoods in the western Sino-Vietnamese borderlands. Previously touted as a sustainable rural development livelihood strategy, black cardamom and the forests that the NTFP is cultivated in are under threat of extreme weather events decimating harvests, increasingly regulated forests limiting this strategy, and the recent creation of protected areas inhibiting cultivation. Through my qualitative and ethnographic research, I study trans-boundary livelihood strategies in response to dynamic human and environmental shocks, frontier development schemes, and agrarian change occurring in northern Vietnam and southern Yunnan Province, China.


Julia Yingling

julia.yingling [at] mail.mcgill.ca (Email) | Website

Current graduate program: MA

Supervisor: Prof. Benjamin Forest

Previous Degree(s): B.A, (Hons.) in Political Science (McGill University)

Research Interests: I use GIS and big data to study political geography, and my thesis applies NLP to gender and gatekeeping in the practice of geography. I am interested in spatial dimensions of political violence and armed conflict. I am particularly interested in civil conflict contagion, state fragility, and ungoverned spaces.


Yiyi Zhang

yiyi.zhang2 [at] mail.mcgill.ca (Email) | Website

Current graduate program: PhD

Supervisor: Prof. Brian Robinson

Previous Degree(s): M.A. in Geography, B.Sc. in Human Geography and Urban-rural Planning

Research Interests: I am broadly interested in sustainability and conservation with emphasis on modeling benefits from nature and understanding environmental behavior. I also pursue my interests in rural livelihood sustainability, climate vulnerability and adaptation across multiple decision-making settings (e.g. household livelihood strategies, land management decisions). My current research focus is on developing models and tools that can capture important aspects of benefits from complex ecosystems in Canada's landscapes.


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