Head of Lab: Dr. Melanie Zurba
Professor Zurba’s work focuses on projects that are developed and implemented in collaboration with communities. Professor Zurba has worked collaboratively with Indigenous communities in Canada and abroad on projects focusing on co-management of species and protected areas, shared forest tenure agreements, Clean Environment Commission hearings for water regulation, land use and occupancy mapping studies, food sovereignty, health promotion and wellbeing, and land-based learning and curriculum development. Her work has also contributed to public discussion on what “reconciliation” means in Canada through her work on learning and relationship building through the shared-governance of land. Professor Zurba is also interested in how global policy frameworks affect community participation in the day-to-day management of the environment.
Polina is a Social Scientist with over 12 years of qualitative and quantitative research experience, and she is currently a Research Associate in Dr. Zurba’s Lab. Her research focuses on flexible employment, multifaceted aspects of food in the workplace, the interactions between coastal and seagoing communities in relation to food and the impact of digitalization on skills and training. She studies the often-under-researched group of people who operate ships, namely seafarers. She developed a genuine interest in seafarers after finishing her BA, which almost led to her joining the maritime industry as a Merchant Navy officer.
Polina’s PhD (2018) from Cardiff University (UK), focused on careers and labor market flexibility in global industries, using the case of seafarers. Polina also holds an MA in Anthropology (2012), and a BA in Sociology, Anthropology and Human Resources (2009) from the University of Haifa (Israel). Polina is an Associate Fellow at the Seafarers International Research Centre (SIRC), Cardiff University (UK) and a Research Associate at the Haifa Research Center for Maritime Policy and Strategy (Israel). She previously worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher at Solent University in the UK. More information can be found on https://www.linkedin.com/in/polinabaumtalmor/.
Mike is an interdisciplinary conservation social scientist and aspiring ‘boundary spanner’. His broad research interests center on understanding the roles of unseen, misrepresented, and marginalized cultures in conservation across diverse ecosystems and regions. ”. He received his PhD from the Applied Biodiversity Science Program and the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University. Although he attended university in Texas, he is originally from the east coast of the United States. He also lived in 7 states so far, including over a decade in the desert southwest. For his dissertation work, he focused on campesino hunting culture and local and traditional ecological knowledge in Nicaragua. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Zurba lab working on knowledge co-production processes and frameworks for the Sustainable Nunatsiavut Futures Project. On his off time, Mike regularly explores state and national parks, spends time with his family, and romps around with his dog.
Reddi Sekhara Yalamala
Reddi is a social anthropologist with research interests in Indigenous knowledge, community forestry, the climate change and energy transition. He is a Mitacs Post-Doctoral Researcher and his Mitacs project explores on the growth of renewable energy partnerships and co-management among indigenous communities in Canada. He likes to travel new places, swimming, trekking and growing community gardens in the Atlantic bubble.
In the past, he was a Mitacs Global Intern and completed an internship on Global Governance in public health in India. He holds a PhD in Medical Anthropology and published on caste, social inequality, and Global Public Health while completing his doctoral programme. He has also worked on a range of international research projects which intersect with focus on reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, the Science, Technology Studies (STS) and subaltern studies. Under the supervision of Dr. Melanie Zurba, Reddi’s work focuses on the role of ESG (Economic, Social and Governance) factors in energy transition and the development of renewable energy partnerships with Indigenous communities.
Julie Marie Hyde
A pracademic with an interdisciplinary scholarly upbringing, Julie draws upon the fields of peace and conflict studies, critical childhood studies, postcolonial studies, and educational studies to explore the lived experiences of young people in educational, community, and organizational settings—highlighting how they contribute to their sociopolitical worlds.
She holds a doctorate in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Manitoba as well as a Masters in Peace Education from the UN-mandated University for Peace. Her dissertation research (Troubling pathways: Exploring experiences of young people in Winnipeg’s inner city through a peace & conflict studies frame) employed arts-based narrative methods to examine the perceptions and experiences of Indigenous and newcomer students in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Currently, as a Mitacs-funded postdoctoral fellow, she is undertaking a multi-partner research project exploring the child/youth engagement practices employed by Canadian conservation organizations
In 2016, Melika completed her master’s degree in International Law at the University of Tehran. In her thesis, she explored how ill-conceived environmental policies, environmental mismanagement, and ignoring Indigenous peoples rights could threaten international peace. Currently, she is pursuing an Interdisciplinary PhD under the supervision of Dr. Melanie Zurba and Dr. Ryan Bullock at Dalhousie University. Her doctoral research will contribute to the exploration of international guiding frameworks for protected areas and their affect on the development and implementation of Indigenous-led protected areas in Canada. She will also explore how Indigenous leaders in Canada participate in the development of international guiding frameworks for protected areas and identify barriers, opportunities, challenges and benefits to their participation in terms of Indigenous-led protected area development in Canada. Melika’s doctoral research seeks to build on such concepts as: ways of empowerment, equity, and active, and deliberate involvement of new Indigenous-sourced knowledge, all as part of meaningful inclusion of Indigenous peoples in decision-making, supported by ‘collaborative environmental governance’.
Michael is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of New Brunswick under the supervision of Dr. David Busolo and Dr. Melanie Zurba. He holds a Master of Science degree in Epidemiology from the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa and a Bachelor of Science degree in Public health and Nursing from Catholic University College in Ghana. Michael worked in his home country- Ghana, as a registered nurse and clinical research associate in South Africa, where he was involved in clinical research on cancer prevention and control. Michael has a particular interest in the potential for interdisciplinary approaches to reducing health disparities among immigrants and refugees. His doctoral research focuses on using community-based participatory research approaches to understand the nature-based program’s role in improving Syrian youth’s health and well-being.
Lily is a Master of Environmental Studies student with the Community Engaged Co-Lab. She is a graduate of a B.Sc in Environmental Science with a minor in History of Science and Technology from the University of King’s College, as well as a graduate of a certificate in Geographic Information Science (GIS) from Dalhousie University. In her undergraduate, she worked with public health officials, and GIS professionals in Nova Scotia to create a web application that maps a score out of 100 of access to physical activity infrastructure by address across Nova Scotia called the ActivScore. Lily has numerous research interests but is most enthusiastic about creating tools to help communities take action for a better future. Lily is a member of the team working on the question of “Can art and science work together to build rituals and vocabularies for dealing with climate grief?” under the supervision of Dr. Melanie Zurba, and she is exploring how youth representation in politics and decision making around climate change influences levels of climate grief in young people.
Emily (she/her) is a biologist-turned-social scientist who is pursuing her Master of Environmental Studies under the supervision of Dr. Kate Sherren with Dr. Melanie Zurba as a committee member. She is largely interested in the cultural, political, and social nuances of environmental management as well as community-based and participatory methods. Her thesis work seeks to assess relational values and trade-offs in Dykeland management along Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy coast. Emily’s research background spans 10 years and multiple fields: beginning in genetics, she later worked in behavioral ecology and biogeography laboratories before settling into interdisciplinary marine studies. She has multiple peer-reviewed publications on the topics of plastic pollution, equity in science, and more. Parallel to research, Emily is passionate about participatory learning: she has worked in education for seven years, engaging youth in environmental stewardship and leading English-as-Second Language (ESL) workshops. Emily is a settler from the ancestral homelands of the Beothuk (Conception Bay, Newfoundland) and is currently a grateful visitor in Mi’kma’ki.
Bryanne is a Masters of Environmental Studies student with the Community Engaged Co-Lab. Originally from Manitoba, she completed her B.A. Hon in Environmental Studies and B.A in Sociology at the University of Winnipeg, where she worked with a local community organization to assist in developing an urban greenhouse for their community. Her research interests revolve around localized forms of sustainable food production and distribution, food security, and food sovereignty. She is currently working on her Masters Thesis under the supervision of Dr. Melanie Zurba.Photo Credits: Naniece Ibrahim
Ahmad is pursuing his Master of Environmental Studies through the Community-Engaged CoLab under the supervision of Dr. Melanie Zurba. With background both in the natural and social sciences, he is interested in interdisciplinary approaches to environmental crises. Ahmad completed his Bachelor of Science with majors in Environmental Sciences and Sociology and a minor in Political Science at Forman Christian College in Lahore. His research interests lie primarily in the socio-political dimensions of the environment with a close focus on issues of environmental justice and equity, Indigenous governance, climate change, and community participation in decision-making. In the Community-Engaged CoLab, his research focuses on designing governance frameworks for protected areas with meaningful Indigenous participation.
Morgan (she/her) is pursuing a Master of Environmental Studies with the Community Engaged Co-Lab under the supervision of Dr. Melanie Zurba and Dr. David Busolo. Deeply interested in interdisciplinary approaches to environmental sustainability and social justice, Morgan obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Global Studies from Vancouver Island University. Her interests lie in the nuances of environment, equality, and wellbeing using collaborative and creative research. She brings her experiences engaging in community groups and artistic spaces to help create dialogues around climate grief and emotional resiliency in new and changing environments.
Tyler (he/him) is a Master of Environmental Studies student under the supervision of Dr. Peter Duinker with Dr. Melanie Zurba as a committee member. He completed his Bachelor of Urban Forestry at the University of British Columbia. It was there that Tyler developed research interests in urban forest resilience, municipal forest management, environmental governance, and the intersection of those three topics. Tyler’s current research explores participation in urban-forest governance and NGOs’ contributions in municipal forest governance processes, programs, and decision-making.
Claire (she/her) brings her background in international relations, conservation, and environmental justice to Dalhousie’s master’s program in Resource and Environmental Management (MREM). While having grown up in France, Mali, and Switzerland, Claire is now based in the United States, and has had the privilege of working on issues of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion at the Ohio Environmental Council. She holds a B.A in International Relations and Modern Languages from the University of Essex in the UK and is a member of the Community Engaged Co-Lab, led by Dr. Melanie Zurba. Claire is interested in applying conservation and environmental management through a good governance and environmental justice lens; and in her personal time is an avid hiker and amateur birder.
Armand graduated from the University of Guelph with an Honours BSc, majoring in Marine and Freshwater Biology. He has worked in California drafting reports evaluating the effectiveness of marine protected areas (MPAs) and volunteering as a lab technician identifying krill, studying eelgrass beds, and working aboard a vessel monitoring Californian MPAs. Armand is now a candidate for a Masters in Marine Management in the Marine Affairs Program at Dalhousie University.
Armand is interested in effective and equitable MPAs, and hopes to develop his knowledge and skill set to preserve and improve on the efficacy of these spaces. He is further interested in Indigenous Knowledge Systems and their importance for marine conservation. Armand is currently researching the development of an Indigenous co-governance framework in MPAs managed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.