SENS Symposium Day: An important milestone

“We’ve reached a critical mass,” Executive Director Toddi Steelman noted as she spoke to the SENS community at the beginning of the first SENS Symposium Day on March 14. “This is the first time we’ve been able to devote an entire day to learning about student research.”  Indeed, with eighty-five students in program, the previous model where MES and PhD students gave research presentations in ENVS 990 was no longer tenable. By bringing all of these presentations, along with the ENVS 992 poster presentations given by MSEM students, together into one symposium provided an excellent overview of the diversity of student research being conducted at SENS. 

The symposium began with opening remarks by University of Saskatchewan Vice-President Research Karen Chad.  Distinguished Professor and Canada Research Chair Fikret Berkes from the University of Manitoba delivered the plenary address.  Dr. Berkes spoke about the role of traditional knowledge in research, a relevant topic for all researchers in SENS, whether their focus is natural science, physical science, social science, or the humanities.

Twelve MSEM students, fifteen MES students, and fifteen PhD students participated in the symposium, presenting on topics as diverse as sustainability education, environmental impact assessment, food security, prairie wetlands, forest governance, and energy efficiency.

“The symposium was an opportunity to showcase the tremendous work and energy of our students in all three programs, and to reflect on how SENS has grown, both in number of students, and in stature, within and beyond the University,” says Assistant Director Academic Maureen Reed.  “It was a proud day for the School, to see the range the depth of scholarship, and the multiple ways that student research is serving communities beyond academia.”