SENS alumni are ambassadors for sustainability in their communities and agents of change with strong professional skills. They are able to evaluate problems, synthesize knowledge and develop solutions to address the most challenging environmental and sustainability issues faced by society.

Our alumni are found in sectors and industries as varied as SENS itself, bridging disciplines across the natural, physical and social sciences, as well as the humanities and engineering.

Here are a few profiles of our outstanding alumni:

Liam Mulhall (MSEM 2013) - Business Analyst, Stantec Consulting
Liam Mulhall

Liam Mulhall had been considering returning to school for several years, but hadn’t been able to find the right program.  He knew he was seeking training that would provide greater job satisfaction; he wanted a career that was meaningful.  An avid outdoorsman, Liam also knew that he was interested in working to ensure that future generations would have the same opportunities that he had had to enjoy and appreciate the outdoors.  When he found SENS, Liam knew he had found the right fit.  “The one-year MSEM program was very appealing, as I wanted to return to the work force as soon as possible,” Liam says.  “Many comparable programs are very regionally-focused.  I found that SENS offered learning that could be applied broadly and would not limit my mobility.  I found faculty at SENS whose interests aligned directly with my own.  Plus, I liked the idea of living in the beautiful city of Saskatoon.”

Liam’s favourite moments from his time at SENS came early in his program, during the ENVS 801 field trip to the Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve.  “I shared in my friend Razak’s first experience canoeing, watched huge flocks of snow geese that brought back great childhood memories, and shot pool with Joe in the Hafford Hotel until the wee hours.  I’d go back in a second!”

Today, Liam is a Business Analyst with Stantec Consulting in Winnipeg.  His main responsibility is front-end project planning, which includes financial analysis, feasibility studies, market assessments, and completing business cases.  The environmental division at Stantec is large and growing, and Liam sees a continuing role for himself in planning and strategic analysis.

Like many SENS alumni, Liam sees many opportunities for today’s SENS students.  “Your education is what you make of it.  Choose your courses wisely and consider the projects you complete.  SENS offers students a lot of academic freedom.  By engaging in projects that align with your aspirations, you can gain experience that will come in handy in the future.”  Liam also believes that the environmental management sector will continue to grow.  “Going beyond the obvious environmental benefits to society, many organizations are realizing the financial benefits of sustainable practices. Not only can they achieve cost savings, being a good environmental steward is good for a company’s reputation.”

Doyin Adesokan (MSEM 2013) - PhD Student, College of Engineering, University of Saskatchewan

Doyin Adesokan had very little time to acclimatize to her new surroundings when she first came to SENS.  One day, she arrived in Saskatoon from London, and before she knew it, she was in the field at the Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve.   “It was a huge change moving from a busy city like London to a quiet lake side in the prairies within a few days,” she remembers.

Doyin chose the MSEM program because she felt it would add a sustainable management dimension to her mining and environmental engineering background.  “I have a keen interest in sustainable resource extraction and aspects related to it, such as sustainable engineering and sustainable development. I wanted a programme that would enrich me with knowledge and experience in these aspects of sustainability.”

Given her background, Doyin initially found the social science part of the MSEM programme daunting.   “I didn’t enjoy that back then, because I wasn’t used  to that style of thinking.  It wasn’t a huge part of the engineering programme,” she admits.  

Now, two years after completing her degree at SENS, Doyin has come to realize the value of having training in the social sciences, as well as in the natural and physical sciences.  “I think differently and more holistically about environmental and developmental issues.  I see the human aspects of issues now as opposed to just engineering or constructing stuff to solve problems.  I look at both hard and soft path strategies now when I consider solutions to problems.”

Doyin credits Helen Baulch’s ENVS 821:  Sustainable Water Resources course and the then-required ENVS 801:  Ecosystem Science and Sustainability course, taught by Vladimir Kricsfalusy and Christy Morrissey, as key.  “I think about multi-barrier systems to dealing with environmental issues now, in a way that’s analogous to the multi-barrier water treatment system I learned about in Helen’s class.”  As for ENVS 801, Doyin says, “The course opened my eyes to the topic of placing monetary value on ecosystem services.” 

She also values the reflexive thinking skills she gained through her ENVS 992 project, Assessing the Impacts of Urban Development on the Peak Flow of Opimahaw Creek, Wanuskewin Heritage Park.  “Reflexive thinking has become a part and parcel of my person.”

Doyin has this advice for students currently in the MSEM programme.  “You can take your time with the programme. If you can, find time to take up a part-time job or an internship to gain hands on practical experience. Acquire practical skills that could give you an extra bit of edge in the job market. Be creative, and proactive. Don’t restrict your job search or networking activities to just environmental job sites.  Many companies need environment and sustainability savvy people. Ultimately, a career path is usually not a straight line. Expect twists and turns, but keep a positive outlook and ensure you’re acquiring practical skills.”

Now a PhD student in the Department of Civil and Geological Engineering, College of Engineering, Doyin is conducting research in the area of sustainable geotechnics and geosynthetics.  “ I continue to draw from knowledge acquired during the MSEM programme for certain aspects of my PhD programme,” she says.  During her time as an MSEM student, she says she sometimes felt like she was “swimming in unfamiliar academic waters” and that SENS wasn’t the right place for her.  “I’ve done a lot of reflexive thinking since I completed my MSEM programme, and I must say SENS was indeed a place for me and I’m glad I went through the programme.”

Matthew Wolsfeld (MSEM 2011) - Community Engagement Coordinator, University of Saskatchewan
Matt Wolsfeld Matt Wolsfeld returned to the University of Saskatchewan in early 2015, but not to pursue further studies.  Rather, the MSEM graduate has joined the Office of Sustainability, Facilities Management Division, as its Community Engagement Coordinator.  In this role, Matt works to ensure that students, staff, and faculty are aware of and engaged in the university’s sustainability initiatives.  Some days, this means meetings with building managers or student groups to discuss sustainability issues; on other days, it means spending time in front of a computer designing marketing or communications materials for a new initiative.  “It’s a highly flexible position that engages my critical thinking skills and I couldn’t be happier with it,” says Matt.

Matt’s interest in sustainability began with a childhood love of animals, which drew him to biology for undergraduate studies.  The manner in which ecosystems are structured, with interdependencies between plants and animals, was fascinating to Matt.  As he became more and more aware of events around the world and the impacts they had on the environment, he became deeply invested in learning more about the connections between plants and animals and how to ensure their preservation.

Matt considers himself a creative and artistic person – qualities that can be difficult to express when studying the natural sciences.  But finding the places where these diverse disciplines did intersect was very rewarding.  “SENS seemed to have the same interdisciplinary approach to learning that I did,” Matt reflects.  During the course of his MSEM program, he was able to combine a scientific approach to studying the environment with artistic and social elements, which Matt feels are “too often ignored.”  However, Matt found that this method allowed him to contextualize complex problems, making them more accessible.

When asked to choose a favourite moment from his time at SENS, Matt says he is hard-pressed to pick just one.  “I look at my entire program as one big amazing experience.  Our whole program was a fairly tight-knit group that spent a lot of time together, in school and out. I’ve taken trips with SENS classmates, attended weddings, and seen people develop and use the skills they gained at SENS to find fascinating careers for themselves. I loved my learning experience at SENS and took away so many important academic lessons, but the friends and life lessons I gained from the program will stick with me forever.”

Matt has this advice for students who will soon be leaving SENS and seeking employment. “Job opportunities that you may not have originally considered can open new avenues for you. Use all of the skills and talents you have at your disposal; often the things you love outside of your academic life can be your greatest career assets. Finally, network, network, network. The phrase ‘it’s who you know’ has never been more apt.  Don’t be afraid to use all of your connections to find a place for yourself outside of school.”
Kiri Staples (MES 2014) - Project Manager, Delta Dialogue Network, University of Saskatchewan
Kiri Staples

“It actually took me a while to realize that the field of environment and sustainability was where I wanted to be,” MES alumna Kiri Staples says.  “My undergraduate degree was in international studies, with a focus on gender.  I spent a lot of time outside, but I considered that to be more of a personal interest.”

Kiri’s view of how environment and sustainability could fit into a career changed when she participated in a project in Tanzania, where she helped to establish community-based research projects related to poverty reduction and environmental conservation.  “Something about that experience really opened my eyes to how important environmental issues are to my life and how I should be pursuing that passion in a career setting.” 

The program at SENS appealed to Kiri because many of the faculty focus on northern research.  “I’m from the Yukon Territory.  Southern universities don’t always have a good reputation in northern communities, and often for good reason.  It struck me that SENS was really invested in changing the dynamics of that relationship, and I wanted to be a part of that.” 

At SENS, Kiri completed her MES degree under the supervision of SENS associate David Natcher from the Department of Bioresource Policy, Business, and Economics, College of Agriculture and Bioresources.  Her thesis, titled “Gender and Decision-Making in Natural Resource Co-Management in Yukon Territory” drew on her previous academic background, her aspirations to work in the field of environment and sustainability, and her northern background. 

Although Kiri has now graduated, she is still a part of the SENS community in Kirk Hall, but with a new title:  Project Manager, Delta Dialogue Network.  She is responsible for the day-to-day management of this SSHRC-funded research network; this includes communications, reporting, organizing workshops, and supporting research activities. 

Reflecting back on her time as a SENS student, Kiri says that her favourite moment was the Cultural Food Fair.  “Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of memorable academic moments, but the food fair was a beautiful combination of students, staff, and (obviously) amazing food. The fact that you could have Mexican tacos, Ukrainian cabbage rolls, West African peanut soup, and Saskatchewan apple fritters on one plate was pretty great.”

Jean Kayira (PhD 2013) - Core Faculty, Environmental Studies, Antioch University
Jean Kayira

SENS only had ten students the year Jean Kayira started her PhD program at the school.  Even so, the hallmarks of the school were already in place:  “I was attracted to SENS because of the interdisciplinary nature of the PhD program.  My main area of expertise is environmental education, but I wanted to gain a deeper understanding on how I can work with other disciplines.  When I saw that the SENS PhD program was interdisciplinary, I thought it was a perfect fit.  I’m glad I chose SENS because not only did I experience interdisciplinarity in theories and methodological concerns, I was also exposed to a variety of unique environmental learning and research experiences.”

Jean’s PhD dissertation, “Re-Learning our Roots: Youth Participatory Research, Indigenous Knowledge, and Sustainability through Agriculture” allowed her to return to her home country of Malawi to conduct her field research. For Jean, sustainability is about interdependence, interconnectedness, and co-existence with nature. 

Her passion for environmental education has now taken Jean to New England, where she is a core faculty member in the Environmental Studies Department at Antioch University New England, in Keene, New Hampshire.  In addition to teaching environmental education courses at the graduate level, she advises students, and co-advises the Keene Community Garden Connections, a project focused on building local food capacity and security ( 

Not surprisingly, teaching features prominently in Jean’s most memorable moment from her time at SENS.  “When I got the teaching fellowship, I had to teach an undergraduate course on my own!  While I had co-taught another class with my supervisor before, this was different because I had to do it on my own. Needless to say I was excited and nervous at the same time. I learned a lot during that time so that when I got a second chance to teach another course, I was better prepared. The experience I gained teaching those courses reinforced my love of teaching and has been very helpful in my current position.”

Now that she is a year into her career post-SENS, Jean has this advice to pass onto current SENS students.  “Try to publish as much as you can while you’re still a student.  It becomes very hard to do so once you finish and have a full-time job.”  She adds, “When you’re at that low point and don’t feel like looking at your work (or thinking about it) anymore, hang in there! Yes, it's an uphill battle but it does come to an end.  Believe in yourself and your passion for your work.  You’ve come a long way.  You can sure do it!”

This optimism can also be found in Jean’s view of the future for those seeking careers in environment and sustainability.  “This is a growing sector, and there is more work to be done,” she says.  And Jean will be one of the teachers preparing students to do just that.

Brie Bennett (MSEM 2010) - Waste Minimization Specialist, City of Regina
Working within the Waste Diversion Services Branch, Brie develops and manages various initiatives that result in the minimization of organic waste and its diversion from the landfill. Since starting with the City in June 2013, she has also been responsible for the development and implementation of urban sustainability and backyard composting workshops and Regina's first ever Leaf & Yard Waste Depot pilot program.
Michel Lavallee (MSEM 2010) - Junior-Intermediate Wildlife/Fisheries Biologist, SHARP Environmental

At SHARP, Michel's main responsibility is to conduct pre-construction site assessments for clients in the oil and gas industry. These soil surveys guide construction practices in how much soil to salvage and stock‐pile for reclamation when the work is done. The assessments often include an overview of vegetation and wildlife present in the area and an examination of any potential impacts the development may have on local populations.

Speaking to the challenges that environmental professionals face, Michel points out that sustainability is a term that does not appear to have a clear definition or a set of standards against which a professional could determine if a particular practice is sustainable.

“Sustainability is often measured in revenue and multi-generational sustainability does not fit into a fiscal quarter. This may be the greatest challenge for us, changing the accounting system to include benefits that cannot be measured by the dollar.”

Christine Markel (MSEM 2010) - Senior Policy Analyst, Government of Saskatchewan

Now employed as a Senior Policy Analyst in the Environmental Assessment Branch at the Government of Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Environment, Christine's duties are wide‐ranging. “I conduct a broad range of research and analysis, and assist in the development and implementation of policies, programs, projects and evaluations. This is a very interesting job that requires interdisciplinary knowledge and skills, which allows me to apply a lot of what I learned in SENS to my work.”

Christine thinks the future is bright for sustainability careers. "There is going to be a growing need for sustainability professionals in government, municipal planning, industry and business. The biggest challenge will be being ahead of the curve in certain sectors.

Josh Salisbury (MSEM 2012) - Legislative Assistant, Ontario Legislative Assembly

After completing his MSEM degree, Josh moved to Toronto and was soon offered a position at Queen's Park (the provincial legislature). He worked as a staffer for the provincial critic of natural resources and continues to meet with many stakeholders with interests in the environmental field. 

"I have already had to deal with many stakeholders and groups," he says. "A big part of some of the policy work we did in MSEM was learning how to deal with different groups of people and addressing everyone's concerns to find the best possible solution."

Nicholas Trevisan (MSEM 2010) - Biologist, Dillion Consulting Limited

After graduating from SENS, Nicholas returned to his hometown of Toronto and began working for Dillon Consulting, which provides engineering, environmental, planning, and other technical services to clients in the private and public sectors.

Jesse Woodward (MSEM 2011) - Markets Director, East Kootenay EcoSociety

In his role as Markets Director, Jesse manages and provides leadership and guidance for the three regional farmers' markets, which were previously managed separately. 

"The markets were getting larger and more complex," he says. "By the end of the 2012 season it was evident that having a single director was the way to go, in terms of efficiency and management configuration." 

He credits the MSEM as an excellent base from which to build a meaningful career in the environmental management field -- providing applicable management skills and a deeper understanding of sustainability as a whole. 

"I've witnessed many sustainability issues at play, whether it's the development of stronger local food network systems or facilitating local farmer-to-customer interactions to strengthen local economic development and build social capital," he says. "I look forward to continuing work in the world of farmers' markets and local food security issues." 

Jania Chilima (MES 2011) - PhD student, SENS

Jania completed her MES in 2011 and started her PhD soon after. Her doctoral research explores water resources management in partnership with the community of water users of Lake Diefenbaker.

"The world of water/water resources management in Canada and Saskatchewan, in particular, is very complex," she says. "I hope [my research] will add some valuable components to the future management practices of Lake Diefenbaker and its water sources."

Chelsea Dale (MES 2012) - Contractor, DM Cultural Services, Ltd.

Chelsea Dale put her MES degree to good use before she had even officially received it -- having defended her thesis in September 2011, she entered the environmental workforce in October 2011 as a contractor for DMCS Ltd. Based on southern Vancouver Island, with clientele in BC, Alberta, and NWT, DMCS Ltd. focuses on cultural services, including traditional use studies, traditional ecological knowledge studies, treaty negotiations, and anthropological/historical research. Most of the work involves consulting with First Nations, government, and industry about natural resource development projects.

"Those of us who have chosen to study at the School of Environment and Sustainability and similar programs will have an advantage over others when it comes to securing employment in the field."

Julia Baird (PhD 2012) - Post-Doctoral Fellow, Brock University

Working at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, Julia is furthering her research on social network analysis examining learning and adaptive capacities in collaborative governance efforts related to water. 

"This position has allowed me to apply my knowledge from my PhD work to new research questions and it continues to be very fulfilling and exciting work!"