How can we design better institutions for rapidly changing environments? More specifically, what role does the structure of our legal systems play when it comes to helping or hindering our ability to deal with complex problems? Better yet, how can we translate social-ecological resilience into legal doctrine? These are some of the questions that I examine in my doctoral research which draws on complex systems theory, international law, and global governance to understand what a legalized international governance structure that could account for the complexity and rapid change of the Arctic could look like and how we can get there. A 2015 Trudeau Scholar and Vanier Canada Graduate Scholar, I explore these topics at the Balsillie School of International Affairs at the University of Waterloo, where I'm a PhD Candidate and Doctoral Fellow. I am extremely grateful to be working under the supervision of Neil Craik, Thomas Homer-Dixon, Whitney Lackenbauer (in alphabetical order).
Over the course of my doctoral work, I have been a Visiting Scholar with the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, the Helsinki Institute for Sustainability Science, and the Northern Institute for Environmental and Minority Law at the Arctic Centre, University of Lapland. I have shared some of my doctoral research as a contributing author of the Arctic Resilience Report, the findings of which were featured in the Guardian and Scientific American. You can find some of my other writing, here. I hold a Master of Arts in Global Governance from the University of Waterloo and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations (major), Economics and Germanic Studies (minors) from Franklin University Switzerland.
OTHER ACADEMIC WORK.
In addition to my doctoral work, I am deeply passionate about issues relating to gender in the Arctic. Within this context, I have contributed as a research team member to an Academy of Finland project on Human Security as a Promotional Tool for Societal Security in the Arctic through which I published articles on personal security and digital storytelling with a focus on gender in the circumpolar North (see here). Most recently, I co-organized “Women of the Arctic”, a NordForsk-funded event at the 2018 UArctic Congress in Helsinki, Finland. Hosted at the Think Corner of the University of Helsinki, the event kicked off with an artistic performance — highlighting issues of climate change and gender-based violence — and was followed by a full-day of all-female panels where speakers from all corners of the Arctic shared their work and lived experiences in policy-making, business, justice, science, exploration, service provision, and the arts. This event was followed by a break-out session, “Toward an Arctic Women’s Summit” at the 2018 Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik, Iceland. Together with creative communications collective What Took You So Long, we are currently building PLAN A, a digital storytelling platform that seeks to maintain a long-term focus on issues relating to women and gender in the Arctic.
Over the past years, I have also served as a research assistant to Dr. Whitney Lackenbauer on a SSHRC-funded project on 'Understanding Sovereignty and Security in the Circumpolar Arctic’ ; to Dr. Suzanne Lalonde and Dr. Whitney Lackenbauer on “EU-Canada Arctic Strategies” ; to Dr. John McLevey, Dr. Vanessa Schweitzer, and Dr. Marc C.J. Stoddart on ‘Challenges and Opportunities for the Governance of Socio-Ecological Systems in a Comparative Perspective' ; and to Dr. Audra Mitchell on ‘Indigenous Visions of the Global Extinction Crisis’. In 2011, I was an editorial assistant to Dr. Timo Koivurova and Nigel Bankes during the final editorial stages of The Proposed Nordic Sami Convention, a book that builds on the legal chapter of the Arctic Human Development Report and aims to strengthen the recognition of indigenous property regimes in Arctic states.
During my Masters, I was a CIGI Junior Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation and research assistant to Dr. Neil Craik at the University of Waterloo’s School of Environment, Enterprise and Development. My Masters’ thesis on polycentricity in the governance of Persistent Organic Pollutants in the Arctic was published in the Yearbook of Polar Law, and presented at the 2011 Falling Walls LAB (100 scholars under 30) as a part of the 2013 International Conference on Future Breakthroughs In Science and Society.
I love to dip my toe into non-academic waters whenever possible. In 2018, I was thrilled to join 80 other women at "Women Kicking it on Climate", a Climate Leader's Summit hosted by Canada's Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Catherine McKenna. A month later, I spoke on a panel on Arctic Policy-Making at 5 Wings Air Force Base in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador. In 2016, I collaborated with Dr. Bessma Momani and Jillian Stirk on their Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation funded Pluralism Project; writing an op-ed for Open Canada on the role of diversity in Silicon Valley North. That same year, I joined the Danish Alternative Party for their Copenhagen Meeting, an initiative to bring together alternative political parties globally. Since 2016, I have also contributed, in various capacities, to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ Alternative Federal Budget. Time permitting, I enjoy writing non-academic commentaries and op-eds which you can read, here.
Prior to my doctoral work, I was the lead researcher of a project on climate change and human rights at the Northern Institute for Environmental and Minority Law at the Arctic Centre, University of Lapland. Commissioned by the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, this project sought to identify how Finnish foreign policy could help address the climate vulnerability of indigenous peoples and women through the climate change regime, development cooperation, and the United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation (REDD).
In a past life, I was the Global Head of Community Engagement and an Interim Board Member (2014-2015) at the Sandbox Network, a community of young change makers on five continents who excel in and collaborate across their respective fields, from opera singing to engineering bionic eyes. I have also held internships with public relations firms focusing on crisis management and with non-governmental organizations, like Oxfam.
AWARDS + AFFILIATIONS.
In 2016, I was humbled to land on Corporate Knight's #30under30 list of Sustainability Leaders in Canada, in partnership with IMPACT! Youth Program for Sustainability Leadership. The previous year, in 2015, I was honoured to receive the 2015 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship and Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship. A list of other relevant awards are available upon request.
I am grateful to be a part of many wonderful and supportive communities, academic and non-academic, including: the University of Waterloo Complexity Working Group, the Balsillie School of International Affairs Environment and Resources Research Cluster, the Nordic Research Network for Sami and Indigenous Peoples’ Law, the Arctic Social Sciences Association, the Association of Early Polar Career Scientists, the Tromsø-Umeå-Arkhangelsk-Rovaniemi-Kingston Network on Gender and Law, the Gender in the Arctic Research Network, the Arctic Disaster Early Career Association, Gender CC - Women for Climate Justice, and the Sandbox Network.