Geography Alumni Stories

Dr. Simon Springer

The Geography Faculty members would like to send warm congratulations to Dr. Simon Springer on the publication of his book based on his MA research, "Cambodia's Neoliberal Order: Violence, Authoritarianism, and the Contestation of Public Space."

Simon's book is published by prestigious Routledge publishers in their "Pacific Rim Geographies" series.

Simon completed his BA Geography degree here at UNBC in 2003 and went on to complete his MA Geography at Queen's University, and his PhD in Geography at UBC. Simon is now Assistant Professor of Geography at the National University of Singapore where he lives with his wife Marni and children Solina and Odin.

Scott Bellavance (BA Geography, 2007) and Dreanne (Lemoigne) Bellavance (Human Geography minor, 2005) have many reasons to celebrate. First, Scott was inducted into the Prince George Sports Hall of Fame in April 2010. Among other achievements, Scott represented Canada at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Freestyle Skiing (Moguls) and came in 6th place.

Scott and Dreanne also became parents to Olympic baby Myelle Bellavance. Check out this fun story from the Prince George Citizen; An Olympic arrival for Bellavance family.

Joao Sardinha

João (John) Sardinha (BA Geography, 1996) completed his Doctorate in Migration Studies at the University of Sussex (UK) in 2007 and we are pleased to share that his dissertation research is now published by Amsterdam University Press (2009) as "Immigrant Associations, Integration and Identity Angolan, Brazilian and Eastern European Communities in Portugal."

João is now working at the Centre for the Study of Migrations and Intercultural Relations (CEMRI), a centre within the Open University in Lisbon, Portugal, and heading up a research project called The Return of the Portuguese Second-Generation to Portugal: Identity, Belonging and Transnational Lives.  Another parallel project funded by the Canadian Embassy in Lisbon is also looking at identity, sense of belonging and the transnational lives of Portuguese-Canadian emigrant descendants in Canada. For this research, João spent 5 weeks in October and November 2009 in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal doing fieldwork. Congratulations, John!

Eric Gallant (BA Geography, 2007) successfully defended his Major Research Project for his Masters in Environmental Studies with a specialization in Urban Planning at York University in January 2010. The Research Project was titled "Critical Omission: The Exclusion of the Housing System from Growth Planning Policy in the Greater Toronto Area." With this major achievement behind him, Eric left in February 2010 for Dakar, Senegal to take up a 6-month CIDA-funded internship with the International Centre for Sustainable Cities and the Institute Africain de Gestion Urbaine. His work included the coordination of a municipal GIS program and the support of an ongoing project on waste management and urban agriculture. Good luck, Eric!

UNBC Alumnus in Haiti

James Adamson

The UNBC Geography Program is pleased to share this update from James Adamson (BSc Geography, 2004) who is a Chicago based geologist/geomorphologist who has been working in Haiti doing water exploration work for the past several years. James was in Haiti during the earthquake disaster to drill water wells on La Gonave and was out on a boat when the quake hit—about 30 miles northwest of Port-au-Prince.

James' family told us that he is okay and was working with Haiti Outreach to help with relief efforts. He was working on drilling water wells for new communities being set up outside of Port-au-Prince for displaced Haitians.   James indicates that all donations to Haiti Outreach go directly to relief efforts. His email stated: "they are doing a million things here to help and the money would go as directly as possible to the relief effort." One of the specific tasks that Haiti Outreach did was to haul fresh water and fuel from the Dominican Republic. 

Haiti Outreach Information


Ken Miscovitch

Ken Miscovitch was a Planning and Design Technologist with Terasen Gas since 2003 and moved to Victoria in 2007. Ken holds an AScT certification with the ASTTBC and was planning start taking courses to become a Certified Project Manager in 2010. 

Catherine Fraser

Catherine Fraser (BA Geography, 2007) successfully defended her Master's degree in the Department of Geography at Queen's University in Kingston, ON in the Fall of 2009. In September 2009, Catherine started a new position as a Project Analyst with the Canadian Institute for Health Information Population Health Initiative (CPHI) division. In this position, Catherine will work on various projects doing both qualitative and quantitative research, literature reviews, GIS, meeting with the advisory board (physicians and administrators) to examine population health indicators and outcomes across the country, and reporting on and presenting findings. Congratulations, Catherine!

Laurel Van De Keere

Laurel van de Keere (BA General Studies, 2008 - Human Geography focus) moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia to pursue a Masters degree in International Development Studies at Dalhousie University. In late April 2009, Laurel headed to East Africa as one of two Teaching Assistants accompanying a six-week undergraduate field school to investigate the theory and practice of development in Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, and Kenya. After the field school, Laurel headed to Marich Pass, a community in northwestern Kenya, to conduct fieldwork related to her interest in how different forms of societal change are shaping the characteristics and needs of Kenya’s ageing population in the face of the demographic shift that is expected to materialize in the country within the next four decades. Good luck, Laurel!

Garnet Whyte

Garnet Whyte (BSc Geography, 2001) is an Aquaculture GIS and Licensing Officer with Nova Scotia Fisheries and Aquaculture in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Garnet provides GIS training of other staff, aids in mapping licensing applications, and offers fieldwork services to the Environmental Monitoring Program Team. Additionally, Garnet is involved in the Climate Change Hazard Assessment and manages the Aquaculture Mapping Website. Garnet writes that he gets to "colour and draw every day, do field research on the ocean, then eat raw oysters and steamed mussels." Not bad!

Simon Springer

Simon Springer (BA Geography, 2003) has been appointed as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at the National University of Singapore, where he will be taking up a tenure-track position beginning July 2009.

In his first year at NUS Simon will teach two undergraduate political geography courses, and in subsequent years he will run a six-week field studies course in Cambodia.

In February 2009, Simon finished writing his doctoral dissertation, "Neoliberalizing Violence: (Post)Marxian Political Economy, Poststructuralism, and the Production of Space in 'Postconflict' Cambodia" for the Department of Geography at UBC. Simon has recently published articles on the intersections between neoliberalism and violence in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers and Geoforum, and he has forthcoming articles in Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers and Asia Pacific Viewpoint.

In 2005, Simon married fellow UNBC Graduate, Marni Springer (nee Hewett) (BA General Studies, 2004), and he is pictured here with their two children, Solina and Odin.

Steve Abbey BA '03

Steve Abbey (BA Geography, 2003) continued his academic studies in South Africa at the graduate level after participating in the Geography Field School to South Africa organized by Dr. Kevin Hall in 2002. Most recently, Steve assisted Dr. Kevin Hall in the organization of the Geography Field School to South Africa in April and May 2007. 

James Adamson (BSc Geography, 2004) is a Hydrogeologist working on groundwater research projects associated with structural geology training with V3 Consultants and Ward Environmental Services in Chicago, IL.

Andrea Broening (nee Kerbrat) (BA Geography, 2005) started a Masters of Speech-Language Pathology program at the University of Alberta in September 2007.

David Hedalen (BA Geography, 2000) is an Account Manager with Investment Property Databank in London, England. David also completed an MSc degree in Spatial Planning from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden.

Christine Creyke BA '06

Jessica Place (nee McGregor) (MA NRES Geography, 2007; BA Geography, 2005) completed her MA program in May and immediately started a new position as the Research Associate for the rural acute care Nursing Program (RACNP). Jessica is coordinating the implementation of the practice-driven provincial certificate that is planned to be offered at UNBC called the Rural Acute Care Nursing Certificate. This certificate developed out of the research that assessed the learning needs of rural nurses. It acknowledges that nurses in rural communities are "expert-generalists" and need reality-based, distance-delivered educational opportunities. 

Kelly Chatterson (BA Geography, 2001) has been working for the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen for four years as a GIS analyst.

Christine Creyke (BA Geography, 2006) is the Land Stewardship Coordinator for the Tahltan Central Council. She is working on a land stewardship plan that will provide guiding principles for the management and protection of the Tahltan land.

Kelly Giesbrecht, MA NRES '04

Kelly Giesbrecht (MA NRES Geography, 2004) returned to UNBC in Spring 2006 after a brief stint working for the BC Provincial Government. From September 2005 to March 2006, Kelly worked as a Planning Officer with the Integrated Land Management Bureau, Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, leading strategic land-use planning implementation assessments of Land and Resource Management Plans and coordinating related public consultations in Fort St. James and Mackenzie. Kelly worked on a term position with the UNBC Office of Research as a Research Project Officer assisting researchers engaged in social science- and humanities-related research. Currently, Kelly is a Research Associate with the Geography Program coordinating several social science research projects.

Scott Ramey

Scott Ramey (BA Geography, 2007) is working for the BC Conservation Corps throughout northern British Columbia. Scott and his colleagues had the opportunity to meet with the Assistant Deputy Minister of the Environment in Prince George on Convocation Day in May. So, rather than walk across the stage, Scott is pictured at work.

John Sardinha (BA Geography, 1996) recently completed his PhD at the Sussex Centre for Migration Research (University of Sussex, UK) on the topic of migrant associations and their role in integration in Portugal. Congratulations, John!

Barry Selver (BA Geography, 2003) works for the Canada Border Services Agency at the Vancouver International Airport as an Immigration Officer. 

Etienne White

Etienne White (BSc Geography, 2004) now has his commercial pilot's licence and is getting his instructor's rating as the best methods of building up his hours. He was BC's representative in the Webster Memorial Cup competition for the best amateur pilot and came in second—only 4 points behind the winner.