Research Ambassadors Program

The Research Ambassadors Program is an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students who are eager to utilize their knowledge, skills and interests to enhance the research culture at UNBC. As champions for research at UNBC, Research Ambassadors have research experience across a broad spectrum of research fields, ranging from the sciences, natural sciences, and health sciences, to the social sciences and humanities.

UNBC’s Research Ambassadors work closely with the Office of Research and Innovation and are passionate about sharing their research experiences with students. They promote research involvement, participate in formal and informal discussions, visit classes and participate in outreach activities. UNBC's Research Ambassadors also work closely with the Student Recruitment team to share their research experiences and opportunities with High School and incoming UNBC students. Contact the  Research Ambassadors at researchambassadors@unbc.caor check out some of their activities on the UNBC RA Open Ed platform. You can also follow the Research Ambassadors on Instagram @unbc_researchambassadors.

Meet Our Research Ambassadors

Julian Stokes - Lead Ambassador

Julian StokesHello everyone! My name is Julian Stokes. I was born and raised in New Hazelton, BC, and I moved to Prince George in 2017 to pursue my BHSc Honours degree here at UNBC. Now, I am in the midst of my MSc in Health Sciences under the joint supervision of Dr. Luke Harris and Dr. Tammy Klassen-Ross. My master’s thesis will use near-infrared spectroscopy to investigate the relationship between meditation and pain tolerance in relation to the possible role of this cognitive practice as a chronic pain management technique.

My current research is a progression of my earlier research experiences at UNBC, which have been centred in the Northern BC Near-Infrared Spectroscopy Research Laboratory (NBC NIRS Lab). Beginning with a URE in 2020 and continuing with my honours thesis the following semesters, I have had the opportunity to explore applications of NIRS in investigating human brain, muscle, and bone tissues.

I first chose UNBC for my undergraduate degree due to it being a top-rated small university that was conveniently close to my hometown. Since then, I have been continually amazed by the readily accessible opportunities, mentorship, and sense of community at UNBC. Having had the opportunity to experience life, classes, and research as part of the UNBC community, it was the natural choice to further my education here.

Research was an irreplaceable part of my undergraduate experience, and my only regret is that I didn’t get involved sooner! Research at UNBC has been an incredible learning experience that has helped me expand my horizons and feel as though my work is making a meaningful contribution. I look forward to continuing to work with you as one of UNBC’s Research Ambassadors.


Ahmad Jalil

Ahmad JalilHi everyone! My name is Ahmad Jalil. I graduated with honors in Health Science from UNBC and am now pursuing a Master's of Science in NRES. Under the guidance of Dr. Hossein Kazemian, I studied air quality in Prince George during my undergraduate years. Although my initial research leaned more towards environmental science, I was able to weave in my health science knowledge. I chose UNBC for its tight-knit community and the personalized interactions I had with professors, which was in stark contrast to my experiences at other institutions in BC.

Being involved in research has been a transformative experience for me. Unlike typical lab exercises where there's a predefined answer or outcome, research demands justification for every decision made, which has significantly broadened my perspective.

The supportive environment at UNBC and the myriad opportunities available to students make research involvement invaluable. While it may seem challenging to initiate, I assure you, it's more approachable than it appears. I hope to assist and inspire you as you embark on your own research journey!

Prapti Sarkar

Prapti SarkarHello everyone! My name is Prapti Sarkar and I'm from the city of Kolkata in India. I moved to Canada in November 2022 and started my studies here at UNBC the following Winter semester. As a graduate student, I'm pursuing my Master's degree in Gender Studies. I've taken graduate-level courses in areas such as feminist research methodologies, feminist theories, motherhood, and gender and politics

As part of my graduate thesis, I'm interested in the intersection between gender studies and critical film studies. Specifically, I wish to critically analyze and interpret South Asian popular cinema to understand the representation of genders and sexualities in said films. I also hope to understand the common narratives perpetuated by the films about gender, nationality, sexuality and masculinities. 

During my very first semester here at UNBC, I had the opportunity to work for a professor in the English Department as a research assistant. As a new international student from India, I did not know what research meant, or what it meant to be a research assistant. The professor's research was about superhero comics and philosophy, and my responsibilities included looking for research materials and resources, and helping with the writing and editing of chapters. This experience got me interested in research, especially media criticism, literary studies and feminist research. 

As a research ambassador and a graduate student in the FISSSH department, I want to encourage all students, but especially those in the field of social sciences and humanities, to consider what research means to them. Quite often, research can seem intimidating, or seem like something that only occurs within laboratories, conducted by people in white lab coats. I want to empower students to recognize other forms of equally important research, especially feminist research, and to think of their own areas of interest as valid research interests. If you're interested in research at UNBC, there's tons of opportunities available and I hope that I can help you get started! You can always contact me at and we can have a chat over some coffee!"  

Will Hanlon

Hi everyone! My name is Will Hanlon. I am in the fourth year of my undergraduate studies here at UNBC, pursuing a BA Joint Major in Geography and Political Science (and hopefully a Minor in History!). I was born and raised in Prince George, and part of that upbringing is sometimes taking for granted what an amazing place this is. I make it my business to remind myself (and others) what makes this part of BC (and Canada [and the world]) so amazing, and why UNBC is such a great place to learn and work in.

Although I love Prince George and British Columbia, my research is focused on places far away from here! Beginning in January 2023, I was lucky enough to participate in an Undergraduate Research Experience (URE) project with Dr. Gary Wilson. Drawing from my two academic ladyloves, geography and political science, we explored the short-, medium-, and long-term impacts of Brexit on three small island jurisdictions off the coast of the United Kingdom: Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man.

Moving further south, during May 2023 I participated in a field-based geography course in Guatemala, co-led by UNBC and the human rights NGO Rights Action. Travelling throughout the country, we heard from those who had suffered severe injustices at the hands of both public and private actors. While making sure to appreciate all aspects of the trip, I focused my research on the changing geographies of power in Guatemala, with special emphasis on the role of space in strategies of domination and resistance.

My time as a UNBC student has been incredibly rewarding, both inside the classroom and out in the world, and only more so once I got involved in research. Learning how to start doing research can be tricky, but that is what the Research Ambassadors are here for! I hope that I can point you in the right direction as you start your own research journey.

Ibrahim Diriye

Ibrahim DiriyeI am pleased to introduce myself as Ibrahim Diriye, currently a fourth-year student pursuing a degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Northern British Columbia. It is with great enthusiasm that I share my journey thus far, driven by an unwavering passion for addressing pressing environmental challenges, most notably the critical issue of clean drinking water access in developing nations. 

One of the most significant rewards of my research journey has been witnessing the practical applications of classroom knowledge. It has ignited a spark of curiosity and critical thinking that has far-reaching implications. My biochemistry degree, once a source of uncertainty regarding career prospects, has now evolved into an avenue of endless possibilities, thanks to the enriching experiences I have gained.

I selected UNBC for my academic pursuit due to its unwavering commitment to undergraduate research. The university's strong emphasis on this aspect has not only broadened my horizons but has also provided me with a wealth of networking opportunities and promising career prospects. The vast pool of primary investigators ensures that every student can find a project that aligns with their interests. Equally noteworthy is the remarkable dedication of approachable and supportive supervisors who are genuinely committed to their students' success, thereby enhancing the overall learning experience.

Finally, as I continue to develop my grasp of science and its transformational potential, I look forward to the fascinating opportunities and activities that lie ahead. My hope is that by our collective devotion and relentless pursuit of knowledge, we can help to make the world a more equal, healthy, and affluent place, leaving an indelible mark on the annals of scientific development and human achievement. We can inspire change and encourage others to do the same if we work together.

Yihang Zhang

Yihang ZhangHello everyone! My name is Yihang Zhang and I'm from Beijing, China. Currently I'm pursuing a Master of Arts in NRES under the supervision of Zoë Meletis. Before moving to Canada, I worked in technology as a User Experience and Operations Manager. My research explores the possibilities of Virtual Tourism and its opportunities to enhance both visit experiences and accessibility in Tumbler Ridge, northern BC. I'm happy to serve as a Research Ambassador for the year 2023-2024 at UNBC.

As an international graduate student, my background includes rich work experience in an overseas context, which provides a unique perspective that comes with bringing professional experience into the world of research. I understand that research can feel distant or exclusive, particularly for those who have been away from academia for a while. However, I'm here to shatter that misconception and showcase that research can be a multidimensional journey that can beautifully intersect with your professional background. Research is approachable and meaningful, regardless of whether you're a recent graduate or someone with extensive work experience.

I'm here to inspire current and future students to explore the diversity of research. When we typically think of research, images of science labs, complex experiments, intricate equipment, coding, and mathematical models might come to mind. However, research isn't confined to the walls of a lab or the world of exact sciences. As a graduate student using mixed research methods, I also would like to showcase the valuable possibilities offered by qualitative research methods. Unlike research often centers on quantitative data, qualitative research work involves surveys, interviews, and in-depth observations to explore and understand complex human experiences and behaviors. As a Research Ambassador, I am passionate about encouraging you to consider a wide range of research approaches. 

As a small university, UNBC's intimate learning environment is one of our greatest strengths. This provides the opportunity to easily connect with experts and mentors, creating mentorship opportunities that can significantly impact your research experience. Here, I'm excited about the possibilities that this Research Ambassador role offers, and I look forward to working together to create a vibrant research community at UNBC.