Spotlight on Geography

Geography is concerned with the Earth’s surface in two ways – as the science of interaction between natural elements of the environment, such as weather, plants, soils and landforms; and secondly, as the science of the Earth’s population in response to various social and environmental factors. UWinnipeg’s diverse department offers courses within three fields of study – Cultural Geography, Physical Geography and Geomatics. Students can choose a four-year Bachelor’s degree in either Arts or Science with an Honours option.

Dr. Ian Mauro, photo supplied

Dr. Ian Mauro, photo supplied

PROFESSOR – Dr. Ian Mauro, climate change storyteller

At about this time of year in Nunavut, Inuit hunters give their skidoos and dog teams a rest, and get out on the land and waters in their boats during the summer sea ice break up. UWinnipeg’s Associate Professor Dr. Ian Mauro has been working in this region for over a decade and is heading back this month to document Inuit knowledge regarding ocean environments. Mauro uses film and storytelling to track the effects of climate change in Indigenous communities and his work has been featured globally at The Smithsonian Institution, National Geographic, The Royal Ontario Museum, and film festivals and academic conferences. He has toured nationally with acclaimed broadcaster and scientist Dr. David Suzuki and most recently helped develop the Prairie Climate Atlas for the Prairie Climate Centre, which is a collaboration between UWinnipeg and the International Institute for Sustainable Development.

Rosanne Blais © UWinnipeg

Rosanne Blais © UWinnipeg

STUDENT – Rosanne Blais, adventurer

Rosanne is in her final year studying Geography, a path that still surprises her. Following six years in a singing career and a diploma in business administration, she decided to tackle university because she was “searching and reading a lot about social and environmental issues and I wanted to be in a more formal learning environment.” That quest took her on a unique UWinnipeg exchange program to Tours, France last semester and may lead her to continue into a Masters degree program. Rosanne is currently writing a thesis about Winnipeg’s local food movement and how learning about food systems impacts food decision-making. She hopes to focus on a career that allows her to participate in creating safer, healthier, more engaging spaces for people. Rosanne will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in April 2017.

Rosanne Blais © UWinnipeg

Hailey Robichaud © UWinnipeg

GRADUATE – Hailey Robichaud, researcher

Hailey says she first wanted to be “a mad scientist”, but then took a Geography class as an option and found her passion. Fascinated by tornadoes, Hailey took climatology then went to Churchill on a field course, where she became deeply interested in water and climate change. Her thesis examined the impacts of climate change on seasonal watershed flow patterns in Canada’s Boreal Forest. This summer she conducted research at the Prairie Climate Centre on winter roads in Manitoba’s north. She says the best part about studying at UWinnipeg is the small, interconnected classes and the supportive style of teaching. Hailey graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in June 2016 and is pursuing a Masters degree at the University of Saskatchewan next month.

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