As the Ottawa Riverkeeper’s director of operations in Quebec, my tasks revolve around developing partnerships and improving the region’s understanding of water issues. Watershed management in a transboundary setting such as the Ottawa River is certainly complex. While the issues at stake are often similar on both sides of the river, language issues and the different legislative frameworks, administrative bodies and municipal regulations create barriers to cooperation. Working in this context requires a strong understanding of the different viewpoints of stakeholders, as well as their respective strengths and limitations. Furthermore, refined communications skills are necessary in working with partners and bringing them together around a shared vision.
Carleton University’s Department of Geography and Environmental Studies (DGES) was the perfect place to develop the skills and knowledge I need for this position. The program armed me with advanced training in research, project management and communications. I felt supported throughout my entire degree due to the program’s small class sizes and the close contact that students have with faculty. Moreover, holding a teaching assistant position during my studies and participating in international conferences taught me how to effectively express my ideas and engage with differing viewpoints. The interdisciplinary approaches and methods I was exposed to during my research on community-based resource management have helped me be an effective advocate for environmental protection and work with multiple stakeholders on the Ottawa River watershed.
Combining high academic standards and hands-on experience, the DGES M.A. program gave me the tools necessary to start a career in environmental management.
Adele graduated from DGES’ MA program in June 2012. She was recently featured in an article in Le Droit about the high levels of contamination in the Ottawa River.