Graduate Students & Fellows

Kathleen Aikens
Kathleen Aikens is a PhD Candidate in the University of Saskatchewan’s School of Environment and Sustainability. She is interested in the intersections of environment, education, and community, and is currently working with the Sustainability and Education Policy Network to better understand the relationship between policy and practice in Environmental and Sustainability Education. Kathleen completed a Masters in Nature Resource Sciences from McGill University and then spent several years working with community-based organizations in Atlantic Canada and Bhutan. She currently volunteers as Vice-Chair of the Saskatoon Environmental Advisory Committee, committee member of Student Action for a Sustainable Future (Education Program), and council member of the School of Environment and Sustainability Students’ Association.
Andrew Bieler
Andrew Bieler is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Saskatchewan. He is a scholar, writer, and artist with a focus on environmental communication and education. Currently, he is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Sustainability and Education Policy Network at the University of Saskatchewan. Trained in social and cultural theory, he completed his PhD in the Joint Program in Communication and Culture at York University and Ryerson University in Toronto. His doctoral dissertation, Exhibiting Climate Change: An Examination of the Thresholds of Arts–Sciences Collaborations in the Context of Learning for a Sustainable Future, examines the role of collaboration between contemporary artists and environmental scientists in emerging approaches to climate change communication and education. He recently coauthored the book Critical education and sociomaterial practice: narration, place, and the social in the (re)thinking environmental education series published by Peter Lang. He serves as Director of Communications for the Society of Postdoctoral Scholars, and as a reviewer for a number of journals including Environmental Education Research, Green Humanities, and Environmental Studies and Sciences.
Jada Koushik
Jada Koushik is a Ph.D. Candidate  with SENS/SEPN at the University of Saskatchewan. She received a Masters of Science in Conservation Biology and Environmental Justice from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE), in addition to a Masters of Science in Public Health from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, with a focus on Environmental Health and Natural Resource Management. For nearly ten years she worked at state and local health departments in the United States, where her experience as an epidemiologist and health educator provided her with a diverse background in vector-borne diseases, communicable disease, and environmental health. Currently, Jada is working with the Sustainability Education Policy Network (SEPN) to explore to what extent local influences (e.g. cultural considerations, place/land, policy environment) affect the development and enactment of sustainability in education practice and policy. Her work surrounding how local contexts inform the engagement of sustainability in education policy and practice was recently published in the Journal of Sustainability Education (JSE).
Naomi Maina
Originally from Kenya, Naomi Mumbi Maina is a doctoral student with SEPN at the University of Saskatchewan in the School of Environment and Sustainability. She earned two Masters of Science degrees in Mass Communications and Social Responsibility from St. Cloud State University (SCSU) in Minnesota. During her studies she was involved in anti-racism organizing and cross-cultural education with immigrant women in Central Minnesota. She also helped organize the Annual Global Social Responsibility Conference, that brought together activist grassroots organizations to discus issues of social justice, peace, environment, human rights and animals. Her research interest is on how various actors are engaged in the enactment of sustainability, with a focus on how historically marginalized groups can effectively contribute to advancing sustainability policy and practice in higher education. Since joining SEPN she has been researching the growth of the fossil fuel divestment movement across Canadian higher education institutions.
Jaylene Murray
Jaylene Murray is a M.Ed. Student with SEPN at the University of Saskatchewan. Hailing from the West Coast, Jaylene moved to Saskatoon to join the Sustainability and Education Policy Network (SEPN) team for her Master’s of Educational Foundations at the University of Saskatchewan. She holds a Diploma in Adventure Tourism Business Operations and a BA in Recreation and Tourism Management with a focus on sustainable community development. Her background as an outdoor educator and sustainable tourism researcher shapes her interest in sustainable education. Currently, Jaylene is investigating students’ perspectives of and engagement with sustainability at Canadian higher education institutions with SEPN. She is interested in how students perceive sustainability at their schools, what they identify as facilitators and barriers to sustainability uptake in their local context, and their opinions to improve sustainability at their institutions.
Rachel Regier
Rachel Regier is a M.Ed student with SEPN at the University of Saskatchewan. She also earned her B.Sc in Kinesiology and B.Ed at the University of Saskatchewan. Rachel’s first 4 years as a professional teacher were with the Earthkeepers program, fostering an alternative learning community and creating authentic learning opportunities for students. She has invested the past two years into developing the Seed program which combines Wellness, Food Studies, and Horticulture curricula for grade 10 students, and focuses on personal, community, and global health. Rachel also helps her husband run Chain Reaction Urban Farm, growing produce on available land in Saskatoon. Currently, Rachel is interested in investigating how schools across the country engage with ideas of sustainability, and the significance of alternative teaching and learning strategies to work toward a more sustainable future.
Yvonne Vizina
Yvonne is a PhD Candidate in the School of Environment and Sustainability at the University of Saskatchewan.  Her research with SEPN examines sustainability education practices and policies in Aboriginal post-secondary places of learning and explores how these processes may influence community-based conservation as well as environmental decision-making at national and international levels.  Yvonne has a Bachelor of Education with Great Distinction from the University of Saskatchewan, double majoring in Biology and Native Studies. She also has a Master of Education Degree from the UofS and did a thesis on Métis Traditional Environmental Knowledge and Science Education. Yvonne is Métis, and has worked on environmental issues for Métis organizations at regional, provincial, and national levels. In past work at the U of S, she worked as the Associate Director of the Aboriginal Education Research Centre managing local and national research projects involving Aboriginal communities.
Kristen Hargis
Kristen Hargis is a PhD student in the School of Environment and Sustainability at the University of Saskatchewan and a returning researcher with SEPN. She received her Master of Education in Educational Foundations from the University of Saskatchewan, a degree which particularly focused on sociological and ecological justice education. During her time with SEPN as a master’s student, she helped design and implement a national survey, which sought to understand how sustainability education policies are developed and enacted, including examining policy-practice relationships, in early education to grade 12 schools (EC-12) and post-secondary education (PSE) institutions. Her master’s thesis research explored how sustainable consumption was taught by faculty at Canadian PSE institutions, including how policies impacted teaching. She has also taught in high schools and junior high schools in Japan for several years where she integrated sociological and ecological justice education within this context. She is currently researching how climate change education could and should be conceptualized, particularly focusing on how to incorporate sociological and psychological considerations.