MABRRI has an amazing team of Project Coordinators, Full-time Research Assistants, and Student Research Assistants. We value our team members as they help with ongoing projects and daily operational tasks.

MABRRI Coordinators

The Coordinator team helps to manage MABRRI's daily operations. From coming up with new projects, to creating new partnerships, to finding funding that allows MABRRI to hire so many students, the Coordinators help with it all.

Dr. Pam Shaw 

Pam is MABRRI's Research Director as well as the Director of the Master of Community Planning Program at Vancouver Island University. Pam has more than 30 years of experience in land use planning and facilitation, and is currently researching new forms of governance for biospheres and community organizations. She brings ideas, connections, and experience to the research team. 

Graham Sakaki 

Graham is MABRRI's Research and Community Engagement Coordinator. He has been involved with MABRRI since it was established in August of 2014. Graham oversees the coordination of all ongoing research projects. His educational background includes a Master of Community Planning, a Bachelor's Degree in Natural Resources Geography and a diploma in Forest Resource Technology from VIU. Graham's professional experience in organizational management has transferred seamlessly to MABRRI.

Haley Tomlin 

Haley is MABRRI's Assistant Research and Community Engagement Coordinator. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in Biology with a focus in ecology and minoring in Natural Resource Geography. She is responsible for coordinating multiple projects and the students associated with each of those. Haley's background in biology and natural resources, as well as enthusiasm for promoting environmental preservation and conservation of biodiversity makes her a great suit for MABRRI.

Jessica Pyett 

Jessica is one of MABRRI’s Projects Coordinators. She recently transitioned to this position from her previous role as a Senior Research Assistant. Jessica graduated from VIU’s Geography program in 2018, specializing in Natural Resource Management. In her last year of studies, she interned for the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute in Belize City. During her internship that focused on coastal planning and water quality monitoring, she became passionate about water management and climate change adaptation. Jessica supplements the MABRRI team with her field skills and knowledge that she acquired during her internship.

Courtney Vaugeois 

Courtney is one of MABRRI's Projects Coordinators. She holds a BA in Sociology and Psychology from Vancouver Island University. Courtney has been working with MABRRI since 2017 when she started in a student position. Since then she has transitioned into her current Projects Coordinator position in the winter of 2018. Courtney’s main project focuses on implementing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals at Vancouver Island University. With her degree and experience at MABRRI, Courtney has developed a passion for social sustainability and she hopes to continue in this field with further education in the future.

Full-time Staff

MABRRI depends on a few full-time staff throughout the year. In addition to the Coordinator Team, these valuable individuals help with ongoing projects and daily operational tasks.

Ariel Verhoeks, GIS & Remote Sensing Specialist 

Ariel is a graduate from VIU’s GIS Diploma program and is MABRRI’s GIS Specialist and Financial Assistant. After graduating in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies and Geography, she decided to further her education and enroll in the diploma program. Alongside MABRRI, she is excited to be working on the spatial analysis components of MABRRI’s projects. Having lived in Nanaimo her whole life, she believes that working with the MABR and with the MABRRI team is a wonderful opportunity for her to do hands-on work in her home region.

Alanna Vivani, Senior Research Assistant 

Alanna has graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology from VIU in 2018. Her passion for marine biology was the driving factor to move from Ontario. Since then, she’s fallen in love with Vancouver Island and the ecosystems surrounding coastal British Columbia. During her time at VIU, she studied sea otter foraging behaviour and occupation time. This research solidified her interest in marine mammals and conservation. She is working with MABRRI as a Senior Research Assistant, she is involved in the Forage Fish Spawning Habitat Monitoring project and Wetland Mapping. She’s excited to be a part of the MABRRI team and contribute to their work on conservation.

Mandy Hobkirk, MABR Coordinator 

Mandy had been a student employee with MABRRI since the fall of 2017. After graduating from Vancouver Island University from the Bachelor of Science Degree Program in 2019, she transitioned into the role of MABR Coordinator. Mandy manages the MABR’s internal and external communications, coordinates community engagement events, manages the MABR’s youth program, and facilitates meetings and community forums for the MABR. Mandy has a passion for the environment, and is very excited to work within the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region.

Jenica Ng-Cornish, Senior Research Assistant 

Jenica has recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Geoscience from VIU. During her time as student, Jenica spent lots of time in the field, but also had the chance to dive into some interdisciplinary research which led into her work at MABRRI. She began working with MABRRI as student in May 2019 and has recently transitioned to a full-time Research Assistant. With interests in environmental protection, climate change science, and sustainability in all its forms, Jenica is excited to be part of the MABRRI team where she can continue to learn and contribute to meaningful research.

Becky Thiessen, Planning Projects Coordinator 

Becky is a graduate from the Master of Community Planning Program from VIU. She has compiled a unique set of leadership, project management, facilitation, art and design skills in her twenty years of community development work. This work has ranged from women’s advocacy, family and community outreach and child and youth arts education.  Her work has taken her across Canada to the high Arctic and in various rural, coastal, northern and inner city communities. With her master’s in Community Planning she hopes to encompass all that she has learned to help create and design places that inspire creativity, connect people to nature and to build community.  She is excited to assist and lead co-op students at MABRRI with various planning projects that will essentially lead to healthy communities in the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region.

Research Assistants

To view our list of Research Assistants click here

Research Assistants

Past Employees

To view our list of Past Employees click here

Past Employees