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.