MABRRI Research Assistants

MABRRI is excited to welcome the following current, and former, students of Vancouver Island University to our research team!

Samuelle Simard-Provencal

Samuelle is an upper level science student, double majoring in biology (ecology) and mathematics. Her main interests are conservation ecology and ornithology, having now worked many field seasons as a bird bander for a number of bird-related projects across Canada. While her main passion is for the birds, Sam is also an avid entomologist and dabbles into the realm of botany from time to time. She also enjoys photography and amateur film making, mainly for educational purposes. Sam has further experience in the field working on eagle and salmonberry surveys for a SFU student thesis, leatherback sea turtles in Costa Rica for a grassroots program, and forage fish for a previous MABRRI project. Currently, Sam is working as a Research Assistant on the Timing Windows for Species at Risk in the Regional District of Nanaimo, and is looking forward to putting her local ornithological and natural history knowledge to good use, working primarily on Western Screech-owls and Western painted turtles, and learning more about working with municipalities to reach conservation goals. There is a lot to learn, and Sam is excited to be a part of the team.

Alisha Feser

Alisha is in her final semester of her Sociology degree at VIU, and plans to continue her education through the Masters of Community Planning Program at VIU. Throughout her Sociology degree, Alisha participated in a yearlong research course called ‘Community Based Applied Interdisciplinary Research’ (CBAIR), where she gained skills in teamwork, conducting qualitative research in the community, communication, and leadership. Alisha’s work and education at VIU has sparked her interest in social problems and solutions, including housing and homelessness, as well as concepts of sustainability. She hopes to apply her knowledge in these topics towards her future career. At MABRRI, Alisha is working on the View from 2117 project under the Canadian Mountain Network. Specifically, she is helping to develop a community profile for the MABR which will lead to greater knowledge of the health of the communities in the MABR. 

Felicia Fischer

Felicia is a first-year Master of Community Planning student, with an undergraduate degree in Digital Media Studies. Her expertise lies in the intersect between planning, communication, and research. Approaching each project with an international perspective, developed from spending her formative years hopscotching around the world, Felicia brings a unique outlook to her work. Wanting to create spaces that allow everyone to flourish, much of her work focuses on leveraging her passion for verbal, written, and visual communication to plan with and work alongside communities, to makes happier and healthier places to live, work, and play.

Bailey Walsh

Bailey comes to MABRRI with an undergraduate degree in Philosophy from the University of Victoria and is a second-year student in the Master of Community Planning program at VIU.  As a former athlete and coach, Bailey brings with her a passion for building communities that promote active, healthy lifestyles for residents of all ages. She believes that by connecting with and respecting our natural environment we can create spaces that nurture a sense of community and make it easier for community members to lead happy, healthy lives.

Cliff Feng

Cliff is a Master of Community Planning graduate from VIU with a background in translation and linguistics in China. His passion for planning never faded while he served as a translator in the six years between his undergraduate and graduate studies. His countless hours spent on buses and subway trains in this childhood inescapably moulded him into an enthusiastic advocate of public transit and smart growth. As a planner, he devotes himself to promoting active transportation in communities of all sizes as he believes that active transportation contributes to a healthier, happier lifestyle and is one of the key solutions to climate change. His experience as a translator equipped him with professional consultation, coordination, and communication skills. He is excited to work with MABRRI this summer and is passionate about improving the quality of life in the MABR.

Sonal Deshmukh

Sonal is a first year Master of Community Planning student at Vancouver Island University. She has an undergraduate degree in Architecture she completed in India. Sonal has eight years of practical experience in architecture with both private and public sector clients. Sonal is a highly ambitious designer with hopes of improving urban issues through responsive designs. Her belief that the built environment has an immense effect on human behaviour inspired her to pursue a graduate degree in community planning.

Steffi Sunny

Steffi is a Master of Community planning student with a background in Architecture from India and currently working as a research assistant in MABRRI. She is passionate about planning healthy communities and believes that the design of built environment has the ability to create a better functioning community which contributes to an improved quality of life. She has experience working as a Junior Architect for two years and it was during this period that she came across the real-life issues faced by communities related to improper planning such as drainage, waste-water management, and congested urban areas, which ultimately leads to unhealthy living conditions. She is very excited to work with MABRRI this summer and is looking forward to contributing to various planning and community engagement projects.

Jason Bradley

Jason is completing his Advanced Diploma in GIS Applications at VIU and is a graduate of VIU’s BBA program with concentrations in International Business and Finance. He gained analytical experience while working in the international logistics and immigration industries, which provided an exciting opportunity to live abroad in China. He looks forward to furthering his technical skills in GIS to aid in research, planning and analysis with MABRRI to contribute to sustainability and environmental conservation on Vancouver Island. 

Jason is currently working on a project involving the Canadian Mountain Network (The View from 2117), using GIS tools including remote sensing and satellite imagery to identify past land cover changes in the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region to create prediction maps and model the impact of population growth on the environment. He hopes this analysis will provide data and insights that can be visually studied and applied for future research. 

Jason grew up in Nanaimo and enjoys exploring, learning and finding new activities to do with his wife, Shelly. He has also recently started in a position with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, supporting the Fish and Wildlife, Ecosystems and Water Protection sections.