MABRRI Research Assistants

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

Jonina Tynjala

Jonina is a fourth-year student majoring in Geography and minoring in Indigenous Studies at VIU. She has lived on Vancouver Island and surrounding smaller islands her entire life and is an aspiring naturalist who is knowledgeable in our local flora and fungi. She hopes to use her education to help increase climate resilience in rural/remote communities. Jonina is new to MABRRI this year and will be working with the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association and the City of Campbell River to help finish the new Campbellton Action Plan.

Pooja Choudhary

Pooja is a second-year student pursuing Master of Community Planning at VIU. She previously completed her Bachelor in Planning from Amity University, India. Before starting the MCP program, Pooja worked as a team leader for Ministry of Social Development for improving accessibility in the public buildings of Delhi, India for Persons with Disabilities. She also worked as an analyst dealing with green building certification and Environment Impact Assessment for public and private buildings in Delhi, India. She has a PG Diploma in Geoinformatics. Being passionate about urban planning and urban transformations Pooja has always tried to acquire related knowledge through education and experience in the field. Her area of interests are community planning, parks and recreation planning, climate change and resilience, urban policy, and urban transformations. 

Pooja is working for MABRRI as a Research Assistant on the Development Review Process, as a partnership with VIU and the Town of Qualicum Beach.

Mailyn Lai

Mailyn is a graduate student in the Master of Community Planning program at Vancouver Island University. She completed her undergraduate degree at Simon Fraser University with a major in Communication, minor in Sustainable Development and certificate in Sustainable Community Development. Mailyn is passionate about environmental issues and hopes to build livable communities that improve the quality of life. Mailyn is joining MABRRI as a Research Assistant on the Town of Qualicum Beach Development Review Process.

Alicia McLean

Alicia is a current Master of Community Planning student, having graduated from University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology and English. She grew up in the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region and is passionate about the interconnected ecologies there, both biological and social. Alicia is working for MABRRI as a Research Assistant on various projects related to planning and land use management.

Nisha Gnanasingarajan

Nisha is currently a graduate student in the Master of Community Planning program at VIU. She finished her Bachelor’s in Architecture at MSAJAA, Anna University, in India. She developed an interest in Urban design and Planning whilst competing in Urban design competitions in Architecture school and meeting local planners and designers. She later volunteered at an alternative community building project which strengthened and expanded her interest in the field. She comes from a culturally-rich country with a diverse history and her interests in the planning field have been influenced by her experiences in India and the stark contrast of learning about planning in Vancouver Island, while working for MABBRI as a Research Assistant. Engaging in varied projects in the past few years, her interests in the planning field grew to include Multicultural planning, New Urbanism, Sustainable Community building, Permaculture design and Earthen Architecture.

Kate Fenton

Kate is a student in the Master of Community Planning Program at VIU. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Cape Town with a double major in Environmental & Geographical Science and Ocean & Atmospheric Science. 
Kate is passionate about sustainable development and sees community planning as an effective mechanism for meeting the needs of the community without entirely compromising the natural environment. 
At MABRRI, Kate is thrilled to be involved in the K'ómoks First Nation’s Community Pulse project as well as the Pacific Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPAC) Innovation Centre project. 

Desarae Poier

Desarae is a fifth year BSc student majoring in Biology and minoring in Psychology. Having always loved the diversity and natural beauty of the west coast, Desarae moved to Vancouver Island from Alberta in 2017 and has been captivated by the island ever since. Her studies at VIU have allowed her to explore her passion for the biological sciences and deepened her commitment to conservation efforts. New to MABRRI this year, Desarae will be working on the Forage Fish and Timing Windows projects as a Research Assistant. She is excited to gain some valuable research experience, participate in local conservation initiatives, and contribute to the future of sustainability alongside the dedicated MABRRI team. 

Adrian Myszka

Adrian is currently a graduate student completing a Master of Community Planning at Vancouver Island University. An experienced placemaker and community engagement facilitator, Adrian’s passion is in co-designing and activating vibrant, socially equitable and environmentally sustainable parks and public open spaces. As an avid climber, hiker, mountain biker, (terrible) surfer and general outdoor recreation enthusiast, Adrian spends a significant amount of time in parks and natural areas of varying scale.

Sam Yagnyatynskyiy

Sam is a first-year student in the Resource Management Officer Technology (RMOT) program at Vancouver Island University. He is passionate about protecting our natural resources, fish, and wildlife for many generations to come. In August 2021, Sam decided to quit his job as a masonry foreman and move to the Island in search of a new career in Natural Resource Law Enforcement. He is avid outdoorsman who enjoys fishing, backcountry camping, climbing, mountaineering, backcountry skiing, wildlife photography and traveling to remote destinations on his motorcycle. Sam is new to team at MABBRI, however, he is very excited to be participating in various conservation projects and hopes to not only gain valuable experience, but also, make a lasting impact among his community.

Holly Yee

Holly is a current Master of Community Planning student at Vancouver Island University. She completed her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Victoria with a major in economics and minor in public administration. Holly’s work is characterized by her ability to make meaningful contributions as a member of a professional team, with a high regard for the needs of her clients, colleagues, and members of the public. Her interests include urban design, public engagement, and local government policy. At MABRRI, Holly is excited to be a part of The View from 2117 project, analyzing how local governments can integrate the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Reserve designation into their policies.

Even as a lifelong resident of Vancouver Island, Holly still has a lengthy list of landscapes and towns to explore.

Emma Adams

Emma is a graduate student in the Master of Community Planning program at VIU.  She completed her undergraduate degree at Simon Fraser University with a major in Resource and Environmental Management and a certificate in Urban Studies.  Emma grew her love for the field of planning through her work and volunteer experience in a municipal planning role prior to starting school at VIU.  Emma’s research interests include development planning and the importance of public engagement within the planning process. At MABRRI, Emma is working as a Research Assistant on the Town of Qualicum Beach Development Review Process Project