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Becoming a Golden Hawk means more than just cheering on our (really good) varsity teams – it means being a student who cares about your community, who works hard in the classroom, and who takes advantage of all the learning opportunities that can happen outside the classroom, too.

Laurier was successful in partnering with the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Waterloo and McMaster University in accessing $78 million over the next seven years to support Global Water Futures (GWF) through Canada’s First Research Excellence Fund. Intended to cement Canada’s leadership in cold regions water science, GWF is the largest university-led water research program funded worldwide and is one of the largest water science collaborations in the world. The goal of the program is to deliver risk-management solutions to manage water resources throughout Canada where global warming is changing landscapes, ecosystems, and the water environment.

With an exclusive focus on environmental issues facing Canada’s North, the Laurier-led Northern Water Futures (NWF) is one of 11 projects funded under the inaugural funding call of the GWF program. The Laurier-led Sub-Arctic Metal Mobility Study (SAMMS) and Global Water Citizenship (GWC) projects are two of 21 Pillar 1-2 projects funded by GWF.

Laurier’s Core GWF Team

Through GWF, Laurier has secured funding for personnel dedicated to advancing our strategic priorities in cold regions and water science. The core Laurier team includes five technical staff who will work on field sites throughout the Northwest Territories (NWT) and support analytical and instrument libraries, a data management technician, and a knowledge mobilization research specialist.

TBA, Senior Research Associate, Hydrometeorology

Based out of the Yellowknife research office, the Senior Research Associate works within a GWF team examining the changing hydrometeorology in the Northwest Territories. He also provides leadership at Laurier’s Yellowknife research office.

Laurier's Yellowknife research office staff will work with faculty members and graduate students to coordinate field research programs in the territory and work to advance our understanding of the interactions between hydrology and permafrost, and how these interactions are predicted to change in a warming climate.

Heather Dixon, Research Associate, Biomonitoring

Working with GWF researchers, Heather Dixon’s work focuses on the biomonitoring of ecosystem health in the NWT.

Dixon received her PhD from the University of Waterloo, where she investigated Atlantic salmon marine feeding using stable isotopes and gut contents analyses. Prior to joining Laurier, she worked at the Atlantic Salmon Federation, researching Atlantic salmon survival during their migration to the ocean using acoustic telemetry. As the research associate, biomonitoring, Dixon’s work will focus on the biomonitoring of ecosystem health in the NWT involving investigations of the responses of diverse biota to environmental changes and resource development.

Contact: or 519.884.0710 x4548.

Jennifer Hickman, Research Associate, Water Quality

Based out of the Yellowknife research office, Jennifer Hickman supports researchers studying the impact of environmental changes and resource development on water quality in the NWT.

Hickman completed her MSc at Wilfrid Laurier University with Michael English, professor of Geography and Environmental Studies, studying subarctic peatland hydrology and carbon quality. Her primary research focus was understanding the hydrological evolution of subarctic peat plateaus over time as discontinuous permafrost thaws, as well as how these changes may influence the quality and movement of dissolved organic carbon from terrestrial to aquatic ecosystems.


TBA, Research Associate, Permafrost

Working with GWF researchers, the Research Associate supports a research team focused on monitoring changing permafrost in the NWT.

The Permafrost Research Associate will investigate permafrost changes in key regions of the NWT and link observations to changes in climate, as well as infrastructure and resource development in order to understand permafrost landscape sensitivity.

Anastasia Sniderhan, Research Associate, Ecosystems Resilience

Working with GWF researchers, Ana Sniderhan‘s work focuses on ecosystem resilience in the NWT.

Sniderhan completed her PhD at Wilfrid Laurier University, studying the growth dynamics of black spruce in northwestern boreal forests. Her research primarily used tree-ring records to determine how these iconic boreal trees have changed their growth patterns over recent history, but she also performed experiments with black spruce seedlings to help predict the resilience of the black spruce to a changing environment. As the Ecosystem Resilience Research Associate with the Northern Water Futures program, Ana will continue to work on questions concerning the broader plant community and changes the terrestrial environment is facing in the Northwest Territories.

Contact: or 519-884-0710 x4511.

Andrew Spring, Research Associate, Northern Canada Knowledge Networks

Andrew Spring liaises between researchers, northern communities and organizations to build broad networks of researchers, communities, and decision-makers to help facilitate knowledge transfer and communication between all parties.

He is currently completing his PhD at Wilfrid Laurier University where he conducts research focused on food security in Canada’s Northwest Territories. His work explores the challenges and opportunities at the intersection of food security and food sovereignty, climate change and pressures exerted on country food and traditional economic activity in Indigenous communities.

Andrew has a diverse background in sustainability and the environment. Trained as an environmental engineer (MASc Toronto), his expertise is creating innovative programs to engage communities in sustainable planning or environmental conservation. Working with a diverse group of stakeholders, he aims to expand Laurier’s capacity to conduct research that meets the needs of people in the North.


Gopal Saha, Research Associate, Data Management

Working with GWF researchers, Gopal Saha will support all aspects of data management, analysis, policy, access and archiving for the research team in the NWT.

Gopal Saha obtained his PhD in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies from the University of Northern British Columbia, where he investigated climate and land use changes impacts on groundwater-surface water interaction in the Kiskatinaw River Watershed, northeast British Columbia. Prior to joining Laurier, he worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Institute for Environmental Sustainability (IES) in Mount Royal University, Canada. At IES he was lead investigator examining the effects of hydraulic fracturing (i.e., water withdrawal) and its associated activities (i.e., construction of roads and well pads). His research examined surface water and groundwater flows, surface water and groundwater levels, environmental flow (instream flow needs) and groundwater contribution to surface water flow under climate change conditions in the Upper Peace River Region of north-western Alberta, Canada.

Contact: or 519.884.0710 x3918.​


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