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Being 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 is one of 11 projects funded under the inaugural funding call of the GWF program.

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.

Ryan Connon, Senior Research Associate, Hydrometeorology

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

Connon recently completed his PhD working with William Quinton, associate professor of Geography and Environmental Studies and director of the Cold Regions Research Centre at Laurier. Connon was born in the NWT. His PhD research focused on understanding the ways in which runoff pathways are expected to change as a result of thawing permafrost in northwestern Canada.

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

Contact: rconnon@wlu.ca or 867.688.7544.

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: hdixon@wlu.ca 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.

Contact: jhickman@wlu.ca

Ashley Rudy, Research Associate, Permafrost

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

Rudy received her PhD from Queen’s University, where she examined landscape patterns of permafrost degradation using a combination of field mapping, remote sensing and geospatial analyses. Contributions from her research improve our knowledge on permafrost disturbances related to their detection, the identification of landscape variables and geomorphic processes driving landscape susceptibility, and the development of long-term monitoring strategies for permafrost regions. 

As the Permafrost Research Associate, Rudy’s work 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.

Contact: arudy@wlu.ca or 519.884.0710 x4560.

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: asniderhan@wlu.ca 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.

Contact: aspring@wlu.ca

TBD, Research Associate, Data Management

This position will support all aspects of data management, access and archiving.

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