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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.

Additional Laurier-led projects are:

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.

Casey Beel, Senior Research Associate, Hydrometeorology

Casey BeelBased out of the Yellowknife research office, Casey Beel works within the GWF team examining hydrometeorological change in the Northwest Territories.

Beel is in the final stages of his PhD from Queen’s University, where he is investigating the impact and response of river systems to permafrost degradation and hydrometeorological change in the Canadian High Arctic. Prior to joining Laurier, he completed two master's degrees, one in quaternary geology at Purdue University (USA), and the other in fluvial geomorphology at the University of Otago (New Zealand).

Beel 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 as the climate continues to warm and precipitation patterns change. As the senior research associate, he will also provide leadership at Laurier’s Yellowknife Research Office.

Contact: or 613.561.7687

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.

Niels Weiss, Research Associate, Permafrost

Neils WeissBased out of the Yellowknife research office, Niels Weiss works within a research team focused on monitoring changing permafrost in the NWT. His work aims to understand permafrost landscape sensitivity by linking permafrost change to climatic, hydrologic, and geomorphologic change, as well as infrastructure and resource development.

Niels completed his PhD in physical geography at Stockholm University (Sweden) where he studied permafrost carbon quantity, quality, and dynamics. He worked in permafrost environments in northern Scandinavia and Russia, focusing on the fate of organic matter following thaw and thaw-induced landscape change. Before joining Laurier, Niels was a postdoctoral fellow at Carleton University with Stephan Gruber, where he worked on a collaborative pan-Canadian synthesis of recent permafrost change.


Anastasia Sniderhan, Research Associate, Ecosystems Resilience

Ana SniderhanWorking 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 SpringAndrew 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 completed his PhD at Wilfrid Laurier University, 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.​

Bridget Rusk, Research Associate, Water Quality

Based out of the Yellowknife research office, Bridget Rusk works as the GWF Water Quality Research Associate.

Bridget completed her MSc at McGill University, where she specialized in Integrated Water Resource Management. Her academic research experience includes remote permafrost geomorphology investigations in the Beaufort-Delta region, field- and lab-based biogeochemical studies of the Apex River in Iqaluit, NU, and various wetland studies in eastern Quebec and New Brunswick. Prior to joining Laurier, Bridget was working in the consulting industry as an Environmental Scientist. Her project experience ranges from environmental assessments of contaminated landfills in Southern Ontario, to hydrogeological investigations of proposed development sites, to post-remediation monitoring in the High Arctic.



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