Connecting Environmentally-Focused Students with Professionals in the Environmental Sector
The MEIA Student Chapter is designed for university and college students who wish to enhance their knowledge of the environmental industry and to network with potential future employers.
The MEIA recognizes the uncertainty the pandemic has brought for students.
That is why the annual Student Chapter membership has been reduced to $30, half the rate from previous years.
Student Chapter membership begins September 1
st and ends August 31 st. Membership is available to all post-secondary students in Manitoba. Recent graduates are eligible for Student Chapter membership for up to 2 years after graduation or until they have found full-time employment in the energy, natural resource, or environmental sectors, whichever comes first.
Membership in the Student Chapter comes with many benefits!
Receive job opportunities sent directly to your inbox Access to networking opportunities such as the Student Chapter’s biannual Speed Mentoring events where you can connect one-on-one with professionals in the environmental sector; Participate in training seminars offering Student Chapter members the opportunity to develop elevator pitch skills, share ideas, projects and opportunities; Discounted rates on MEIA professional development learning sessions, workshops and conferences Scholarship opportunities for members Opportunity to sit on the Emerging Issues Conference Planning Committee
To renew or to become a member of the MEIA’s Student Chapter, fill out the
Member Application Form, or contact MEIA at (204) 783-7090.
Thinking about a career in environmental sector? Click here for an inventory of nearly 130 environmental career profiles. MEIA Student Chapter Board 2021-22
Anika Hatherly, Chair
Lindsey Solmundson, Vice Chair
Natalie Desmarais, Event Coordinator
Damien Van, Student Engagement Director
Cailin Hesketh-Jost, Social Media Manager
Harjot Singh Cheema, Sponsorship Coordinator Student Chapter Alumni
Anneleise Forsythe, SNC-Lavalin I completed a Bachelor of Environmental Science at the University of Manitoba, minoring in soil science. During my undergraduate degree I became a member of MEIA’s student chapter, which gave me the opportunity to attend different conferences and mingle with established professionals in the industry. It was a great way to see the side of environmental consulting that you can’t really fully understand until you are working in that field. Plus, it was a great way to socialize with others while gaining insight as to where employment opportunities may exist once entering the workforce as a new graduate. Afterall, hands on involvement is the best way to explore employment opportunities as opposed to simply having the relevant education! MEIA’s Student Chapter was a great way for more introverted students like myself to get engaged – which set me up for great success once I was ready to start working. I am now employed by SNC-Lavalin where I work as a project scientist. Having a background in soil science has given me the opportunity to work more in reclamation projects and have progressed from being in a junior role to an intermediate role with the opportunity to partake in project management. A typical day in the field is coordinating with subcontractors and providing direction on whichever site we are visiting, starting off with tailgate meetings (HSE), providing information on scope, and then supervising the work taking place to ensure it meets the expectations of the qualified environmental professional on site.
Taylor Brown, Canadian Federation of Independent Business I joined the MEIA student chapter in 2015, the first year of my Environmental Studies undergraduate degree at the University of Manitoba. I thought it would be a great way to connect with professionals in the industry, and it was! It was great to see all of the different directions an environmental degree could take you. Given my interests in public policy, I pursued a minor in political science and combined my knowledge of environmental issues to write an honours essay on the politics surrounding climate migrants. I am continuing my education at the University of Ottawa, where I am in the last year of a Master of Public and International Affairs. Professionally, I am currently working in my desired field as an intern policy and research analyst for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. Here, I get to represent the interests of thousands of small and medium-sized businesses across the country in legislatures, as well as conduct pertinent research designed to better advocate for our members. Environmental issues are more prevalent than ever, especially as provinces commit to carbon-neutral pacts and green industries. This creates a great opportunity for me to combine my environment and policy background with my prairie upbringing to advocate for the individuals who support our provinces. I plan to graduate in 2022 and continue working as a policy analyst, advancing policies that improve our country’s environment and economy.
Stephanie Connell – Researcher at the Centre for Terrestrial and Planetary Exploration (C-Tape) MEIA’s Student Chapter helped me prepare for entry to the workforce by exposing me to the environmental industry as I pursued an undergraduate degree in environmental sciences. Being a member of the MEIA student chapter helped me get started with my career by introducing me to the professional world where I attended my first conference. I have mainly focused on studying the Earth’s environmental processes; however, I have also been able to apply that knowledge to other planets within our solar system through my planetary research. Providing students with networking opportunities with those already in the workforce will surely guide them in the right direction.
Chelsey Gulak, Compliance Coordinator at Miller Environmental During my time as an Environmental Studies Coop student at the University of Manitoba I was actively involved with the MEIA Student Chapter. I was on the committee for three years as the Event Coordinator and then as the Chair. Through my volunteering with MEIA and Co-op positions, I was able to grow my network which was how I was introduced to my current employer at Miller. Being a part of the Student Chapter are some of my favorite memories from when I was a student. My favourite events are the tours. They are an easy ice breaker to meet people and you get to learn the type of environmental initiatives local industries are working on. Attending Student Chapter events helped me learn how to network – 3 out of my 4 student positions were obtained through networking and 2 out of the 4 student positions were a direct result of being a Student Chapter committee member. The Student Chapter also connected me directly with peers and industry professionals that provided a reference or hired me. As far as being on the committee, it gave me the opportunity to participate in and run events that helped build my skills: project management, event planning, soil and water sampling, and public speaking. Creating the Student Chapter Discovery Night was the most challenging and rewarding moment I had as a student. Talking to mentors that are recent graduates that can help guide you through the transition into the workforce. Now that I’ve graduated and am working in the industry, I get to give back to the organization that helped me to get where I am today by participating in events as a mentor to the next generation of students. A little bit about where I am now: I was hired after graduation by Miller Environmental Corporation as the Regulatory Administrator providing support to the Regulatory Department. This job included both ensuring environmental, health and safety compliance within the company, in addition to furthering program initiatives. I was promoted to the Compliance Coordinator in 2020 to provide further technical support to the environmental, health and safety programs. Some of my job duties currently include tracking and trending, program development, reporting and providing field level support to staff.
Marissa Smirl, Environmental Scientist at Golder Associates, a company of WSP I graduated with a Bachelor of Environmental Science from the University of Manitoba. In my third year of university, I joined the MEIA Student Chapter as an Events Coordinator for a year, and then took on the position of Co-chair for the next two years. One beneficial thing about being part of the Student Chapter executive was how much easier it made networking with professionals in the environmental industries. As Events Coordinator, I helped to reach out to mentors to invite them to events such as Speed Networking and Discovery Night. Having already connected with these mentors made that first in-person conversation much less daunting in an already easy-going environment. Being a Student Chapter member made the decision to take the Groundwater and Soil Sampling course offered by MEIA much easier due to the significantly reduced costs for Student Chapter members. After less than a year of working at Golder Associates, a company of WSP, as an Environmental Scientist on their Contaminated Sites team, I have already used all the skills taught in that course many times. I was very lucky to have the opportunity to be on a panel of Student Chapter members who spoke at the 2019 Emerging Issues Conference. This is a new addition to the benefits of being on the Student Chapter. We were able to discuss what the student experience is like in the environmental industries. If you are interested in getting involved with the Student Chapter, please reach out to them. It is very important to have a variety of voices involved seeing as how the environmental sector includes a wide range jobs and interests. If you don’t see your interests represented at Student Chapter events, you would be the perfect person to join and help bring in those mentors in the future.
Dawn Fraser Environmental Operations Specialist Magellan Aerospace I was a student at the University of Winnipeg when the Student Chapter was just starting up. There were only a few of us that first year on the Student Chapter. I went to the first meeting as the liaison for University of Winnipeg and all of a sudden I had volunteered to help organize a career fair. I jumped in and helped where I could, finding different volunteers and organizations to come on board. The following year the career fair was hosted at the University of Winnipeg. I ran the committee, organized funding through the University of Winnipeg, we also had the University of Manitoba, Brandon University and Red River College all involved – almost 50 booths, 30 breakout sessions running at the same time. We had a warrior team of 100+ volunteers running everything. Every breakout session focused on a different career in the environmental sector, so students could go see their presentation and ask questions after. We even had a program published with all the speakers and breakout sessions, a map, advertisements. In subsequent years, I mentored the next students to take on the committee and run the next career fairs. The most memorable part was pushing through my nerves and speaking to the crowd of over 100 people as a panelist! I signed up for the co-op program at the University of Winnipeg and was selected to be a co-op student as the Environmental Coordinator at Lafarge for the summer. I was able to keep that position while I finished my degree and became Manager of Environment and Public Affairs at Lafarge once I graduated. Where I worked on environment management system, auditing, sustainability and green building awareness. While there I started volunteering as a mentor for MEIA and as a board member for Sustainable Building Manitoba continuing my networking in new ways. I’m now at Magellan as the Environmental Operations Specialist, improving their systems. Changing industries is a big learning curve, I enjoy that aspect of constantly learning something new. Working for a corporation has always been an interest of mine – their environmental footprints are a really big focus for environmental issues. Someone needs to be there with the knowledge of a better way, so I’m glad to be involved, to be one of the ones on the ground to help improve it. Through my involvement in the MEIA Student Chapter I learned how to network; and the activity of running career fairs taught me about where I could go and look for a job and honed my project management skills. I actively sought out conversations with people I met to learn more about what I wanted to do and I am grateful for all the mentors along the way that took the time to answer a few questions or have a conversation over the phone or a cup of coffee. I got a lot of great ideas and inspiration from that. Now as a mentor my door’s always open.
Vicki Latter Occupational Health and Safety Officer Government of Alberta When I attended my first Emerging Issues conference in 2007, I approached MEIA and asked about the Student Chapter, which I had seen mentioned on the MEIA website. I learned that the student group was not active, and that opened the door to create what the new Student Chapter could be. I was paired with two mentors and that first year we were able to have a couple events. The following year, the number of opportunities for students grew, as did student participation. It was exciting to see the number of people who got involved with the Student Chapter and when students from other schools signed up. I remember when I would hear from MEIA about Student Chapter members who got a job through the job board, or a networking event, or the career fair, the pride and excitement of the Student Chapter was evident. One of the most memorable experiences was helping to organize the first Environmental Career Fair in 2010. The process of organizing, planning, and executing the event and working in partnership with other educational organizations taught me a lot lessons and created some amazing relationships in my life. The skills I learned as being part of the Student Chapter including leadership, organization and public speaking, allowed me to gain confidence and experience. I was fortunate to network with amazing mentors in the industry, be part of committees and find ways to support my fellow students in our professional development journeys. These connections supported my university courses, placements and opportunities to be involved in the MEIA community. Today I work for the Government of Alberta as an Occupational Health and Safety Officer. I enforce the OHS Legislation and work with employers to ensure they meet the legislative requirements.
Dana Shewchuk Project Technologist Pinchin Ltd. Many of my classmates and I joined the student chapter in 2010, when we invited to a brainstorming session with Rosemary and Deb, to help them lay the groundwork on what the student chapter would become. It has highlighted to me the many challenges students have during classes and entering the workforce. Networking and mentorship are powerful tools that I wouldn’t have experienced and developed without the Student Chapter. I was able to attend the Emerging Issues Conference in 2010, where I was paired with an industry professional to shadow and network with for the day. Years later after graduation, I received a random phone call from the same gentleman I shadowed, and was offered a job! Now I work at Pinchin Ltd as a Project Technologist, where I assessed various buildings throughout their life-cycles all of over Canada.
Joni Reimer Research Manager Churchill Northern Studies Centre I first heard about the MEIA Student Chapter from a previous member and Chair with whom I was working with at the time. She told me about all the exciting things the Student Chapter does and how its such a great way to get involved at school and invited me to their Recruitment Night. I joined the Student Chapter as an Event Coordinator in 2018. The following two years I was a Co-Chair, and then I took over as Chair for my final semester of university. Being part of the Student Chapter gave me the confidence to not only join other groups and committees in university, but to also apply for that job that sounded out my league or say yes to opportunities that sounded daunting and scary. The more Speed Mentoring events I participated in, the easier it was to talk to industry professionals in a casual way including being a better interviewee. It helped me turn my ‘fake it till you make it’ mentality to one more along the lines of ‘I deserve to be here’. I was also able to invite professionals that worked in industries I was interested in, and begin to build a relationship with them. My most memorable part of being on the Student Chapter was getting the opportunity to be a panelist on the Student Chapter portion of the Emerging Issues Conference in 2020. After the panel, industry professionals told me about how interested they were in me and my fellow panelists’ answers! A few even said it was their favourite part of the whole event. Another memorable part is when I would meet new people and they would say that they know who I am because of my involvement with the Student Chapter. It really opened my eyes to the reach I had and the impressions I was making. I am currently a Research Manager at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre. We are a remote research field station and, as Research Manager, I lead contracted subarctic research projects and experiments as well as assist visiting researchers in any way to provide them with the tools necessary to conduct field work safely and effectively. I enjoy getting my hands dirty in a wide variety of research projects while also gaining a deeper understanding of Manitoba’s North.
Sheena Porco Environmental Health and Safety Specialist Price Industries I first head about the MEIA Student Chapter through Red River College Instructor Dave Woytowich, who encouraged me to join a speed mentoring event. It was through a speed mentoring night that I was introduced to representatives from Magellan Aerospace. I applied for a student position at Magellan and stayed on as the Environmental Operations Specialist following graduation from the Joint Applied Environmental Science program. Since graduating, I have had the opportunity to participate with the Student Chapter as a mentor, including presenting an Environmental and Emergency Management mini workshop and as a mentor for speed mentoring events. I am currently employed by Price Industries, an innovative and industry leading commercial HVAC company, as the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Specialist. I specialize in environmental management systems and regulatory compliance. My core activities focus on supporting the continual improvement of Price’s environmental program and working towards ISO 14001:2015 certification. I work closely with an amazing group of safety professionals; together we work to improve and maintain Price’s Safe Work Certification. My job allows me the opportunity to work with many different people on various environmental and safety projects. My favorite part of my job is meeting with manufacturing Associates and their leadership to discuss their concerns, solutions and opportunities. I love the brainstorming, discussions and working together to put the plans into action.
Cameron Mackay Marketing Coordinator Reclay StewardEdge I joined the Student Chapter and was involved for 2 years while in university. Connecting and networking has been great! Learning about new organizations, grants, and volunteer opportunities has been helpful to build my portfolio of skills. I first heard about the MEIA Student Chapter from a co-worker I was working with at Lake Winnipeg Foundation. We were both university students at the time and were looking to build our careers in the environmental industry. I always enjoy going the annual MEIA conference and learning about current environmental issues occurring in Manitoba. Great opportunity to look at sustainability through several lenses and learn about the work each organization is working on. I am currently the Marketing Coordinator in the CBCRA department at Reclay StewardEdge which works on the Recycle Everywhere program. My main duties include supervising the events and bin delivery staff and working on our Recycle Everywhere app. I enjoy working on communications regarding proper recycling habits and how businesses, organizations and the public can work together to be more sustainable when it comes to beverage containers. Reclay StewardEdge has been a fantastic company to work for. I am able to utilize my skills coming from a STEM background whist developing industry specific marketing skills for my position. I am excited to keep developing my career here!
Carmen Anseeuw Associate, Senior Project Manager and the Environmental Services Team Lead for Northern Canada Stantec I first heard about the MEIA Student Chapter through university instructors and classmates. Participating in Student Chapter events helped me in my career path by providing networking opportunities where I was able to meet people in the environmental industry and connect with professionals. As an undergrad student, being able to introduce myself to people working in the industry and hear about their careers and ask them my questions was invaluable. Participating in the MEIA Student Chapter provides mentorship and professional experience while helping to expand the network of new professionals just getting started in the environmental industry. I am an Associate and the Environmental Services Team Lead for Northern Canada at Stantec Consulting Ltd. In addition to coordinating environmental impact assessments and assisting clients with permitting requirements, I lead a team of environmental professionals located North of 60, primarily based in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.