Our Team

Penny Beames — Project lead coordinator

Penny Beames, project lead coordinatorPenny is a masters student in McGill’s Global Land and Water Lab. Her particular focus is on how dam development impacts people and ecosystems, and how comprehensive global dam datasets can improve everything from transboundary river sharing to climate and hydrological modelling. Her work blends a background in political ecology with global physical data science. She developed a commitment to sustainability and an international focus through academic and professional experience in Canada and South and Southeast Asia.



Laurence is a PhD student in urban geography at McGill. Her research focuses on new cities built from scratch in the Kingdom of Morocco, and looks at the official discourse supporting these resource intensive projects. Her academic interests lay in the architectural and cultural symbolism in cities, policy analysis and governance challenges of new master-planned developments. She has previously participated in research programs looking at Francophone identity and urban renewal for the University of Ottawa, as well as media representation of biodiversity for the Université de Montréal. Her undergraduate degree was in Geography and Urban Planning from Université de Montréal. Laurence has been involved with SRS for two years.


melissa_srs_photoMelissa is a PhD student trying to understand the impacts, thresholds and feedbacks of how melting ground ice, driven by climate change, is changing the landscape of the Fosheim Peninsula, located at 80°N on Ellesmere Island, Nunavut. From seeing the extent of change within the Arctic, Melissa is passionate about engaging and being involved with sustainability efforts when she is south. This is her fourth year involved with SRS and as the Academic coordinator she hopes to bring together speakers from a variety of disciplines and experiences for an interesting and engaging symposium. In her spare time Melissa loves the outdoors, knitting, horseback riding and is a big foodie.

Ellie Stephenson — Communications COORDINATOR


Ellie is a current PhD student in the Department of Geography working under the supervision of Dr. George Wenzel. Her research focuses on Canada’s northern food policy, examining food as a site of intersecting cultural, social, and economic systems and a medium of political leverage. Her research interest lies in cultural geography. She has previously collaborated on research about food security and environmental change in the Arctic and Himalayas, and impacts of energy development in Western Canada. In her free time she is an avid photographer.


Version 2Alyssa is a graduate student in Urban Geography at McGill University. Her research broadly examines the challenges and opportunities of new master-planned  cities across the Global South. More specifically, she explores sustainable urbanism, cultural politics, good governance and geographies of exclusions across new cities in Southeast Asia. This is will be Alyssa’s second year joining the SRS team and she looks forward to bringing sustainability literacy from campus to outside the classroom.


 Rachel is a third year undergraduate student studying psychology. In addition to her interest in understanding how the brain works and what makes people tick Rachel is passionate about the environment. She loves the urban life of Montreal but has concerns over the missed opportunities for sustainability within the city environment. She sees the potential to address new approaches for sustainable futures in urban settings through social action. This is Rachel’s first year involved in the project and she is looking forward to the opportunity to work alongside and idea share with some of McGill’s brightest.


Myriam is a third year undergraduate student in honours translation with a minor in social entrepreneurship. Although her first passion is writing she has always had an attachment to the environment. She is interested in empowering people in their everyday lives to create a better today and tomorrow. Her enthusiasm for sustainability fits hand in hand with her desire to make progressive change through policy making and governmental action. This year marks Myriam’s first involvement with the SRS and she couldn’t be more excited to be taking part.


 Gabriella is currently a Master’s student in Geography. Her research explores the mechanisms through which open government data realizes improvements in governance, and catalyzes innovation. She loves maps and in her spare times enjoys yoga, reading and traveling.