Last week, the 2020 Vanier Scholarship award winners were announced. Among the prestigious group were three Faculty of Science graduate students - Finnian Gray (Physics & Astronomy), Christian Ieritano (Chemistry) and Spencer Weinstein (Biology).
The three scholars will each receive $50,000 over three years from the Natural Science and Research Council (NSERC). The Vanier Scholarships were developed by NSERC to attract and retain world-class doctoral students from around the world and to establish Canada as a global centre of excellence in research and higher learning. Vanier scholars are chosen based on their academic excellence, research potential and leadership qualities.
Spencer Weinstein is completing a PhD with Professor Heidi Swanson in aquatic ecology in the Department of Biology. Weinstein’s research involves working with the community of Kugluktuk, Nunavut, to understand why the Arctic char fish population is rapidly declining and changing.
Using a combination of molecular tools, ecology, and community knowledge, she is working to characterize and understand the current state of the community's fisheries. This insight will help develop a long-term plan to maintain a sustainable fish supply for the community. Additionally, her multi-disciplinary approach will help inform the management of Arctic fisheries amidst the impacts of climate change.
“Receiving this scholarship is validating, not just for myself, but also for the greater project, as this research matters a lot to the community,” said Weinstein. "It’s encouraging that the selection committee sees the importance of working with and supporting Indigenous communities.”