SERS Alumn Q&A — Amanda Chouinard

Amanda Chouinard recently completed her Masters of Environment and Business through the University of Waterloo, while living in Vancouver, and plans to pursue a career working with businesses and/or communities to make progress toward sustainability.

Amanda holding trash

What years were you at SERS?


What degree did you complete in SERS?

Environment and Resource Sustainability Honours, Co-op; Minor in Geography and Environmental Management (GEM); Option in Sustainable Local Economic Development (SLED)

What was your favourite thing about your program/time at SERS?

One of my favourite things about ERS was the flexibility to tailor your educational focus. Over the years I was able to select courses only on the topics of my interests. Even with the same core learnings, some of my classmates graduated with a very different degree than me. Along with the different areas of focus, most of the content between courses and over time was still very interconnected, and it was always rewarding to become aware of those linkages and continue to build your knowledge of the bigger picture.

What was your favourite course and/or learning experience (and why?) in SERS?

One of the things I enjoyed most about my learning experience in SERS, was that we were learning about the real world. We were learning about environmental, social, and economic issues that were actually happening and being experienced at all scales within society. It felt like a thorough examination of the historical and current trends of the ways humans interact with the environment, along with possible solutions.

What are you doing now that is meaningful to you?

Last year I was a participant in the United Nations Association of Canada’s Green Corps Program. The Green Corps purpose is to bring talented youth into employment with businesses engaged in Canada’s green economy. I was placed with the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, at the Vancouver Aquarium; which is a nation-wide initiative of the Aquarium and WWF-Canada focused on conservation and education through shoreline cleanups. My main responsibility included planning shoreline cleanups for each community that the AquaVan 150: Connecting Communities to Coastlines tour stopped in.

If applicable, how did what you learned/experienced in SERS assist with what you are doing now?

The program is very interdisciplinary, I gained enough base knowledge on a variety of environmental topics to be able to work in almost any sector. I also know how to think about and approach different types of problems or projects, because of the core systems thinking focus. SERS taught me to think critically about problems and solutions, and to know how to place them and all the stakeholders involved within larger connected systems.