This weekend, the University of Waterloo will host it's 127th convocation. Each year, the university awards over 7,380 bachelor's degrees, 2,130 master's degrees, and 350 doctoral degrees, demonstrating the profound impact of our academic programs and the dedication of our students.

The completion of any degree takes dedication, commitment and perseverance. Completing a doctoral degree in particular requires you to go beyond deepening your knowledge and understanding of existing research. Instead, you are becoming an expert in a subject area and producing new, original research in your field of study. Included in the list of doctoral graduands for this weekend are six individuals from SERS, including:

Melanie Goodchild

Dr. Melanie Goodchild

Melanie's research focused on Indigenous ways of knowing, systems thinking, complexity science and social innovation. Under the supervision of Dr. Dan McCarthy, Melanie defended her thesis, Niigani Miinigowiziiwin (we give these gifts to the future), and published her research in the Journal of Awareness-Based Systems Change.

Dr. Melanie Goodchild is now the first Academic Director of Makwa Waakaa'igan at Algoma University, leading the Indigenous Knowledge Systems Lab.

Dr. Anita Lazurko

Anita's research focuses on the use of scenarios to understand and navigate the future of complex sustainability challenges, with a focus on how scenario processes can be more reflexive and transformative to reflect the uncertainty and disruption humanity is facing in the 21st century. Under the supervision of Dr. Derek Armitage and Dr. Vanessa Schweizer, Anita successfully defended her thesis, Complexity, ambiguity, and the boundaries of the future: Toward a reflexive scenario practice in sustainability science, and has been published in journals such as Sustainability Science.

Dr. Anita Lazurko is now a researcher at the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Anita Lazurko

Ella-Kari Muhl

Dr. Ella-Kari Muhl

Ella-Kari's is a transdisciplinary marine researcher from South Africa with interests in equity, knowledge co-production, and the sustainable governance of marine resources. Her doctoral research supported ecosystem-based management in the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve (British Columbia) through the collaborative development of future visual and narrative scenarios for sea otter return, and implementation of evaluative strategies associated with governance outcomes and coastal community benefits. Under the supervision of Dr. Derek Armitage, Ella-Kari has published in several journals including Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B and Frontiers in Marine Science.

Dr. Ella-Kari Muhl is now a postdoctoral fellow with Vulnerability to Viability (V2V) Global Partnership.

Dr. Dilruba Fatima Sharmin

Dilruba's research interests revolve around the human dimensions of climate change, focusing on impacts on vulnerable populations and their migration. She has a passion for vulnerability and risk assessment, adaptation and resilience strategies, including managed retreat and applying climate and sustainable finance to address these challenges. Under the supervision of Dr. Roy Brouwer, Dilruba sucessfully defended her thesis, Examining the relationship between climate change and migration and its socio-economic implications in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and has been an author in several journals including Ecological Economics and Sustainability

Dr. Dilruba Fatima Sharmin is continuing her research journey as a research associate at the University of Waterloo. You can read more about her doctoral journey here.

Dilruba Fatima Sharmin

Lauren Smith

Dr. Lauren Smith

Lauren's research focuses on the human psychosocial responses to climate communication; water; gender bias and equity; equitable decision-making; death care and green burial. Under the supervision of Dr. Sarah Wolfe, Lauren successfully defended her thesis, Flooded with terror: Identifying existential threat in water crisis communication and exploring gender bias in the depths of water management, and has published in journals like People and Nature and WIREs Climate Change.

Dr. Lauren Smith is now a postdoctoral fellow at Royal Roads University and hopes to teach and pursue an academic career.