Lucy HintonLucy Hinton, Ph.D. Candidate Global Governance, Balsillie School of International Affairs, University of Waterloo (BES '13, International Development)

When alumnus Lucy Hinton (BE'S 13) arrived in the Faculty of Environment, she dreamed of being a pilot and flying around the world. But as she learned more about food insecurity and poverty in the places she hoped to fly to, she switched gears to International Development, starting a lifelong dedication to service of people and planet.

Lucy is now a doctorate student at the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo.  Having won a prestigious year-long research fellowship to work with the International Development Research Centre, she is examining the role of multinational corporations in changes to food habits and nutrition in the developing world.  She also received SSHRC doctoral support for her Ph.D. studies, which is a testament to her exceptional research skills and academic accomplishments.  Lucy is due to complete and defend her dissertation in 2021.

Lucy's life revolves around environmental sustainability. Her scholarship includes technical work on water structures for a conservation authority, expanding public access to nature and trails and using community gardening to (re)connect to land, community, and identity. Lucy combines these grounded, community-level forms of environmental engagement with her academic work on the global structures of power and oppression. Motivated by the belief that a more equitable world is also a more environmentally just one, Lucy always prioritizes both a people and a planet perspective in her work.  

As an undergraduate student, Lucy served as Vice President of the Environment Student Society, President of the Student Association of International Development and was elected class Valedictorian. As a graduate student, she is a councilor on the Graduate Student Association and has been active in the Centre for Teaching Excellence, where she helps university instructors and students across campus by raising the quality of teaching and inspiring others to work toward continuous improvement in the classroom. "I love the challenge of diversifying course content and opening up the academy to make it more inclusive. Asking students to reflect on the change they can make in their worlds is endlessly and selfishly gratifying, and I think it only improves our chances at a more just world.”

Female pilot stands next to glider in front of Toronto skylineVolunteer gliding instructor, Hinton beside a glider

Lucy’s commitment to students is paramount to their success. Her teaching methods are informed by an equity approach that makes learning accessible, challenges traditional power dynamics and focuses on personal growth and potential, whether in a higher education classroom or her local gliding site where she volunteers as an instructor to both instructors and new students. 

In the post-COVID world, Lucy sees herself working in higher education or in international humanitarian work but is open to seeing what the world has in store. “I'm not sure what exactly the next step looks like for me, but as long as a strong connection with people and planet are at the core of it, I think it will all work out just fine."