Our People

Together, we combine our strengths and expertise to identify priorities, catalyze research, and develop evidence-based solutions.

WISA is made up of passionate researchers, innovators, and leaders who contribute their skills, knowledge, and resources to the development of sustainable solutions in aeronautics.

Our members include faculty, researchers, graduate students, staff, and other members from the University of Waterloo and beyond.


Dr. Suzanne Kearns, Founding Director

The Founding Director of WISA is the distinguished Dr. Suzanne Kearns who is responsible for the high-level management of WISA operations. She is supported by four Associate Directors whose duties align with the three pillars of sustainability (social, environmental, and economic), as well as the WISA team. 

Read the message from the director →

WISA Associate Directors

The Associate Directors of WISA support the Director in identifying critical research issues in the areas identified by the WISA Board and Advisory Committee. This includes coordinating the research strategy, liaising with faculty members to facilitate research teams, developing and evaluating research projects that are critically important for the strategic direction of WISA. They are also responsible for the engagement of faculty colleagues to achieve the objectives of WISA.  


Elizabeth Irving, Associate Director

Elizabeth is a professor in the School of Optometry and Vision Science. Her research investigates the development of the eye and the reciprocal impact of vision and adaptation on and from the environmental circumstance. Currently she is investigating the interactions between vision and aviation and the effects of space travel on the eye.

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Paul Parker, Associate Director

Paul is a sustainability researcher with a passion for low carbon aviation and a love of teaching. He brings social science expertise to a diverse set of energy and development research projects, often with engineer colleagues. He has 175 publications and over 230 presentations on a broad range of projects: zero-carbon buildings, energy retrofits, smart grid technologies, renewables in remote communities, sustainable economic development and community energy planning. Electric and low carbon aviation is the next challenge. 

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Derek Robinson, Associate Director

Derek is currently using remotely piloted aircraft to remotely sense agriculture and urban areas using thermal, multi-spectral, and LiDAR sensors to advance science in the areas of interests that lie at the center of land use, land management, and the carbon cycle.

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Mihaela Vlasea, Associate Director

Mihaela's research focuses on innovative design, process optimization and adoption of new materials for powder bed fusion and binder jetting additive manufacturing processes. Dr. Vlasea collaborates closely with industry partners in the additive manufacturing supply chain and applications, including aerospace. In recognition of her scholarly work, student mentorship, and industry outreach.

Read more about Mihaela Vlasea →