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Trent Student Envisions Integrated Approach to Healthy Environments and Communities

Kanien’keha:ka, Turtle Clan, Trent University M.Sc. student, hand drum carrier, and 3M national student fellow Erin Hayward brings science and Indigenous knowledge together in community base research project

Collaborating on a community-based research project with the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, Erin Hayward is examining how wastewater inputs into rivers and streams impact aquatic organisms, with a particular focus on freshwater mussel species living downstream of wastewater treatment facilities.

Ms. Hayward combines her work as an Environmental and Life Sciences graduate student with extensive community engagement and leadership, including being involved with the Trent Aboriginal Cultural Knowledge and Science (TRACKS) Youth Program, Indigenous Friendship Centres, and nationally recognized youth driven reconciliation initiatives like the 4R’s Youth Movement.

As a scientist, Ms. Hayward sees her work as building knowledge and understanding in many ways. “I’m really passionate about showing people that the way that Indigenous people look at the world is a science, and that the way that we do sciences, and come to our answers at the very end, we’re all aiming for the same goal. A lot of people focus on Indigenous Knowledge, but Indigenous Knowledge is science.”

That approach serves as the foundation for her own research.

“We look at the way that wastewater is processed in a cyclical manner rather than just seeing it as a straight pathway,” she explains. “Rather than thinking of wastewater just as garbage that needs to be disposed of, we’re thinking about not only humans, but also all the organisms that are impacted by wastewater in its final stages. Once it’s released into the environment, it’s going to impact humans eventually, but it impacts a lot of our other relations, such as freshwater mussels, and different species of fish, before it even impacts humans.”

In recognition of her remarkable leadership and community involvement, Ms. Hayward was recently named as one of the 2017 3M national student fellows. This prestigious honour from the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and 3M Canada celebrates students in Canada who have demonstrated qualities of outstanding leadership and who embrace a vision where the quality of their educational experience can be enhanced in academia and beyond.

An integrative thinker, scientist, and community leader, Ms. Hayward exemplifies the type of teaching and learning Trent is renowned for, and which the Centre for Teaching and Learning is proud to showcase.

Hear more from Ms. Hayward.

The Centre for Teaching and Learning offers a variety of events and opportunities to celebrate and further enhance the outstanding teaching and learning at Trent University. Erin Hayward is part of the Centre for Teaching and Learning series showcasing faculty, staff and students who inspire and enhance excellent teaching and learning. Watch for upcoming showcases featuring faculty, staff and students contributing to exceptional teaching and learning here at Trent.

Posted on January 17, 2018