Research Areas & Profiles of Current Students:



Taylor Mackey, 2012

My research involves studying the barriers zoning by-laws present to the growth of urban agriculture in the City of Peterborough. I see a future where cities can provide a significant amount of their own food, reducing dependency on many imported crops and increasing urban food security; this would also help reduce the carbon footprint of much of the food we consume as well as reducing the time many foods take to reach our tables.

Supervisor: Dr. Tom Whillans


Ellizabeth Teleki, 2012

My topic focuses on what small rurally situated cities in Ontario can learn from successful and sustainable economic initiatives in developing countries and Scandinavia. The objectives of my thesis to date are to complete a comparative analysis of alternative models/initiatives to demonstrate ways that rural small cities can use a network ecosystem to decentralize economic development practices.

Supervisor: Dr. Mark Skinner


Kristen Potter, 2013

My research explores climate change adaptation actions in the Great Lakes Basin by examining different levels of governmental policy, programs, and strategies. A case study of the Toronto Region (Etobicoke Creek, Mimico Creek, Humber River, Don River, Highland Creek, and Rouge River) was chosen in order to scope the project. The main objective of this research is to survey the political landscape of climate change adaptation policy and determine its ability to be successful as a policy network by using a series of indicators. Examples of policies analyzed in this research include: the 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, the Canada-Ontario Lakes Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health, and the Great Lakes Protection Act.

Supervisor: Dr. Tom Whillans


Katie Allen, 2014

My research analyzes capacity gaps in the community development sector, and the potential for shared platform governance models to address systemic sector issues. My data was gathered using semi-structured interviews with practitioners, to gain a unique on-the-ground perspective. The purpose of my research is to explore alternative business models that will foster growth in community development and social enterprise, aiming to remove barriers for entrepreneurs with a focus on blended value creation.

Supervisor: Dr. Ray Dart


Ofer Ben-Dov, 2014

My Area of Study is Enhancing Creativity & Innovation in the CleanTech Sector. Based on my professional experience, and after studying recent theories and methodologies that attempt to provide a framework for enhancing creativity and innovation, I believe that current trends and supporting technologies in social media makes Innovation Crowdsourcing a very promising method to apply these theories. As the phenomenon of Innovation Crowdsourcing is relatively new, I argue that there is significant room for improvement in the way it is applied to CleanTech innovation. My thesis explores how can Innovation Crowdsourcing be better applied to enhance CleanTech innovation. My research critically examine current Innovation Crowdsourcing platforms and practices and will use a case study to explore an alternative approach to CleanTech Innovation Crowdsourcing.

Supervisor: Dr. Asaf Zohar


Samantha H. Cunningham, 2014

My research seeks to present the role and impact that Anishinaabeg Youth engagement is having in the field of Indigenous language sustainability and revitalization. I am allying with Michi Saagiig Youth, within my community and the Peterborough area, to document these efforts. Through my work, I hope to present an authentic look at whether Youth agency in technological advancements and young people’s natural tendency towards linguistic innovation is having an impact on the future of the Nishnaabemowin.

Supervisor: Dr. Paula Sherman


Elizabeth Aslin, 2015

My research focuses on the role of social media in creating online communities of care for connecting inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients and how these communities contribute positively to information sharing and mental wellness. Using feminist approaches to health, the project aims to explore the role of social media in patient advocacy among Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis patients and how awareness of these conditions proves to be beneficial for those affected. It is hoped that the project can provide greater understanding of the benefit social media provides to newly diagnosed patients and the importance of such connections to the chronic illness community. Arising out of personal experience, I will be utilizing blogs and other social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr) in order to help answer this question.

Supervisor: Dr. Stephanie Rutherford


Faith Mwesigye, 2015

My research will focus on the UN Sustainable Development Goals that were recently agreed upon by member countries in 2015, specifically the sustainable development goal #15 around biodiversity conservation and ways these goals can be met sustainably globally, especially by countries in the global south.  Through this research I hope to explore underlying narratives and worldviews informing the UN Discourse around development and see whether this has an influence on the development goals and how well they are adopted and implemented by the different countries. Uganda, my home country, is the global south country I have chosen as my case focus for this research.

Supervisor:  Dr. Stephanie Rutherford


Roohullah Rahimi, 2015

My research explores the applicability of “rights-based approaches” as part of a framework to guide the sustainable use of mineral resources in developing countries. The study will take a qualitative exploratory approach to develop a theoretical understanding of ‘rights-based approaches’ followed by an examination of critical contextual elements prevalent in developing countries’ that impact sustainable mineral resource practices.

Through a case study on Afghanistan’s existing processes and strategies towards the development of the country’s vast mineral resources, the study will explore the potential value of rights-based approaches as part of a framework to guide sustainable mineral resource development practices in developing countries.

Supervisor: Dr. Haroon Akram-Lodhi


Lindsay Thackeray, 2015

The area of ‘food’ in policy intersects many branches of the policy tree, including health, environment, economic and nutritional domains. My thesis topic is a proposed review and analysis of food-related policy in the Arctic region of Nunavik, Québec. I hope to explore this issue by investigating how policy gaps and deficiencies in multi-jurisdictional food policy contribute to prevalent food insecurity in the region.

I hope that this research will contribute to discussion surrounding the need for more integrated food policy development in order to address the pressing issue of food insecurity, particularly in at-risk regions.

Supervisor: Dr. Chris Furgal


Nikki Auten, 2016

My name is Tayohseron:tye, in English I am Nikki Auten.  I am a Kanyen’keha:ka (Mohawk) woman from Tyendinaga, born into the turtle clan.  I am 42 years old and the mother of three beautiful spirits.   

I come from a background of teaching Kanyen’keha (Mohawk language).  I have attended Trent University and received a Diploma in Mohawk Language and an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous Studies.  I have also graduated from Queen’s University’s Aboriginal Teacher’s Education Program.  I am attending Trent once again in the Master of Arts in Sustainability Studies exploring how core Indigenous language programs can aid in the resurgence of Kanyen’keha speakers in Kanyen’keha:ka communities. 

Outside of my academic career, I coordinate a youth Rites of Passage that aids in the growth and development of young people in an effort to prepare them for the next stage in their life, choosing a partner and becoming a parent, through cultural teachings and life skills based on Rotinonhson:ni (Iroquois) teachings.

Supervisor: Dr. Dan Longboat


Sarah Healey, 2016

My Master of Arts Sustainability Studies’ thesis involves an extensive case study analysis of organizational transparency, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) standards and CSR reporting. My research consists of exploring successful sustainable CSR frameworks through an inquiry into current “best practices” within the organizational industry. The intent of this research is to generate awareness surrounding CSR and the ability organizations acquire to improve and achieve a superior society in which we live in.

Supervisor: Dr. Asaf Zohar