The Conservation of Change (ΔS) Lab is not a traditional, physical space, but a collaborative space of engagement among faculty, students, and community members; we call it a "lab" nonetheless to actively challenge the notion that learning and discovery must happen within brick and mortar structures located on university campuses. 

The research we do at the lab is only possible with dedicated and dynamic scholars!

Sarah Minnes, PhD


Sarah Minnes is a post-doctoral scholar with the lab. She holds a PhD from Memorial University of Newfoundland, a master’s degree in Rural Planning and Development from the University of Guelph, as well as an undergraduate degree in International Development from the University of Guelph. She is published widely on topics related to Canadian regional development, sustainable watersheds and drinking water systems, and overall rural resilience. She is a registered professional planner, and has worked for Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador, the Region of York- Forestry, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, the Rural Policy Learning Commons, and is a proud board member of the Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation.

Follow Sarah on Twitter @Sarah_minnes

Valencia Gaspard, PhD


Valencia is a research associate with the lab. Originally from small-town Ontario, she is a PhD candidate and sessional instructor at the University of Guelph’s School of Environmental Design and Rural Development. Valencia comes to CoC as a research associate with the Prairie Drainage Governance project. Valencia is president of the Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation and network lead at the Rural Policy Learning Commons.

Valencia holds a BHSc from Western University and an MSc in Rural Planning and Development from the University of Guelph. Follow Valencia on Twitter @ValenSeeYa

Hannah Harrison, PHD


Hannah is a social scientist who has worked on issues related to salmon fisheries in Alaska, Norway, and Germany. Hannah and Phil worked together previously in Alaska on issues related to salmon fisheries, conflict, and food security. She is currently a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Guelph. She has also served in the US Peace Corps.

Hannah holds a PhD from the Norwegian University of Biological Sciences. Follow Hannah on Twitter @AK_Fiscience

Veronica Santafe


Veronica is a PhD student at the University of Saskatchewan. She has an academic background in tourism management and social-ecological sciences. Her master's degree is from Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales – FLACSO, in Ecuador.  She has done research on community-based tourism, cross-cultural education, and food tourism in Ecuador. She is faculty at the School of Tourism in the Universidad Tecnologica Equinoccia. Her research at University of Saskatchewan explores how new approaches to Indigenous community-based tourism, specifically the Cacao Route in Napo, Ecuador, can serve as a community development strategy that strengthens local foodways and Indigenous Food Security.

Richard Nyiawung


Richard is a PhD student at Guelph working on the sustainability of lake fisheries in Canada and Africa. He has a master’s degree in Environmental Policy from the Environmental Policy Institute, Memorial University of Newfoundland. He was born and raised in the coastal city of Limbe, Cameroon. Previously, Richard served as a field research staff for the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) – Cameroon, and was a member of the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). Richard is also a graduate fellow of the SESYNC. You can follow him on Twitter @NYIAWUNG

Vanessa Cunningham

Vanessa is a master’s student at Guelph with interests in northern food systems, climate change, and sustainability. Before joining the lab, Vanessa was the Fisheries Resource Coordinator for the Fisheries Joint Management Committee in Inuvik, Northwest Territories.

Emily De Sousa

Emily De Sousa is a trained geographer, communications expert, policy nerd, and Toronto native. She is the founder and creative director of Airplanes & Avocados, a sustainable travel brand teaching readers how to see the world and save it at the same time, as well as the founder and executive director of Youth Action on Climate Change, a community incubator dedicated to cultivating the next generation of environmental leaders.

Emily earned her B.A. in Environmental Governance from the University of Guelph and is currently pursuing an M.A. in Geography, with a research focus on coastal resilience and seafood sustainability.  You can follow her on Twitter @AirplaneAvocado

Past Students

Tricia Fleming

Tricia is an ecosystem health professional and has completed a Bachelors of Science in biology and political studies, and is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine with focus on ecosystem health. Born and raised on the East Coast of Canada, Tricia enjoys long walks on the beach, spending time with family and friends, being active, farming, enjoying nature, and a good crib match. Tricia has lived and worked in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, the Northwest Territories and Alberta. She began a Masters of Environment and Sustainability in September 2016, and is excited to conduct research with the clam gardeners of the Gulf Islands.


Glenna is joined the ΔS lab in Fall of 2015 as a University of the Arctic North2North exchange recipient, and transferred full time to the MES program at U of S. Glenna has bachelor's degree in anthropology and fine art (double major) from University of Alaska Fairbanks. She is also an accomplished artist, with a wide range of interests and personal life experiences that will make her an invaluable member of the CoC team.

Megan Hinzman was born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska. She has been to more countries than she has states, 13. Her favorite wastes of time are bad movies, British comedians, and Mystery Science Theater 3000. She also enjoys beading and quilting but has found herself defeated by knitting. Megan also likes spending time outdoors and playing with animals. She graduated from the University of Washington in 2014 with a double major in anthropology and history as well as a minor in architecture. She began to pursue her Masters in Environment and Sustainability at the University of Saskatchewan in January 2015.

Hanna Neufeld is a born and raised Saskatonian. She completed her BSc at the University of Alberta in Environmental Science and has spent her more recent years working as Wildlife Biologist for the Government of Alberta. Seven years later, she is finally set to return to Saskatchewan and couldn’t be more excited about it.  In September, 2015, she will begin pursuing an MSc at the U of S and is looking forward to expanding her professional experiences outside of wildlife as she dives into human-dimensions focused research on Haida Gwaii. When Hanna is not working or studying, you will likely find her enjoying the outdoors, practicing yoga, on some travelling adventure or kicking back with friends and family.