Student Feature: Amanda Chiasson


In this feature, we delve into the journey of Amanda Chiasson, a recent honour graduate with a B.Sc. in Environmental Science, specializing in Environmental Geochemistry and Ecotoxicology, from the University of Ottawa. Hailing from the center of Canada’s picturesque Maritimes – Moncton, New Brunswick, Amanda’s childhood was surrounded by breathtaking natural scenery igniting her passion for the outdoors. With a keen interest in biology and chemistry, she decided to blend these interests into her academic pursuits while focusing on something she genuinely cares about – the environment! Once she learned about the Environmental Science program and the specialization in Environmental Geochemistry and Ecotoxicology it seemed like the perfect mix of her interests and passions.

University of Ottawa Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences focuses on research and investigation of environmental challenges impacting our world today. The department strives to develop competent graduates who can advance to careers in various fields such as resource industries, policy, research, and other environmental professions. The university possesses a high graduate employability attributable to the hands-on learning and career-focused experiences provided through its programs. The Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science program was first accredited by ECO Canada in 2013 and re-accredited in 2023.

The program requires students to choose from three specializations: conservation and biodiversity; global change; and the specialization chosen by Amanda Chiasson, environmental geochemistry and ecotoxicology. The courses required for her specialization equipped her with the tools and knowledge to delve deeper into the topics she was most interested in and explore new themes and problems. In addition to the unique course content, Amanda enjoyed the smaller class sizes and the program’s dedicated faculty and staff. She found herself in an enriching learning environment in which she was comfortable asking questions and utilizing her professors’ office hours to maximize her educational experience.

As the program aims to provide hands-on learning experiences, there are practical components within the program. Amanda’s practical component took the form of an intensive 2-week field course at the end of summer that integrated biology, geochemistry, and hydrology. This experience honed her practical skills in the use of field equipment as well as environmental sampling and analysis offering an idea of the work that many environmental professionals can find themselves in. Throughout her time in the University of Ottawa’s Environmental Science program, Amanda was a part of ECO Canada’s EPt student membership gaining her access to environmental resources, training courses, and access to a community of experts in the environmental sector.

Upon graduation in May 2023, Amanda worked at the Royal Military College on an NSERC (The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council) Undergraduate research award conducting research in the phytoremediation of saline soils. She is currently pursuing a Master of Environmental Studies at Queen’s University in Kingston studying phytoremediation under the mentorship of Dr. Barb Zeeb. Amanda is most interested in the issue of remediation and would like to continue conducting research into various remediation processes as well as carry out work in the future that reduces the presence of contaminants from anthropogenic activities. Amanda aspires to contribute to the environmental sector in consulting or government work making a positive impact on the planet. Her long-term vision also includes obtaining a Ph.D., furthering her commitment to environmental research and bringing about tangible advancements in the environmental industry.

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