Graduate Students: Past and Present

You might find this listing of my graduate students a useful guide to the kind of geomorphology we have done here in the Physical Geography Program over the last four or so decad es. 

Present Graduate Students

Natalie Helmstetter
Natalie is a PhD candidate who completed her earlier university studies in Germany.  She joined the Rivers Group in March, 2003 and continues working part-time on the sedimentology and internal architecture of Fraser River bars using GPR imaging.  She currently works as a professional geomorphologist for EBA Engineering Consultants, Vancouver BC.

Past Graduate Students

Greg Bauch
Greg came to SFU from the now University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) near Vancouver.  He worked on the hydrologic and geomorphic changes on Squamish River (1950-2006) for his thesis and was awarded an MSc from SFU Geography in 2009.  Currently he works as a professional geomorphologist for O'Conner Associates Environmental Inc., Vancouver.

Tami Nicol
Tami has an MSc (2008) with me from SFU Geography via her BSc from U. Alberta via U.Manitoba.  She examined the geomorphology and migration behaviour of confined meandering rivers in Alberta and BC and graduated MSc in 2008.  She worked at Northwest Hydraulics Consultants (NHC) as a professional geomorphologist before leaving to undertake a PhD on the fluvial geomorphology of some Chinese rivers under the direction of Gary Brierley at the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

Don Reid
Don has an MSc (2005) from SFU Geography via his BSc in Geography, SFU.  He examined the hydraulic geometry and flow resistance in small steep headwater channels in the Chilliwack Valley. Some of the very interesting results of this study are now published in ESPL & in Geomorphology.  He continues to work for BC Hydro as a fluvial geomorphology specialist.

Derek Ray
Derek has an MSc from SFU Geography via his BSc in Geography at McGill and several years of technical work with Northwest Hydraulics (NHC), a Vancouver environmental/engineering company. His research project at SFU involved establishing the fluvial geomorphology of alluvial-fan distributary channels in several pristine catchments in the Queen Charlotte Islands.  He continues to help NHC make money as their resident fluvial geomorphologist and one day will write a paper based on his research or retire, whichever comes first.

Colin Wooldridge
Colin, an honours graduate from SFU, obtained his MSc from SFU in 2002.  He worked on the geomorphology and sedimentology of Fraser and Squamish river bars using ground-penetrating radar and other tools.  Results of his work were published in the Journal of Sedimentary Research in 2005.  He worked for Encana in the oil patch (Calgary) as a petroleum geologist until recently.  Tragically, Colin died in November 2007 in a climbing accident in Alberta.  He is greatly missed by many.

Kevin Tabata
Kevin has a BSc from the Department of Geography, University of Victoria and obtained his MSc from SFU in 2002.  He worked on the geomorphology of secondary channels in the anastomosed reach of the Columbia River near Golden and a paper (in ESP&L) describing his results on "interachannel" hydraulic geometry and flow efficiency was published in 2004. He now works as a professional geomorphologist in the hydrogeomorphic consulting industry (for Geomorphic Solutions) in Ontario.

Channa Pelpola
Channa is an honours graduate from the Environmental Sciences Program at Carleton University.  His MSc project at SFU involved using sequential aerial photography, and bathymetric and GPR surveys to specify the growth rate of the Fitzsimmons Creek delta developing into Green Lake near Whistler, BC.  The results of this study have been accepted for publication in Geomorphology.  Channa completed his program early in 2001 and initially worked as an Environmental Officer with the Resort Municipality of Whistler, BC.  He was for a number of years employed as a river geomorphologist with Jacques Whitford, a Vancouver-based environmental consulting company but recently moved to a new international professional appointment in the UK.

Csaba Ekes
Csaba obtained his first degree in geology from the University of Budapest in Hungary, and his MSc in sedimentology from the University of Reading in the UK.  He started his doctoral program with me in Geography at SFU in Fall 1993 and graduated in Spring 2000. His thesis research involved an examination of ground-penetrating radar-signatures of a variety of unconsolidated sediments in known and unknown modern environments of deposition.  He collected data on avalanche deposits, debris-flow deposits, fluvial deposits (bar and sheet sediments) as a calibration device in order to interpret the radar stratigraphy of the Cheekye Fan near Squamish, British Columbia.

Csaba's published research includes: Friele, P., Ekes, C. and Hickin, E.J., 1999. Evolution of Cheekye fan, Squamish, British Columbia: Holocene sedimentation and implications for hazard assessment. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 36 (12) 2023-2050 and Ekes, C. and Hickin, E.J. 2001. Ground penetrating radar facies of the paraglacial Cheekye Fan, southwestern British Columbia.  Sedimentary Geology, 143, 199-217.

Csaba currently is works in Vancouver as a consultant and GPR specialist.  He recently sold his first company (Terraprobe) and is developing his second enterprise (Sewervue), built on a remote GPR survey system for evaluating the condition of underground pipes.

Alan Paige
Alan obtained his BSc in the Physical Geography Program at the University of British Columbia. He then spent some time acquiring valuable experience in the environmental consulting industry in Vancouver before returning to university studies as an MSc candidate with me here in SFU's Physical Geography Program. He graduated in 2000 and after several years consulting in the industrial geoscience community in Vancouver moved into the field of financial consulting.

Alan completed a very interesting study on the seasonal regime of bed elevation on Squamish River, north of Vancouver.  Among other things he found that channel scour moved through his study reach as a series of pulses (pulse scour) or waves on a time scale far longer than that associated with significant fluctuations in discharge.  Very interesting stuff that is now available in print (Paige, A. & Hickin, E.J. 2000 Annual bed-elevation regime in the alluvial channel of Squamish River, southwestern British Columbia. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 25, 991-1009).

Mariette Prent
Mariette came to our MSc Program in Physical Geography via a B.Sc. from the Department of Geography at McMaster University in Hamilton.  She completed a very interesting study on the seasonal regime of bedforms on a reach of Lillooet River north of Vancouver.  As far as we know her data set is the first of its kind (based on an entire hydrologic year plus some) and you can read about her findings in Geomorphology.

Mariette the geomorphologist is also a musician and bakes great cookies! She presently lives in a place called Ontario and works as a professional geomorphologist with a consulting company there at the same time as she manages a young growing family.

Jonathan Gibson
Jonathan obtained his first degree in London, England and joined the graduate program at SFU in 1991.  He and another student, Scott Babakaiff, worked together on different projects in the estuary of Squamish River. They became great friends in the process of completing two important field studies.

Jonathan examined the sedimentological gradient from the fluvial to estuarine environment of Squamish River with the aim of identifying diagnostic environmental indicators.  The results of this study represent an important contribution to the literature on estuarine floodplain facies (check out Gibson, J. and Hickin, E.J. 1997.  Inter-and supratidal sedimentology of a fjord-head estuary, southwestern British Columbia. Sedimentology,  44, 197-220).

After Jonathan graduated in 1994 he worked as a professional geomorphologist with SNC Lavalin in Vancouver before starting his own consulting business to support his passion for writing (short stories and novels, not consulting reports!). The artist and scientist coexist in his present publishing endeavours which he is pursuing in London, England. Recently he was appointed to a university position as an environmental scientist in the UK.

Scott Babakaiff
Scott came to the SFU Graduate School in 1991 with a BSc in geography from UBC; he graduated from our program in 1993. He then worked for an environmental consulting company in the BC Interior for several years and returned to Vancouver in 1997 to set up his own consulting practice in stream restoration work. Scott is registered with APEGBC as a professional geoscientist (P.Geo) and has worked here in BC and in Australia.  He is now a civil servant (professional geomorphologist) with the BC Ministry of Water Land and Air Protection.

Scott's MSc thesis was concerned with surface flow structures (boils) in Squamish River estuary and how they relate to bedform characteristics. His research was presented at a major conference in the UK and published in a recent book on flow structures (check out Babakaiff, C.S. and Hickin, E.J. 1996. Coherent flow structures in Squamish River Estuary, British Columbia, Canada, In P.J. Ashworth, S.J. Bennett and S.J. McLelland (Eds), Coherent Flow Structures, Wiley, Chichester, 312-342).  

Rene Leclerc

Rene was the first SFU graduate-student expert in the use of ground-penetrating radar.  He completed in 1995 an M.Sc. with me on the internal architecture and radar facies of the floodplain of the meandering South Thompson River near Kamloops, British Columbia.  His research results were recently published (check out Leclerc, R. and Hickin, E.J. 1997. Ground penetrating radar stratigraphy of a meandering river floodplain, South Thompson River, British Columbia: Geomorphology,  21, 17-38).

Rene now works as a professional geomorphologist in the Sacramento office of Northwest Hydraulics, a Canadian-based environmental engineering company.

Henry Sichingabula
Henry obtained two graduate degrees with me as a Commonwealth Scholar on two occasions separated by several years (MSc, 1986; PhD, 1993).  His M.Sc. thesis examined the character and causes of channel changes on Squamish River, particularly those related to a major flood in 1984 (check out the published account in Hickin, E. J., and Sichingabula, H.M., 1988, The geomorphic impact of the catastrophic October 1984 flood  on  the  planform of Squamish River, southwestern British Columbia: Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences,  25, 1078-1087 and Hickin, E. J., and Sichingabula, H.M. 1989. Discussion : The geomorphic impact of  the catastrophic
October 1984  flood  on  the  planform of Squamish River, southwestern British Columbia. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 26: 337).

Henry's doctoral thesis is concerned with the character and controls of suspended- sediment concentration and discharge effectiveness in Fraser River, British Columbia.  His results from this investigation have been published in the journal Hydrologic Processes.

Henry is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Geography at the University of Zambia in Lusaka, Zambia.

Olav Lian
Olav completed his MSc with me in 1991 and went on to the PhD program in Geological Sciences at the University of Western Ontario. Olav was an SFU undergraduate (major in Physics, minor in Physical Geography) who, after graduation, worked for several years in Professor Dave Huntley's thermoluminescence Laboratory at SFU.  But he contracted the research bug and came to the Physical Geography Program for his M.Sc. work on the Late Pleistocene history of Seymour Valley, British Columbia.  This work combined field studies in Quaternary geology and geomorphology with TL dating to yield a very interesting new look at the Quaternary history of southwestern BC (you can check out some of our published results in Lian, O. and Hickin, E.J. 1993. Late Pleistocene sedimentary history of Seymour Valley, North Vancouver, British Columbia: Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 30, 841-850 and in Lian, O. and Hickin, E.J. 1996. Early postglacial sedimentation of lower Seymour Valley, southwestern British Columbia. Geographie Physique et Quaternaire, 50 (1), 95-102).

Olav obtained his doctorate in 1997 and was, until recently, the Director of the Thermoluminescence Laboratory at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand.  He moved on to a Lecturership at Royal Holloway, University of london, England but has now returned to Canada as a faculty member of the Department of Geography at the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV).

Greg Brooks
Greg completed his PhD with me in 1991.   He undertook an ambitious study (my fault!) of the Holocene sediment budget of the Squamish River basin.  The study was challenging but very successfully executed and it contributed greatly to our understanding of the Holocene geomorphic history of this major coastal river valley. His several  discoveries included evidence of impoundments of Squamish River and a "pseudo-tephra", a volcanic ash related to the collapse, as opposed to eruption, of a dormant volcano (Mt Cayley) in the basin about 5000 years ago. For an account of some of this research check out  Brooks, G.R. and Hickin, E.J. 1991. Debris avalanche impoundments of Squamish  River, Mount Cayley area,  southwestern British Columbia.  Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 28: 1375-1385 and  Brooks, G.R. and Hickin, E.J. 1996. The origin of a tephra-like bed near Mount Cayley volcano,
southwestern British Columbia, Canada. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 32 (12) 2040-2045.

Greg is a Geological Survey of Canada Research Scientist with the Terrain Sciences Division in Ottawa.

Gary Brierley
Gary came to the SFU Graduate Program from Durham University in the UK.  He completed two graduate degrees with me, his MSc in 1984 and his PhD in 1989. Both research projects were based in the Squamish River valley.  In the first study Gary examined the at-a-site and downstream organisation of gravel clasts in contemporary point bars (check out some of the results in Brierley, G. and Hickin, E.J., 1985, The downstream gradation of particle sizes in the Squamish River, British Columbia: Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 10, 597-606). The second study was a major field test of river planform facies and architectural-element models, the results of which also received good exposure in the journals (for example have a look at Brierley, G.J. and Hickin, E.J. 1991. Channel planform as a non-controlling factor in fluvial sedimentology: The case of the Squamish River floodplain, British Columbia: Sedimentary Geology, 75, 67-83 and Brierley, G.J. and Hickin, E.J. 1992. Floodplain development based on selective preservation of sediments, Squamish River, British Columbia: Geomorphology, 4, 381-391).

Gary was a post-doctoral fellow at the Australian National University in Canberra before moving to Sydney where he joined the School of Earth Sciences at Macquarie University.  He recently became Head of the Department of Geography at the University of Auckland in New Zealand.  He almost got the pronounciation of "G'day" right but now has to start again!  Gary has a well-earned international reputation as a leading professional fluvial sedimentologist, geomorphologist and expert in river restoration (the subject of his recent book (with Kirstie Fryirs, Geomorphology and River Management).

Anne Shuttleworth
Anne completed her MSc with me in 1985.  She examined the characteristics of  flood-waves as they are recorded at successive gauging stations along Fraser River. After graduation she worked as a hydrologist in the environmental consulting industry in Vancouver.

George K'Rhoda
George completed his PhD with me in 1985.  He conducted a study of flow structure through several continuous channel bends of a physical model of a meandering river channel.  Part of the study was designed to provide insight into the role of bend-flow interaction in explaining the velocity fields in the channel. This study was completed in the SFU Experimental Watershed facility (since closed).

George returned to his home in Kenya after graduation and continues to work there as a University faculty member.  He presently is Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Water Resources in Kenya.

Ken Rood
Ken obtained his first degree in geography from SFU and completed his MSc with me in 1980.  He examined the character of velocity fluctuations in several natural streams and was particularly interested in the shifts in velocity at longer time scales (macroturbulence). His interest in macroturbulence and its relation to sediment transport later led to a field study of these processes in Squamish estuary (check out Rood, K. M. and Hickin, E.J. 1989. Suspended-sediment concentration and calibre in relation to surface-flow structure in Squamish River estuary, southwestern British Columbia. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 26: 2172-2176).

Ken has gained incomparable experience working in the environmental consulting industry in Vancouver for many years as a hydrologist and fluvial geomorphologist and now is a Manager and Partner in Northwest Hydraulics, in their Sacremento office.

Aziz Bhuiya
Aziz completed his MSc with me in 1980.  He conducted a flume study of delta processes and morphology in the Geomorphology Laboratory at SFU.  He returned to his home in Bangladesh via further study in the US and now is a faculty member at the University of Dacca.

Robert Gale
Bob completed his MSc with me in 1978.  He examined the channel geometry of two discontinuous gullies in the BC Interior using spectral analysis.  He went on to complete further studies in business administration and is now a senior civil servant with the Federal Government in a place called Ottawa.

Gerald Nanson
Gerald came to the SFU Graduate School in Geography via a first degree in New Zealand and an MSc from the University of Alberta; he completed his PhD with me in 1977.  He contributed significantly to a very influential and widely cited study of floodplain formation and channel migration on the Beatton River in northeastern BC.  We learned much from each other at this time and retain fond memories of this start of a rewarding scientific collaboration and friendship.  Check out some of this early work in Hickin, E.J. and Nanson, G.C., 1975, The character of channel migration on the Beatton  River, Northeast  British Columbia,  Canada: Geological Society of America Bulletin,  86, 487-494 and somewhat later stuff in Nanson,  G. C., and Hickin, E.J.,1983, Channel migration and incision on the  Beatton  River: Journal  of  the  Hydraulic  Engineering,  American Society of Civil Engineers, 109 (3) 327-337; Nanson, G. C., and  Hickin, E. J., 1984a,  Closure to discussion of "Channel  migration  and  incision on the  Beatton  River",  Journal  of  Hydraulic Engineering,   American  Society of Civil Engineers,110 (11) 1683-1684;  Hickin, E. J., and Nanson, G. C., 1984b,  Lateral  migration rates of river bends: Journal of Hydraulic  Engineering,  American Society of Civil Engineers,110 (11) 1557-1567; and Nanson,  G.C., and  Hickin,  E.J.,  1986,   A statistical  analysis  of  bank erosion and channel migration in western Canada: Geological Society of America Bulletin,  97, 497-504.

Gerald has a well-earned international reputation as a leading professional fluvial sedimentologist and geomorphologist and makes his home in eastern Australia where he is Professor of Earth Sciences at the University of Wollongong.

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