"Although the importance of Indigenous Knowledge is being increasingly recognized, the practice of actually incorporating and applying it, in a meaningful and respectful way, has remained a policy challenge."

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Student Profile: Megan Bowers

Public Policy master's student in the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences

December 17, 2020
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I was born and raised in Vancouver on the unceded lands of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tseil-Waututh Nations. I developed an interest in climate change and environmental justice during high school when I became involved in various environmental activist groups. My growing interest in politics and social change (as well as the French language) led me to Ottawa where I obtained an Honours Bachelor of Social Sciences from the University of Ottawa in 2017. In 2019, I left my federal government position to return to Vancouver and pursue a Master of Public Policy at SFU. In my free time I enjoy being active and outdoors – I’m happiest when I am on my bike, hiking in a forest, or jumping in a rain puddle. 

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

I chose SFU because of the reputation and applicability of the Master of Public Policy Program. The program has an attractive focus on the practical skills of policy analysis, which I believed would benefit me in whichever direction I chose to take my career afterwards. The small cohort-based nature of the program and the opportunity to return to the west coast were also important factors. Altogether, these factors have made for a great experience, and I am really satisfied with my decision to attend SFU.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RESEARCH AND/OR PROGRAM.

I am exploring the inclusiveness of BC climate adaptation policy as it relates to the perspectives and knowledge of Indigenous communities. Specifically, I am exploring how the government can use and incorporate Indigenous Knowledge to support climate adaptation policy and decision-making. We know that Indigenous peoples are and will be disproportionately affected by climate change, yet at the same time many Indigenous communities have invaluable local knowledge of the land and ecosystems going back generations that is being underutilized. This knowledge could be instrumental in informing local-level planning and fill information gaps. Although the importance of Indigenous Knowledge is being increasingly recognized, the practice of actually incorporating and applying it, in a meaningful and respectful way, has remained a policy challenge. My capstone project will provide detailed recommendations on this issue that I hope will address this gap. 

WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?

The School of Public Policy fosters a very positive and supportive learning environment. The genuine relationships that I’ve formed with my classmates and professors have been the highlight of my experience at SFU. Collaborating with and learning from my classmates has been an absolute pleasure and I know that many of those friendships will last long after we’ve graduated.

HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR FUNDED AWARDS?

I was awarded a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Graduate Scholarship in 2020. Entering the second year of my program, the funds from this award have allowed me to focus on my capstone research without having to worry about finances. This has been invaluable to both my research and my overall mental health this semester.

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