"SFU Avalanche Research Program (SARP) conducts cutting-edge interdisciplinary studies targeting improvements to public safety."

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Student Profile: Anne St. Clair 

Resource and Environmental Management (REM) PhD student in the Faculty of Environment

February 22, 2021
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Originally a Pennsylvania native, I migrated west on a cross-country road cycling tour after graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a bachelors degree in Sociology and Anthropology. I eventually landed in Breckenridge, CO and Moab, UT, where I discovered my love of backcountry skiing and mountain biking. I spent the next decade working as a guide and avalanche educator before earning a master's degree in Resource and Environmental Management at SFU in 2019. I'm currently based in Revelstoke, BC, where I work with Avalanche Canada as a public avalanche forecaster and with the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) as an Instructor Trainer.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

I choose to study at SFU because Canada is a world-leader in avalanche research and because the SFU Avalanche Research Program (SARP) conducts cutting-edge interdisciplinary studies targeting improvements to public safety. With my professional work in the avalanche industry and with my academic background in the social sciences, the REM program and the SARP lab group offer me a unique opportunity to combine my interests and to engage my industry through applied research.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RESEARCH OR YOUR PROGRAM TO A FAMILY MEMBER?

I am currently pursuing a PhD with the Simon Fraser University Avalanche Research Program (SARP) to better understand how avalanche knowledge and communication systems play a role in how backcountry travelers manage avalanche risk in their environments. I am interested in how to better address the different communication challenges faced by the diversity of mountain communities in Canada impacted by avalanche hazard, particularly in areas that are under-served and at greater risk to the effects of climate change. Through Indigenous-led research collaborations, I am eager to support an improved collective understanding of mountain knowledge systems and to move towards more targeted, equitable, and effective communication strategies.

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

I really enjoy the camaraderie of the REM cohort, the commitment of the REM faculty and staff, and the support of my colleagues on the SARP research team.

HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR-FUNDED AWARDS? IF SO, PLEASE TELL US WHICH ONES AND A LITTLE ABOUT HOW THE AWARDS HAVE IMPACTED YOUR STUDIES AND/OR RESEARCH.

I am a recipient of the Graduate Dean's Entrance Scholarship, and I am fortunate to be collaborating on a project supported by the Canadian Mountain Network.

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