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"Hafsa is a proven leader in the field of sustainability and is bringing all of her expertise from years of experience working for municipal and regional government to developing a sustainable and resilient food systems with our team at the Food Systems Lab. Despite being so accomplished, and having won numerous prestigious scholarships throughout her academic career, she always leads with humility. Currently, Hafsa is doing integral work for Surrey Seeds of Change, and supporting a SSHRC funded farm to school research project with the Public Health Association of B.C. Through her work, she will be identifying opportunities to scale up local food procurement in schools that will result in win win solutions for all."
- Tammara Soma
Student Profile: Hafsa Salihue
Resource and Environmental Management master's student in the Faculty of Environment
I am a graduate student in the Resource and Environmental Management (REM) department. My research is conducted under the supervision of Dr. Tammara Soma in the Food Systems Lab. I am an alumnus of SFU and completed my undergraduate degree in Environmental Science in 2016 and worked in local government before starting my masters.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?
As an alumnus of the Faculty of Environment at SFU, I am familiar with the high quality of research it produces. I was keen on studying to be a registered professional planner and getting my masters at SFU meant that I could focus my planning degree on the intersection of planning and the environment. I was particularly interested in the research carried out by Dr.Tammara Soma in the Food Systems Lab. Aside from her research, I was drawn to Dr. Soma’s friendly demeanour and her passion for justice, equity, diversity and inclusion in the environmental field.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RESEARCH OR YOUR PROGRAM TO A FAMILY MEMBER?
We cannot address societal challenges or environmental problems without considering how each of them affects the other. Most of us may not think about the rising costs of food, if we can shop for groceries without a personal vehicle, and where and how we grow food. My research focuses on how to make healthy food accessible to everyone. One of my projects is about identifying ways to get local food into schools across British Columbia and the other is exploring ways to improve the charitable food system so that it gets enough nourishing food to people that cannot afford to buy it.
WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?
I’m enjoying all the courses I am taking, especially because the subject matter is very relevant to a career as a planner. My professors and peers are all passionate and supportive. My supervisor has also introduced me to her connections in the community who are my current research collaborators. The best part about my studies and research is that it empowers me to contribute to society by working towards making our food system more equitable, accessible, and resilient to supply chain disruptions and climate change.
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 have been fortunate enough to be selected as the recipient of the following awards:
2021 – BC Graduate Scholarship
2021 – Graduate Fellowship
These awards have helped alleviate the financial pressures of living and have allowed me to focus on my studies and research.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PROGRAM/POSTDOC POSITION TO SOMEONE STILL SEARCHING FOR A PROGRAM OR POSTDOC POSITION?
In contrast with typical planning programs that focus more on the built environment, the environmental planning program at SFU considers the connection between people and our natural environment. We take courses on natural science and social science, and they all complement each other well. If you are interested in topics like sustainable resource management, climate change adaptation, and environmental justice, then the graduate program in Resource and Environmental Management (REM) would be a great fit.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE?
I would highly recommend the REM graduate program at SFU because of the numerous opportunities for scholarships, great faculty and staff and a small cohort of peers for support throughout the program and after graduation.
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