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Student Profile: Kendra Munn
Geography master's student in the Faculty of Science
I’m currently in the second year of my program, focusing on completing my thesis research. I also received my bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science, Applied Biology from Simon Fraser in 2018. During my undergraduate studies I completed a certificate in Spatial Information Systems and a GIS-based research project under the NSERC USRA program, both of which served to pique my interest in the field and motivate me to return and pursue a master’s in GIS.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?
I had previously enjoyed my experience as an undergrad at SFU, and already knew that they had a good GIS section. Beyond that, I was familiar with the faculty, and had already discovered that I worked well with my supervisor when I conducted a shorter research project with her for the USRA program a couple years prior.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR RESEARCH AND/OR PROGRAM.
My research focuses on implementing multi-criteria decision analysis methods, techniques that assist in decision-making and which are frequently paired with GIS to solve spatially based problems, in three dimensions. Specifically, I apply these methods to analysis of the urban environment, of study areas with a high level of development and densification.
WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?
I really enjoy the educational aspect of it – not just in the courses taken, but in conducting the research itself. You always want to try and push yourself to achieve something you’re not even entirely sure yet how to accomplish, so that you find yourself learning new tools and methods that help broaden your knowledge and expand your skillset.
HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR FUNDED AWARDS?
I am a recipient of the 2020 Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) CGS Master’s Scholarship. I have also received a Graduate Fellowship through SFU. I am incredibly grateful for the financial support these awards have provided me, especially in what has been a particularly trying year for everyone. Their support has allowed me to really focus and concentrate solely on my studies, benefitting me and my research greatly.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PROGRAM TO SOMEONE STILL SEARCHING FOR A PROGRAM?
My program provides a really great, balanced approach to learning for anyone with an interest in GIS or Geography more generally. Not only are you able to improve your knowledge through advanced graduate courses, but you also gain experience instructing in a classroom environment through teaching assistanceships, and enhanced research and technical writing skills from your thesis project. There’s also numerous opportunities to network, including attending and presenting at conferences, so it’s all around a great experience for all professionally-oriented students, not just those seeking a career in academia.