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GeoGSA (Geography Graduate Student Association) is a Departmental Student Association for graduate students in the Department of Geography. It is affiliated to the University of Calgary GSA.

What do we do?

GeoGSA is the representative for all Geography graduate students at the department level (we attend Faculty meetings and regularly meet with Department faculty and staff on student's behalf), and at the university level (we attend monthly Graduate Representative Council meetings with the GSA, and communicate to the GSA and other university representatives on your behalf).

We plan events to foster a sense of community and collaboration in the Department, as well as to make your time here better. We also share information on events, workshops and other things happening around campus or the greater community that you might be interested in.

Have ideas, suggestions, questions, concerns or complaints about anything? From courses, to defense-prep, funding to events and more, give us and shout and we'll do our best to help you out! Our email is:

To consult our bylaws and other administrative documents click here.

The executives for the 2015-2016 academic year are:

  • Elena Favaro, President
  • Sarah St. Germain, VP Internal
  • Kyle Plotsky, VP Thesis
  • Lauren Jewett, VP MGIS
  • Mohamed Ahmed, VP Student Life
  • Julie Lovitt, Social Events Coordinator
Elena is a third year PhD student working with Dr. Chris Hugenholtz. She attended The University of Western Ontario where she completed a BSc degree in Geography and Planetary Science. She went on to obtain a Master's degree from Queen's university in Arctic fluvial geomorphology where her field work took her to the Cape Bounty Arctic Watershed Observatory on Melville Island, NU. Elena joined the Geography Department at U of C in the fall of 2014 and currently researches Terrestrial and Martian geomorphology. Her current field work is undertaken in Northwestern Argentina - a much warmer locale than her previous field sites. Elena is a member of the Girl Guides of Canada, plays varsity squash, loves airports, and is terrified of birds and the animatronic dinosaurs at the Calgary zoo.  


Sarah was born in Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories. She has always had a fascination with the north. In 2008, she began her BSc. at Carleton University in Ottawa. This is where she developed an interest in geomorphology, cold region hydrology, and permafrost. During her undergrad, Sarah worked for the Geodetic Survey Department of Natural Resources conducting high precision GPS measurements throughout Canada. In 2013, Sarah began her MSc. in the Geography Department at the University of Calgary under the supervisor of Dr. Brian Moorman. For her Master’s, she combined her passions of the north, fieldwork, and studied glacial hydrology. During the summer of 2014, she traveled to Bylot Island, Nunavut for her research and studied a small pulsating supraglacial stream on Fountain Glacier. Sarah is currently a second year PhD student continuing work with Dr. Brian Moorman. Her focus now has expanded to deeply incised supraglacial streams that have eroded canyons into Fountain Glacier. During this past year Sarah spent 4 months living in the artic! She spent 3 months living in the most northern town in the world, Longyearbyen, Norway taking arctic courses at the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) and 1 month camping on Fountain Glacier, Bylot Island. 


Kyle is originally from Medicine Hat, Alberta and attended his first two years of college there. The University of Lethbridge was his next destination where he focused on both human and non-human animal Psychology and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in 2011. In the final year of his undergraduate degree, Kyle conducted an honours thesis with Dr. Scott Allen on how our affective reactions to a target (i.e., a loved one) can unconsciously affect our dart throwing accuracy. Although this honour’s thesis was a fun and interesting study, his focus became evolution and canine behaviour. Immediately after his undergraduate degree, Kyle began his Master of Science program with Dr. Drew Rendall on canine vocal anatomy. He looked at the possibility that alterations in facial shape could affect laryngeal position, a potential explanation for laryngeal changes in our human ancestors that played a role in the development of language. Most recently, Kyle began his doctoral work in September of 2014 with Dr. Shelley Alexander on behavioural modification of rural coyotes.

Lauren is a 2nd year MGIS student working with Dr Stefania Bertazzon. Her MGIS project focuses on using land use regression models to understand black carbon particulate matter in Calgary, and associated health effects. Lauren’s overall research interests are geospatial applications in human health and health service planning research. Lauren is from Oakville, ON and did her undergrad in GIS at McMaster University. When she’s not making maps, Lauren can be found paddle boarding, camping, skiing or on a patio in the sunshine!


Mohamed is originally from the land of Great Pyramids, Egypt. He is a second-year Ph.D. student studying carbon cycling in the Arctic Ocean under the supervision of Dr. Brent Else. Mohamed got his BSc degree in Geology from Beni-Suef University in Egypt. Then, he got appointed as a teaching assistant at his Alma mater for two years where he was teaching various geological classes for undergrad students. He completed his master degree in Geomatics from Lund University in Sweden where his master’s project focused on the relationship between soil moisture and vegetation dynamics across the Sahel region in Africa by combining satellite remote sensing and field measurements. He joined the Geography Department as a Ph.D. student on May 2015 after finding the amazing opportunity with Dr. Brent Else to visit/study the Arctic. During 2016 summer, he spent seven weeks onboard of the CCGS Amundsen icebreaker in the Arctic Ocean studying the air-sea CO2 exchange processes from the water column to the atmosphere. Currently, Mohamed acting as a VP student life for GeoGSA and as a president of the Egyptian student association in the University of Calgary. Besides his passions about Arctic science and remote sensing, he loves hiking, skiing, playing soccer, squash, and volleyball.


Julie is a second year MSc student working with Dr. Greg McDermid. She completed a BSc in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Management from the University of Guelph in 2010. Prior to joining the University of Calgary as a graduate student, Julie explored a number career paths including: teaching high school science classes in Spain, monitoring hydraulic fracturing (‘fracking’) programs as a geophysical analyst, and managing remediation and reclamation projects within western Canada as an environmental consultant. Her research in Dr. McDermid’s lab focuses on using UAVs to model peatland micro-topography in areas disturbed by resource exploration. Accurately mapping certain small-scale surface features may be useful in explaining localized disturbance impacts, and spatial variations in greenhouse gas fluxes of these ecosystems.

To consult the minutes of the general assembly meeting please click here.