Photos of three scholarship recipients from the New Fund for Women in Science at UQAM

This text is part of a brochure for International Women’s Day

The Brand New Fund for Women in Science at UQAM recently awarded a first series of scholarships to outstanding female graduate students. Portraits of three scholarship recipients who are distinguished for their drive, ambition and perseverance.

Melin Arbor
Commitment, the lever of change

Mylene Arbor has a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition at the University of Montreal, combining her two passions: science and the environment. She completed her studies knowing that her college career was not over yet. “I felt I still had a scientific curiosity to go deeper,” she says, and this is the research of her future thesis supervisor, René Audet, holder of the Research Chair in Environmental Transformation at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM), that propelled her to earn a master’s degree in environmental sciences. .

Since then, she has been interested in the social and ecological transformation of the Montreal diet. “I wonder how we can find ways to speed up the transition to a greener, fairer, and more environmentally friendly diet, all in the context of adapting to climate change,” explains Mylene Arbor.

The student’s research project is part of the participatory evaluation process of the food component of Montréal en commun, a city program that describes itself as an “innovation community that tests concrete solutions to problems of mobility. Food and municipal regulations”.

The projects are numerous, tangible and centered around real needs on the ground: urban greenhouses, establishment of food centers, pooling of food resources … The prepaid card concept makes it possible to go and buy fresh and local foods in solidarity markets, for example. “We wonder if these projects allow the organizations to be sustainable, and if that gives some leverage to the city’s social and environmental transition,” defines Arbor.

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Through her university projects, the student is not unemployed: she spends a lot of time with Cyclistes Solidaires, an organization that caters bike-catering to disabled beneficiaries with reduced mobility, among other things, in addition to her commitment to the Student Union and rock climbing. lessons.

But the most important thing for her is to find a balance between all these projects. “What I want to show from my trip is that commitment is a lever for well-being and satisfaction,” she adds.

And what is the future in all of this? “I want to continue to be an agent of change in diets. It is essential for me.”

Rivellie Aimée Tchuisseu Tchepnkep
To get a place for women in agriculture

To say that Rivellie Tchuisseu is a file Superior It is an understatement. A mother of five, the daughter of a Cameroonian-born farmer earned her baccalaureate degree in mathematics, physics and computer science before obtaining an agricultural engineering degree in her home country.

During her studies, she founded a non-profit association, Carefade, that is still active today, dedicated to supporting rural residents on sustainable farming techniques. However, quickly, mme Tchuisseu realizes that things don’t move as well as you would like them to. The political situation impeded the work of supporting the population on the ground. I didn’t have the chances,” she explains from the start.

After receiving a scholarship, she then traveled to Europe, where she pursued a master’s degree which took her to Slovakia, Italy, Holland and France, where her family had settled for a few years. Then she was in charge of research at the National Institute for Agricultural Research in Paris, focusing on the reduction of pesticides, which is one of her specialities. She then moved to Canada, where she founded the consulting firm Seedcha, during maternity leave that she wanted to “occupy as much as possible.”

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Now a PhD student in Environmental Sciences at UQAM, Mme Tchuisseu continues to work part-time. As part of her dissertation, she works on the place of women in the agricultural sector – a surprisingly innovative topic.

“I will probably be the first person to publish, on a global scientific level, a document on the place of women in decision-making processes in agriculture and the environment,” she says. “Wherever you are, women are invisible in the decision-making process. And if there are no women in these structures, what happens to women farmers? These are the things that should be called in the scientific field to change them in practice,” she asserts.

At the end of this diploma, Rivellie Tchuisseu hopes to occupy an applied research chair that will work on women’s issues in agro-environmental issues. If things don’t work out, she’s willing to leave Canada to join a team of researchers who share her interests.

“I am a global citizen,” she says. I am open to going somewhere where things happen to contribute. »

Elise Bouchard
Democratize the jungle from here

Passionate about the outdoors and science, Elise Bouchard started her Bachelor’s degree in Forestry and Environmental Management in order to pursue her two passions. After my apprenticeship, I embarked on graduate studies to get things done and spread new techniques in forestry. “I wanted to be part of the people who make the concepts rather than just apply them,” she says.

She defends her master’s thesis in biogeography which leads her to study the forests of Canada, Panama, Colombia, Germany and Austria to better understand the global distribution of trees. During this study, you look at the strategies that species use to grow where they grow.

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It was upon reaching his doctorate that Bouchard decided to cast a much narrower net by focusing on one type: maple sugar. Why do some maple trees produce more sap than others? Why do some have sweeter water than others? To understand this symbolic tree, Elise Bouchard works in physiology to follow the anatomy of wood, the movement of water within the tree or the temperatures of the trunk.

By studying individuals for several months, one observation emerges: “Trees are somewhat similar to humans: we all have our personality traits,” she said. While some take more risks to grow faster, others are more cautious and prefer investing more resources to treat their wounds—those caused by a maple sap wound, for example—and to ensure a longer life.

Besides her research in the northern forest, the lady Bouchard seeks to popularize science with primary and secondary school students as well as into a microphone Search Engineon Radio Canada. The key, for her, is to consolidate and impart knowledge in simple words to counteract the sometimes dry side of research.

“What I hope is that people, with this knowledge, will have a different relationship with their environment and the trees around them. All this without neglecting research, his first love. I am really happy that I found a job that I love so much,” she rejoices.

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