Four students from the Master of Development Practice program at the University of Waterloo attended COP21 with the delegation of the Republic of Kiribati. The Global Association of MDP Programs provides graduate-level students with the skills and knowledge required to better identify and address the global challenges of sustainable development, such as poverty, population, health, conservation, climate change, and agricultural productivity.
Laura Maxwell is a first year Master of Development Practice candidate at the University of Waterloo. She completed her Honors B.Sc. at Western University with a double major in biology and political science. During her undergrad, Laura was involved with student council, and gained valuable research experience in a molecular genetics research lab and as part of Western’s Leadership and Democracy Lab. A self-described nerd, her special interests include climate change, restoration and marine ecology, human health and the environment, and conservation biology. Laura also enjoys reading, skiing, was an avid Irish dancer, and can sing all of the countries of the world (circa 1996).
Vidya Nair is a first year Master of Development Practice candidate at the University of Waterloo. She completed her Honours B.A. at the University of Ottawa with a specialization in communication. She recently returned from India where she completed work in environmental health focusing on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) with AMMACHI Labs. Her research interests include clean water, education, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), economic development, gender and development and resource management. While at COP21, Vidya hopes to strengthen her expertise in the area of climate change and health while research in the effects it will have on rural and urban populations. Vidya also enjoys photography and travelling.
Rija Rasul is a first year Master’s student at the University of Waterloo, in the Master of Development Practice program. She graduated from the University of Toronto in 2014, with an Honors BA in Political Science. Rija has worked with the G8 Research Group at the U of T’s Munk School of Global Affairs, where she conducted published research on various G8 member states and assessed their compliance to previously made commitments, such as fostering green growth, contributing to climate finance, and mitigating climate change. Her research interests include climate change, international security and terrorism, and renewable energy. Rija was born in Pakistan but grew up in Mississauga, Ontario, and throughout her entire life, her two non-academic passions have always been basketball and ice cream.
Kadra Rayale is a first year Master’s Student at the University of Waterloo, in the Master’s of Development Practice program. She graduated from the York University’s Glendon Campus, with a Bilingual (French and English) Honours BA in History and Political Science. While in her undergrad, she was an active volunteer for Plan Canada and their campaign “Because I am A Girl” to raise awareness for girls rights in developing countries as well as York University’s Centre for Refugee and Migration Studies as a research assistant. Since graduating, Kadra has worked in both the public and private sector learning on the benefits of community development for immigrants settling in Toronto. Her research interests include forced and voluntary migration trends and climate change. Kadra is an immigrant of Somali descent who was raised in Scarborough. Her hobbies include reading, sports and Netflix.