Current Students


Laura ProfileLaura Maria Arango Saaverdra

I am ecologist and linguist from Javeriana University, Bogota- Colombia. I am very interested in current biodiversity conservation, natural resource management and ecological restoration challenges, as well as in the strengthening of autonomous administration in ethnic territories. I have fieldwork experience in social and biological research projects of Colombian tropical ecosystems. I also have worked in landscape ecology projects, protection of minority languages, environmental education, and on the analysis of socio-environmental conflicts of the Pacific and Caribbean regions of Colombia. The MIF program is a remarkable opportunity to expand my knowledge on forest governance and policies. This year I aspire to strengthen my decision-making skills and to learn how to negotiate successful multilateral environmental agreements related to global forest change. In addition, I would like to contribute to the care of the South American forests which are home of an incredible cultural and biological diversity.


Xinming ProfileXinming Chen

I am from Harbin, in the north eastern part of China. In 2018, I received a BSc. in Wood Products Processing from UBC and a B.E. in Wood Science & Engineering from Beijing Forestry University. My studies equipped me with knowledge about wood material and science, wood design and manufacturing technology and wood-related business development. Through UBC’s award-winning Wood Products Processing program, I also received training in problem solving, teamwork and effective communication. Being this year part of the MIF program is an honor. In the coming months, I am particularly interested in learning about the relationship and differences between the forestry manufacturing operations in China and Canada.  With the knowledge gained, as well as with my multicultural background, I plan to launch a career in the forest industry as a consultant or in a wood design company.


Xinyan profileXinyan Hao

I was born and raised in Beijing, China. I came to Canada in 2011 as an international student with the goal to improve my English skills and learn about the differences between Chinese and Canadian cultures. I graduated from UBC with a BSc in Forestry in 2018. I am always passionate about learning new things and with the support from my parents I have been able to achieve my goal of becoming an expert in forestry and ecology. My hobbies are playing computer games, playing basketball, and listening to Hip-hop. I chose the MIF program because I aspire to improve the living environment and people’s livelihood in my hometown. The MIF program offers to deepen and broaden theoretical and practical understandings about landscape management that will be very relevant for my work in the future. In the coming year, I am really looking forward to learning from many different perspectives about global forest trends to help me make contributions to the management of forests and ecosystems in China as a future forester.



Peter ProfilePeter Kisekka

BSc Environmental Geography. University of Toronto.






Jiawei ProfileJiawei Li

I was born in Vancouver, BC, but I have been living in North Vancouver all of my life, where I am surrounded by nature every day. I am both excited and honoured to be a part of the Master of International Forestry (MIF) cohort for 2017/2018. I have been attending UBC for the past five years as an undergraduate in the Faculty of Forestry, recently graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Forestry (BSF). During my time as an undergraduate, I initially focused on how forestry was conducted in BC, but after learning about the rise of globalization and trade, I started to develop an interest in how forestry practices were conducted in other parts of the world. A recent course on international forestry taught by Dr John Innes only served to confirm my interest in the subject. I am especially interested in working with indigenous groups, looking to see how their livelihoods could be improved through the use of forestry. I am hoping that the MIF program can serve as a springboard to that end. I am looking forward to meeting you all in September!


Peiyang ProfilePeiyang Li

I was born in Beijing, China and I graduated from the UBC Urban Forestry Program in 2018. Currently, I work as a teaching assistant with Dr. Stephen Sheppard to support student learning on the use of visual media for community engagement towards local climate change solutions. My travel experience around the world along with my passion for photography is inspiring me to apply those skills towards visualizing climate change through the lens of local landscapes and future scenarios. In my spare time, I am the business and finance columnists in a social news website and keep updated my personal travel blog. I joined the MIF Program because I am interested in connecting my urban forestry knowledge to current global social, environmental and business issues. I look forward to having more opportunities to meet professional experts from international institutions and global NGOs.


Wangyang ProfileWangyang Li

In the past, I have worked for Messe Frankfurt in Beijing, a company that holds exhibitions to help other companies display their products. More recently, I graduated from Beijing Forestry University with a Major in Agricultural and Forestry Economic Management in 2018.
I am very interested in the relationship between forestry and human wellbeing. For instance, in my bachelor’s paper, I researched whether customers perceive health benefits from forest tourism programs in Beijing.
During the MIF program, I look forward to learning more from both, practitioners and academics. As globalization spreads, I am interested in learning how to measure the value of non-timber forest products to incentivize these kinds of markets in China.


Xipu ProfileXipu Li

I was born in a small city in China called Sanmenxia and moved to Canada in 2015 to complete my BSc Urban Forestry. As part of my undergraduate program, I volunteered for two weeks at Coffee Farm in Costa Rica to support their work in the cultivation and packaging of organic coffee beans. I love being in nature so I enjoy hiking, traveling to natural landscapes and skiing.
The MIF Program provides a good opportunity for me to understand global environmental issues more critically. The program will help me learn from a landscape approach how to best navigate the conflicts between conservation and development, especially in developing countries.
I am very interested in wildlife and endangered species protection, so I look forward to gain professional experience on wildlife conservation in several different countries in the coming year.


Junyu ProfileJunyu Lu

I was born and raised in Quzhou, a city famous for Confucius culture and beautiful landscapes, in Zhejiang Province, China. Before I moved to Vancouver, I studied Ecology in Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University. During that period, I was the vice-minister of International Liaison Department of Oversea Education College, whose job was to organize activities and give lectures to international students. In 2015, I came to UBC as a transfer student where I completed my BSc in Natural Resources and Conservation, specialized in Global Perspectives in 2018. Global warming is an issue that concerns me a lot so, I chose the MIF Program because I believe it can strengthen my global perspectives on conservation issues, and provide me with new skills that will help me in my professional career. In the future, I wish to employ the knowledge gained through my studies to help China find solutions to air pollution.


Karen ProfileKaren Martin

My name is Karen Martin. In my past life I owned a mid-size forestry company. The business of forestry has so many nuances and such diverse importance in peoples lives that it’s pretty awe inspiring! I loved every moment of being involved in it.
I’m also a serial entrepreneur. My newest business involves wild harvesting and manufacturing a line of skin care products from the Great Bear Rainforest/Haida Gwaii; an ah-ha moment resulting from years of trudging through forests! I also love running, weight training and helping people with business ideas/plans.
I’m really passionate about small business development & innovation. The potential of tying that love into helping people create successful value-added forestry businesses really appeals to me. Having a Commerce degree with a focus on Entrepreneurial Management, along with the MIF degree will be an exciting combination of skills that I can use for consulting in the future.


Gillian ProfileGillian Miller

My name is Gillian Miller, I am originally from Clarkston, Michigan. I have studied Human Geography and Migration and Globalization at UBC. I have been working with First Nations in cultural preservation efforts and look forward to finding ways to utilize forestry to strengthen cultural traditions. I am also interested in agroforestry projects and reforestation by design on local and international levels. I have worked in various community development and conservation projects in Guatemala, Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru, the United States, and Uganda. I am now obtaining my Masters of International Forestry. I aim to use my time and connections at UBC to foster sustainable forest enterprises, that engage local communities and support our changing environment.



Jessalyn ProfileJessalyn Tan

I am Jessalyn, and I am from Singapore. I am currently working in the National Parks Board of Singapore as an urban planner. As Singapore is a small country with limited land resources, the remaining natural and forested areas are increasingly pressured to make way for development. I hope that this program can broaden my understanding of natural resource management to achieve a balance between conservation and development. I like nature and traveling, and hope to be able to make short travels around the area in the coming year.




Chunny ProfileChunny Varaich

I was born and raised in Prince George, BC. I graduated with a BA majoring in Political Science from the University of Northern British Columbia. Before attending UBC, I was working as a legal assistant in a top tier law firm in Prince George and a quality control assistant in a mid-sized accounting firm in Vancouver. In my spare time, I really enjoy being active – I regularly join fitness classes and play soccer on a recreational team. I decided to join the MIF program because I am interested in a career in which I help negotiate and implement solutions for complex resource sustainability challenges. For example, I would love to work with First Nations communities living on reserves on policy development/reforms that help combat their shortage or lack of access to clean water. I look forward, in the coming years, to take the skills and tools learned through the MIF to support local communities’ needs.



Yingi ProfileYingi Wang

I was born in Sichuan Province, China. I completed a BSc degree in Hotel Management and a master’s degree in Logistics Management in Australia. Subsequently, I work for four years in an organization related to sustainable forest management based in Beijing. Through my studies and work, I have gained a deeper understanding of the forestry industry as well as hands-on experience. I am passionate about learning how forestry professionals manage forests sustainably worldwide as well as how they establish policies to improve people’s livelihoods. I believe that pursuing the well-designed MIF program will greatly help me enhance my understanding of international forestry trends. After I complete the MIF program, I plan to go back to my job in Beijing where I hope to be able to provide more realistic solutions to the challenges that my organization faces when implementing sustainable forest projects.



Fan ProfileFan Yan

I am Fan Yan. I come from Shandong, China. I finished my undergraduate studies at UBC Forestry with a Major in Natural Resource Conservation, specialized in Global Perspectives. During my undergraduate program, I volunteered for two weeks in Australia supporting forest conservation and the clearing of invasive species.  During my spare time, I like doing yoga and hiking.
I am interested in deepening my understanding of global perspectives, particularly concerning forest economics and this is why I decided to take the MIF program.
Professionally, I aspire to contribute towards the maintenance of forest biodiversity globally. In particular, I would love to employ the knowledge gained throughout my studies and experience to helping developing countries improve degraded environments.