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Protecting Earth’s most precious resource

Meet inaugural recipients of $25K Geoffrey F. Bruce Fellowship in Canadian Freshwater Policy
January 08, 2018
Donor Erika Bruce (centre) congratulates the inaugural recipients of the $25K Geoffrey F. Bruce Fellowship in Canadian Freshwater Policy: Katherine Minich, Policy Studies PhD student and Edgar Tovilla, Environmental Applied Science and Management PhD student. Photo credit: Jae Yang.

Donor Erika v. C. Bruce (centre) congratulates the inaugural recipients of the $25K Geoffrey F. Bruce Fellowship in Canadian Freshwater Policy: Katherine Minich, Policy Studies PhD student and Edgar Tovilla, Environmental Applied Science and Management PhD student. Photo credit: Jae Yang.

“Water is a gift,” says external,Policy Studies PhD student Katherine Minich, one of the two inaugural recipients of the Geoffrey F. Bruce Fellowship in Canadian Freshwater Policy. “We have an obligation to each other and to Mother Earth to protect this precious resource.”

Offered through the external,Faculty of Arts and the external,Yeates School of Graduate Studies, the new $25,000 fellowship (renewable for a second year) supports graduate research that contributes to public policy regarding freshwater governance in Canada.

Minich is analyzing and documenting Indigenous values and knowledge of Arctic watersheds, in order to inform federal policy approaches over freshwater resources. “There are hundreds of Arctic scientists but so few of them are Inuit,” notes Minich, an Inuk from Pangnirtung, Nunavut and mother of three young children.

The Bruce fellowship will enable Minich to travel to Pond Inlet and Baker Lake in Nunavut to conduct primary research, focus on writing her dissertation and present her findings at conferences.

Meanwhile, Edgar Tovilla is examining environmental policy convergence in two realms: across municipal drinking water, wastewater and stormwater governance, and across government sectors applying private-sector management system standards to supplement regulatory requirements. The external,Environmental Applied Science and Management PhD student and civil engineer is determining whether the convergence of state-based and market-based standards, such as ISO 14001, enhances freshwater management.

A parent of three as well, Tovilla considers the fellowship “a catalyst” that will support his research, writing and publishing of findings in scholarly journals. It will also allow him to attend national conferences to present his results and policy recommendations.

Geoffrey F. Bruce was a distinguished public servant and diplomat who devoted his career to advancing collaboration for environmental protection and sustainable development practices. Erika v. C. Bruce approached external,Dr. Carolyn Johns about establishing a fellowship to honour the work of her late husband and to fund the next generation of academics and practitioners to influence Canadian freshwater policy.

“The Bruce fellowship affirms Ryerson’s role as a leading-edge institution for water policy research in Canada,” says Dr. Johns, a professor in the external,Department of Politics and Public Administration and one of Minich’s supervisors.

Tovilla agrees: “The opportunity that this fellowship provides to future students is immense.”