Naomi Robert

I value the practical applications and community focus of the projects and programs at the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems
Institute for Sustainable Food Systems at Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Research Associate
Ottawa, Canada
Vancouver, Canada

What are your main responsibilities or activities in your current position?

My main responsibilities are: coordinating research and extension programs/projects to advance regional food systems within communities in BC, communicating and liaising with municipal planners, producing academic and community-focused reports, and grant writing.

How does your current work relate to your graduate degree?

The knowledge I acquired about agricultural systems throughout my graduate degree has proven essential to my current position. At UBC, I gained an understanding of both the physical and political agricultural landscape in Southwest BC; a diverse and fascinating sector that I continue to learn about every day. The experience that I gained at UBC is an important foundation for my current work.

What do you like and what do you find challenging about your current position?

I value the practical applications and community focus of the projects and programs at the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems. Creating practical tools and resources for professionals and community members, and working with such a diverse range of partners is both rewarding and challenging.

Is your current career path as you originally intended?

I feel very fortunate to be working in my field of interest at the intersection of regional food systems, community sustainability, science and policy.

What motivated you to pursue graduate work at UBC?

I was excited by the Faculty of Land and Food Systems' interdisciplinary graduate programs and faculty. I found it unique that the varied subjects that make up 'food systems' could be grouped in a single faculty - it was this interdisciplinary approach to studying food and environment that drew me to UBC. The Master of Land and Water Systems' professional focus also appealed to well as the opportunity to discover Canada's West Coast!

What key things did you do, or what attitudes or approaches did you have, that contributed to your success?

The faculty, staff and students at UBC are a wealth of knowledge and resources. I found that the relationships I built at UBC are extremely motivating and supportive as I continue to face challenges of life after graduation.

What is your best piece of advice for current graduate students preparing for their future careers?

Take every opportunity possible to learn about organizations/industries that might be of interest to you in your future careers. Talk to other professionals, ask about their positions, what they find challenging and rewarding in their jobs, and how they got into their field.

Did you have any breaks in your education?

I worked for two years between my undergraduate and graduate degrees on a number of different contracts in non-profit organizations in Quebec. While I planned to take time between degrees, the exact length was not pre-determined. I found this time to be extremely valuable. I was able to try a number of work environments, as well as take some time to consider the direction I wanted to focus on in graduate school.


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