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Nishal Shah

Nishal Shah

Project Coordinator at Ontario Climate Consortium

Bachelor in Environmental Studies, 2018

With Canada declaring a climate emergency, it is more important than ever to have educated youth pursuing environmental careers to protect the environment and reduce the impacts of climate change. The environmental studies program is dynamic and allows students to focus on their strengths, whether it is through the management path, technical path or the creative path and these in turn relate to the jobs available in the field from being policy makers, to conservation officer, an artist or an entrepreneur.

About Nishal

Nishal was an international student from Nairobi, Kenya. He finished high school in Nairobi and decided to further his education in Canada at York University. In 2018, Nishal graduated with a bachelor’s in environmental studies and a certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing. Nishal choose this program because he knew it would allow him to pursue his passion, environment and nature in depth. In addition to that he is keen on finding pragmatic solutions to preserve the environment.

How would you describe your years at FES, and how did the program prepare you for your career?

While I was at York I able to take advantage of the experiential education opportunities such as the placement course and the semester abroad in Costa Rica. I was fortunate enough to land a placement with the Ontario Climate Consortium that is hosted within the Toronto Regional Conservation Authority. These opportunities exposed me to the real world, social and environmental issues and gave me a chance to learn about practical solutions to contemporary environmental issues with the help of the knowledge I received from my time at York.

Describe your post-graduation journey including experiences such as employment, volunteer work, community engagement projects.

After graduating I was offered a position with the OCC as a Project Coordinator, where I support the Project Managers in developing research that supports climate mitigation and adaptation projects, and obtain and prepare large spatial data sets, manipulating them in GIS, and carrying out research examining relationships between land use and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

What advice do you have for someone that is considering this career path?

With Canada declaring a climate emergency, it is more important than ever to have educated youth pursuing environmental careers to protect the environment and reduce the impacts of climate change. The environmental studies program is dynamic and allows students to focus on their strengths, whether it is through the management path, technical path or the creative path and these in turn relate to the jobs available in the field from being policy makers, to conservation officer, an artist or an entrepreneur.

What’s your favorite/ most memorable memory of time at York University?

My favorite and most memorable memory was when I was nominated to represent the entire university at the Converge 2017 conference. In this conference, post-secondary students and youth from across Canada in Ottawa discussed their inspirations and aspirations for Canada’s future. The conference was one of the latest in a series of nationwide events celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary. The two-day event featured several high-profile presenters and speakers, including Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, who led a Q&A on Canada’s next 50 years. I was proud to be an ambassador for York University.

What activities/organizations were you part of at York? And can you describe your experience

I have played multiple roles throughout my journey at York University. In my first year I was part of the resident’s council team at Calumet Residence, where I organized events such as fundraisers, Christmas parties, and movie nights.

The following year I got involved with BESSA where I started off as the VP of Finance. My role was to create a budget for every event hosted by the club, and to ensure all the accounts were balanced at the end of the year. That year, I also became a peer mentor, providing students support with class work and helping them navigate through their university lives. I enjoyed this role so much that I stayed there until my last year of my undergrad. Every year we planned the annual De-Stress Day, this day is a day for students to relax and enjoy before the exam period.

In my third and fourth years I worked as a sustainable ambassador for York University’s Office of the President . My role entailed me to plan and direct two annual sustainability events i.e. the Sustainability Fair and the Fair-Trade Fair. I also proposed and piloted interactive ways to engage students in sustainability initiatives.

That year I was elected the president of BESSA, where we organized events for students within the program to promote sustainability and to create a sense of community. Such events included the Annual General Meeting, Mental Health Awareness Day and Coffee House. I played a leadership role in ensuring the other executives within the association were achieving their role requirements.

In my fourth year, I played the role as the student representative for the Faculty of Environmental Studies in the student union and I also, helped launch the President’s Ambassador program. The program is designed to provide York students with a unique perspective on the University community, offer opportunities for current students to serve as representatives of the University and to share their experiences as York students with fellow students, staff, faculty and alumni.