Our Hub Alumni
The Trail Research Hub undertakes research, education and
outreach initiatives to support sustainable trail development,
construction, and maintenance across Canada while establishing
best practice guidelines for trails governance and management.
This work is made possible through numerous collaborations.
Meet our Hub Alumni below.
The Hub Alumni
The Trail Research Hub Alumni have held many diverse roles, over varying time frames, depending the nature of their affiliations.
Find out a bit about each alumnus and where they are now below.
Winter 2021 / 2022 Co-Op Placement
Trails and Social Enterprise
Through the Co-Op program at the University of Waterloo, Courtney was first hired as the Trails and Social Enterprise Research Assistant for the Winter 2021 Semester. At the time, she was a second-year University of Waterloo student studying in Geography and Environmental Management. In this role, Courtney helped to conduct the project's Literature Review establishing the foundations for the project and identifying research-informed best practices in social enterprise a part of the wider Trails and Social Enterprise Project.
During the Winter 2022 Semester, Courtney was rehired through the Co-Op program at the University of Waterloo, as the Trails and Social Enterprise Research Assistant and the Communication and Marketing intern at the Ontario Trails Council. At the time, she was a Third-year University of Waterloo student continuing her studies in Geography and Environmental Management. In her roles, Courtney helped to conduct the project's recruitment process for the Trails and Social Enterprise Research Project. This allowed her to communicate with multiple trail organizations, to learn about and explore the governance structures in trails, and fostered her understanding of the importance of strong governance models in facilitating successful trail networks. Courtney was able to see examples in the trail industry of concepts and models she first learned about when writing the literature review during her previous placement. Courtney also helped to facilitate, and led breakout room discussions for, the Virtual National Roundtable on Risk Management, co-hosted by the Ontario Trails Council and the Canadian Trails Federation.
During her second co-op placement, Courtney was also the Communication and Marketing Intern for the Ontario Trails Council where she conducted a website audit and updated the organizations contact lists to improve communication between the Council and their members.
Her co-op positions with the Trails and Social Enterprise Project were funded by the federal Student Work Placement Program (SWPP) and a grant from the Ontario Trails Council.
Park Warden (Ontario Parks) and
University of Waterloo
(Geography and Environmental Management)
Sara Dominika Skabowski
Fall - Winter 2021 - 2022
Grand Watershed Trails Network Research Project
Phase 2 Research Assistant
From November 2021 through March 2022, Sara joined the Grand Watershed Trails Network (GWTN) as their Fall / Winter Student Intern: Trail Tourism Development Research. In this role, Sara supported data collection and analysis, and knowledge dissemination for the Grand Watershed Trails Network Research Project.
Sara made valuable contributions to generating community and academic reports based on the study's findings, and built meaningful relationships with trail organizations, and trail-based businesses, in the Grand Watershed Region through her role with the project. She also led a breakout room discussion as a part of the Virtual National Roundtable on Risk Management, co-hosted by the Ontario Trails Council and the Canadian Trails Federation. Sara's position with the Grand Watershed Trails Network was funded by Project Learning Tree's green jobs for student initiative.
Sara completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Waterloo in April 2022, where she studied urban planning with a specialization in environmental management and planning. Her predominant focus was in parks planning and management, and she aspires to work for Parks Canada. As a co-op stream student, Sara held previous co-op work experience positions as a planner working for municipalities and private consulting firms. Sara is now embarking on her planning career, having accepted a Planner position with City of West Kelowna (British Columbia).
Sara is a passionate outdoor enthusiast and an active hiker. She spends most of her spare time hiking the less travelled trails and camping in the back country, including thru-hiking the Juan De Fuca, West Coast Trail, and East Coast Trail.
Planner II, City of West Kelowna
Fall 2021- Winter 2022 Grand Watershed Trails Network Research Project Phase 2 Research Assistant Mentor
From November 2021 through March 2022, Gaurav joined the Grand Watershed Trail Network Research Project as a Statistic's Mentor.
Gaurav, or ‘GP’, is originally from India and has been working in the Hospitality and MICE Industries for over 15 years. At the time of his placement with the GWTN Research Project he was a first year PhD student at the University of Waterloo, having transferred from the University of Central Florida. His scholarly engagements included research and consulting around Theme Parks and Attractions Management, Meetings and Conventions, Sustainable Tourism Development, and Tourism Destinations Marketing and Management.
While his support for the project mostly included mentoring Sara, the GWTN Undergraduate Research Assistant, and providing statistical support for the project, GP also made valuable contributions to generating community and academic reports based on the study's findings, and built meaningful relationships with trail organizations, and trail-based businesses, in the Grand Watershed Region through his supporting role with the project.
PhD Student, University of Waterloo
(Department of Recreation & Leisure Studies)
Tijhiana Rose Thobani
Summer 2021 Hallman Undergraduate Research Fellow and Trails and Social Enterprise Project
From May through August 2021, Tijhiana joined the Trails and Social Enterprise Research Team as the Trails Tourism and Social Enterprise Research Assistant. In this role, Tijhiana helped produce knowledge translation artefacts, assisted with the project's environmental and industry scans to identify research-informed best practices, identifying and liaising with community partners across Canada’s diverse trail (tourism) communities, and, identifying strategic opportunities for case study analysis and focus group interviews as a part of the wider Trails and Social Enterprise Project.
Tijhiana is a fourth-year University of Waterloo student, studying Public Health, embarking on her fourth and final co-op work term. She enjoys learning about different experiences and perspectives from individuals through qualitative research with a particular interest in interdisciplinary approaches to qualitative research and building bridges between different areas of knowledge.
Her position was funded by a Hallman Undergraduate Research Fellowship through the University of Waterloo's Faculty of Health.
Tijhiana loves spending time outdoors, trying out new trails, and going for long bike rides with friends and family.
Undergraduate Student, University of Waterloo
Ontario Trails ICD Project
As a part of his Teaching Assistant contract as a Ph.D. student in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies, Tawsif assisted with the Winter 2021 Ontario Trails ICD Project.
Tawsif holds M.A. in Tourism Management from the Royal Roads University (Canada) and a B.A. from the University of Chittagong (Bangladesh). In addition to his university degrees, and diverse experience overseeing operations and projects in the U.S. and Canada, Tawsif holds a Project Management Certification from the University of British Columbia.
He is now focusing on advancing his previous research by exploring tourism as an avenue for social intervention and tourism policy evaluation while continuing his studies in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies (Faculty of Health) at the University of Waterloo.
PhD Student, University of Waterloo
(Department of Recreation & Leisure Studies)
Mikayla B. Stechnicki
Summer 2021 Grand Watershed
Trail-Based Recreation and Tourism Project Research Assistant and
GWTN Summer Student Intern
From June through July 2021, Mikayla joined the Grand Watershed Trails Network (GWTN) as their Summer Student Intern: Trail Tourism Marketing Research. In this role, Mikayla updated a list of businesses/amenities in close proximity to the Grand River and the main Grand Watershed Trail whose market would include trail users and tourists. In her role, she also served as a Research Assistant on the Grand Watershed Trail-Based Recreation and Tourism Project, where she assisted with developing a survey in partnership with researchers from the University of Waterloo's Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies, the Grand Watershed Trails Network, and other key stakeholders, including Regional Tourism Organizations 1, 3 and 4. She also conducted a literature review on trail-based recreation and tourism, and developed a social media toolkit for current and future use by the GWTN. Her position with the Grand Watershed Trails Network was funded by the Ontario Summer Experience Program.
Mikayla completed her B.A. in Tourism Development at the University of Waterloo in April 2021 and her Master of Digital Experience Innovation also at the University of Waterloo in April 2022. Mikayla loves to hike and has visited trails in Ontario, across Canada and abroad.
Social Media Consultant