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Career Profiles

Michele Martin

Climate Training Program Specialist
University of Waterloo
Portrait de Michele Martin pris à l'extérieur avec une île en arrière-plan
Portrait de Michele Martin pris à l'extérieur avec une île en arrière-plan
Location Born
Location Now
Education Pathway

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I support university-wide climate change educational programming and coordinate external professional development opportunities.

About me

I was born/grew up in:  I was born and grew up in Guelph, Ontario.

I now live in:  I live in Waterloo, Ontario

I completed my training/education at: I hold a Masters and a PhD in Environmental Studies from York University in Canada as well as a Bachelor of Science in Biology from University of Guelph (Minor in Fine Art) and a Bachelor of Education focused on science education from the University of Toronto.

What I do at work

I support the climate change education efforts at the University of Waterloo. This involves developing new programs to make sure our students can learn about climate change. These programs also help them identify how they can take climate action through their chosen career. I also support faculty members' efforts to integrate climate change in their teaching. I am also helping the Waterloo Climate Institute to develop a climate change training program for people working in the public and private sectors.

My workday is varied and very exciting! I spend a lot of time meeting people to plan activities and on the computer. I work as part of a team at the Climate Institute. We work together to make decisions and plan events. In addition to my work at the Climate Institute, I work as a freelance climate change education consultant. In this role I lead climate change workshops for teachers and develop curriculum materials for schools. I also support climate change capacity building among professionals.

My career path is

In my last year of high school, I had an amazing teacher who encouraged me to do a science co-op at a nature centre. At the nature centre I discovered my love of nature and the environment. I also found my passion for environmental education.

I continued to work at that nature centre while doing my undergraduate degree.  I began to realize that education was a powerful tool for changing our society, but that the education system needed to change. So, I decided to dedicate my career to doing that! I ended up spending about 20 years in the Seychelles Islands (where my mother is from). Here I worked as an environmental educator and had the opportunity to do so much interesting work on those islands.

I am happy to find myself back in Canada and enjoying getting involved in climate actions here. It was difficult at first to adjust back to being here and make contacts in the community. Also, I was doing a lot of international consulting work. Volunteering and participating in local events in my community really helped me to meet people. It helped me figure out what role I would be most useful in here in Canada. I still do some international and local consulting work in climate change education. But I am very happy to be based at the University of Waterloo Climate Institute. Here I get to bring my experience, skills and networks into my work!

I am motivated by

I love my work! I am constantly meeting new, interesting, and inspiring people of all ages who are trying to make the world a better place. I am always learning new things. I am hopeful that all the climate action that I see unfolding locally, regionally, nationally and globally is actually going to help us learn to live more sustainably and slow down climate change. I am happy to be part of this movement! I feel lucky to say that I have always enjoyed my work as I always feel that it is worthwhile.

How I affect peoples’ lives

We're in a climate crisis and we're losing biodiversity at a rapid rate! We need all hands on deck to figure out how to turn things around and live more sustainably. My career has been all about helping to make this shift. My career has always felt extremely fulfilling, especially when you see the impact you can have on people.

Outside of work I

I love hiking, cycling and gardening - being outdoors! I volunteer for several community organisations that are engaged in climate action, and environmental education. I also help at getting people out hiking.

My advice to others

I would suggest volunteering for an organisation that offers environmental education and outreach programs. This will help you get your hands dirty and meet people working in the field. They could advise on possible pathways to a career as a climate change / sustainability educator. There are many possible pathways!

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Art
  • Science
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Liked helping people
  • Organized activities for my friends
  • Like being given free range to explore my ideas
  • Liked reading
  • Was really creative
  • Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades
  • Liked hanging out with my friends and listening to music

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