Andrew Gavloski is a fourth-year honours student in the Sustainable Environmental Management program completing the Geomatics: Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing certificate. He is interested in conservation and research, more specifically in ecology, geographic information systems (GIS), carnivore ecology, and parasitoids. Prior to his studies at York, Andrew had set out several goals he wished to accomplish throughout his university experience. One of the primary goals that shaped the direction of his studies was the intention to complete an honours thesis that aligned with his interests, with the hopes of achieving a publication. This goal led Andrew to pursue his Senior Honours Work (SHW) in his fourth year of study.
Andrew’s SHW is a thesis-based project evaluating the use of aerial images to monitor arctic species, more specifically polar bears and ringed seals. Using ArcGIS software, he is plotting data that contains sightings of these species and calculating their distribution and preferred habitat. Andrew chose this particular project as he was drawn to the data available and the opportunity to use GIS software and the skills he has gained in completing his certificate. “The most exciting aspect of this project to me is having the opportunity to work on a real-world research project with meaning while also working with experts from the field”, Andrew explains. While challenging at times, his SHW has provided valuable experience and learning opportunities that have shaped his final year of study.
Andrew’s SHW is supervised by Professor Gregory Thiemann, an associate professor and ecologist at EUC with notable research in foraging ecology and Arctic carnivore conservation. Professor Thiemann’s areas of research inspired Andrew to pursue SHW under his supervision. “Dr. Thiemann’s lab aligned with my own personal interest in becoming a carnivore ecologist and is an amazing opportunity to gain experience working with an expert from the field”, Andrew explained. Dr. Melissa Galicia also assisted Andrew is securing his thesis, notably due to her research in polar bear foraging patterns.
“My SHW project has given me experience working on a real-world study, which I will be able to take forward with me in my studies and use for future job applications”, he explained. Andrew will be employing the skills he gained through completing his SHW in his Master’s research this spring. His advice for students considering pursing Senior Honours Work is to research professors in the Faculty of EUC, find your interests, start looking early, and be flexible.