Graduate Students

Jeremy Arkin

Jeremy Arkin grew up in the suburbs outside of Chicago before moving to Boulder, Colorado where he received a bachelor’s degree in EBIO (Evolutionary Biology and Ecology) and Geography. Aside from normal coursework, his first professional experience in forestry was the completion of his honours thesis under the supervision of Dr. Thomas Veblen where he analyzed the upper montane tree regeneration following the 2002 Hayman Fire. After graduation he worked as a Forestry and GIS Technician for Boulder County Parks & Open Space as well Colorado Parks & Wildlife where he was able to gain insight on how to properly manage land in accordance with the very best methods and research available.These experiences helped him to explore what kind of research he wanted to complete in graduate school as well as what kind of career he wanted to pursue afterwards, both of which he hopes will facilitate the coalescence of sound science and land management. His research with the IRSS allows him to explore and develop methods that use drones to assist in fire behaviour modelling and post-fire  forest management.

Claire Armour

Claire hails from the wild west town of Calgary, Alberta, but has been in and out of UBC since 2013 when she started her undergraduate degree in engineering. After completing her Master of Geomatics for Environmental Management (MGEM), she joined the Integrated Remote Sensing Studio (IRSS) as a doctoral student where she researches Predictive Ecosystem Mapping and LiDAR in Southwest BC. Between my undergrad and master’s, she was living in the mountain town of Canmore, AB where she worked for Parks Canada and a local ski resort called Sunshine Village within Banff National Park.

She enjoys visiting trails with my dog Otto, skiing, and acquiring random knowledge from the internet. Her favorite part of living in Vancouver is the multitude of breweries, restaurants, and coffee shops and she loves to try a beer, or three, while reading a book or trying to beat her own personal record on NYT crosswords.


Brandon Prehn

Brandon is originally from California but he moved to Texas as soon as he could. Raised in Dallas, he graduated secondary school in 2008 and started school at Texas A&M University. He joined the US Army after 3 semesters, serving as a light infantryman with the 10th Mountain Division in Fort Drum, New York. From 2011-2012 he deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan in support of NATO International Security Assistance Forces. After leaving the Army, he returned to Texas A&M where he graduated with a double major in Spatial Sciences and Forestry. After an internship analyzing satellite imagery with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, his interests in remote sensing and geospatial technologies were confirmed, leading him to the IRSS at UBC.

Brandon enjoys international travel with his wife Christina, but on a typical night you’ll find him doing some online gaming. His research at the IRSS will use LiDAR to analyze the impacts of changes in forest structure on grizzly bear movement and survival.

Cameron Cosgrove 

Cameron Cosgrove is an ecologist who joined the Integrated Remote Sensing Studio in 2020 as an MSc student. He grew up in the village of Grantown-on-Spey, in the Highlands of Scotland and studied Ecological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Edinburgh. While on a student exchange at UBC in 2017, Cameron took one of Professor Coops’ classes and got hooked on remote sensing. Cameron’s research interests are focused around conservation and land management and how data (particularly from remote sensing) can be effectively incorporated into decision making.

Cameron’s research in the lab is exploring how we can use ALS data to map the nesting habitat of the marbled murrelet (an old growth nesting sea bird), with the goal of supporting forest management and the conservation of this species in British Columbia.

Prior to joining the lab Cameron worked with Forest and Land Scotland, developing best practice to reduce the impact of forestry on endangered species and most recently was a Woodland Mapping Intern for the Cairngorms National Park Authority. You can follow him on twitter at @CryptidCosgrove

Bethany Arndt

Growing up in an outdoorsy family in the outdoorsy little city of Nelson, BC, Bethany had little choice but to fall in love with lakes, rivers, mountains, and forests. She loves exploring and discovering more about the intricacies and beauty of the natural world, which she considers God’s Masterpiece. She decided that a career in wildlife/conservation sounded like a good excuse to spend more time in and learning about nature, and has so far enjoyed her summers working in environmental consulting. After graduating high school Bethany moved to the Big City of Kelowna, BC, where she completed her undergraduate degree in Biology. Now she is excited to up the ante again with her graduate studies at the IRSS lab where she will be building models of grizzly bear response to roads. She’s a bit wary of all the people and a campus six times the population of her home town, but locals encourage her that there are many places to escape. Bethany looks forward to spending her time growing to love Vancouver by experiencing the hiking, biking, kayaking, and maybe even some culture. When she needs to hole up and introvert for a while Bethany enjoys reading, walks in the woods, and singing while she pretends to play guitar.


Agatha Czekajlo

Agatha Czekajlo was born and raised in the rain on the west coast in Metro Vancouver, BC. She completed her BSc at UBC in Environmental Sciences, with a concentration in ecology and conservation, as well as a minor in Philosophy. She had several internship experiences during her BSc, such as working in an environmental chemistry lab, doing forage research at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, as well as doing policy and regulation work for Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. After working in the IRSS as a Work Learn student during her senior year, she decided to stay a bit longer and pursue her Masters. Her project considers characterizing land use and green space in Canadian peri-urban areas over the last three decades using mostly Landsat satellite imagery. Agatha enjoys travelling, hiking, mushroom foraging, and good coffee!

Francois du Toit

Francois du Toit was born in Pretoria, South Africa, before moving to Vienna, Austria, and eventually Vancouver to pursue a B.Sc. in Geology. After graduation, Francois spent some time working with a geological exploration company in the Northwest Territories and the Yukon. The creation of the MGEM program drew Francois back to UBC as he looked to expand his skill set and learn more about remote sensing. The experience led him to the IRSS, where he is a PhD candidate using Airborne Laser Scanning to phenotype Douglas-fir trees in genetic improvement trials across British Columbia. Outside of work, Francois enjoys sports, and is currently an assistant coach with the UBC Men’s Rugby team.

Gonzalo Gavilan

Gonzalo Gavilan was born and raised in Santiago, Chile. After completing his bachelor degree in Forestry in 2012, he had his first working experience in Chilean department of forestry (CONAF), working with subsidies for the native forest management. In 2014 he went to the University of Melbourne to start a master degree in Forest Ecosystem Science, graduating at the end of 2015.
During 2016 Gonzalo decided to take the year off to explore and travel around the globe, and to gain experience in Forestry related projects. In this same year he volunteered for an NGO (Honko), quantifying Carbon storage in mangrove forest belonging to a small community in Tulear located in south-west Madagascar.
Upon his return to his home country Gonzalo started a career in forest research organization (BIOFOREST) ​​working specifically in soil nutrition and forest productivity. During this time, he realized how much he enjoyed working on research projects, and at the same time it started his interest in Remote sensing. At the beginning of 2021 Gonzalo joined IRSS as a PhD student, focusing on high resolution forest productivity models for Pine and Eucalyptus plantations in Chile based on ALS information.

Samuel Grubinger

Samuel Grubinger grew up in the bucolic Green Mountains of Vermont and has always been obsessed with maps. He studied Environmental Sciences and Geography at the University of Vermont, where he was first exposed to remote sensing as a tool to explore how humans shape natural landscapes.

Before joining the IRSS, Samuel worked as a research technician on the Marin Carbon Project in Berkeley, California, and at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama.

Samuel’s graduate research focuses on the use drones for forest phenotyping. Using ALS and multispectral data, he is exploring how UAS remote sensing can inform tree improvement and reforestation practices in British Columbia. Outside of the lab, Samuel enjoys exploring new places, listening to podcasts, learning languages, and caring for his collection of succulents and orchids.

Paul Hacker

Paul is a PhD Candidate using leaf- and drone-based spectroscopy to evaluate functional trait variation in Garry oak ecosystems on B.C.’s south-west coast.
His academic background includes a BSc in Natural Resource Conservation and a Master of Geomatics for Environmental Management (MGEM), both completed in UBC’s Faculty of Forestry.
When not at work Paul enjoys spending time with his two daughters, as well as skiing and fishing.
Paul hopes that his work in conservation science will lead to a stable future for his family and provide useful information for land managers looking to promote resilience and stability.

Sam Herniman

Sam grew up between the fens of eastern England and the dry climes of Northern California. Sam fled, at the age of 18, to the countryside of Wales to complete an undergraduate degree in Ecology at Bangor University. While in university, he took a year out to research the anthropogenic influences on tropical orchids in China. After graduating, Sam spent a short time researching dragonflies in Ugandan caldera lakes before starting a forestry internship in eastern Oregon for the US Bureau of Land Management and the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Sam is interested in using remote sensing and machine learning to improve our abilities to collect ecological data and inform public decisions.
Sam once crashed an electric scooter into a greenhouse proving that a low carbon footprint is not always best for the environment.


Liam Irwin

Liam was born and raised in Vancouver, BC. Backpacking in the local mountains during his teens lead him to develop a curiosity of the natural world. He received an undergraduate degree in natural resource conservation from UBC’s faculty of forestry; focusing on stream and riparian research during summers. After finishing undergrad, he worked in forestry consulting throughout northern BC where he was able to gain operational experience in the industry.
In 2019, Liam was drawn back to UBC to pursue the MGEM program which developed his geomatics skillset. His masters program revealed remote sensing as a solution to management uncertainty issues that became evident to Liam during his career and education in forestry/conservation. Liam is now a PhD student in the IRSS; seeking to develop a monitoring framework which integrates remotely sensed data like LIDAR to assess the state of silviculture and our regenerating forests. Liam hopes to integrate science and data to address the needs of Canadian forest management. In his free time, you’ll probably find Liam fly fishing, skiing, or taking photos of wildlife.

Lukas Jarron

Lukas was born and raised in Ajax Ontario, a suburb just outside of Toronto. He grew up playing hockey and baseball and remains a faithful Toronto Maple Leaf  and Blue Jays Fan. He spent summers during high school with family on Haida Gwaii and eventually got sick of the Ontario winters and permenantly moved to BC to attend UBC. Lukas is pursuing a B.Sc in Natural Resource Conservation within the faculty of forestry. He is interested in exploring the applications of remotely sensed data for use in traditional forest management. Lukas is also a distance runner for the UBC track team. He enjoys running, hiking and  doughnuts in his free time.


Chris Mulverhill

ChrisMulverhillChris was born in Illinois and raised in Texas, where he lived for 13 years. Following years of camping and too much running, Chris developed his passion for the outdoors and dreamed of moving west and living in the woods to learn more about the complicated ecosystems that only existed in pictures. Having finally been cooked to a medium rare in the sweltering Texas heat, Chris left to begin studying at the University of Oregon, where he would go on to earn a BSc in Environmental Science. There, Chris explored his interests in forest biology and geospatial technologies, eventually landing an undergraduate research assistantship under Dr. Chris Bone, investigating topics such as Mountain Pine Beetles, socioeconomic measures of poverty, US Forest Service supply chains, and forest treatments in the American West. Chris’s MSc research at UBC is part of the AWARE program and will examine the ability of ALS LiDAR to assess product mix in forest stands. He hopes to use this information to inform the decisions of forest managers and timber companies in order to improve the health and sustainability of forest resources.

Chris looks forward to life in Vancouver which includes lots of running, camping, eating, and pretending to understand hockey.

Rik Nuijten 

Rik grew up in the Netherlands, not far from Antwerp. His interest in knowing more about communities, cultures, and economies in relation with the environment lead him to study human geography at Utrecht University. He enjoyed GIS and spatial analysis and decided to stay on this path by following the Information Management and Applications (GIMA) MSc. program in Utrecht. During his Masters degree, he worked on UAV-based crop productivity monitoring at Wageningen University and UAV-based individual tree measurements as a Visiting International Research Student at the IRSS. Currently, Rik is a PhD student at the IRSS and is interested in the use of remote sensing to support ecological restoration and inform decision making. He enjoys the outdoor possibilities Vancouver has to offer and the beautiful landscapes of BC.

Martin Queinnec

Martin grew up in the French Alps, spending most of his time hiking and skiing in the mountains. His desire to learn more about the environment lead him to study Environmental Sciences and Engineering at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL, Switzerland), where he received a BSc and MSc.

Martin is currently a PhD candidate in the IRSS and his research focuses on enhancing the characterization of forest structure and resources for forest inventory and monitoring using airborne and spaceborne single photon LiDAR.


Sarah Smith-Tripp


Sarah is a proud Oregonian-British Columbia transplant. She spent her undergrad studying geosciences on the east coast at Wellesley College near Boston. Her research passions have taken her all around the world – Lake Baikal in Russia, Mongolia, and even two months sailing a tall ship across the South Pacific. Upon graduating undergrad, she couldn’t wait to move back west to complete an MSc in Geography at UBC (May 2021). Her research allows her to do one of her favorite things – tromp around burned forests.

Some of her other pass times include running, backpacking, and cycling.  Sarah is an incoming PhD student modeling forest regeneration following the wide-spread and severe BC wildfires in 2017-18. To do so, she uses a combination of satellite data (landsat, MODIS) and high-resolution Lidar and drone data. She remains inspired by the great outdoors and wishes to help preserve what has made her life so wonderful for many generations to come.

Chris Colton

Chris Colton was born and raised in Pickering, Ontario and moved to Vancouver in 2014 to pursue a BSc. in Natural Resource Conservation at UBC. He is now a second year master’s student in the IRSS and WildCo lab, where his research focuses on how forest harvesting affects grizzly bears in their North American range. He is finishing up a literature review summarizing grizzly bear habitat use in response to forestry and currently working with an established camera trap grid in and around the South Chilcotin Mountains Provincial Park to evaluate how ongoing and historical forest harvesting is affecting grizzly bear habitat use. He is particularly interested in how satellite based remote sensing can quantify forest harvest and how it can be applied to wildlife management. In his spare time you will usually find him snowboarding, otherwise he’ll be playing or watching basketball

Andrew Chadwick

Andrew Chadwick was born and raised in Toronto, where from an early age he found himself enamoured with the city’s ravine systems. Forever fascinated with the intricacies of the natural world, it is no wonder that Andrew pursued a Bachelor of Environmental Studies. In recognizing the need to better harmonize human and non-human systems, he specialized in Environmental Management during his undergraduate degree, where he soon discovered the powerful tools of GIS and Remote Sensing. This led him to the Master of Geomatics for Environmental Management program at UBC, of which he is a recent graduate.

Now, Andrew is developing an operational tool that will leverage UAV-derived orthographic imagery and photogrammetric point clouds to deliver enhanced post-harvest regeneration inventory data. This project bridges the burgeoning fields of remote sensing, computer vision, and machine learning and as such, Andrew is very excited and thankful to be working on it as part of the IRSS.

Saverio Francini

Saverio Francini was born in Tuscany, in a city set in the countryside between Siena and Florence. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Natural and Environmental Sciences and a Master’s Degree in Forest Systems Sciences and Technologies with honors. He is a PhD student currently working on artificial intelligence remote sensing applications to automatically detect forest disturbances. His interests are programming, modelling, machine/deep learning and image processing in general. He has played piano since he was a child. He likes the sea, playing chess, eating well and drinking wine with friends.


Spencer Dakin Kuiper

Spencer Dakin Kuiper grew up in Lethbridge, Alberta, and obtained his Bachelor’s degree in geography and a certificate in GIS & remote sensing from York University in Toronto, Ontario. As an undergraduate student, Spencer played varsity volleyball and was lucky enough to attend a field course along Iceland’s southern coast. Before starting at UBC Spencer worked as a cave guide on Vancouver Island, in human wildlife conflict at Waterton Lakes National Park, and a technician in the parks planning department at Credit Valley Conservation Authority in Mississauga, Ontario.

Spencer’s research with IRSS focuses on the application of ALS data to the mapping and characterization of stream networks and riparian vegetation metrics that are important to fish habitats.

When not in the lab you can find Spencer enjoying the outdoors, and playing volleyball at Kitsilano beach trying to relive his glory days.


Cameron Cosgrove

Cameron Cosgrove is an ecologist who joined the Integrated Remote Sensing Studio in 2020 as a MSc student. He grew up in the village of Grantown-on-Spey, in the Highlands of Scotland and studied Ecological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Edinburgh. While on a student exchange at UBC in 2017, Cameron took one of Professor Coops’ classes and got hooked on remote sensing. He also got hooked on British Columbia, particularly the Gulf Islands.

Cameron loves good data and being able to make informed decisions about environmental management. He has published papers on a range of Scottish conservation issues and has worked with Forest and Land Scotland, developing best practice to reduce the impact of forestry on endangered species. Cameron has been a fieldworker for the ecological consultancy Alba Ecology and most recently was a Woodland Mapping Intern for the Cairngorms National Park Authority.

Cameron is excited to be back in BC and is chuffed to call it home for the next wee while.

Evan Muise

Evan Muise was born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia, obtaining his Bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences and a certificate in GIS from Dalhousie University. Between his third and fourth years of undergrad, he did a work term in Vancouver. Moving back and forth between Halifax and Vancouver has become a semi-frequent occurrence for Evan, with three moves between the cities in two years.

Evan’s a master’s student in the IRSS, whose research focus is on ecological integrity monitoring in BC’s Parks and Protected Areas. He enjoys coding for geospatial in both Python and R, and is trying to learn more about how to be an efficient, reproducible coder. Outside of work, Evan enjoys cycling, camping, and cards.

Yangqian (Frederick) Qi


Yangqian (Frederick) was born and raised in Ningbo, a coastal city in East China. He spent two years studying ecology in China and transferred to UBC in 2017 to major in Natural Resources Conservation (Global Perspectives). Over the course of his degree, he worked as a research assistant in the Chinese Academy of Sciences to analyze the chronological changes of soil nutrients in forests and paddy fields. He also went to the University of Cambridge in the UK as an exchange student to examine the impacts of meteorological droughts on vegetation across diverse ecosystems using satellite-based solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence.

After assisting different projects in IRSS as a Work Learn student, Yangqian was impressed by the power of remote sensing technologies and decided to pursue a master’s degree. His graduate research investigates the use of quantitative structure models based on UAV and terrestrial LiDAR in monitoring the forest inventory. Yangqian is looking forward to exploring the applications of remote sensing in different scenarios. During his spare time, Yangqian enjoys hiking, jogging, and travelling.