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.

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.

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, and moved to Vienna, Austria aged 9. After stumbling across a UBC recruitment meeting and consequently being impressed by both the university’s academic standing and sporting proficiency, he decided that Vancouver looked like a great place to be.

Francois undertook a B.Sc. in Geology and played Varsity Rugby for the Thunderbirds, and it was during this time that he got his first taste of GIS and its potential for use in both geology and geography. After graduation, Francois spent some time working in Vancouver before finding a job with a geological exploration company in the Northwest Territories. 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 ultimately led him to the IRSS lab where he will be pursuing a PhD related to very high point density LiDAR and tree modelling.

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 was born in Vancouver, B.C. and reared in the boggy suburb of North Delta. His academic experience includes an A.A. in Political Science from Kwantlen Polytechnic University, as well as a BSc in Natural Resource Conservation and MGEM from UBC. Professionally, Paul has spent time as a Lifeguard/Swim Instructor, an Infantry Officer in the Canadian Forces and an Education Assistant at the UBC Botanical Garden.  An avid outdoorsman, he has also spent time mapping reef degradation as a volunteer scuba diver in Cambodia.
Although he thoroughly enjoys exploring the world, he is happiest at home in Vancouver with his wife and a local craft beer. As a PhD student in the IRSS, Paul is using spectranomics to identify and evaluate individual trees based on their spectral properties.

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.

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 his 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. During the last six months of his Masters degree, he worked on his thesis as a Visiting International Research Student at UBC, combining topographic shading modeling with spatial interpolation of shortwave solar radiation for snowmelt modeling.

Martin developed a strong interest in spatial analysis and the use of remote sensing for environmental monitoring. Thrilled about his experience at UBC, he decided to come back and join the IRSS as a PhD student. His research will focus on the use of Single Photon Lidar for forest inventories. He will also combine Lidar and Landsat data to quantify the impacts of wildfires in BC.

Chris Colton

Chris Colton’s research focuses on understanding how forest harvesting affects grizzly bears in BC. Studies have shown that human caused mortality is one of the greatest threats to grizzly bears, which is increased with the creation of roads and cut blocks. However, in areas that lack natural openings in forests, cut blocks have also provided high quality food resources. He is in the process of synthesizing previous grizzly research in BC, Alberta and the Northwestern United States in order to create a comprehensive summary of how forest harvesting affects grizzlies and the best practices available to minimize grizzly conflict. He is also using Landsat and camera trap data in the South Chilcotin Mountains to better understand how grizzly bears are responding to forest harvesting activities there. 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 is from Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he also studied Environmental Sciences at Dalhousie University. He took most of Dalhousie’s GIS based courses and got a job in an urban forestry lab collecting data on street trees. Both trees and GIS piqued his interest, and he completed his honour’s project where he utilized the emerging hot spot analyses tool in ArcGIS on remotely sensed imagery to examine the invasion of the hemlock woolly adelgid in southwest Nova Scotia.

After deciding he wasn’t ready to join the real world and look for a job, he decided to pursue a master’s degree at UBC, where he will be characterizing British Columbia’s provincial parks and comparing them to their surrounding areas. Evan enjoys bouldering, reading, and playing video games.

Yangqian (Frederick) Qi


Yangqian (Frederick) was born and raised in Ningbo, a coastal city in East China. He spent 2 years studying ecology back 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 examine 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 investigate the drought impacts 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 compares UAV-based LiDAR, ground-based LiDAR, and mobile 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.