Research Assistants and Worklearn Students

Alex Bastyr

Alex was born and raised in Toronto. As a holder of three passports, he enjoys traveling and experiencing different cultures. He spent two summers working as a lifeguard above the Arctic Circle in Nunavut and completed a semester abroad studying at the University of Edinburgh. In 2019, he graduated from McGill University with a major in Earth and Planetary Sciences. At McGill he had the opportunity to complete field courses in the Mojave Desert, the Massif Central region in France and travel to Kenya and Tanzania. His field studies piqued his interest in geospatial and data analysis and led him to the University of British Columbia’s MGEM program. After completing the MGEM program in May 2021, he continued his UBC experience by joining the IRSS as a research scientist where he is working on tree species prediction using Landsat / NTEMS datasets. After surviving seven years of competitive swimming, physical fitness remains high on his priority list.  At present, he enjoys hiking, skiing, paddle boarding and yoga.




Brianne Boufford

Brianne is originally from Surrey, British Columbia, and when she was younger, spent a lot of her time camping and exploring along the coast of British Columbia and the United States with her family. This has instilled in her a passion for the outdoors and an interest in knowing how the world works and has come to be. It is for this reason that she is pursuing a Bachelors of Science, majoring in Physics, here at the University of British Columbia. Throughout various courses and co-op terms during her degree, Brianne has come to realize that her passion lies in using mathematical and computational approaches for applications in environmental studies and forestry. This led her to the Integrated Remote Sensing Studio.

She joined the IRSS as a Work Learn student in May 2021 with an interest in learning more about remote sensing, geospatial analysis, and the forest sciences. Brianne is currently working on a project that involves analyzing snow dynamics within the boundaries of provincial parks in British Columbia, and using inter-annual trends over the last few decades to see how this has impacted local winter activities, such as skiing and snowboarding.

In her spare time, Brianne loves to ski, hike, camp, and run. She is a coffee fanatic and also enjoys reading a good book.

Michael Burnett

Michael, originally from Ontario, got his Bachelor of Environmental Studies at the University of Waterloo before spending a few years travelling and teaching English. While abroad, he got interested in spatial analysis and remote sensing, so he got his certificate in Applied Digital Geography and GIS from Ryerson University. Michael then returned to Ontario for his MSc in Geography at Queens University where he researched the effects that urban heat islands have upon rural vegetated land covers. He is now a research scientist working on the Silva 21 project as an analyst.

On his free time, Michael like to bike, hike, play music, and explore.






Levi Keay

Levi is a Vancouver local who spent many of his days growing up skiing on the North Shore. His passion for the outdoors and a curiosity for how our species interfaces with the environment drew him to the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia, where he started his undergraduate degree in the Forest Sciences program. He would later pivot to the school’s Faculty of Science where he pursues a Major in Physics.

Levi got his first real taste of remote sensing as a summer Worklearn student for the IRSS. Excited by the opportunity to merge his passions for forested environments and technology, Levi stayed on as a Research Assistant after the summer was over in order to continue his research using optical imaging CubeSat-constellation data to detect forest disturbances.

Outside of school and work, Levi can often be found outdoors riding his bike. He enjoys competing as a part of the UBC men’s Ultimate Team and coaching young athletes in the sport of alpine skiing. His other interests include woodworking, speaker design and acoustics, and playing and listening to music.

Chloe Kinerson

Chloe is originally from Nevada in the United States, where she grew up hiking and camping across Nevada and California. Her passion for the natural world, especially for the Sierra Nevada forests near her home, led her to study in the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia. She is currently in the third year of her undergraduate degree in Natural Resources Conservation with a focus on Science and Management. She started working for the IRSS lab as a Worklearn student in Fall 2021, where she provides assistance to a variety of research.

When not in school or the lab, Chloe enjoys roller-skating, disc golfing, and playing board games.



Ramon Melser

Ramon was born and raised in the Netherlands, but moved to the Vancouver area in 2012. He graduated with a BA in Environment & Sustainability from the UBC Geography department in 2019, which is where he was first introduced to applications of remote sensing and GIS for environmental issues and conservation. Eager to grow his geomatics skillset, he returned to UBC after a year of travelling and went on to complete the Faculty of Forestry’s MGEM program in 2021. The MGEM experience led him to join the IRSS, where he is a research scientist working on enhanced carbon dynamics and land cover change assessment using integrated satellite-derived datasets and analysis approaches. In his free time, Ramon is an avid foodie, explorer of the great outdoors, and enjoys going to concerts.