The University of Winnipeg



NSERC Scholarship celebrates natural sciences research

Tri-council awards recognize academic excellence

Jenna Fleet and Colleen Robertson are among 11 University of Winnipeg students who have been awarded tri-council scholarships valued at $17,500 each over 12 months to support vital research in bioscience, criminal justice, development practice, history, and Indigenous governance.

Jackson Anderson, Breanna Belisle, Diana Cowley, Trevor Dyck, Cara Ginter, Madison Herget-Schmidt, Ashley Schers, and Breanna Waterman are recipients of the SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship. Alexandra Nychuk is a Métis student, and the first Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) student to receive the CIHR Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarship.

“These are prestigious national scholarships, which recognize the hard work, the past achievements, and the research potential of the recipients,” said UWinnipeg Dean of Graduate Studies, Dr. Mavis Reimer. “The problems these students are examining are complex, with the promise of having a significant impact on our knowledge of the world around us. They make us all very proud.”

These annual awards, which are distributed by the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), are granted to student researchers who demonstrate academic excellence, research potential, and strong personal and interpersonal skills.

Fleet and Robertson are recipients of NSERC’s Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship.

Jenna Fleet

Jenna Fleet

Jenna Fleet is a Master of Science in Bioscience, Technology and Public Policy student. She is working with Dr. Caleb Hasler, studying trans-generational effects of elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) on medaka fish physiology and behaviour. 

Fleet says that working in a supportive, interdisciplinary environment inspires her research. 

“Many have helped make this possible, most notably my supervisor Dr. Caleb Hasler, Jamie Card, Beata Biernacka, Dr. Kimberley Mathot and Dr. Sally Leys,” she said. “They provide continual support and are a source of inspiration.”

Thanks to this award, she is looking forward to further developing her research skills, and gaining new skills in science communication working in the Hasler Research Lab.

“I hope to gain new insight into understanding long term effects of elevated carbon dioxide exposure on a freshwater fish species,” she said. “Ultimately, I hope this knowledge will be used to help advocate for more enforced protection of aquatic ecosystems.”

Colleen Robertson

Colleen Robertson

Colleen Robertson is a Master of Science in Bioscience, Technology and Public Policy student. She is researching the long-term impacts of grazing on grassland ecosystems, under the supervision of Dr. Rafael Otfinowski. 

She developed her love for grasslands during a Parks Canada summer job in Riding Mountain National Park.

“Prairie ecosystems are some of the most threatened in North America, and less than five percent of fescue grasslands, the focus of my research, remain” she said. “I hope that this research will help define the management and restoration of grasslands that have been impacted by grazing, to keep grassland ecosystems around as long as possible.”

She is thankful for the support she has received along her academic journey, both at UWinnipeg and Parks Canada.

“Many people have been part of my journey,” she said. “This project wouldn’t be possible without the support and dedication of Dr. Otfinowski, and the resource conservation staff at Riding Mountain National Park – especially my supervisor Roxanne Grzela – who have always encouraged me to be the best scientist I can be.”

Receiving NSERC funding provides her with the freedom and peace of mind to focus on her research.

“To me, NSERC funding represents financial security and recognition to support deserving research projects,” she said. “Receiving support from NSERC recognizes the critical importance of the conservation and restoration of Canada’s grasslands.”

The University of Winnipeg is proud of the achievements of these tri-council scholarship recipients. Learn more about The University of Winnipeg Graduate Studies.