A survey that was issued by HGI to its alumni speak to the impact that HGI programming has had on their academic studies and career paths:


of students

strongly agreed or agreed that their experience with Haida Gwaii Semesters helped them make decisions regarding their future educational or professional path.

of students

strongly agreed or agreed that they developed transferable skills for their career as a result through Haida Gwaii Semesters.

of students

strongly agree or agree that they have seen a return on investment for their time, energy, and financial commitment.

of students

strongly agree or agree that the program has positively impacted them on a community and social level.

of students

reported that HGI programming had a positive impact on their academic career.

After HGI

HGI recognizes that students want a stronger emphasis on economic returns to their education. Our programming blends quality classroom instruction with opportunities for direct, hands on learning experiences. Students benefit from teachings from university professors, local knowledge holders, and the dynamic environment around them. Our focus on collaboration, innovation, and real world case studies helps position students at the leading edge, preparing them to be future leaders and decision-makers.

We are proud to report that many of our alumni have gone on to work in a variety of positions and sectors. A few examples:

Policy Analyst Council of the Haida Nation
Community Planner the City of Penticton
Water Quality Monitor Shasta Valley's Resource Conservation District
Resource Conservation Gwaii Haanas
Sustainability Coordinator City of Campbell River
Director of Operations Toquaht Nation
Stewardship Coordinator Nature Trust of New Brunswick
Campaigner Friends of Clayoquot Sound
Assistant Silviculturist Taan Forest Products
Researcher Firelight Group
Guide Moresby Explorers
Education Coordinator Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group
Intern United Nations
Community Outreach BC Hydro
Wildland Firefighter in Western Canada
West Coast Outreach Coordinator Green Party of Canada
Fisheries and GIS Technician Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Forestry Engineer Infinity Pacific Stewardship
Naturalist Parks Canada on board BC Ferries
Festival Coordinator Pacific Rim Whale Festival
Youth Stewardship Program Coordinator Haida Gwaii Forest District
Education and Outreach Coordinator Hermit's Peak Watershed Alliance

Many alumni also pursue further education in top universities around the world:

Masters in Resource Management University of Akureyri
Masters of Resource & Environmental Management Simon Fraser University
Masters in Restoration Ecology University of Idaho
Wilderness Institute University of Montana
Masters in Aboriginal Planning University of British Columbia
Student Exchange in Forestry University of Singapore
PhD, Social and Ecological Sustainability University of Waterloo
PhD Candidate in Forestry University of Toronto
Masters in Healthy Community Planning York University
Masters in Forest Conservation University of Toronto
Masters in Geography University of Guelph

Alumni Feature

Rachel Singleton-Polster, 2012

Program Assistant with Quaker United Nations Office

After the Haida Gwaii Semester I stayed in Skidegate to work for the Swan Bay Rediscovery Program: 'Laanaa Dagang.a, which was an amazing learning experience. After finishing my Bachelor's Degree in New Brunswick, I worked for another summer with Swan Bay - organizing the Legacy Canoe Journey to the pole raising in Hlk'yah Gawga, among many other exciting adventures.

From the shores of Skidegate Inlet I left to work in bustling New York City, for the Quaker United Nations Office. At the United Nations I gained a knowledge of international policy and its domestic applications. I worked on files ranging from peacebuilding to climate change and Indigenous issues. I was most fascinated by work on the intersections of natural resources, conflict and cooperation.

Now, I am in Toronto applying what I learned in New York and in Haida Gwaii towards shaping a Canadian policy environment that holds human rights for all as a basic standard. I have been working for the Assembly of First Nations on the right of Indigenous Peoples to free, prior, and informed consent with regards to resource development. I continue my work with the Quakers through the Canadian Friends Service Committee, where I contribute to work on implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. I was humbled to work alongside others at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada to raise awareness of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the roadmap for reconciliation in Canada.

A large part of the work that I do is about connecting the voices of grassroots actors to policy makers in domestic and international governance institutions. While they are a continent apart and often feel like a world away, I am grateful for my experiences on Haida Gwaii as they have contributed directly to my present work.

  • "I think the experience in itself is worth more than anything. Being a part of the Natural Resource Science semester is such a unique field school opportunity and the connections you make are invaluable. I think anyone would be better off having come here.”
    Kimberly Sandve
  • "The Natural Resource Science semester absolutely changed my life. Looking back, I would have given anything to have that experience. It was so incredible and eye-opening for me.”
    Kristy Mlakar
  • “ I learned to live on an even tighter student budget (food can get pricey in HG!), which motivated me to try hunting, fishing, gathering and crafting - all for which the land provided ample supplies. It was a great way to experience a part of Canada/the world that most people have never even heard of, let alone imagined or visited. That, and my ongoing connection there, is priceless!”
    Alex Martinuik
  • "During the Haida Gwaii Natural Resource Studies semester I job shadowed at the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations for my Community Service Learning project. Through this project I was able to gain field experience and learned a lot about working within my discipline (forestry). I also established some great connections and through them I was given the opportunity to work in urban forestry back in my home province, Ontario. Had it not been for my experience and connections from Haida Gwaii, I may have still been struggling to find work in my field. Now I have a job I love and the experience to move forward.”
    Emily Salt