In December of 2022, a professor asked me if I would be interested in working as a Research Assistant for a new project in the Environment & Society program. I had no idea what the word “plutonium” meant, nor did I think I was really interested in the energy transition. I often thought that my interests aligned more with the environmental humanities and art over the more social science and scientific study of the environment. However, I am so tremendously glad to have accepted this opportunity, as it opened new doors for me, taught me SO much, and most importantly I think it also helped me step out of the impenetrable bubble I had put up for most of my first and second years of university. It was very scary to start because I quickly realized I was the only second-year and the youngest on the project, and all the other coworkers were honours students, which I am not (and perhaps regret all the time).

A little about this project…

The Plutonium Project ran from January to April 2023 and consisted of eight research assistants and five faculty from St. Thomas University in different programs and departments. This project is part of the larger SSHRC-funded project called RAVEN (Rural Action and Voices for the ENvironment), which was reaching its final year in 2023. This project aimed to look at the plans to develop small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) in New Brunswick on the site of Point Lepreau. Under the supervision of Dr. Susan O’Donnell, my coworker Valeria and I looked at Indigenous perspectives and radioactive wastes associated with the development of SMRs. If you’d like to learn more about the Plutonium Project, check out this page.

My contributions

While working on this project, my coworker Valeria and I gave a presentation on our topic at St. Thomas University’s Student Research and Ideas Fair. We also co-created a poster for an on-campus event hosted by RAVEN and the Plutonium Project. Here is a news article on our project and the presentations at the fair. Check out my publications page for a full list of my work on this project.

The poster made by Valeria and I for the on-campus event in the spring of 2023.
Valeria and I presenting The Plutonium Project: Indigenous Perspectives on Radioactive Waste at the Student Research and Ideas fair in 2023. (I was so nervous it’s not even funny!)