Meet the Pye Centre staff, researchers, and community partners!
Founding Dean, School of Arctic and Subarctic Studies and the Pye Centre
Labrador Institute of Memorial University
Ashlee Cunsolo, PhD, is a health geographer and the founding Dean of the School of Arctic and Subarctic Studies in the Labrador Institute of Memorial University.
As a community-engaged social science and health researcher working at the intersection of place, culture, health, and environment, Ashlee has a particular interest in the climatic, social, environmental, and cultural determinants of Indigenous health, intercultural learning and dialogue, environmental ethics, and the social justice implications of social, environmental, and health inequality.
She is a leading voice nationally and internationally on climate change and mental health, ecological grief, and intangible losses and damages that arise from climate change, and works more broadly at the intersection of place, culture, health, and environment. She has been recognized nationally and internationally for her community-based research and science outreach, and is a regular media contributor on climate change, mental health, and ecological grief.
She is also working with local farmers and organizations to establish the Pye Centre for Northern Boreal Food Systems as a leading-edge, community-driven research, education, and experimental farm focused on enhancing and expanding Northern food security and food sovereignty in Labrador, and growing the agricultural industry.
She sits on a variety of research and education councils and boards, both at Memorial University and externally, and focuses on institution building, equity, diversity, and inclusion in higher education, Northern sovereignty in research and education, and Indigenization and decolonization of the academy.
She currently lives in Labrador, Canada.
Program Coordinator, Community Connections and Education for the Pye Centre
Labrador Institute of Memorial University
Jamie Jackman is a Nunatsiavut Beneficiary who grew up between the communities of Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Hopedale, Labrador. He studied Anthropology at the University of Prince Edward Island and graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts. He then went on to work mainly with Indigenous organizations in areas related to community-based research, youth programming, food security, and more, including the Native Council of Prince Edward Island, Sivunivut Inuit Community Corporation, and the Labrador Friendship Centre.
Jamie’s interest lie mainly in food sovereignty, northern-based agriculture, and community engagement and development. In his current capacity as Program Coordinator for the Labrador Institute of Memorial University, he is working on the development of the Pye Centre for Northern Boreal Food Systems, focusing mainly on community engagement and outreach.
Jamie is the chairperson for the Community Food Hub Inc. which is an organization devoted to addressing issues of food security in the Lake Melville Region by implementing practical programs to increase access to fresh produce and by building local capacity. He is also a board member at Food First NL and was the coordinator for the Labrador Friendship Centre Community Food Bank for three years.
Jamie happens to also be a musician and recording artist active in the Province’s music scene with his folk-rock group, Silver Wolf Band, and is a current board member of the Eastern Labrador Arts Alliance.
Contact Jamie: firstname.lastname@example.org
Special Projects Manager for the Pye Centre
Labrador Institute of Memorial University
Alex Sawatzky, PhD, is an interdisciplinary researcher and artist who collaborates with communities, researchers, and organizations to co-create and mobilize knowledge. She engages visual methods and tools that are driven by relational approaches to research, centering community voices and knowledge to ensure research, and research communication works with and for the people it serves to benefit.
For the past six years, Alex has been working in partnership with Inuit of Labrador on community-led climate change adaptation projects. During her PhD, she worked with the community of Rigolet to develop the foundation for a place-based, Inuit-led environment and health monitoring system that works with and for Inuit.
In her current capacity as Special Projects Manager for the Labrador Institute, Alex is working with key partners and leaders in Labrador and Memorial to manage the strategic development of the Pye Centre for Northern Boreal Food Systems. She is also leading and supporting projects and activities related to the Labrador Campus development and transition, including the strategic growth and development of educational programming, research initiatives, and infrastructural developments.
Alex also owns and operates her own freelance design practice, specializing in mobilizing science and research into visual forms, and enhancing science communication.
Resident Farmer at the Pye Centre
Lemuel Seaward was born and raised in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and is the Resident Farmer at the Pye Centre. He has many years of farming experience including the operation of his own potato farm, Daybreak Farm, which included at one time a 5000-bird commercial egg operation. Lem is quite familiar with the land having worked closely with Frank and Joyce Pye on various projects in the past. In addition he is a journeyman carpenter with a wealth of knowledge in construction, maintenance, and farm operations.
Social Enterprise Development Coordinator for the Pye Centre
Caroline McDonald is passionate about community and sustainable social enterprise development and the potential to grow the social enterprise sector as positive change agents in Newfoundland and Labrador. Born and raised in St. John’s, Caroline believes that an authentic understanding of community is crucial for harnessing successful and sustainable social businesses.
Caroline holds a Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Neuroscience and is currently completing her Master’s in Business Administration at Memorial University with a focus in Social Enterprise and Entrepreneurship. Caroline was the recipient of two Science Undergraduate Research Awards (SURA) that focused on evaluating and improving best-practice pediatric protocols for at-risk patients. In 2016, Caroline gave a TEDx talk in St. John’s, an invaluable experience to learn from a diverse group of community champions.
Caroline’s interest in social enterprise was fostered through her involvement with Stella’s Circle. As the pianist for the organizations Inclusion Choir, Caroline experienced first-hand the possibility and power of impactful social business. Additionally, Caroline worked with Taskforce NL where she was responsible for supporting projects including the Surplus Food Rescue Program and local manufacturing of PPE. Caroline is currently involved with Home Again Furniture Bank as a member of their social enterprise committee.
Caroline has recently begun an internship with the Pye Centre, where she will support the development of a social enterprise portfolio.
Contact Caroline: email@example.com
Communications Assistant at the Pye Centre
I was born on the lower north shore of Quebec and moved to Goose Bay in 2012. I graduated in 2020 from Mealy Mountain Collegiate in the French immersion program with honours. I have been actively involved in the community through Air Cadets, student council, Gay Straight Alliance, as well as a number of environmental projects.
I spent the last year in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and was recently accepted to the Emily Carr University of Art and Design. I will be moving to Vancouver in the fall to pursue a career in animation. I am also interested in traveling, meeting new people, and look forward to being the Communications Assistant at the Pye Centre this summer!
Contact Saydee: firstname.lastname@example.org
Farm Assistant at the Pye Centre
I was born in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and have been living here my whole life. I’m a level 2 student at Mealy Mountain Collegiate in the French immersion program.
I enjoy spending my time outside in nature. I like hunting, fishing, camping, riding my snowmobile, and travelling the province. I am looking forward to everything I’ll learn this summer, and am really excited to be working at the Pye Centre!
Contact Ewan: email@example.com
Student Research Affiliate
Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada / The Pye Centre
Tara Ryan is an Indigenous undergraduate student at the University of Waterloo, working on her Bachelor of Environmental Studies in the school of Environment, Resources and Sustainability. Born and raised in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, she has developed a keen interest in food security in Labrador and sustainable community development. With plans to graduate with her BES in 2025, Tara aims to be equipped with the skills to support her community, whether it be from afar or at home, wanting to further understand the complex problems that Labradorians are faced with when it comes to food security, ecological restoration, and management.
During her high school years, Tara worked on an extracurricular hydroponics project with close friends, which fostered her interest in food security and food systems. She then worked as a Natural Resources Assistant at NunatuKavut Community Council in 2019, before joining Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada in 2020, as she was finishing her last year of high school. As an employee of AAFC with a strong connection to the Pye Centre, Tara is excited to be learning about not only the science surrounding crops grown in Labrador, but also the rich stories and history that accompany them.
Contact Tara: firstname.lastname@example.org
Farm Assistant at the Pye Centre
Rachel is an Indigenous undergraduate student at Memorial University studying a Bachelor of Biology with a concentration in Applied Ecology and Conservation. Taking a break from Memorial to study at Academy Canada’s Greenhouse Production program piqued Rachel’s interest to continue her studies at Memorial focusing on food security.
Being born in Happy Valley-Goose Bay has enhanced Rachel’s passion in the deliverance of Northern food security and sustainability for her home region. She understands the climate and the challenges of importing nutritional food to the North and has embarked on a path to make changes so that everyone can enjoy the benefits of eating healthy. Growing up in Labrador, Rachel has been blessed to love the simplicity of life that nature has to offer. She has had the opportunity to canoe the Churchill River on several occasions and was inspired by the stories and knowledge she learned of the “traditional trapper’s way of life.”
At a young age she had the opportunity to travel to Tanzania, Africa as a student volunteer and had the opportunity to climb to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Here, she witnessed firsthand how food sustainability impacted the tribal communities, where children walked to school kilometres away not just to be educated, but to be fed. This planted the seed to her future studies and career path. Rachel has a desire and ambition to advocate and educate everyone on the importance of food waste and the role we all play in securing our planet’s health for future generations to thrive and enjoy. She aims to promote living in symbiosis with nature by embracing traditional ecological knowledge and mindsets.
Rachel also brings knowledge and understanding of plant growth and greenhouse production from her time working at Lester’s Farm Greenhouse and Market in St. John’s. When she’s not studying, she enjoys exploring the Province’s beautiful wilderness with her two dogs, Marley and Ren.
Contact Rachel: email@example.com