TUGS Industry Panel

When and Where

Tuesday, January 31, 2023 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm


TUGS presents our Industry Panel with UofT grads that are in the sustainability, geography, environment, environment and planning industry.

TUGS is excited to present our Industry Panel with UofT grads that are in the sustainability, geography, environment, environment and planning industry. Panellists have all received a U of T education at various levels and will share their educational and professional experiences with Geography & Planning Students in this 1.5-hour seminar. Come with questions to ask, or sit back and take in all the wonderful advice and knowledge from Nicole Mayer, Chiyi Tam, Kat Dervenis, and Oliver Bassel. Below you will find each panellist's bios, education, and current job position.



Nicole Mayer (she/her) / Sustainability Intern at The Hospital for Sick Children / BA, Environmental Studies with Management Option from Wilfrid Laurier University / MS, Sustainability Management Candidate at the University of Toronto

Nicole's interest in sustainability began at a young age through spending time in nature and continued to grow as she noticed the detrimental impacts humans were having on the natural environment. Over the years, Nicole's passion for sustainability has led her to actively pursue diverse opportunities that explore sustainability, including the not-for-profit, education, healthcare, and public sectors. This passion for the environment resulted in Nicole studying and graduating from Wilfrid Laurier University in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Environmental Studies with the Management Option. Now, Nicole is a second-year student at the University of Toronto, completing her Master of Science in Sustainability Management.

Most recently, Nicole interned at the Hospital for Sick Children, where she Leveraged strong communication and relationship-building skills to increase the diversion rate of non-hazardous waste through the education of all staff. Additionally, she analyzed SickKids Pollution Prevention Plan and Assessment, synthesized data and created presentations for select departments to ensure green procurement policies and practices were followed.

Currently, Nicole is completing her yearlong research paper exploring the topic of social sustainability in the Canadian Gold mining industry. She looks forward to continuing her sustainability career upon graduation.


Chiyi Tam (she/her) / Executive Director at Kensington Market Community Land Trust / B.Sc, Global Resource Systems from University of British Columbia / MS, Planning from the University of Toronto

Chiyi (she/her) is an urban planner and anti-gentrification organizer practicing in Tkaronto's Kensington-Chinatown neighbourhood. She is the executive director of the Kensington Market Community Land Trust, where she acquired the organization’s first building acquisition, securing 12-units of deeply affordable residential units from further speculation.

Chiyi is also a founding board director of the Toronto Chinatown Land Trust. Chiyi serves on the steering committee of the Canadian Network of Community Land Trusts and is research director of the Union Cooperative Initiative which incubates unionzed worker cooperatives.

She co-developed “Planning and Designing for Community Power” a graduate urban design course at the University of Toronto. She frequently supports groups from all corners of turtle island exploring community ownership and wealth building as an anti-displacement strategy for racial & economic justice. Her aim is to reciprocate knowledge into community.


Kat Dervenis (she/her) / Environmental Education Coordinator / HBA, Specialist in Environmental Geography, Minor in Environmental Anthropology from the University of Toronto / MA, Geography and Planning from the University of Toronto

Growing up in a mixed-race family and low-income neighbourhood, Kat realized at a very young age that minority groups are disproportionately affected by environmental injustices. This sparked her interest in intersectional activism and bottom-up community action to achieve environmental justice. In 2019, Kat worked for an Indigenous-run non-profit in southern Belize where she collaborated with Mayan villages to create a cacao cooperative. Kat currently works for an environmental NGO in Mississauga, coordinating a program that brings Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth together to create environmental stewardship projects. She has also held various TA roles at U of T teaching topics on environmental geography. Kat recently finished a Master of Arts degree in Geography and Planning. Her research focused on the co-production of knowledge between farmer organizations in southern Ontario and academic institutions as it relates to agroecosystems research. In the near future, she hopes to continue to advocate for environmental justice by pursuing a career in environmental law.


Oliver Bassel (He/Him) / Decarbonization Analyst at EcoAct (Atos) / BS, Physical & Environmental Geography Specialist, Minor in Statistics and Mathematics from the University of Toronto

Oliver is a Decarbonization Analyst at EcoAct. EcoAct is an international sustainability consultancy and project developer with over 300 employees across North America, Europe, and Africa. Oliver's work at EcoAct involves assisting clients with developing greenhouse gas inventories, setting science-based emission reduction targets, and reporting emissions publicly. Oliver recently graduated from U of T last spring with a BSc in physical and environmental geography with minors in mathematics and statistics, while the physical geography stream representative for TUGS in the 2020-2021 academic year. Oliver is grateful to join this panel and would love to share his experiences to help students learn more about some of the careers geography can lead you to.