2023 Finalist: Environment / Water / Air Innovation, Social Innovation/ Educational Technologies, Indigenous-Led Entrepreneurship and Contribution to Knowledge
Maricor Arlos, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering , University of Alberta
Paulina Johnson, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Alberta
Initiative: Land2Lab Research and Outreach Project
Dr. Maricor Arlos positions herself as a Filipino settler and a Western-trained environmental engineer whose new personal mandate has been to integrate Indigenous worldviews and methodologies in environmental water quality management where they typically have not been before. Her close collaboration with Johnson started in Fall 2022. Johnson is Nêhiyaw (she/her, Four-Spirit/Plains Cree) and a citizen of Samson Cree Nation (SCN) from Mâskwacis. Both equally contribute to knowledge co-creation and co-development of strategies within an Indigenous-based framework. Arlos and Johnson are currently co-supervising a Ph.D. student in Environmental Engineering (Emily Quecke, she/they) who started in the Fall of 2022 and is undertaking the very first Interdisciplinary Ph.D. project in Sociology and Engineering. This newly established partnership positions Arlos to pursue the changes needed to move water insecurity research forward.
Dr. Maricor Arlos is an early career researcher with a strong focus on the emerging issues and challenges associated with trace organic contaminants. Since her appointment at the UofA (April 2020), Arlos’ research has been focused on the fate/transport of contaminants stemming from municipal wastewater, industrial activities (oil sands industry), and agriculture. Arlos was appointed as a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Pest Control Products (2022 – 2025). This committee provides the Pest Management Regulatory Agency PMRA (under Health Canada mandate) with independent scientific expertise to support evidence-based decision-making on pesticides. As a female educator and a person of colour, Arlos takes her responsibilities as a water mentor seriously. She has created a water-focused scholarship program in the Philippines and served as a mentor with UofA’s Female in Engineering, DiscoverE, and I-STEAM Pathways, a program that enables Indigenous undergraduate students to gain research experience in environmental fields.
Dr. Paulina Johnson, Sîpihkokîsikowiskwew, Blue Sky Woman, is Nêhiyaw, Four-Spirit, and a citizen of Samson Cree Nation in Maskwacis, AB. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Sociology and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Environment and Civil Engineering at the University of Alberta. Johnson is an Indigenous scholar with over a decade of experience in developing insights and tools grounded in traditional law that help communities with consultation, community engagement, and Indigenous-settler relations. Her areas of expertise are in traditional law and governance, Indigenous legal traditions, Indigenous-Settler relations, Consultation, and Community Engagement. Much of her research is directed toward Indigenous research methods, including how Indigenous research should be conducted, how relationships with community and Nations should be maintained, and how to build up the voices of Indigenous Elders and knowledge holders. In August, Johnson became the Co-Research Director of the Canadian Mountain Network.