The Team

Dr. Heather E. McGregor

Founding Member & Principal Investigator

Heather is an Assistant Professor of Curriculum Theory in the Faculty of Education at Queen’s University. She is the Principal Investigator of the SSHRC Insight Development Grant that funds SSHEAN (2021-2023). Heather’s academic career began with an undergraduate thesis on the environmental history of Nunavut, which is where she grew up. Her research questions then took her into the history of education, with a particular emphasis on processes of decolonizing curriculum and programs in schools that serve Inuit communities. She is the author of the UBC Press book Inuit Education and Schools in the Eastern Arctic (2010). Upon completion of her doctorate in Curriculum Studies at the University of British Columbia (2015), Heather’s research focus returned to the environment. She sought strategies by which historical mindedness could help in navigating the emotional burden and uncertainty of climate crisis. Heather’s SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Ottawa, in partnership with Students on Ice, led to a study of leadership development that helps youth – especially Inuit youth – learn about climate change and emerge as hopeful changemakers. In her teaching and research Heather pursues questions about meaning and relationship in the Anthropocene: in the spaces where we confront the ethical demands placed on us by equity, decolonization, continuity and change, and our dependency on more-than-human ecologies. A list of Heather’s publications can be found here.

Dr. Sara Karn

Founding Member & Former Project Coordinator

Sara is a Postdoctoral Fellow at McMaster University, with the Thinking Historically for Canada’s Future project. She received her doctorate at Queen’s University in 2023 and studies historical empathy within history education in Canada. Connecting this research to SSHEAN, she is especially interested in exploring how the affective elements of learning about the past (e.g., empathy, care) can play a role in helping youth navigate the emotional aspects of the climate crisis. Sara is also a certified K-12 teacher in Ontario and taught environmental education courses for teacher candidates at Queen’s and Wilfrid Laurier University. Her research and teaching interests include history and social studies education, citizenship education, environmental and climate change education, and experiential learning. 

Dr. Jackson Pind

Founding Member

Jackson is an Assistant Professor of Indigenous Methodologies in Chanie Wenjack School of Indigenous Studies at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario. He was formerly the inaugural Postdoctoral Fellow in Indigenous Education at the Faculty of Education, Queen’s University. He finished his doctorate in education during the Fall of 2021 with a focus on the history of Indian Day Schools in Ontario in partnership with Curve Lake First Nation which was awarded the 2022 Canadian History of Education Dissertation Prize. This work built upon his co-edited book, Spirit of the Grassroots People: Seeking Justice for Indigenous Survivors of Canada’s Colonial Education System (2021) which was also awarded the Canadian History of Education English Book Prize (2020-2022). He currently serves as an Indigenous Community Member in the Limestone District School Board, the 2nd Vice-President of the Canadian Association for the Study of Indigenous Education (CASIE). His teaching and research interests include Anishinaabe history, land/place-based learning, and Indigenous-settler relations regarding climate change.

Becca Evans

Graduate Research Assistant

Rebecca Evans is a doctoral candidate in Education at Queen’s University. Her research focuses on civic learning in community-based youth organizations. Rebecca is a research assistant for the Piloting Lessons for History Education in the Anthropocene. As part of her previous career, she served as an environmental officer, conducting environmental assessments, and developing policies to mitigate the impact of human activity in various regions across western Canada. Rebecca enjoys working with youth through community-based organizations, such as Air Cadets, Big Brothers and Sisters and TimBit soccer, where she has over twenty years of experience. She is a secondary school teacher in Kingston, Ontario, where she currently calls home. Her research interests include citizenship education, historical thinking, and experiential learning. Rebecca aspires to live, learn, and teach in more environmentally sustainable way.

Micah Flavin

Graduate Research Assistant

Micah is an M.Ed. student at Queen’s University and an Outdoor Educator with the Limestone District School Board. Since completing his B.A. in Psychology at McGill University in 2017, he has worked extensively as both a special educator and interdisciplinary artist in Tiohtià:ke/Mooniyaang (Montréal, Québec). With SSHEAN, Micah is interested in developing arts-based pedagogies that respond to the magnitude of the climate crisis and its interconnectedness with socio-economic structures, while also cultivating hope to fuel age-appropriate climate action. He is drawn to teaching and research methods that seek to heal as much as they critique, and reckon with the knotted dilemmas of living in our ever relational, ever political, world.

Kiera Brant-Birioukov


Kiera (Kaia’tanó:ron) Brant-Birioukov is a Haudenosaunee (Kanyen’keha:ka) educator and educational theorist from Kenhtè:ke (Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, ON). She is an Assistant Professor of Wüléelham Indigenous education at York University. Kiera completed her PhD in Curriculum Studies at the University of British Columbia in 2021. Her doctoral dissertation is entitled Kanenhstóhare: The Educative Possibilities of Estrangement, Homecoming, and Indigeneity, where she theorized the possibilities of estrangement/homecoming in education by drawing upon the Haudenosaunee teachings of kanenhstóhare (lyed corn). Following the teachings of corn, Kiera traces the process of making Mohawk corn soup as a curriculum of renewal. With a focus on community partnerships and knowledge resurgence, Kiera’s work is inspired by ancestral knowledges that renew our ancient relationship with the natural world. She is passionate about seed sovereignty, gardening, and language revitalization.

Leaf Kretz

Former Graduate Research Assistant

Leaf is delighted to be a member of the SSHEAN team exploring what our responsibilities and best practices are when it comes to teaching in the Anthropocene. Leaf is a longtime environmental activist and ethicist with ten years of experience working as a professor, and often publishes on the topic of climate change in conversation with philosophy of emotion (especially hope in the context of climate change), student empowerment, and activist pedagogy. Ethics, Emotion, Education, Empowerment is a book length publication that weaves together many of these elements (2020, Roman & Littlefield Press). Currently working on a PhD in Education at Queen’s University with a focus on Oppression Theory through the lenses of Indigenous Theory, Critical Race Theory, and Queer Theory, Leaf also brings background training from their BA in Philosophy and Visual Art, BEd, MA in Philosophy, and PhD in Philosophy. Leaf is also a certified Intermediate/Senior teacher in Ontario. Leaf adores all things tree, forest, mycelium, lake, and non-human-animal related.

Benjamin Farmer Lacombe

Former Graduate Research Assistant & Technical Lead

Benjamin is a high school teacher of design, history, biology, mathematics, French, and English. His classroom practice fuels his research interests, which lie at the crossroad of digital history, user experience design, and inquiry-based learning. Benjamin is a computer programming enthusiast, who loves to connect curious learners with accessible autodidactic resources. He is impressed with the notions of constructivism, which are consonant with his ever-changing teaching philosophy and worldview. Benjamin joined the SSHEAN team in 2021 hoping to reinvest his studies in history, ecology, and education—as well as his keen interest in all things digital. He returned to the classroom after successfully defending his Master of Education thesis.

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