Alumni Profile – Laurel Muldoon (BA '15, MESc 19)

It's been 11 years since Laurel Muldoon, President of the Nipissing University Alumni Advisory Board, began her journey at Nipissing University as an undergraduate student. Still, to her, it feels like yesterday, thanks to her continued involvement with the University and the profound impact it has had on her life.

Laurel Muldoon (BA '15, MESc 19)

Laurel Muldoon (BA '15, MESc 19)

Laurel grew up in Sudbury, Ontario, and was captivated by North Bay at a young age. She completed her diploma in Social Work from Cambrian College of Applied Arts and Technology and moved to North Bay to complete a placement for her program. After realizing her chosen career path wasn't suitable for her, she decided to apply to Nipissing University to pursue her goal of obtaining a degree.

Ever since childhood, Laurel wanted to be a "weather girl" so she could determine, analyze, and broadcast the weather. After reviewing Nipissing's programs, Laurel landed on the Environmental Geography program page, where Dr. April James was featured. Laurel was inspired and motivated by Dr. James' work and later applied to the program. Laurel graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Geography in 2015 with distinction and has completed two certificates, one in Environmental and Urban Planning and the other in Geomatics (remote sensing and ArcGIS).

Laurel then went on to complete a Master of Environmental Science Climate Change, specifically in carbon 13 isotopes in white spruce trees in the Arctic, graduating in the top percent of her class in 2019. Dr. James from Nipissing University and Dr. Csank from the University of Nevada co-supervised Laurel's thesis. Laurel was able to travel to Alaska, Halifax, Reno, and Salt Lake City during her Master's program for research and national conferences and to obtain a certificate in stable isotope and biogeochemistry.

As a mature student, Laurel found Nipissing to be very welcoming. Thanks to Nipissing's small size, she was able to immerse herself in her studies and connect regularly with her peers and professors. One of her favorite memories was being able to teach her first class on Climatology.

As an alumnus, Laurel is proud of her affiliation with Nipissing and the experience she had. "Being an Alumnus, I carry that title with a sense of belonging and ownership to the University," she said. "I hope that through time, the weight and impact of being an Alumnus carries across the globe."

Laurel joined the Nipissing University Alumni Advisory Board (NUAAB) in 2019 with the intent to provide a voice and representation for graduate students. After completing her education at Nipissing, she wanted to return to a place that felt like home and give back in the same capacity that Nipissing gave to her. She now serves as the President of NUAAB.

"I now can use my voice and make changes based on my experience," she said. "It's been empowering to be on NUAAB and work closely with Nipissing University, specifically on the strategic plan, and to align NUAAB to meet the needs of the University."

Her motivation to join came from her previous volunteer experience and the lessons her father taught her about the importance of giving to her community.

"I joined genuinely and with a full heart that bled blue and green and a confidence that what I have to offer could make an impact," said Laurel. "I now can use my voice and make changes based on my experience at Nipissing."

A moment that resonated with her during her time with NUAAB was being able to provide donations to the Nipissing Student Food Bank during the pandemic. "To help those students and truly make an impact is what drives me to continue to find new ways of engaging alumni to contribute to the University in whatever capacity they can," she shared. "Whether it's time or with a donation, all of it impacts the Nipissing community for the greater good."

Laurel believes the Nipissing experience is unique and offers a wide range of benefits. "There is no other institution where students can learn in small class sizes, go on field trips, have individual learning plans, go hiking on lunch breaks, sail in the summer on beautiful Lake Nipissing, lean into a safe community, and take in all the beauty that North Bay has to offer while also obtaining a top education."

After earning a full scholarship to complete her Ph.D. at Queen's University, she decided the right choice for her was to gain work experience and continue her studies later. Laurel advises new students to treat their education as their most significant investment.

Laurel Muldoon with Dr. Kirsten Greer

(L-R) Laurel Muldoon with Dr. Kirsten Greer

"Everything I accomplished at Nipissing is because I put my hand up and said yes to opportunities and wasn't afraid to invest and immerse myself fully into my program," she shared. "What championed my courage was that Nipissing is a small University founded on the core value of community. With that comes a sense of security, a safe place, a sense of belonging, curiosity, and an opportunity for growth."

Today, Laurel is the Senior Project Manager (SPM) in the Corridor Management Section for the Operations Division at the Provincial Office for the Ministry of Transportation (MTO). She is considered a subject matter expert for the Highway Corridor Management Manual and Public Transportation and Highway Improvement Act, as her office provides support and direction related to MTO's policies, guidelines, and requirements for all MTO's regional High Corridor Management offices.

She is also the executive lead in facilitating the review of the "Developers Guideline of Highway Improvements Associated with Development," design to help MTO and senior leaders better understand, adapt, and improve their policies to help support economic development, and meet legislative changes while synergistically supporting the MTO's vision of moving people and goods safely, efficiently, and sustainably across Ontario.

"I give Nipissing University full credit for shaping and preparing me for my career," she said. "Without Nipissing, I wouldn't be where I am today”.

On top of her career, Laurel stays active in academic research as she assists Dr. Kirsten Greer, Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and History and Canada Research Chair in Global Environmental Histories and Geographies, with research in Environmental History.