March 18, 2020

Congratulations Chelsea Klinke!

MA student Chelsea Klinke was selected as a top three graduate student finalist in the University of Calgary's Annual Sustainability Awards.
Klinke in the field, Panama
Klinke in the field, Panama Chelsea Klinke

University of Calgary's Annual Sustainability Awards celebrate initiatives that make positive contributions towards the sustainable future of UCalgary and our world. Out of a total 96 nominations for the 2020 Graduate Student Award, Chelsea Klinke was selected as a top three finalist for her collaborative, community-engaged research on Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) in rural Panama. For 27 months, Chelsea integrated her background in ethnographic research with sustainable development frameworks of the Peace Corps to promote cross-cultural understanding and social justice. 

During this time, Chelsea co-designed and conducted 15 educational WASH trainings with 30 children and 20 adults to improve particular behavioral practices and increase environmental awareness. She facilitated 2 leadership seminars with 45 aqueduct users to build their capacity for maintaining their water system autonomously. Sustainable potable water infrastructure was developed with 20 households and 1 primary school. Outside of WASH initiatives, Chelsea assisted in the formation of 3 culturally-appropriate women’s empowerment groups containing 40 participants, to encourage leadership among female counterparts. Finally, 60 youth were involved in 3 literacy activities and 3 development camps to foster creativity, goal setting and gender equality. Each initiative has had lasting impacts on social, economic and environmental well-being. 

In her current MA role (Ben McKay supervisor), Chelsea has disseminated project results through a variety of platforms, including academic conference presentations, tangible photo essays, undergraduate guest lectures, and journal submissions. As she pursues her career goal in anthropology, Chelsea hopes to continue this sustainable partnership while advocating for community-based, participatory-action research across disciplines.  

Great work Chelsea!