[Series] Humans behind AquaHacking: Melissa Dick

By Carmen Joy King February 21, 2020

Melissa Dick is our Development Officer, since fall 2019. She has joined the team as we were about to launch the AquaHacking Fest 2019 in Montréal, QC. She moved to Montreal, QC from Toronto, ON to take this new position at the AquaHacking Head Office, where she is responsible for our Alumni Program and Recruitment hubs across Canada.

Meet Melissa through those few questions…

What is your professional background?

I come to AquaHacking with a strong background in water and fish biology research, and managing community watershed initiatives, from all across Canada. I have always sought to advance the work of organizations that aim to have a positive social and environmental impact on society. I have worked in multiple levels of government, at the federal level with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the municipal level through the Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable in British Columbia and the Conservation Authorities in Ontario. I spent many years as a field technician and researcher, collecting water samples from lakes and rivers and catching fish of all shapes and sizes to record measurements and observations of their behavior and health. Research has always been a passion of mine, and I have enjoyed having the privilege in the past to work closely with cleantech companies to identify new market opportunities for their services or products, generating recommendations on best practices to collect and manage water quality data, pulling together information on fisheries to inform management decisions, and more. I also have really enjoyed being able to engage with community members to introduce them to the wonders and beauty of the natural world, even in urban settings, and encourage them to become advocates and stewards of their local waterways.

What do you like the most about your job (in general)?

Seeing an individual realize they can reach a greater potential, making connections with unlikely allies

Why do you think we should care about what AquaHacking is doing?

The issues that impact our freshwater systems today are incredibly complex. Not one discipline or solution will provide the answers we need. AquaHacking encourages multidisciplinary approaches in its design challenge and values all perspectives. Due to this, I believe the solutions generated through the AquaHacking program will have greater and longer-lasting impacts.

What is your favorite lake or river?

Stellako River, in British Columbia

For you, what is a healthy lake or river?

A healthy lake or river is one that has a vibrant aquatic ecosystem with fish, invertebrates, vegetation, waterfowl, and megafauna.

When you are not working, what do you like to do?

I love planning for and going on outdoor adventures with friends and family.

What is the best advice you have received?

Trust the process.

What are your pro-environmental gestures or efforts or resolutions?

Choosing zero-waste options when I go grocery shopping and supporting local farmers and food producers

What is your best memory of AquaHacking?

My first AquaHacking event was the 2018 Final in Toronto. I remember walking into the Design Exchange building and seeing the room with the lights, screens, music, chairs, and people. I had never experienced anything like it. I knew I had discovered something very exciting.

What social media do you use the most?

Twitter is increasingly growing on me. I have been able to expand my professional network and actually meet and have conversations with new contacts through Twitter. I think it’s a great platform to learn about what others are working on and to make new connections. Let’s follow one another — My handle is @Feelin_Fishy!