PhD Candidate, Vanier Scholar, Community Organizer
Lauren Touchant is a PhD Candidate in Public Administration at the University of Ottawa and is a BESC Vanier Scholar. Her research interests focus on environmental and energy policy, and disaster management. As part of her research, she explores how various smart cities’ initiatives can help decision makers and policy makers address wicked problems and improve energy efficiency. Lauren is involved in various academic activities that foster education, research, leadership, but especially uses research to positively contribute to social and political change. She is currently involved with a group of academics from the University of Ottawa who advocates for the right for housing and the Housing First Model to reduce chronic homelessness in Ottawa and Canada. She also mentors teams of students at the 2018 AquaHacking Challenge organized by the Gaspé Beaubien Foundation. The purpose is to develop a technology that would help emergency authorities to better alert residents and authorities in time of major flooding (Quebec and Ontario flooding, 2017), and develop mechanisms to improve communication between residents and authorities during a disaster.
Over the past 14 years, Lauren has been involved in numerous community projects, and sat on 7 board of directors. She is the current president of the Vanier Community Association and chairs two new VCA committees: Vanier Safety Committee and the Committee for the development of Montreal Road French Quarter and its Francophonie. She also chairs the Together for Vanier Community Stakeholders Table. Lauren has been recognized multiple times for her leadership and her commitment to her community including in 2011 when she received the Youth Volunteer Award from the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration and then, in 2018 when she was granted the Women leaders building communities Award from Status of Women Ontario.
- What first interested you in working in infrastructure/development?
Providing empirical research for decision-makers to help better protect, develop and manage critical infrastructure and technology including green technology in the context of climate change, GHG reduction, and extreme weather events.
Overall, I hope to protect lives, contribute to elaborating evidence-based policies in energy and environmental policy through research.
- What is your proudest professional achievement?
- Receiving the Leading Women, Building Community Recognition from the Ontario Ministry of the Status of Women and receiving the BESC Vanier Scholarship in 2016. I felt all my hard work in academia and as a community leader paid off after over a decade of commitment.
- What is your favourite spot in Ottawa?
- The Rideau-Canada Locks because I am always amazed by the brilliance of our ancestors.
- How do you survive the Ottawa winter?
- I adore winter and love the Holiday Season. After summer I always look forward to snow, lights, and magic.