Sept. 17, 2019

Grad student moves from microplastics and squash to law and public policy

Aimee Huntington is making an impact in the classroom and on the court
Aimee Huntington
Aimee Huntington has started in the JD/MPP program. Adrian Shellard

It wasn’t a lack of passion for the research that made Aimee Huntington choose to move across the country, but a desire to be able to affect real change to the system. While completing her undergrad at the University of Toronto, she had the opportunity to conduct a research project on the prevalence of microplastics in the Eastern Canadian Arctic, and their distribution in relation to human populations.

When Huntington attended the North American Congress for Conservation Biology conference last summer, she was able to talk to a variety of professors and attend different lectures. It was there that she realized the lack of work and research being done on the policy and the legal side of her research area.

“I’m so passionate about this area of science, but I really want to be able to play a role in making real changes to the system,” she explains. “You can do that from an academic and research perspective, but I feel like my skill set, and what I’m good at, is more on the people and policy side of things.”

Now, Huntington has made the journey across Canada to begin her studies in the JD/MPP program, a joint degree with the Faculty of Law and The School of Public Policy.

“I was really keen to attend UCalgary Law for a number of reasons, including the strong focus on natural resources, energy and environmental law, but also for the small class sizes and hands-on learning opportunities, which is really important for me, especially coming from a science background.”

Aimee Huntington Squash

Aimee Huntington played squash for the University of Toronto during her undergrad studies.

Aimee Huntington

When Huntington wasn’t in the lab, she was busy leading the University of Toronto’s squash team, a sport she has been playing since she was a child, but started playing competitively in university. 

“Squash is often seen as an individual sport, with a small roster, especially compared to other varsity sports, so we are all really close, and good friends,” she says. “When we compete we are all rooting for each other, so when someone wins a match, it really is a team effort.”

This team effort helped Huntington lead her team to win the Ontario Jesters University Squash League, as well winning silver in the Ontario University Athletics in 2018, which was the team’s primary goal under the direction of a new coach.

Huntington’s success on the squash court and in the lab has landed her one of the law school’s top scholarships, the JD Program Entrance Scholarship for varsity sport and academic excellence.

“It’s so great to be recognized for my hard work, and I am looking forward to being able to work closely with professors at UCalgary, and moving my research forward within the legal and public policy context.”

“I’m also really excited to play squash in the amazing racquet facility we have on campus,” she adds.