Ashley Shaw, MES(C), School of Environmental and Sustainability, University of Saskatchewan



My name is Ashley Shaw and before you ask, no, I am not a crafty/artsy person. I once tried to sew a heart shaped pin cushion, it did not end up looking anything close to a heart and I did not do well on that assignment. I DID however, manage to convince my teacher at the time to give it a passing grade.  Know your strengths, everyone.

Now before you question WHY I am on this blog let me first tell you that I am currently delving into the world of creativity. I have recently picked up my camera again, which is the one area of art that I will give myself a bit of credit for. I also recently purchased a concert ukulele. My master plan is to woo as many people as possible, but I know nothing about music, so it will be an adventure.

Although I may not be good at many DIY’s or sewing or painting or drawing or sculpting…I AM good at cooking. I like to think of myself as the Macgyver of the culinary world. Maybe it has something to do with growing up in poverty and doing what you can with what you have, or maybe it’s because I like the challenge – whatever it is, I like to think I make great meals out of practically thin air!

Okay, not thin air. But I think I still make pretty decent meals with a few basic ingredients and a rice cooker! (and they think grad students can’t fend for themselves!!)


So yes, rice cooking adventures and the potential tune or two from my uke, those are my skills which I can hope to bring to this website.


Before I forget, let me quickly mention my work. I have been trained quite heavily in the quantitative sciences, I have published works in Eugregarine parasites and the infection rates and interactions with invertebrates such as Gryllus firmus crickets. I have also done some qualitative work with wildlife conservation and ecological integrity of the Amazon rainforest. But in 2015 I made the decision to move to the scariest creatures of all, humans.


I asked Ashley for a picture of her working in the field and this is what she sent me. Social scientists lead the most glamorous lives.

The last two years have been filled with the ups and downs of social science, human rights advocation, natural resource management, and technological advancement aids.

I work with Indigenous communities, public advisory groups, the Ministry of Environment, and the University of Saskatchewan to develop GIS maps which may visually display the knowledge we have in regards to natural resource use and land use planning.

It may not sound like much, but the knowledge can get overwhelming and I for one am humbled because of it.

As for next steps, I’m not sure! I would like to work for a bit before entering a PhD. I hear the rainforest in Madagascar is looking very promising? Or maybe I’ll enter a bicycle tournament in Europe? Or MAYBE I will join the good fight and stay here in the prairies. The possibilities are quite literally, endless.




Rice Cooker Recipe:

Red Thai Coconut Curry (Vegetarian not vegan):

1 rice cooker

1 can of coconut milk (size determined by size of rice cooker, I usually get a small can)

1 container of tofu (I prefer firm or extra firm)
2 tbsp of red curry paste


1) Turn on the rice cooker and place a small amount of coconut oil inside to warm up.

2) Open the container of tofu and cut into small cubes, the sizing doesn’t have to be perfect.

3) Place the cubes into the rice cooker and let the tofu brown.

4) Pour the entire can of coconut milk (or half, depending on desired texture of curry) in the rice cooker.

5) Include 2 heaping tbsp’s of red curry paste into the mix, stir GENTLY as the tofu could break.

6) Let that heat and bubble up for about 20 – 30 minutes depending on how how your rice cooker gets.

7) Stir some more and let sit.

8) Sprinkle a touch of black pepper

9) ENJOY 😀


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