The latest from the New Brunswick Institute for Research, Data and Training

PopNB Student Spotlight: Meet the Students Examining New Brunswick’s Urban and Rural Populations

Author: NB-IRDT Staff

Posted on Oct 28, 2022

Category: Training , Pathways to Professions

Each summer, NB-IRDT hosts cohorts of student research teams as part of its Pathways to Professions (P2P) experiential learning program. For 13 weeks, these students work on New Brunswick-relevant projects while attending a full curriculum of professional skills workshops. Now that the 2022 program has ended, we are excited to begin sharing our students’ projects and their findings in a monthly student spotlight series. Last month, we met the BoostNB team. Now, second up in the series: PopNB.

What is PopNB?

Short for Population New Brunswick, PopNB is a P2P research stream that aims to characterize New Brunswick's demographics through open-source data. This includes looking closely at trends in post-secondary education, immigration and population mobility, and family and household attributes. The purpose of PopNB is to describe various population demographics to provide data-driven policy implications for government and community stakeholders.

PopNB has been a P2P research stream since the program launched in 2020. This summer, the PopNB team examined New Brunswick's urban (Fredericton, Moncton, and Saint John) and rural population dynamics and population growth. After all, New Brunswick is almost equally divided between urban and rural populations: around 51% of New Brunswickers live in urban communities, and 49% live in rural communities.

So, how are New Brunswick’s urban and rural services and populations similar to or different from each other? You can find out more by checking out their infographic or reading PopNB’s 2022 report.

Meet the 2022 PopNB Team

Lee Whelan, Paige Stewardson, Hannah Breneol, Evan Smith, Courtney Stacey


Lee Whelan – PopNB Project Mentor

Lee Whelan is in the final year of pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Economics at the University of New Brunswick. Lee also currently works as a Research Assistant at NB-IRDT. After graduation, Lee hopes to pursue further academic studies in the field of political science and find opportunities where they can implement their research and writing abilities to progress public policy and improve the lives of Atlantic Canadians. Outside of their studies and work, Lee enjoys spending time with their two cats, playing guitar, and tending to their vegetable garden.

Paige Stewardson – PopNB Communications Coordinator

Paige Stewardson is a second-year student at the University of New Brunswick in the faculty of law. Prior to this, she obtained a double major in environmental studies and political science at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Paige is passionate about legal advocacy, helping people, and the environment. She hopes her passions will lead to a career in environmental or tort law. Outside of work, Paige enjoys interior design, sports, and spending time with her dog, Penny.

Hannah Breneol – PopNB Researcher

Hannah Breneol is a second-year student at Mount Allison University who is completing her bachelor of science in psychology. When she graduates, she plans to travel and then take a master of education in counseling. Hannah plays on the MTA field hockey team and enjoys rock climbing and spending quality time with her family.

Evan Smith – PopNB Researcher

Evan Smith is entering his fourth year at the University of New Brunswick, where he is pursuing an honours degree in political science. Upon graduation, Evan is still undecided on what he wants to do as a career. When not in class, he enjoys running on the UNB track and field team, listening to podcasts, and reading books.

Courtney Stacey – PopNB Researcher

Courtney Stacey is in her final year at the University of New Brunswick, where she is pursuing a bachelor of arts in psychology with a specialization in neuroscience. Courtney feels strongly about the impacts that cognitive disabilities and neurodegenerative disorders have on an individual’s daily activities and quality of life. After graduating, her hope is to pursue a graduate degree in experimental psychology, with the goal of participating in research designed to better the lives of Canadians experiencing these cognitive difficulties. In her free time, Courtney enjoys running, crafting, and spending time with family, friends, and animals.



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