University of Washington

Graduate Research News - 2007-2008

UW graduate students are engaged in some of the most innovative research projects on Canada in the United States. Following are articles by students on their projects including field research trips to Canada.

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Summer 2008
UW Graduate Student Spends the Summer Studying French in Montreal
by Jennifer Leider, Public Affairs

Spring 2008
FAME Conference, Olympic Park Institute
By Sara Earhart, co-chair with Maile Sullivan

Winter 2008
UW Graduate Student is Awarded a Foreign Affairs, Canada Graduate Research Grant! Science and Empire in the Pacific Northwest
by Brian Schefke, History

Winter 2008
Freight Wait Times at the Canada-US Border
by Susan Albrecht, International Studies

Fall 2007
Center FLAS is the First in the Nation to Focus on a Canadian First Nations Language
by Julia Colleen Miller, Linguistics

Fall 2007
Un été inoubliable à Montréal (An Unforgettable Summer in Montréal)
by Cody Case, Ethnomusicology

Fall 2007
Center FLAS is First in the Nation in the Inuit Language —A Summer in Canada’s Arctic Studying Inuktitut
by Tim Pasch, Communication


UW Graduate Student Spends the Summer Studying French in Montreal
by Jennifer Leider, Public Affairs, Summer 2008

Jennifer Leider, a graduate student at the Evans School of Public Affairs, focuses on comparative policy studies for her research. She has also expanded her research to citizen political engagement through public deliberation. More specifically, she is interested in comparatively looking at political and economic influences on media coverage and its effects upon citizen political engagement in the US, Canada and Western Europe.

My summer in Montreal was an amazing experience. The city has a great mix of Francophone and Anglophone history and culture. The intensive French program at a school in the heart of Old Montreal provided a great chance to improve my language skills from an intermediate to an advanced level. The experience has even inspired me to consider a PhD focusing on civil society in Québec.

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2008 FAME Conference
by Sara Earhart

Mark Gleason, the 2008 recipient of the Canada-US Marine Ecosystems Scholarship with Maile Sullivan, co-chair, 2008 FAME conference.

Sara Earhart is a graduate student at the School of Marine Affair. She headed up the fundraising efforts for the Fisheries and Marine Ecosystems Conference as well as gave a paper on wildlife tourism. Sara will be graduating in June of 2008.

This past April 83 graduate students from the US and Canada convened for the 8th Annual Fisheries and Marine Ecosystems (FAME) Conference at the Olympic Park Institute. Students attending the conference traveled from 20 different Universities including Canadians from Dalhousie University, University of British Columbia, Memorial University of Newfoundland, University of Victoria, and Simon Fraser University.

The mission of this year's conference was to provide a forum for graduate students of marine and fisheries science, social science, and environmental policy to address existing issues in coastal and marine ecosystems, and to gain a more dynamic perspective on the approaches necessary to improve management of these ecosystems. A secondary goal was to provide a venue where current and future scientists, managers, and policy-makers can establish productive collaborations to address existing concerns and future needs in the research and management of marine and coastal ecosystems.

Every year one or two students receive a scholarship from the Center for outstanding contributions to cross-border marine management research. This year Mark Gleason, Marine Affairs, was selected for his paper. One of his case studies is from the Lummi Island Wild Reef Net Coop that targets trans-boundary stocks of sockeye salmon primarily destined for the Fraser River in Canada.

The FAME Conference proved to be an excellent opportunity for UW students to network and establish professional relationships with students from Canadian universities. We hope that this experience will promote cross-border research between the US and Canada in the future here at the UW.

Fisheries, Aquatic and Marine Ecosystems (FAME) Network
The FAME network is an association of graduate students from Canada and the US who are interested in a variety of aspects of fisheries, marine and near-shore ecosystems. The annual FAME conference provides a forum for graduate students to share research and network with peers. The conference encourages collaboration and camaraderie between and among graduate students from University of Washington, Oregon State University, Simon Fraser University, Washington State University and University of British Columbia.

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 UW Graduate Student is Awarded a Foreign Affairs, Canada Graduate Research Grant! Science and Empire in the Pacific Northwest
by Brian Schefke, History, Winter 2008

An "action" shot of Brian conducting research in the UW Library.

Brian Schefke, a doctoral candidate in History, received a 2007-08 Graduate Research Grant from Foreign Affairs, Canada for his project, "A Naturalist’s Empire: Natural History and Imperialism in the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada, 1790-1860." Brian’s topic deals with the activities of naturalists working in the Pacific Northwest during the early nineteenth century and how their work was connected to the interests of imperial powers, such as Britain, and the institutions through which they worked, such as the Hudson’s Bay Company.

My specialty within history is the history of the life sciences. Upon arriving at the UW, I became interested in natural history, the predecessor of modern biology. I had long been interested in the interaction of science with questions of politics and economics and thus began to investigate the practice of natural history as an “imperial science” in the Pacific Northwest. Or, science put in the service of advancing the expansionist aims of European nations contending for control of what is now Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia in the first half of the nineteenth century. The main question I am addressing is – how did natural history shape, and how was it shaped by, imperialist aims for the region?

Most of my research has been conducted locally. In particular, the journals of naturalists and fur traders have provided considerable insight into the practice of natural history in the Northwest and its implications for imperialism as expressed in the main economic activities conducted between Europeans and native peoples of the area. In addition, I am currently investigating the records of the Hudson Bay Company (HBC). As the representative of British power in the Northwest, the HBC was well placed to exert considerable political and economic influence in the region. The HBC was also significant in providing logistical support for visiting naturalists, and HBC employees themselves conducted natural historical research, either at the behest of the company or for the purposes of assisting scientific organizations in Britain.

The Graduate Research Grant will enable me to make trips to the HBC Archives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and the Royal British Columbia Archives in Victoria, where I will undertake an intensive examination of HBC records as well as the perspectives of individual naturalists, traders and native people. This will aid me greatly in the completion of my dissertation. Furthermore, such information will help our historical - and contemporary - understanding of the connections between science and questions of political and economic power.

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 Freight Wait Times at the Canada-US Border
by Susan Albrecht, Winter 2008

Susan Albrecht (left) and Anne Goodchild, Civil and Environmental Engineering visiting the Port of Seattle.

Susan Albrecht has a Master’s in Policy Studies and is finishing a Master’s in International Studies with the Jackson School of International Studies. She has also completed graduate certificates in Global Trade, Transportation and Logistics, and Environmental Management with the Program on the Environment. Her academic research focuses on international security, energy and environmental policy. As a research assistant in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Susan has assisted in research and co-authored papers on transportation logistics at the US-Canadian border and the Port of Prince Rupert, British Columbia.

For the last year and a half, I have been a research assistant in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in Professor Anne Goodchild’s research program, the Goods Movement Collaborative. The Collaborative is composed of an interdisciplinary group of graduate students who are engaged in research in various aspects of transportation, ports and the movement of goods.

The first year I worked on a research project that focused on service times at the Lower British Columbia and Whatcom County border crossings for freight carriers. We collected quantitative and qualitative data regarding variable border crossing times. Variable crossing times can cause significant transportation planning challenges for companies, which must either allow more time than is necessary or risk missing delivery windows. This border crossing is the fourth busiest commercial crossing on the US-Canadian border, and the most significant commercial crossing for the Western portion of this border. We talked to 20 companies that cross this border frequently – 13 US and seven Canadian – in order to get a better idea of the impact to regional carriers and to better understand the current impact of this variability on regional supply chains. As a result of our interviews, we identified seven strategies companies use for minimizing the impact of variability on their operations.

I co-authored the final paper, "Service time variability at the Blaine, Washington international border crossing and the impact on regional supply chains" and had the opportunity to present the results of this research at the World Conference on Transportation Research in Berkeley, California, in June 2007, as well as at the Border Regions in Transition conference in Victoria, British Columbia and Bellingham, Washington in January 2008.

Late summer and fall of 2007, Professor Goodchild asked me to assist on a separate project on the opening of a new deep water port and container terminal in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, which culminated in a paper we presented at The 4th Annual Steelhead Symposium Ports, Politics and the Pacific Gateway: Consequences for Regional Development in Western Canada in Prince Rupert entitled, "A container terminal at the Port of Prince Rupert: Considerations from a transportation perspective."

This year we are examining data that emerged from our previous work on border crossing times, specifically focusing on freight transportation in the Western Cascadia Border region. Our data shows there is a regional trucking pattern that is a function of this border region’s trade, geography, and infrastructure. The emergence of cross border regions is a new and growing field, but one that demonstrates that strong and multidimensional linkages are taking hold at the regional level. Through our research, we suggest the Western Cascadia region is an area that has substantial links. In particular the Seattle-Vancouver corridor is a vital trade and freight transportation gateway.

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Center FLAS is the First in the Nation to Focus on a Canadian First Nations Language
by Julia Colleen Miller, Linguistics, Fall 2007

Julia Miller conducting field research in Northern British Columbia.

Julia Colleen Miller is a doctoral candidate in Linguistics and a Foreign Language and Area Studies fellow for the 2007-08 academic year pursuing fluency in Dane-Zaa, an endangered language spoken in Northern British Columbia. This is the first FLAS in the nation to be awarded for a First Nations language.

Over the last couple of summers, I had the privilege of taking part in a large, collaborative project entitled Dane Wajich- Dane-zaa Stories and Songs: Dreamers and the Land. The theme for this exhibit was inspired by Elders of the Doig River First Nation and their desire to share stories that connect them and their grandchildren to the land. Our mission was to document the oral histories told in the Dane-zaa language (also known as Beaver), an endangered First Nations language spoken in British Columbia and Alberta. Other participants in the project included the youth of Doig River, anthropologists from University of British Columbia and Memorial University of Newfoundland, linguists from University of Cologne (Germany) and me, a doctoral candidate from the Linguistics Department at UW.

For one month, we traveled with Elders into the bush of the Peace River region to collect their stories. This video collection phase, funded by the Virtual Museum of Canada, has yielded a digital exhibit, an interactive webpage of video, audio, photos and texts. The English translations and subsequent transcription into the Dane-zaa writing system was funded by the Volkswagen Foundation, a private institution that finances documentation of endangered languages. The exhibit has officially launched and can be found at

Thanks to the FLAS awards I have received from the Canadian Studies Center, my work with the Dane-zaa Elders, and my academic advisor here at UW, Dr. Sharon Hargus, I am able to continue my scholarship of Dane-zaa. This will enable me not only to achieve my goal of a PhD in Linguistics, where I will be investigating acoustic properties of lexical tone in Dane-zaa, but also to give something back to the Dane-zaa-speaking communities. It is my hope that materials assembled for my language studies, as well as for my dissertation, will aid in continuing efforts toward language documentation and revitalization within the Dane-zaa communities.

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Un été inoubliable à Montréal (An Unforgettable Summer in Montréal)
by Cody Case, Ethnomusicology, Fall 2007

A Montréal fountain Cody rode past daily on his way to Université Montréal.

Cody Case is a graduate student in Ethnomusicology and received a Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship to study French in Montréal this last summer. He is conducting research on hip-hop music in Québec and how the music reflects the immigration experience in the province.

The white iris flowers layered the crowd of waving Québécois flags like a wild field on a windy summer night; the flowers symbolize purity, French Canadian history, and Québec’s deeply embedded roots in the Catholic Church. It was June 24th, the date of my arrival in Montréal and more popularly known as St. Jean Baptiste or la Fête Nationale du Québec. I arrived at my friend’s apartment to briefly unload my luggage before borrowing a bike to ride down to the Park Maisonneuve—dedicated to the French military officer who founded Montréal in the mid-17th century. I arrived to a massive crowd draped in Québec’s national colors of blue and white. There were so many flags waving that walking through the crowd was like an obstacle course; I was even whacked in the face by one while trying to approach the stage! Numerous Québécois popular music groups performed to an enthusiastic crowd that recited the lyrics song-after-song.

The concert on St. Jean Baptiste was an excellent introduction to the national sentiments and phenomenal support for the arts I would encounter countless times during my two-month stay in Montréal. As evident in the continual music festivals including le Festival du Jazz, le Festival Internationale Nuits d’Afrique, and le Francopholie (just to name a few), the music never ceases during Montréal’s comfortably warm and humid summer climate.

While in Montréal, I took engaging courses on the French language and Québec Culture and Society at the Université de Montréal, attended innumerable concerts where I conducted interviews with musicians, and even spent forty hours throughout the summer with a Québécois professor with whom I visited Montréal’s museums, libraries, and art galleries, or simply met at a cafe to study French grammar. Thanks to these opportunities, my research on the importance and diversity of hip-hop in Québécois society—in addition to the progress I made in French—will significantly improve my masters papers, and has granted me an unforgettable summer.

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Center FLAS is First in the Nation in the Inuit Language —A Summer in Canada’s Arctic Studying Inuktitut
by Tim Pasch, Communication, Fall 2007

"This picture was taken on the first night of our week-long hunting expedition. Every member had a role to play, and I was continually impressed with the skill and patience of the group members." (Tim is second from left.)

Timothy Pasch is a doctoral candidate in the Communication Department. He is working with committee chair Anthony Chan on the use of the internet in Arctic communities in Canada. The working title of his dissertation is, "Inuktitut Online in Nunavik: Mixed Methods Web-Based Strategies for the Preservation of Aboriginal and Minority Languages." Tim is in his fourth year of Inuktitut and has been awarded a FLAS fellowship for the Inuit language each year since 2005.

This past summer, thanks to a Foreign Language and Area Studies fellowship in the Inuktitut language through the Canadian Studies Center, I had the opportunity to travel to the Canadian Arctic, and live in the village of Inukjuaq, in Nunavik, in the far North of Québec. While there, I lived with an Inuit family and spoke Inuktitut everyday. At first this was extremely difficult for me, however, the patience of the community members and the generosity of my family was simply empowering. I felt welcomed and learned an extraordinary amount—not only about language but also culturally, and the friends and contacts that I made will last throughout my life.

When I arrived in Inukjuaq, I was met by my contact from the Avataq Cultural Center. This was wonderful as she introduced me to my new family and we began to get acquainted. This was the beginning of my language experience, and also the start of my education about the current state of Inuit communities. My research involves with social networking movements in Inuit communities, and more broadly language preservation online. I was particularly interested in learning how Inuit communicate with each other face-to-face, and how this changes when taken online. In order to learn more, I spoke with as many Inuit as I could (an adventure in itself!), asking about language, culture, and trying to understand the Inuit experience more fully. I felt welcomed throughout and my Inuktitut was a constant sorce of fun and amusement for the Inuit who enjoyed helping me with my pronunciation and vocabulary.

During the voyage I gained so much—not only data for my research, and ideas for writing, but friendships, language, and knowledge of an ancient and noble culture, all wrapped up in the kind, smiling faces of my Inuit companions. The Foreign Language and Area Studies fellowship opportunity has been the highlight of my program. It is a way that theory and coursework can be applied to the real world.

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Canadian Studies Center
University of Washington
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Thomson Hall, Room 503
Seattle, WA 98195-3650
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