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Canada in the World: Third Annual Grad Symposium in Canadian Studies

April 30, 2008

Canada in the World 2008

Third Annual Canadian Studies Grad Student Symposium. From left: Julia Miller, Linguistics; Katie Leach-Kemon, Evans School; Brian Schefke, History; Li Leung, Civil and Environmental Engineering; Professor Don Alper, Western Washington University; Miyhun Seol, Forest Resources; Professor Patrick James, University of Southern California; and Morna McEachern, Social Work.

I felt that this year’s symposium was able to enrich understanding of the interdisciplinary strength of Canadian Studies at the UW. In the keynote presentations, distinguished speakers, Dr. Patrick James, University of Southern California and current president of the Association for Canadian Studies in the US, and Dr. Donald Alper, director of both the Center for Canadian-American Studies and the Border Policy Research Institute at Western Washington University, impressed upon the audience the importance of cross-border research. In the student sessions, six graduate students delivered brilliant presentations covering international aid, history, linguistics, transportation, port logistics, and forest marketing.

Katie Leach-Kemon, Evans School of Public Affairs, presented what the USAID could learn from Canadian international aid models. Brian Schefke, History, presented his research on natural history and imperialism in the Oregon Country with a broad and interesting explanation focused on the role of the Hudson’s Bay Company in our region. The presentation of Dane-zaa, an endangered language in the British Columbia, was delivered by Julia Colleen Miller, Linguistics. She truly inspired everyone with her short film about the impact of her project. Li Leung, Civil and Environmental Engineering, discussed her collection of data for wait times at the Canada-US border. Susan Albrecht, International Studies, presented innovative models for port development and logistic practices. Finally, I introduced how Canada is performing a significant role in the world forest certification system based on sustainable forest management.

One of biggest outcomes from this symposium is the diversity of the research presented and the building of networks between graduate students from many disciplines who have one common thread to their work—Canada or the Canada-US relationship. It was a pleasure to serve as a co-chair with Jeff Cao for this year’s symposium.

Mihyun Seol, PhD Candidate in the College of Forest Resources, co-chaired the symposium with Jeff Cao, also a doctoral candidate in the College. Mihyun’s research focuses on forest certification trends in Canada, China and the US.