Welcome to the Graduate Cohort 2010

The incoming cohort of 2010 have completed their first step: student biographies.  Learn about our newest students in this article.

Stefano Bettani
B.A. Human Science of Landscape and Environment, Universita’ degli Studi di Milano, 2007; B.A. Human Geography, Queen Mary University of London, 2010.
I would not claim that my research interests and my decision to undertake postgraduate studies is only a product of my experiences as a student in two different universities, in Italy and England. I  have also been strongly influenced by growing up in a small village, where religion and masculinity played a leading role in the production of cultural values and social structures. My main interests are gender studies, particularly the social production of femininities and masculinities, sexualities and queer theory; and the relationship between sexualities, gender categories and space. I am in love with books such as History of Sexuality Volume I (Foucault, 1976), Gender Trouble (Butler, 1990) and Mapping Desire (Bell & Valentine, 1995). I find an infinite pleasure in thinking about myself as “open to everything that can be described as not giving any bad aftertaste”, so…let’s say that I enjoy doing everything and nothing depending on the performance of the day ! I am so happy to be here.

Katherine Cofell
B.A., Geography, International Studies, and Scandinavian Studies, University of Oregon, 2007.
My academic interests include rural poverty and development, the food system, and social movements.  I am curious to explore how agrarian communities organize to address disparities in wealth and resource distribution, particularly the role seed saving collectives play as an extension of the local food movement, and as a model for rural development.  Since completing my degree, I have traveled, worked on organic vegetable and seed farms, volunteered with various non-profits, and served as an Americorps VISTA with a community food organization in rural Tillamook, Oregon.  Outside of the garden and the classroom, I can be found playing music, adventuring outside, crafting medicinal herb concoctions and cooking delicious food.

Kristy Copeland
Masters, Urban Spatial Analytics, University of Pennsylvania, 2007; B.A., Sociology and Public Policy, UCLA, 2002.
My research applies spatial statistics to the study of migration and integration of human populations, especially ethnic groups.  In my Masters thesis, “Black Immigrants in Philadelphia: Residential Segregation and Assimilation”, a spatial clustering method reveals that, despite significant educational and other advantages, Caribbean and African origin immigrants are as highly segregated from non-black populations as native blacks and their upward mobility is confined to existing black neighborhoods.  I look forward to further exploring the causes, effects, and policy implications of spatial phenomena like concentrated poverty, inequality, segregation, immigration, and mobility.  In addition to academia, I find food, wine, music, and dance irresistible.

Elyse Gordon
B.A., Geography, Macalester College (2008).
After studying political ecology and international development, my focus has shifted towards examining first world, primarily urban, inequality. Specifically, I am interested in how urban environmental initiatives can empower urban residents to feel a stronger sense of ownership, rather than disenfranchisement, of their space. These new interests are inspired by after years of working with youth and non-profits in Minneapolis, and I hope to center my research around youth and the non-profit sector in Seattle. I am also a passionate supporter of food justice, community gardens, and (hopefully) raising chickens in the city.

Jesse McClleland
I hold a B.A. in Philosophy from Grinnell College (2001) and a M.A. in International Human Rights Law from the American University in Cairo (2008). My M.A. thesis was a critical appraisal of housing rights as applied to the Ethiopian government’s production of new condominiums in Addis Ababa. As a geographer, I intend to focus much of my work on governance and the politics of urban life, particularly in the contexts of Africa, the Middle East, and my home country, the US.

Skye Naslund
B.A. Geography and International Relations, State University of New York at Geneseo, December 2009, following a track in developing world studies with a minor in Anthropology. My primary interests center around medical geography, particularly the study of infectious diseases and their dispersion patters and effects on the developing world. Having studied abroad for a semester at the University of Ghana, I have developed a strong regional focus on sub-Saharan Africa. After graduating, I spent several months living and traveling around Santiago, Chile. In my spare time, I love traveling, skiing, and cooking.

Yanning Wei
When I was an undergraduate student (Economics), I traveled a lot to the Chinese countryside to see how farmers made a living and how policy had changed the way they used to live. As a part of my research interest, I spent much time on those bankrupt state-run manufacturing factories in the Northeast China. Working as a planning official after graduation, I witnessed rapid changes made to the urban landscape in my hometown and how people’s lives were dramatically changed. It was where I started thinking of exploring driving forces behind unprecedented urbanization.  At present, my primary interest focuses on China’s urban transition in general. I am particularly interested in institutions (such as Hukou) and government in China. I am also interested in western political/economic thought and western philosophy. I worked as land use planner, data analyst, GIS analyst and IT staff in the past years.

Natalie Jayne White
B.A., International Studies from Willamette University in Salem Oregon (2007).
International development and sustainability were major interests. For my senior thesis I examined micro-credit as a development strategy and whether micro-credit organizations that claimed to promote economic development and still make a profit were in fact able to bring about real poverty reduction. After graduating I served in Peace Corps Guatemala. Assigned to the agricultural program, I worked with women’s groups promoting family gardens, small animal production and nutrition. I lived in a village almost entirely dependent on US remittances and became very interested in immigration and its social ramifications for both sending and receiving societies. At the University of Washington I am interested in examining return migration; both the factors that influence an immigrant’s decision to return home and the impact on their origin communities. In my free time I mainly enjoy hiking, fishing, dancing and cooking for friends.

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