Welcome New Geography Graduate Students

Emily Acheson

Program: PhD
Supervisor: Brian Klinkenberg
Hometown: Mississauga, ON
“I grew up in Mississauga, Ontario and moved to Vancouver to pursue my PhD in Geography with Dr. Brian Klinkenberg. I’ve always enjoyed learning about animal ecology, but became particularly fascinated with parasites during my undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto. I completed my Master’s degree in Biology at the University of Ottawa using GIS to track mosquitoes carrying malaria parasites in Tanzania. For my PhD, I will continue using GIS and remote sensing to track parasites and their vectors, including ticks, as well as the medically-important fungus Cryptococcus gattii and its spread in Vancouver Island. In my spare time, I enjoy watching movies, swimming, and writing children’s stories.”

Emma Buckrell

Program: MSc
Supervisor: Marwan Hassan
Hometown: London, ON
“I completed my BASc in Environmental Engineering, University of Waterloo. My research is focused on characterizing sediment transport processes surrounding bedforms in gravel bed rivers and the benefits of the use of riffle-pool morphologies in river restoration designs. My past research has involved the use of RFID tracking as an urban river restoration metric.”

Sara Cannon

Program: MSc
Supervisor: Simon Donner
Hometown: Prince Frederick, Maryland, USA
“I grew up on the Chesapeake Bay in rural Maryland, and water has always been a prominent part of my life. My parents were avid scuba divers, and I was exposed to the underwater world at a very young age. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a marine scientist. I’m a recent graduate from the Marine Biology program at the University of California Santa Cruz. For the last three years, I’ve worked closely with a team of scientists and communities in the Ulithi Atoll, Yap, Federated States of Micronesia to help them find ways to protect marine resources within their traditional framework (while still having access for sustenance). My research interests involve attempting to understand the relationships between marine resource use and coral reef health. I’m excited to have the opportunity to explore this topic as a part of Simon Donner’s lab at UBC!”

Belle Cheung

Program: MA
Supervisor: Geraldine Pratt
Hometown: Vancouver, BC & Hong Kong
“I have a background in theatrical and live event production, having completed a BAH at UBC in 2012 in Theatre. I worked in the local arts and culture industry, ranging from large-scale live event, theatrical, and opera productions to working with local non-profits and community/artist groups. I was born in Hong Kong and raised in Vancouver (both of which I call my homes!) and am interested in pursuing the intersections and disconnects between the city’s communities, cultures, and its arts scene. I’m also currently a UBC employee, where I program manage the new Bachelor of Media Studies and UBC Sciences Po Dual Degree programs for the Faculty of Arts.”

Tesia Derksen-Bergen

Program: MA
Supervisor: Dan Hiebert
Hometown: Abbotsford, BC
“I am excited to be returning to UBC to do my Master’s after spending several years as a secondary school Social Studies and English teacher. My two favourite things are cooking gourmet vegetarian meals and spending lots of time on Vancouver’s beautiful beaches.”

Nina Ebner

Program: PhD
Supervisor: Jamie Peck
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
“Originally from Philadelphia, I have spent the past 2 years in Davis, CA, pursuing a masters in Community Development at the University of California, Davis. My undergraduate degree is in History, with a focus on 20th Century labor movements and urban development. After college, I spent time at an affordable housing development non-profit in the Bay Area and also worked for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in Baltimore, MD. As a PhD student, I am interested in studying place-based labor organizing campaigns and the connections between space and economic inequality, particularly the mechanisms that contribute to the concentration of wealth and poverty in urban areas and the implications these concentrations have for labor market outcomes. In my free time I enjoy playing music and riding bikes with friends.”

Kelsey Everard

Program: MSc
Supervisor: Andreas Christen
Hometown: Bristow, Virginia, USA
“I completed my Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences, with a focus in Atmospheric Sciences, at the University of Virginia in May 2015. I have also spent a semester as an exchange student at the University of Edinburgh. My interests include boundary layer meteorology/micrometeorology, mountain meteorology, land-atmosphere interactions, and aerosol-cloud interactions. I’m also interested in hydrology and geophysics. Outside of academics, I enjoy hiking, kayaking, cycling, and running.”

Johannes Exler

Program: PhD
Supervisor: Dan Moore
Hometown: Freiburg, Germany
“My research interests evolve around wetland hydrology. I am currently working in cooperation with Metro Vancouver at Burns Bog, to establish in depth understanding of the occurring hydrology. One goal is the development of a spatially-distributed model, in order to recreate current conditions and simulate the impact of climate change on the bog hydrology.”

Natasha Fox

Program: PhD
Supervisor: David Edgington and Merje Kuus
Hometown: Oregon
“My research is on political, social and feminist geographies of disaster and natural hazards. Specifically, my current interests are situated at the nexus of transnational movements for LGBT rights, and a growing body of research showing that natural hazards such as earthquakes and tsunamis are experienced unevenly along a spectrum of social inequalities within a given society. Much of my work heretofore has focused on the March 11, 2011 disasters in northern Japan and the unique challenges, strengths, and vulnerabilities of LGBT people residing there. I am interested in what lessons can be learned from those experiences to potentially benefit diverse populations experiencing natural hazards in Japan, Canada and beyond.”

Katriina O’Kane

Program: MSc
Supervisor: Greg Henry
Hometown: “Which one?”
“I am an incoming Master’s student, studying plant communities in the High Arctic. Since working in the Yukon five years ago as un undergraduate field assistant, I have been captivated by the North, and am excited that it is part of my Master’s research. I am also a documentary maker, and enjoy observing and listening to the world around me.”

Mikael Omstedt

Program: MA
Supervisor: Jamie Peck
Hometown: Göteborg, Sweden
“I grew up in Sweden, in the (post)industrial cities of Norrköping and Göteborg, and became interested in urban politics through the squatting movement that swept country in 2008-2009. I studied for my undergraduate degree in urban studies at the University of Sheffield, UK and is particularly interested in the political economy of old industrial cities, economic crisis and uneven development. Outside my studies I enjoy dancing Lindy Hop and walking.”

James Pangilinan

Program: PhD
Supervisor: Derek Gregory and Geraldine Pratt
Hometown: Fort Pierce, FLorida/ Seattle, Washington
“I am making the welcome move from Seattle to Vancouver. Before studying Southeast Asian studies at University of Washington and political anthropology at Wesleyan University, I grew up in citrus country: the sun-drenched land of flowers- Florida. I resided where “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” and hurricanes visit on the regular. Fittingly, I am interested in how humanitarianism takes on many practical forms- as policies concerning displacement, as nongovernmental organizations, and diasporic acts of care. I am mostly interested in the Southeast Asian and Philippines contexts, but my interests dwell on transnational circuits of “disaster” expertise, regional and urban planning for “resilience,” and civilian-military collaboration to combat climate change and emergent human risks. When not enervated by the latter, I’m roasting coffee, speculating about potential media projects, skiing or hopefully hiking.”

Caitlin Semmens

Program: MSc
Supervisor: Andreas Christen
Hometown: Vancouver, BC 🙂 
“Generally, my interests are all over the map – from promoting sustainability, to baking, to arts and crafts, and even gaming – I just can’t seem to stick with one thing. Academically, my focus is on the influence of fossil fuel emissions on urban and rural environments, and on how these environments affect the distribution of air pollutants. But most of all, I love learning. And coffee. I also love bugs.”

Wesley Skeeter

Program: PhD
Supervisor: Andreas Christen
Hometown: Salisbury, Maryland, USA
“I study micrometeorology with a focus on greenhouse gas emissions from landscapes. I received my masters in Geography from the University of South Carolina in 2015 and my bachelors degrees in Geography and Earth Sciences from and Salisbury University in 2013. When I’m not working, I’m out exploring like any good geographer. Before moving to Vancouver I through hiked the Appalachian Trail, and now that I’m here I look forward to experiencing the variety of landscapes the west coast has to offer.”

Mike Simpson

Program: PhD
Supervisor: Philippe LeBillon
Hometown: Victoria, BC
“My research examines the political ecology of pipelines in Canada and the US. I am interested in how contestation over pipelines is framed by different groups making reference to different notions of political community, conceptions of nature, and geographical imaginaries. I intend to study how these discursive framings diverge and conjoin to build conflicts and political solidarities over diverse geographies.”

Yinlue Wang

Program: PhD
Supervisor: Marwan Hassan
Hometown: Zhejiang, China
“I am a PhD student under the supervision of Dr. Marwan Hassan. My research concerns geomorphology. In particular, I am focusing on fluvial processes and sediment transport. Before coming to UBC, I studied geography for an MA at Arizona State University. My master’s thesis contains computational fluid dynamics modelling and wind tunnel experiments.”

Connie Yang

Program: MA
Supervisor: Derek Gregory
Hometown: West Lafayette, Indiana
“I recently graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service where I majored in Culture & Politics, an interdisciplinary program that allowed me to discover geography. At UBC, I intend to research the intersections of collective memory/violence/tourism and national identity, with regard to Israel in particular. I enjoy photography, coffee, and wandering around new cities–I look forward to exploring Vancouver!”