Graduate Student Conference Notes

The Henry Maier funds are used in part to underwrite graduate student travel to conferences to present research. Four doctoral students report on their travels.


Michael J. Lorr
I attended and presented a paper (“The Social Construction of SustainableHousing in Vancouver, BC,” which is a portion of a dissertation chapter) at the Urban History Association’s 5th Biennial Conference in Las Vegas, NV, from October 20-23, 2010. The Conference theme “Sustainable Cities” matched up well with my own research on the popularization of urban sustainable development. Before going to the conference, I secured travel funding from the Urban Studies program and from the UWM Graduate school’s Graduate StudentTravel Award Program. During the conference, I socialized with fellow graduate students and professional scholars interested in many of the topics that I am currently researching.I met the discussant of my panel and many other people including Sharon Zukin and Dolores Hayden, who is the 2010 president of the Urban History Association. It was encouraging to talk to them about the challenges of finishing a Ph.D. and may eventually help me create the necessary social network for attaining an academic job.

Tomas Garrett
Going through the Urban Studies Program at UWM has been a great experience and journey for me. Having survived the coursework and prelims, I am now actively engaged in research on minority academic achievement in public schools. This last year I had the opportunity to present the findings of my research at the 2011 Hawaii International Conference on Education that was held January 4-8, 2011 in Honolulu, Hawaii. The title of my dissertation is “Making the Invisible Visible: Examining the Schooling Experiences of High Achieving African American, Latina/o, and Mixed Race/ Multiethnic High School Students.” Professors, teachers, and students from all over the world were in attendance. I got to hear many amazing presentations on the work that these scholars conducted on educational research as well as engage in important networking. Honolulu is beautiful and getting the opportunity to present my research and receive incredible feedback on my hard work made this one of the best experiences of my life. I am also happy to announce that my paper has been recently accepted to present at the American Sociological Association’s Annual Meeting in August. I’d like to thank all of the wonderful USP faculty, staff, and my dissertation committee for helping me to develop my study and achieve my Ph.D. in Urban Studies. Aloha!

Karen W. Moore
I was grateful to receive funding from the UWM Urban Studies Program for attendance at the 35th Annual Social Science History Association Conference held at the Palmer House in Chicago, November 18-21, 2010. The conference theme was “Power and Politics.” My presentation was part of a session called “The Urban Environment in Historical Perspective.” I presented a version of my fourth dissertation chapter, regarding the role that the Wisconsin Railroad Commission played in disillusioning Milwaukee residents regarding public rail transit. My premise was that state regulation of the privately-owned local transit system created another layer of complexity and hampered public engagement in transportation planning, which Milwaukee’s Socialist leaders had fostered.

George Papakis
Last April I had the opportunity to participate in a conference at the University of Colorado, Boulder, titled “Mediterranean Encounters in the City.” This international conference featured presenters from many universities and countries focusing on an interdisciplinary examination of the Mediterranean city. Indeed, the roster of speakers represented a variety of disciplines: from political science, history, anthropology and geography to literary criticism, communication, religious studies and linguistics. It was this range of disciplines that attracted my attention to this conference; Overall, the conference was very beneficial to me because I saw firsthand how urban scholars, who use very different methodological approaches than mine, study urban issues pertinent to my research. My paper, though less historical in scope than the others, attempted to disentangle the contemporary ideological struggle of opposing narratives over the physical form and the political identity of the contemporary Greek city. I am grateful to USP for the financial support and for making it possible for me to participate at the conference.


John Standard
I would like to thank the Urban Studies Program for the financial support to attend my first Urban Affairs Association meeting this past April in Honolulu. As one can imagine, cost of travel for the conference from Milwaukee was quite high. Thankfully, the generosity of the Program allowed me to enjoy this wonderful experience. I was fortunate to have a poster accepted of research that I have in progress regarding residential and school segregation. It was a great opportunity to discuss my work with scholars studying similar problems and to get ideas to improve my scholarship. Additionally, it was a chance to hear about other urban research that was being conducted around the world. Finally, it was wonderful to meet and reconnect with people in the field, as well as to get to attend and support the presentation of a fellow USP student, Mary Hoehne. Overall it was an incredibly rewarding experience, and I am grateful for the support to attend.

Mary Hoehne
I had the wonderful opportunity to present a paper on the Northwest Side Community Development Corporation at the Urban Affairs Association (UAA) annual conference in Honolulu, Hawaii this spring. The conference was a fantastic experience because I met many others with research interests in economic and community development. I also had the opportunity to meet many experts in the field whose work I admire and books I own in my personal collection. Attending a conference allows students to network and meet people in their fields of interest socially and to make true connections. The UAA hosted several receptions and tours that promoted mingling with the other presenters. I found these outings the most memorable because when one spends hours with people on a tour bus there is a unique chance to chat and really get to know people whose work one admires. The three-day conference is packed with panels and papers and once again this provides the students with more opportunity to seek their special areas of interest and hear about the research in their field. I found this motivating because listening to other’s describe their research brings the research field to life. The discussion periods after the presentations were enlightening because I discovered even the most respected researchers are frustrated and experience dead ends when looking for information.