Welcome to our 2021 Graduate Students!

Submitted by Nell Gross on
From left to right, Row 1: Yasmin Ahmed, Han Vale, Alyson Mabie; Row 2: Steven Bao, Jie Deng, Emre Erol

Welcome to our newest graduate student cohort! Please find their biographies below.

Yasmin Ahmed

BA, Public Health, UW. Research interests: migrant labor, food systems, blue economy and fishing rights, indigenous ecology and food sovereignty; regional focus: Southeast Asia. I currently work at the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies as Assistant Director of Student and Community Engagement (and have since 2018). I have organized around food justice for the past five years, most recently through the #BlockCorporateSalmon campaign with Uprooted and Rising, a national BIPOC-led network organizing local and national campaigns for food sovereignty. My hobbies and interests include cooking, mixed-media art, karaoke, ukulele, cat-parenting and platformer video-games.

Steven Bao

BA, Geography: Data Science, UW. Research interests: Geovisualization, Geo Big Data, Geoprivacy, critical GIS. I love exploring the different usages of geospatial information and thinking about the intended/unintended consequences. I helped create and maintain the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Map at UW HGIS lab. As a 2020 UW PHI Applied Research Fellow, I developed an interactive mapping tool for visualizing the small area population forecasts for King County from 2020 to 2045 with the other fellows. My recent research work revolves around COVID-19-related geospatial data. My hobbies and interests include soccer, German, and (almost) all IT-related topics.

Jie Deng

BA & MA, History, Fudan (China); PhD, History, Queen’s (Canada). Research interests: urbanization and megacities; economic geography and regional development. Area of focus: China, Socialist countries. My professional background includes nine years as an academic staff member at three universities, namely, Fudan University, Pepperdine University (Shanghai Branch), and the Technion (Shantou Campus). I enjoy learning and teaching, reading and travelling.

Emre Erol

BA, International Relations, Dokuz Eylul University, Turkey (Exchange Year in Maastricht University, Netherlands); MPA, International Development, Tsinghua University, China, MS, Human Geography, Lund University, Sweden. My Research Interests: China, East Asia, Political Economy, Urban Studies, Migration, Accumulation by Dispossession, Accumulation Without Dispossession, Rent Gap, Gentrification. In addition to several positions in the university during my studies, my professional background following my graduation and during my studies includes five years of project management in the technology sector in China; working as a freelance translator and subtitler from English/Chinese to Turkish as a digital nomad since 2016, during which I travelled all around the world, including from California to New Zealand; from Patagonia to Artic-Circle, as part of which I worked as a volunteer for one year in South America. My interests are Planted/Shrimp Aquariums, Hydroponics, Gardening, Diving, Wind Surfing, Free City-Map Collection, Middle-Earth, Euroleague.

Alyson Mabie

BS, Geography and Sustainable Planning, Grand Valley State University; MS, Geography, Western Michigan University. Research Interests: perceptions of deviance in urban space; lived experiences of working-class poverty; graffiti/street art; gentrification and law enforcement patterns; mixed methods and mediums; accessibility of knowledge. Since receiving my Masters in 2018, I have served as an adjunct instructor of geography and GIS at multiple institutions while simultaneously working several secondary and tertiary jobs in an attempt to cobble together a living. These other jobs include commercial video production, running a CNC edgebander in a wood manufacturing plant, Shipt shopper, event production, contracted work with climate/water-oriented NGOs, and contracted GIS/demographic mapping for medical industry consultants. I had hobbies once upon a time (writing, reading, weightlifting, martial arts, Magic the Gathering, anime, filmmaking, craft beer, and pretending at drums) but they were tragically lost in pursuit of the hustle. I am looking forward to finding those again and discovering new ones alongside my two kids and my partner, Tom.

Han Vale

BA, Geography Modified with Engineering Sciences, Dartmouth College; Cordon Bleu Diploma, CTH Level 4 Diploma, Tante Marie Culinary Academy. My research interests are political ecology, political economy, agrarian change, Black geographies and the Black Pacific, geovisualization, ethnobotany, food sovereignty and culinary praxis; regional focus: Philippines and Pacific Northwest. My professional background includes a stint in professional kitchens in Boston, London, and Portland, ME, teaching students from Lawrence, MA, with Groundwork USA, working to create a community kitchen with the Third Kitchen Project, and a rewarding summer each with the Farmlink Project and UNDP in Pristina, Kosovo. Most recently, I spent a year with the Geography department at Dartmouth College as their Postbaccalaureate Fellow. My hobbies and interests include having expansive conversations, running, writing, planning dinner parties, reading Sci-Fi, and making music.