Current Students

The Historical GIS Laboratory is currently home to:

Tyla Betke


Tyla is currently in her final year of an Honours degree in history and works as an undergraduate research assistant at the HGIS lab. She enjoys studying 19th-century Canadian and American social and cultural history. After completing her degree, she aims to pursue a Masters degree in history.

Danika Bonham


Danika entered the Masters program at the University of Saskatchewan in the Fall of 2016. She previously worked as an undergraduate research assistant at the HGIS lab while completing the last year of her Honours degree in history. Her Masters research will focus on the nutritional history of the Northeast of England during the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-centuries.

Meagan Breault


Meagan is currently working on her B.A. in History at the University of Saskatchewan, in addition to working as an undergraduate research assistant. After obtaining her degree, Meagan plans to pursue graduate studies in World War II and Genocide Studies.

Patrick Chasse


Patrick is a Ph.D. candidate studying environmental history in Guatemala. He graduated with an M.A. in history from the University of Victoria in 2007. He documented the short-lived Scottish colony established in the Darien Gap between Panama and Columbia at the turn of the 18th century. This project was his first exploration of themes that continue to guide his work, including environment, ideas about food, and indigenous issues in Latin America. In 2008, Patrick travelled to Guatemala as a CIDA intern. He lived in remote a Kaqchikel community, teaching History and English and harvesting corn and tomatoes in his spare time. In 2010, he spent several months learning about organic coffee production from the CCDA, an indigenous-campesino group advocating for sustainable agriculture. Patrick began his Ph.D. in 2010. His dissertation explores the environmental and social consequences of the industrialization of agriculture in Guatemala. His case study is the Pacific Coast cotton boom, 1949-1980. He is using historical GIS techniques, maps and records from the agrarian reform (1952-1954) and census data to reconstruct land use and displacement in this understudied region. He is a member of the Sustainable Farming Systems (SFS) project based at the University of Saskatchewan. In May 2014 Patrick will be undertaking a research sojourn to work with SFS partners at Pablo de Olavide University in Sevilla.

Jessica Dewitt


Jessica graduated from the University of Rochester with her M.A. in History in May 2011. Jessica’s Masters Thesis is entitled “A Convergence of Recreational and Conservation Ideals: The Cook Forest State Park Campaign, 1910-1928,” and discusses the connection of the Cook Forest campaign to national conservation and state park trends. Jessica began the PhD program in the Department of History at the University of Saskatchewan in September 2011. She passed her comprehensive exams in October 2012. She is currently working on her dissertation, a comparative study of provincial and state parks, which defines the unique role that these park “middlemen” play in North American society.

Jessica is learning GIS methods as a research assistant in the HGIS Lab. She works on contract mapping, historical map digitizing, GIS quality control and other lab projects. She is also the webmaster and communication director for the lab and the Sustainable Farm Systems project.

Anne Janhunen


Anne graduated with a M.A. from the University of Oulu, Finland in 2012, where she specialized in intercultural education and history. Her thesis examined representations of land, treaties, and settlement in Canadian history textbooks. Having passed her Ph.D. comprehensive exams in October 2013, she is now working on her dissertation, which focuses on nineteenth- and twentieth-century land use in Ontario as it relates to Indigenous communities. Using case studies focused on logging, agriculture, and park creation, her dissertation explores the ways in which Indigenous individuals and communities have drawn on, and adjusted, practices and livelihoods as a result of government- and industry-driven changes in land use, both on reserve and within broader ancestral territories. In the Historical GIS Lab, Anne works on digitizing historical maps and contract mapping.

Steven Langlois


Steven is currently working on his BA in history at the University of Saskatchewan as well as working as an undergrad research assistant at the HGIS lab. In addition, he is taking his 3rd year of undergrad studies at St. Anne’s College, Oxford as part of a visiting student arrangement with the U of S. After graduating, Steven hopes to enter the College of Law and get his JD.

Laura Larsen


Laura Larsen is a PhD Candidate in the Department of History at the University of Saskatchewan. Her dissertation explores rail rationalization and agricultural policy under the Trudeau government. It focuses on the tensions between government, farmers, grain companies, and railways created by attempts to modernize the grain handling and transportation system as well as the substantial changes to the underlying structure of prairie agriculture caused by these changes. In the HGIS Lab, Laura works on historical map digitizing and other contract mapping projects. She will also be working for the Sustainable Farm Systems project this upcoming year. 

Chris Marsh


Chris completed his M.A. at the University of Calgary in 2012. His thesis examined a decade of intertribal warfare in the borderlands of northern Montana and southern Alberta in the 1880s involving the Kainai (Blood Tribe) of the Blackfoot Confederacy and the A’aninin (Gros Ventre) and Nakoda (Assiniboine) of Fort Belknap. It explored the influence of environmental alteration in the continuity of equestrian and warrior culture as well as the interaction between the Canadian federal state-in the form of the North West Mounted Police and the local level of the Department of Indian Affairs (DIA)- and First Nations peoples in the early reserve era (1876-1900). His research interests include U.S.-Canadian borderlands history in the Great Plains region, comparative U.S.-Canadian Western history, Native-newcomer relations on the Great Plains, Aboriginal farming and ranching, and the development of law enforcement and the legal system in the Canadian West. He is currently engaged in coursework in preparation for comprehensive exams. He is a member of the Sustainable Farms Systems Great Plains team for 2014-2015.

Matt Todd


Matt completed an M.A. in history at the University of Saskatchewan in 2009. His project explored the interrelationship between environment, climate and mis-perception on the Texas Panhandle. He began his Ph.D in Environmental History the same year. His research interests include Environmental History, Borderlands History, Frontier History, and geo-spatial analysis using HGIS. After successfully passing his comprehensive exams in 2010 Matt spent a year researching his current project examining land-use, perception, changing technology, geography, and climate fluctuation on the Great Plains during the 19th and early 20th century. In 2013 he developed and taught Environmental History 290: the Environmental Frontier and is currently teaching History 170: the Americas. Matt has been an employee of the HGIS laboratory for 6 years and has completed several GIS and HGIS projects including Traditional Land Use Maps, Community Development Maps, soil erosion maps, and pursued geo-spatial history as it relates to his own research.

Cheryl Troupe


Cheryl completed her M.A. in Native Studies at the University of Saskatchewan in 2009. She hired the Historical GIS Lab to design and prepare several maps for her thesis, entitled “Métis Women: Social Structure, Urbanization and Political Activism, 1850-1980.” Click here for an abstract. She began the Ph.D. program in History in 2012, exploring Métis women’s “road allowance” gardening in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Cheryl successfully passed her Comprehensive Exams in October 2013.

Read an abstract by Cheryl here.

Kevin Winterhalt


Kevin is currently working on his BA in History at the University of Saskatchewan as well as working as undergraduate research assistant at the HGIS Lab. Upon completion of his BA, Kevin aims to pursue a Ph.D. in American History at a cold climate grad school in the United States.