Western Washington UniversityCommunications and Marketing
DATE: April 22, 2010 10:18:33 AM PDT
WWU Student to Present Research at International Conference in the Dominican Republic June 4

Contact: Larry Estrada, director of WWU’s American Cultural Studies program, (360) 650-3016; Lawrence.estrada@wwu.edu

BELLINGHAM – Western Washington University student Danya Rose-Merkle will travel to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic to present research at a conference titled “Transnational Hispaniola: Shared History, Shared Future: Converging Paths in the Haitian and Dominican Transborder Experience,” June 4.

The conference, which is being held June 3-6, brings together scholars, artists, activists, and community organizers who are interested in thinking about Dominican-Haitian realities in ways that go beyond simplistic and political rendering of the histories of these two countries.

Rose-Merkle, a native of Ashland, Ore. traveled to the Dominican Republic in the winter of 2009 with 19 other WWU students and Lawrence Estrada, WWU director of the American Cultural Studies program and professor at WWU’s Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies, as part of a quarter-long course on Race Culture and Society.  

Her role as teaching assistant allowed her to make various connections while in the Dominican Republic and to eventually conduct research in the free trade zone area in the city of San Cristobal, Dominican Republic. Her research looks at the lives of women working in free trade zones and how work affects their family roles, their place in Dominican society, and overall autonomy as women.

Rose-Merkle coordinated her research through a Dominican nonprofit organization called the Foundation for the Development and Well-Being of Women and Children, where she was able to make connections in the community to interview participants.

Rose-Merkle’s research was selected to be presented at the conference shortly after sending an abstract of her research to the conference staff.

Rose-Merkle will receive financial support from WWU and Fairhaven College to help cover her travel costs. 

“This is an extremely exciting opportunity,” Rose-Merkle said. “I look forward to continuing my research and making lasting connections in the Dominican Republic.”

Rose-Merkle plans to continue her research next November when she moves to Santo Domingo for a year to teach English in la Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo.

For more information, contact Larry Estrada, director of WWU’s American Cultural Studies at (360) 650-3016 or Lawrence.estrada@wwu.edu

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