Canadian-American Fellow Feature: Maggie Kontra-Emmens

University of Maine PHD student, Maggie Kontra-Emmens, is a recipient of the Canadian-American Center Fellowship for 2022 to 2023. 

The Canadian-American Center Fellowship is offered by the Canadian-American Center and the University of Maine Graduate School. It is available to graduate students in disciplines that focus on Canada or Canada-US relations. Each academic year, the fellowship provides a $20,000 stipend, tuition waiver, and 50% of University issued health insurance. The award is available to citizens of any country.

Kontra-Emmens learned about the Canadian-American Center Fellowship from her first advisor at UMaine, Jaque Ferland. For any future students hoping to earn this fellowship in the future, she says, “The regional connections along the Canada-US border have been strong throughout history and have plenty of opportunities for research topics. Consider Canada as its own nation, with its own insights and unique identity apart from the US. Canada is often overlooked in its relations along the border, and you might find something unique and appealing.”

Kontra-Emmens’ interest in identity started during her MA thesis, and has continued to be a strong focus of her work. Specifically, niche newspapers are a major source of interest, as they can illustrate points of view that are rarely researched. According to Kontra-Emenns, “[Her] dissertation will focus on the Scottish diaspora and Scottish identity and influence in Canada, 1870 to 1914, using Scottish-Canadian newspapers…even though it has been mentioned that ‘identity’ is the Jello of historical topics, [her] focus is on solidarity or groupness while still touching on many aspects of its multivalence (such as nationality, citizenship, ethnicity, race, name, family, heritage, class, employment, community, religion, language, and gender).”

Kontra-Emmens is a current PhD History student at the University of Maine, and also earned the Bowen Scholarship in 2020 for her research. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as various handcrafts, especially quilting, sewing, and crocheting. After obtaining her PhD, Kontra-Emmens aspires to teach at university or community college levels. Though, since current academia prospects are rather bleak, she is also looking to apply her research skills for think tanks, corporations, museums, etc.