2010 - 2011 Both Sides of the Brain profiles

2010 - 2011 Both Sides of the Brain profiles


Peter Bagnall

Bachelor of Education.
Rock climber, photographer, support to people with disabilities.
Celebrate ability in disability. Bring music to math

Peter Bagnall has a head for math and a heart for everything else.

The Faculty of Education student on the Hamilton campus has two teachable subjects — math and religion. He already holds a science degree and a master’s degree from two other universities.

In looking for ways to spice up math education in his practicum placement, he hit upon the idea of combining music with math theory. It helps that he plays piano and guitar. Board games and group games rounded out the math experience for his students.

Peter is involved in the international movement of L’Arche communities, which focuses on persons with developmental disabilities. And he volunteers at Good Shepherd, providing food and shelter to underprivileged persons.

“University is not just about academics, but also about being fully human and engaged in relationships. Brock encourages that.”

Tabasum Akseer

MEd candidate, Education.
Passions: flute, viola painting, photography, humanitarianism.
Goals: Educate children. Enlighten society.

Tabasum Akseer was raised in a traditional Afghan-Canadian family, and it was the experiences within the Niagara educational system that led to her current research.

Tabasum, who will graduate with a Master of Education — she also completed a BA in Political Science at Brock — interviewed six Afghan girls from southern Ontario with diverse experiences in education, to see if they felt culturally represented and reflected in the classroom. She plans to create strategies that can help teachers address racial and cultural issues.

When not working on her master’s research, Tabasum is involved in a research project that studies teacher perceptions of children’s shyness in the classroom. She and her family have also supported education in Afghanistan.

“When I compare what friends have experienced at other universities, I’m worlds ahead.”

Katie Hemsworth

Katie Hemsworth’s research laboratory is the St. Catharines transit system.

The master’s candidate in Geography is exploring the connection between the use of personal listening devices and the socio-spatial experience of public transit. Her interests include cultural geography, acoustic space, and cultural politics of music.

Katie, originally from Thunder Bay, Ont., has no shortage of research material. She speaks to Brock students about their use and interpretation of personal listening devices, to understand the impact of these mobile technologies on the bus environment.

The graduate student, who has her BA in Human Geography from Brock, explores concepts like soundscape and acoustic space to uncover how sound shapes everyday urban spaces. In doing so, she takes Geography in new and exciting directions.

Her other side of the brain is engaged when she watches hockey games, plays guitar around family bonfires, and uses her iPod to listen to her favourite musician, Canadian Neil Young.

Hockey games, bonfires, Neil Young — quintessential Canada. Katie’s research — beyond borders.

Carly Finlan

An opportunity to use both sides of her brain also opened both of Carly Finlan’s eyes.

Carly, who graduated in June 2009 from the Concurrent Education program, credits a two-week field trip to Cuba with altering the direction of her personal and professional life.

Host students from the University of Havana showed the Brock guests “the real Cuba” and that’s when Carly met the family of a young Cuban woman. Carly saw first-hand the struggles associated with acquiring staples like food and clothing.

The experience got her thinking about how these observations could transfer to her teaching career. She’s now committed to spending some time teaching overseas in economically challenged inner-city schools. When not overseas, she wants her students to ask themselves what they do for others.

“Brock changed the pathway of my life,” Carly says. “Global awareness and critical thinking skills opened up my mind to many issues. I’ve become a better person.”

Justine Moller

Justine Moller is immersed in film, on campus and off.

Justine, a student in the Communication, Popular Culture and Film program, can't get enough of the big or little screen. Her love of the movie Gone with the Wind is a nod to her earlier major of History, where she was particularly interested in the American Civil War.

She engages both sides of her brain by keeping an open mind about visual media. Justine doesn't limit herself to a television or movie genre, and will even watch the Superbowl game — especially if a performer like Bruce Springsteen is playing at half-time — even though she's not a football fan. Society's role in the movie-making industry also fascinates her, particularly the purchase of consumer byproducts.

But Justine doesn't spend all of her time in front of a screen. She was involved with a Brock student initiative that aimed to increase awareness of child poverty, abuse and other related conditions in developing countries.

Big screen. Big heart. Both sides of the brain.

Erin Norton

When Erin Norton followed her heart, it led her straight to Brock.

Erin, who’d successfully completed two science degrees at other universities, realized that her heart wasn’t set on a career in synthetic inorganic chemistry. Instead, what’s become her passion is the scientific challenge behind making wine.

Erin discovered the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute at Brock, and she’s now enrolled in the certificate program in oenology and viticulture — the science of winemaking and grape growing.

Erin concludes that the program itself represents two sides of the brain.

"There’s the heavy science aspect, but if you have a real passion for it, you’re coming out with a lot more than that."

Erin plans to travel and possibly work as a winemaker in France, but she expects to return to Ontario to ply her skills.

And cheers to that.

Justin Carre

Graduate student Justin Carré has scored big with his research on elite hockey players.

Both sides of Justin’s brain have intersected — the PhD candidate in psychology has worked his love of hockey into his behavioural neuroscience research. It focuses on the functional relevance of different levels of testosterone and cortisol responses among winners and losers. He explores whether a surge in testosterone increases assertive, dominant, and aggressive behaviours that could be used as feedback for future competitions.

Justin’s findings have been published worldwide.

He’s also coached and played with the Brock Badgers hockey team and he’s mentored undergraduate students.

Justin stickhandles his doctoral research with an active family life. His daughter, he predicts, will be in skates at an early age. Just like he was.

And it’s that love of the iconic Canadian sport that’s taken him to the big leagues of an exciting discipline of research.

Charlene Viscek

What does technological giant Research in Motion have in common with Brock University?

The respect of Charlene Viscek, a Brock Business Co-op student.

The undergraduate student has completed two work terms at RIM, makers of the popular BlackBerry, and in that time, she has changed her career focus. Originally she thought she would pursue a career in human resources or general management, but she’s now set her sights on getting a job with RIM in training or in public relations after she graduates.

Brock has the fifth-largest Co-op program in Canada. The placement rate is consistently close to 93 per cent. That’s one of the reasons why Charlene chose Brock — she could use one side of her brain in a classroom setting, and nurture the other side in her work placements.

“I like the culture at RIM. It’s relaxed, but you still see the competitiveness coming out. It’s the same thing I like about Brock.”

Charlene recently came third in the Human Resources Event of the Inter-Collegiate Business Competition, which included about 180 submissions from 41 business schools from Canada, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Melissa Blair

Community Health major; minor in business.
Fastball player, tobacco awareness advocate, yoga.
Goals: Market with responsibility. Promote healthy living.

For Melissa Blair, the collision between community health science and business strategies creates a unique opportunity to advance social change through marketing.

Melissa, who majored in Community Health Sciences and in Business, found her niche at Brock. She became the team leader for the Leave the Pack Behind tobacco awareness initiative, managing a group of 10 students. She was also involved with the tobacco awareness initiative at Niagara Region Public Health and Brock’s Heart Institute.

Health, fitness and well-being are big components of Melissa’s life. She was team captain of Brock women’s fastball team and an OUA fastball all-star. She also practises yoga and Buddhism to keep herself grounded.

She’ll carry this interest in health and marketing into a business. After completing graduate school, she hopes to have a social marketing consultancy company.     

Kerry Hu

Master of Education, International Student Program.
Beijing opera lover, Chinese chess player, reader.
Goals: Delight in Beijing opera. Build international bridges.

Kerry Hu is a big believer in building international bridges. And snowmen.

The Beijing native chose to attend Brock because of its solid reputation among the world’s schools, and because of the snow.

Kerry received his undergrad degree from Beijing International Studies University, where he is employed. At Brock he received the MEd-ISP (International Student Program) in educational leadership and administration. He also completed the Professional Master’s Preparation Certificate Program.

He appreciated the democratic and communicative approach to teaching by his professors, and the fact that his focus and opinion mattered. He encourages other international students to attend Brock.

In addition to his love of snow, Kerry is enthralled with Beijing opera — not just the music, but the costuming and makeup. He also enjoys playing Chinese chess, so that “I can practise my logic.”

Glenn Stevens

Master of Business Administration candidate.
Inventor, volunteer, hockey coach/referee, mountain biker.
Goals: Imagine. Invent. Involve.

Glenn Stevens believes that diversity leads to success. He ought to know.

The MBA student at Brock, who already holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Chemical Engineering, wants to learn more about product development and project management so that he can take his innovative business ideas from concept to the market.

The mature student truly has a well-developed “other side of the brain.” He’s an inventor who holds two U.S. patents, he has trained under some of Niagara’s finest chefs, holds a certificate of merit from the Ontario Wine Council, is a seasoned traveller, he mountain bikes across deserts and through forests, and he writes poetry.

Glenn’s favourite song is “Imagine” by John Lennon. It’s easy to see why.

Rachel Crane

Bachelor of Business Administration.
Volunteer, musician, blogger.
Goals: Connect locally. Inform globally.

Of the many experiences Rachel Crane enjoyed as an undergraduate in the Bachelor of Business Administration program, one of the highlights was the opportunity to travel.

An exchange to the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands allowed her to study with, as she says, “some of the greatest minds in Europe, maybe the world”.

Rachel’s love of travel and adventure was exercised in 2010 when she and a friend won a national competition to video log and blog about the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver.

Besides her extensive travels, Rachel is also a dedicated and frequent volunteer in the broader community. She competently speaks four languages and plays several musical instruments.

“At Brock, I was able to explore many different passions. I found my niche and I love what I do.”

Kristen Nater

Communication, Popular Culture and Film.
Brock TV co-founder, co-owner of Fourgrounds Media.
Goals: Examine pop culture. Create pop culture.

Kristen Nater wouldn’t be offended if you called him a “gear nerd.” That’s what he calls himself.

His fascination with technology led him to complete an undergraduate degree from Brock in communications policy, to go with a broadcasting diploma from a community college. While at Brock he co-founded Brock TV, and still acts as a consultant.

Kristen entered the master’s program in pop culture, where he was interested in exploring ideas of immersion, focusing on virtual environments. But in the meantime, he also co-founded Fourgrounds Media, a burgeoning film and video-production company that has a number of big projects in the works, including an interactive children’s series and an international feature film.

Kristen almost followed his father’s footsteps into architecture. Sketching instilled in him an appreciation for the aesthetics of design. But then he developed his passion for digital culture and its associated theory, and things came into focus.

Rox Chwaluk

BEd and BA.
Dramatic artist, theatre group president, explorer of social issues through art.
Goals: Promote social justice. Make people smile.

Take the arts, then add social justice advocacy and a love of teaching, and you get Rox Chwaluk.

Rox earned her BA in Dramatic Arts and then her teaching degree in the consecutive education stream at Brock. Her two teachable subjects are dramatic arts and physical education.

She loves the idea of using art as a tool for education. Her involvement with Brock Connections, a group that uses theatre to raise awareness of social justice issues, explored a number of subjects: Bhopal (environmental responsibility), Twilight Los Angeles: 1982 (racism) and The Laramie Project (homophobia).

Rox’s involvement doesn’t stop in Canada. She’s the co-founder of TAP (Turn Around Projects of the Arts) and is the project co-ordinator for TAP Jamaica, India, Panama and Canada.

Ashley Johnson

Major: Physical Education
Tap dancer, reader, children’s mentor.
Goals: Keep kids active. Teach kids teamwork.

Ashley Johnson believes that, along with a solid education, physical activity is key to developing a holistic experience for children.

She’s so convinced of this that she’s devoted her academic career to programs aimed at the development of the whole child.

Ashley possesses three degrees from Brock — an MA in Applied Health Science and bachelor’s degrees in Physical Education and in Education.

Ashley is the consistent and recognizable face for the children and parents involved with the Children’s Movement Program at Brock. She’s also been very involved in the children’s Unity Games, both in Niagara and in the British Virgin Islands.

“Brock has a strong faculty to guide you and they will encourage you to follow your own path.”

Bryceson Dodge

Master of Business Administration.
Business buff, political animal.
Goals: Learn more about finance. Promote green energy.

Bryceson Dodge is bullish on Brock University.

He chose Brock’s Faculty of Business because he wanted to share in the excitement of watching it grow into one of the top business schools in the country.

“Brock is like a good stock that appreciates in value over time,” said Bryceson, who has an MBA and BBAdmin (co-op) from Brock.

While at Brock, Bryceson founded or was president of four student associations that focused on business and marketing. He also completed co-op placements at major corporations. He now works in Toronto as a commercial account manager at one of the major banks, specializing in financing for companies that construct energy-efficient homes.

Bryceson says his career aspirations actually point in two directions: the corporate executive route, or federal politics.

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