Event celebrates success of Brock’s graduate students


From left: Kathleen Spironello, Aynsley Thielman (MSc student in Biological Sciences), and Professors Fiona Hunter and Michael Bidochka. Thielman received the Michael H. Spironello Memorial Fellowship donated by Entomogen Inc., of which Hunter is president and Bidochka is vice-president.

Each year Brock has more reasons to celebrate the success of its graduate students and the commitment of donors to the graduate experience, Murray Knuttila told more than 100 people attending the annual Graduate Student Award and Donor Recognition reception this week.

“Events such as this do not take place at all universities — we do this because we have a lot to celebrate,” the Provost and Vice-President, Academic said at the May 11 event. “The potential of our graduate students and their research activities is beyond imagination.

“We thank our generous donors for their commitment to our University. Your contribution makes the activities and research lives of our students possible.”

The event, organized by the Faculty of Graduate Studies, celebrated more than 150 students who have received internal and external awards and scholarships this year to support their research activities. A list of the award winners is posted online at brocku.ca/graduate-studies

“It’s very exciting that so many people were able to attend this celebration today. Your attendance suggests the vibrancy of our graduate community,” said Marilyn Rose, Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Guests heard the personal stories of several graduate student researchers, including Matt Smith, who spoke about his research in Type 1 Diabetes.

“I am a Type 1 Diabetic and have been for 23 years, and I have the pleasure of pursuing research in a field that is very important to me,” said Smith, an MSc student in Applied Health Sciences and the recipient of a Canadian Institutes for Health Research award.” My research is focused on something that has yet to be examined, yet is very important to all individuals with Type 1 Diabetes — the effects of ambient temperatures during exercise in people with Type 1 Diabetes.

“These awards afford graduate student researchers the opportunities to take those next steps that are needed to further the knowledge in a variety of fields.”

Also sharing their passion for research were Chloe Hamza, a doctoral student in Psychology, Alex Haj-Ahmad, a doctoral student in Biotechnology, and Victoria Tasker, a master’s student in Geography.

Ashleigh Miatello-Skrubbeltrang spoke about her relationship to Brock that began as an undergraduate student 10 years ago and continues today as a graduate student, employee and donor. Recently, she and her husband Glenn Skrubbeltrang, also a Brock graduate, endowed a graduate award.

“Creating this endowed award, although a small contribution, provides students for years to come with financial assistance and also is rewarding for my husband and myself,” said Miatello-Skrubbeltrang, a research officer in Brock’s Advancement Office. “Giving back is very important to us and we are thrilled to be able to make a financial contribution to the institution that has given us so much.”

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