Meet Julian Petrachenko, charmed scholar

Julian Petrachenko is one of three President's Surgite Award winners.
Julian Petrachenko is one of three President’s Surgite Award winners.

The President’s Surgite Award is awarded to current students to recognize those who have been outstanding in one or more of the following areas: leadership, advancing the University’s reputation, contribution to life at Brock or valuable service to the University or broader community.

This is the second in a series of three stories featuring the graduate student recipients of the 2015 awards: Scott Behie, PhD student in Biotechnology; Julian Petrachenko, Master’s student in Applied Health Sciences; and Jason Ribeiro, graduate of Master’s of Education.


Julian Petrachenko
Master’s student in Applied Health Sciences
Hometown: Welland, Ontario
Graduate award highlights: 2015 President’s Surgite Award, 2014 finalist Three Minute Thesis Contest

Studying at Brock has been a charm for Julian Petrachenko – literally.

For the past three years, Petrachenko has served as the program developer, co-ordinator and graduate student facilitator for the Confident Healthy Active Role Models (CHARM) program.

As a service-learning opportunity, CHARM has taken a central focus in Petrachenko’s master’s studies in Applied Health Sciences.

“At its core, the CHARM program is an adapted physical activity and life skills development program that works with youth who are underserved in Niagara’s typical educational environments,” explains Petrachenko. “The youth attend weekly modified physical activity sessions that blend body expressive and art expressive activities to better meet the needs of the individual while providing meaningful opportunities for physical activity.”

His role has been to work with undergraduate students on a weekly basis to plan, develop and implement the CHARM program run at the Brock University campus.

“One of the most exciting CHARM developments has been the integration of Brock alumni and local Niagara community artists to co-create and facilitate a variety of the body expressive and art expressive workshops facilitated through the CHARM program,” says Petrachenko. “For example, last term our sessions gave youth a chance to develop personal skills by participating in drumming circles, beat boxing, guerilla theatre, fencing, martial arts and Tai Chi.”

Petrachenko says his leadership attitudes are a product of his graduate studies experiences and, in particular, the outstanding mentorship he’s received from of his supervisor Prof. Maureen Connolly.

“In my ongoing experience growing as an artist, researcher and educator, I feel effective leadership is strongly related to how well individuals in leadership roles can respectfully accommodate diverse learning styles and skill sets while genuinely collaborating and co-creating authentic learning experiences with the communities, groups, and individuals that animate their projects,” he says.

While he’s in the midst of finishing his master’s thesis with plans to graduate this fall, Petrachenko doesn’t expect his charmed academic life to run out anytime soon.

“I’ve been completely re-energized and inspired by the variety of positive feedback and support the CHARM program and research project has received in this past year,” Petrachenko says. “It has been a privilege to share this research at various conferences and presentation engagements in Canada and the U.S. It will be an even greater honour to pursue this cutting-edge research at the doctoral level.”

If you’re a Niagara artist or one of Brock’s alumni who is interested in collaborating with the CHARM program please contact Julian Petrachenko at

The series continues next week with a profile on Jason Ribeiro.

Read more stories in: Research, Researcher of the month
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