Brock grad student named fellowship recipient

A prestigious fellowship has provided one Brock graduate the financial boost needed to focus his attention on completing his doctoral degree.

Gianluca Agostinelli, who is entering the Joint PhD in Educational Studies program, has been awarded the Dr. Raymond and Mrs. Sachi Moriyama Graduate Fellowship. The honour is annually presented to an entering graduate student in the Faculty of Education.

Agostinelli believes the fellowship will ease the burdens of balancing his focus between workload and finances.

A full-time student since 2009, he has earned a Bachelor of Arts (Honours), a Bachelor of Education, a Masters of Arts (English) and, most recently, a Masters of Education.

“This fellowship will enable me to focus on my studies so that I may complete my doctoral degree in a timely manner without needing to worry constantly about my finances,” Agostinelli said. “In addition to supporting me financially, this fellowship, for me, is a great source of pride, distinction and motivation. It validates my academic efforts at Brock University and perhaps even helps distinguish me in the increasingly competitive fields of academe and education.”

Agostinelli will focus his research on exploring educative, proactive responses to the potentially adverse effects of male homosocial desire in adolescent team sport.

“Building on my interests in the sociocultural production and maintenance of hegemonic (hyper) masculinity, I investigate how homosocial bonds among male student-athletes at the secondary-school level work to inform and perpetuate, both physically and attitudinally, a pervasive rape culture,” he said of his research.

Agostinelli said phallocentric thought and dehumanizing conduct are to some degree “informed by boys’ intimate interactions with their heterosexual peers and teammates.”

Agostinelli’s PhD advisor Nancy Taber, an associate professor in the Department of Graduate and Undergraduate studies in the Faculty of Education, believes his work will have a big impact.

“Gianluca is a rare student who consistently delivers outstanding work and demonstrates his capacity for creative and independent thinking. His doctoral research will make a significant contribution to the field of masculinity, sport and education,” Taber said. “His research is timely and important, particularly with respect to Ontario’s new Health and Physical Education curriculum on human development and sexual health.”

Agostinelli, a graduate teaching assistant and marker-grader, hopes that his time in the Faculty of Education will help him to one day teach in the very classrooms in which he was once a student.

“The Faculty of Education continues to develop my post-structural, constructivist perspectives and motivates me to make theory and text more accessible, meaningful and relevant to all students and readers,” he said.

He is aiming to complete his PhD of Educational Studies by 2019 and plans to continue working as a part-time teacher for the Niagara Catholic District School Board.

In the coming years he also hopes to teach courses within the Faculty of Education at Brock.

Agostinelli considers his family a major contributor to his success.

His parents arrived to Canada from Italy in 1986 and did not have the opportunity to pursue post-secondary education.

“For many years, particularly during my upbringing, my family struggled financially and my parents sacrificed so much to see that my brother and I had every opportunity to succeed, both academically and professionally,” Agostinelli said.

“Together, they remain my principal source of inspiration and fuel my desire to become a post-secondary educator — a long-time ambition made even more achievable through the compassion and generosity of Dr. Raymond and Mrs. Sachi Moriyama.”

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