The diversity of Brock University’s graduate student research projects was on full display at the 14th annual Mapping the New Knowledges Conference Thursday, April 11.
Hosted by the Faculty of Graduate Studies, the trans-disciplinary conference featured presentations from 160 graduate students and 18 undergrads.
For Michelle Lesley Annett, a second-year master’s student in Critical Sociology, presenting for a second year was the next step in her research.
“My research has come a long way,” she said. “I spoke with a few people who remembered my project from last year and it was exciting to share the direction my research has taken with them.”
She said the supportive nature of everyone in attendance is part of what makes graduate studies at Brock special.
“The environment at MNK is so encouraging. Everyone is happy to see you succeed,” she said.
The conference kicked off with a keynote address from Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies Tek Thongpapanl from the Goodman School of Business. Thongpapanl is a past recipient of the Michael Plyley Graduate Mentorship Award, which was once again presented Thursday along with the Marilyn Rose Graduate Leadership Award, and the Jack M. Miller Excellent in Research Awards.
Allison Flynn-Bowman, a master’s student in Applied Health Sciences, was honoured to receive the Marilyn Rose award, given out to someone who contributes “vision and leadership in a variety of areas such as administration, academic programming, research and scholarship, student services and student experience initiatives.”
Flynn-Bowman has been a member of the Brock community for years and has strived to improve the student experience for herself and those around her. Among other initiatives, Flynn-Bowman co-founded the Baby Friendly Brock program, which provides resources and information to parents who are transitioning back to Brock as a student or staff member. She also works part-time in the Faculty of Graduate Studies as Social Media and Marketing Assistant, where she launched a creative social media campaign giving grad students the opportunity to share their research and reasons for choosing Brock as a graduate school.
“To receive this award means the world to me,” said Flynn-Bowman. “It is recognition of the hard work I have put into making Brock’s graduate community supportive and inclusive for everyone.”
Biology Professor Michael Bidochka and Associate Professor of Kinesiology Craig Tokunowith were honoured with the Michael Plyley awards, which recognize faculty members for exceptional mentorship of graduate students.
“This award isn’t about me, it’s about the students,” Tokuno said. “I’m pleased to receive it, but my students are what make my job special. They have as much of an effect on me as I do on them.”
“This is the little conference that grew,” said Plyley, past Dean of Graduate Studies and conference co-chair. “In our first year, we had presentations from faculty and students, and over the years it has grown to feature graduate student research. Now we also include undergraduates to give them a taste of grad school. We constantly look for feedback from our students to make this the conference they want it to be.”