While Christine Sirignano is used to celebrating the completion of her Brock University degrees with a meal of pizza and wings, crossing the Convocation stage itself was an entirely new experience.
Having graduated from Brock twice during the COVID-19 pandemic, and immediately embarking on her career, Sirignano (BBA ’20, MBA ’21) returned to the University this week to don a gown and take part in the legacy Convocation celebrations.
The 25-year-old St. Catharines native — who quickly secured her desired role as a Workplace Discrimination and Harassment Prevention (WDHP) Advisor with the Ontario government right after wrapping up her Master of Business Administration — credits her time in Brock’s co-op program with helping to catapult her early career success.
“Co-op not only equipped me with the skills I needed to succeed in the workplace, but it also connected me with people that supported me through the process of achieving my current position,” she said.
Early aspirations to work in the areas of human rights and safety, thanks to her first Human Resources class at the University, saw Sirignano complete co-op work terms at General Motors (GM) and the provincial government, which she said each developed the skills she needed to pursue her next steps.
“At GM, I learned how to manage different personalities on the assembly line, and in the government, I learned how to implement policies and strategic plans in an office environment, which have both been so helpful in my current role,” she said.
A further benefit for Sirignano was having the chance to complete her studies and work terms in the community she grew up in.
“I am fortunate that I live so close to Brock,” she said. “I thought a lot of the opportunities were going to be far away, but Brock and the co-op team set up situations that helped me network closer to home while expanding my experience to succeed wherever I went.”
By returning to Brock several years after completing her last course, Sirignano is thankful for the unique perspective she says legacy Convocation provided.
“I certainly miss the people, the professors in my program and the learning environment Brock provided,” she said. “It was really exciting to reconnect with my classmates, and it has been great to see what everyone is doing in their careers.”
With the pizza and wings on order again, and her career up and running, Sirignano was most excited to finally be able to share the day with the people who have supported her throughout her studies and beyond.
“The best part of the day has been giving my parents the opportunity to see me cross the stage,” she said. “They were both here and have been very supportive through my undergraduate and master’s studies, and this is the culmination of all of that. I’m so thankful to them and to everyone from Brock who have helped me start my career in an area I’m so passionate about.”