Humanities Spirit of Brock recipient driven to make a difference

Ashley Rydzik’s (BA ’23) impact on the Brock community will be felt long after she crossed the stage at Convocation on Friday, June 16.

Over the past four years, the Faculty of Humanities graduate has distinguished herself with her academic achievements, outstanding community engagement, volunteer work and drive to make a difference for other Brock students.

Her contributions and achievements were recognized when she was awarded the Board of Trustees Spirit of Brock medal during the University’s 113th Convocation ceremony on Friday, June 16.

“I loved my time at Brock. I met some truly wonderful people. Everyone from the staff, students and faculty were so welcoming. I always felt safe and supported, and that allowed me to thrive,” Rydzik said.

Rydzik has served in several executive student leadership roles within the Faculty of Humanities, playing a role in helping these organizations and their members to navigate the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Brock University Historical Society (BUHS) member throughout her time at Brock, she served as Vice-President of the organization in her final year.

Although BUHS went online while in-person gatherings were restricted during the COVID-19 pandemic, Rydzik found it rewarding to connect virtually with and support fellow students during a challenging time. She also oversaw a successful student trivia event when in-person activities returned.

“It was the biggest turn-out for the event since before the pandemic. It was a real win to see students together, in person, engaged and having fun together,” she said.

In addition to her work with BUHS, Rydzik was a key player in the re-founding of the Brock University Archaeological Society (BUAS) after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.

As Treasurer, she was proud to have been a part of securing the legacy of the society on campus, making valuable contributions towards its future success.

Off campus, Rydzik was deeply committed to volunteering with local community organizations during her four years at Brock, including at the Southridge Shelter and the Learning Disabilities Association of Niagara Region.

Her passion for volunteering, which will continue beyond Convocation, was sparked by attending various volunteer fairs organized by the University.

“Brock makes sure there are opportunities everywhere, you just have to take them,” she said. “I just want to help students have the same wonderful university experience that I did.”

Rydzik, who is currently preparing for the Law School Admission Test, began her Brock journey as a History major. Compelled in part by her interest in ancient languages, she transferred to the Bachelor of Arts in Classics and Archaeology program in her second year.

“In addition to the fascinating subject material, the Classics and Archaeology Department and faculty were so welcoming; there was a great sense of community,” she said. The professors were very supportive.”

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