Meet the Speakers

Almost all of our virtual Homecoming events will be hosted by a Brock University graduate, faculty or staff member this year. We can’t wait for you to meet them!


Cate Basic (BA ’15, BA ’17)

Boxed Cookies is a licensed home-based bakery in St. Catharines, Ontario, which specializes in handmade cookies by the dozen. It is owned by Brock University alumna, Cate Basic, who bakes hundreds of thick, soft and chewy cookies from scratch every weekend. Her sweet treats are created using flavours connected to childhood snacks and treasured desserts we all know and love. She has a bachelor’s degree in both English Literature as well as Media and Communications from Brock University. 

See them here: Baking Class with Boxed Cookies | Sept. 25


Lawrence Buhler (BSc ’03)

Lawrence Buhler is the Head Winemaker for Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery after joining the team in 2018. His passion for wine blossomed as he was exposed to many different wine regions by his wine-passionate father during his youth, which was spent primarily overseas. He originally began studying Chemical Engineering after high school but switched to Algonquin College’s Sommelier Certificate program. He also obtained his bachelor’s degree in Oenology and Viticulture at Brock University. Over the years, Buhler has travelled abroad to explore and work in various regions of the world including France, Chile, Argentina, and Australia, which has greatly enhanced his experience, knowledge, and dedication to winemaking.

See them here: CCOVI Wine Pairing Experience | Sept. 25


Terry Cockerline (BA ’97)

Terry Cockerline received his bachelor’s degree in Communications in 1997 and has served as both the Manager of Alumni Relations and Executive Director of the Brock University Alumni Association. He previously worked at the University of Victoria for eight years, before returning to Brock University as the Director of Alumni Relations. A highly regarded leader in advancement and alumni engagement, Cockerline plays an integral role in the embarkment of University Advancement and External Relations’ new strategy, supporting the University’s staff, faculty, students and alumni, and helping keep traditions alive within the Brock community.

See them here: Class of ’96 and Class of ’71 reunion events | Sept. 25


Dr. Don Cyr

Dr. Don Cyr is a finance professor in the Goodman School of Business and Chair of the University Senate for 2019-20, having served on the University Senate over different time periods. Professor Cyr has a Bachelor of Science in Geology from Concordia University, a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Arts in Economics from the University of Saskatchewanand a Doctor of Philosophy in Finance from the University of Alberta. His expertise in business and finance, as well as his extensive research within many industries including economics, can offer attendees an interesting look into digital currencies.

See them here: Learn the Art of Cryptocurrency | Sept. 22


Kaitlyn Daw (BA ’16)

Kaitlyn Daw is a communications professional and small-town photographer based in Fenwick, Ontario. As the owner of Kaitlyn Daw Photography, Daw spends her weekends and evenings hosting sessions ranging from engagements and weddings to newborns and cake smashes, family portraits, special events and corporate headshots. Her photography style is rooted in capturing raw emotion and creating client experiences that bring their authentic selves into the frame. Daw graduated from Brock University in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature.

See them here: Phone Photography 101: Visual Storytelling on the go | Sept. 23


Kyle Ellsworth (BBA ’12)

Kyle Ellsworth works as a Senior Wealth Advisor for Meridian Credit Union and has specialized in investment and financial planning for 10 years. Ellsworth graduated from Brock University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in Finance and will provide insight on first-time home buyers’ incentives as well as Government Programs.

See them here: First Time Home Buyers Panel | Sept. 24


Tina Ferrari

Tina Ferrari is a mortgage specialist who has been at Meridian Credit Union for 21 years. She went from starting as a part-time teller to her current role—a dedicated mobile mortgage specialist—which she enjoys the most. Her career focus is on helping people with mortgages and home equity lines of credit. During her panel discussion, she’ll take you through the process of qualifying for a mortgage as well as examining the differences between conventional and high-ratio mortgages.

See them here: First Time Home Buyers Panel | Sept. 24


Nicola Franco (BA ’16)

Nicola Franco graduated with a BA in Dramatic Arts from Brock University in 2016. She is an actor, singer, artist, and educator. Most recently, Franco works in children’s theatre at Carousel Players in St. Catharines, a professional theatre company that runs productions, summer camps and other events for Canadian youth.

See them here: Create your own Superhero or Villain: Youth Art Session | Sept. 25.


Dr. Ana G. Lara (BSc ’00)

Dr. Ana Lara N.D. has been involved in the health industry for over 20 years. She completed her bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry at Brock University and further pursued her education as a Naturopathic Doctor from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto in 2004. Lara’s greatest passions are learning and teaching, which has led her to study under some of the most renowned doctors of natural medicine in the world. She empowers her patients to understand their health and is a regular presenter for the Brock University Med Plus Program.

See them here: Inflammation: How a healing reaction can contribute to further health issues and disease | Sept. 24


Roelof Makken (BAdmin ’85, BA ’85)

Roelof Makken was educated in the Netherlands, Canada, Belgium, Chile, Peru, and Bolivia. He is a strong believer in the immersion of educational pursuits, global exposures, workplace experiences and is currently an adjunct professor in the Goodman School of Business. While his career started in corporate and investment banking at TD Bank, Citibank and ABN-AMRO Bank, he has seized opportunities to work with the largest hedge funds and institutional investors from around the world. Aside from his career endeavours, Professor Makken can be found rowing, playing the piano, or looking after his crop farm.

See them here: Current Banking Trends: Fireside Chat with Brock Alumni | Sept. 23


Joaquin Manay (BA ’13)

Joaquin Manay was born in Uruguay and came to Canada in 2003. He graduated from Brock University in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts and completed the Visual Effects postgraduate program at George Brown College in 2017. He has worked as a part-time professor teaching 3D visualization, is currently working as a CG artist for The Vanity VFX and has been involved with community-building through facilitating beatbox workshops. Manay’s passion within his industry constantly inspires him to help others express their creativity through art and other media.

See them here: Paint Night sessions | Sept. 24


Brad Martin (BA ’05)

Brad Martin graduated from Brock University in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature, minoring in Geography. He later completed his Diploma of Education from Wollongong University in New South Wales, Australia. He is also a proud representative of Peak Group Realty Ltd. Brokerage and Founder of, a brand of real estate that donates a portion of proceeds to a charity of the seller’s choosing for each listing. For this presentation, Martin will be diving into some Real Estate Market Analysis, Buying and Selling Trends, while concentrating on creative solutions for first-time home buyers.

See them here: First Time Home Buyers Panel | Sept. 24


Dr. Karen A. Patte

Dr. Karen A. Patte is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Sciences at Brock University, where she teaches the Child Health undergraduate program and supervises graduate students in the Faculty of Applied Health Science. She has completed several degrees in health science, kinesiology and health psychology, as well as a postdoctoral fellowship in population health research. Professor Patte’s current research examines how different contexts and exposures shape mental health trajectories over adolescence to inform more effective preventative practice, policy, and programs.

See them here: Researcher’s Corner | Sept. 25


Adrian Petry (BA ’11)

Adrian Petry has served as Visitor Services Coordinator at the St. Catharines Museum & Welland Canals Centre since 2017 and as Public Programmer since 2012. Petry graduated from Brock University in 2011, where he completed his bachelor’s degree in History; he also holds an MA in Public History from Western University. His title and interests will enrich this experience by giving participants insight into how archival documents are preserved and managed.

See them here: Behind-the-Scenes Artifacts Tour | Sept. 25


Chef Stephanie Pyka-Smith

Chef Stephanie Pyka-Smith is a classically trained chef, graduating from the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education in Grand Rapids, MI. She has worked in fine dining, private events, and with celebrity chefs that have left her with incredible knowledge. Pyka-Smith is most inspired by fresh and local cuisine, and currently oversees the procurement of food and equipment needs for the Culinary school she graduated from. Her passion for learning the history and lineage of how food came to be will inspire those who pop in for this event.

See them here: Cooking Class with Chef Stephanie Pyka-Smith | Sept. 25


Michael Quinn (BA ’93)

Michael Quinn currently heads up Corporate Coverage for Credit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank, which is based in Toronto, Canada. He has worked in corporate and investment banking for over 19 years for Credit Agricole; previous companies he has worked with include MUFG, The Royal Bank of Scotland, and ABN-AMRO Bank. Quinn holds a bachelor’s degree in History from Brock University and a Master’s of Business Administration from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario.

See them here: Current Banking Trends: Fireside Chat with Brock Alumni | Sept. 23


Sonia Reynolds (BA ’13)

Sonia Reynolds is an entrepreneur, certified yoga teacher and passionate advocate for chronic illness and ADHD. She believes in facilitating classes where her students can push themselves, connect with others and of course, have some fun.

After graduating with a degree in Political Science from Brock in 2013, Sonia decided to pivot into the fitness industry, and ultimately start her own business. If she’s not at her computer, you can find her golfing, kayaking or hiking with her frenchie Angus.

See them here: Guided Yoga | Sept. 25


Dr. Miriam Richards (BSc ’83)

Professor Miriam Richards teaches several courses that specialize in animal behaviour, ecology, and evolution at Brock University. When she isn’t studying the social behaviours of carpenter and sweat bees or conducting research on the restoration of local bee communities, she can be found gardening or riding her mules. Dr. Richards treasures her first science experience at Brock University when she attended the Brock Science Camp during the summer of 1973.

See them here: Researcher’s Corner | Sept. 25


Dr. Mariek Schmidt

Dr. Mariek Schmidt is an associate professor of Earth Sciences at Brock University and a geologist who studies igneous and volcanic rocks on both Earth and Mars. Along with her many accomplishments including working as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and participating in the Mars Science Laboratory mission with NASA, Professor Schmidt actively investigates the histories of volcanic fields and other terrestrial research.

See them here: Researcher’s Corner | Sept. 25


Dr. Lynn Wells

Lynn Wells took on the new leadership role in July of 2021 and was appointed as the University’s Vice-President and Provost the year before. With over fifteen years of experience in senior academic leadership positions including professor, teacher, researcher, Academic, Scholar, Associate Dean, and several other titles, Wells’ dedication shines through. High on her priority list is the safe return of students and faculty come the significant return to campus in the fall, as well as supporting development of more Indigenous programming, services, research, and community engagement.

See them here: Coffee with the Interim President | Sept. 25