Articles by author: mvanatte

  • English graduate student, Kassie Galaski creates helpful resource for students new to the area

    Having struggled herself upon arriving in Niagara, Kassie Galaski (BA ’22) has set out to make the transition to life in St. Catharines easier for future Brock students.

    Originally from Midland, Ont., Galaski drew on her own experiences and creativity to build ‘Where can we…?’ for post-secondary students and other newcomers to the region. More than just a website to find information, the site also invites users to contribute their knowledge through participation in a Discord channel.

    Galaski, who graduated from the University earlier this month with her Bachelor of Arts from Brock’s Department of English Language and Literature, was inspired by the writing of Potawatomi author Robin Kimmerer’s essay The Serviceberry: An Economy of Abundance, which she read as part of ENGL 3V91 Social Justice and Cultural Production taught by Associate Professor Susan Spearey.

    “Kimmerer focuses on the concept of a gift economy, where you give something without expecting anything in return and create a mutual benefit and deeper relationships,” says Galaski. “The idea of connection hit deep for me, especially during COVID where we’ve lost that sense of community.”

    The website focuses on students who are new to Canada or the region, helping them to locate resources and support and share information about life in Niagara.

    “How can someone coming into Niagara participate in the gift economy with few funds?” Galaski asks. “Everyone has some kind of knowledge they can share, whether it’s a recipe, a craft or a tip about a secret spot in the region.”

    Galaski’s road to Convocation hasn’t been an easy one.  She started her studies at Brock in the Concurrent Education program, but, after facing difficulties transitioning to life in Niagara, she found herself on academic probation.

    “I was new to the Niagara region and there were a lot of hurdles,” she says, such as being unfamiliar with transit schedules and walk-in clinics, for example.

    Struggling to find a job and connect with community resources, Galaski was eventually referred to Start Me Up Niagara, a local service that provides programming, employment services and housing support to Niagara residents.

    Her experience inspired her to create a place “where people can come together as a community and not feel ashamed to ask questions.”

    Galaski began creating the website before enrolling in the third-year English course that provided her space to workshop her ideas and develop the concept.

    Spearey used Cathy N. Davidson’s notion of “Public Contribution to Knowledge” to frame the term projects and essays for ENGL 3V91.

    “Basically, Davidson stipulates that large projects and assignments should not be written exclusively for the instructor or for the purpose of a grade,” says Spearey. “Rather, students should choose a medium that is meaningful to them to demonstrate and apply what they have learned in her courses, with a view to create something that has a larger social impact beyond the classroom, and that the student can take forward beyond the course.”

    As part of the project, Galaski prioritized accessibility, from using alt text to her font choices.

    “Kassie has modelled such generosity in the website design and the obvious labour that has gone into bringing it online,” says Spearey. “While the site is still in progress, she has paid meticulous attention to detail in every aspect of its design to date.”

    Galaski plans to continue the website so it can support others well into the future.

    “The more I got into it, the more passionate I got about it,” she says. “I purposely left some sections blank as an invitation to others to come talk, share and work together.”

    Brock News Article:

  • 2021 Annual English Essay Contest Winners!

    The Department of English Language and Literature is pleased to announce this years 2021 Annual English Essay Contest Winners!

    Gabrielle Dheilly, who has won the Carol LaMothe prize for her essay “The Circle Game: An Exploration of Time, Inheritance, and Legacy”.

    Jenna Boucher, who has won the First-Year Essay Prize for her essay “Making Monsters: The Influence of Reading in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein”

    Congratulations to you both!

  • Learning from medieval texts

    Students in MARS/ENGL 4P01 Sources and Methods of Medieval and Renaissance Studies got up close and personal with source material on Monday, Feb. 28. The class, taught by Associate Professor Leah Knight, joined David Sharron, Head of Archives and Special Collections, for a special viewing in the Rankin Family Pavilion of the Archives’ oldest items, including a 14th-century psalm from a church reader, the 13th-century Clopton Charter, a 1579 letter of King James VI of Scotland, and John Gerard’s herbal encyclopedia from 1597. Here, Sharron shows students an image of Niagara Falls from the 1698 book A new discovery of a vast country in America by Louis Hennepin. While some of the items have been brought to classes before, this was the first time all these materials have been collectively presented to students outside of Archives and Special Collections.

  • Brock University course using virtual reality to enhance online learning experience

    English Language and Literature Professor, Martin Danahay is taking his online teaching approach to a new level.

    The Brock University Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature is hosting one of his Winter Term courses in a 3D classroom using virtual reality (VR) technology.

    The class, WRDS/IASC/GAME 3P15 Writing for New Media, is part of Danahay’s ongoing work to introduce VR components into teaching.

    Read more here.

  • The Word on the Street Toronto

    The Word on the Street Toronto #FallFeature!

    The Department of English Language and Literature was featured in the WOTS #FallFeauture hosted by Sienna Tristen. English Department Chair, Dr. James Allard, Brock University English Student, Claire Gittins, and Student Advisor, Mike Pratas spoke at this interview about Brock’s English program, the value of the written word in modern society, and the different opportunities students have to get involved both on and off campus.

    This conversation is pre-recorded. To find out more about Brock University’s English program, go to If you have any questions regarding the English program and admissions, send Mike an email to

    Dr. James Allard is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of English Language and Literature at Brock University. He teaches courses in British Romantic Literature and Culture, Gothic, and Speculative Fiction, and he currently serves as President of the Canadian Association of Chairs of English. Claire Gittins holds a B.A. in English Language and Literature from Brock University. She is a published poet and is currently pursuing a post-graduate certificate. Mike Pratas is a Recruitment Officer for undergraduate programs at Brock University and has held previous positions in Admissions. He is available to assist with program, admission, scholarship & fee related questions.

    Watch the recorded interview here:

    To check out more events and discussions during our 2021 festival, go to!

  • English MA’s adapt to the virtual world by hosting a virtual Colloquium

    Each year the Brock University English Language and Literature Graduate Program hosts an in-person Graduate Student Colloquium for students to present their Major Research Projects. However, during this pandemic year, on April 27th, the Brock University English MA students hosted a virtual colloquium, “Open Windows, Closed Doors: A Pandemic-Based Graduate Experience.” Graduate Program Director, Gale Coskan-Johnson and Cohort, Blake Carter, Leslie Czegeny, Emily Gabet, Kostyn Petrunick, Diana Vasu and Jakob Vujovic adapted to the virtual world by successfully hosting a virtual colloquium that welcomed over 40 guests. The graduate students presented research from their Major Research Projects via PowerPoint and Prezi for guests to view upon their arrival. Guests were then able to live chat with students and discuss the MRPs in further detail. The group celebrated together, post colloquium, with a boxed lunch provided by the Department of English, CHZPLZ and GoodGrazers

    The student projects are published on the English Language and Literature webpage here: 2021 English MA Colloquium  – English Language & Literature (