Graduate Student and Alumni Profiles

Current MA Students and Alumni

Dannita Owusu Afriyie

Supervisors: Dr. Olatunji Ojo

Growing up in an African society, it was common knowledge that occult societies and secret societies were associated with horrible customs such as human sacrifices, which led to unfavorable opinions. However, through subsequent research, I discovered my initial notions were often based on misconceptions. It is worth noting during my undergraduate studies, I aspired to delve into secret societies for my final research paper, but the scarcity of credible sources hindered my efforts.
For my MRP, I intend to examine the historical significance of Freemasonry and its impact on Canadian society. Fortunately, Brock University’s comprehensive collection of Masonic materials provides a valuable resource for this study. To maintain a specific focus, my research will concentrate on the period from 1980 to 2000, investigating Freemasonry’s influence in St. Catharines, Ontario. By analyzing both primary and secondary sources, this research aims to illuminate the societal contributions of Freemasonic lodges. It seeks to correct past misconceptions and enhance our understanding of how Freemasonry has shaped Canadian society.

Ibrahim Al-Muazam

Supervisor: Dr. Olatunji Ojo

Having grown up in a multi-ethnic political home, I have developed an interest in social and political history. This interest was the motivation for my senior undergraduate dissertation, where I explored the leadership of the Kumase Central Mosque as well as the crisis that disrupted its stability, by emphasizing on ethnic antagonism as a principal cause. For my MRP, I will be looking to investigate political relations and tensions in a selected senior high school in Ghana. I believe that political relations and tensions have already made its way into the Ghanaian higher educational system — mainly the universities. In 2011, for instance, the students’ wings of Ghana’s two main political parties threatened legal actions against each other over laptop distribution in the university. These political relations are gradually making its way into the Ghanaian second cycle institutions — the senior high schools. However, scholarly works on politically motivated relations in Ghana tend to focus mainly on tertiary education. It is against this backdrop that I intend to explore the issues of political relations in a selected senior high school in Ghana.

Elizabeth Anderson

Supervisors: Dr. Elizabeth Vlossak & Dr. Daniel Samson

How do we commemorate and memorialize important figures of our history? And how does that change as our perspective of those figures shifts over time? I was inspired to ask these questions by a series of events that occurred across North America over the past year or so, in which protestors removed statues of influential historical figures, such as Sir John A. Macdonald, whose statue was torn down in Montreal in August of 2020 as a part of a protest against systemic racism. I look to evaluate how we continue to portray and understand monuments that depict our complex national history by focusing on a local statue as a focal point in a much larger debate.

Paige Groot

Supervisor: Dr. Colin Rose

My background in history and environmental practice has instilled a deep interest in the relationship between humans and the environment, specifically, human exploitation and management of natural resources. My SSHRC- funded research will focus on tracking medieval and early modern forest management and deforestation in the High Weald in South-East England. England’s High Weald is home to 35,905 hectares of forest, much of which is classified as ancient, and serve as major natural carbon sinks. Through archival research and environmental science methods, I hope to better understand past approaches to land management and natural resource exploitation. I will use HGIS (historical geographic information systems) to allow for greater analysis and visualization of geographical changes over time. I think that studying historical natural resource management through this lens is an essential part of understanding our relationship to the environment.

Steven Hamelin

Supervisor: Dr. Maureen Lux

Steven Hamelin is an MA student in History at Brock University. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto in International Relations and History. His area of interest is 19th and 20th century conflict and society. His current research is on Indigenous allies and the War of 1812.

Jessica Leite

Supervisor: Dr. Andrew McDonald

I will be exploring the fascinating medieval world of the Isle of Man. I will be examining the 13th century Chronicles of the Kings of Man and the Isles to determine the role of women and the reproductive politics of medieval society. Due to a lack of surviving sources from this period, I will look towards Scotland and Ireland to fill in the gaps.

Alaric Mustoe

Supervisor: Dr. Daniel Samson

The eighteenth century has always fascinated me, whether it was exploring the forts scattered across Niagara or reading about decisive battles that forged the outcomes of North American history. Battles and forts may reveal a part of North American history. However, they also leave a great deal to be discovered. The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are seen as the eras of nation states and the rise of empires, but also the eras of revolution and the forging of national identities. For my MRP, I will focus on the role of the Seven Years War in North America and its impact on fostering a North American colonial identity. I chose the Seven Years War as my period of focus because it is often referred to as one of the most significant global conflicts and is seen as a major contributor to the creation of national identities as seen through the American Revolution.

Rebecca Nickerson

Supervisor: Dr. Maureen Lux

Rebecca Nickerson is a history MA candidate, GIS consultant and embroidery artist. Her research interests are historical GIS and the history of segregated Indigenous healthcare in Canada. Her publications and work experience include several digital map collections (Esri Canada, Defining Moments Canada), print maps, and collaborations for GIS research.

Kat Rice

Supervisors: Dr. Elizabeth Vlossak and Dr. Julie Stevens

My background in sport based oral history projects has revealed to me the remarkable ways sport can reach beyond borders and differences to speak to shared passions. In the field of sport history, oral history is a successful methodology for researching marginalized social groups that have largely been unseen due to signifiers such as class, race, gender, and sexuality. My SSHRC funded research will focus on the experiences of queer women in recreational ice hockey in the Niagara Region through oral history interviews with female players, coaches, managers, and organizers. I will use this collection of interviews to explore the relationship between ice hockey and Canadian national identity through the lens of gender and sexuality. I think studying queer experiences in sport is important for not only understanding the history and legacy of women’s ice hockey in Canada, but also for creating a more inclusive society.

Cindy Allingham

Supervisor: Dr. Tami Friedman

Young, single, white middle-class women entering office jobs in urban areas in  Canada and the U.S. at the turn of the 20th century thought they could exercise more control over their lives by earning wages and could demonstrate some independence from the world of men. They believed that pleasing male co-workers and bosses in the workplace, or at least not antagonizing them, might help them obtain job status and security. My paper asks how they navigated the new obstacles they encountered in the city such as sexual coercion, finding affordable and respectable accommodation, and buying clothing and maintaining respectable appearances. It will also explore whether they were successful at establishing the control they sought 1900 – 1920.

Bear Lyu

Supervisor: Dr. Ning Wang

As a Chinese international student in Canada, I have received different perspectives on history from both sides of the political spectrum. For example, I traveled to Hong Kong in the summer of 2019, when there were protests there. This has awakened my political consciousness and shaped my interest in history during a time of growing international political tensions related to China’s foreign policies. I am interested in the USChina relationship during the 1970s and ‘80s, and I want to explore how a seemingly friendly relationship at the beginning turned into the hostile atmosphere now.

Kathleen Powell

Supervisor: Dr. Jessica Clark

Thesis Title: ‘At Breakfast We Heard Whistles Blowing’: Nationalist Sentiment in St. Catharines, 1899-1902.

Kyle Scarlett

Supervisor: Dr. Andrew McDonald

MRP Title: Saints on the Move: Viking Violence and the
Movement of Saints’ Relics in the 9th and 10th

Christopher Wesolowski

Supervisors: Dr. Elizabeth Neswald and Dr. Mike Driedger

MRP Title: Eating Bartholomew Fair: Food, Drink, and Social Change in London 1750-1820

Fall 2022

Malcolm Cavanagh (MA 2022)

Supervisor: Dr. Gregor Kranjc

MRP title: A Most Demanding Question of Public Concern: Assessing British and French popular discourse on the Cretan revolt, 1897-98

Connor Coutts

Supervisors: Dr. Gregor Kranjc and Dr. Elizabeth Vlossak

MRP Title: The Struggle for Memory: An Analysis of Memoirs of World War II Eastern Front Generals

Eric Kruger

Supervisors: Dr. Michael Driedger and Dr. Elizabeth Vlossak

MRP Title: North American Mennonites, Political Germanism and National Socialism in the 1930s: A Case Study of  “The Mennonite”

Dario Smagata-Bryan

Supervisors: Dr. Renee Lafferty-Salhany and Dr. Daniel Samson

MRP Title: Content Analysis of North American Newspapers of the War of 1812

Spring 2022

Melissa Fowler

Superviosr: Dr. Renée Lafferty-Salhany

MRP Title: Amputating Authority in the Environment of War: Practitioners’ Agency During the War of 1812

Jake Breadman

Supervisor: Dr. Renée Lafferty-Salhany

MRP Title: ‘The father, to his children, will make known the mournful story’: Martial Masculinity and the Life and Memory of Major-General Sir Isaac Brock in Upper Canada

Fall 2021

Robert Gaiero

Supervisor: Dr. Gregor Kranjc

MRP Title: A Study of Antisemitism in Benito Mussolini, in Italians, and the Persecution of Jews in Fascist Italy

Katherine Foran

Supervisor: Dr. Andrew MacDonald

MRP Title: More Than Just Wives, Sisters and Daughters: Scottish Women in John Barbour’s “The Bruce”

Michael Humeniuk

Supervisor: Dr. Maureen Lux

MRP Title: “Make Us Partners in Our Homeland”: The Constitution Express Movement, 1980-1982

Jaclyn Kaller

Supervisor: Dr. Murray Wickett

MRP Title: “The prejudice is a great deal worse here”: Anti-Black Discrimination in St. Catharines’ Nineteenth-Century Public Life 1850-1890

Kara Morrison

Supervisor: Dr. Murray Wickett

MRP Title: Jim Crow Segregated Education: Separate, but Equal?: The Relationship Between Race, Education, and Employment in the United States from the Reconstruction Era to the Civil Rights Era

Naythan Poulin

Supervisor: Dr. Daniel Samson

MRP Title: Interpretive Communities in the Historiography of the Acadian Expulsion: Towards an Empirical Method for Determining the Relationship between Interpretation

Gareth Rowland

Supervisor: Dr. Murrary Wickett

MRP Title: A Man Out of Time? Svein Asleifarson, Orkneyinga saga, and Orkney Society in the Twelfth Century

Jared Shawcross

Supervisor: Dr. Gregor Kranjc

MRP Title: Fenianism or Terrorism? The Power of Terrorism as a Delegitimizing Political Label

Elaine Horrill

Supervisors: Dr. Keri Cronin (Visual Arts) and Dr. Jessica Clark

MRP Title: A Victorian Interpretation of Medieval Times: William Morris and Red House

Danielle Sinopoli

Supervisor: Dr. Renée Lafferty-Salhany

MRP Title: Franklin and Frostbite: An Examination of Naval Medicine, Climate and Bodies in the mid-nineteenth century

Spring 2021

Carina Cino

Supervisor: Dr. Renée Lafferty-Salhany

MRP Title: More Than Just Yes-Men: Masonic Reactions to Canadian Imperial Discourse in WWI

Marcus Hoszko

Supervisors: Dr. Tami Friedman and Dr. Murray Wickett

MRP Title: Unconventional Childhoods: Children of American Communists in the 1940s/1950s

Shawn Kirkman

Supervisor: Dr. Murray Wickett

MRP Title: Indigenous Hockey Players in the NHL

Chidinma Ogueji

Supervisor: Dr. Olatunji Ojo

MRP Title: The Western Media Coverage of the Nigerian Civil War

Adam Thomson

Supervisor: Dr. Mark Spencer

MRP Title: Tabloids of Insurrection: News Media and Shays’ Rebellion

Jessica Linzel

Supervisor: R. Daniel Samson

Thesis Title: Re-imagining Loyalist Era Niagara: A Spatial Study of Economic Development (1783-1812)

Gabrielle Marshall

Supervisor: Dr. Renée Lafferty-Salhany

MRP Title: Under Pressure: Text and Context in the Old Bailey Records of Infanticide Trials, 1800-1850

Carolyn Fast

Supervisor: Dr. Renee Lafferty-Salhany

Thesis Title: The Un-Making of Difference: The Winding Road of Deinstitutionalization in Ontario, 1960-2018

Jade Biggar

Supervisor: Dr. Elizabeth Vlossak

MRP Title: Lest We Forget: Stained Glass Memorial Windows in Niagara’s Churches

Fall 2020

Amanda Balyk

Supervisor: Dr. Jessica Clark

MRP Title: “An atrocious and abominable offence”: textual representations of abortion and shame in England 1850-1870

Lucas Coia

Supervisor: Dr. Colin Rose

Thesis Title: Down to Earth or Near to Heaven?: Religious Practice in the Abruzzi, 1154-1313

Alumni Testimonials

Colin Bissell (2015)

Supervisor: Dr. Maureen Lux

‘Brock University’s MA in History is a challenging and rewarding program. I chose to pursue graduate work at Brock because of the knowledge and experience of its faculty. The vast experience of the faculty are a key component of their multidisciplinary program. The faculty are also approachable, supportive and know how to push students to reach their potential.

‘While some students might be challenged taking courses outside of their comfort zone, it gives them the opportunity to apply their skills in other areas. I enjoyed the graduate experience at Brock and look forward to using the skills I learned on a new project with the Lincoln and Welland Regiment Museum.’

Brent Brenyo (2015)

Supervisor: Dr. Jane McLeod

I chose the Graduate Program because of the stellar experience I had with the History Department as an undergraduate student at Brock. Faculty members were approachable and helpful, and wanted to see students succeed. The prospect of working with them in a close capacity while furthering my own post-secondary studies was an attractive proposition. The Department even facilitated with applying to the program. The Department offered information sessions and the Grad Program Director kept in touch during the application and admission process. This allowed for any initial questions to be answered (including funding and TA work) and ensured a smooth transition from Undergraduate studies. I would strongly encourage prospective Grad students to attend in advance. The Graduate Program offered a diverse range of courses, while allowing me to pursue the area of historical study I wanted with my Major Research Paper (MRP). The courses allowed me to become more knowledgeable in many areas of history, as well as historical method. My MRP allowed me to draw on my interest in public education and Bachelor of Education degree. The MRP focused on the censorship of the LGBTQ+ community in public education in Ontario, the struggle for curricular inclusiveness, and the educational value of law in affecting change in the schooling system. The faculty were supportive and encouraging. Department colloquiums also helped to create a collegial atmosphere and offered a chance to socialize. The ability to work closely with supervisors and faculty was quite beneficial.

Renée Girard (2015)

Superviosr: Dr. Jane McLeod

“The experience of completing an MA in History at Brock has been for me an exciting and fulfilling experience. It has been a pleasure to share ideas and discuss not only with my peers but also with all the members of the faculty who have been more than supportive throughout the whole process. Being in the History department at Brock is like being part of a family. While support and encouragement is offered, the expectations are high. The program is challenging, and provides adequate preparation for further studies. Furthermore, I have had the opportunity to develop valuable skills through my participation in many conferences and as a teaching assistant. I thus feel confident that I can start a PhD program in History with a strong foundation, and look forward to this new challenge.”

Nicholas Timmers (2015)

Supervisor: Dr. R. Andrew McDonald

I am researching the later Christianizaton process (the development of the established church) of the Scottish Northern Isles (particularly Orkney) during the 12th and 13th centuries.

I have had a great experience with the program.  While I wish the program had a more medieval focus in terms of the course work, the co-op position which I had has more than made up for it.  Between May and September of 2013, I worked as an intern for the Centre for Nordic Studies in Shetland, as a part of the co-op portion of my degree.  In this position, I helped the Centre for Nordic Studies build a Viking database as well as organize and assist with the annual Viking Summer School in Shetland.  Another perk of the position is that I worked in the same place as the history I am studying, which has enabled me to conduct great research! Through the co-op aspect of the History program I have learned many practical strategies which will help me in the future.  I have learned how to apply my research skills in a professional position, instead of a student paper.  I realized that my skills which I have developed over the past 5 years are easily transferable. I think Brock University’s Master of Arts History program is a great program.  I do like that it exposes you to numerous areas of history and it introduces new historical strategies. It is also nice having a small program because you really get know to your colleagues both professors and other students.

Steven J. Lee (2012)

Being a Master’s Candidate in Brock University’s history department was the most fulfilling and engaging part of my post-secondary education. I honestly believe that the experience could not have been the same at a different school. At Brock the professors outnumber the students in the graduate program. This means that the professors quickly get to know you, form personal connections and one-on-one support is always available.The MA program consists of small, three-hour seminars. My class sizes ranged from six to fourteen (the entire class), which meant that there was plenty of time for each student to express his or her thoughts and build discussion. Professors constantly push students to critically analyze, challenge their ideas and support their claims. This compelled me to become better at formulating academic arguments, and perhaps more importantly, become more confident in my ideas and myself. The history MA program fosters a true sense of community both between the candidates and the entire department. The history MA program is not easy, and requires a great deal of dedication and hard work, but the rewards and rich experience make it all worthwhile in the end.

Steven Lee is a Brock University graduate who currently works at the Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archive in Brampton, Ontario, and as a teacher at Oxford Learning Company.

Venetia Whiting (Boehmer-Plotz) (2011)

“After completing my graduate research on Aboriginal fisheries in post-Confederation British Columbia with Dr. Maureen Lux, I began the bijuridical civil and common law program at McGill University in fall 2011. The program was demanding, allowing me to maintain my commitment to academic excellence while honing the oral and written communication skills and efficient research strategies that I acquired through the graduate program at Brock. The experience I gained balancing graduate course work, independent research, and community involvement has prepared me for both academic and professional success in law.  I excelled in my roles as a Pro Bono legal intern at a Native women’s shelter, as a research assistant studying reconciliation jurisprudence, and as a senior journal editor. I am confident that the graduate program’s rigorous academic standards, commitment to excellence, and continued mentorship will serve me well in my new capacity as an Associate in the Regulatory department at Bennett Jones LLP. I am grateful for the confidence and sense of initiative that I gained through the seminar program and through the strong faculty-student support that is unique to Brock’s graduate program.”

After completing her MA in History at Brock University, Venetia went on to complete her Common and Civil Law degrees at McGill and was named to the Dean’s Honour List. Venetia is currently an Associate at Bennett Jones LLP in Calgary, Alberta, where she practices regulatory, Aboriginal, and environmental law.