Graduate student and Alumni profiles


Ibrahim Al-Muazam (working with 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.

Kaitlyn Carter (working with Dr. Jessica Clark)

I am fascinated by emotions in history: what they meant, what they looked like, and above all, why they were represented the way that they were. For my MRP I intend to examine the emotional response soldiers had to medical treatment in the War of 1812 and evaluate how this emotional performance is impacted by nineteenth- century understandings of gender and nationhood in an emerging Canada. In my MA cognate at Western University (completed 2021), I focused on the progression of masculine Canadian identity during the Cold War through examining the role of hockey in Canadian nationalism. I intend to place this examination of what it means to be Canadian into a colonial context, by questioning what concepts of British and early Canadian nationalism were etched into what can be considered the founding war of our nation. After years of working at various military heritage sites in Niagara, I have been struck by how often popular memory forgets to associate human cost with battle statistics. I believe that studying emotional history highlights the humanity of historical figures and reminds us that in many ways we are more closely related to people in the past than we may think.

Shannon Gosse (working with Dr. Renee Lafferty- Salhany)

I came across the Keefer Family House in Thorold, Ontario, during my undergraduate degree at Brock and found myself lost in the story of George Keefer and his family. Keefer was granted land, positions of power, and money due to his undivided loyalty to the British government during the American Revolution and the War of 1812. He was able to create a larger fortune through entrepreneurship that extended to his family for many generations. Now when I look at this property, I don’t see a closed building; I see the story of a family that has deep connections to the American Revolution, the War of 1812 and economic triumph. For my MA research, I am interested in exploring the connections between the American Revolution and the War of 1812 and the interregnum between the two conflicts and its effect on family fortunes and the development of the Niagara Region.

Paige Groot (working with 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.

Alaric Mustoe (working with 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.


Elizabeth Anderson (working with Elizabeth Vlossak & Renee Lafferty-Salhany)

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.

Malcolm Cavanagh ( working with Gregor Kranjc)

My area of historical fascination is the construction of European nationalisms in the lead-up to the First World War, and the impacts of such ideologies on the ending of the continent’s ‘long peace’ of the nineteenth century. I think that it’s important that we understand how seemingly stable international structures are susceptible to subversion by pervasive and often violent national identities. In my MSc dissertation at the London School of Economics, I researched how French and British national consciousnesses conditioned popular perceptions of archaeological activity from 1890-1914. I’ll be writing my Brock MRP on the 1897-98 Cretan Revolt and its ensuing international response, examining how competing national aspirations undercut the Concert of Europe’s relative unity in responding to the crisis

Connor Coutts (working with Gregor Kranjc)

I have a love for history from the earliest times when humanity was first exploring the world to the modern day. For my MRP I will be examining Soviet military competency on the Eastern Front during World War 2. I have decided to do this topic for several reasons. With more Russian sources being translated into English and generally being released to the public a comprehensive reexamination of the Eastern Front is possible. This is because for a long time German sources were the main source of knowledge in the English speaking world. This of course is a problem as the particular biases of the Germans cannot be countered much without the Russian sources. My goal is to look at just how competent the Soviet army was during the Second World War and see how biased the narrative about the Soviet military forces are.

Eric Kruger (working with Michael Driedger) 

Since my first highschool history class I have been fascinated with all things WWI and WWII, particularly the role that Canada played in the Allied war effort. While most people with at least a basic understanding of this momentous period are familiar with the major events, battles, and characters, many are unfamiliar with the people that chose not to participate on religious and/or moral grounds: conscientious objectors. As a self-styled War Film buff, I was exposed to this side of the conflict by Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge (2016), based upon the true story of a conscientious objector who refused to bear arms in WWII but would be later granted the Congressional Medal of Honour for his heroism. In my research, I wish to examine the conscientious objection of Canadian Mennonites in either WWI or WWII and the impacts this had on their relationship with the Canadian state.

Bear Lyu (working with 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.

Kyle Scarlett (working with Andrew McDonald) 

There isn’t a time in my life where I can’t recall having a passion for history in some form. Being introduced to Medieval History in grade four was the first time I realized that learning could be fun! This passion has only continued to grow, and I am excited to see it flourish at Brock University. My Research Project aims to look at the evolution of ecclesiastical institutions in the French Carolingian period through the introducing of Norse influence brought about by the Viking invaders.

Dario Smagata-Bryan (working with Renee Lafferty-Salhany) 

As a lifelong Niagara resident, it’s impossible to avoid hearing about the War of 1812, but the debate over who won has always fascinated and surprised me. How can there be any doubt about who won a war? My research will look at some of the external factors that may have influenced this debate over the past two centuries, in order to determine whether shifting trends in BritishAmerican and Canadian-American relations, as well as in modern Canadian society, are linked to it. Newspapers, books, and commemorative events originating from the Niagara Region will be a particular focus. Through this research, I hope to shed some new light on the conflict every Niagaran has heard so much about.


Cindy Allingham (working with Tami Friedman) 

My great-great aunt, Frances Pelley, was murdered by her husband on the streets of Erie, Pennsylvania in 1906. Some scholars suggest that domestic violence significantly increased early in the 20th century in the northeastern United States. Yet reformers in the Progressive Era were silent on this particular problem. Middle-class ‘respectable’ families worked hard to keep details out of the press. Reporters often suggest victims were to blame in some way. Victims often died without having their stories told. I would like to shed some light on those stories, and examine how and why such violence was ignored.

Katherine Foran (working with Andrew MacDonald)

I have always been interested in the history of women and gender. Specifically, I find how women have navigated spaces designed for me throughout many different eras fascinating. I will be looking at women and men and their interactions in the context of medieval welfare. My research plan is to look at John Barbour’s epic poem “The Bruce”, which highlights heroism and masculinity in the Scottish war of independence. Within the text there are brief but consistent mentions of women and their place in the war against the English. I will examine the mentions of women and ow their presence within a time of violence is important to understanding a female role in the medieval period.

Robert Gaiero (working with Gregor Kranjc)

My degrees are in French, Spanish and Italian literatures and languages, Art and Visual Culture and History. My MRP research focuses on antisemitism in Italy and in Benito Mussolini. The Holocaust was the most horrific catastrophe that marked the twentieth century. A primary undercurrent of that tragedy was antisemitism. As an Italian Canadian, I want to ascertain the degree to which antisemitism prejudiced the Italian people and the degree to which antisemitism prejudiced the dictator Mussolini.

Michael Humeniuk (working with Maureen Lux)

Michael Is studying 20th Century Indigenous activism during the Pierre Trudeau administration in Canada with particular focus on a protest called the Constitution Express.  Michael’s broader interest include the history of race and racial rights and the protests of minorities that help to change disadvantageous laws against them.  He is focusing on Indigenous peoples in Canada for his MRP because he has always thought of it as an underappreciated area of history in Canada.  His goal after completing his MA is to continue his education and study at the Ph.D level so he may teach and write about history as a career.

Jaclyn Kaller (working with Murray Wickett)

Throughout my undergraduate degree in History and Global Studies at Bishop’s University, I was most drawn towards themes of race and gender. For my major research paper, I will be looking at Black history in the Niagara Region in the 19th century. The Niagara Region across the US border was a symbol of freedom for fugitive slaves, and those who settled there created a strong Black community. I hope to promote Black history in the area, which is important and relevant in today’s world.

Kara Morrison (working with Murray Wickett)

My passion for American history lies specifically in American racial history. For my MRP, I will be researching the impact of Jim Crow segregation on the development of a Black identity in the United States. Through my research, I aim to highlight both the psychological and sociological impact of the Jim Crow era, and its lasting impact on what it means to be black in the United States of America.

Shivam Panwar (working with Maria Del Carmen Suescun Pozas)

I am interested in researching the history of the nomadic people of Ladakh, a place located at the Himalayan-Tibetan plateau in India. The study will explain how their low carbon-emitting eco-friendly lifestyle has adversely been getting impacted by imperialism, globalization, and industrialization. The research will also assist in drawing parallels amongst various indigenous nomadic communities of the world. It will allow us to understand the challenges that different indigenous nomadic communities worldwide have been dealing with to maintain their way of life and existence in the 20th and 21st centuries..

Naythan Poulin (working with Danny Samson)

My research will look at the legal decision-making process regarding the Acadian Expulsion (1755). Specifically, I want to know whether Chief Justice Jonathan Belcher properly applied the laws of necessity when expelling the Acadians. The laws of necessity permitted and justified actions of a state, even unlawful ones, as long as the state could prove that such actions was necessary for its own preservation. Nonetheless, in the eighteenth-century specific rules needed to be respected and followed in order to lawfully apply the laws of necessity. Based on previous research for a fourth-year paper, I hypothesize that the Nova Scotian government were negligent and did not properly apply the laws of necessity when deporting the Acadians which rendered them legally responsible for wrongdoing. A large part of my MRP will be to further test my hypothesis. I hope that my work can reorient historiographical debates regarding the Acadian Expulsion and responsibility.

Gareth Rowland (working with Murrary Wickett)

I’ve always loved storytelling and have always viewed history as a bunch of interconnected stories. Because of this, I am studying the Orkneyinga Saga, an Icelandic Saga that details the history (or stories) of the Earls/Jarls of the Orkney Isles. My hope is to study Sveinn Asleifarson, a major figure within the saga, and determine just how much of his story can be considered true historical fact.

Jared Shawcross (working with Gregor Kranjc)

In my third year at Brock I took a course on the History of Terrorism and wrote my final paper on the Fenian Brotherhood in North America. This course and the paper I wrote sparked my interest in the study of conflict in a historical context and definitions of terrorism in North America. My research aims to examine the Fenian Brotherhood as perpetrators of acts of terrorism across North America and examine definitions of terrorism in a Fenian context

Christopher Wesolowski (working with Elizabeth Neswald)

The focus of my MRP will be the relationship between food and social protest in Eighteenth Century London. Specifically, charter fairs such as Bartholomew Fair which were known as places of chaos and over-indulgence in terms of food and drink. My research will focus on what this food culture can reveal about how acts of consumption can serve as a perversion of social hierarchy. I became interested in this topic during my study of early modern food culture throughout my undergraduate degree, and wanted to explore further aspects of how food could both symbolically and physically represent a larger form of social protest


Jake Breadman (working with Renée Lafferty-Salhany)

Working at Brock’s Monument this past summer, I became interested in how monuments and statues can be used as political tools. I plan to study how the Family Compact used Brock’s Monument to maintain and exert their hegemony over Upper Canadians. This topic will be considered alongside the Upper Canada Rebellion and Benjamin Lett’s destruction of the first Brock’s Monument in 1840.

Carina Cino (working with Renée Lafferty-Salhany)

I am looking at concepts of masculinity as they pertain to Freemasons in wartime. Historically anti-war,  the Freemasons can help historians understand how men in increasingly nationalistic societies coped with conscription and the different effects an anti-war mindset might have on the development of masculinity. I aim to investigate how the Freemasons survived socially as men in a world that pushed war as a defining trait of masculinity, so very contrary to their beliefs.

Melissa Fowler (working with Renée Lafferty-Salhany)

Stemming from my research paper for the War of 1812 course I took in fourth year, I will be taking an in-depth look at medical history. Specifically, my MRP will focus on physicians’ authority over patients by examining amputation cases detailed in the primary sources left by James Mann and William Beaumont. In my past research I suggested that physicians’ authority was lacking, and I hope to further explore this and more through my MRP.

Elaine Horrill (working with Keri Cronin)

My passion is Medieval and Renaissance History and I am interested in studying the importance of seals in Medieval Society.  Although seals were used to authenticate documents, their imagery reflected medieval society including  religion, social status and gender.  Seals bridged the gap between the literate and non literate in society enabling all levels of the population to participate in written forms of communication; it reinforced the legitimacy of the written word.

Marcus Hoszko (working with Tami Friedman)

I want to determine what the impact of McCarthyism on American schoolchildren whose parents were members of, or supporters of, the communist party was during the late 1940s and 1950s. I am researching this topic because I like drama and because I would like to know if what my grandmother suggested last year is true. When I told her what I was planning to research, she told me that life in the 1950s “was terrible” for many people.

Shawn Kirkman (working with Murray Wickett)

For my MRP I hope to study professional athletes who are indigenous. One area I hope to investigate is  how indigenous athletes have performed their identity as indigenous peoples while being employed in a field that is not only very public, but also not a traditional form of indigenous labour. I also hope to look at the reception of indigenous athletes by settler society.

Chidinma Ogueji (working with Olatunji Ojo)

My research interest is beyond the exhibit: African student experiences, interactions and relationships within the diaspora. I will be focusing on Nigerians living in Canada.


Kaitlin Peters (working with Maureen Lux)

I am interested in the forced relocation of Inuit peoples  from their home communities to Indian Hospitals south of the Arctic Circle. Using records and documents kept by the Department of Indian Affairs, I want to understand the motivation that doctors and policy makers had for this removal as well as the justification given by these figures. I am also interested in the various print media created by and for the Department as a means of showcasing their accomplishments in ‘helping’ the Inuit communities the Canadian government sought to govern.

Danielle Sinopoli (working with Renée Lafferty-Salhany)

My graduate research will focus on ideas of colonization and medicine in the eighteenth century. I will be questioning the impact of disease on British naval ships that were on route to North America, specifically, through the analysis of a physician’s diary. Furthermore, I will investigate how the implications of disease on naval ships shaped the success of the colonial project.

Adam Thomson (working with Mark Spencer)

With an interest in social history and print culture, I aim to examine Shays’s Rebellion- a revolt that took place in Massachusetts shortly after the American Revolution. Using period newspapers I hope to examine the role that print culture- and censorship- played in changing the collective consciousness of American’s as they moved into a society where “revolution” against one’s grievances was no longer acceptable.


Amanda Balyk (working with Jess Clark)

I am looking at the intersections of crime, gender, and class in Victorian London. Following research on infanticide in my fourth year, I became interested in the ways in which women are represented in trials when indicted and became curious when I noticed that men were the ones indicted for abortion trials. I intend to therefore study abortion trials and how they connect with the social mores of the time.

Lucas Coia (working with Colin Rose)

What did it mean to be Christian in medieval Europe? Historians have often approached this question through the relationship between elite and popular religion. The prevailing view is that this is mostly a false dichotomy and that the religion of ordinary people overlapped considerably with that of the ecclesiastical elite. My thesis will add a new and interesting element to this debate by examining the cult of saints in southern Italy from 1200-1500. Southern Italy is a unique case. Here, communities existed on the fringes of Latin Christendom, with rural people living in isolated mountain villages far from the cultural centres of Europe. Additionally, this was a culturally complex society with a unique blend of Latin, Greek, Arab, and Norman influences. What then did Christian identity look like in such a peripheral and culturally complex area of the world? Studying local saints will help provide an answer to this question.

Derek Friske (working with Renée Lafferty-Salhany)

I have begun research on The General Church of New Jerusalem, a small but controversial schism of Swedenborgianism born in Pennsylvania. Over the course of the 1890’s the church established an identity for itself with canonical texts and dogmatic rituals. This burgeoning religious movement seems to have caused great distress to local journalists for its connection to “spirit talking.” I feel an understanding of a localized, but well defined, religious movement could illustrate much about the social and religious anxieties of the age.

Second Reader: Mike Driedger

Jessica Linzel (working with Danny Samson)

My graduate work will focus on the economic development of the Niagara region in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The project will include an HGIS component wherein I will attempt to map the trade routes that existed at the time, both within the peninsula itself and on a broader scale. I love local history and essentially want to know how the early colonial settlements in Niagara developed post-Revolution, using the visual dimension of digital tools to aid in my own understanding and to also share my research with the public in an accessible way

See Jessica’s blog…Mapping Early Niagara: A Spatial Approach to Trade Developments at the turn of the 19th century

Gabrielle Marshall (working with Renée Lafferty-Salhany)

For my MRP I will be focusing my research on issues related to women, crime and violence in United Kingdom. My particular focus will be Amelia Dyer, a notorious baby-farmer and serialkiller who was executed in 1897.

Second Reader: Jess Clark


Colin Bissell

‘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

Supervisors: Dr. McLeod and Dr. Patrias

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

“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.”

Steven J. Lee

Class of 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.

Nicholas Timmers

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.

Venetia Whiting (Boehmer-Plotz)

Class of 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.