MARS graduates and testimonials

“I didn’t know it at the time, but in 3rd and 4th year, I was actually becoming a Medievalist!” – Annika E. Mazzarella (BA Hons, 2017)

“This program is unique because it allows you to get a balanced Humanities education, which will prepare you for life beyond university.” – Mark McNeill (BA Hons, 2016)

Elizabeth is currently in her third year of a Combined BA in Italian Studies and Medieval and Renaissance Studies.  She also oversees the student led Brock University Medieval and Renaissance Society (BUMARS).  Click here for Elizabeth’s testimonial.

— Elizabeth Colantoni, Past President BUMARS

“I came to Brock University in 2016 to major in history with the intention of being a medievalist, and the MARS program quickly embraced my interests and encouraged my growth in the subject. From my first class in MARS 1F95, the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies felt like a second home outside of the history department.

The MARS department has always put the interest of their students first. I was able to work closely with professors in the department to develop a club that was designed for engaging students, and as President of the Brock University Medieval and Renaissance Society (BUMARS) I never received anything less than the unwavering support of the entire department. Working with MARS was one of the most positive experiences I had during my undergraduate degree, and undoubtedly shaped me as a young scholar. Though I have focused my master’s degree on modern history, the knowledge I received in the MARS program has only strengthened my approach to a more modern topic. I am extremely grateful for the influence the MARS department has had on my education.”

— Kaitlyn Carter (BA Hons, 2020)

“Declaring MARS (Medieval and Renaissance Studies) as one of my majors was an obvious decision after listening to Andre Basson’s enthusiastic MARS 1F90 (Medieval and Renaissance Civilizations) lectures week after week during my first year.

I actually became introduced to the interdisciplinary program while still a secondary school student in Niagara. My Grade 12 history class was invited to attend a BUMARS (Brock University Medieval and Renaissance Studies) talk by Candice Bogdanski on Medieval Gothic architecture. Sitting in the Dr. Charles A. Sankey Chamber, at age 17, I remember thinking that this period of history is definitely for me. Three years later, Bogdanski taught me one of my favourite courses: MARS 2P89 (Medieval Art, Architecture & Society). Similarly, at Brock’s Fall Open House, I met Rosemary Hale, who gave me a “MARS” chocolate bar. I was lucky enough to be a student in her last MARS 2P95 (Reading the Middle Ages: Heroic and Chivalric) class before she retired later that year.

In the spring of third year, I found myself in Italy – and Vatican City – completely awe struck, as my highlight “Brock Experience” was participating in MARS 3F50 (Reading the Italian Medieval and Renaissance City) – a study tour abroad taught and led by Ernesto Virgulti. Nothing compares to experiencing European culture; practicing your language skills; or seeing Medieval and Renaissance art and architecture than being in Europe itself. Catching the travel bug and a bad case of wanderlust, I’ve since travelled to, visited and/or lived, studied and worked in: Austria; England; Germany; Greece; Liechtenstein; Poland; Scotland; and Switzerland.

Inspired by Giotto, my MARS 4P00 (Directed Studies) project, supervised by Virgulti, explored technical art history by researching and creating: an illuminated manuscript parchment; a gilded wooden frame; a jeweled tiled mosaic; and an egg-tempura fresco painting. The Centre of Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Brock University allowed me to individualize my project, instead of writing a traditional essay. These experiential learning experiences is something that I have highly benefitted from academically, personally and professionally.

In fact, in Andrew McDonald’s MARS 4P01 (Selected Topics in Medieval and Renaissance Studies), which focused on Medieval historical sources, I not only was introduced to theory, but also presented a 20-minute conference-style presentation for the first time – both of which prepared me for graduate studies. It was also easy to connect with my classmates throughout the years because we all had a similar interest in a specific period range of history, regardless if our career goals were to become an academic or a curator, historian or teacher. The MARS program is close-knit and I recommend it to anyone with a general interest in or passion for the period looking to explore or receive a solid foundation in Medieval and Renaissance studies.”

— Annika E. Mazzarella (BA Hons, 2017)

“This program is unique because it allows you to get a balanced Humanities education, which will prepare you for life beyond university. The professors are amazing and you can work directly with them on any research project you want. I would definitely recommend this program.”

— Mark A. McNeill (BA Hons, 2016)


“I chose Brock specifically for the Medieval and Renaissance Studies program, and never once regretted. While many of my friends at other universities spoke about overwhelming class sizes and professors they couldn’t remember, I was privileged to work directly with my professors. They’re at the top of their field, but never make you feel like they’re unapproachable. Instead, they encourage conversation and exploration.

Thanks to the support and encouragement from the Brock University professors in the Medieval and Renaissance program, I have graduated from my MA studies at the University of Iceland and the University of Oslo. My thesis entitled One In The Same, Skriðuklaustur: A Medieval Icelandic Monastery Following in the Christian Tradition explores the continuity of religion throughout Iceland and Europe.”

— Ashlie McDougall (BA, 2013)