Student Award Winners

Shirin Mahkamova Scholarship

The Shirin Mahkamova Scholarship, first established in 2019, is awarded to an enrolled undergraduate student studying Business Communications at Brock University who demonstrates academic excellence and financial need, with preference given to a student who identifies as a member or supporter of the LGBTQ community.

The award was created by Terry and Barbara O’Malley in recognition of alumna Shirin Mahkamova (BA Hon. ’14) upon her graduation from the University of Michigan Law School.

Since obtaining her law degree in 2018, Shirin has worked as an associate in the New York office of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, an international law firm, where she practices financial restructuring law. She is also part of the LGBTQ Bar Association and regularly represents LGBTQ clients on a pro bono basis.

“I think I started crying when I saw that Barbara and Terry had set up the scholarship for LGBTQ students,” Shirin says. “Brock holds a special place in my heart because it was the first place where I felt surrounded by a loving community and felt comfortable being 100% myself. I hope that the scholarship can play a part in helping the new generation of students feel the same way.”

“The scholarship means the world to me. When I was a Brock student, there was a time when money was tight and I was not sure if I would be able to pay tuition/fees and graduate – I had to drop out for a semester. But I was lucky to have many people mobilized to help – Barbara and Terry O’Malley, my incredible academic advisor, Penni Lafleur, my close friend, Mariya Yurukova (who had been my supervisor at Brock’s Telefund office), my professors, and many other friends. After a semester away from school, I received financial aid and was able to return to finish my studies, so I understand that even a small scholarship can make a world of difference” ~ Shirin Mahkamova

The first ever Shirin Mahkamova Scholarship was awarded to Mackenzie Rockbrune, a second-year Business Communications major and co-president of the CPCF Student Society in 2019-20.

Mackenzie, who aspires to one day represent Canada in an international organization, says that her favourite aspect of her major is “learning about political communication and how communication theories influence the general public’s understanding of topics,” adding that she is eager to learn more about digital culture, public relations, and information and communication technologies and their influence mass communication.

“As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I think it is important for marginalized groups to gain more opportunities in education that they might not have had in the past. The Shirin Makhamova Scholarship is an excellent example of the way Brock is working towards an equitable and safe community.” ~ Mackenzie Rockbrune

Dean's Best Essay Award

CPCF is delighted that Glenn McAleer, a Business Communication major, won the Dean’s Best Essay award in 2020 for a paper written in COMM/PCUL 4P14: Advanced Research in Cultural Industries. His winning paper was titled “Trending or Changing? Audio Streaming’s Creative Destruction of Terrestrial Radio.” It addressed the economic and cultural challenges posed by audio streaming services to traditional radio broadcasting.