News

  • Geography and Tourism students put skills to the test in central Ontario

    A crisp fall breeze and the smell of pine recently welcomed Daniel Marshall into a different type of learning environment.

    The fourth-year Geography student can normally be found deep in the Mackenzie Chown Complex learning about physical geography. But, during this year’s fall Reading Week, an experiential education trip took him out of his comfort zone and into the field.

    Along with 34 other participants from the Geography and Tourism Department’s Physical Geography and Human Geography and Tourism Studies field courses, Marshall took part in a weeklong experiential learning exercise in central Ontario. The annual trip is designed to connect in-class learning with practical on-site research skills that are necessary for all geographers.

    “Sometimes in the classroom you lose focus on what you are actually studying,” Marshall said. “To be in the field and make the observations myself and get my feet muddy allowed everything to come full circle.”

    While the human geographers and tourism students went into Peterborough to gather data, Marshall and his fellow physical geographers went further afield to places such as Lochlin, Ont., where they collected soil and water samples.

    “We brought a specialized tool and took a sample from about four metres down,” he said. “We got a core that, if interpreted in a lab, could have given us 10,000 years worth of data about the area.”

    The ability to conduct applied research and maintain detailed field notes is a skill Geography and Tourism Studies Department Chair Michael Pisaric considers invaluable.

    “The field courses provide our students with hands-on experience that allows them to put their training and academic studies into practice by connecting first-hand the classroom learning they have done to the real world,” he said.

    Longstanding teaching assistant Darren Platakis, who has worked with countless students in his 10 years helping with the trip, echoed the sentiment.

    “Seeing the growth in their confidence, whether it’s conducting face-to-face interviews or using a new piece of equipment, is very satisfying,” he said.

    Gaining practical experience with tools of the trade provides students with a leg up for when their studies are completed.

    “Nobody wants to hire an advisor who has no field experience,” Marshall said. “An exercise like this makes you more marketable as a person.”

    With days of working to develop useful skills came a sense of unity among participants on the department-wide trip.

    “At the end of the day, we were all reunited as a large group and it was nice to be together,” he said. “We had a few large outdoor gatherings around the fire pits and shared stories of our day. It gave us the opportunity to become a close-knit group and contributed to the closeness of the department as a whole.”

    The work of the students in the area has also led to lasting conservation efforts in the local community.

    “Because of the work of previous classes from Brock, the Lochlin Esker and Wetlands site we visited has achieved Provincially Significant Wetland and Area of Natural and Scientific Interest status,” he said.

    For Marshall, the most eye-opening portion of the week was seeing the way the concepts learned in the classroom actually existed in the environment.

    “You can read as much as you want on a topic, but until you’re actually looking at that feature or talking to those people, there is a huge divide between what the textbooks say and the actual observations you make in the field,” he said. “It really worked for me to help close that gap and approach things in a more well-rounded way.”

    As he prepares to use his newfound experience to take on a thesis and apply for master’s programs, Marshall hopes that others will consider studying Geography as well.

    “Geography is everything and how it’s related,” he said. “Anyone who likes nature, the environment or being outside already loves geography. So, why not study it as well?”

    Visit the department’s website to learn more about Brock University’s Geography and Tourism experiential opportunities.

    Reposted from The Brock News.

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  • Opportunities abroad to be highlighted at International Mobility Fair

    A world of possibilities awaits students of Brock University.

    To highlight the learning opportunities available across the globe through the University’s partnerships, Brock International Services is hosting its annual International Mobility Fair on Wednesday, Oct. 24. from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Market Hall.

    “Students will learn about how they can travel abroad while earning academic credits, discover new cultures and gain skills relevant for today’s workforce,” said Sandra Gruosso, Associate Director of Brock International Services.

    Fourth-year Sport Management student Emma Chamberland first participated in the Exchange program last fall, attending Linnaeus University in Växjö, Sweden.

    “I chose to study abroad mainly because of my desire for adventure,” she said. “I wanted to enrich my university experience by doing something unique and outside of my comfort zone.”

    While shorter opportunities as little as one week are available, Chamberland loved the idea of living in a different country for an extended period of time and immersed herself in the local culture for a full term.

    “You learn about all the little things that make those places special,” she said.

    Having her courses taught in English also helped her to adapt without feeling overwhelmed.

    Chamberland loved the experience so much that she participated in another exchange just months later in early 2018, attending the University of South Australia in Adelaide.

    While Brock University students have access to more than 100 international partner institutions offering semester or full-year exchanges, short-term or summer programs, and internships, a dedicated team within Brock International Services guides students through the process to ensure they’re making the right decision.

    When Jonah Graham, a fourth-year BA Tourism and the Environment student, researched international mobility opportunities, his goal was to gain more relevant work experience.

    From May to December 2017, Graham participated in a six-month academic exchange and internship program offered through the University of Florida and Walt Disney World Resort.

    “The opportunity to learn about my field from a new perspective and experience working for a recognized member of my industry was invaluable,” he said.

    Graham was able to take courses in lodging operations and management, as well as an internship in leisure services, resort and destination development, and corporate communications.

    His Florida internship helped him see that his degree cannot be defined just by his time in the classroom, but as a compilation of his experiences throughout his studies.

    Both Chamberland and Graham agreed that studying abroad is a life-changing opportunity that broadened their horizons personally, academically and professionally.

    Reposted from The Brock News.

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  • New book by David Butz explores mobilities, mobility justice and social justice

    Drs. Nancy Cook (Associate Professor, Department of Sociology) and David Butz (Professor, Geography and Tourism Studies), recently published a book titled Mobilities, Mobility Justice and Social JusticeLearn more about the book below.

    Mobilities, Mobility Justice and Social Justice cover. By Drs. Nancy Cook and David Butz.

    Description:This collection investigates the relationship between mobilities and social justice to develop the concept of mobility justice.

    Two introductory chapters outline how social justice concepts can strengthen analyses of mobility as socially structured movement in particular fields of power, what new justice-related questions arise by considering uneven mobilities through a social justice frame, and what a ‘mobile ontology’ contributes to understandings of justice in relation to 21st-century social relations. In 15 subsequent chapters, authors analyze the material infrastructures that configure mobilities and co-constitute injustice, the justice implications of ‘more-than-human’ movements of food and animals, and mobility-related injustices produced in relation to institutional acts of governance and through micro-scale embodied relations of race, gender, class and sexuality that shape the uneven freedom of human bodily movements.

    The volume brings numerous scales, types and facets of mobility into conversation with multiple approaches to social justice in order to theorize mobility justice and reimagine social justice as a mobile concept appropriate for analyzing the effects and ethics of contemporary life. It is aimed at scholars and upper-level students in the interdisciplinary fields of critical mobilities and social justice, especially from disciplinary locations in geography, sociology, philosophy, transport planning, anthropology, and design and urban studies.

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  • Employees, students and research add up to Brock’s significant impact on Niagara

    Nearly half a billion dollars. Even on the conservative end of the measurement scale, that’s the economic impact Brock University has on the Niagara region each year.

    It comes in the form of Brock’s 19,000 students living in the region and spending their money here. It comes from hundreds of millions of dollars in capital and operational expenditures. And it comes from Brock’s 4,800 part- and full-time employees receiving more than $200 million in payroll each year.

    “I encourage you to look beyond the numbers,” said Brock University President Gervan Fearon. “There are individuals directly tied to each of those dollar values. The values reflect the outstanding work our staff, faculty, researchers, students and partners are doing in contributing to economic and community activities across the region and province.”

    A new policy brief released by the Niagara Community Observatory (NCO) Wednesday, Oct. 10 gives an updated snapshot of the University’s economic impact locally and beyond. The brief is a pilot project that will lead to more wholesome economic impact studies, as well as research examining Brock’s social and community engagement impact.

    “One of the things this paper does is show how the University can be a catalyst and a partner in Niagara,” Fearon said. “Brock is a community-based university and what we’re celebrating here is not just our achievements, but the achievements of the entire community.”

    Brock Associate Professor of Geography and Tourism Studies Jeff Boggs and master’s student Lauren Peddle (BA ’18) co-authored the report after spending months researching and poring through data using two separate accepted methodologies.

    Professor Jeff Boggs and MA in Geography student, Lauren Peddle posing with report

    Professor Jeff Boggs and MA in Geography student, Lauren Peddle, present the findings from their study, The Brock University effect: How thousands of students and millions of dollars energize the economy of Niagara communities.

    Using conservative assumptions as the basis, one method estimates Brock’s impact in Niagara to be more than $436 million and the other more than $450 million. When student and related spending are considered, this number jumps to nearly $640 million.

    Brock has an annual operating budget of $320 million and a payroll of more than $212 million. It’s one of Niagara’s biggest employers, and nearly 80 per cent of its employees live in the region.

    Brock Vice-President, Research Tim Kenyon said measuring and characterizing a post-secondary institution’s impact on its community is a “ferociously difficult challenge.” But Brock’s decision to take it on shows the University’s commitment to being a community partner.

    “What we learned is that the University affects the community, but the community also affects the University,” he said.

    He added that Brock’s more than $15 million in research grants received in the past year translates into equipment purchases, new hires and the enabling of research that positively impacts the community.

    The policy brief will become a foundation for future research and planning, said Fearon.

    “We’ll now be able to look at the numbers to say ‘how can we have the greatest financial impact at a regional level?’”

    Deputy St. Catharines CAO David Oakes, one of the panelists at Wednesday’s NCO event, said Brock’s impact on municipalities in the region is immense.

    “Brock is critical to the St. Catharines economy,” he said. “You look at something like the Steel Blade hockey game, where you have 5,000 students coming downtown — that has a direct impact on the downtown core that wouldn’t have been there otherwise.”

    Other panelists reflecting on the important role played by the University and the value added to Niagara communities included Mishka Balsom from the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce, Rino Mostacci from the Niagara Region and Peter Tiidus, Dean of Brock’s Faculty of Applied Health Sciences.

    Download the policy brief “The Brock University Effect” here.

    STORY FROM THE BROCK NEWS

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  • Phillip Mackintosh’s Newspaper City nominated for Heritage Toronto award

    2017 - Mackintosh research - Newspaper City cover Phillip Mackintosh’s Newspaper City: Toronto’s Street Surfaces and the Liberal Press, 1860-1935 has been nominated for a Heritage Toronto book award for Historical Writing.

    Newspaper City tells the story of how the Toronto Globe and Toronto Daily Star campaigned for surface infrastructure improvements as liberal editors saw this as the leading expression of modern urbanity. This book traces the opinions expressed in news articles over 75 years to understand the conflict between newspaper editors and property owners who resisted paying for infrastructure improvements.

    Winners will be announced at the 2018 Heritage Toronto Awards Ceremony on Monday, October 29, 2018.

     

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  • New research looks into the social world of female fly anglers

    New research by Geography and Tourism Studies professor, Dr. David Fennell, and Tourism and Environment alumna, Meaghan Birbeck (’14), was published last month in the Journal of Gender Studies. Read more below.

    Abstract
    Bourdieu’s theory of habitus was used to determine if a comprehensive identity exists amongst female fly anglers. Past research has emphasised a need to address ‘doing gender’ and ‘gender performativity’ in sport and recreation to understand ideology surrounding male superiority and the marginalisation of women. Fly fishing is a traditional male-dominated and masculine sport, where women are slowly emerging as prominent figures. Fly fishing presents a setting to then understand the performance of gender and the influence of social norms. A snowball sample of female fly anglers (n = 63) was obtained from an online survey, which was administered between December 2015 and January 2016. Descriptive statistical analysis of a structured closed-category online survey was used to determine if a distinct symmetry and set of practices exist in defining the identity of female fly anglers. Results indicate that a separate habitus is emerging for these women built around adventure, being in nature, identity, freedom, lack of guilt, commitment, empowerment, independence, anti-control and anti-domination, and the maintenance of stereotypical feminine characteristics through participation in this activity.

    Reference
    Fennell, D. A., and Birbeck, M. (2018). Broads with rods: The social world of female fly anglers. Journal of Gender Studies, DOI: 10.1080/09589236.2018.1515068

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  • Brock family’s music tradition grows into Cicada festival

    A music tradition that began in a Brock family’s backyard more than 20 years ago will have its sounds resonate across picturesque Henley Island this fall.

    Cicada Music & Arts Festival started as an annual gathering of family and friends at the St. Catharines home of Thom Lepp and Karin Perry, Brock’s Program Co-ordinator, Training and Development for the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

    The event began as a platform for budding neighbourhood musicians to share their craft, including Lepp and Perry’s son Evan, who is now a Brock Geography student.

    When the festival outgrew the backyard, Lepp organized the event at various Niagara venues.

    Although he passed away from cancer in 2017, the festival he created to foster young singer-songwriters continues in his honour. Three former Brock students — Ben Goerzen, Erik Dickson and Kaitlin Sanders — have taken up the challenge this year of organizing an expanded version of Cicada on Saturday, Oct. 13.

    The festival’s lineup features established Canadian musicians — including Juno Award-winning indie rockers Dan Mangan and Said the Whale, and powerhouse Terra Lightfoot — but, in keeping with the festival’s roots, also showcases several rising stars.

    All profits from Cicada Music & Arts this year will benefit research and awareness for prostate cancer and mental health through the Movember Foundation Canada.

    As a child, Goerzen used to perform on Lepp and Perry’s backyard stage. He has now taken on the role of Cicada’s director, while Dickson (BA ’11) is the festival’s artistic director and Sanders, who studied Economics at the University, is managing vendors and media relations.

    Goerzen, who studied Human Geography at Brock and later coached the women’s volleyball team, said Cicada exemplifies the concept of “Gemeinschaft,” a sense of community that he learned about from Associate Professor Chris Fullerton.

    “It’s how we define ourselves in spaces,” he said. “I see Cicada as a perfect example, people coming together and creating a sense of place.”

    A lifelong musician and local entrepreneur, Goerzen is driven by a passion for music and community. He credits his experience coaching at Brock for instilling in him crucial leadership and management skills he now brings to Cicada.

    Similarly, Dickson’s extracurricular activities provided valuable experience. After completing his studies in Political Science, he continued to work at Brock, acquiring marketing and graphic design skills on the job before transitioning to music promotion.

    The friends hope that Cicada will become a fixture in Niagara’s music scene and are already talking about what the festival might look like over the next five years.

    “I see this as an opportunity to give back to a community that has given so much to me,” Dickson said. “Brock brought me here, and Brock keeps me here.”

    For information on the event, to volunteer or to purchase tickets, visit the Cicada Festival website.

    STORY REPOSTED FROM THE BROCK NEWS

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  • Students experience Ground Penetrating Radar demonstration

    The Department of Geography and Tourism Studies would like to thank Sensors and Software Inc. for visiting our Physical Geography Field Course (GEOG 3P56) class on September 21, 2018 to host a demonstration on Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR).

    After learning about GPR and its’ applications, our students headed outside to test the GPR unit around the Brock University campus. Here are a few photos from the class:

    Student using Ground Penetrating Radar technology in GEOG 3P56 course outside on a hill

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  • Geography alumni share valuable insights with fourth-year internship students

    From left to right: Myda Khatcherian (BA Geography ’12, MA Geography ’15), Ebru Ustundag, Ashley Northcotte (BA Geography ’09), Edward Stubbing (BA Human Geography ’09), and Rebecca Anello (BSc Geography ’14).

    On September 21, four of our Geography alumni visited our honours internship course (GEOG/TOUR 4F99) to share their experiences in the program and the internship course, and life after university.

    Where are they now?

    • Myda Khatcherian, Case Manager, Ontario Works (BA Geography ’12, MA Geography ’15)
    • Edward Stubbing, Senior Transportation Manager, AECOM (BA Human Geography ’09)
    • Ashley Northcotte, Business Support Analyst, Niagara Region (BA Geography ’09)
    • Rebecca Anello, Junior Meteorological Technologist, Environment Canada (BSc Geography ’14)

    We’d like to extend a big thanks to Myda, Edward, Ashley, and Rebecca for coming back to Brock and sharing their valuable insights!

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  • Department hosts ice cream social

    The Department of Geography and Tourism Studies kicked off the school year with an Ice Cream Social last month. Here are a few photos from the event.

    Our student’s shirt says it all: “You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy ice cream…and that’s kind of the same thing.”

     

    Keep an eye out on your Brock email for our next departmental social!

    Want to learn more about majoring or minoring in Geography or Tourism Studies? Visit our Programs page.

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