Student profiles

Meet our current students in the Master of Arts in Geography program, and read some testimonials from our alumni.

Current Students

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Major Research Paper Stream

Degree held: Bachelor of Arts in Geography and Resource Development, University of Ghana

Research Interests: 

  • Water resources and water quality management
  • Environmental management and Disaster risk reduction
  • International student mobility and integration

“Philip Ampofo Dwomoh is a native of Ejura in the Ashanti region of Ghana and has lived in Accra, since 1991. Currently, Philip Ampofo Dwomoh is a community volunteer providing educational assistance to students at the secondary and tertiary level. His cultural background and focus on community collaboration has led him to a number of volunteer opportunities and community leadership roles. Philip Ampofo Dwomoh received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Geography and Resource Development with Dance Studies at University of Ghana, Legon.”

More information coming soon!

Jackie Gervais, graduate student backpacking in forest

Thesis stream

Part-time graduate student

Degree held: BA (Honours), Community Health, Brock University

Background: Jackie Gervais is a health promoter for Niagara Region Public Health in Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention. Her work entails supporting policy change as it pertains to active transportation and the built environment though citizen and stakeholder engagement and partnership. Jackie’s experience in community mobilization has contributed to the development of numerous citizens’ groups in the Niagara region who have advocated and made changes within their own municipalities.

At the Regional level, Jackie is involved in numerous policy projects including the Niagara Region Transportation Plan, the Niagara GO Hub and Transit Study and the Brock District Plan. Jackie also provides input into Municipal Class Environmental Assessments and was instrumental in acquiring the Ontario Municipal Cycling Infrastructure Grant for the development of a multi-use trail along Merrittville Highway, from Decew Road to Sir Isaac Brock Way, which will contribute to improved safety for Brock students. At a Provincial level, Jackie was on the Minister’s Panel for the #CycleON: Ontario’s Cycling Strategy and regularly provides comment on provincial level documents.  She also participates in the Ontario Public Health Association (OPHA) Health and the Built Environment Workgroup where she supported changes to the driver handbook and the driver test questions to include examples of how motorists and cyclist should share the road. In Jackie’s spare time she is an avid outdoor enthusiast. Jackie can be found in her kayak, cycling, snowshoeing her favorite trails and camping in the back woods.”

Thesis title: “Understanding post-secondary student mobility and its impact on wellbeing”

Research summary: Numerous studies have identified the impact of transportation on one’s personal wellbeing (e.g., Stanley, Hensher, Stanley, and Vella-Brodrock, 2011), but fewer studies have addressed this topic as it pertains specifically to post-secondary students. The overarching goal of this research is to build our understanding of the roles that transportation plays in shaping the perceived wellbeing of post-secondary students. Through this case study of students at Brock University and Niagara College, located in Canada’s Niagara region, we aim to identify those aspects of transportation infrastructure and services that enable these students to achieve a personal sense of wellness and those that present obstacles or barriers to achieving wellness.

“I have lived most of my life in St. Catharines and have been involved in various communities and networks here. I have just completed my undergraduate degree in Women’s and Gender Studies at Brock. I am interested in the application of critical intersectional feminist thought to all subjects, and am excited to consider human geography through this lens. I am interested in lots of different research areas, but I am particularly interested in investigating the relationship between emotional and health geographies. I would like to consider how various institutions impact individuals’ experiences and understandings of their bodies, health, and subjectivities. I am excited to get started and to meet you all!”

“I will be graduating Brock University with an undergraduate degree in Sociology with a concentration in Critical Animal Studies in June. I love animals and want to do research on how tourism impacts their lives, specifically ecotourism. I am also very interested in ecofeminism and anything social justice oriented. I look forward to meeting all of you in September!”

Julia Hamill, graduate student in MA in Geography program. Standing in front of a gate with her bicycle

Thesis stream

Degree Held: Bachelor of Arts & Science in Cognitive Science and Linguistics, McGill University

Research Interests:

  • Mobility (including infrastructure development, educational/labour migration, and tourism) and social change
  • Perceptions of and relationships between INGOs and local communities
  • Geographic focus: Central Asia and northern Pakistan

Background: Julia received her undergraduate degree in Cognitive Science and Linguistics from McGill University, where she studied multilingual signage in the linguistic landscape of Montreal. After graduating, she spent several years cycling across Europe and parts of Asia, working in remote backcountry mountain lodges, and working in Tajikistan as a grant writing and reporting consultant for local NGOs. These experiences have led her to confront questions surrounding mobility, modernization, social change, and the role of development actors in mountain communities of northern Pakistan and Central Asia, which she plans to investigate through Brock’s Master of Arts in Geography.

Connect with Julia:

Part-time graduate student

“Victimization of the LGBT community by members of non-LGBT groups is arguably the most prominent focus of present discussions of LGBT-related social injustices. Although this focus is serious, it eclipses a set of LGBT issues that are just as important: LGBT-on-LGBT bigotry.  In the effort to contribute to destabilizing forms of oppression within gay virtual spaces, I propose to undertake a major research project in which I discuss them within the context of modern technology. In addition to articulating and destabilizing forms of bigotry operant within such spaces, my proposed major research project (or one like it) would provide me with the opportunity to refine the research I conducted on the philosophy of technology while I was a graduate student in Brock’s Master of Arts in Philosophy program.”

Graduate student profile photo, Rebekah Kraulis

Thesis stream

Degree held: Bachelor of Arts in Tourism and Environment, Tourism Management Stream, Brock University

Research interests: As a former participant in the life changing exchange program at Brock, my research interests are in examining the impact that study abroad exchange terms have on students and how these experiences change their perspective and the importance they place on travel and tourism.

Why did you choose the MA in GEOG program at Brock?
I chose the MA in Geography program at Brock because I found I learned so much from my professors during my undergraduate studies in the Tourism and Geography department and I felt as though I still have so much to learn from them! I also want to investigate the meaning and purpose behind my exchange experience and hope to encourage others to participate in exchange programs.

More information coming soon!

“I completed my undergraduate degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Khulna University of Engineering and Technology, Bangladesh. My research interests lie in transportation and social geography. I chose the Department of Geography at Brock University as the diverse research areas involved here perfectly fits my expectation for Masters Study. During the program, I am eager to work in a field that will have a significant impact on sustainable urban development.”

Danielle Martineau, graduate student

Major research paper stream

Degree held: Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Geography with a Minor in Political Science, Brock University

Research interests: My research interest predominantly focuses on how the introduction of technologies within spaces can influence and change the dynamics and relations of such spaces. More specifically, I am exploring how the implementation of mass online courses in higher learning institutions are fundamentally changing how we understand both, learning and technology.

Master of Arts in Geography student Lisa Mercier

Thesis stream

Degrees held: Bachelor of Arts (Honours) History, University of Saskatchewan; Certificate in Collections Management, University of Victoria

Research interests: Lisa has spent 10 years in the public-heritage sector working for a variety of institutions gaining a host of skills, while also identifying gaps in historical understanding. It comes as no surprise that Lisa’s keen interest lies in the notions of memory and forgetting relative to material culture. Diving into the interdisciplinary notions of what it means to remember and forget, Lisa finds great fulfillment in understanding the selective methods by which history has been understood. In turn, applying theoretical concepts and philosophic understandings to tasks associated with historic acquisitions, object preservation, and the construction of monuments.

More information coming soon!

More information coming soon!

Master of Arts in Geography student Aaron Nartey

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Thesis stream

Degree held: Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Applied Economic Analysis, Brock University

Research interests: Over the course of my undergraduate degree so much of my work involved different aspects of geography, whether it be in the expansion of railroads in a history of economics course, or the role of natural resources in economic development. I felt to do the discipline justice I needed to seek formal education on the subject. My work will focus on economic geography, particularly the study of industrial clustering and the videogame industry in Canada.

Alex Perna - profile photo

Degree held: Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in English Language and Literature with Minor in Geography, Brock University

Research interests: Interested in feminist and queer geographies, as well as the intersections of race, marginalization and privilege. Hoping to explore the relationship between these concepts within the confines of virtual and/or imaginative space(s).

More information coming soon!

Graduate student profile photo, Hannah Willms

Thesis stream

Degree held: Bachelor of Arts in Geography, Brock University

Research interests:

  • urban/community development
  • housing
  • local community life

Major research paper stream

Degrees held: Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Geography, Brock University; Bachelor of Education Teacher Education – Intermediate/Senior, Brock University; Diploma in Culinary Management, George Brown College

Research interests: I want to research how technology is shaping social relationships, in particular monogamy. I want to investigate whether monogamy is a social discourse our culture has created and deemed morally correct. More specifically, I want to look at how dating apps and all social media platforms have allowed communication between individuals to go beyond borders, and across oceans. I want to explore how our current generation’s fascination with online dating has affected monogamist relationships and in doing so determine if technology has created a culture in which individuals are more willing to be unfaithful to their partner.

More information coming soon!


B.A. (Honours), Human Geography, Brock University

“I completed a 4-year Honours BA in Human Geography at Brock. I was always impressed by the program’s ability to stimulate critical thinking in such a large diversity of topics and issues. The department has such an impressive scope of expertise, which is necessary for providing a comprehensive graduate program. The opportunity to work as a Teaching Assistant is also invaluable to a graduate student’s intellectual and career development. My own research interests fall mostly within the realm of cultural geography. In short, I am taking a spatial approach to understand how professional sports in North America are actively promoting an ideology of militarism.”

BA English, Swarthmore College; MA English, MLS, Indiana University


“I first started studying Geography about five years ago when I thought I might want to change careers from academic librarianship to something more focused on environmental and sustainability issues. Since then, I’ve developed additional geographical interests in GIS, critical animal geography, cultural geography, and almost anything to do with grey areas, fuzzy boundaries, and liminal spaces, both material and metaphorical. Although I’m still quite committed to sustainability and shifting away from consumerism while encouraging respectful engagement with the non-human world, my topic reverted to my first loves, astronomy and science fiction. I’ll be researching how living in outer space is represented and imagined in popular discourse, mostly by and for those of us who will never go there.”

B.Sc. (Honours) Environment, Brock University

“Since completing my undergraduate Environment degree at Brock University I have been involved in a research project in Niagara facilitating the creation of a collaborative network of active stakeholders focusing on climate change. Adaptive capacity has been shown to strengthen and increase when individuals and groups work collectively while also creating an opportunity for social learning to occur. Social learning occurs when individuals and groups ‘learn to walk in another shoes’ by sharing experiences and ideas as they work together to resolve complex issues such as climate change. Having witnessed this process it has reinforced and strengthened a strong interest in climate change, how people and communities perceive, react and adapt to the phenomenon, how academic knowledge can assist in this process and the importance of governance and leadership in dealing with such complex and dynamic issues. My MA research is identifying present and potential future adaptations to climate change in the Ontario wine industry through a social-ecological lens.”

BS (Honours), Physical Geography, Brock University

“As a student coming from a physical geography background, I find the MA program in Geography to be very helpful in merging the physical and human aspects of my research topic. I am interested in how physical trends in the environment are being affected by climate change and how these changing patterns might affect society. I will be examining the precipitation trends within the Prairie Region of Canada to determine what effect, if any, climate change has on the prevalence of drought in this region. Initially, I will examine the global occurrences and effects of drought, both in reference to the climatological aspects (global areas likely to receive little precipitation on a yearly basis) and in reference to the socio-economic aspects (other factors affecting historically significant droughts). I will then use meteorological stations throughout the Prairies to examine the current, as well as historical, precipitation trends. I will focus on this research topic with the aim of determining the environmental and economic impacts of these possible occurrences of drought.”

BA (Honours), Geography and Rural Development, Ghana

“I have developed a lot of interest in economic geography. This is partly because I studied economics as part of my 4-year degree in Geography and Rural Development. It is also because I consider spatial economic policies as key to development. I decided to advance my interest by enrolling on a graduate program. With a number of graduate school admission offers available to me, I chose to enroll in the MA Geography program at Brock University for two reasons. First, the program offers a broad and critical understanding of theories and research methods used in geography. The second reason is the privilege of working with a willing and devoted academic supervisor who provides direction on how I can advance my research interest. Currently, I am utilizing these fine academic provisions for my MA research. I am examining the practicality of fiscal decentralization policies in Ghana. Hopefully, I will contribute towards improving fiscal policies in Ghana and developing countries at large through my research.”

BA (Honours), Geography and Resource Development, University of Ghana

“From my undergraduate study at the University of Ghana, I have been interested in the constraints of human activities in space. I have been more concerned about how disasters continue to add to the already uncountable problems of humankind. Though disasters sometimes happen unexpectedly, their impacts on humankind largely depend on how well they are managed. My research interests focus on the effects of decentralization on disaster management in Ghana. I intend to study the often conflicting and complementing role of the central government and decentralized bodies towards disasters in Ghana and its challenges on disaster management. I find the MA program at Brock University invaluable in helping me achieve this objective.”

B.A. (Honours) Geography, Brock University

“As an undergraduate Geography student at Brock I developed diverse insights into the relationships between humans and the spaces we occupy and move through. I am applying these insights in my MA research, which examines the implications of ‘creative’ urban renewal in the city of Hamilton, Ontario. I am specifically interested in the privatization of public space and the neo-liberal policies that encourage and foster the development of Richard Florida’s ‘Creative Class’. My research is informed by Guy Debord’s ‘Society of Spectacle’, Richard Florida’s ‘Rise of the Creative Class’ and Thorstein Veblen’s ‘The Theory of the Leisure Class’.”

B.A. (Honours), Human Geography, Brock University

“I entered the geography program at Brock University in my Undergraduate not knowing what to expect. All I knew at the time was that I was fascinated by the world around me. By my second year, the Geography department’s faculty and staff intrigued my interest in the discipline and I became determined to continue my education by enrolling Graduate School. The diverse sub-disciplinary backgrounds of the devoted faculty promote a wide-range of possibilities to take one’s own research. My research is concerned with how men who have sex with men in the Niagara Region cruise online personal advertisements and social media profiles. Through Internet ethnography, I intend to explore the subjectivities enforced on men who have sex with men in Niagara and the opportunities and constraints of digital spaces for online cruising.”

B.A. (Honours) Geography, Brock University

“When I began my undergraduate degree at Brock I had planned to attend law school after gaining a degree in a subject that interested me. I was unaware that majoring in geography would have such a large impact on my life and influence my future academic aspirations. As a rural Niagara resident, studying rural geography and community development as they relate to the Niagara Region during my undergrad motivated me to continue studying geography and join the MA program. For my thesis I plan to explore regional and municipal planning policies and their implications for rural community development. Of particular interest is the ways in which the Niagara Region’s growth policies deal with competing visions for use of rural land, as it pertains to residential development and agricultural production.”

BA (Honours) Dramatic Arts, Brock University

“My interest in human geography came to me while I was completing my undergrad in Theater at Brock. While I have always been extremely passionate about acting I discovered a new passion through a Geography of Gender course. Learning about the many relationships between humans and the various spaces we occupy not only facilitated a deeper understanding of the stage environment but also allowed for me to start thinking about my own life in many new and intriguing ways. I then decided to pursue this new interest through Brock`s Geography MA program. I am now exploring the spatial policing of hierarchies of legitimacy in trans* cyberspaces and the effects of this on identities and practices. While it is still very much a work in progress I look forward to continuing my research and broadening my skills within the Geography MA program. Switching disciplines has not come without its challenges; however, the expansion of my knowledge base and the development of new skills have been very beneficial and extremely rewarding.”

BA (Honours) Geography, Brock University

“I have always been fascinated by the world around me, and have sought understanding from different disciplines; none has captured my imagination like geography. In my MA research I hope to study the relationship between government policy and quality of life, by examining the Niagara Culture Plan. My research is informed by an eclectic set of theoretical perspectives. It is problem-based and action-oriented. I can best describe myself as a critical pragmatist with an interest in social change. The Geography Department at Brock provides me with an intellectually supportive and inclusive environment where I feel I can achieve my personal, academic and career goals.”

B.A. (Honours) Human Geography, Brock University

“I had not anticipated my current enthusiasm for human geography. What was originally a quest for a pass degree turned into an honours degree, and now I’m working on my Masters. As a local musician, I thought it would be ideal to somehow combine my love of music with my emerging passion for geography. And so, my MA thesis focuses on the ways in which sounds constitute our environment. I am interested specifically in studying how fourth year students in a Geography of Music course consider sound as constitutive of space. I am also interested in the ways people respond to certain environmental sounds. I have worked as a Research Assistant, Teaching Assistant, and I’ve even played some house league sports here. It was an important decision to come to Brock, and I think a smart one to do my Masters here.”

Graduate student research