Articles tagged with: graduate studies

  • Social Sciences celebrates outstanding faculty and staff

    REPOSTED FROM THE BROCK NEWS
    February 01, 2019 | by 

    How people engage with their families, communities, governments and environments, as well as each other, helped inspire the exciting and diverse research recognized at the annual Celebration of Excellence in the Social Sciences.

    Held at Pond Inlet on Jan. 29, the event was an opportunity to recognize achievements on both sides of the education spectrum, celebrating both teachers and learners.

    “Although the Celebration of Excellence is focused on individual accomplishments, I want to acknowledge the collective effort that goes into supporting each of those individuals,” Ingrid Makus, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences (FOSS), told the crowd of students, staff, faculty members and supporters who gathered for the event.

    Makus was delighted to recognize the outstanding student research and writing happening within the Faculty and to formally announce two faculty honours.She thanked the many staff and faculty within FOSS, members of Brock’s service departments and the University’s senior administration for their support.

    Professor Rebecca Raby from the Department of Child and Youth Studies was presented with the Distinguished Researcher award. Raby serves as the Director of Brock’s Social Justice Research Institute (SJRI) and is affiliated with master’s programs in Social Justice and Equity Studies and Sociology.

    “It is an honour to receive this award,” Raby said. “It reflects the shared creativity, commitment and hard work of incredible faculty and student collaborators that I have been able to work with, as well as excellent mentorship, most notably from Jane Helleiner in Sociology and from all of the past and present members of the SJRI’s Faculty Steering Committee.”

    Nicole Goodman, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, received the Untenured Researcher of the Year award.

    Goodman was humbled by the honour.

    “I’m very grateful for the opportunities and support provided to me by the Department of Political Science and the Faculty of Social Sciences at Brock, which has allowed my research to have a bigger impact in the communities it serves.”

    The two faculty awards were created to recognize FOSS members with consistent records of outstanding research achievements as reflected in the quality and quantity of refereed publications, grants awards and other research activities.

    The Distinguished Researcher award for tenured faculty considers accomplishments from the last five academic years. The Untenured Researcher of the Year award considers accomplishments within the previous academic year.

    Associate Dean Graduate and Research Dawn Zinga presented certificates to graduate students in the Faculty who exhibited exceptional research or writing skills in the past year.

    Alexandra Perna, a master’s student in Geography, was among the recipients of a Graduate Student Research Excellence award.

    Perna said the faculty and staff in Geography and Tourism were a big factor in her success.

    “As much as it’s my award, this is really a reflection of my whole department,” she said. She credited her “amazing” supervisor, Associate Professor Ebru Ustundag, with “making me feel that I can accomplish anything.”

    Perna is now thinking of pursuing a PhD, something she said she wouldn’t have considered without Ustundag’s encouragement.

    According to Perna, the most significant benefit of the award may be the feedback from the adjudication committee.

    “Getting feedback was so awesome,” she said. “It shows their dedication in reading all these proposals. They aren’t just skimming through them. They’re actually helping the students learn in a different way and become better.”

    Lisa Michelle Whittingham, who calls herself a community-based researcher, also received a Research Excellence award. The master’s student in Child and Youth Studies was grateful to have her work validated by the Faculty.

    “I feel this shows they have faith that my research can make positive impact on the community,” she said.

    During the event’s closing remarks, Tim Kenyon, Vice-President Research, marvelled at the breadth and depth of the research represented in FOSS.

    “What particularly impresses me is that your research and scholarship address a range of challenges we face as individuals, a society and a global community,” he said.

    I would like to congratulate those who were recognized today and extend my appreciation to all faculty, students and staff for creating such a dynamic community that makes a difference.

    The Celebration of Excellence program listing all award recipients is posted on the Faculty of Social Sciences website along with a PDF of the Powerpoint presentation that accompanied the event. Photos of the event are available on the BrockUFOSS Facebook page.

    Story reposted from The Brock News.

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  • Department celebrates successes of 2018 with inaugural newsletter

    In January 2019, the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies published its inaugural annual newsletter highlighting departmental successes in 2018. The newsletter is available to download on our Departmental Publications page.

    Newsletter cover page. Brock campus with students

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  • Congratulations to Senanu Kutor on the successful completion of his MA in Geography MRP

    The Department of Geography and Tourism Studies would like to extend congratulations to Senanu Kutor and his committee for the successful defense of his Master of Arts in Geography Major Research Paper entitled ‘Wisdom and cross-cultural interaction: a geographical perspective’ on January 14, 2019.

    Senanu’s research was supervised by Dr. Dragos Simandan and committee member, Dr. Jeffrey Boggs.

    We wish Senanu all the best for his future endeavours!

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  • Congratulations to Sara Epp on her successful PhD defense

    The Department of Geography and Tourism Studies is pleased to congratulate Brock alumna, Sara Epp (BA Geography ’08; MA Geography ’13), on the successful defense of her PhD on November 10, 2018. More information about Dr. Epp’s PhD research is available below.

    Understanding the Multifunctionality of Small-scale Family Farms and the Impacts of Land Use Policies on this Farm Structure

    This research analyzes the resilience of Old Order Mennonite farmers that have migrated to northern Ontario for agricultural endeavours. Over the past fifteen years, Anabaptist farmers, including Old Order Mennonites, have moved to northern Ontario as raising land prices and limited land availability in southern Ontario has restricted their ability to purchase new land. Northern Ontario, with an abundance of productive, less expensive land, has proven to be an opportune location for many farmers. These farmers have increased access to local food, broadened the productive spectrum of crops and improved food security for many communities. Their economic and social impacts on northern communities has been significant, as has their impact on the broader farm community. While the Old Order Mennonite community has grown in northern Ontario, the factors of their resilience are unknown. This dissertation examined three Old Order Mennonite communities in northern Ontario, utilizing key informant interviews with community members, municipal representatives, provincial staff and non-Mennonite farmers in order to understand the agricultural resilience of Old Order Mennonites. The results demonstrated that agricultural diversification, as well as a strong sense of community and cultural convictions were important factors within their resilience. This research also found that transformation and decline, often viewed separately from resilience, did not weaken the communities but contributed to their resilience.

    Download the full paper here.

    Examination Committee:

    • Wayne Caldwell, School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, University of Guelph, Advisor
    • Chris Fullerton, Geography and Tourism Studies, Brock University, Advisory Committee Member
    • John Smithers, Geography, University of Guelph, Graduate Faculty
    • Ryan Gibson, School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, University of Guelph, Graduate Faculty
    • Al Lauzon, School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, University of Guelph, Exam Chair

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  • Geography student studies why some people live on the road

    STORY FROM THE TORONTO STAR | DEC 6, 2018

    Graduate student in the driver's seat of a van she bought for research

    Brock University graduate student Stephanie Murray studied movible communities in a van she bought on Kijiji. Photo by Stephanie Murray.

    When Stephanie Murray, a Geography master’s student at Brock University, set out on a two-month long journey across North America to study nomads and vanlife culture, she didn’t expect to find herself learning to surf, contributing to a documentary film, or being surrounded by a pack of angry stray dogs. But she quickly learned that life on the road is full of unexpected twists and turns.

    An avid traveller, Murray stumbled onto vanlife culture. She was fascinated by the people she met, and quickly realized that although nomads living in vans had been around for years, no one had studied them yet.

    “I knew there was a gap in academia that I could fill,” Murray says. “But if I wanted to truly study this culture, I needed to be able to live and move like they did.”

    “Lola” in the field during her two-month research journey across North America. Photo by Stephanie Murray.

    Using funding from Brock and a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grant, she purchased a used van on Kijiji. Naming it Lola, she converted the vehicle into 66 square feet of living space. Then, over the summer of 2017, she drove to the west coast of the United States to attend “van gatherings,” events where people who live and travel in their vans get together to socialize and support one another. It’s a diverse group, says Murray. “One of the couples I spoke to worked remotely in IT, another couple ran a blog, and one of the other vanlifers was making money from a book he’d written. They’re a pretty talented bunch.”

    She was out to discover their motivation for giving up conventional lives and instead choosing a highly mobile lifestyle. “Our society is oriented towards people who stay in one place, and van nomads help to call that way of thinking into question.”

    “I have encountered so much kindness on the road,” Murray added. “People have welcomed me into their homes and helped me with my van, with no expectation of anything in return. And while the vanlifers I interviewed took up this lifestyle for a variety of reasons, they were united by a desire to choose their own path, rather than the one that’s handed down to them.”

    Murray was thankful that she received the full backing of the University during her time on the road.

    “Brock supported me fully from day one. And that support meant that I was able to do this research in the way it needed to be done — in person, on the road. I lived and moved alongside the people I was studying, and never once did I have to make any compromises that would have hurt the quality of my research. The University made sure I had the resources to do it right.”

    Master's student in the field during trip across north america. Standing in the foggy mountains.

    Research doesn’t have to happen in the lab. Photo by Stephanie Murray.

    Murray’s faculty supervisor and the Graduate Program Director of Geography at Brock,  Dr. David Butz, believed her research was novel and important, given today’s mobile society. Becoming a van nomad herself was pivotal.

    “This research strategy — and life choice — gives her research an unusually strong experiential and autobiographical component, which is rare in ‘mobilities’ research, and which adds to the distinctiveness and potential significance of her research,” says Butz. “We also felt Stephanie’s unusual research project, while logistically complicated, was worth supporting. We were confident about her capabilities based on her history with the University. At Brock, we encourage applications from good students and we’re willing to put funding behind that — and provide them with mentoring to apply for external funding.  Brock can offer lots of personalized attention to students.”

    Research doesn’t have to happen in a lab. There are interesting and exciting things going on around us everywhere, and at Brock University, unique postgraduate research projects in the community are encouraged.

    For her part, Murray is grateful for the support she received from Brock. “This research changed the course of my life, and it showed me that it’s possible to turn your passion into a ground-breaking research project,” she said. “If you have a clear vision of what you want to discover, Brock can help you on that pursuit.”

    Interested in studying in the Master of Arts in Geography program at Brock? Apply by February 15 to start next September.


    Story reposted from The Toronto Star

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  • Master of Arts in Geography student helps to curate exhibit on Niagara’s historical theatres

    The history of entertainment in Niagara is now in the spotlight at Brock University thanks to the hard work of two local high school students.

    The work of Beamsville District Secondary School students Emma McDonald (daughter of History Professor Andrew McDonald) and Keerthana Srikanth is on display in the University’s Archives and Special Collections.

    The opportunity to create an exhibit about historical theatres in Niagara came about after the pair of 15-year-old students devoted hours of their spare time volunteering at the Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre.

    Now Playing exhibit

    Beamsville District Secondary School students Keerthana Srikanth and Emma McDonald were joined for the installation of their exhibit Now Playing: Evolution of Entertainment by Brock’s Head of Archives and Special Collections David Sharron and Town of Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre curator and Brock Master of Geography student Lisa Marie Mercier.

    Having seen the girls’ passion for history, the museum’s curator, Brock Master of Geography student Lisa Marie Mercier, invited the duo to curate an exhibit of their own, Now Playing: Evolution of Entertainment.

    “The exhibit connected the girls to history in a way that would not otherwise be possible,” she said. “It allowed them to engage with historic material on a very personal level.”

    After deciding to focus their exhibit on entertainment, the Grade 10 students met with David Sharron, Brock’s Head of Archives and Special Collections, to examine some of the University’s collection and narrow their focus.

    “Once they chose their topics, we provided access to information and materials that would show well in an exhibit,” he said of the photographs, maps and programs on display. “They filtered through everything and did all the research and selections.”

    The two young curators were appreciative of the expansive resources on offer in the archives.

    “It was really interesting and overwhelming,” said McDonald. “There were lots of cool things to choose from.”

    Having a wealth of resources from the museum and Brock’s archives made the task of choosing the most appropriate items to display at Lincoln Town Hall and the University a little tougher.

    “We needed to figure out what we wanted to focus on,” said Srikanth. “We narrowed it down to the Beam Theatre, the Prudhommes Garden Centre Theatre and the Shaw Festival, and then spent four months getting our materials together.”

    Upon finishing the display’s assembly at Brock on Friday, Nov. 16, McDonald summed up the pair’s feelings about seeing the final product on show.

    “We are really excited,” she said. “Seeing our work in such a large establishment is insane.”

    For Sharron, the display is a welcome addition to the Archives and Special Collections display cases.

    “I saw pictures of what they did at the Lincoln town hall and it looks fantastic,” he said. “The fact that they can do another project here shows the wealth of information they put together. They are two impressive young women.”

    Sharron said the project aligns with Brock’s ongoing commitment to engage with the community while also encouraging young people like McDonald and Srikanth to consider the University in a few years.

    “I think it’s a great opportunity to reach out to the community, share our collections with young people and get them interested in what we do here,” he said. “We hope that when they are considering an institution for post-secondary studies, they will think of us.”

    Now Playing: Evolution of Entertainment can be viewed in the Archives and Special Collections display cases on the 10th floor of the James A. Gibson Library until the end of March 2019.

    Story from The Brock News.

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  • Congratulations to Adam Fischer on the successful completion of his MA in Geography thesis

    Adam Fischer successfully defended his MA in Geography thesis. Pictured here (L to R): David Butz (GPD); Phillip Mackintsoh (sumervisor); Adam Fischer; Chris Fullerton (committee member); and Alan Walks (external examiner)

    Pictured from left to right: Dr. David Butz (Graduate Program Director); Dr. Phillip Mackintosh (supervisor); Adam Fischer; Dr. Chris Fullerton (committee member); and Dr. Alan Walks (external examiner, University of Toronto).

    The Department of Geography and Tourism Studies would like to extend congratulations to Adam Fischer and his committee for the successful defense of his Master of Arts in Geography thesis entitled ‘A Domestic Geography of Money: How Mortgage Debt, Home Prices and Toronto’s Condominiums “Prop Up” the Canadian Economy’.

    Adam’s research was supervised by Dr. Phillip Mackintosh, and committee members, Dr. Jeffrey Boggs and Dr. Christopher Fullerton. Many thanks to External Examiner, Dr. Alan Walks (Department of Geography and Planning, University of Toronto).

    We wish Adam all the best for his future endeavours!

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  • MA in Geography thesis defence scheduled for July 24: “A Domestic Geography of Money” by Adam Fischer

    Adam Fischer will defend his MA thesis titled “A Domestic Geography of Money: How Mortgage Debt, Home Prices, and Toronto’s Condominiums “Prop up” the Canadian Economy” on July 24, 2018 from 12:00pm to 2:00pm. The defense will take place in MC C-407 and is open to the public.

    Adam Fisher’s Examining Committee includes Dr. Alan Walks from the University of Toronto (External), Dr. Philip Mackintosh (Supervisor), Dr. Jeffrey Boggs (Committee Member), and Dr. Christopher Fullerton (Committee Member).

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  • Dr. Kevin Turner returns from fieldwork in northern Yukon

    Dr. Kevin Turner and graduate students, Joe Viscek and Brent Thorne, recently returned from completing fieldwork in northern Yukon where they’re investigating the influence of changing climate and landscape conditions (fire and erosion) on lakes and rivers. Here are some photos from their time in the field. Learn more about Dr. Turner’s research.

    Kevin Turner working in the field

    Kevin Turner doing fieldwork in the Yukon

    Joe Viscek doing fieldwork in the Yukon with Kevin Turner

    Brent Thorne doing fieldwork in the Yukon with Kevin Turner

    Kevin Turner - fieldwork photo from the Yukon

    Photos by Kevin Turner and Brent Thorne.

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  • Daniel Amoak completes MRP for MA in Geography

    Congratulations to Daniel Amoak on his successful completion of his Master of Arts in Geography major research paper titled “Combating desertification in Semi-Arid Ghana: An analysis of rainfall trends and resilience in the Upper East Region”. Daniel’s MRP was supervised by Dr. Anthony Shaw, committee member Dr. Jeff Boggs. As Daniel often reminds us, he has been a “cohort by himself”. Daniel has played a significant role in bringing two different cohorts together with his witty and kind personality. We wish Daniel all the best for his future endeavours.

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