The Department of Geography and Tourism Studies is pleased to congratulate Geography Master of Arts student, Rebekah Casey (BA Tourism and Environment ’19), who was recently awarded a Faculty of Social Sciences Master of Arts Student Research Award for her research, tentatively titled “There’s No Place Like (Rural) Home: Why People Choose Rural Despite Decline.” Congratulations also to Rebekah’s MA supervisor, Dr. Christopher Fullerton.
Articles tagged with: student
A day at the beach doesn’t often involve lab work, but for a group of Brock University fourth-year Geography students tasked with assessing plastic waste on the shores of Lake Ontario last fall, it was just that.
Back in October, students from Professor of Geography and Tourism Studies Michael Pisaric’s GEOG 4P26 class visited Sunset Beach in north St. Catharines to measure the quantity of plastics turning up in the sand.
Students measured out plots on the beach and sifted through the sand to collect as many tiny pieces of plastic as they could. They compiled their findings in lab reports for the end of the Fall Term.
The results are now in, and they’re alarming.
Pisaric called the amount and variety of plastics collected in the samples “striking.”
“I think much of the discussion concerning plastics in the environment has been focused on the oceans and we are quickly understanding that plastic pollution is also an important issue closer to home in the Great Lakes,” said Pisaric, who is also Chair of the Geography and Tourism Studies Department. “This small study of a single beach on Lake Ontario clearly shows the prevalence of plastic pollution in our own backyard is a serious problem.”
Emily Bowyer, a third-year student from Mississauga majoring in Geography and Biology who participated in the field collection, described it as “an opportunity to see the magnitude of the problems in the environment first-hand.”
Another surprise to the team was the prevalence of nurdles — small plastic pellets used in the manufacture of many different goods.
Investigation during the course uncovered a 2013 Toronto Star article that suggested nurdles may have made their way into Lake Ontario via the Humber River during a factory fire.
“It is interesting to speculate that the prevalence of nurdles we noted in our samples may have originated on the other side of Lake Ontario,” Pisaric said.
The professor plans to run a similar investigation when the course is offered again next fall to address some of the questions that cropped up in light of the results of the students’ labs.
“Perhaps next time around I will have the students compare the beaches on Lake Ontario with a beach on Lake Erie,” he said. “Are similar quantities of plastics occurring in both areas? Do the types of plastic differ between the two lake environments?”
Carolyn Finlayson, Experiential Education Co-ordinator for the Faculty of Social Sciences, attended the field trip and witnessed how interested casual beach visitors were in the students’ activities.
“It’s a wonderful example of the larger impact experiential learning can have on our Niagara community and our students,” she said. “By working at the beach that day for their lab, students were able to start conversations with beachgoers about their use of plastic and its impact on the shorelines they enjoy.”
Cara Krezek, Director of Co-op, Career and Experiential Education, said these were exactly the types of courses the University envisioned when it committed to expanding experiential learning so all students had access to meaningful experiences in their programs.
“Courses like these take our students into a real-world setting and allow them to apply their knowledge, learn new skills and reflect on how they can take these experiences forward to a future career path,” Krezek said. “I am certain these students will never forget their findings and it will change the way they interact with plastics.”
STORY FROM THE BROCK NEWS
Other Media Coverage
Brock students find alarming amounts of plastic at St. Catharines beach: Extensive media coverage was given to an experiential learning exercise led by Professor of Geography and Tourism Studies Michael Pisaric that saw Brock students uncover more than 2,000 pieces of plastic on St. Catharines’ Sunset Beach. The story was featured in the St. Catharines Standard, CBC, CHCH, Newstalk 610 CKTB and Coastal News Today.
Some of the brightest young minds at Brock University were recognized Tuesday for their displays of leadership and contributions to both the Brock and wider Niagara community.
Ten Brock students were selected from across the University to receive the President’s Surgite Awards, which honour the hard work they’ve completed throughout their educational journey.
The cross-section of students have amassed impressive resumés packed with academic accomplishments, volunteer experience and community contributions — making them fitting recipients for one of the University’s most prestigious honours.
The awards were presented by Brock President Gervan Fearon and Anna Lathrop, Vice-Provost, Teaching, Learning and Student Success, during a luncheon to celebrate the recipients on Tuesday, April 2.
After spending time learning from each award winner about their areas of focus and highlights of their Brock experience, Fearon encouraged them to reflect on their scope of leadership.
“What happens is we often look at ourselves as individuals and don’t realize we’re impacting and influencing so many of the people around us,” he said. “All of those influences represent your scope of leadership, which is often broader than your job and touches on your volunteer work and the example you’ve become within the community.
“You’re all leaders and examples to your peers, who then aspire to be able to achieve the same level of excellence. When you multiply that out to the wider scope, you become an inspiration to humanity because you’re defining possibilities.”
Fourth-year Medical Sciences student Dhruv Jivan was humbled by the honour and said he is grateful to have had such a rich university experience.
“Brock is such a loving and connected community. That environment allows you to thrive,” he said. “I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world.”
Through the University, Jivan spends time volunteering at the Brock Centre for Health and Well-Being, which has helped to shape his future path.
“I’ve grown so much during my time with the centre,” he said. “My love for the geriatric community and my passion for working with them has grown exponentially since I’ve been there.”
Lathrop told the students she’s confident the “future’s in good hands” with them at the helm. “Thank you for being at Brock and for making big differences in the world as you move forward in life,” she said.
The 2018-19 President’s Surgite Award winners include:
- Olivia Poulin (Business Administration — Marketing)
- Jonah Graham (Tourism and Environment, Minor in Geography)
- Dhruv Jivan (Medical Sciences)
- Meghan Hickey (Medical Sciences)
- Fayyaz Rizvi (Biological Sciences)
- Nicolas Sardella (Biotechnology, Co-op Option)
- Daislyn Vidal (Biological Sciences)
- Wei Wang (Business Administration)
- Leila Meskine (Mathematics and Statistics)
- Taylor Lidster (Biological Sciences)
Story reposted from The Brock News.
On March 28, 2019, a group of Geography and Tourism Studies students travelled to Ball’s Falls Conservation Centre to volunteer at the 2019 Ontario Farmland Forum. This event was organized by the Ontario Farmland Trust, which is currently led by Executive Director, Kathryn Enders (Brock BA GEOG ’06).
The Forum looked at different approaches to protecting farmland in broader landscapes, including the waterways, woodlots, hedgerows, and fields that make up farm systems. It featured presentations by Dr. Chris Fullerton, and Geography alumna Sara Epp (BA GEOG ’08; MA GEOG ’13).
More details can be found on the Farmland Forum website.
On March 8, 2019, the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies held our first Alumni-Student Mixer event. The night began with an alumni panel where four alumni from our programs answered questions and shared about their experiences during their studies at Brock and life after Brock. This discussion was followed by time for our alumni, students, faculty, staff and retirees to network with each other.
We would like to thank everyone who attended, and say a special thanks to our four alumni panelists:
- Rebecca Anello, Junior Meteorological Technologist, Environment and Climate Change Canada. Rebecca graduated from Brock with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Geography in 2014 and a Master of Science in Earth Sciences in 2017.
- Greg Higginbotham, Marketing Manager, Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls. Greg graduated from Brock with a Bachelor of Tourism Studies in 2010 and a Master of Arts in Applied Health Sciences (Leisure Studies) in 2014.
- Kerrie Pickering, PhD Candidate in Sustainability, University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia. Kerrie graduated from Brock with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies in 2010 and a Master of Arts in Geography in 2013.
- Edward Stubbing, Senior Transportation Planner, AECOM. Edward graduated from Brock with a Bachelor of Arts in Human Geography 2009.
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.
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.
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.
Dana Harris calls Nov. 9 her “special day.”
It was on that day last week that the Master of Sustainability student became a first time aunt, and also the day she was told, in the strictest of confidence, that she had captured two top prizes in a national science research photo competition.
Harris had to keep the secret of her achievement under wraps until Nov. 14, when the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) announced the winners of its Canada-wide Science Exposed competition.
The competition showcases images taken during scientific research being conducted in all fields by faculty and student researchers in post-secondary institutions and researchers in public and private research centres.
Harris received the People’s Choice Award and a Jury Prize for her photo, “Exploring the Jack Pine Tight Knit Family Tree.”
“It’s a super huge honour to have people sharing my photo, voting on it and just enjoying it,” says Harris. “And, to get that mention from the NSERC jury members was really gratifying.”
Diane Dupont, Dean of Graduate Studies, said the Faculty is “so proud of Dana and her success in the NSERC Science Exposed photography contest.”
“To win the People’s Choice Award is an outstanding achievement,” Dupont said. “This award is a testament to the cutting-edge research she is pursuing involving the globally-relevant topic of climate change.”
Harris’ photo shows phases of developing xylem cells, stained in different colours, that are found in a wood sample cored from the outermost part of a jack pine tree in the Northwest Territories, where she is from.
The image, shot from a microscope, shows the jack pine tree’s phloem, cambial and xylem cells (blue dye) and mature xylem cells (red dye) in a thin slice of the wood. It is one of a series of images taken weekly over the past year to track the growth of the jack pine tree’s various cells.
“This type of information is useful for researchers who create climate reconstructions using tree rings as a source of historical climate data,” explains Harris.
She thanked her supervisor, Professor of Geography and Tourism Studies Michael Pisaric, and her fellow student researchers in Brock’s Water and Environment Laboratory (WEL) for their support.
“Dana’s research is helping to understand how important tree species in the boreal forest are affected by climate change,” says Pisaric. “Her research also helps to inform larger questions concerning carbon uptake by the boreal forest.
“Northern regions of Canada are being impacted by changing climatic conditions, including warmer temperatures, changing precipitation regimes and altered frequency and intensity of forest fires and other disturbance agents.”
The WEL lab is co-directed by Pisaric and Associate Professor of Geography and Tourism Studies Kevin Turner, with the aim to explore how terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in Canada’s North are changing in response to climatic and environmental change.
Harris says she is happy that research on climate change and environmental conditions in the North were acknowledged with awards in the competition.
Earlier this year, the photos of 20 researchers from across Canada, including Harris’s entry, were shortlisted and posted on NSERC’s website. People viewing the 20 photos were given the chance to vote for their favourite image. A panel of judges also chose three images that won jury prizes.
NSERC is Canada’s federal funding agency for university-based research, supporting faculty and students through a number of awards. In the most recent round of funding, 18 faculty researchers and nine students received a total of $3.2 million.
Story reposted from The Brock News.
Story from the Esri Canada Blog, November 1, 2018
Contributed by Kyle Rankin (Brock GEOG ’18), Associate GIS Analyst, Esri Canada
Like many Canadians, I like to watch Hockey Night in Canada every week, which is where I got the idea of applying GIS to analyze hockey. In the months that followed, not only did I apply spatial analysis to hockey games, but I also submitted this analysis to apply for the Esri Canada Higher Education GIS Scholarship at Brock University. Find out what made this a winning project.
November 14 is GIS Day, celebrated by geographers, cartographers and GIS users everywhere. At Brock University, GIS students celebrate with a project competition sponsored by Esri Canada. The winner receives an Esri Canada Higher Education GIS Scholarship, which includes funding, software, training and networking opportunities to help students continue to develop their GIS skills and interests. I decided to work on a project applying GIS analysis to hockey games and submit it for the competition.
As Canadians, we all know what hockey means to us: passion, athleticism, power and toughness––a hockey player is as Canadian as the maple syrup. For many people, myself included, the game of hockey doesn’t mean advanced regression models and mathematical formulas. However, this changed for me when I realized there was an opportunity to apply the power of GIS and Esri’s spatial analysis tools to analyze hockey.
Every hockey team wants to understand how they can score more goals than their opponent and win more hockey games. If you are a hockey player, you’d more than likely agree this has as much to do with location on the ice during a game as an individual player’s talent. As a young hockey player, I was constantly taught where to skate to, where to shoot from and where to defend from. That’s applying the science of where to hockey!
Locational understanding on the hockey rink is clearly evident. So, I formulated the basic question for applying spatial analysis to player and team performance: what datasets are needed and can be analyzed to help hockey teams increase their goal-scoring and ultimately improve their chances of winning a match?
To expand on this, three questions came to mind:
a) What kind of data would be easiest to collect and yield the best quality result? (Shot locations, player locations, puck location, etc.)
b) How could I define areas on the ice that are associated with higher likelihoods of scoring?
c) How can the fast and fluid game of hockey be analyzed using hard-defined areas?
Armed with these questions, I approached the Brampton Beast professional hockey team’s manager of hockey operations, who showed great interest in my project and agreed to collaborate with me. Together, we set out to study the location where shots were taken on the ice to conduct statistical analysis. The report I created were not only easy to read and understand, but also provided meaningful insight into the team’s games.
Data-Driven, Evidence-Based Reports
Using data collected from the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) online game centre , I digitized 705 points representing the location of shots for and against Brampton during 10 of their games. I relied on ArcGIS ModelBuilder to create a repeatable workflow for querying and analyzing the data. This allowed for reports to be created with ease, as the model pulled data that matched certain criteria and then performed analyses, such as kernel density, to highlight hot spots in shot-activity on the ice. I created several reports that were based on individual player performance, single games, certain opposing goalies and comparison charts of games won versus games lost.
The team’s staff used these reports to gain a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of their strategy and to adjust their game-day strategy accordingly. Such reports can enhance coaching practices with data-driven and evidence-based strategies. Especially knowing how fast-moving and fluid hockey is––for example, while nobody can tell Sidney Crosby the exact coordinates of where he should shoot from, if you give him a map showing that he scores more often from the middle section of the ice than anywhere else, then he’ll be out there in the next shift doing just that. Using these reports to interact with players can help them better understand their statistics and the analysis of their play––looking at a cool map is a lot easier to understand than numbers on a spreadsheet.
Continue reading Kyle’s post on the Esri Canada Blog.
Datathon co-organizers Nour Hage, Thomas Lillo and Conrad Lipiec are readying for the second annual event.
Big data is big business — and where big career opportunities lie.
To introduce their peers to the growing field of data analytics, a group of Brock University students has created an event that dives into the data phenomenon.
Now in its second year, the Datathon Educational Conference takes place at Brock University on Saturday, Nov. 10 and features a series of presentations and workshops from industry experts.
“We’re bigger and better in almost every regard,” said third-year Political Science student Nour Hage, who co-founded the event alongside Conrad Lipiec and Thomas Lillo. “We have a lineup of great executives coming in from some of the biggest and best companies in Canada, including Microsoft, RBC, CIBC, Deloitte and BMO.”
The event’s roster includes speakers from a variety of backgrounds, such as health sciences, finance, law and digital humanities, as well as experts from several “up-and-coming startups who have big contracts with multinational firms like Apple,” said Lipiec, a third-year Economics student.
The Datathon, which sold out in its inaugural year, is about connecting students with industry leaders and helping to guide them on a path to data proficiency, he said.
Workshops held throughout the day were developed through discussions with industry insiders about what they look for in workers in terms of preferred skills.
By developing those applicable skills, the goal is to help students gain co-op opportunities and “hit the ground running,” Lipiec said.
Hage stressed there’s “no experience required” to take the Datathon plunge, as it caters to beginners as well as those who have a keen interest in the topic.
“In university, all we do is analyze information; we manipulate it, make use of it and create new information with existing information,” said Lillo, a third-year Geography and Computer Science student, who encouraged students not to shy away. “That’s all analytics is, but with technology added into the mix.”
Datathon organizers hope to open the eyes of students from various programs to the possibilities that exist with analytics.
“We want to show people this is not just for Computer Science and Business students,” Lipiec said. “There are new data case studies coming out every day in fields you wouldn’t expect, like human resources and accounting. It’s such an innovative field.”
Lillo said analytics, especially the tools being focused on at the conference, are “really applicable to every domain.”
“It’s only going to become more important as technology continues to improve.”
The Datathon’s main sponsor is Brock’s Goodman School of Business. The event, held in Sean O’Sullivan Theatre, will include opening remarks by University President Gervan Fearon.
Combined tickets for the conference and related workshops are $29, and conference-only tickets are $19.
For more information and a full list of workshops and speakers, visit datathon.ca.
Story reposted from The Brock News.