News and events

  • Professor John Sorenson shares recent open access publication

    Inclusive Approaches by VAW Shelters: Respecting Women’s Choice to be Together With Companion Animals
    Atsuko Matsuoka, John Sorenson

    May 11, 2022 Research Article


    Women often delay moving to VAW shelters if their companion animals’ safety is not ensured. Yet, few shelters accommodate them together. The purpose of this study is to explore what may help to promote services for women with companion animals facing violence, through learning from professionals who already provide support. Our email survey with VAW shelters in Ontario, Canada identified services and potential interviewees. Nine semi-structured telephone interviews with professionals were conducted to explore their experiences and views on human–animal relationships. All agencies that provided onsite programs, plus one about to start, participated. We utilized Critical Animal Studies as a theory to understand human–animal relationships through concepts such as intersectionality, anthropocentrism, speciesism, and feminist ethics of responsibility. The study found: (1) seven approaches shelters used to help women with companion animals; (2) programs that accept companion animals helped women move to shelters quickly but also affirmed women’s mutually respectful relationships with companion animals; (3) shelters also benefited, including expanding support from local communities and opportunities to educate them. The study suggests that by shifting ontological and theoretical approaches and including a critical examination of human–animal relationships at interpersonal and social structural levels, professional education promotes mobilizing resources for women with companion animals.

    Categories: News

  • Sociology grad featured in Technology magazine

    Alexandra Montgomery graduated with honours from Brock University with a degree in Sociology and a minor in Business Communications. Currently, she is the Director of IT, Comfort Keepers, Sodexo. She was featured in Technology magazine’s May 2022 issue where she discusses diversity, equity and inclusion and how to become a digital innovation leader.

    Link to magazine, featured on pages 33-43.

    Categories: News

  • Unexpected passing of Sheena Sisavath, MA in Critical Sociology alumna

    The Brock community is saddened by the unexpected passing of Sheena Sisavath (MA ’19) on Thursday, March 3 after a medical emergency.

    Sisavath grew up in Niagara and was a graduate of the Master of Arts in Critical Sociology program at Brock. She worked as a research assistant with a group of 10 faculty and staff in the Department of Sociology to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected racialized students. She was also an athlete and a gifted artist who ran a small business, The Pour Project, selling her one-of-a-kind poured resin designs.

    Visitation takes place at the George Darte Funeral Home at 585 Carlton St. in St. Catharines on Friday, March 11 from 7 to 9 p.m., followed by a celebration of life on Saturday, March 12. More details can be found on the funeral home’s website.

    Flags at Brock University will be lowered to half-mast on Friday, March 11.

    In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate memorial donations to support the establishment of an award in Sheena’s name for the Sociology Program at Brock University. Donations may be made online at

    Please select ‘In Memory of Sheena Sisavath’ when asked for the ‘designation of your gift.’

    Categories: News