• Tips for Acing Your First Week of Grad School

    Welcome to Grad School! You are joining a thriving graduate community that is driving forward Brock University’s reputation as a centre of excellence in research and innovation. As you begin your first week, here are some tips to help you start off on the right foot.

    1. Attend your Faculty/Program Orientation.Your Faculty/Program orientation is an excellent place to meet the students and professors you will work alongside throughout your graduate degree. You will also learn valuable information about your Faculty and be connected with resources that you may need to utilize in the future.  Most of these events require pre-registration, so be sure to enquire ahead of time.
    2. Visit the Faculty of Graduate StudiesThink of the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) as your first stop for any questions you may have or guidance you may need. We want to help you succeed! Our Dean, Dr. Jens Coorssen, has an open-door policy and welcomes the opportunity to meet you and discuss your Grad school experience. Also, be sure to check out our website and bookmark GradScope, the FGS blog.

      For more information, visit: brocku.ca/graduate-studies.

    3. Familiarize yourself with your Graduate Student Association (GSA)The Graduate Student Association (GSA) is the independent voice of graduate students on campus. They offer many valuable benefits, ranging from an extended health and dental insurance plan, to the graduate student lounge where you can relax between classes and connect with colleagues.

      For more information, visit: brocku.ca/graduate-students-association/

    4. Consider the Vitae: Essential Skills Program 

      Adding a professional development certificate to your degree could set you apart from others when applying to further academic studies or transitioning to a professional career.  The Vitae: Essential Skills Program offers a number of workshops and programs that will allow you to build and rehearse your transferrable skills.For more information, visit: vitae.brockubeta.ca

    We wish you nothing but success on your graduate journey!

    Post Categorie(s): Brock Community, Current Grad Students, Grad Student Success, Professional Development
  • Student Spotlight – Laura Kovac MA

    The Faculty of Graduate Studies is shining a spotlight on one of our very own Master’s students, Laura Kovac.

    After graduating from her undergraduate degree in Recreation and Leisure studies at Brock in 2013, Laura moved to China to teach English and study Mandarin Chinese. Working with youth gave Laura a first-hand perspective on some of the cultural differences between China and her native Canada. Something that stood out to Laura was how the children she was teaching, both boys and girls, were eager to participate in feminine activities such as dance. Having taken dance throughout her life, Laura wanted to see the same appreciation for aesthetic sports here in Canada.  Laura’s experience now frames her research as Master of Arts in Social Justice and Equity Studies student under the supervision of Dr. Dawn Trussell.

    Through her research, Laura is studying the experiences of girls age 12-15 in the aesthetic sports of dance, cheerleading, figure skating and gymnastics.

    “My interest in doing this research stems from my belief that femininity and feminine sport are under-appreciated,” says Laura. “My research aims to look at aesthetic sports from a feminist perspective that values feminine traits and female agency.”

    Laura hopes that her research will advocate for a diversity of gender expression. “If boys and girls want to present in feminine ways, I want them to feel proud, confident, and comfortable to do so.”

    While completing her research, Laura was also a research assistant for the Team Family Pride project with Dr. Trussell. She used this project to enter in the SSHRC Storytellers Competition where she placed in the top 35 of Canada and received honourable mention, a first for a student from Brock University.

    Post Categorie(s): Brock Community, Current Grad Students, Grad Student Success, Graduate Student Spotlight
  • Grad students research biodiversity in agriculture on international scope

    Several Brock graduate students are among a team of international researchers studying ways of connecting plant biodiversity to agricultural systems in communities in Ecuador and Canada, and examining how this relates to climate change.

    Biology Professor Liette Vasseur is leading the Brock group. They will work with researchers, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows from Lakehead and Escuela Superior Politecnica de Chimborazo university in Ecuador.

    The project, “Agro-biodiversity, Nutrition and Sustainable Marketing of Heritage Crops in Ecuador and Canada,” is headed by Brian McLaren, Associate Professor in the Department of Natural Resources Management at Lakehead University.

    The research team was recently awarded $660,000 from the Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Advanced Scholars Program. As a co-applicant, Vasseur will receive a portion of that fund.

    The team will look at how communities in that country, as well as in Ontario, can expand their food production by preserving their heritage crops and growing various species of crops together.

    Having a wider selection of crops will increase communities’ access to nutritious food while protecting the environment, says Vasseur.

    Read more in Brock News.

    Post Categorie(s): Research Excellence
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  • Brock Graduate Students In The News

    Graduate students were making news headlines over Brock’s week-long Spring Convocation ceremonies.

    Robin Guard, who at 93-years-old was Brock’s oldest-ever graduate, became a national media sensation. He was met with a standing ovation when he walked across the Convocation stage on Friday, June 9 to receive his Master’s of Arts in History. Robin also had the pleasure of seeing his friend and a fellow student, 74-year-old Allan Edgington, graduate as part of the Class of 2017.

    You can read more about Robin online at the CTV website and Brock News.

    Here are some other graduate students who shared in news coverage:

    • Grant Yocom (PhD in Interdisciplinary Humanities) and Jessica Vickruck (Master’s of Science, Biological Sciences) received the Board of Trustees Spirit of Brock award for for their hard efforts on and off campus to demonstrate leadership, innovation, courage, inspiration and community involvement. Read the full story here.
    • Brandon and Cherise Dear, who met as undergrads in the Faculty of Education and got married last July, walked across the stage together to receive their master’s degrees.  Read the full story here.
    • Brock’s Assistant to the Registrar, Diana Panter, who serves as ceremony co-ordinator during Convocation season, transformed from event emcee to proud graduate as she received her Master’s of Business Administration degree.  Read the full story here
    • Leona Yiu, Board of Trustees Spirit of Brock graduate student award winner for the Goodman School of Business, graduated with an MBA degree. Read the full story here.
    • Aidan Smyth, who graduated with a Master’s of Science in Applied Health Sciences and was recognized with Board of Trustees Spirit of Brock award, has strived to leave the University better than he found it. Read the full story here.
    • Applied Health Sciences PhD graduate Lindsay Cline received the Governor General’s Gold Medal for academic achievement. She maintained a 97 per cent average, the highest grade for the 433 graduating class of master’s and doctoral students. Cline was among six recipients of doctoral degrees awarded by the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences — the largest number of PhDs awarded in one ceremony in the history of the Faculty. Read the full story here.
    • Christopher Ventura, who received a Master’s of Education degree and was recognized with the Board of Trustees Spirit of Brock award, applied his personal mantra of “Building Better Badgers” as he worked at becoming a true leader in the University community. Read the full story here.
    • Joseph Robertson who received his Master’s of Applied Disabilities Studies, Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), said being selected for the Board of Trustees Spirit of Brock Award signified validation for following his passion and being part of a community. Read the full story here.
    Post Categorie(s): Brock Community, Graduate Student Spotlight
  • How to contact a prospective research supervisor

    A new year means new grad students and Brock University is excited to welcome new and prospective students to campus!

    If you are a new or returning student, you know how important it is to secure a research supervisor before starting your graduate program. If you aren’t sure what to do, the process can seem daunting and overwhelming which means it often gets left to the last minute.

    If you’re a 3rd or 4th year student and you are thinking of applying to graduate studies at Brock, take a note from the students who have come before you and start contacting supervisors now!

    To help make this process easier for you, the Faculty of Graduate Studies have put together a list of guidelines to follow when reaching out to potential supervisors.

    1. Subject line: Be clear and concise in your subject line. This is your first opportunity to grab the professor’s attention and to let them know that you are interested in studying with them. For example: “Prospective PhD student seeking to study XX”.
    1. Address them professionally. Use “Dr. (insert last name)” or “professor (insert last name).
    1. Introduce yourself briefly. Include your name, background, and your research interests.
    1. Know their research. Mention a few things about their research (from their papers) that you found interesting which align with your research interests. Make sure you summarize their research in your own words to avoid plagiarizing and be sure to include why working with them would be beneficial to your research.
    1. Tell them what you bring to the table in terms of skills and outline a research project you would like to work on in graduate school (this shows you understand how to design a research project).
    1. Ask if they are available to meet in person or by phone to further discuss the possibility of working with them for your masters or Ph.D. program

    What do you do if they do not respond?

    Don’t take offence – professors are very busy individuals! Wait a week before following up. In your follow up email, keep it short.

    Ex: Hi Dr. XX, I understand you’re extremely busy. Just following up regarding my previous email. I would love to further discuss your research over coffee. Are you available next week?

    Give them a few different times that you’re available to make it easy for them. If you do not hear from them try reaching them by phone.

    Following up demonstrates that you are truly interested in working with them and are eager to secure them as a supervisor.

    For more information please visit our Future Students website.

    Post Categorie(s): Future Grad Students, Grad Student Success
  • 3 Steps to Better Time Management

    Brad Æon is a PhD researcher at Concordia University who studies the science of time management.

    In a recent article published in University Affairs,  Æon says that “structuring your time is the single most important step you can take to alleviate your anxiety, preserve your mental health.”

    He draws on the literary classic, Robinson Crusoe, to illustrate his point.

    “…the first thing Robinson Crusoe did after getting shipwrecked was etch marks on a wooden cross to create a calendar,” writes Æon. “But many people don’t have what I call the Crusoe reflex – the habit of structuring one’s time.”

    Æon offers several concrete steps to develop a Crusoe reflex — in a nutshell:

    • Adopt a fixed-schedule system
    • Time-block your day
    • Structure your time around social hours.

    He has more to say about each so be sure to go to the story for more tips and advice.

    “Treat your own schedule as if it were externally imposed, as if your job depended on it. (To a large extent, it does.),” writes Æon. “Having your own time structure will do wonders for your stress, anxiety, and work-life balance.”

    Post Categorie(s): Current Grad Students, Future Grad Students, Grad Student Success
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  • Annual awards recognize research excellence

    Each year, the FGS provides awards of $1,000 to outstanding Master’s and Doctoral graduate students in a research-based program from each of Brock’s Faculties.

    The 2017 recipients of the Jack M. Miller Excellence in Research Awards have been chosen from within their Faculties for pursuing exciting and bold directions in research – they stand out for projects that are highly original and are addressing significant questions.


    Angel Phanthanourak, MSc, Applied Health
    Angel examines how individuals prepare for upcoming physical movement. This preparation is known as anticipatory postural adjustment – APA for short. She’s bringing new insight about APAs in relation to fall risk and advanced age.

    Aly Bailey, PhD, Applied Health
    Aly’s dissertation puts her at the forefront of body image research. She is among the first to investigate body image from a positive perspective. Her project provides a unique approach to the promotion of well-being in diverse populations.


    Sheri Mallabar, Master of Education
    Sheri’s thesis is a rich analysis of a peer-mediated model designed to develop social skills in children with autism spectrum disorders. She is the first to embed this teaching intensive model in the wider context of whole-class instruction.

    Jennifer Brant, PhD in Educational Studies
    Jennifer’s dissertation is a rich, deep account of Indigenous women’s responses to Indigenous Maternal Pedagogy, which connects maternal pedagogies with women-centred indigenous epistemologies to provide holistic supports for students.


    Helen Hsu, MA, Classics
    Helen’s research focuses on the characterization of sex labourers in the comedies of the Roman playwright Plautus, writing at a time of socio-economic change. Her research aims to break the traditional binary view of the women that dominates the secondary scholarship on these plays.

    Jill Planche, PhD, Interdisciplinary Humanities
    Jill’s research project investigates the present and potential role of contemporary theatre in postapartheid South Africa where the social architecture of apartheid persists in its socio-economic, political and cultural conditions.


    Eric de Hoog, Master of Science, Biological Sciences
    Eric’s studies are based on the examination of the neural effects of the Vitamin A metabolite, retinoic acid, on adult neurons. Retinoic acid has long been known to play an important role in the development of the nervous system, enhancing the outgrowth of nerve processes.

    Van Hung Mai, PhD, Chemistry
    Van Hung Mai carries out comprehensive studies on the reactivity of a chemical catalysis that serves as a key chemical phenomenon that contributes to 25 per cent of GDP of industrialized countries. He is contributing to advances in green chemistry to develop more economical and cleaner methods.


    Taylor Heffer, MA, Psychology
    Taylor’s thesis examines coping and adjustment among university students over time. Her research encompasses a much broader investigation of coping and adjustment, with a specific interest in understanding how to promote positive adjustment.

    Mark Hoffarth, PhD, Psychology
    Mark’s thesis is truly original. He is investigating how religious attendance shapes attitudes toward gay rights, for example marriage and adoption. This project has the potential to be a game changer.


    Luciano Lapa, MSc, Management
    Luciano is studying the potential benefits of offering a suitable mobile commerce experience to customers. His research has far-reaching contributions to the rapidly growing mobile commerce industry across the world.

    Post Categorie(s): Current Grad Students, Grad Student Success, Research Excellence
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  • Student Spotlight – Andrews Moses MBA

    PODCAST: From international student to local entrepreneur

    Andrews Moses has followed his own advice about dreaming big to launch two Niagara businesses, CloudChoice and Make 2 Order Apps.

    “Everyone talks about dreaming big and following your passion,” says the 2011 Goodman School of Business MBA graduate. “You have to make that switch into putting that dream in to action. You have to act upon it or else it’s going to stay a dream forever and you’re going to regret it later.”

    With a background in engineering, Andrews came from the south of India to begin studies at Brock in 2009. From the moment he arrived, it was clear that Niagara was where he wanted to make his dreams happen.

    Andrews is the founder of CloudChoice, a customer consulting firm, and Make 2 Order Apps, an online order management solution company for small businesses. He regularly hires Brock students through part-time and co-op opportunities.

    You can hear more from Andrews about his experiences as an entrepreneur as part of the Conversation with Goodman podcast series.

    Post Categorie(s): Grad Student Success
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  • “Bravo” — three grad students receive 2016-17 President’s Surgite Award

    President’s Surgite Award winners honoured

    Congratulations to Christopher Paul Yendt, Master of Education, Administration and Leadership in Education, Leona Yiu, Master of Business Administration, Business Analytics, and Joshua Black, PhD candidate, Psychology, Social/Personality.

    They were among 10 students awarded the 2016-17 President’s Surgite Award.

    The annual award recognizes students who have demonstrated exemplary leadership in a student club, organization, association or team; done something exceptional that helped to advance Brock’s academic reputation; made a significant contribution to student life at Brock; or provided a valuable service to Brock or the Niagara community.

    Interim President Tom Traves recently thanked the award winners, saying it was important for the University to recognize leadership among the student body and to show appreciation for outstanding efforts.

    “It’s about saying, ‘You’ve really done something special. You’ve contributed to the development of the University. You’ve contributed to the quality of student life at the University and bettered the lives of those in the Brock and broader community,’” he said. “We want to recognize that work and say ‘Well done. Bravo.’”

    Post Categorie(s): Current Grad Students, Grad Student Success
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  • Class of 2017 — share your Brock experience

    The University has put out a Call for Videos to Brock students who will graduate at Spring Convocation.

    You have until May 19 to submit a 30- to 60-second video in which you share your thoughts and experiences about being a Brock student as well as advice for new students.

    The submissions will be featured in a Convocation video to be shown during the June graduation ceremonies.

    If you are interested, here’s what you need to do:

    Use a mobile device to film a 30- to 60-second video of yourself and include the following introduction at the beginning:

    • First and last name
    • Where you’re from (hometown)
    • What program you’re graduating from

    Email a video file or a link to download the video to ctalaue@brocku.ca. One video per graduate.

    For more information, visit the Brock social media web page.

    Post Categorie(s): Brock Community, Current Grad Students
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