• Student Spotlight – Pascal Michelberger (MA in Comparative Literatures and Arts)

    Being an international student can be challenging. Navigating a new country and culture, learning a new language and a different school system can seem overwhelming to some students.

    Master of Arts in Studies in Comparative Literatures and Arts student, Pascal Michelberger has experienced firsthand these challenges since coming to Canada from Germany to begin his studies and has set out to support other international students at Brock.

    “Pascal has been with us this year as a GTA in our introductory Spanish course and has demonstrated an outstanding sense of academic professionalism paired with an incredible dedication to promoting a globalized and international perspective to student involvement and participation. He not only serves as a role model for our own Canadian students and ambassador for future international students,” said Professor Cristina Santos, Michelberger’s supervisor.

    Michelberger wants to help other international students with their transition to life at Brock through the power of conversation which is how he came to form his Spanish Conversation Circle “parlanchín”.

    “In my Spanish for beginner’s class, I often had students coming up to me asking about opportunities to practice their Spanish outside of the classroom,” said Michelberger.

    “I decided to form a Spanish conversation circle for both international student and students studying the Spanish language – through this group we are able to connect as equals and we continue to support each other despite our differences.”

    During international week Michelberger also organized a cooking session and movie screening where students were invited to try some authentic Spanish cuisine while taking in a movie.

    Born and Raised in Germany, Michelberger attended the University of Mannheim where he studied Hispanic studies and Business. While at University, he had an international roommate from Canada who studied at Brock University. As their friendship grew, Michelberger learned more about Brock and the opportunities available to international students.

    “Since joining Brock University I have been welcomed with open arms. I have met people of all different backgrounds and have made many new friendships.”

    “Being an international student isn’t a barrier – everyone in my program is eager to help and encourage me and my colleagues to think critically and to speak up when we have a question or idea that we would like to pursue.”

    Michelberger hopes to encourage other international students to step outside of their comfort zone and to connect with other people on campus and in the community.

    His advice to incoming international students is to take advantage of all the opportunities on campus available to students.

    “Don’t be afraid of approaching people – ask questions and explore. You will be surprised how easy it is to make connections with Faculty and fellow students.”

    After completing his degree, Michelberger hopes to stay in Canada for another year and to continue parlanchín and support fellow international students.

    Post Categorie(s): Grad Student Success
  • Student Spotlight – Lindsay Smith (MA Applied Health Sciences)

    The Faculty of Graduate Studies is shining a spotlight on one of our very own graduate students, Lindsay Smith.

    After graduating from Brock University’s Sport Management program in 2015, Lindsay Smith travelled to the Pacific Island nation of Samoa, as part of a Queen Elizabeth Scholarship program, to work at the Commonwealth Youth Games.

    This international multi-sport competition, held over two weeks in September in the nation’s capital city of Apia, was eye opening for Smith.

    Being part of the workforce for an international multi-sport competition gave Smith a firsthand perspective of employment within the major games industry and, in particular, the vital role of employees in the organization and operation of major game events such as the Olympics, Pan Am Games and the Commonwealth Games.

    Smith’s experience at the Commonwealth Youth Games now frames her research direction as a Master of Arts student under the supervision of Professor Kirsty Spence.

    She is at the early stages of a study to better understand the impact of leadership on the development of employees’ perceived workplace fulfillment in the major games industry.

    “Major games are extremely high intensity and are prone to change with little to no notice given to its employees,” says Smith. “After being exposed to the workings of major games myself, I became interested in exploring how employees feel when there is so much chaos in their jobs and how different leadership styles can impact them in these situations.”

    The impact of Smith’s research is rooted in discovering the experience that major game employees have at work. While much of our time is spent in the workplace, Smith seeks to discover if employee needs can be met in a broader sense – where meaning developed at work transcends the workplace, nourishing the personal lives of employees, and if this is important to employees lives both inside and outside of the work context.

    Major games leaders will benefit from Smith’s research as it seeks to provide increased insight into the potential needs of employees. Additionally, her research may have direct implications to sport organizations and major games events, as employees who experience workplace fulfillment are said to be more productive, a factor that contributes to overall organizational productivity and success.

    In May, Smith will be presenting her research at the Canadian Congress on Leisure Research (CCLR) conference in Waterloo, Ontario, and the North American Society of Sport Management (NASSM) conference in Denver, Colorado.

    Post Categorie(s): Current Grad Students
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  • 5 Steps to a Successful Graduate School Application

    Applying to graduate school can seem like an overwhelming task to students unfamiliar with the process. Between selecting the “right” potential mentor, the “right” references, and preparing an initial contact and/or portfolio, it is easy to get lost in the process.

    “It’s natural for prospective students to worry about their grad school application,” says Craig Ireland, Graduate Officer (Applications & Admissions) at Brock University. “It’s important to remember that there are several steps you can take to ensure that you submit a strong, competitive application to the Graduate School of your choice.”

    With that in mind, The Faculty of Graduate Studies at Brock University has come up with a list of tips for potential grad students to help them through the application process.

    1) Do Any Necessary Pre-Application Networking

    In many/most disciplines, most notably for research-based Graduate Programs, prior contact with a potential supervisor is all but essential to securing a placement. If you haven’t looked at the literature and talked with your current mentors about appropriate future mentors, get on it now. There is nothing like a solid personal contact to get the ball rolling to a successful outcome.

    Connections go a long way. If you are serious about attending a certain graduate program, try reaching out to current faculty to discuss your research interests and to learn more about the program. Perhaps even try to contact a successful graduate of the program, but be constructive and professional –  not everyone will respond or respond positively. Be polite and direct but do not push the matter if you don’t get a response.

    Making a direct connection in the program early on in the application process demonstrates your passion for the graduate program and can help separate you from a pool of applicants. Again, some programs also require you to have a supervisor firmly identified before applying to the program. Be familiar with all the program requirements and realize that they differ from program-to-program.

    Need help contacting a potential supervisor? Read our tips and guidelines here.

    2) Start Your Application Early

    Meeting application deadlines may seem like a no-brainer but it is important to remember that completing all the requirements for a Grad School application can take time. You may be asked to submit results from exams such as the GMAT, GRE, IELTS or TOEFL (for international students), write a letter of intent, provide examples of your work as well as transcripts.

    Every Graduate School will have a different application process so it is important to read over the requirements several times to ensure you have all the required documents and meet the minimum admission requirements. Having an identified potential mentor is only part of the process – make sure you cover all your bases and get your school of interest all the information they need to efficiently process your application. Remember, submitting a Grad School application can take as long as two weeks or more.

    *Most programs will accept applications after the deadline until the program is full. Check in with the program before applying after the application deadline.

    3) Differentiate Yourself In Your Statement of Intent

    Most Graduate Schools will require you to submit a statement of interest. This is your chance to make yourself stand out from the other applicants. Tell the admissions committee about your career aspirations, future plans and how the program will help you achieve them. Briefly outline your past experience and what you will bring to the program – in other words this is your chance to “sell yourself”. While you want to make sure you are putting your best self forward don’t be overconfident. Make sure you stick to the facts and be honest about the work you have done.

    If you are applying to a research-based program, tell the admissions committee about your specific research interests and what exactly you want to research in your graduate studies. Demonstrating creativity and your understanding of how to design a proper research study tells the committee that you are prepared for a research-intensive program. If your program to date has provided you with some experience in critical reviewing and/or grant applications, make that clear.

    Show them that you are serious about completing graduate studies at their institution by linking your research interests to the research being conducted in the department you are targeting. One way of doing this is to reference a faculty member’s paper when describing your research interests and the background research. Mentioning a specific paper and how it captured your interest and imagination is useful as well.

    Remember to be clear and concise! Your statement of interest should only be around two pages (maximum). Check the program-specific admission requirements to see if the program has outlined any specifications for your statement of interest.

    4) Choose Your Referees Carefully

    Choosing the right references is a critical part of the application process. It is important for you to select people who are familiar with your work, who can convey your strengths and accomplishments, and who’s recognized experience and expertise carry sufficient ‘weight’ in the field. Also, be sure that these referees have clear experience writing such letters of support, in particular for the sort of position you are applying for. This is critical.

    It is also potentially important to have both academic and professional/industry/employment references available to you. If you have been out of school for a number of years and have lost touch with your alma mater try volunteering as a research assistant or with an organization in the field to make new connections. Find those in your current environment who have experience writing successful reference letters in terms of the path you are choosing to pursue.

    Always refer to your program-specific admission requirements to confirm how many references are required.

    5) When You Think You Are Ready To Submit…

    Proofread every last word and have a half dozen folks help with that. They don’t necessarily have to understand everything you are proposing to work on, but they should be able to read it all without finding a single spelling or grammatical error. A single example suggesting that you take this process lightly in any manner can mean the difference between success and waiting for another letter of offer. Remember this for your future Postdoc and job applications as well!

    Good luck!

    For information regarding our Brock University’s 49 Master’s and PhD programs, please visit our website.

    Post Categorie(s): Future Grad Students
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  • Why participate in the MNK conference?

    Guest blog by Kirsten Bott, VP Communications GSA & PhD Student in Applied Health Sciences

    Mapping the New Knowledges Conference is a fantastic opportunity and experience for any graduate student. There is a lot of value for students to present at this interdisciplinary conference whether it is your first time to gain experience or in preparation for another conference to hone your presentation skills. The interdisciplinary aspect of this conference allows students to connect with other departments and faculties they may not otherwise interact with. Speaking with individuals from other disciplines can provide a new prospective on your research and fosters new research ideas.

    I have previously attended and presented at this conference and keep coming back for more. This conference has allowed me to gain experience presenting in a friendly and supportive environment. The coming together of the diverse research that happens at Brock makes this conference truly unique. The multidisciplinary aspect of the conference has helped me with my knowledge translation, a now essential skill, to present my research in a more understandable format for individuals outside my research area. This conference encourages a variety of submissions, whether your project is a proposal, work in progress, or a completed study. Even if you are not presenting I highly recommend attending the conference to learn about other research areas, network, and experience the growing graduate student culture here at Brock.



    Post Categorie(s): Brock Community, Current Grad Students, Professional Development
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  • Mapping the New Knowledges Mentorship and Leadership Awards

    Has your thesis supervisor been a great mentor to you and other graduate students?

    Has your graduate student experience been enriched by the leadership of faculty members, program staff and other graduate students?

    Here’s your chance to recognize those from across Brock’s graduate studies programs who support, encourage and create opportunities for graduate students to succeed.

    Now is the time to start putting together a nomination package, to be submitted by the deadline of March 10, for two special awards to celebrate our mentors and leaders:

    Graduate Student Mentorship Awards: All graduate students are invited to nominate their thesis supervisors for the Graduate Student Mentorship Awards to recognize excellence in graduate student supervision and mentorship. Awards are presented in two categories:
mentorship of master’s students only; and
mentorship of both master’s and PhD students

    Value: $1,000 to assist faculty with ongoing graduate student mentorship

    See more details here.

    Marilyn Rose Graduate Leadership Award: All members of the Brock community are invited to nominate faculty, staff and students for the Marilyn Rose Graduate Leadership Award to recognize an individual for his or her work and leadership in developing and/or enhancing graduate studies and the graduate student experience for students at Brock University.

    Value: $500

    See more details here.

    The awards will be announced and presented at the Mapping the New Knowledges conference on April 11. All nominees will be recognized for their contributions during the awards events.

    Make sure to show your mentors and colleagues how much you appreciate them and start the nomination process today!

    Post Categorie(s): Brock Community, Current Grad Students
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  • Get your abstracts in for Three Minute Thesis (3MT)

    Get your abstracts in – Brock’s 2017 Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Challenge is still accepting proposals!

    Three minutes. One slide. No props.

    These are the fundamentals of Brock University’s 3MT (three minute thesis) Challenge. Taking place March 30, 2017, the annual competition gives grad students three minutes to explain their research in a way that captivates judges and others from outside their discipline.

    The 3MT has led a wave of novel communications exercises in universities and colleges over the last several years.

    An University Affairs article highlighted the value these opportunities hold for students, particularly those in PhD and master’s programs, such as:

    • developing soft skills;
    • telling their research stories to broader audiences in a compelling way;
    • and, in the process, gaining “a tiny bit of fame.”

    Brock held its first 3MT Challenge in 2013. In that short four-year period, two of our champions have advanced to the national finals. Last year, Brock’s Carly Cameron was one of the Ontario competitors to be chosen for the Canadian final. Her presentation at the nationals resonated with viewers and Carly received top votes to win Canada’s 2016 People’s Choice Award.

    Carly says 3MT was a fantastic experience for her both on a personal and academic level.

    “As a graduate student you find yourself becoming absorbed in your work and your field. By being part of 3MT®, you get a chance to talk with students from other programs and to realize the range of research under way here at Brock and at universities across the province. I encourage people to seize opportunities such as this, which push you outside your comfort zone — you’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish.”

    If you are a Brock graduate student, here’s your chance to experience 3MT. Find out more about 3MT on Brock’s website. And, to get a feel for presentation styles, take a few minutes and watch videos of Carly and the other 2016 Canadian finalists.

    Apply now!


    Post Categorie(s): Current Grad Students, Professional Development, Research Excellence
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  • Student Spotlight – Mark Hoffarth


    Brock Psychology PhD student Mark Hoffarth and his supervisor Professor Gordon Hodson were among researchers highlighted in an online article that recently appeared on the Quartz website.

    The Nov. 17 posting is titled “You need to get inside the mind of a climate change denier if you want to change it.”

    The article draws attention to recent research by Hoffarth and Hodson that set out to examine how — and why — political beliefs affect perceptions of climate change.

    Earlier this year, their paper, Green on the outside, red on the inside: Perceived environmentalist threat as a factor explaining political polarization of climate change,” was published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology.

    Hoffarth, who was lead author, explained in a Brock News interview that the paper was a reflection of U.S. political rhetoric.

    “The watermelon metaphor comes from a view that is sometimes put forth in right-wing political discussions: environmentalists say they are ‘green’ and care about the environment, but some on the right insist that environmentalists are actually promoting Red Communist or socialist policies,” he says. “In other words, ‘green’ on the outside, but ‘red’ (Communist/socialist) on the inside.”

    To find out more about about their study, read the story in Brock News.

    Post Categorie(s): Grad Student Success, Graduate Student Spotlight, Research Excellence
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  • January is National Mentor Month

    2017 has just arrived and with it comes the excitement and motivation to start the new year off right.

    While most of us will start the new year with resolutions to eat healthier and to hit the gym three times a week, the Faculty of Graduate Studies is encouraging students to work towards a new goal this year – finding and/or celebrating their mentors.

    Mentors are an important part of personal and professional development at every stage of life and with January being National Mentor Month, the Faculty of Graduate Studies wanted to recognize both mentors and mentees and the dedication that goes into these relationships.

    Mentors may be older or younger than the person being mentored, but she or he must have a certain area of expertise. It is a learning and development partnership between someone with a certain depth of experience and someone who wants to learn. Mentorship experience and relationship structure affect the amount of support, career guidance, role modeling, and communication that occurs in the relationship in which the students and their mentors are engaged. Essentially, so much comes down to an ‘oral tradition’ that mentors and mentees must recognize the central role of free and open communication in the relationship. Find someone you can talk to and who wants to listen. Not all relationships are meant to be, so both parties need to choose carefully and wisely.

    Graduate students who have a mentor right from the start are less likely to feel ambushed by bumps in the road and are often more successful in their research activity, conference presentations, publication and grant-writing.

    If you haven’t found your mentor yet, don’t worry! Start attending faculty events and reach out to professors you admire and would be interested in learning from and with  –  yes, mentors often learn as much as their truly inquisitive and insightful students! Remember, like every relationship, this goes two-ways, so find someone you want to work with and who wants to work with you. The best such working relationships are when both parties recognize that this is an interaction of colleagues  –  one more senior and experienced, and the other just starting on their career path. Great mentors want to train the great colleagues who will be ‘down the hall from them’ in 5-10 years.

    If you have found your mentor and you want to acknowledge the impact they have made in your life be sure to nominate them for the Faculty of Graduate Studies Graduate Mentorship Award. This award honours and recognizes the essential role of faculty supervisors in the mentorship of graduate students.

    Awards are presented in two categories:

    • Mentorship of master’s students only
    • Mentorship of both master’s and PhD students

    Nominations for this award close March 10.

    For more information, please visit the Faculty of Graduate Studies website.



    Post Categorie(s): Current Grad Students, Grad Student Success
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  • Welcome Back!

    Guest Blog by Jens Coorssen, Dean of Graduate Studies

    Welcome back, Badgers!…and also those of you not quite able to identify with small, furry, ferocious animals…we can all still be a supportive cete! Admittedly, there is something unique about being identified with a beautiful animal that is essentially a small wolverine. After all, Brock is a mid-sized university, but we punch above our weight!

    The Faculty of Graduate Studies team would like to welcome you back from your well-deserved holiday. We hope that you were able to spend time with loved ones and friends while taking some well-earned time to relax.

    2017 promises to be another exciting year for grad studies at Brock and we hope that you take advantage of the many personal and professional development opportunities available to you.

    Some key dates to mark in your calendars for this year are:

    The 2017 Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Challenge finals – Thursday, March 30, 2017

    The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) contest challenges students to talk about their research and why it matters in a way that will inform and captivate people outside of their disciplines in three minutes.

    2016-17 Mapping the New Knowledges (MNK) Conference – April 11, 2017

    Each year, registered graduate students from Brock’s six academic Faculties, come together to share research at the annual MNK conference hosted by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Students’ Association.

    2017 Donor Award Celebration – May 17, 2017

    At a ceremony each year, the Faculty of Graduate Studies celebrates the accomplishments of graduate students and the generosity of donors who invest in excellence at Brock. This event is open to the entire Brock community.

    To view the list of awards or to nominate someone please visit the FGS website.

    Again, welcome back to campus.

    We wish you all the best in your studies and if you ever have any questions about your graduate studies please feel free to visit us in MC D250. I am also available to meet privately should anyone need to chat.

    Jens Coorssen, Dean of Graduate Studies


    Post Categorie(s): Current Grad Students, Grad Student Success, Professional Development
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  • Mental Health and Wellness

    Guest Blog by Lauren Wilks, Graduate Student Peer Health Educator

    There’s no doubt about it: grad student life is hard and sometimes it can totally suck.  Whether your immune system has been destroyed by late nights of trying to finish marking a hundred papers, your friends have held an intervention because your consuming so much coffee that your eyelids will literally NOT stop twitching, or you’re finding that it takes the bulk of your energy just to drag yourself into the shower in the morning, Brock has resources available to help you.

    Physical health and wellness are two key parts of being a successful and happy grad student.  Coughing all over your keyboard while trying to write your thesis and constantly having to carry a box of Kleenex in your already-jammed-full-of-books backpack isn’t fun.  Fortunately, Brock Student Health Services in Harrison Hall is staffed with nurses, doctors, a physiotherapist, a Mental Health Nurse, and a Psychologist who can all help keep you well.  Appointments can be made in person or over the phone, and walk-in clinics are also available.  Brock also has a Campus Pharmacy in the East Academic plaza where you can fill your prescriptions.  More information can be found at https://brocku.ca/health-services.  The Graduate Student Association offers a health and dental plan as well: go to https://brocku.ca/graduate-students-association/gsa-services/health-dental for more information about what the plan offers and how to file claims.

    Mental health and wellness are also an important part of maintaining balance in grad school.   Fortunately, Brock also provides many opportunities for students to take care of their mental wellness.  In addition to the Psychologist and the Mental Health Nurse at Student Health Services, personal counselling is available and is free to all Brock students.  If you are concerned about bumping into any undergrad students that you may TA in the counselling office, there is an alternate location in the old grad lounge area that is available to you.  When calling to make an appointment, let the receptionist know that you are a grad student and you can have your session moved to the grad location.  Check out https://brocku.ca/personal-counselling for more information regarding counselling or, if you are off campus or would rather speak to someone over the phone, Good2Talk (http://www.good2talk.ca) is a post-secondary student helpline that can be reached at any time at 1-866-925-5454.  Brock has also recently launched a new mental health and wellness website that features links to information on mental health issues, how to support friends or family members in distress, referral strategies, ways to reach out for your own support and ask for help, and information on self-care and resiliency. Go to http://brockmentalhealth.ca/ to take a look at the site!

    Post Categorie(s): Health & Well-being
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