Two Brock University graduates win ‘Spirit’ awards


Published July 6, 2021 at 3:12 pm


Last month’s year-end Virtual Spring Convocation saw two Faculty of Humanities graduates at Brock University in St Catharines collect the prestigious Spirit of Brock award.

Both Carolyn Fast (BA 2014, MA 2021) and Brielle Kaminsky (BA 2021) were selected for the award based on their outstanding efforts both on and off campus.

For Fast, it was her graduate research into the deinstitutionalization of special needs people within the previous Ontario system.

It is estimated that between 1876 and 2009, more than 50,000 people with intellectual disabilities were housed in institutions across Ontario. Fast saw the impact of institutionalization and the ideologies behind it in her work in the disability sector.

“I saw good friends having to constantly push back and prove their capacity and thought, this is just wrong,” she said in a release from the school. “I really wanted to unpack the ideology behind why we segregate, isolate and institutionalize people who are different.”

While her Master of Arts thesis focused on interviews with survivors, Fast also examined changes in policy. She plans to continue her research through her work.

Meanwhile, Kaminsky, a Music graduate returning to Brock in the fall to complete the Teacher Education program, was honoured for her leadership within the Brock University Students’ Union as the Faculty of Humanities representative on the Brock University Students’ Administrative Council for the past four years.

Kaminsky was a founder and leader of the Days for Girls Brock Chapter, a social justice volunteer program where students help make feminine hygiene kits to donate to women and girls in developing countries. She will continue in the organization at the national level and on global advocacy panels with Days for Girls International.

As well, she was in a leadership position with four other groups within the university – Brock Golden Key Chapter, the Brock Leaders Citizenship Society, the Brock French Club and the Brock Catholic Student Association.

In the release, Kaminsky said, “I have found that faith can be a strong force and has a huge impact on university life.”

(Photo of Carolyn Fast, left, and Brielle Kaminsky provided by Brock University)

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