Second Year, Biological Sciences
Rohan Kothari is an outstanding second-year Biological Sciences student who’s passionate about community service.
Rohan graduated from high school with a nearly flawless 99.7 per cent average, wants to be a doctor and to work on international development. At Brock, he’ll research the part of human cells that affect the aging process.
"I wanted a full undergraduate experience, not a place where I was in a huge pool of people, where it would be difficult to make a significant contribution,” says Rohan. “The (Mathematics and) Science Faculty at Brock is excellent; it's easy to connect with professors and get involved in research opportunities. That's rare at the undergraduate level."
Rohan embodies a well-rounded life. He’s passionate about community service. Rohan has conducted research in India on empowering slum-dwelling youth, and plans to pursue this further by starting his own non-government organization and working with the Indian government. He started the Brock chapter of Free The Children and arranged a visit by Nobel Peace Prize nominee Craig Kielburger.
"I want to promote global citizenship, encourage students to volunteer and get involved in their local and global communities," he says.
In addition to his scholastic and philanthropic pursuits, Rohan swims, plays soccer and is trying to master the saxophone.
English Major, honors
Listing her extracurricular activities, Jenna Carnahan is careful to note her work on and off campus, as she tries to connect both spheres of activity.
Jenna, an honours English major, lists as part of the same continuum her contributions to the Brock Dance Club, for which she teaches classes in hip hop, jazz, and lyrical dance, and her own commitment to putting into practice (and helping others put into practice) a healthy, active lifestyle.
This level of outreach in extracurricular activities is notable, as she balances priorities according to how she can serve her overlapping communities. Her work at Brock’s Student Development Centre focuses on creating and directing Learning Skills Workshops and contributing to the One-on-One Study Write Program, passing on to peers the skills she has acquired as a top English student. Her commitment to the English Students Association, for which she is the Vice-President, Administration, is founded on her desire to help English majors negotiate and make the most out of their university program. Jenna has helped to organize Writing Workshops and events such as Poetry Out Loud, which operates as both an opportunity for students and faculty to share their favourite texts with one another, and as an event dedicated to raising funds for a graduating English student award.
Also, Jenna volunteers with the St. Leonard’s Society in Brantford, a youth homelessness program, to which she brings some of her energy and commitment to those who are socially disadvantaged.
Thank You – A Student Award Changed My Life
By Jason Skyes, BA’06, MA ‘08
Without the generous gifts of supporters to Brock’s bursary and scholarship program, my university education likely would have been shipwrecked on financial shoals.
I come from a family of four children. When we were growing up, my mother was, for the most part, our sole financial supporter. She was never given the opportunity for a post-secondary education, despite being one of the brightest women I have ever known. Her family simply did not have enough money.
My mother went into debt so my older sister could attend university, and when it came to my turn to make the push for a better life through higher education, resources were scarce. Even the full funding from the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), there still remains a serious gap in the funding needed for school. Though I worked full time during the summer, there is little left after I pay for all the expenses. Brock today estimates an annual cost is $16,000.
At the start of each year, my mother and I would sit down, talk over my finances, and if anything she is able to help with my expenses. Each year, that amount would decrease as university costs would increase.
There were times I thought I couldn’t do it, but kept going.
Then, in the fall of 2004, the world came crashing down. My mother was diagnosed with cancer. She didn’t tell me at first, but finally she had to take time off work to get treatments and fight the disease. That meant a real impact on my family with the resulting reduced income.
I was faced with a serious choice, and knew what I had to do. I did not have enough money to continue university and also help feed my Mom and my siblings. I was up all night, shattered, coming to terms with reality and seeing our shared dream of university come to an end. There was of course no choice, I had to help put food on the table. My education was over.
But the next morning — the very next day — Brock notified me that I was to be the recipient of a bursary, which was enough to keep studying and also support my family when they needed me most.
It was a gift, a message. The generosity of a Brock supporter had created a student award that changed the course of my life.
From that moment I focused on my studies, achieved the best marks of my life, earned my degree and kept going. I became a graduate student here at Brock.
All because I was enabled by philanthropy, by gifts that someone before me had given. Without philanthropy, I would have dropped out and be in a very different place today.
I can think of no better way to say thank you to those who supported me, and have supported Brock, than by making a gift myself. And that is my intent to do what I can.
Incidentally, I’m happy to tell you that my Mom recovered from the cancer. And today I am pursuing a PhD at York University. Life may never be easy, but great things are possible when people generously give so that others may benefit.