Summer job reply spurred Osgoode grad to chase law dream

Osgoode grad Caroline Brown (LLB ’91) was a precocious child who knew exactly what she would do when she grew up, wrote The Hamilton Spectator Aug. 5.

Raised in Toronto by a single mother of modest means, young Caroline set out to find herself a summer job in her chosen profession. To that end, she carefully composed and mailed off letters to two high-profile lawyers who were getting a lot of press back in the 1970s – Eddie Greenspan and Clayton Ruby.

In due time, Caroline received replies from the lawyers thanking her for her job application but informing her that, unfortunately, they had already hired summer staff.

“My mom was so proud of those letters,” Superior Court Justice Caroline Brown recently told a packed courtroom at her swearing-in ceremony at Hamilton’s John Sopinka Courthouse.

“I kept those letters. I was pretty proud of them, too. I kept them because they inspired me. Those lawyers may not have given me a job that summer but, by answering my letters, it meant to me that I belonged, that I was worthy of reply.”

At age 17, Brown suffered the shock of her only parent’s untimely death. She dropped out of high school and faltered for a while in a series of dead-end jobs. But she still had those letters from Greenspan and Ruby that were like a quiet refrain in her mind calling her back to her studies and to school.

In 1991 Brown graduated from York’s Osgoode Hall Law School. She was called to the Ontario bar in 1993 and practised at Ross & McBride in Hamilton until 1995, when she became a sole practitioner with an expertise in family law.

Student discovers link between temptation and procrastination

Emrah Eren, a fourth-year psychology student at the University of Windsor, presented his research findings at the sixth biennial Procrastination Research Conference at Toronto’s York University Tuesday, and made a link between procrastination and what philosophers in ancient Greece called akrasia – or acting against one’s own better judgment, wrote The Windsor Star Aug. 5.

  • Gordon Flett, associate dean of research and graduate education at York University’s Faculty of Health and Canada Research Chair in Personality & Health, spoke about procrastination and the conference on the subject at York’s Keele campus on CBC Radio’s “Metro Morning” Aug. 4. The interview was also heard on CBC Radio in Quebec City. Flett was also interviewed on CTV and Global Television Aug. 4.

City council gets down to business after strike

Toronto city council will vote on expropriating land for two transit projects: the Spadina subway extension to York University and the Sheppard Transit City light-rail line, wrote the National Post Aug. 5, in a story about the first regular session since a crippling strike brought the city’s business to a halt.

Urban park sprouts a city farm

Foodies across the city are watching the experiment closely to see if it is a workable model, both as a business and as a use of city land, wrote the Toronto Star Aug. 5 in a story about the urban farm FoodCycles, located in Downsview Park.

The key difference between Toronto and many US cities, says York food researcher Lauren Baker (MES ’97, PhD ’09), is access to land. Where places like Detroit are rife with vacant downtown lots, Toronto’s core sprouts condo after condo.

“I hope it will show how this work is feasible and that it is suitable use for urban green space,” says Baker, coordinator of the new not-for-profit Sustain Ontario, the Alliance for Healthy Food & Farming. She is part of a York University study examining what it would take for Toronto to grow 10 per cent of the vegetables its citizens eat.

York student wants to preserve Polish culture

I am a 19-year-old student at York University who for the last few months has been trying to play a part in Polish-Canadian youth initiatives here in the GTA, wrote York student Michael Burzynski in a letter to The Mississauga News Aug. 4.

We need to have the youth involved in order to preserve for decades to come what generations of Poles previously have created and maintained here in Ontario. Polish organizations need to adopt a few of our ideas to attract the community’s young leaders.

Polish youth have embraced their culture and values. They have created Polish student clubs at our colleges and universities. We are proud of our culture, but we can’t change anything if we are not given the chance. Are we not the next keepers of our culture, or was this missed by the older generation?