When she was 12 or 13 years old, Haley Dennis (MSc '23) imagined herself going to university, completing an undergraduate degree and going on to graduate school where she would conduct research that would benefit people. She realized her dream had become reality when she embarked on her thesis project and was preparing to meet with her research participants. For all of her hard work and perseverance, she has been awarded the School of Graduate Studies Medal of Merit, Master of Science.

It is such an honour and a joy to be the 2023 Master of Science recipient of the SGS Medal of Merit! I am so grateful to have been nominated and selected for this medal from among the many talented graduates at the University of Lethbridge, and I am abundantly thankful to everyone who has supported me throughout my graduate journey.

Meet Haley. Resolute. Dedicated. Brave.
Hometown: farm near Meeting Creek, Alberta
Program: Master of Science | Major: Kinesiology

What is your most memorable ULethbridge experience?

One of my most memorable ULethbridge experiences occurred while I was sitting alone in the laboratory, preparing to meet with research participants for my thesis project. For nearly as long as I can remember (since around the age of 12 or 13), I have always wanted to get my bachelor's, go to graduate school and conduct research that will ultimately benefit people. In that moment, it felt surreal and amazing for that dream to have become a reality!

What is the most important lesson you learned during your time at ULethbridge?

Two main lessons come to mind, and the first would be to prepare well. Especially in graduate school, a well-prepared thesis proposal tends to lead to a well-conducted study, which promotes a well-written final thesis. The second lesson would be to not be afraid to ask for help! Producing a thesis that makes a novel contribution to your field of study is, by definition, a big step into the unknown, and it is important to remember that you do not have to take that step alone. Your supervisor, committee members, other faculty and fellow students can all be of great help with navigating your post-secondary journey!

Is there someone specific who had an important influence on your ULethbridge experience?

There are so many amazing people who have assisted and supported me in my time as a ULethbridge student. I am especially thankful for my supervisor (Dr. Jennifer Copeland), my supervisory committee members, my fellow graduate students Isabelle Durocher and Milena Zdjelar (and others!), the kinesiology department, the research participants who volunteered for my study, and all of my dear friends and family. Thank you all so much!

What are your hopes and plans for the future?

I currently work full-time at ULethbridge in the Office of Research & Innovation Services, and I plan to continue that for now. Eventually, I plan to pursue a PhD in kinesiology as well and become a university professor one day!

What advice would you give those who are about to begin their journey at ULethbridge?

It may sound cliche, but my best advice to ULethbridge students would be to never give up! I was accepted for this MSc program just before the world shut down in March 2020, and completing a master's during the pandemic (and a six-week faculty strike) was definitely a challenge and was different than I thought it would be. There were many times I wasn't sure how I would be able to finish my degree, but I persevered throughout my program to design my project, collect the data and write my thesis. Since I didn't give up, I eventually did complete my thesis and successfully defended it!

Congratulations, Haley!

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