Jasper Sonmor (MSc (Mgt) '22) has excelled over his time here at ULethbridge while working on his thesis "Do you mind the way I mind?: mindfulness contagion in leader-member exchange relationships". His hard work and dedication earned him the School of Graduate Studies Silver Medal of Merit, Masters of Science (Management). Upon hearing of his win, Jasper humbly responded.

Being recommended for the medal by my committee in the first place was an honour. Having my hard work recognized by people I admire is a great feeling. Finding out that I was selected for the award was a pleasant surprise, considering the high-quality work of my classmates. It is a terrific feeling to acknowledge the intellectual investment I put into this part of my life.

What is your most memorable ULethbridge experience?

There were so many memorable aspects. Relocating to southern Alberta from downtown Montreal and encountering a different Canadian environment was an unforgettable experience. Some memories that stand out include exploring the coulees, encountering the abundant wildlife, and getting familiar with a city that has a full range of services but is in some ways more liveable than a big metropolitan center like Montreal. From an intellectual standpoint, diving immediately into challenging course material was a remarkable experience—one of the main reasons I chose the MSc management program at ULethbridge was because it is focused on research methods and statistics. Working on skills that I was eager to develop — like learning how to program in R and understanding advanced topics such as multilevel statistical models — was highly rewarding. Getting the chance to apply this knowledge in my thesis project was incredibly fulfilling.

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

One of the biggest lessons I learned was how to adapt my approach to problem-solving under intense periods of stress and change. Completing my master's degree taught me to be flexible and always ready to shift gears, which was especially important for adapting to changes brought by COVID measures. With the pressure of tight thesis deadlines, it could be tempting to find 'quick fixes' to tricky challenges that arise when researching. Forcing myself to leave time and space to think through intricate problems and enjoy the tension of not knowing how to work through a tricky spot right away was a significant growth area for me.

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

A handful of people helped make my time at ULethbridge such a terrific experience. My thesis supervisors, Anastasia Stuart-Edwards and Mahfooz Ansari provided valuable expertise at every step and maintained a continuity of high-quality supervision despite COVID distancing. I am grateful to have worked with supervisors who were dedicated to supporting my work and always encouraged me to think deeply and challenge myself. My committee member and professor, Debra Basil, offered many helpful comments and suggestions on my thesis and taught me skills in research methods that prepared me for independent research. Tracey Rice at the City of Lethbridge provided valuable assistance with participant recruitment, and her input added a great deal to my thesis project. I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to collaborate with her.

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

For incoming grad students, I suggest researching the prior work of prospective supervisors in advance. Looking into faculty backgrounds allowed me to find supervisors who shared common research interests and had the expertise to advise me on relevant topics. I also recommend being receptive to criticism and seeking as much feedback as possible. You are going to be surrounded by a lot of intelligent and wise people and can learn a lot from them if you are willing to listen. I recommend embracing the idea that you have room to grow and always welcoming positive and negative feedback from classmates, professors, and supervisors.

Congratulations, Jasper!

Join us in congratulating Jasper as he walks across the stage at convocation after spending the summer travelling to the USA and extending his studies by taking an additional online course in database management using SQL. We cannot wait to see all the amazing things he will accomplish in his field of study.

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