An urban and regional studies student with a minor in anthropology, Lawrenz Decano (BA '24) wrote his honours thesis on migrant app-based delivery drivers as an Undergraduate Research Fellow for the Community Bridge Lab. He served as a research assistant on an SSHRC-funded research project on Sanctuary Cities and Families, led by Dr. Julie Young, that resulted in a co-authored paper. His research experience also includes being a City Scholar Research Associate with a focus on developing a tool for “better” practices in land development along with two other students.

Throughout his undergraduate studies, he has served as a Student Director for the Community Planning Association of Alberta and Club Chair for the World University Service of Canada creating and promoting student-focused initiatives in each role.  He presented his research at the Western Division Canadian Association of Geographers on two separate occasions at the University of Fraser Valley and Okanagan College. He also presented at the Canadian Association for Refugee and Forced Migration Studies conference held at York University after winning the Undergraduate Essay Award.

Meet Lawrenz | Medal won: Faculty of Arts & Science (Art) Gold Medal
Program: Bachelor of Arts | Major: Urban and Regional Studies

What does this academic recognition mean to you?

To be selected as the recipient amongst an intelligent and well-deserving group of nominees is truly an honour. I finished my first year of university with a non-distinction GPA, so this medal is a validation of how hard work and dedication can change a student's academic trajectory.

It also means that I get to make the people who have encouraged and helped me through the years even prouder. From Dr. Julie Young, Dr. Jan Newberry, Spencer Croil, and the Human Geographers of the department all of whom have cheered me on and taught me what I now know.

To Dr. Anne Dymond and the World University Service of Canada (WUSC) team who remain to do amazing work through the Student Refugee Sponsorship Program.

To the Community Bridge Lab who have raised two Gold Medal winners since its recent inception and who I am sure will continuously support student research for years to come.

To my friends who have seen me through everything. And most importantly, to my family whose understanding and perseverance never ceases to amaze me. This medal goes well and beyond myself which makes me appreciate it even more.

What are your hopes/plans for the future?

As I wrap things up, the world has definitely become my oyster. I would like to continue my work regarding migrant and refugee settlement, and also explore my potential as a community planner. Maybe, I will pursuit my Graduate Studies and become an academic. One can never really know at the moment, but I am sure excited to find out.

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

I would tell them that University is not a one-size-fits-all experience, so change your program, add that minor, take your time, and embrace the chaos. But in the midst of the mayhem, do not forget to show your gratitude to others and celebrate the small wins, whether it be receiving a good mark or simply writing the first 300 words of a difficult paper. These celebrations are a kindness to yourselves. An appreciation that must never be overlooked.

ULethbridge Chancellor, Terry Whitehead (BA '94) and Lawrenz Decano (BA '24)
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