Isabella Lee (BA '16, BMgt '24) doesn’t back down from a challenge. Having earned a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in anthropology and history in 2016, Isabella came back to the University of Lethbridge to pursue a Bachelor of Management as a Second Degree in accounting. From navigating her post-secondary experience through the COVID-19 pandemic, to working with faculty on numerous research and academic projects, to marrying her now husband during a fall semester, Isabella has learned that courage and perseverance do have their rewards.

The more I faced, the more I discovered an inner resilience I didn't know I had. I learned to trust in my own abilities and lean on the support of those around me.

Meet Isabella: Smart. Kind. Loyal.
Hometown: Calgary, AB
Program: Bachelor of Management | Major: Accounting

What is your most memorable ULethbridge experience?

Choosing the most memorable experience from my time at the University is quite the task, given the multitude of remarkable moments I've had. From meeting inspiring individuals to engaging in exciting projects, each experience has left a lasting impression. If I had to pick one, it would undoubtedly be the day I met my future husband on campus. Our ULethbridge love story has been over a decade of love, laughter, tears and growth. I feel honoured to be able to share my life with such an incredible person by my side.

Tell us about your participation in experiential or work-integrated learning projects

I had the pleasure of working as Dr. James Smith’s student marker for various semesters marking exams and case studies. I also had the honour of working with Dr. Luz Ospina as a research assistant helping with various Spanish assignments and quizzes. 

In addition, I was part of the first cohort of University of Lethbridge students to complete an Applied Studies pilot project between the City of Lethbridge and the Prentice Institute (Fall 2022). Our multidisciplinary group of three students from different departments focused on the concept of IDEA (inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility) and placemaking. We explored various frameworks and programs around the world that align with IDEA principles and with the goal of Reconciliation through urban planning and placemaking.

Currently, I am working as a research assistant with Dr. Smith and Dr. Lori Kopp. This research generally focuses on investor behaviour.

Three takeaways I gained from being a part of these experiences:

  1. Jump into projects that ignite your interest, regardless of your perceived skills or experience level. Each experience has the potential to lead you on an unexpected and rewarding path.
  2. Embrace taking risks as a path to learning and personal development. Each risk taken is an opportunity to gain valuable insights and skills.
  3. Foster meaningful connections with those around you. Everyone has a unique journey and by opening yourself up to others, you'll discover a wealth of knowledge and perspective.

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

You are stronger than you think! While this is a bit of a cliché, I learned this again and again as I overcame bigger and bigger challenges.

These challenges included navigating university during COVID and getting married in the middle of the fall semester (I do not regret it, but I also do not suggest it!). There were many times in my journey when I felt uncertain. I questioned whether I was doing the right thing and if I should keep going. The more I faced, the more I discovered an inner resilience I didn't know I had. I learned to trust in my own abilities and lean on the support of those around me. This realization has been invaluable, reminding me that no matter the obstacles, I have the strength within me to persevere and succeed.

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

Numerous individuals have played pivotal roles not only in my current academic journey but also in my previous one. My family, friends, professors and the exceptional university staff have all contributed significantly to my growth and achievements. If I were to acknowledge each one like an awards ceremony, the orchestra would have begun playing long before I could express my gratitude to them all.

During my time at ULethbridge, there's one individual who I owe an immeasurable debt of gratitude to: my counsellor. Throughout my university journey, they were not just a guide but a lifeline, helping me navigate the intricate challenges of academia and personal growth. In a world where mental health often goes unnoticed, their support shone like a beacon, illuminating my darkest moments with understanding and empathy. They equipped me with invaluable coping mechanisms, empowering me to face inevitable hardships with strength and resilience. Their influence on my path has been profound, shaping not only my academic pursuits but also my personal development in ways I couldn't have imagined. They've played a pivotal role in making me the person I am today and for that, I will be forever thankful.

Did you receive scholarships and awards?

I received the following scholarships and awards:

  • CPA Education Foundation Accounting Students Perseverance Award
  • CPA Education Foundation Scholarship for Alberta Residents
  • Prentice institute Undergraduate Research Scholarship
  • Work integrated Learning Project Placement Award – Domestic

Not only were these a great help financially, but it was also really nice to receive recognition for my academic performance.

What have you gained from the liberal education experience at ULethbridge?

The liberal education I received at the ULethbridge has enriched my life in numerous ways. Throughout my education, I gained a deep appreciation for the diverse perspectives and paradigms that shape our understanding of the world. This understanding became the cornerstone of my critical thinking skills, empowering me to analyze information from multiple angles with depth and nuance. This not only expanded my worldview but also honed my communication skills, allowing me to effectively engage with individuals from diverse backgrounds. These skills have proven invaluable in both personal and professional contexts, enabling me to build meaningful relationships and lead with empathy and understanding.

The interdisciplinary approach of liberal education has played a pivotal role in my development. It has empowered me to synthesize knowledge from different disciplines, offering a comprehensive understanding of the world. By adopting multiple perspectives, I can tackle challenges more innovatively and make impactful contributions across academic and professional domains.

What are your hopes and plans for the future?

I am honestly not sure, and that is okay!
I plan on pursuing a career that challenges me and fuels my professional growth. Whether it's diving into history through museum and archive work, navigating the complexities of accounting or exploring an industry that's yet to capture my imagination, I'm enthusiastic about collaborating with passionate individuals on projects that inspire me and push my boundaries.

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

Embrace the journey of university life and rely on your support network as you navigate its twists and turns. University is not always easy; there will be moments of uncertainty and frustration along the way. However, these challenges present opportunities for personal growth and self-discovery. During the depths of doubt and frustration, you will uncover your resilience and gain valuable insights. Remember, you're not alone on this journey. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and are willing to stand by you, even in your darkest moments. This journey is yours, and you've got the power to shape it however you want. Work hard, make mistakes, fall in love, and be true to yourself.

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