Bryanne Wandler has embraced every opportunity to seize rewarding experiences at the University of Lethbridge, and this decision helped her navigate the university while discovering her passion for community planning and food security. A highlight of her time here was a summer she spent at a World Heritage Site on an archaeological dig.

The most memorable experience I have had at ULethbridge is my archaeology field school at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump. Through this experience, I became close with numerous people who I still call dear friends to this day!

Meet Bryanne | Creative. Energetic. Altruistic.
Program: Bachelor of Science | Major: Geography
Hometown: Red Deer, AB

Why did you choose ULethbridge?

I chose ULethbridge for its robust science programs, liberal education opportunities, and small class sizes!

Did you know what you wanted to study before you came to ULethbridge?

I knew I wanted to work within the environmental sector before studying at ULethbridge, but over the last four years my interests have shifted slightly! Originally, I was in the environmental science program and switched to physical geography. Throughout 2023, I discovered a passion for food security and community planning. This has made the last year of my degree take more of a human geography focus.

Please tell us a bit about your experiential or work-integrated learning. What were your biggest takeaways from participating?

After completing Archaeology 1000, I was interested in learning more about the excavation process, so I applied to be a part of the Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump field school in the summer of 2021. In the spring of 2023, I received an applied studies position with Food for Thought, which grew into a Work2Learn position over the summer and is still ongoing. I have also taken part in an independent study with Dr. Laura Chasmer over the summer of 2023. This involved researching peatland wildfires and delineating wetland classes in the Scotty Creek area. I am currently in an applied study with the City of Lethbridge about better land use practices. My takeaways from these experiences are the sky is the limit; if you are curious about something, do not be shy about getting involved. Secondly, it is okay to have multiple interests because these will only help you achieve bigger and better things. Finally, I could not have achieved half of these things without the support from faculty and staff involved in each of these opportunities.

What is your most memorable ULethbridge experience so far?

The most memorable experience I have had at ULethbridge is my archaeology field school at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump. Through this experience, I became close with numerous people who I still call dear friends to this day! Furthermore, I will forever be grateful to the Elders and influential archaeologist we spoke to, as the information shared is indescribably impactful.

How have your professors impacted your education?

I believe every professor I have had the chance to be taught by has left a small impact on my worldview. Although my two most impactful professors are Dr. Leroy Little Bear and Dr. Ivan Townshend. In the fall of 2022, I took Indigenous Peoples and Natural Resources with Dr. Little Bear, which taught me to look through a more critical lens in the realm of Indigenous law and natural resource disputes. Dr. Townshend, meanwhile, encouraged me to think bigger about my career prospects and research interests.

Bryanne is a passionate and dedicated student who consistently goes above and beyond, making her the perfect candidate for this recognition. – Dr. Kevin McGeough, Department of Geography & Environment (Archaeology)

Is there anyone else who has had an important influence on your ULethbridge experience?

Another influential member of my ULethbridge experience is Jaime Takahashi. In my first year at the University, I started accessing the Student Success Centre (SSC) for study support. This office provided support and encouragement throughout my studies and in my personal life. When a job became available in 2022, I was ecstatic to have the chance to mentor students, just like I had been in my first two years. Jaime has been one of my biggest cheerleaders throughout my degree and I am pleased to be a part of her team and been mentored by her! Within the SSC office, Crystal Volk, Kathleen Massey, and Mark Slomp have also helped create a welcoming and engaging office space for myself and other students to work in.

Have you received any scholarships and awards?

I have been fortunate enough to receive a couple of scholarships and bursaries throughout my degree to assist in tuition payments. The most impactful award I have received is the TECTERRA Geomatics Bursary. This award has relieved the increased financial burden I am facing, and has allowed me to save a small portion for future loan repayment next year.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I enjoy hiking in the coulees and in Waterton and reading various genres, such as poetry, Indigenous authors, and fantasy novels.

What are your hopes/plans for the future?

After I complete my undergrad, I hope to pursue a career in the non-profit sector or within community planning. In addition, possibly pursuing graduate studies in humanitarian efforts down the line. 

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

Do not worry too much about your GPA, that will improve with time as you discover your core interests. If you can work with someone or an organization you look up to, take those chances because they will be the most rewarding experiences and can change your career trajectory. Finally, your aspirations and ideas are far more impactful than you may ever understand, so pursue those crazy ideas of yours!

Is there anything else you would like to share with us about your decision to pursue a university degree?

I was always encouraged by family to pursue a university degree, but I am one of the first to pursue a degree in science. This stirred up confusion about what to do afterwards, since the possibilities seemed endless. So, I am grateful to have a supportive community to help guide me in finding my place within future research endeavours.

Quick Answers

Favourite class: Environmental Resource Management
Favourite place to study:  Ninth floor of the library!