One of the deciding factors in Dakota Huddlestun enrolling at ULethbridge was being accepted into the Global Citizen Cohort (GCC). It was a decision that paid dividends in more ways than one.

The Global Citizen Cohort was an opportunity that allowed me to take the majority of my first-year classes with the same 30 students, which alleviated some of the worries that come with the transition from high school to university. 

Meet Dakota | Creative. Determined. Dedicated. 
Program: Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Education | Major: Anthropology/Social Studies Education
Hometown: Taber 

Not only did Dakota’s participation in the Global Citizen Cohort provide him with some comfort as he began his educational journey, but it also opened his eyes to a different path. While he began with a history major and a philosophy minor, Dakota is now pursuing a degree in anthropology after taking two courses in that discipline under the GCC and learning how much he enjoyed it. Dakota credits the assistance of “passionate professors” for sparking his interest in anthropology, considering he had never even heard of the subject prior to university. 

“I took two courses in the first year with Dr. Steve Ferzacca, who made the field feel alive in the classroom, and they were the two most exciting classes I took that year,” he says. “It made it feel like anthropology was the subject I should be studying.” 

Dakota is also grateful for the lessons he learned during a summer internship of transcribing interviews at the AREA Lab with Dr. Justin Raycraft in 2023. The experience allowed him to understand how crucial time management is when working on a larger research project, while also opening his eyes to the possibility of conducting his own research in the future.   

“Dakota is a bright and enthusiastic student with a genuine interest in learning and intrinsic curiosity about the world around him. He has an insightful way of seeing things, born of an attentiveness to detail and an intellectual fascination with social complexity,” says professor Raycraft. 

One of the most memorable experiences for Dakota at ULethbridge occurred during his first practicum as a student teacher, where he was billeted in Blairmore. He and another student teacher planned activities surrounding a volleyball tournament to provide opportunities for those not selected to play to show off the skills they had worked so hard to develop.  

“The host family and community welcomed me and the other student teachers with open arms,” says Dakota. 

Perhaps that experience had an impact on his future plans, which include teaching in a rural town to get his permanent teaching certificate before going to grad school to study anthropology of education. Dakota says it's a growing field gaining influence in education and anthropology research that merges his interests well.   

If he was to provide advice to new students at ULethbridge, it would start with the importance of attending all of their classes and setting a specific time to read the material before class, starting assignments before the deadline and studying for exams in advance of writing them. Dakota is also a big proponent of seeking out the campus Writing Centre for help with all major assignments, and suggests students use the rest of their time to focus on their health, relationships, well-being, and outside interests. 

He speaks from experience on the importance of finding activities to break up “study brain,” where a student only associates going to university with attending class or studying in the library. Dakota earlier played intramural volleyball with friends, and is now an amateur writer as well as a member of the Lethbridge Badminton Club, which gets him off campus and in an environment not entirely associated with the University. 

“University is an opportunity to develop a mindset of positive well-being and is not the start of a lifelong rat race,” he suggests. 

Photo submitted by Dakota.