Initially drawn to the University of Lethbridge for its smaller university environment and commitment to liberal education, Lily Overacker has embraced a dynamic exploration of interdisciplinary studies, community engagement, and personal growth. Her professors have helped shape Lily's academic path, emphasizing the importance of curiosity and individualized approaches.
My professors have deeply impacted my education, showing me there is no single right way or path to get your degree and you have to do what works for you.
Why did you choose ULethbridge?
I chose ULethbridge because I wanted to attend a smaller university where there might be room for more one-on-one mentorship and unique opportunities. I also knew I wanted to be a part of a university that valued liberal education, and I could get a more holistic education.
Did you know what you wanted to study before you came to ULethbridge?
I started at ULethbridge with a plan to do a Bachelor of Science in psychology, but after my experience with the Global Citizenship Cohort I ended up changing my study plan and am pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology and history.
Please tell us a bit about your experiential or work-integrated learning.
I did an independent study on what it looks like to create a qualitative and community engaged social sciences lab. This was in my second year in the Spring of 2022, as I was becoming more involved with the Community Bridge Lab (CBL). I also worked for the CBL as the lab manager, while doing further research on what community-engaged research and scholarship looks like in different contexts and with different people. Then, during the 2022-2023 school year, I worked as a research assistant on a postdoctoral project called La danse di la Rivyairre Rooj, Oâyache Mannin: A Cultural Inquiry into Dance, Music, and Song, as Practiced by the Red River Métis Family Networks, which was an incredible opportunity. My biggest takeaways from participating in these opportunities are:
- to always approach my work with curiosity and an open mind
- to continue to build my skills working in group settings and with people from diverse backgrounds and disciplines, and the importance of interdisciplinary studies
- these opportunities helped me learn how to create strong research projects, and further understand the complex pieces of a research project
What is your most memorable ULethbridge experience so far?
My most memorable ULethbridge experience was working to create the Community Bridge Lab's first public showcase, and connecting with so many student colleagues, mentors, and more to share our research from the summer of 2022.
How have your professors impacted your education?
My professors have deeply impacted my education, showing me there is no single right way or path to get your degree, and you have to do what works for you. I did the Global Citizenship Cohort with Dr. Jodie Asselin in my first year, which is what inspired me to switch my major from psychology to eventually a double major in anthropology and history. She is now my undergraduate thesis supervisor, and I am excited to continue working on my thesis with her guidance and mentorship.
Lily is dedicated, driven, curious, and kind — a wonderful combination for any professor to work with. – Dr. Jodie Asselin, Department of Anthropology
Is there anyone else who has had an important influence on your ULethbridge experience?
Everyone at the Community Bridge Lab, including faculty advisors and the other fellows who have helped foster a space for idea sharing, support and community.
Have you received any scholarships and awards?
Throughout my education at ULethbridge I have been awarded a variety of scholarships that have made completing my degree significantly easier, as there is less stress and pressure to be working long hours in addition to doing my school work. I am incredibly grateful for the scholarships I have been awarded, as they re-affirm the good work I am doing and provide me with extra supports.
Are you participating in any extracurricular activities?
I sit on the board for the Campus Collective Centre, which centres educational and advocacy work within the University community and through broader networks. I also like to volunteer my time helping with events when I can, such as helping run the Centre for Oral History and Tradition booth at the Word on the Street festival.
What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time I enjoy doing beadwork, especially florals and creating items for my family. I also read a lot in my spare time, everything from non-fiction on plants to speculative fiction and horror. I also spend time with my partner, and we especially enjoy watching a variety of films and then discussing them afterwards.
What are three awesome things about you?
- I have lots of tattoos
- I love interdisciplinary and boundary pushing research
- I cook a lot
What are your hopes/plans for the future?
I am keeping my options open for the future, and just seeing what opportunities arise, similarly to how my post-secondary education has gone. I am considering graduate school, but also hope to work in the public and/or non-profit sector, possibly in cultural programming or for a museum/archive.
What advice would you like to give those who are about to begin their journey at ULethbridge?
Do not be afraid to change your major and follow a different path. Everyone's educational experience is different and it might take time to figure out what works for you.
Favourite class: Anthropology: Place and Space
Favourite social activity at ULethbridge: Any event at the Campus Collective Centre
Favourite place to study: The Community Bridge Lab