At the University of Lethbridge, inspirational professors and mentors have played a pivotal role in expanding Maliťi, (Satisfied wherever you go or are at), Georgia Walkus's worldview and encouraging her to dream big, leading her to contemplate pursuing Indigenous law or a master's degree in Indigenous studies.

I have professors who have changed how I view the world and think of my learning. They inspired me and encouraged me to dream big and strive for the things I want because I am capable of that, and I am not limited to just following a path to get a job and work as soon as I’m out of school.

Meet Georgia | Thoughtful. Ambitious. Friendly.
Program: Bachelor of Arts | Major: General Major Social Science (Indigenous Studies, Kinesiology, Sociology)
Hometown: Port Hardy, BC

Why did you choose ULethbridge?

One of my big deciding factors in attending ULethbridge was pursuing a playing spot on the Pronghorn women’s soccer team. I ended up being awarded a two-year athletic scholarship to play for the team, but I was also very keen on the highly prestigious education program that is offered at the University.

Did you know what you wanted to study before you came to ULethbridge? Has your academic plan changed since you began your studies?

I did not know what I wanted to study when I came to ULethbridge and ended up switching my program three times over the last five years here. I was originally in open studies, then switched to the Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in kinesiology. Halfway through my second year, I decided I did not want to focus on just kinesiology and switched to the combined Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Education. It was not until my fourth year that I decided to drop my combined degree and not pursue education, and am now just completing my Bachelor of Arts general major social science.

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

I participated in an independent study at the 3000 level in my second year at ULethbridge. My three biggest takeaways were:

1.      The ability to critically analyze my area of study

2.      Self accountability and organization to my own learning

3.      Improvement in my research and writing capabilities.

What is your most memorable ULethbridge experience so far?

As a vice president of the All My Relations [Nikso’kowaiksi] Student Association, I took on the task during Truth and Reconciliation Week to be the lead on planning an Indigenous art market. That, by far, has been one of my most memorable experiences. Being able to plan this event and see it come together and be successful was so fulfilling, as were the conversations I had with students, staff and members of the community about how much they enjoyed the market and would love to see something like this again.

How have your professors impacted your education?

I have had a few professors who have been so passionate about their courses and the material that they use. It has made me feel passionate about my learning, besides just doing the assignments and worrying about a number or letter grade. I have professors who have changed how I view the world and think of my learning. They inspired me and encouraged me to dream big and strive for the things I want because I am capable of that, and I am not limited to just following a path to get a job and work as soon as I’m out of school. I am now considering where to pursue a master’s or study for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and pursue Indigenous law.

Georgia's leadership skills have really blossomed over the past couple of years, and she is now a dedicated student leader on campus, speaking up for fellow Indigenous students regularly.” – Dr. Paul McKenzie-Jones, Department of Indigenous Studies

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

Brendan Cummins, who advised my independent study, has been a very important influence on my experience at ULethbridge. Not only has he challenged me to think of the world differently, but he has also provided me with a job opportunity as a teacher's assistant for his LBED 1000 class. This has greatly benefited me through increased self-confidence, leadership, and accountability, as well as being a support/resource for me in and outside of his classroom.

Have you received any scholarships and awards?

I have been fortunate enough to have received six scholarships and awards from 2020-22 at ULethbridge. I’d like to thank Pronghorn Athletics and the women’s soccer program for the range of scholarships and awards that helped lighten my financial load over those three years I was a part of the team. I was a recipient of the Deb Steacy Academic All-Canadian Scholarship in 2022 and want to thank her family for their continued support and contributions to all Pronghorn athletes.

Are you participating in any extracurricular activities?

My time on the women’s soccer team taught me a lot about time management, leadership, communication skills and patience, which are transferable skills from sport to the classroom. I have really valued time management as I have learned how to balance and prioritize along with being self-aware of how much I am tackling at once and when to ask for help.

What do you like to do in your free time?

In my free time, I enjoy being outdoors, whether I’m having a coffee from Sonders and walking around Nicholas Sheran or hiking in Waterton. Some of my favourite hobbies are soccer, yoga, and from time-to-time knitting.

What are your hopes/plans for the future?

My hopes/plans for the future is to continue my education. I am planning on applying for graduate school in hopes of doing a master’s in Indigenous studies. I have yet to decide what area/topic of research I would like to focus on, and I am leaning towards completing my master’s at ULethbridge along with pursuing my coaching licences for soccer.

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

Do not limit yourself. Take advantage of all the resources available on and off campus. Be kind to yourself and those around you. We are all on our own paths, but a huge part of the journey is those you meet along the way and how they shape and impact your education and experience at University.

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

I really struggled in my second year in wanting to continue pursuing a university degree. I enjoyed learning, but moving from a small town on Vancouver Island with one high school, I felt that I fought hard in first year to survive my course loads and adjust to a student-athlete lifestyle. The whole experience of moving out, moving away from home and being miles away from my family, community and friends was also adding weight to a feeling I was not educated enough for university. I overcame COVID-19 and learning during a strike at the University and I have realized it is about continuous effort and what that looks like as a student. Some days I might continuously give 80 per cent effort and other days I might find myself struggling and only able to give 45 per cent. But if I continue to give some percentage of effort every day, I am not choosing to quit and give up, but give what I can and keep going. It has been a key element to persevering through those obstacles and has gotten me to where I am today, along with the constant encouragement and support from my friends and family.

Quick Answer

Favourite class: Sport, Recreation, and Settler Colonialism
Favourite social activity at ULethbridge: Watching the Pronghorn women's rugby games and Pronghorn men's and women's basketball games
Favourite place to study: The quiet level in the basement of the library
What are three awesome things about you? I have an English name and a traditional Kwak'wala name, I can Highland dance, and I can speak a small amount of Danish.