Annaliese Downey found a passion outside of her major that led to an incredibly rewarding research project. Opportunities like this are rare for undergraduate students at other universities but are quite common at ULethbridge through connections made with professors and formal work-integrated learning programs.
I had a lot of moments where I did not think I was good enough to be in university and felt like an imposter in academia. At one point, I contemplated giving up completely, to be honest. So the biggest thing I have learned is perseverance and to have faith in myself! I really surprised myself and learned that I am truly capable of anything I set my mind to. As one of my favourite poets Walt Whitman wrote in his ‘Song of Myself, 51,’ ‘I am large, I contain multitudes.’
Meet Annaliese| Enthusiastic. Determined. Persevering.
Program: Bachelor of Arts | Major: English
Why did you choose ULethbridge?
I picked the University of Lethbridge because of the campus size and proximity to my hometown of Calgary! The campus is terrific as it is small enough to interact with professors in a one-on-one setting and cultivate relationships with fellow students.
Please tell us about your work-integrated learning experiences at ULethbridge?
I was very fortunate to do an applied study over the summer of 2021 with Dr. Carol Williams from the Department of History and the Department of Women & Gender Studies. In my first year, Dr. Williams introduced me to the world of women & gender studies, and I became incredibly passionate about its realm soon after. After taking reproductive rights, behaviours, and history classes with Dr. Williams, we discussed doing an applied study over the summer, and she suggested reaching out to the Abortion Rights Coalition in Canada (ARCC). Soon after, Joyce Arthur (Executive Director, ARCC) offered me the opportunity to research crisis pregnancy centre websites across Canada as the ARCC wanted to update their 2016 ‘Review of ‘Crisis Pregnancy Centre’ Websites in Canada.’ I was tasked with researching a magnitude of different categories using the quantitative method. These categories included services provided, access to donations, and accurate/inaccurate information on existing crisis pregnancy centre websites. I created a presentation for the academic side of the applied study for Dr. Williams, which went really well! I loved every minute of it and learned so much during the process.
The research I conducted will be featured in the ARCC’s next publication in January 2022.
What has been your most memorable ULethbridge experience?
Doing my presentation for my applied study was definitely a highlight and very memorable! Immediately following the presentation, I had a Q & A session that led to an incredibly interesting discussion on reproductive health and access in Canada. I was so proud of myself for accomplishing something so significant!
What is the most important lesson you have learned so far at ULethbridge?
I had a lot of moments where I did not think I was good enough to be in university and felt like an imposter in academia. At one point, I contemplated giving up completely, to be honest. So the biggest thing I have learned is perseverance and to have faith in myself! I really surprised myself and learned that I am truly capable of anything I set my mind to. As one of my favourite poets, Walt Whitman wrote in his ‘Song of Myself, 51,’ ‘I am large, I contain multitudes.’
Is there someone specific who has had an important influence on your ULethbridge experience?
I could write an entire essay on why Dr. Williams has had a massive influence on my experience at the U of L! Without Dr. Williams, I would have never found my passion in WGST and pursued a minor in WGST! She taught me a lot academically but also taught me how to be a better activist and feminist. Dr. Williams also taught me how to believe in myself and showed me that I am capable of more than what I thought I could do! Every week I would look forward to her classes because they were always thought-provoking and meaningful! I cannot thank Dr. Williams enough for everything she has done for me!
Is there anything you wish you knew in your first semester that you know now?
Go to academic advising as soon as you can! I made the mistake of not going, and I took classes that I did not need to take! Plus, they give you so many excellent options and suggestions for classes! I went every semester after my second year started! I cannot recommend the academic advising office enough to literally anyone!
What advice would you give to those about to begin their ULethbridge journey?
Things happen for a reason! I came to ULethbridge and had an idea of what I wanted to do and pursue, which changed drastically when I did not get into the education program! I questioned myself and my abilities but took different opportunities and came out happy and feeling accomplished! I believe I was not meant to get into education for a reason, and for that, I am grateful because I discovered I am capable of doing other things!
Favourite class: Reproductive Rights, Behaviors, and History
Favourite social activity at ULethbridge: Working out at the gym with my friends
Favourite place to study: The silent floor of the library
- Paid work terms
- Hands-on career & research experience
- International study
- Awards, scholarships and a range of student support