Awards and bursaries have allowed Dillon Apsassin (BA '22) to focus more on school and family while creating a more peaceful academic environment. This gift of time and resource has provided opportunities for independent studies where Dillon could further explore his Indigenous culture.

My professors included my cultural background in their teachings, allowing me to explore what being Indigenous is to me.

Meet Dillon | Outgoing. Cheery. Punctual.
Program: Bachelor of Arts | Major: Kinesiology

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

I did an exploration of literature to contrast the Canada Fit for Life Long-Term Athletic Development model to the category structures presented in Powwow through age category with a focus on growth and development. I am currently a graduate research assistant working on the Red River Metis Family Network Study (RRMFN), accordingly aiding in adding literature that builds on future areas of study. The three key takeaways for myself are: first, the importance of academic research, second, the community developed through peers pursuing knowledge in the areas of study, third, both the connection and commitment from professors to aid students in their academic pursuit.

What is your most memorable ULethbridge experience so far?

My most memorable experience at the University of Lethbridge was the exploration of my family history through oral tradition within my family, allowing for the reclamation of my family history and a deeper understanding of my Indigenous identity. My family has created both a positive and supportive environment that has allowed me to grow as both a student and a father.

How have your professors impacted your education?

My professors have included my cultural background in their teachings, allowing me to explore what being Indigenous is to me. Through this exploration, the professors have changed how I approach the world around me through the value of physical activity and sport.

My physical activity professor, Fred Trinh, inspired me to explore popular exercise methods and models and then compare them to something not regularly viewed as exercise. Applying those models allowed me to shape an independent study on Powwow.

Dillon is a great living example of you can apply anything you learn in life while studying here at the University of Lethbridge. – Fred Trinh, Department of Kinesiology & Physical Education, nominated Dillon as a Shining Student.

My Kinesiology professor, Dr. Carly Adams, has opened the door to the importance of oral histories by giving me the tools to explore my family's oral histories through various routes.

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

My family has had the most significant impact on my education. Their curiosity encourages me to explore ideas which led to the exploration of the ancient Egyptian board game of Senet for my new media class.

Have you received any scholarships and awards? If so, please tell us a bit about how they helped you throughout your studies.

I have received numerous academic awards and scholarships, including the Indigenous Careers award for 2020-2022, the University of Lethbridge Bursary 2021, The Meehan Memorial 2021--2022, and The TD Bank Bursary 2021--2022. These awards and bursaries have helped me create a more peaceful academic space by allowing me to focus more time and resources on school while also allowing me to focus time on my family. I want to thank the donors for the financial support that they have placed forth for students who are working hard in their academic studies. The sponsors and donors provide invaluable financial support for the students to gain focus on their passion for education through financial accommodations. A personal thanks from myself for the financial support throughout my academic journey allowing me to focus my efforts on my educational journey.

Are you participating in any extracurricular activities like sports or the arts? If so, how are these experiences enhancing or complimenting what you are doing in the classroom?

I am a volunteer coach at the Sik-Ooh-Kotoki Funbox. This experience gives me insight into the various activities that Indigenous youth would like to partake in, such as skateboarding or basketball. This insight helps me synthesize schoolwork theories and practices in a real-world setting.

What is the most important lesson you have learned during your time at ULethbridge?

A degree is an experience that one should take to shift one’s thinking and learning processes to become communicative and expressive to further one’s interests. Speak with your academic community, as there are numerous individuals who specialize in the areas that you will be studying.

What are your hopes/plans for the future?

I hope to return in Fall 2023 for graduate studies in the social, cultural, and political thought major in the Master’s of Arts program. I would like to explore cultural exchange within Indigenous communities of Canada.

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

Reading is a lot like exercise. Not everyone can run a 5K initially, but the 5K becomes achievable with training. You will develop techniques and methods that will help you succeed. I would highly recommend going to the writing centre; they are a valuable tool and resource offered at the University.

Quick Answers

Top things to do in or around Lethbridge:

  1. Coulee Climbing which is an indoor wall climbing centre.
  2. Biking around the coulees and paths as there are many kilometres of unpaved and paved trails.
  3. Waterton National Park to hike, swim, and barbeque.

Favourite class: Resistance Training for Health and Performance

Favourite social activity at ULethbridge: Indigenous Awareness Week

Favourite place to study: The Library breakout room that can be reserved through the University website.

About Shining Students

Shining Students engage inside and outside of the classroom. What makes a student shine may differ from person to person, but they all share a passion for learning. They may be top students, involved in an innovative project, participating in ground-breaking research, playing Pronghorn athletics, fighting for social issues or all of the above! When students find something they enjoy and combine it with what they are good at, they shine.

Each year, the Faculty of Arts & Science's faculty and staff nominate students who exemplify the ULethbridge student spirit. Congratulations Dillon!