Jessenia Buzunis-Delagneau knew what she wanted to study for a long time before she came to the University of Lethbridge. Philosophy is her life's passion, and she has always been very excited and interested in the beauty and complexity of life on Earth.

To spend most of my time studying philosophy and biology has been a dream come true for me, and almost every day, I feel more assured in my choices and my future in academics.

Meet Jessenia | Curious. Passionate. Kind.
Program: Bachelor of Arts & Science | Major: Philosophy / Biological Sciences

Why did you choose ULethbridge?

I grew up in Lethbridge and was given the opportunity in high school to begin my university studies early with a dual credit Writing 1000 course. I was also given a tuition bonus for showing my interest in ULethbridge in the eleventh grade. So the advantages of staying close to home, especially during the pandemic, coupled with these other benefits, made the University seem like a good fit for me.

Please tell us a bit about your experiential or work-integrated learning at ULethbridge.

Since my second year, I have been a member of the Research Internship Concentration. Participating in this concentration has been a fascinating and valuable experience for me. It has been truly amazing to work closely with professors and see the finer details that go into conducting experiments and writing for the scientific community. Some day I would like to continue my education and become a scientist, so it has been really affirming and amazing to see the processes with which biological experiments are conducted and the curiosity and passion that drives it.

In the summer of 2022, I also worked as a research assistant in the lab of Dr. Shelley Hoover, assisting with her research into apiculture. This work was also an extremely valuable experience, and it was truly amazing to see how Dr. Hoover's love and interest in bees did not waver despite years of working with them. It was also fascinating to see the intricacies of the social relationships of the honeybees, and this inspired an even greater interest to understand further both the bees and all the other amazing creatures of the Earth, of whom there is so much I don't yet know.

What is your most memorable ULethbridge experience so far?

My most memorable experience so far was probably working as a research assistant in the summer of 2022 in Dr. Shelley Hoover's apicultural lab. I learned so much about honeybees, and over the summer (even despite all the bee stings), my interest and passion only grew. It truly inspired me to the beauty of nature and deepened my interest in studying biology to gain a deeper knowledge of the world and creatures around me.

How have your professors impacted your education?

Talking to professors about their work and seeing their passion for their studies, has inspired me to want to strive to one day become a professor myself. In particular, Dr. Katharina Stevens, I would say, had the most impact on changing my worldview in my time at ULethbridge. In listening to her Public Professor Series talk, she beautifully explained that arguing in philosophy is influenced by power imbalances held by the arguers. This insight inspired me to be more aware when listening to debates or arguments that in the search for truth, the goal should be to empower one another to present their best arguments rather than putting someone in a position where they feel they cannot speak.

As coordinators of the Research Internship Concentration, Dr. Elizabeth Schultz and Dr. Cameron Goater have also deeply impacted my education by providing me with opportunities that I truly believe changed the course of my academic career for the better.

Jessenia worked with honey bees in summer 2022, where she captivated students with her descriptions of bee behaviour. Dr. Elizabeth Schultz, Department of Biological Sciences, nominated Jessenia as a Shining Student.

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

The most important lesson I have learned so far is that in your quest to gain knowledge, there is almost nothing as valuable as asking questions. Even when I wasn't sure what I had was a good question, in nearly every situation, I learned something valuable by having the courage to ask what I thought may have been a silly question.

What are your hopes/plans for the future?

After my undergrad, I hope to continue my education and dream of one day acquiring my PhD and becoming a professor.

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

The advice I would give to an incoming student would be to always ask questions! I have never thus far had a professor who wasn't happy to help if I emailed them or talked to them in person regarding a question I had about their class. Always check the syllabus first, but if you are still struggling with something, don't deny yourself the advantage of getting clarification straight from the source.

Quick Answers

Favourite class: Social and Political Philosophy

Favourite place to study: Level 9 of the Library

Photo submitted by Jessenia.

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 Jessenia!