Finding a program that provided flexibility in program selection when applying to grad school was important to Lawrenz Decano. In high school, he gravitated toward a career in architecture. However, when exploring post-secondary options, he discovered urban and regional studies, allowing him to explore the dynamics that inform architecture. While the industry he wants to work in remains the same, he often switches between community planning and architecture — his undergraduate degree allows for this flexibility.

I felt that choosing an undergraduate program that specifically focused on architecture disadvantaged me from exploring my interests, and the University of Lethbridge's promotion of liberal education was a pull factor when choosing a post-secondary institution.

Meet Lawrenz | Diligent. Collaborative. Resilient.
Program: Bachelor of Arts | Major: Urban & Regional Studies

What is your most memorable ULethbridge experience so far?

My most memorable experience so far is meeting new people. Through my friends, I have joined initiatives that were peripheral but never really at the forefront of what I wanted to do, like the WUSC Student Refugee Program and CPAA.

How have your professors impacted your education?

My professors have definitely served as mentors to me for the last few years. In the Department of Geography & Environment alone, I have been influenced by Dr. Wei Xu's economic geography, Dr. Ivan Townshend's study of urban social geography, and Dr. Julie Young's refugee and border studies. These focuses have informed the trajectory of my studies and my interests. Additionally, Dr. Anne Dymond and Dr. Julie Young have encouraged me to move beyond my status quo and challenge myself beyond the scope of my studies and onto other things that also matter.

Lawrenz’s volunteer work and club activities take the in-class experience of his major out into the world — from local planning issues to the global challenge of refugees, he’s applying his studies to make the world a better place. – Dr. Julie Young, Department of Geography & Environment, nominated Lawrenz as a Shining Student.

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 currently serving as the Chair for the World University Services of Canada University of Lethbridge Local Committee, which focus on the Student Refugee Sponsorship Program. I am also the current Student Director for the Community Planning Association of Alberta. These experiences have helped me develop my leadership skills and work in a group-like setting that is useful in classrooms. Additionally, the profession that I want favours networking; the ability to work in a group and create connections is a valuable skill to develop in a classroom where we can make mistakes and rectify them.

What are your hopes/plans for the future?

I hope to continue my studies for my master’s degree in architecture either at the University of Calgary or Laurentian University.

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

Realistically, there is no such thing as a 4-year degree. You can achieve it by taking five courses per semester and additional courses during the summer. However, I find the thought, though I have done it, still quite intimidating. Everyone works within their own time frame, and at the end of the day, there's no point in comparing how long your degree will take compared to your peers. YOU get to decide what works best for you!

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 Lawrenz!