Although Noah MacLeod originally chose the University of Lethbridge to pursue a degree in kinesiology, by the end of his first year, he decided to transfer to geography with a concentration in GIS. This past summer, Noah landed his first co-op work term with the District of Sparwood in British Columbia, where in addition to his regular duties related to mapping, data analysis, utilities and infrastructure, he aided in the area's fire and emergency response planning.

My most memorable experiences at ULethbridge have been getting to know my professors and lab instructors, witnessing their passion for what they do, and being able to draw from these relationships when needed.

Meet Noah| Optimistic. Open-minded. Pro-active.
Program: Bachelor of Science | Major: Geography

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

I was lucky enough to be offered a co-op job at the District of Sparwood, BC, as a GIS/Environmental Co-op for the summer of 2022. There I was responsible for data collection and maintenance, data analysis, asset management, and creating a public, utilities, recreation, and emergency response map, as well as data provision for several natural disasters that occurred throughout the summer (flooding/fire).

The best part of this job were my exposure to working on time-sensitive (high-pressure) projects and remaining self-motivated while working alone to stay highly productive. This job also greatly contributed to me finding out my likes and dislikes regarding future employment opportunities. The habits and skills I developed during these times will favour my future endeavours.

The flooding and fire events that occured during my time at the District of Sparwood will always stay with me as they highlighted the importance of the work that someone in my position does. Data science is something that is becoming increasingly relied upon, and this experience reassured me of the relevance of my field of study.

This co-op job highlighted some things in my future career that I may prefer over others, which, in turn, helps me further refine my education in favour of these realizations. My co-op experience with the District of Sparwood also made me want to do another co-op job in a different work setting so I can further form opinions regarding my preferences. Most importantly, this opportunity has continued to reassure me that I am in the right program.

My three biggest takeaways from work-integrated learning so far are as follows:

1. The importance of building relationships inside and outside school, including professional environments.

2. How much more there is to learn about my field of study outside the classroom.

3. The importance of skill development in the workplace and how these skills can make you a more appealing hire for potential employers.

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

I have learned that it is okay not to know, especially regarding what fields of study students are interested in; it is rare to know what you want right out of high school.

How have your professors impacted your education? Have any professors changed how you view the world or what you want to study?

All of the professors I have had in my geography degree share the same passion for their work, which soon becomes contagious among their students. Some professors have changed my interests for the better and shown me many possibilities attainable within my degree.

Have you received any scholarships and awards? If so, please tell us a bit about how they helped you throughout your studies. Do you have any words of thanks we can share with donors?

Each year I receive a scholarship from Teck Resources, which has immensely helped fund my post-secondary education, especially when the cost of living is so incredibly high. I will always be thankful to Teck for investing in students and ensuring they can more easily pursue their passions without having to worry as much about funding.

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 regularly participate in intramural sports, which help build relationships with other students and have allowed me to develop a great support system that helps my mental health and classroom performance.

What are your hopes/plans for the future?

I plan on doing another co-op term or two before ideally graduating next fall or spring. After graduation, I plan to further my education with some online courses regarding specific engineering/GIS software, then pursue a career in environmental consulting or the natural resource sector. I am also open to enrolling in a graduate program later on.

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

I would advise incoming students about the importance of building relationships with other students and staff. I also found it rewarding to participate in intramurals and other school programs. I would also recommend enrolling in the Co-operative Education program as I found it very fulfilling. Lastly, I would highlight that it is okay to come to university not knowing what they want for a career path and that it is perfectly normal to switch majors numerous times before they find what is right!

Quick answers

Top things to do in or around Lethbridge: Play sports, nightlife, hike/walk, restaurants, ski

Favourite class: All of my GIS courses (from Intro GIS to Advanced GIS)

Favourite social activity at ULethbridge: Intramurals

Favourite place to study: Science Commons

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 Noah!