When Annette Kerpel (BHS/BMgt ’18) crossed the stage at the University of Lethbridge Fall 2018 Convocation, she was a bundle of emotions. Not only had she been a student in the Faculty of Health Sciences and the Dhillon School of Business, Annette had also worked several part-time jobs on campus and created many relationships that meant a lot to her.

“My professors did an incredible job of making me feel included and part of something special,” she says. “uLethbridge became my second home. In many ways, I felt at graduation like I was leaving the nest.”

One thing Annette didn’t have to worry about on convocation day was the burden of taking student debt along with her. She received a number of financial awards during her time at uLethbridge, including most recently the Larissa Featherstone Leadership Award.

“It’s really common to hear students talk about how broke they are,” Annette says. “If it weren’t for the financial support I received, I’m not sure how I’d have made it through.”

Established by uLethbridge alumna, Larissa Featherstone (BMgt ’10), the annual award was created to recognize emerging leaders and encourage those who plan to make a difference — individuals like Annette.

Now a graduate of the combined business and public health program, Annette plans to serve the community through work in public health. “Helping to create healthy possibilities for others is very motivating,” she says.

Knowing one of the scholarships she received was made possible thanks to a fellow uLethbridge alumna is especially meaningful for Annette. She plans to pay it forward and create a scholarship for future students one day.

“I think it’s really important to support other students the way I’ve been supported,” Annette says. “Scholarships do a lot more than help cover costs; they help students stay healthy. Worrying about money affects your mental health, your emotional health, even your physical health. Just being able to eat properly makes a big difference because your brain functions properly. For students, an extra $100 a month is like winning the lottery. The scholarships I received allowed me to put more energy into my course work and less energy into trying to make ends meet.”

To Larissa and the donors of the other scholarships she received during her time as an undergraduate student, Annette has an important message: “Thank you.”

“I would like to say ‘thank you’ a million times over,” she says. “The financial support I received helped make my university experience a great one. I’m really excited to begin the next chapter of my life.”

“I think it’s really important to support other students the way I’ve been supported."