The Bruce McKillop WIL Excellence Award names its first recipient

Kianna Turner is a person who gets things done.  

Not only is Turner poised to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree this spring, since starting at the University of Lethbridge in 2020, she has also been a teaching assistant, completed multiple independent and applied studies, presented research she conducted on End-of-Life Doulas at the American Anthropology Association annual general meeting in Toronto, is Editor-In-Chief of The Meliorist, the independent student publication at ULethbridge, and most recently became the first recipient of the Bruce McKillop WIL Excellence Award, a $5,000 scholarship designated for students who are excelling in work-integrated learning experience. 

Work Integrated Learning (WIL) opportunities equip students with practical, hands-on work experience and help create pathways from university to a career. Turner’s WIL experience is comprised of five applied studies, two of which took her to Lethbridge City Hall where she was a team member on two large and complex projects: Inclusion, Diversity, & Equity in Urban Planning and Policymaking, and Municipal Government: Research & Analysis, Engagement Planning, Public Art, and Urban Design. 

Turner is confident that her experiences through the WIL program will be a differentiating factor once she embarks on a career and is grateful for the financial support she received through the scholarship. 

“Work integrated learning opened professional doors for me and allowed me to expand my level of experience and skill beyond the classroom,” says Turner. “Balancing academic responsibilities, work commitments and my personal life is a big enough challenge without financial pressure on top of it. The scholarship took some of the pressure off and created a more manageable equilibrium which allowed me to finish strong." 

Lifelong Lethbridge resident, local business owner and ULethbridge alumnus, Bruce McKillop (BASc ’70), the donor behind the scholarship, believes the combination of a liberal education and practical work experience makes for graduates who are well prepared to enter the workforce. 

“Employers need people with critical-thinking skills and the ability to implement knowledge in practical ways,” says McKillop. "This scholarship is meant to foster a combination of book learning and boots-on-the-ground experience, so students leave the University with all the tools they need to succeed.” 

Turner says her decision to follow a general studies program has proven helpful in the workplace. 

“I’ve learned to look at things from different points of view and developed a broad base of knowledge in many disciplines. Not getting siloed into one way of thinking is the great advantage of liberal education and something I’ve been able to bring to the WIL program.” 

The Bruce McKillop WIL in Excellence Award is available to full or part-time undergraduate students participating in a Work Integrated Learning experience, with preference for students majoring in the Humanities. Recipients are nominated based on demonstrated excellence in Work Integrated Learning. 

Scholarship recipient Kianna Turner (left) with Vice-President External Relations Kathy Greenwood (centre) and Bruce McKillop (BASc ’70) (right), who established the award.