Alumni Stories

Making the ‘Wright’ Choice

Student-centred approach underscores the value of undergrad education at the U of L

Every year thousands of young people are faced with the critical choice of where to attend university. For some, the decision is not easy and can take many months. For others, it’s a “no-brainer.” Jaden Wright counts himself in the latter camp.

Jaden Wright graduated with honours from the U of L in 2009 with a BSc/Co-op in Biochemistry. A high-performing high school student, who had his pick from any number of universities, Wright recalls why his choice to attend the University of Lethbridge was made so easily.

“Not only was the University of Lethbridge close to home and cheaper than the other schools I was looking at, it was also smaller, and I wanted more interaction with and attention from my profs,” says Wright, a native of Vauxhall, AB.

Now studying to become a medical doctor at the University of Alberta, Wright did find what he was looking for from the U of L.

“I found the smaller class sizes at the U of L really beneficial. It was nice to be able to see professors outside of class and them know what class of theirs I was in,” says Wright. “At the U of L it is a lot easier to approach the professors and ask them for help outside of class and about undergrad research opportunities.

Wright took advantage of all the distinct opportunities the U of L offers including the chance to gain hands-on experience through the U of L’s Co-op program.

“My co-op work experience was great in that I was able to try different jobs before having to commit to a career choice,” he says. “I was able to see what it was like working in agriculture, neuroscience and biochemistry research and find out what was the best fit for me.”

Jaden Wright’s positive memories about the benefits of the U of L’s student-centred approach are a common refrain among graduates from the University. Asked if he had any words of advice for current students, Wright says students should take full advantage of the opportunity to have close, one-on-one contact with their professors.

“Talk to your professors outside of class”, he says. “Most professors I had at the U of L were extremely friendly and helpful. They wanted me to succeed. They also were eager to provide opportunities for research experience and opportunities to develop personal skills not acquired in classroom learning.”

Jaden worked in Dr. Ute Kothe’s lab and during that time he was able to explore research through an independent study, honours thesis, summer research fellowship and co-operative position.

In addition to your regular courses, you have the opportunity to participate in Independent Studies, which is a course for which credit is earned through individual study under the supervision of an instructor. See the U of L calendar for complete details.

Honours Thesis - In your fourth year, you can opt to complete an Undergraduate Thesis course through one of your host department faculty members (6.0 credit hours). Upon successful completion you are eligible to receive the “Honours thesis” designation on your official transcript and degree parchment. See the U of L calendar for complete details.

Co-operative Education combines real-world work experience with academic studies and has garnered international recognition as the preferred way to complete a degree. The co-op experience allows students to integrate academic semesters with workterms . It allows students to experience real-world application of their discipline. See the U of L calendar for complete details or contact the Co-op Education office.

Summer research fellowship information can be found at the Office of Research Services:

Written by Keith McLaughlin, 2011