|Jeru Lopez - 2021 Lloydminster Campus|
Jeru Lopez, a Class of 2021 graduate, seized every opportunity to go beyond the classroom at Lakeland College and those opportunities made a significant difference in his personal development and overall college experience.
“I attended Lakeland back in 2015, and when I decided to go back again, I promised myself that I would work hard and take on every opportunity I can get. And some of them took me outside of my comfort zone, but I was hungry to learn and willing to try new things, so I went for them all,” he says.
As this year’s Lloydminster campus President’s Medal recipient, Lopez says he was clear about his goals when he enrolled in the college’s business administration diploma: accounting major.
“The idea of receiving the President’s Medal was always at the back of my mind. I was aware of it when I enrolled and saw it as another goal to achieve. I wanted it, and I knew I had to work hard for it. However, with all the changes this last academic year because of the pandemic, I didn’t put much thought into it anymore. I focused on my studies, serving others and what I could still participate in. When I got the call, I could not believe it, I was shocked. I feel honoured because it was once a dream and now, I got it,” says Lopez, who received the honour upon graduation on May 27.
Lopez maintained a 3.45 grade-point average while exhibiting outstanding leadership and involvement during his two years at Lakeland. He wore many hats, including the Students’ Association (SA) president, representing Lakeland students and advocated on their behalf on college committees, municipal, provincial and federal levels; student enrolment assistant; student ambassador and peer tutor. He was also a member of the Alberta Dean’s Business Case Competition Team and Synergy Speakers’ Corner. He participated in the Finding the U in Business Virtual Workshops, student-led tax public clinic, and Virtual Tax Symposium with MNP, to name a few.
“Being the president of the Students’ Association (SA) and participating in the business case competition were two very impactful experiences. As president, there was a lot of work behind the scenes, especially, this year given the unique situation we were in. There was a lot of work that needed to be done when my team and I decided to restructure the association, from amalgamating the finances to re-writing the by-laws and creating the new structure of our new council position that would align to the association core values,” says Lopez, who was also elected again to the SA as an Executive VP-External.
“Competing with Lakeland’s case team was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. This year’s competition was a little bit different because it was held virtually. However, the experience that my team and I had was something that I will cherish forever,” Lopez explains.
He’s also received the Synergy Credit Union Award, the Lloydminster Students’ Association Bursary, the Board of Governors Scholarship, the Hugh Service Memorial Trust Bursary, the Pat Tenney Award, and the Centennial President’s Leadership Award.
“I want to thank Student Services, the library, the IT department, security and all the supporting staff. Without them, we wouldn’t have an amazing atmosphere and experience at Lakeland College. To all the amazing and caring instructors, we wouldn’t be where we are today without your help and support. And to my fellow amazing students, I’m looking forward to our future endeavor and continue to build our friendships. Lastly, I want to say that I feel so honoured knowing that there were a lot of incredible students that is also deserve with this award. And I want to dedicate all this success to all the people that supported me and encouraged me to fight and to try new things,” Lopez says.
Lopez is currently working as a member representative with Servus Credit Union and has plans to grow his bookkeeping business. This fall, he’ll be returning to Lakeland to pursue a Bachelor of Commerce major in Accounting as an Athabasca University student.
|Caylee Dorval - 2021 Vermilion Campus|
Caylee Dorval, Class of 2021, followed her passions to Lakeland, drawn to the college by the promise of hands-on learning on the Student-Managed Farm – Powered by New Holland (SMF). From Glaslyn, Sask., she had grown up on her family’s 200-head commercial cattle operation and always had a passion for animals and agriculture. She enrolled in Lakeland’s animal science technology program, majoring in beef.
Dorval made the most of her time on campus, getting involved wherever she could while still balancing her schoolwork, maintaining a 3.80 GPA and making life-long friendships despite the difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The SMF was definitely a highlight of my Lakeland experience,” Dorval says. “Not many other post-secondaries can offer the level of hands-on learning that Lakeland provides. I was a nutrition coordinator for the purebred beef team on the SMF and I learned so much more than I ever could have imagined. It pushed me out of my comfort zone and I am so glad it did. I learned so much from that experience and developed skills that will prepare me for a career in the agriculture industry.”
During her years at Lakeland, Dorval got involved in campus life outside of the classroom as well, participating in breakaway roping, barrel racing and pole bending with the rodeo team. She was also a member of the Stockmen’s Club, including serving as treasurer in her second year, and a member of the show team and junior leader in her first year. Dorval also participated in a virtual showing at Agribition for the purebred team and was a peer tutor.
“Getting involved really helped with the social aspects of college,” Dorval says. “You go out and meet other students who have the same interests and passions that you do. All of those social activities are a big part of your college experience, so I definitely encourage other students to join in as many of them as they can.”
Dorval was named this year’s Vermilion campus President’s Medal recipient in recognition of her academic accomplishments, leadership and participation.
“I am beyond grateful for receiving this award,” she said. “I’d like to thank all of the instructors I had over the years that pushed me to do my part as well as my family and friends for supporting me. I was so lucky to have the class that I did. We were really close and the friends I made there are pretty much like family. I had such a great group of students to go through the program with.”
Along with the President’s Medal, Dorval was also a recipient of The George Neil Wilson and Ethel (Sloan) Wilson Memorial Entrance Scholarship, Isa & Stanley R. Fulks Memorial Scholarship, and the Mark Toner Memorial Award in the 2019-2020 school year. In the 2020-2021 year, she received the Beaton Family Agricultural Bursary, Highland Feeders Agricultural Leadership Award, and the Centennial President’s Leadership Award.
|Tylor Oliver - 2020 Lloydminster Campus|
When President’s Medal recipient Tylor Oliver came to Lakeland College, he was looking for a more focused course of study. He’d already completed some general studies at other post-secondary institutions and wanted something more specific, which he was hoping to find in the real estate appraisal and assessment program at the Lloydminster campus, close to his hometown Marwayne.
“It was a definite step up from what I was already doing,” says Oliver of the diploma program. “I loved every minute of it. My classes were great and I worked with a great bunch of people. All my instructors were really supportive and genuinely cared about our success. They gave us the tools to succeed by teaching us everything we needed to learn.”
It was what happened outside of the classroom, however, that gave Oliver the confidence in his ability to lead with empathy. At first, Oliver intended to keep his head down, do the hard work, graduate and find a job. Instead, almost accidentally, he got involved with the Lloydminster campus’ Students’ Association (SA) when there was no one else running for the finance position, after his friends and instructors encouraged him to step up.
Serving as the financial officer for the 2019-20 Lloydminster SA, Oliver helped reorganize accounting practices, improve record keeping practices and develop a payroll system. He became active in every aspect of the SA, helping organize events and promote student life. He was a member of the 2019-20 academic council as well.
“I tried my hardest to make sure our finances were in order and worked with my team to try to do the best job I could for the students. I like to think we did a really good job making sure that the association was set up to succeed in the future and I think we made a little bit of a legacy that can be followed,” says Oliver.
“Once I got involved, it just snowballed into caring about what happens to my fellow students and all the things that affect us.”
After taking that first step, Oliver also got involved in public speaking and Synergy Speakers’ Corner, meeting all requirements to become a competitive public speaker, as well as competing as a member of the business case study team.
Public speaking was an important aspect of the program. “Our instructors put a big focus on sending people out into the field who are able to speak confidently in public,” he says. “It was so important that we learned to be confident, to be able to talk to people and convey our message. If you have an idea, you need to be able to convince people that your idea is a great one, and the only way to do that is to speak about it proficiently.”
Oliver says that level of personal development has helped strengthen his skills in his new position as a real estate assessor with the City of Medicine Hat.
“When I’m doing property assessment, I want to make sure everyone is treated fairly,” he says. “My time on the SA and in all those different clubs where I needed to ensure I represented the school well, they all helped me develop more empathy and taught me to worry about more people than just myself.”
Oliver is both excited and humbled to be chosen as the Lloydminster Campus recipient of this year’s President’s Medal, saying “It’s amazing. There are so many great people I went to school with who did so many amazing things for people. It’s humbling and feels good to be recognized for the things I did. I know there were a lot of people who deserve this.”
He credits the Lakeland College atmosphere with everything he has accomplished, saying, “All the things I achieved this year were because of the support of amazing instructors and really great students. Lakeland is a great college with a great atmosphere and if it wasn’t for those things, I probably would have just kept doing what I was doing when I got here – keeping my head down and finishing school. Lakeland helped me see all that I could do which helped me get the great job I have now.”
In addition to receiving the 2019-20 Lloydminster Campus President’s Medal, Oliver was also the recipient of the 2018-19 Saskatchewan Assessment Management Agency (SAMA) Award, as well as the 2019-20 recipient of a Jason Lang Scholarship, Centennial Business Administration Achievement Award, the Ulmer Chevrolet Scholarship, and the Barry Richardson Memorial Award. He was also on the Dean’s List for academic achievement in business.
|Quinn Hlus - 2020 Vermilion Campus|
Quinn Hlus, a bachelor of applied sciences: environmental management (BASEM) student, couldn’t think of a better way to conclude her Lakeland College experience when she found out she is to receive the Vermilion campus 2020 President’s Medal.
“This award symbolizes my four-year post-secondary career coming to an end in the best way possible. I am grateful for the experiences I’ve had at Lakeland and all the leadership opportunities I’ve been able to pursue. This award means the absolute world to me, and I want to thank all of the staff and instructors at Lakeland who helped me along the way to achieve my goals,” Hlus says.
At the start of her Lakeland experience, Hlus planted seeds that blossomed into a vibrant curriculum vitae. Hlus showed great leadership and involvement in her studies and beyond from 2016 to 2020.
She earned an environmental sciences diploma, majoring in environmental conservation and reclamation, then enrolled in BASEM to earn her degree at Lakeland. She graduates with a cumulative 3.42-grade point average.
Hlus sat as a student representative on numerous academic councils and program advisory committees, including Lakeland’s Board of Governors. She promoted her studies as a Student Ambassador, an Enviro Club member and project lead for the Enviromentors. Hlus also supported her fellow students on the Vermilion Students’ Association and the Student Executive Council. As well, she co-organized a Mental Health in Agriculture workshop and participated in numerous fundraising initiatives for the college’s student awards program.
Outside of her studies, Hlus competed for the Lakeland Rustlers rowing team and won the 2019 Western Canadian Rowing Championships Gold Medalist in the Novice Women’s 8+ category. She qualified for the Canadian Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Finals pole bending category on the Rodeo Team.
“When I got the call that I was chosen as the recipient of the award this year, I had no words. I have always seen the recipients in previous years as the students that go above and beyond, not only in their academics but also in their extra-curricular involvement. I feel like I have worked very hard to bring my marks up and succeed academically, as well as I’ve done my best to get as involved in Lakeland and other extra-curricular activities as I could,” Hlus explains.
Hlus is looking forward to using her Lakeland experience to excel in her new job as a junior environmental technician with Ram River Environmental Consultants Ltd.
Hlus’ Lakeland roots run deep. She followed her parents, who both attended the college in the 1980s where they met and fell in love, and then her brother, Bailey, Class of 2016 and sister, Laramie, Class of 2014.
|Krupa Shah - 2019 Lloydminster Campus|
For Krupa Bhaveshkumar Shah, everyone has one thing in common – 24 hours in a day. “And you get to choose what you do with those 24 hours,” she says.
This philosophy by her older brother, Shah explains, is what motivated her to excel in her studies and beyond. Her leadership qualities and accomplishments are why she’s the 2019 Lloydminster campus President’s Medal recipient, an honour she received upon graduation on May 31.
“I am excited and very honoured to receive this award. To be recognized for my dedication to my studies and Lakeland over the past two years is a wonderful feeling,” says the business administration diploma graduate in the accounting major.
From Borsad, India, Shah travelled to Canada not only to pursue business studies but also to experience Canadian culture in a setting that would let her stand out. She says she found that at Lakeland.
Shah maintained a 3.51 GPA while confidently balancing school, work and life, and immersed herself in leadership roles.
For Lakeland, she served as a student ambassador and student member of Academic Council. She emceed at the 2018 Lloydminster Donor Appreciation Celebration and volunteered at the 2018 International Student Orientation.
Shah was also a peer tutor in math, accounting and microeconomics, and a resident assistant for the Lloydminster campus Residence. She was a member of Lakeland’s 2019 business case team, treasurer for the Business Club, and secretary and facilitator for Synergy Speakers Corner.
“There were times when I felt tired and overwhelmed, but I kept my brother’s advice in mind and stayed motivated. Another piece of advice came from my grandfather. He always encouraged me to learn something new every day, no matter how small,” she says.
For the community, Shah was a mentor and volunteer at Big Brothers Big Sisters. She also volunteered at the Lloyd Style Downtown Fashion Show, 2018 Diwali Celebration with Lloyd Gujarati Community, Lloydminster Sexual Assault and Information Centre's Little Italy Gala, Residence Life Leadership Conference and Pecha Kucha 3.
She credits much of her success to her family, as well as her instructors and Lakeland staff. “I can’t thank my parents enough for their unconditional love and support over these past two years. Even from the other side of the world, their support didn’t waver.”
Shah was also supported financially through Lakeland’s student award’s program. In 2018-19, she was the recipient of the Pat Tenney Award, Border City Rotary Club Award and Board of Governors Scholarship.
“I’m very grateful for Lakeland and the opportunities it opened up for me. I’m more confident than I thought I would ever be, and I learned many new things and gained new perspectives. I'm grateful for all that as well as the relationships I developed here. There’s not one person that hasn’t made a positive impact on my education and personal growth,” Shah says.
Shah will complete her employment with RBC Royal Bank’s Lloydminster branch and enjoy a vacation in to Toronto, Ont., before returning home to India. In India, she’ll help her father run their multi-generation tobacco processing business, as well as establish a new business. With no fixed date, Shah hopes to relocate to Canada in 2020 and continue her education.
|Sierra Unick - 2019 Vermilion Campus|
After her first week of classes, Sierra Unick knew she was going to be happy at Lakeland College.
As an environmental sciences diploma student, Unick and her classmates visited the Vermilion Provincial Park for a botany lab at the start of their program. They were tasked with learning about the different trees, shrubs, grasses and more.
"Getting thrown into nature, having to take notes about the plants you’re collecting and adding them to the plant book was great because we were contributing to a larger project,” says Unick, who completed the water conservation and management (WCM) major program. “This was one experience of many that didn't just tell me, it proved to me what Lakeland was about – student leadership."
At the start of her second year of studies, Unick was one of many environmental sciences students who traveled more than 3,100 kilometres to gain applied technical skills related to their major during Field Week. For Unick and her peers, their beyond-the-classroom experience took them to Hinton, Alta., which she says is one of the highlights of the program. Together, they completed a stream assessment, culvert assessment and other projects related to their field of study.
“It was an incredible opportunity to gain real experience in the field,” says Unick, who hails from Canora, Sask. “There is a finite amount of water that is available to us and we need to take care of that."
Fast forward to the end of Lakeland’s 101st academic year, Unick was one of approximately 555 graduates to celebrate convocation at the Vermilion campus. She was also recognized as the 2019 Vermilion campus President’s Medal recipient.
“Humbled and grateful are two words that come to mind,” says Unick. The 19-year-old was presented the award for her leadership and involvement within the college and community.
Since arriving at Lakeland, Unick immersed herself in a number of activities including volunteering for TD Tree Planting Day and serving as the Town of Vermilion Club representative. She was also the environmental sciences student representative for WCM and an active member of the Enviro Club. In 2018-19, Unick was a member of the Enviro Mentors and served as the Vermilion campus Students’ Association vice president of clubs.
When Unick returns to campus in the fall as a bachelor of applied science: environmental management student, she will also be returning as the president of the Vermilion campus Students’ Association.
“I really love Lakeland. It’s a place that I can truly say that I feel at home,” says Unick, who’s working as a research assistant for an agricultural company over the summer. “It’s somewhere where I am happy to be and proud to be. I am super excited to be a Lakeland grad. I hear really good things from industry – as soon as they get one Lakeland grad, they want another and another.”
|Jonathan Kuzek - 2018 Lloydminster Campus|
Instead of following the crowd, Jonathan Kuzek took charge of his Lakeland College experience with his father’s words in mind.
“I was always told by my dad if you aren’t a leader you’re a follower, so at Lakeland being a leader was important to me. I took the initiative to stand up, make the right calls and take on responsibility,” Kuzek says.
The heavy oil power engineering graduate displayed great leadership and college involvement during his time at Lakeland. He mentored classmates and peers; looked after the Lloydminster campus heating plants and energy labs beyond his program; was an ambassador for his program during program info sessions; and was known to lead by example, be a problem-solver, and always had a positive attitude.
Outside of his studies, he was the marketing and event coordinator for the 2017-18 Lloydminster Students’ Association and helped plan various events at the Prairies on campus.
Being a leader was second nature for Kuzek. It was because of his academic excellence and outstanding leadership abilities that he received the 2018 President’s Medal upon graduation.
“It's quite an honour to receive the highest honour a student can get. It’s quite the experience to be the only student on the Lloydminster campus to receive it,” Kuzek says.
During his final academic year, Kuzek was the recipient of numerous scholarships and bursaries including the Centennial Energy & Petroleum Achievement Award, Lloydminster Students' Association Bursary, Kasian Architecture General Award, and Saskatchewan Innovation & Opportunity Scholarship.
To sum up his time at Lakeland, Kuzek says it was the people who made it all worthwhile.
“The amazing people I met this year are one of a kind. They all gave me an experience that can't be duplicated. Attending Lakeland was so nice because you can easily have a personal relationship with almost everyone including instructors.”
|Graham Letts - 2018 Vermilion campus|
Taking complete advantage of everything Lakeland College has to offer was Graham Letts’ goal. The crop technology graduate not only achieved this goal before graduating on June 1, but was also recognized as the 2018 Vermilion campus President’s Medal recipient for his leadership and involvement.
“There’s only one student on the whole campus to receive the award, so I feel pretty privileged and honoured,” says Letts, of Westlock, Alta. “I really enjoyed the whole student-managed aspect of Lakeland College. Having that practical experience, I think that’s an excellent model for learning.”
Letts immersed himself in the Student-Managed Farm – Powered by New Holland (SMF); he successfully applied for the general manager position of the crop technology team and describes the experiences as invaluable.
“You get to jump into operations with your peers and it’s completely hands-on. With a team of 38 students, things don’t always run peachy keen,” Letts says with a laugh. “But this experience gives you the opportunity to learn from your successes and mistakes.”
One of the highlights of Letts’ Lakeland experience was being able to experiment with new crops. “On the family farm you tend to stick to traditional farming practices, but when you come to Lakeland you have the opportunity to leverage the industry and try something out of the box,” he says.
This year the SMF crop team designed a soybean soil temperature trial and tried a cocktail brassica radish grazing mix.
Making strong connections with his classmates proved to be another highlight for Letts. “Every one of us has a different perspective so being able to facilitate discussion with classmates, hear everyone’s opinions and try to make it welcoming for all was key.”
Letts’ hard work paid off at Lakeland. During the 2017-18 donor appreciation celebration, he received eight awards: Alberta Wheat Commission Scholarship in Crop Technology, Louise McKinney Post-Secondary Scholarship, Beaton Family Agricultural Bursary, ARAMARK Canada Ltd. Award, New Holland Agriculture Award, The Leonard and Mary Burton Farm Management Award, Growing Alberta Scholarship, and the Ron and Faith Kenyon Academic Award.
As a generational alumnus, Letts is happy to share his Lakeland experience with his grandfather, Park Letts, Class of 1955. “It’s pretty special to have this connection. He came back to the college for my final SMF presentation and took a tour of campus – it blew his mind how much Lakeland has grown and changed.”
Outside of class, the father of one assisted with the Tractor Club races during Little Royal, volunteered with a youth summer camp and was active with his church.
Reflecting on his Lakeland experience, Letts encourages future Lakeland students to capitalize on what the college has to offer. “Take full advantage of every opportunity you have at college to expand your knowledge, make contacts and network with classmates,” he says. “Connect with your instructors; they’re an invaluable resource that you would pay big dollars outside of school for one-on-one consultation with.”
|President's Medal Winners|