Lakeland alumna sees the classroom from the other side of the podium< More Stories
“When I came to Lakeland, I had an undiagnosed learning disability,” she explains. “So my first year at Lakeland was a real eye opener. I learned that I wasn’t able to get by without treating it and accessibilities services set me up for success. They set me up with a doctor to help figure out what was going on and it completely changed my life.”
She was supported in her academic journey by the instructors at Lakeland, particularly Doreen Der. Lafreniere’s undiagnosed learning disability had convinced her that she was not good enough to succeed academically, but Der’s support changed her mind.
“Doreen gave me confidence that I didn’t just have to be a good student. She truly believed in our potential and gave us all the tools we needed to succeed. In her class, I learned I could study hard enough that I could get A+s. I went from having a 1.9 GPA in my first semester to a 3.8 the next year because of the confidence Doreen helped me build. She helped me believe that I could accomplish more than I ever expected I could. I don’t even know what I would be doing if I didn’t get the confidence at Lakeland that I did.”
After graduating with her business administration diploma from Lakeland in 2007, Lafreniere went on to earn a bachelor of management and her master of science – management in marketing from the University of Lethbridge. She completed her Ph.D in business from the University of Alberta and started in June as an assistant professor on the tenure track in marketing at the University of Lethbridge.
As a professor, Lafreniere supports her students the same way she was supported at Lakeland, a responsibility she does not take lightly because of her own academic challenges.
“I don’t judge a student because they’re struggling in class,” she says. “I’m very aware that it’s usually other factors that are hindering their experience. If we can just give them the support they need, then they can succeed, just like anybody else.”