Thalia Aspeslet

Thalia Aspeslet

Mentor of Distinction

2009-08-12

 

Being born and raised in a rural community eight hours north of Edmonton was how I developed my roots of love and respect for Mother Earth. My family then moved to the northern Alberta community of High Level; the last town before the North West Territories. Here I was exposed to harsh living conditions due to the community’s isolation and the pressure to fit-in socially was overwhelming. This coupled with the fact that there were a limited amount of academic resources made it very difficult to focus on my studies in High School. As a result, I only had one chance to succeed at any given subject in order to graduate on time. While I did receive a high school diploma it was not achieved with the grades that would make me eligible for acceptance at a university level of post- secondary education.

 

My initial underachievement educationally led me to believe that my only option was to seek out employment locally. Over the course of the next four years I worked at a communication outfit supplying equipment to the Oil and Gas Industry. This constitutes the beginnings of my background knowledge of energy production in Alberta. At this time in my career I discovered that I was pregnant and in another turn of events was hospitalized with appendicitis. After undergoing an extremely painful and risky surgery, due to the pregnancy, I was forced to take my maternity leave early. Fortunately I have loving parents who were able to provide me with support and accommodations temporarily.

These events made me realize that pursuit of a post-secondary education was eminent in order to provide security and stability for myself and the child I was about to bring into this world.

 

My health regained, my son and I moved to Calgary and I enrolled in the Pre-Careers program at SAIT Polytechnic. It was there that I discovered my love for physics and math. I researched different fields of study that required these attributes and found the description of Geophysics at the University of Calgary. This field not only required the qualities that I possessed but also encompassed the study of the earth and its resources. With an above eighty average I was accepted straight into the University’s ‘Bachelor of Science Geophysics’ program in the fall of 2006.Since then I have completed two years of my program year-round and am currently half-way through my third year. Because of the continuation of my studies through the spring and summer semesters, I have been able to incorporate a minor in French during my academic stay.

 

My year-round continuation also led me to discover the Native Center (TNC) at the University. This has now incorporated a shift in my goals to include contributing to a community’s strength and growth. At TNC the people and programs provided the teachings that I needed to discover who I really am: an intelligent, strong, and proud Aboriginal woman. Since the Native Center was able to give me so much in order to strengthen my ability to succeed I felt the need to give back to the community. My contributions came last year in my acceptance of the volunteer position as peer representative of the Program Assistant of Student Services (PASS).

 

This program is geared towards bringing students together in order to facilitate a sense of community support. There are a lot of students who come into the Native Center looking for this because they are so far away from home, and this program helps them meet other people who share the same experience. The support aids in the student’s successes academically and therefore has the potential to translate into their professional careers after post-secondary graduation. My position with the program has been extremely rewarding and I will continue my involvement into successive years.

 

Since my time at the communication outfit I have seen our dependence on oil increase dramatically. The more that I am at university the more I see how industry coupled with academic research is the key in solving the energy crisis.My professional goal is to have experience on both sides of this solution and therefore upon completion of my bachelor’s degree I will be pursuing a position as either signal analyst or signal interpreter in the Oil and Gas Industry.This will mark the first step in my position as a contributor to the efforts made in developing and sustaining our energy resources.

 

My future experience and knowledge gained from employment in the industry will provide opportunity for growth in ingenuity so that I may constructively come up with new ideas and approaches in solving the energy crisis.Once my experience in practice has reached this level I will return to the academic community and pursue a Masters degree in Geophysics.

 

The key to the solution of our energy crisis lies in the hands of industry and academia, and with my involvement in both I hope to marry the two so that the future of our society is a brighter one.