Ashlyn La Liberty is a recipient of the 2017 University of Winnipeg Westland Foundation Education Fund scholarship. She is taking a double major in biopsychology and biochemistry and is hoping to complete a minor in psychology. Ashlyn’s dream is to obtain a Ph.D. and to make a difference in the field of mental health.
Ashlyn wants to explore psychology to understand better the complex world of mental illness.
“By studying mental health, I would like to heighten our future generations’ awareness of mental health issues as well as help with preventing mental illness,” says Ashlyn.
Ashlyn credits a high school research project for her love of science. She and three other classmates studied the level of mercury in the walleye fish species. The project allowed her to travel through southern Manitoba and as far as Saskatchewan and Ontario gathering samples and sharing research findings. The project fed Ashlyn's curiosity and penchant for more knowledge. She says after the project her passions revolved around science, and her remaining high school years became a strong foundation for her undergraduate studies.
Today, Ashlyn volunteers with Let’s Talk Science on campus. Let’s Talk Science conducts outreach projects for students within and outside Winnipeg and as far as rural Manitoba. Let’s Talk Science aims to get students more aware and passionate
about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The program aims to inspire students to get involved in science. Let's Talk Science has allowed Ashlyn to work in large-scale events, such as the Halloween Howl at the Manitoba Children's Museum and to travel as far as Neepawa, Manitoba, to help run a science day camp.
Ashlyn recognizes her chosen field is costly and will take many years of study. She says the Westland Foundation scholarship helped her family and herself to afford her tuition and go after her passion.
“I am proud of the recognition, and honoured that Westland has noticed the hard work that other students and I have put in towards our studies.”
Ashlyn encourages other students to find as much support as they can, be it financially, through scholarships and bursaries, academically, by finding student groups, or socially, by studying with a friend or a classmate. She says having the right mix of support will help with all of the challenges of pursuing one’s chosen profession.
She says to high school students, “If you’re passionate about something, go for it. Take classes and watch videos and find people around you to emulate. Enjoy every bit of the process of learning something you love.”
“A huge thank you to the Westland Foundation for supporting me to continue to pursue my passion for science,” ends Ashlyn.