FEATURING: SASH STRIGA
Communication Arts – Broadcast Journalism 2015
It was during her broadcast journalism practicum with the CJOC 94.1 radio station in 2015 that Sash Striga figured out exactly what she wanted to do with her life.
The catch – it wasn’t broadcast journalism.
“I was working with Pat Siedlecki, who is just awesome, and every time he said to go find a story, I would come back with an entertainment story – every single time,” says Striga. “It’d be about a play or a musical or a singing competition, but it was always something artsy. No matter what day I was given a story to do, I found a way to do it about the arts.”
It was at that point that Striga realized she missed performing. Born and raised in Calgary, she got her start in theatre at a young age, holding a long-time role with The Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede. “I thought I needed a more realistic job, and so I came to the college,” she says. “But during my practicum, I realized how much I missed the arts, and that if I didn’t take the time to really try it once, I’d kick myself for the rest of my life.”
So after graduation, she packed her bags and moved to Toronto and enrolled at Randolph College, where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Her first audition after graduation was for the hit television show Letterkenny – which was then in its sixth season – and she got the role of Aly. She just wrapped up filming the 11th season earlier this year.
“My experience was not typical at all,” she explains. “Most people start with a smaller role, but for me it just was full-on. It was my very first audition, first job, first booking, first time on the set, and from there it’s just been ears pinned back, go-go-go. There was a LOT of learning on the job.”
Striga has gone on to principal roles on the screen in Star Trek: Short Treks, What We Do in The Shadows, American Gods and The Boys. On stage, she has performed primarily in shows in Ontario, including Jack and the Beanstalk: The Panto, Rocky the Musical, The World Goes ‘Round, Legally Blonde the Musical, and Mamma Mia.
She’s learned from and loved it all – but feels extra affection for the Letterkenny team. “It’s the best set I’ve ever been on,” she says. “Everyone is so supportive, and they are the funniest and kindest people – the cast and the crew. It’s true Canadian kindness – no ego. That’s the thing that really blew me away.”
She also appreciates the time she had at Lethbridge College and its part in her path to her career today. Some of her most vivid memories include eating the cooking of fellow students in the Food Court, hanging out and studying in Centre Core, and going with her best friend Demi Knight (Communication Arts – Broadcast Journalism 2015) to sit in the coulees under the High-Level Bridge and watch the wind blow and seasons change, an “experience and energy that feels most like Lethbridge to me,” she recalls.
She also tried to make it to every Kodiaks game. “I loved the Kodiaks! I really wanted to be the mascot – I wanted to be it so badly, but it never happened,” she said with a laugh. “Lethbridge has a really special place in my heart – I try to go back as much as I can, and I look to celebrate Lethbridge in any way possible.”
And even though her practicum didn’t lead directly to her current career, Striga says she is still grateful for all she learned at Lethbridge College. “The ways they taught in the program prepared me so much for the industry I’m in right now,” she says. “There are so many similarities. There’s rejection, learning to work with all kinds of people and a high level of skills that are required for both. It was really beneficial for me.” Her instructors remember her well – and they aren’t surprised at her success.
Striga, instructor Pete Gingras recalls, “had a clear passion to perform on the stage, in front of the camera, and behind the microphone. While I know she worked hard at it, I’m confident it came to her naturally. It’s exciting to see talented people from our program take their talents to amazing heights.”
Instructor George Gallant agrees, noting that Striga “came to us with a lot of stage experience already, so her on-camera performance was really strong when she graduated. I had a feeling journalism wasn’t going to be her passion as we would spend time discussing musical theatre, not the news of the day. I’m glad to see she was able to take parts of her education, follow her passion and find a place in the spotlight where she can really shine.”
We love hearing from Lethbridge College alumni! You can find additional updates online at widerhorizons.ca. To submit your news to share with your classmates and the college community, drop us a note at WHMagazine@lethbridgecollege.ca.
Digital Communications and Media
Nicolas started work in June as a reporter for the Crowsnest Pass Herald in Blairmore. In his column “Nick’s Notes,” he wrote: “Originally, I am from a small place in Saskatchewan called Primate. I graduated from the nearby K-12 school in Macklin and entered the workforce shortly after graduating in 2015. I worked in the oilfield across various positions while getting my Fourth-Class Power Engineering certificate. Then after spending time as a plant operator in the oilsands up in Christina Lake, I decided a career change was in order. I knew that I wanted to use my writing skills, so I applied for the Digital Communications and Media program at Lethbridge College. I spent the past two years at the college learning how to write news stories and take photography for online and print publications. Near the end of my program, I further developed my skills by completing a practicum at the Lethbridge Herald.”
Digital Communications and Media
Kevin is the newest member of the Parksville Qualicum Beach News editorial team in Parksville, B.C. “I love writing, meeting new people and exploring new places, so I’m very excited to be doing that in PQB, which I think is one of the most beautiful places in Canada,” said Forsyth in an April story in the Parksville Qualicum Beach News. He is covering the area arts scene, as well as Parksville city council, School District 69 and more. Kevin was born and raised in Saskatoon and moved to Vancouver Island in 2020 after graduation.
Advertising and Public Relations
Courtney (she/they) was a “shining graduate” featured in publications by the University of Lethbridge this spring, after graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Studio in June 2022, with Great Distinction and an Honours Thesis, as well as the Gold Medal Nominee for the Faculty of Fine Arts. In Courtney’s first year at the university, they won the Young Artist Award from the Allied Arts Council in 2017, which recognized them as a young emerging artist. That spring, Courtney was also hired at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery (SAAG) to offer gallery tours for Arts Alive and Well in the Schools, showcasing student art from K-12. She served as the public engagement and event coordinator at SAAG from August 2019 until June 2022, and she has recently entered a new role with the Allied Arts Council Lethbridge as the education services manager of Casa Arts Centre. Courtney was awarded the Roloff Beny Photographic Award in 2019, which allowed them to travel to Mexico City to study Frida Kahlo. She also received the David Lanier Memorial Award for excellence in photography in 2018, and won the Medalta Student Residency Award in 2020, which gave them the opportunity to attend a month-long ceramics residency at Medalta in Medicine Hat.
Photo by Angeline Simon
Criminal Justice – Policing
After graduating from Lethbridge College, Sean joined the Saskatoon Police Service in 2014. In his first six years there as a patrol officer, he says he faced rewarding challenges, worked with good people and experienced the satisfaction a policing career brings. SPS also provided him “room to grow” and a chance to expand and enhance his career. In 2021, he moved to the SPS’s Air Support Unit. As a Tactical Flight Officer with this group, he flies aboard a Cessna 182T aircraft, assisting Patrol Division by responding to crimes in progress and conducting searches for missing persons. His time at Lethbridge College, Sean says, was “absolutely” valuable and crucial to his policing career. He credits this to relevant course material and instructors who were role models who had worked in the policing field. Lethbridge College also fostered a career-focused approach to learning that included help with the post-graduate job application process. Sean and his colleagues in Saskatoon’s Air Support Unit were featured in the November/December cover story in the U.S. publication Air Beat.
Inclusive Post Secondary Education
James works at Davidson and Williams, a Lethbridge law firm.
Caitlin is running her own business called Massage and Esthetics by Caitlin in Lethbridge.
Terry sent the Wider Horizons team this update: “I have been working for the Lethbridge Police Service since 2014, and in that time, I have had the opportunity to work in our general patrol unit, downtown mountain bike unit, and am currently in our canine unit for the past year and a half. Last year in October I completed a fundraiser to raise money for Legacy Place to help first responders with mental health by doing 4,080 pull-ups in 24 hours. I was able to raise $20,000.”
Computer Information Technology
Brianne has worked at Lethbridge College for the last 18 years.
Cole Hoover and Vaughn Golden (Criminal Justice – Policing 2019)
Cole and Vaughn were two recently hired Estevan Police Service constables featured in a May article in the Estevan Mercury. Cole has been working in Estevan since December. In the article, he said: “Ever since I can remember I’ve wanted to be a police officer. I like being able to problem solve and be a positive influence on people. I like the idea of mentorship and policing puts me in a good position to do that. I think having that kind of a unique ability to interact with folks on some of the worst days gives you a chance to really make a difference in people’s day to day lives.” While at Lethbridge College, he served as president of the Leo Club, the volunteer organization that was part of the policing studies. He also volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters in Lethbridge for two years and was a ski patroller at Castle Mountain. Vaughn moved to Estevan in March and had previously worked for the Alberta Sheriff’s department as a court sheriff in Lethbridge. He was on track to attend the Saskatchewan Police Academy in August, after which he planned to come back to Estevan in uniform and be out on the streets. In the article, he said: “When I was in high school, that’s when I decided that I was going to pursue policing as a career. And then once I was in that program at Lethbridge College, that solidified, and it made me decide that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.” Photo courtesy Estevan Police Service
General Studies student
Photos courtesy Dave Holland for RunCalgary
Kip was the first among more than 6,300 runners to cross the finish line at this year’s Calgary Marathon in May. He completed the 26.2–mile course in 2:34:54. “I feel at home,” Kip told CTV News in an interview after the race. “It feels good to run in-person once again. (The course) is so scenic. You get to see the town, you get to meet people, they high-five you. It’s just a good spirit.”
Craig, who as part of the Information Technology Services teams at the University of Lethbridge, was featured in a May article in a staff publication. He has worked at the U of L since 1988, starting as a computer operator of large mainframe computers, moving on to manage lab and desktop support, then being appointed as the Facilities manager, and now as manager of finance and assets. As he prepares for retirement, he said he is most looking forward to more time with family, community and church, as well as more time in the mountains. Craig said he has hiked and backpacked almost every trail in Glacier National Park and plans on completing the rest.
Earl wrote Wider Horizons with an update, saying that the autumn after his graduation, “I was so very fortunate to land a full-time conservation officer (CO) job with the Province of Manitoba. I embarked on an incredible career of natural resource law enforcement and management that took me across the entire province, allowing me the privilege of serving Manitobans while protecting the natural resources of the province. I got to experience everything from dealing with polar bears in Churchill to doing commercial fish patrols on Lake Winnipeg to managing large forest fires to catching poachers killing elk at night with a spotlight or reuniting a lost child in a provincial park with his or her parents. Recently, I promoted to the Chief Conservation Officer for the Province of Manitoba, which is certainly an incredible honour and culmination of my 37-year career in natural resources.
I want to acknowledge the integral role that Lethbridge College played in laying the foundation of knowledge in natural resource management and enforcement that allowed me to firstly be hired as a CO and ultimately rise through the ranks to Chief CO for the Province of Manitoba. The education and mentorship I received from the college was second-to-none. What I believe really set the college apart from any other natural resource schools was the fact that all of the instructors in the program had many years of experience not only in instructing but actual field experience in the vocation, on the job they were teaching about. So this allowed for relevant, first-hand, on-the-job experiences and examples to provide to the class.
And on the field trips these elite folks really shone. I am eternally grateful for the education I received at Lethbridge College and promote it at any given time to any individual that may be interested in a career in natural resources. I also want to acknowledge the lifelong friends that I made while attending the college that I still keep in touch with today, often as part of a network of other provincial and federal natural resource agencies. So a big thank you to all the incredible instructors and the program at Lethbridge College.”
Renewable Resource Management
Raymond wrote the Alumni office to say: “Hi. I am currently the Fish and Wildlife resource manager for the Ministry of Forests in the Omineca Region, Prince George. I completed my undergraduate degree at University of Northern British Columbia, and my professional background is in fisheries, wildlife and habitat protection.”
Tracy told the Alumni office: “Things have come full circle with me and Lethbridge College. I have returned to LC as the Chief Financial Officer and I am so happy to be here!”
Lana wrote the Alumni office and said: “Hi! Love keeping in touch. I have lived in Whitecourt, Alta., since 1995 and worked at the Newsprint mill for 11 years in the lab. Now I work in administration for a non-profit group. I keep in touch with many friends from college and married a grad! The college holds some of my fondest memories!”
Digital Communications and Media
Josh sent the Wider Horizons team this update: “I’ve just hit four years at Artrageous Advertising in Lethbridge where I started as a copywriter and content planner for social media marketing. Since then, I’ve moved to Vancouver, gotten married and still get to work for Artrageous, remotely, as their digital marketing manager! These days my efforts are more focused towards helping businesses scale and grow by strategizing and implementing lead-generation campaigns online.
“Over the years I’ve gotten some pretty interesting and exciting jobs to work on, from political campaigns to TikTok-style content marketing. But most of all, I’ve gained a strong and meaningful work family that I can depend on and enjoy being around. Artrageous is a really tight-knit culture to integrate yourself with internally or externally. We treat our clients as partners because that’s what they are! Their success is ours.”
THE BIG QUESTION
In the spring 2022 issue of Wider Horizons, we asked: Which instructor made the biggest difference during your time as a student at Lethbridge College?
Agriculture Sciences – Agronomy
Mandy Gabruch and Chris Hotton! They both have very effective ways of engaging students so that they have a better understanding of the material. They also get to know you, which is a great thing from an instructor. They both have made a huge difference in my education.
Renewable Resource Management
Mark Klassen was my biggest support in my three years at Lethbridge College. First year had a ton of new learning curves, and when I was struggling to keep my grade up in his class, he invited me into his office each week to go over what we learned to ensure I understood. Without his support, I probably would have dropped out first semester. I’m thankful for how much he helped me and encouraged me to keep going!
Digital Communications and Media
Paige Thornborough made a difference in my time in the program. She went above and beyond to make her classes engaging, including making her own version of “What Do You Meme?” for a review class. Her door was always open if we had a question about anything in her classes or if we needed extra help learning the Adobe suite. I can’t say enough good things about her as an instructor and as a person.
Chef Stephen Klassen in the Culinary Careers program. He helped me gain confidence and helped make me into the cook I am today. I could not have done it without him.
Niculina Jenica Jensen
Health Care Aide, Practical Nurse student
Instructors Gill Comchi and Ashley Cesar made the biggest difference for me. During my course of being in the Health Care Aide program, they showed not only the kindness, openness and professionalism that any instructor would, they showed me who I truly was without even me knowing. They showed their love for their profession and care for each and every student, going out of their way to make sure we had everything we needed to succeed. Ashley and Gill showed us what really caring for another person was and how we can make a difference in a client’s life even for the time that we are working with them that day. We were shown how to be the best health care aides that we could be by the two that were as passionate about the healthcare field as they are. They changed my life in more ways than one. They showed me I can do what I do now, and I am an amazing, caring person. They made me feel like I was worth something and celebrated all my wins with me.
Aaron Eyjolfson. Aaron got to know every student in a personal way and got us excited about what we were learning. He was even there for me when I went through an incredibly hard time. I will never be able to thank him enough.
Gabriel De Freitas
Business Administration – Marketing
Rod MacGregor. He was always passionate about teaching and knowledge and he is a true scholar. And when I was going through hard times impacting my mental health, he was the only one who noticed, just by my facial expressions walking around campus. He pulled me into his office to talk to me, that’s how empathetic he is. What he said then will always be with me: “But you know what? It builds character.” And I did come out of it stronger than ever years later. Some people just leave a quick but unforgettable mark. Whenever things are hard now, I think “it builds character!”
Therapeutic Recreation – Gerontology
Mary Wall was instrumental on my graduating with honours from Therapeutic Recreation Gerontology. Mary was firm but knew how to draw out the best in her students even when we didn’t see it for ourselves. I still use the apron she made for me!
Georgia Fooks, the legend in her trademark red glasses, met with me after I applied for the Communication Arts program. I was a teenager and had no clear idea of the industry or what I wanted. I had selected broadcast as my area of interest, and after talking with her, she encouraged me to switch to print journalism. She, Richard Burke and D’Arcy Kavanagh were incredibly encouraging. I graduated and enjoyed a 20-year career in the newspaper industry. I’m grateful to them all.
I wanted to submit the name of one of my instructors who taught in the Business Administration program. Like many students, I struggled at the start trying to balance being away from home for the first time, supporting myself financially, and having the discipline to focus on my studies. One of my instructors, Charles (Buster) Burke encouraged me to keep trying and to not give up, and he was instrumental in helping me transfer to the University of Lethbridge where I obtained my Bachelor of Management degree in 1990. I don’t know whether Buster ever realized what an important role he played in my life, and how much he influenced my career path. I have never forgotten him and would not be where I am today had it not been for the support and encouragement he provided.