The story of the Stef family at Lethbridge College is a love story. It started at Grant MacEwan University (then Grant MacEwan Community College) in Edmonton in the early 1990s when Ryan Stef met Ty Carlson in a political science class they were both enrolled in. The rest, as they say, is history.
“She had already started her nursing diploma and wanted to finish it in Lethbridge,” Ryan says. “I basically followed her down here and we both ended up at Lethbridge College.”
While Ryan studied Criminal Justice and Ty Nursing, the young couple also made their mark as members of Kodiaks Athletics. Ryan was part of the men’s basketball squad that captured the provincial ACAC title in 1993-94, while Ty ran for the cross-country team.
The Stef legacy continues today: Ryan and Ty’s sons, Jett and Steele, have both made a mark on the Kodiaks hardwood, with both suiting up for the men’s basketball team this past season. “It’s nice that they’re both close to home and it’s always super nostalgic whenever we go to watch a game at the gym,” says Ryan. Ryan has been with the Lethbridge Police Service for 23 years, serving as a patrol officer, K9 handler and detective in the Violent Crimes Unit. The CBC true crime series, The Detectives, recently featured him in an episode focusing on the LPS’s investigation into the 2016 murder of 78-year-old Irene Carter.
Currently he’s the sergeant in charge of the training unit. Ty came back to Lethbridge College to work as an instructor from 2011 to 2016. She continues to work as a registered nurse with Alberta Health Services in the psychiatric and medical-surgical units at Chinook Regional hospital. “We’re really proud to have the boys follow in our footsteps,” says Ryan. “For me, the lessons I learned and the connections I made [at Lethbridge College] have always stayed with me.” He adds that he still appreciates the work of his instructors in the CJ program. “They took a personal interest in me, would come to basketball games to show support and when I was going through the hiring competitions of several police departments, one of them had me over to his home to talk with his daughter who was at the time working in recruiting with Calgary Police,” he says. “Those connections and one-on-one care from many college instructors meant the world to me and assisted me in gaining career opportunities.”
Criminal Justice 1995
Ty Carlson Stef
General Studies student